You Need This in Your Life

slap-yo'-mama good
slap-yo’-mama good

I’m not a huge dessert person. I’d rather have more (and I say more because I’ve most certainly already had too much) butter-slathered crusty bread than a piece of cake — but that’s not to say I can’t down a black raspberry ice cream cone with jimmies before you finish reading this sentence. However, every so often I come across something so uniquely sweet and delicious and puppy kicking good that it’s frightening how little self-control I have as I proceed to stuff mouthful after mouthful into my fat face. These Coconut Coffee Blondies are a perfect example. (Take it easy, I’m not really kicking any puppies over it — but if those were my only options, I would consider it…)

My sister first made these several months back to give away as gifts, which meant we split one small one to make sure they weren’t awful (uh, they weren’t!) and then had to be crafty in cutting small slices off some of the larger bars in order to eat more, and more, and more. And then the amount going to each person was lesser and lesser as we uncontrollably diminished the quantity. I made another batch recently and was again astounded at how awesome they are (I was thinking maybe I was really hungry the first time I had them and they couldn’t possibly be as good as I remembered — uh, they were!)

The recipe is from Heather Christo’s website and the direct link to the recipe is: Coconut Coffee Blondies. Please make them right away. And get them to me immediately because I’m hungry. (I’m just kidding — I’m almost never hungry, but that wouldn’t stop me from eating the hell out of a fresh batch…)

My New Favorite Thing – 10.27

pumpkin snickerdoodle muffins
pumpkin snickerdoodle muffins

Every so often, I come across something that I become temporarily obsessed with — as in wanting to stop people in the street and present them with a detailed monologue about the amazing qualities of my new fascination — and then I realized what better format to deliver such a soliloquy than a blog post. Lucky you!

Since I didn’t think of this sooner, I have a number of things from the past few weeks I could post but in the spirit of the upcoming pumpkin-themed holiday, I’ll start this new feature with the amazingly, unbelievably delicious Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Muffins. I came across this recipe after my sister showed me an Instagram post by Heather Christo, and it prompted me to build a whole pumpkin carving party around my desire to make a batch of these muffins. (Because God knows I can’t make these without having lots of people around to help eat them or else I’ll have to do it all by myself.) My sister warned me that it was too early to carve pumpkins because they’d be rotted by the time Halloween rolled around, but I disregarded her prediction with a carefree “oh so what, rotted pumpkins are even spookier,” which I now realize may have been in haste as I look out at the four amorphic orange lumps on my deck. Now I’ll have to carve again this week so I have something to stick a candle in on Saturday. Except for the buttermilk, all the ingredients were already in my house. Because the recipe only requires a 1/4 cup of buttermilk but I was unable to find anything smaller than a quart, I made the recipe three times in one week. Yeah, they’re that good. (Plus there was enough leftover buttermilk to make pancakes for my kids which were also insanely good — maybe I should be posting about the glories of buttermilk.) I justified letting my kids gorge themselves because at least they’re eating something with pumpkin in it – which is actually a fruit, not a vegetable, but healthy in either category. (Yes, I am aware that butter and sugar cancel out the health benefits of the pumpkin puree, but I’m doing what I can over here, people!)

I was concerned that my obsession was bordering on a psychological disorder, so I laid off the muffins. And I made Pumpkin Snickerdoodles instead! Yay for cookies! These are equally as good, yet in a more convenient travel size. My daughter said they were like eating just the top of the muffin, but sadly the Seinfeld reference was lost on her. The recipe for the cookies does not include buttermilk so they are a bit less moist (when did ‘moist’ become an almost universally hated word?) but they have to be a bit more firm to hold their cookie shape. Their beautiful, delectable, exquisite cookie shape…

The Mostest Perfectest Bestest Cosmo Recipe

it's troubling how happy this makes me
it’s troubling how happy this makes me

This is by far the best cosmopolitan martini you’ll ever have and has become a staple in our regular gatherings. Whether it’s Monday Funday, Two for Tuesday, Wednesday Friendsday, or Thirsty Thursday, we’re all about it. (Friday, Saturday and Sunday don’t need nicknames because they’re already the weekend so the whole cosmo thing goes without saying.) Basically, we’ve proven that there’s never a good time not to cosmo, unless, of course, you’re responsible for transporting a bus full of preschool-aged children to take a tour of the local fire department in which case, I implore you, wait until the trip is over and you’re in for the night.

To mix your perfect cosmo, you will need just four ingredients:

  • limes (fresh limes — don’t you dare try to fake it with some frozen limeade crap, you’ll be sorely disappointed, as will we!)
  • vodka — we like Sobieski because it has a good taste, is reasonably priced, and seems to have a low hangover quotient
  • orange flavored liquor* (or *liqueur for you fancy people who prefer extra vowels in your words so they can be said with a touch of pretention) — we typically use Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • cranberry juiceOcean Spray 100% Juice is preferable

Find your favorite way of extracting the lime juice out of the limes. I prefer a reamer with a glass container to catch the juice. ESC Blogger #2 prefers the handheld reamer to manually squeeze out the juice because she’s diesel. Either way, you will need anywhere from 6 – 8 limes, depending on their size and juiciness, to get 1 cup of fresh lime juice. The pitcher in the photo used six limes. Pulp is a personal preference, but we like some, if not all, pulp included. Pour the lime juice into a beautiful container that makes you happy and holds at least 4 1/2 cups of liquid.

Add 1 cup of Triple Sec.

Add 2 cups of vodka.

Add a splash of cranberry juice. This step is also a personal preference, but we usually use about 1/4 cup. Eventually, after making several batches (because you will be making this numerous times) you’ll be able to eyeball the resulting pink color to know how much to use.

Your cosmo recipe is finished, but you’re not done yet! The next steps are crucial to get full and thorough enjoyment from your cocktail. When possible — and you should try your best to make this possible — refrigerate, or better yet, freeze your mixture, because it’s best served ice cold. Use a shaker filled with ice to further cool the concoction and serve it poured into a delicate martini glass. Or fill a decorative tumbler with ice and serve with a thin Collins straw. We have found that these tiny straws aid in decelerating the beverage consumption by forcing us to sip slowly instead of gulping like we want to do because of how delicious it is. Plus we don’t want to make our livers any angrier than necessary. Whatever your vessel, make sure you love what you’re drinking out of because this is critical in obtaining full beverage nirvana.

There are numerous locations and/or situations that assist in creating the ultimate beverage experience. If you’re so inclined, you could don a French maid uniform and greet your husband cleavage first as he returns home after a grueling day at work, handing him his martini glass before he has a chance to hang up his fedora. However, in our household, you’d be more inclined to find my husband in said uniform, so the closest he’s going to get is me yelling, “There’s a batch of cosmos in the fridge” from the couch. (Doesn’t mean I love him any less, haters!) We have enjoyed cosmos: at home, on the deck, around the backyard fire pit, listening to music (even better if you’re lucky enough to enjoy live music played by fabulously talented family), on a walk around the neighborhood, at the beach, before a family gathering, during a family gathering, after a family gathering, etc. You get the point. It’s also an amazing remedy for PMS, menopause, stress, and other personality-altering psychoses. Want to save your children (or you, depending on whether or not you’ve damaged the kids to the point that you will claim them as dependents for the rest of your life) hundreds of thousands of dollars on therapy years from now, when they can’t form a normal relationship because of that time you went into an irrational rage about Rice Krispies spilling on the floor? Sit down, have a cosmo, and laugh about the stupid Rice Krispies. As ESC Blogger #2 is famous for saying, “If that’s the worst thing that happens to you today, you’re having a pretty good day.” She’s seasoned in the art of cosmo philosophy. Cheers!