Monday, February 6, 2017

An Exercise in Yumminess

Ahh the wonder that is Super Bowl Sunday, or as I lovingly refer to it, "America's Cheat Day." Between fistfuls of food smothered in cheese or chocolate, there's yelling at the TV like a crazy person over a game that literally has no impact on your day-to-day life (Hi, I'm a Vikings fan. I don't even know what this...Super?...Bowl? is). Since I limit myself to junk food very sparingly, I won't lie, I went very kid-in-a-candy-shop over what is most definitely the only day of the year I put away the food journal app and just live. You've never felt truly alive until you've inhaled half a bag of Doritos followed by immediately using more chips as a rudimentary plate to transfer a ten-layer dip into your pie hole. Perhaps this is because right after, you kind of want to die a little due to gastrointestinal distress coupled with shame. But c'est la vie! Those greasy football foods don't eat themselves! And naturally, I had to make sure I really, truly lived up to my stretchy pants' expectations and ate at least five pounds worth of food in one night--to include a massive amount of dessert. I tried my best to make dessert at least a little "light," but let's face it, even I didn't count calories with this recipe. Instead, I counted blessings that Target's jeggings allowed me to breathe after eating half a football. Let me explain...
It was clearly edible.
This cute, somewhat deflated (probably a Pat's fan) football is actually made of Reese's Pieces peanut butter dessert dip...while I will try to respect the fact that the Pat's won the game last night, remember, the keyword there was try. I mean, as divided as this country is on most issues, I think we can all agree it's hilarious watching Tom Brady go boneless to avoid a sack. That was more entertaining than most of the commercials. I mean, did companies everywhere just decide, collectively, that America has literally gone too dark for stupid Super Bowl commercials anymore? Have we lost the ability to laugh at Doritos? I was alarmed by the amount of adverts for freemium games, and I was saddened that only the Christopher Walken and the Melissa McCarthy ads were worthy of an actual laugh and not a disgruntled chuckle. You know, the kind of chuckle full of equal amounts disappointment and hope...the next one has to be funnier, right? Wrong. It wasn't. So it was a good thing I had a giant football made of peanut butter and chocolate to drown my sorrows in. Let's just say my football fandom has taught me a thing or two or thirty about dessert-based coping.
As an added bonus, you're gonna have leftover Reese's Pieces hanging around.
I realize the football season is over, but this dessert dip was just too damn good not to share. Besides, there are other sports (yes, America, it's true), so you could easily mold a hockey puck, a basketball, a baseball, tennis ball, etc. by using the right colored sprinkles. Or you could make life even easier on yourself and just make the dip in a bowl and be done with it all. And after last night's game and the first thirty-some-odd days of 2017, I feel like that's the appropriate level of "trying." So to make the dip, gather up:
  • 1 cup peanut butter of choice (gonna judge you though if it's not JIF. Get your life together!)
  • 1 8-ounce block of reduced fat cream cheese at room temp
  • 8 ounces of Free Cool Whip (this is the insanely good fat free version)
  • 1 cup of Reese's Pieces
  • 1 1/2 containers of Wilton's chocolate sprinkles
  • For eating: a spoon, preferably, or graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, Teddy Graham's, pretzels, etc.
To start, cream the peanut butter and cream cheese for a few minutes in a stand mixer. While this is taking place, take a few spoonfuls of Cool Whip and place into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip:
I used a #12.
If you don't have a piping bag or round tip, just place the Cool Whip into a plastic baggy and snip the corner. Put this into the fridge for later. Dump the remaining Cool Whip into the peanut butter and cream cheese mixture. Mix until incorporated, and then add in the cup of Reese's Pieces and mix slowly. Once everything is blended nicely, grab a cutting board or large tray/plate and line it with cling wrap...that is, if you're making this into a ball of some sort. If not, congratulations, you've made the world's easiest dessert. Dump into a bowl, chill for an hour in the freezer, and enjoy the fact that small miracles really do exist, and they always include chocolate. If you're making the football, however, you've got some legwork left...but if you're as vain as I am, presentation is key!!!
At this point, I may have tried a spoonful for myself.
 You want enough plastic wrap that you can easily plop the ball of dip into the middle and wrap it up.
Like so.
Once you've folded the plastic wrap over the dough, flatten it out with your hands, or if you're feeling particularly fiesty, a rolling pin. You want to make the layer about an inch thick.
I have a love/hate relationship with cling wrap. Nine times out of ten, it leaves me perturbed about it's overall inability to cling to what I want it to.
 But this was the one instance it worked in my favor. Once you've got the dip flattened out, take the edges of the cling wrap and spin them shut to the point where it will take your rectangle of dip and smoosh the edges into a point to form your football. I also used my hands to help shape the edges. Now, place the football into the freezer for an hour to harden up and keep its shape.
And prepare for chocolate sprinkle explosion in your kitchen.
 Once the dip has solidified enough to where it will retain shape but is still tacky to the touch, unwrap it all the way, but leave your plastic wrap under it! Take the chocolate sprinkles and dump them all over the top of the football. Use your hands to press the sprinkles into the dip.
And thank God for cling wrap for the first time in your life.
 To cover the sides, dump a bunch of sprinkles on the side of the football, and then lift the plastic wrap up the side of the football. Press the sprinkles into the side gently with your hands over the cling wrap, all the while using it as a guide.
Kinda looks like a major ant problem from this far away.
Now, remember that Cool Whip from a million years ago? Grab that out of the fridge. Use your piping bag or plastic bag to draw a line down the middle of the football and create vertical laces:
 Once you've covered your football in sprinkles and created laces, it's freezer time again. I would NOT skip this part because otherwise transferring it to a serving plate will be nearly impossible due to the dip not being frozen. I left my football in the freezer overnight because I'm the queen of prepping the day prior, but if you're in a pinch, I would think two-four hours would allow enough time to freeze to where you can handle it without issue. But again, think was the keyword there. I've been entertaining third graders all day at work by collecting creepy-crawlies and categorizing them, so my brain is about as mushy as a common garden slug. Mmm.
Back to a much more appetizing image.
Once the football is frozen, remove from the plastic wrap/cutting board and place on your serving tray. Since peanut butter is always a little greasy and/or buttery (totes appropes), I placed Parchment paper on my serving tray first. I then left it in the fridge for the entire day to soften up. If your football is totally frozen and you needed it sooner rather than later, your Hail Mary pass here would be to leave it on the counter at room temp. Things will soften up in an hour or two, much like Atlanta's defense...
Resist urge to make reference to this dip being a touchdown when it comes to flavor...
 Finish off by adding in your favorite spoon-like dessert devices to your tray, and you are ready to enjoy a dip that was more enchanting than Lady Gaga's Spiderman interpretation at half time. If you're even remotely interested in chocolate + peanut butter, you will love this dip. It's light and fluffy but still packs a wallop of  flavor. It was so delicious that unlike the actual footballs being thrown around, it was finished during regulation playing time. Much like Eli Manning to Tom Brady, this dessert was my weakened my ability to make sound choices about portion sizing and control. Seriously though, the moment Manning left that stadium after receiving his award was the moment Brady actually started playing football. Say what you will about his derp face, but old Eli's got his number. And while your team may or may not have won or even made it to the big game, I think we can all come to terms with the fact that the greatest cheat day of the year should include copious amounts of chocolate. So make a big bowl of this Reese's Pieces dessert dip to deal with the fact that we have to wait til September to (most likely) be utterly disappointed by our favorite teams again. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
The Vikings made me do it.

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