Saturday, November 10, 2012

long hours and holy crap punkin bites.

 it's completely understandable to think that i fell off the face of the blog-earth.
it would make total sense to think i got caught up in something or someone else.
and its just logical to think that i just gave up on this whole thing all together.
but there is where you are wrong.
i'm too competitive to give up and i love cooking and writing about it too much to stop now.
the first two, however, could be perceived as accurate assumptions.
first of all, i did fall off the face of the blog-earth.
i got a job working at a restaurant as a server back in february. perfect little restaurant job a college girl might have after graduation. a couple weeks later, that restaurant closed. four weeks after that, that same 3,500 sq. ft. leased space in a strip mall opened up into something i came to know as "my restuarant."
not because i'm cocky or i think the world revolves around me, but because after the newly hired manager quit, i was asked to fill some big shoes. restaurant manager. i went to school for this, of course, but i never imagined it would come with as many challenges as i faced.
 (here's where my" second of all" comes in)
 i was working 75 hour weeks when the restuarant was only open for about 48. i was working myself to the bone, taking on more and more, and never asking for help. it absolutely became my life. on my one day off per week (sometimes not even that), i would go to my parents house and cry. i needed that day off mentally and personally, but work-wise, i could have put in another 8 hours that day. i have never truly understood the phrase "not enough hours in the day" until i was saying it like a prayer.
please God? just turn back these clocks a few hours for me?
pretty easy to see how and why i got burned out. so a few weeks ago, i quit. i put in my notice, stayed for a month, and after another tearful phone call, never went back.
i had some very encouraging people that got me through more than they will ever know and so i'd like to thank them.
mom, dad, nate, jeremy, julia, dani, calli and josh.
you will never truly know how much i appreciated you through that.
ok enough sappy crap. getting back to why you're really here. food.
i would like to tell you that i have found something sensational. 
 beautiful orbs of pumpkin majesty.
they're like a cross between a donut hole, pumpkin pie and cinnamon toast crunch.
so basically they're awesome. and so easy it's ridiculous.
so try them.
first, just put all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl. whisk by hand or mix on high speed with your whisk attachment if you have other things going.
then mix all the wet ingredients in a larger bowl.
mix all those together, add the dry on top...

...and fold together until it is just combined.
then take our your mini muffin pan and plop little blogs of thanksgiving-y smelling pumpkin goop into each little pocket, almost filling them.
note: to make them turn out more round, like real donut holes, smooth out the goop with your finger. that way, they will come out in perfect little balls, instead of looking like mini pumpkin muffins (their alter ego). it will also make your friends ask you how you make perfect little pumpkin balls.
tell them it's magic.
that's what i told my friends and they just raised their shoulders and said "i actually don't care how you made them, these are awesome."

as if you needed more reasons to love these, here's another.
you can probably make them right now.
if you are a somewhat normal person like me, and you have pumpkin in your cabinet, you most likely have everything else to make these.

if you didn't smooth them over before you put them in the oven, like i didn't the first time i did this, they're going to look like this:
not that that's a huge deal or anything, but it's easy and adds to its cute little punkin personality :)
to complete these babies, melt some butter in a shallow pan in the oven while your pumpkin gems are cooling off a little.

then mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

then roll!
first in the butter (you can also brush the butter on them, but since i don't have a pastry brush... cough cough christmas present cough... i just rolled them around slightly in the melted butter), then in the cinnamon sugar.
then look at your magical morsels of magnificence.
but looking can only do so much... 

so i held one up, took a bite and muttered two little words
"holy. crap."
then i said it again. and maybe one more time.
and then it was gone.

and as i took them to my friends' house, they all said it too.
and after, when i walked into the bar with them (yeah i do that), everyone who tasted them there said the same thing.
so i'm just gonna make a huge assumption here and say they might be kind of ok.
pssh. whatever. these are the best.
"Holy Crap" Pumpkin Bites
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅓ cup vegetable oil, or melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup pumpkin (fresh or canned)
½ cup low-fat milk
For Coating
1/2 stick butter, melted in oven or microwave
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350° and spray your mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices in one bowl and whisk till combined. In another bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients (oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk). Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just combined (do not overmix).
Using a cookie scoop (or a spoon), fill mini muffin tins until almost full. There should be plenty of batter to do this.
Bake for 11 - 14 minutes, depending on your oven. In the last few minutes, melt butter in the oven. In a small bowl combine your sugar and cinnamon.
Let the bites cool for a few minutes before brushing them with the melted butter and then plunging them into their cinnamon sugar bath.