Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bite-Sized Bliss!

I eat in a style best described as "anaconda swallowing a horse." No, it's not pretty, but either way it is intensely exciting to watch a 120-pound creature trying to eat an entire meal in one bite. Not sure if I'm talking about me or the snake? I honestly have no idea either. But after nearly dislocating my jaw trying to eat last week's pie in under six bites, I decided I needed to make something this week that wouldn't end in an emergency visit to the dentist for jaw resetting. It just so happens that I'm also an incredible miser, and I'm still trying to get my money's worth out of the mini muffin pan I bought to make tiny, boozy Super Bowl desserts in. I knew I needed a minuscule, micro dessert, but just about everything these days has some form of "mini" recipe, so I was still at a loss. I was thinking about mini cannolis, but I knew that would end in me just eating the filling out of a bowl while quietly trying to find some way to spin this "accident" into a good blog. Once I figured out I wanted a cream-based dessert that wouldn't work without the sum of its parts (a.k.a., a "safety net"), the only thing that really made sense was a Boston Cream Pie. More pie? A second week in a row? I know...but you see, these pies are teeny tiny and adorable, so that makes them different. I know, I'm reaching, but work with me here because once you see how cutely delicious these look, you, too, will be begging for the cream-filled kind. Bonus points if you get the Lion King reference, we can be friends.
Brings new meaning to the phrase, "So cute I could eat you up." Cause I'm gonna.
I happen to be fond of tiny things. This is why I own two dogs that would be normal in stature, but instead have tiny little legs because they're Corgi mixes. I myself am a tiny thing, so perhaps I'm just trying to instill a sense of greater purpose for my pint-sized stature. I was made to make tiny desserts and own tiny, legless dogs. It's a hard knock life. Anyway, these are actually more than just "a" bite. Well, they're one jaw-unhinged-anaconda-Kate bite, or three normal people bites. I pity you small-mouthed plebeians. How long your meals must take...
I didn't even know sugar cookies came in a bag. What else comes in a bag now that I'm not aware of? Milk? What is happening...
The recipe I found and adapted for my mini pies is super simple and doesn't require a ton of weird ingredients. If I can find everything I need at our crummy commissary, it's a win. Gather up:
  • One bag of Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • One stick of room temp butter
  • One room temp egg
  • One pint container of heavy whipping cream
  • One 3.4 ounce packet of Jello instant vanilla pudding
  • 1/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • Optional toppings: chocolate sauce, mini chocolate chips
You're gonna need to grease the ever-living crap out of a mini muffin tin and preheat the oven according to package directions (in this case, 375 degrees). Mix together the cookie mix, butter, and egg until well blended. Find a trusty cookie scoop, and make 24 scoops. Plop each scoop into the muffin tin. Take a tablespoon and make an indent in the top of each ball of dough:
Ugh, the squuuiishhh is so satisfying. I clearly have deep-seated psychological issues.
Pay no mind to the cake mixes, you'll see what those are for in a few days.
Once you've placed a divot into each dough ball, pop into the oven for about 7-9 minutes. You want things set but not fully cooked and crumbly. A toothpick should come out clean, but things will still be very soft and mushy. I promise I'm not going to give you salmonella from under-cooked batter. I ate like seventeen of these, and I'm fine.
That tablespoon is workin' overtime!
Right away, place the mini muffin tin on a cooling rack and use your tablespoon to press the divots back into each cup...they puff up during baking. I had to go through and do this step twice to keep the formation of the cups.
I mean, really, the possibilities here are endless. Cream pie filling, the world's tiniest and most adorable scoop of ice cream, you name it.
Let the cookie molds cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing to the cooling rack. If you happen to have three tubs of frosting on hand like I did, go ahead and eat one. These don't take too long to cool. Side note, didn't actually eat the frosting, but not because I didn't want to...I promise I'll tell you why I have thirty varieties of canned frosting in my next blog. When the cups are completely cooled, make the filling by dumping the whole pint of whipping cream in your stand mixer. Blend on low for a minute while the cream starts to thicken before bumping up the speed to super high for another minute...at this point, you'll have a giant bowl of Cool Whip, essentially. Finish up by blending in the powdered sugar and packet of instant vanilla pudding. 
The 1M tip: making my decorating abilities look fantastic with minimal effort.
Load up a piping bag with the pie filling. Use whichever frosting tip you prefer, but I selected the 1M tip. I simply placed my tip straight down over the top of a cookie cup and piped a hefty mound of frosting into the cup. I had to refill my bag halfway through and still had a little filling leftover.
It was a super simple way to make cute treats!
At this point, if you're not going to eat all 24 at once, you're going to want to refrigerate these. All that heavy whipping cream could get real bad real fast, and I'm emphatically trying not to give you salmonella via my blogs. Luckily, a 9x13 cake pan with a lid makes the perfect container:
Ahem, with a little space leftover if you've already eaten a couple.
For photo and blogging purposes, I took some chocolate syrup and drizzled it (we'll say, generously) on a couple pie bites. And to literally top it all off, I gingerly placed three chocolate chips on top of each one. A star was born.
A beautiful, chocolatey star.
Remember how I went on and on about how densely chocolatey and rich the salted pie from last week was? Well these mini Boston Cream Pies are exactly the opposite in the best way possible. The pie filling is so light and airy, yet somehow still packed with an enticing, flavorful experience. The cookie cups have a nice crisp outer shell while remaining soft with that melt-on-your-tongue center. And the chocolate syrup and chocolate chips? You may say overkill, but I may say literally the perfect finishing touch. These have that sophisticated look that makes people think you spent hours in the kitchen crafting them, but you reap the benefits of a dessert ready in under 30 minutes. The only downside is I ate a few and couldn't stop talking in a Boston accent for about an hour. The letter R no longer formed in my mouth, so I think I've finally gotten to the bottom of why Bostonian's sound so delightfully wonderful: too much pie. Wicked smaht idea, Boston. 'Til next time, my fellow eatahs!
Who wants to bet me money I could fit all three of these in my mouth at once?

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