Mama: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies

                                                          Peanut butter & Jelly offers comfort. Mama does not…

Mama movie poster

             It’s a classic tragic ghost story that sucks you in, scares you some, and tugs on your heart strings as well. Like any good tragic ghost story should, right? But don’t be fooled by the innocence the movie’s simple title conveys.

I got spooked.               mama grabs hand

The story starts bleak and rapidly grows colder. Two young girls are led into a thought-to-be abandoned cabin in the woods by their father after a terrible car accident. You find out right away it’s not uninhabited, and you get awfully disturbing glimpses of the “soul” proprietor right away. Mama.

But Mama saves the girls. First, from the unexpected danger of their father and then from impending death brought on by starvation and being left to fend for themselves at such a tender age. After years of existing only with the ghostly Mama as their caregiver, the feral children are discovered and brought back into a new world of human contact, comfort, and care from a devoted uncle and his reluctant wife.

feral child mama      But don’t they know a mama’s love is forever?

I’m certainly no movie critic, but I think everything fell right into place for this ghost tale. From the dark, decrepit scenery to the plot-moving dialogue, I sunk into the gloomy mystery that just kept getting creepier by the moment. I loved how the movie didn’t need a particularly scare-worthy soundtrack building up to each “gotcha” moment. Instead, I thought the characters and their dialogue were the driving force behind the spooks.

Although the vagueness of Mama’s desperate back story may have some viewers wishing for more, for me it was just the right dosage of withheld information to keep me wondering, “What went wrong here?” And sometimes not getting all the answers can be what makes a ghost story so good.Mama crawling

One more thing: If you are looking for a comfortable ending, look elsewhere. The closing of the movie was just as solidly sad as the beginning and had me yearning for some real comfort food after the final credits. I couldn’t think of anything better than peanut butter at that moment!

The Recipe: When I think of my own mama, I think of sitting together at the lunch table, dipping a folded peanut butter sandwich into a cup of cold chocolate milk. Since a peanut butter sandwich would make a very uninteresting recipe, I came up with a sweeter, more exciting version of the classic PB & J.

A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich cookie! 

Being low on flour (astounding, I know, but it does occur from time to time) I wondered what would happen if I made a flourless peanut butter cookie. Great things, apparently! Aside from being simple to make, it has the added benefit of being something I can offer my gluten-free buddies. If you are a mama, make this with the kiddos. If you have a mama, invite her over for some. If you see Mama (and I highly recommend you do), be ready to indulge in few yourself afterward.

100_1553Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies

(Makes 12 cookie sandwiches, depending on how big you make the cookies)

Ingredients:

2 cups peanut butter + about 3 Tbsp more PB to spread inside (the kind with no added sugar)

Strawberry jam (Smuckers makes a gluten-free version)

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

Cookie sheets, parchment paper, fork

How to Make Em: Get the oven up to 325 degrees. Prep your cookie sheets with parchment paper for easy lifting. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 2 cups of PB, the eggs, and the vanilla. Using your hands or a heavy duty stirring spoon, mix them together until combined. Add the sugar and salt.

You don’t need a cookie scoop for these. Just pinch off some dough, roll it into a ball depending on how big you want your sammiches, and place them a couple inches apart on your prepped baking sheets. Don’t forget to use your fork to stamp those nifty little “this is homemade” crosshatch marks across the top of each cookie. Bake about 10-12 mins. Cool completely before assembling into the snacks.

Assembly is the yummy fun part. Spread PB over the flat bottom of one cookie and add a dollop of jam. Smoosh em together for the most ultimate comfort cookie sandwich ever! Don’t forget to lick the knife when you are done! Just…carefully.

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Until next time…stay spooky, my fiends, and support new horror!

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Zombieland: Tallahassee “Twinkie” Snack Cakes

                                                                      For Twinkie lovers, it’s not the end of the world.      

Good news! We survived two potential apocalypses in 2012- The predicted rapture of May 21st (or 22nd?) and the Mayan Calendar Ending Event of December 21st. Unfortunately, one catastrophe we could not avoid was the demise of one beloved iconic American classic, the Hostess snack cake. This calamity will forever be known as The Twinkie Apocalypse.

ZOMBIELAND-zombieland-20358731-1280-1024

With all the apocalypse craziness erupting all over the year 2012, one scary baker cannot help but be reminded of the zombie apocalypse that strikes the world in the horror comedy, Zombieland. And with the downfall of our dearly coveted snack cakes, who could not seriously think of the surly zombie stomper, Tallahassee, as he rumbles across America not only beating zombie arse, but looking for a gosh darn Twinkie to munch.Twinkies+Discountinued.+I+feel+for+you+Tallahassee+I+really+do_4cb594_4241098

 

Perhaps this movie is some sort of prophetic vision brought to us by the luminous minds of Zombieland writers, Reese and Wernick? With Twinkies and Ding Dongs and HoHos now extinct, will 2013 be the year of infection??  If so, I urge you to polish off your dust-collecting copy of Zombieland and view it not only for its dashing entertainment, but also as a preparation guide for bad days to come.

 

Here are a few of my favorite “rules” outlined by Columbus and how I’m applying them to MY life as the possible Year of Infection looms ahead…

 

car locked zombieland #1 The Double Tap: Got your gun? No matter your politics or personal philosophies about gun use and ownership, it sure will be nice to have one when the zombies come…

#2 Cardio and #18 Limber Up: I’ve made a commitment to get healthy this year and it can’t happen without a few rounds of good ole exercise. I want to be able to outrun whatever wants to eat me.

#3 Beware of Bathrooms: I’ve seen what can be lurking behind the bathroom door, and it’s not pretty. I’m committed to passing on the dirty job of keeping a clean bathroom to the hubby.

#8 Get a Kick Ass Partner: I found mine 16 years ago.

#32 Enjoy the Little Things: Like sugar. And good treats. All in moderation, of course.supermarket zombieland

 

The Recipe: You don’t have to pay a gazillion dollars on EBay or travel half the country to recover the last Twinkie when you can bake your own! Undoubtedly, the homemade version tastes a bit cleaner, a bit lighter, and so much more delectable than the stale ones you are likely to find in some snack cake hoarder’s cabinet. In the case of a true zombie apocalypse occurring, I recommend you bake some every couple of months and freeze em. Just remember, defrost before filling them with the also hand-forged creamy marshmallow fluff.

Oh yeah, and you will need a Twinkie-shaped cavity pan to make these. They are popping up all over kitchen stores everywhere and can be found online. Give it a Google and see what you can find…

 

Tallahassee “Twinkie” Snack Cakes November 2012 033

(Fills 8 cavity pan )

Ingredients:

1cup + 2 Tbsp flour, 1 1/8 tsp baking powder (aluminum free, if you please), 1/4 tsp salt,  3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar, ½ cup milk, 1 ½ tsp vanilla, 1 egg + 1 egg white, 1 stick butter (softened to room temp), 1 recipe Deadgirl Marshmallow Fluff, Twinkie-shaped cavity pan

 

How to Make em:

Note: If you don’t want a super snack cake snarly mess when you try to get them out of the pan, I highly recommend spraying the cavities thoroughly with baking spray and adding a touch of flour to each cavity. Also, do NOT overfill. This just causes major headaches. I speak from experience…

In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the butter and sugar with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Add the egg and egg white and beat well. In another small bowl, pour together the milk and vanilla. In another medium bowl, sift together the dry boring stuff-flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry boring stuff alternately with the milk mix to the submissive creamed mix and continue mixing on low speed.

Fill the pan cavities barely ½ full and bake for about 12-15 minutes on 350 degrees. Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely and fill with the fluff.

 

November 2012 034Deadgirl Marshmallow Fluff         

(Fills 8 Snack Cakes )

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup marshmallow fluff, 1 ¼ cup all-veggie shortening, 1 Tbsp vanilla, 1 cup powdered sugar, pastry bag and pastry filling tip

How to Make It:

In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, beat together the fluff and shortening with your hand mixer or stand mixer into a creamy submission. Switch to low speed and add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar slowly and continuing beating into fluffy submission.

Fit your pastry a pastry filling tube. Once the snack cakes are completely cooled, fill each snack cake until you feel just a bit of resistance. You don’t want fluff bursting out the sides and top of your cake so experiment with the right amount of pressure with the greatest of care.

November 2012 029     Happy 2013 and remember to Enjoy the Little Things!

Silent Night: Santa’s Mint Coal Cookies

          He made a list. He checked it twice. He knows who’s been naughty, and his visit won’t be nice.

                                                                                                    silent night

     Gore hounds rejoice! Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s bringing a flame thrower, an axe, a sickle thingy, and a wood chipper in the new seriously violent remake of Silent Night Deadly Night (now simply titled Silent Night).

In this revisioning of the controversial 1984 yuletide slasher, Santa is delivering more than just gift-wrapped boxes of coal to the residents of a dying town’s naughty list. He is striking them down in the most brutal, sadistic ways possible. Like any good mindless slasher flick, it contains no real depth of character while stacking plenty of bodies under the tree. Malcolm McDowell stars as the town’s apathetic sheriff that spouts some pretty ridiculous dialogue meant to add a dash of dark humor to this tragic movie, but really it just comes off as corny writing with a silly delivery.santa flame thrower

Of course, Silent Night was made to shock and horrify while capitalizing on the Remake Syndrome, and it definitely does. And unfortunately, it’s lost the panache and manipulative scariness of the original movie altogether. But if you are looking for a gutsy, gory Christmas story to watch while waiting for the jollier, less homicidal Santa’s arrival, please indulge! I’m going to stick with the original. Its trailer alone gave me the holiday horrors…

Victim of the Christmas Tree Wood Chipper

Victim of the Christmas Tree Wood Chipper

The Recipe: Haven’t been so good this year? Santa won’t mind too much as long as you leave him a plate of these chocolatey goodies corrupt with serious mint flavor. Rolled in sugar before baking gives them a sparkly sweet exterior, and they do really look like pieces of coal! But they taste much more innocent and chewy. Keep in mind these cookies need a few hours of chill time so prepare accordingly.

Santa’s Mint Coal Cookies

(Makes 2 dozen lumps of yummy coal)

Ingredients:

2/3 c brown sugar, ½ tsp salt, ¾ c baking cocoa, 11/2 c + 2Tbsp flour, 11/2 tsp baking soda, 1 large egg white, ½ c light corn syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, 11/2 tsp peppermint extract, 1 ½ sticks cool butter (not soft but not cold), 11/2 c chocolate chunks, extra sugar for rolling, hand or stand mixer, baking pans, parchment paper

How to Make em:

In a mixing bowl or bowl of standing mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar with your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In the meantime, whisk the egg white, corn syrup, and extracts together. Add the egg white mixture to the creamed butter-sugar until thoroughly combined. In a separate large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add in the chocolate chunks. Add the dry mixture to the rest and mix until thoroughly combined. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 2-4 hours.

Prep at least 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll the dough into small 1-2” balls and roll around in the extra sugar. Place the cookies about an inch apart on the baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Doneness tip: You will see small cracks forming on the top. Cool completely. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container for about 3 weeks.

Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas!

Up close for a sparkly look

Up close for a sparkly look


Slumber Party Massacre: Driller Killer Cupcakes and Truth or Dare Punch

                              Dying for a Girls’ Night In? Invite the gals over for a Slumber Party Massacre.

                                                                                                           

It should be known (by now) that I am a serious 80’s slasher film enthusiast. Since 1982, Slumber Party Massacre has reigned supreme on my favorites list. It offers up a bit of sweet nostalgia for those of us who endured sleepless nights in the name of girlish fun. And perhaps a bit of sweet satisfaction for those who agonized over not being invited…

While most slumber party-goers are telling ghost stories or watching horror movies, Trish and her pajama-clad friends are living one when escaped lunatic, Russ Thorne (aka the Driller Killer), crashes the party. He’s delivering more than just pizza. Although what he does to the pizza delivery boy with the handy new drill he’s acquired is pretty impressive.

My favorite lines from the movie come from Kim and Jackie. After Kim evaluates the eyeless pizza boy flopped across the floor, she confirms, “He’s dead allright. So cold.” (Awesome dialogue, I know). Jackie responds with, “Is the pizza?” And then she chomps down a piece! Ah, a girl after my own heart.

   The Recipes: In honor of this most beloved scene and my favorite driller kill, I present to you the Driller Killer Cupcake. It is an extravagant “bloody” red velvet cupcake topped with a crudely extracted vanilla cake eye ball. Gruesome, not girly, and a complete overkill of cake kind of dessert just perfect to serve at your next massacre.

Pair it up with a Truth or Dare cocktail and you are sure to have a memorable massacre! I took my love for sangria and combined it with my passion for apple cider and came up with a loaded party punch sure to induce many truths from your tight-lipped gal pals. I DARE you to try it!

A few tips: A recipe for red velvet cupcakes and homemade Screamcheese frosting can be found in the Previous Blog Posts section under February 2012. Also, if you don’t have a favorite vanilla cake ball/pop recipe, feel free to check out my cake ball/pop tutorial in the Previous Blog Posts section under December 2011. Be warned that I use a Bake Pops cake pan to make my cake eyeballs.

Driller Killer Cupcakes

(I “see” 18-24 cupcakes in your future…)

Ingredients & Equipment:

Red velvet cupcake recipe or your fave box mix

1 batch Screamcheese frosting or your fave canned variety

Your favorite vanilla cake ball or cake pop recipe

11/2 cans white vanilla frosting (DO NOT use the whipped variety)

1 tube Wilton red icing

1 package Wilton candy eyeballs

Cupcake pans

Cookie sheet

Parchment paper

Red and white dotted cupcake liners OR liners of your choice (the dotted ones just happened to be most appropriate for my blood soaked color scheme)

Decorating tip #3 and a coupler ring

How To Make Em:

-Prepare the vanilla cake balls according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely.

-While they are cooling, prepare the red velvet cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool.

-Prepare the Screamcheese frosting if you are making it yourself. Frost your cooled cupcakes.

-Line a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper.

-Add the white canned frosting to a microwave safe bowl sufficient enough in size to dip the cake balls. Microwave the frosting for about 30-45 seconds until it is pourable, but not too runny.

-Working quickly, dip each cake ball into the frosting with a large spoon. Turn to coat. If the frosting becomes too stiff while dipping, you might want to reheat it for just a few seconds to get back to a workable consistency.

-Place the dipped cake balls on parchment paper. Again, working quickly, add a candy eyeball (that will serve as your pupil) to each coated cake ball.

-Allow the cake balls to set.

-Use the red tube icing to etch on those ghastly red threads and allow the cake balls to set again.

-Once the eye balls are set, place one eyeball precariously atop one cupcake, repeat with remaining eyeballs and cupcakes, and revel in the squeals of the squeamish!

Truth or Dare Punch

Please take the dead body out of the fridge before chilling the punch.

(Makes a lot)

Ingredients:

½ gallon chilled apple cider

1 bottle red wine

¼ cup brandy

¼ cup orange liqueur

Garnishes: apple and orange slices

Punch bowl and ladle

How to Make It:

-Add the wine, brandy, and liqueur to the punch bowl. My suggestion would be to refrigerate the mix for at least an hour or possibly overnight to let the flavors mingle.

-Just before serving, add the apple cider to the punch bowl.

Garnish with thin apple and orange slices.

Serve, and let the slumber party games begin!