I love the holiday season for many, many reasons. I’m sure you do, too.
Holding a very special place at the top of this list is the fact that, as soon as Thanksgiving ends, I get to cram my Santa elf-ear hat on my head, flip on the Christmas song station, and belt out the following line without the slightest trace of irony whatsoever:
“Your soul is an appalling dump heap, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots.”
Except “knots” sounds more like “naaaaAAAAAaaaahhhwtzzz,” and Thurl Ravenscroft sounds about a bajillion times better singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” than I do.
Seriously–if I had to choose one person to narrate my life, it would be him. Have you heard the man sing?
Perhaps on my less-fond holiday season list (if such a thing exists–which it really can’t) is the end-of-the-term rush to get things typed, stapled, and shipped off into the wild unknown of academia’s bureaucratic abysses. I was told that we won’t be getting our students’ evaluations back until as late as 8th week of next year.
It’s a wonder I’m not more of a Grinch myself.
On the contrary, however–I’ve been embracing this holiday season as if it were a friggin’ human-sized Pooh Bear.
Last night, my friends and I went to the candlelight procession at Disneyland. It was hosted by none other than Dick Van Dyke, sir Bert from Mary Poppins! Better yet, it was the grand man’s birthday: the best part of the night was when he stepped up to the podium at the front of town square, and suddenly a hum starting from the middle of this humongous crowd begins to grow. And suddenly, we’re all singing “Happy Birthday to Diiiiiick,” and, well–if that’s not a magical, holiday-filled moment, I really don’t know what is.
I’m still dead beat from this week–I realize that I haven’t whipped up anything in the kitchen that’s really excited me for quite some time. As I’m grading these final exams and counting down the minutes until I can hop on the plane homeward bound, I’m actually absorbing very little of what’s in front of me and thinking very much about whether it would be indecent to throw gingerbread cookies, cookie butter, and zesty orange cheesecake into the same baking pan together.
I have a feeling I can keep Santa from putting me on the naughty list if I just leave out a plate of these for him this year.
You’ve really got to try it–my friends absolutely melted when they tasted it, and if you have a particularly hungry Santa Claus (or other secular holiday spirit!) hanging around your house, you’ll definitely want to keep these easy peasy treats on hand.
Ho ho ho, and look forward to some really fun holiday swing posts again soon!
(I nabbed this delicious pumpkin pound cake recipe from the lovely blog I Wash, You Dry. Give it a try, too!)
Pumpkin Pound Cake Truffles w/Gingerbread Cookie Crumbs Pumpkin pound cake recipe–as written at I Wash You Dry For the pumpkin pound cake:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- Pull out the eggs, butter, and yogurt and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Grease and lightly flour an 8″x4″x2.5″ cake pan.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat for a minute on high speed. Gradually add the sugar and let it mix on medium-high speed for 10 minutes. You’ll have to scrap the sides of the bowl every once and a while. You’re looking for a very light and fluffy butter mixture.
- Once you’re butter is light and fluffy add the vanilla and beat for about 30 seconds.
- Add one egg at a time, beating for 1 minute between each egg.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice. Sift together to combine.
- Alternately add the flour mixture, Greek yogurt, and pumpkin puree to the bowl of the stand mixer. Remember to scrap the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure it’s being properly mixed.
- Blend until the mixture is smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake at 325 for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and let cool to room temperature. Once cake is completely cool, cover and let sit over night or enjoy right away.
- Slice into 1/2 inch pieces and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.
- To make truffles, cube cooled pumpkin pound cake and freeze for at least 1 hour, or until very firm.
To assemble truffles:
- 2 (12 oz.) bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Gingerbread cookies, crushed
- Melt 1 bag of chocolate at a time by placing in a microwave-safe bowl on HIGH for 30 seconds, then continuing to heat at 15-second intervals and stirring vigorously between each interval until chocolate chips are completely melted. Dip frozen pumpkin pound cake cubes in chocolate and quickly coat. Remove onto parchment paper and top with crushed gingerbread cookies or other holiday cookies of your choice. Allow chocolate to firm up before serving! (You can store these at room temperature in an air-tight container for at least a few days; keep them in the fridge for up to a week.)