Chicken Run

Mrs. Tweedy’s Chicken Pie

Growing up near several farms, I’ve often passed by the animals and wondered, “What do they do when we’re not watching? Are they organized?” Turns out they are. At least chickens are if you believe everything that was shown in Chicken Run. (You never know.) Out there right now could be strong willed chickens, like Ginger, who dream of freedom from oppressive farmers and are concocting wild prison escape plans. And maybe someone has started selling pie machines to farmers too. Yeah, right. I’ll believe chickens can build a flying machine, but the pie machine is too far-fetched. (Even though pie machines are very real.)

It would be so nice to have a contraption like that. There have got to be hundreds of ways to make a chicken pie, so it gets confusing sometimes, but this machine takes out all the guesswork. I just want a little one for the average home cook, not a giant “wipe out the whole farm in one fell swoop” kind. (That gives me the willies.) You know, the last thing I want to see is any chicken being made into a pie. Actually, seeing Ginger and Rocky fighting to escape the pie machine is my favorite part, so I do enjoy them being turned into a pie. But I don’t want to see them eaten! Then again I do love chicken pies. (See the moral dilemma?) Well, be it chicken or apple, I don’t own a pie machine, so if I want a pie any time soon, I better get off my butt and make one.

Recipe makes one 10-inch pie.

Ingredients

Crust:

3 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold and cut into chunks

2-3 tablespoons ice water, plus 1 or 2 more tablespoons if needed

1 egg, plus 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash (Optional)

 

Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound chicken, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup carrots, chopped

2 cups potatoes, chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped

4 cups chicken broth 

4 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons flour

¼ cup milk

Salt

Pepper

 

Directions

Crust:
In a food processor, pulse flour and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2-3 tablespoons of ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until dough just comes together when pressed. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse again. Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Let dough chill until firm, 30 minutes to an hour.

Filling:
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots and potatoes and cook until tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain the vegetables into a colander over a bowl to reserve the cooking liquid. Set both vegetables and broth aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for two minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until the chicken begins to brown. Remove the chicken and mushrooms and set aside. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the onion and garlic and set aside. Melt butter in the skillet. Add flour and whisk constantly until a thick, smooth paste has formed. The roux is fine to use after a couple minutes, but if you want a little bit darker gravy, you’ll need to let your roux brown for at least 10-20 minutes, slowly whisking constantly. Once the roux has reached your desired color, whisk in the milk. Then gradually whisk in the reserved cooking liquid. Cook until the gravy is smooth and thick, still whisking. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Remove from the heat. Combine the chicken and vegetables with the gravy and let sit while preparing the crust.

Putting It All Together:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Unwrap one dough disk and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough anywhere from 11 to 14 inches across and place in a pie tin. Gently press dough into place. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself.

Pour or spoon filling evenly into pie crust.

Unwrap the second dough disk and roll out similar to the first disk. Place the dough over the filling. Press both crusts together to seal. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself. Crimp edge for a more decorative look. Cut small vents into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg and milk together and brush the top of the pie. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. If the edges of the crust are browning too quickly, place a thin strip of foil over them.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Dig in!

chicken run (2)chicken run pie

Mrs. Tweedy never did get her chicken pie business up and running, but I imagine that her pies would taste a little something like this. Hey, maybe I should start selling my own! Wait, no, not a good idea. I’d probably just eat my profits. (If I don’t eat all my product first.) I’m beginning to think that nothing good comes from starting a chicken pie business. I’d end up like poor, stupid Mr. Tweedy. Or even worse, up to my shoulders in gravy.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Codename: Kids Next Door 2

Episode: Operation: C.A.K.E.D.
The Delightful Children’s Birthday Cake

Oh my good golly gosh! My baby blog, Cartoon Cravings, is a year old! Thank you so much for all the love and attention! It’s because of you that we’ve made it this far. It’s truly been a labor of love and quite the learning experience. I know I’ve made mistakes and this whole blogging thing isn’t perfect, but I can only see Cartoon Cravings getting bigger and better in the future.

In honor of Cartoon Cravings 1st Birthday, I’m going back to where it all started: Codename: Kids Next Door. You all remember Nurse Claiborne’s Apple Crumble, right? Well things are about to get scarier because I’m taking on the Delightful Children From Down the Lane and their birthday cake. Every year, the Kids Next Door tries to foil the Delightful Children’s birthday party of horror by stealing their cake. This year, it’s my turn. “Kids Next Door, Battle Stations!”

Recipe makes one double-layered, 3-tiered cake so you need to make at least 2 batches of everything

Ingredients

Coconut Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature, separated

3 cups cake flour, sifted

3 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract

 

Seven-Minute Frosting

1 ½ cups sugar

1/3 cup water

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract

 

1-2 cups shredded coconut (Optional)

 

Buttercream Icing

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

½ cup shortening

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon coconut extract

4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons coconut milk

Blue food coloring

Green food coloring

Red and yellow food coloring
OR
Red and yellow candy melts

 

Directions

Coconut Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 6-inch, an 8-inch, and a 10-inch cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add vanilla and coconut extracts and beat in egg yolks. Add flour mixture and coconut milk alternatingly, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir until just combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined.

Divide cake batter amongst pans. Gently tap or drop pans on the counter to remove air pockets. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the cake is tested. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and wrap completely in plastic wrap. This will help keep your cakes moist. Cool completely on baking racks.

Repeat.

Seven-Minute Frosting:

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or bottom of a double boiler. Combine sugar, water, egg whites, corn syrup, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl or top of the double boiler. Place the bowl over the boiling water. Be careful not to let the bowl touch the water or else the frosting may become grainy. Begin beating the mixture with an electric hand mixer on low speed for a minute. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy, 5-7 minutes. Remove the frosting from the heat and add the vanilla and coconut extracts. Beat again for 1 minute. 

Repeat.

Buttercream Icing:

In a stand mixer, beat butter and shortening until fluffy. Add vanilla and coconut extracts. Beat powdered sugar in, a little at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add coconut milk. If the icing is too thick, add more coconut milk, ½ teaspoon at a time.

Repeat.

Putting It All Together:

Unwrap cooled cakes. Trim excess cake from the layers so they are all level. Place one of the 10-inch cakes on a strong board or tray. Top the cake with a layer of the seven-minute frosting. Sprinkle some shredded coconut on top of the frosting or mix some in before spreading. Place the second layer on top and ice the entire cake with the seven-minute frosting. Chill until the icing sets. Place one of the 8-inch cakes on a cardboard cake circle. Repeat the filling, layering, and icing process and chill. Do the same thing for the 6-inch cakes.

The cake isn’t too big but it’s heavy, so I used a few dowels to keep everything in place. You don’t necessarily have to do it if it’s not going anywhere or it will be eaten quickly, but it’s better to be safe than saggy. Use a cardboard circle to measure where the middle tier will sit on the bottom one. Lightly trace the circle. Place a dowel (Fat drinking straws work well too.) In the measured area. Mark the height of the cake, remove the dowel, and cut 4-5 dowels to that size. Shove them into the cake along the circle pattern with one in the middle. Repeat the doweling process with the middle tier using 2-3 dowels. Place the middle tier on the bottom one, making sure it’s centered. Stack the top tier on the middle one and chill again. The seven-minute icing needs to be very set before you can decorate it.

Divide the buttercream and color. Scoop the blue icing into a piping bag with a star or other appropriate tip and dot along the top and bottom edges of each tier. Scoop some green icing in a piping bag with a petal or other appropriate tip and pipe small banner decorations along each tier. Each banner has yellow or red decorations, so I cut colored candy melts and pressed them into the banners. Piping small dots using yellow and red icing is fine too. Chill the cake one last time. Light some candles and serve! (Captive party guests are optional.)

Variations: My bottom tier is on the stubby side. I didn’t notice it until it was too late. It doesn’t help that I put it on a deep tray. That was stupid of me. Don’t do it. You’ve got options to increase the height on that bottom tier. You can bake up more cake and add an extra layer. You can even try to steal a little batter from the other layers. 
If you want different sized rounds or edges, just adjust the sizes of the cake pans to fit your needs.

KND CakeKND Bday Cake

Too bad the Kids Next Door didn’t get to taste their victory. But it beats being the Delightful Children. Laura (The Big Badolescent) isn’t afraid to let them know she hates coconut. They get to feel the agony of defeat twice as hard. As for me, I’d say my mission was a success. (No, my cake decorating skills still aren’t there yet, but I’ll get better eventually.) So pull up a chair and grab a slice of cake. We’re playing party games next!

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Tom Sawyer

Blueberry Pie

I was quite the lucky kid growing up because I had not one but two video stores in my town. And I’m not talking chain stores. These were good old mom and pop stores and I spent many hours of my life in them. Every Friday after school, I could be found pacing back and forth in the small aisles, trying to choose who to take home that weekend. (Yes, I said who.) My parents would always let us rent 3 or 4 videos because we would watch them on loop the entire time we had them. One of the tapes we rented the most was Tom Sawyer. My brother was the one who originally chose it, but we all fell for it “Hook, Line and Sinker.” I knew the bare-bones of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but I had never seen it presented this way. I was drawn in by the beautiful animation, the changing style, and the fantastic music. (The characters being anthropomorphic animals also didn’t hurt.)

Actually, we watched this version of Tom Sawyer so much; I refused to give any other ones the time of day. Even when I visited Hannibal, Missouri, this movie was the only thing I could think about. (I saw a copy in a gift shop and freaked out a little.) We just couldn’t get over this movie. Tom and Huck easily charmed me with their rebellious and adventurous spirits. I even began to envy them. It didn’t help when the boys were thrown a “Hero Party” and got to eat their own pies. Hey, we grew up in a small, country town, so some recognition and baked goods really meant a lot. Nowadays, I can make a blueberry pie whenever I want, but we always considered Tom Sawyer one of our ultimate summer movies, so there’s no better time like the present.

Recipe makes one 10-inch pie.

Ingredients

Crust:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold and cut into chunks

4 tablespoons ice water, plus 1 or 2 more tablespoons if needed

1 egg, plus 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash

 

Filling:

6 cups blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon (Optional)

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks

 

Directions

Crust:

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons of ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until dough just comes together when pressed. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse again. Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Let dough chill until firm, 30 minutes to an hour.

Filling:

In a large bowl, combine sugar, quick-cooking tapioca, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Gently fold in blueberries until fully coated in sugar mixture.

Putting It All Together:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Unwrap one dough disk and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough anywhere from 11 to 14 inches across and place in a pie tin. Gently press dough into place. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself.

Pour or spoon filling into pie crust. (I pushed some of the blueberries into two small mounds to try to get a similar shape to the pie Huck is eating.) Dot the blueberries with small chunks of butter.

Unwrap the second dough disk and roll out similar to the first disk. Place the dough over the blueberries. Press both crusts together to seal. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself. Crimp edge for a more decorative look. Cut small vents into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg and milk together and brush the top of the pie. Bake for 20 minutes. If the edges of the crust are browning too quickly, place a thin strip of foil over them.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling and have thickened. Cool pie on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve and enjoy!

TomSawyerPieTom Sawyer Pie (2)

Huck is a fox after my own heart. He’s covered in pie and isn’t going to stop eating any time soon. That’s pretty much me with desserts. And this blueberry pie is no different. But eating pie with my hands is as mischievous as I get, so I think I’m all right. No running off to Dead Man’s Cave for me. I’ve got all the treasure I need already. Right before my video store closed, I bought the Tom Sawyer that we used rent. You can pick up a VHS copy for 50 cents, but for me, this movie is priceless.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Baby Looney Tunes

Episode: Save Our Cinnamon
Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve always been a sucker for baby/kid versions of cartoon characters. I don’t know if it’s because I found them easier to relate to when I was a kid, or if it’s just that the little versions are too cute. Yeah, cute. I’m definitely going with cute. Baby Looney Tunes is no exception. They don’t act much like their adult selves that I know and love, but I like the idea of seeing the characters growing up together in a more modern environment and getting along (for the most part). And I loved watching and waiting to see which characters got the “babyfication” treatment. I mean, of course Bugs, Daffy, and Sylvester are adorable, but have you seen Baby Gossamer? (He’s so cute!) Every time I went to Six Flags, I begged my parents for all the Baby Looney Tunes plushies I could get my hands on because I couldn’t go any longer without that cuteness in my life. Cuddliness aside, Baby Looney Tunes is a sweet, little show, filled with lessons about using your imagination, and trying your best, and doing the right thing, and growing up. (You know, all of those cartoon standards.)

But you know what else is sweet? Cinnamon rolls. Baby Looney Tunes is full of cookies and cakes, but the king of sweets in this show is the cinnamon roll. Granny’s sister, Auntie, owns a bakery called Cakery Bakery Doc which has the most addicting cinnamon rolls. I’m pretty sure the Babies were more excited about eating cinnamon rolls than seeing Auntie. (Daffy was not a happy camper when she brought in a cake for them.) But when the bakery is on the verge of shutting down, the Babies have no problems getting their hands dirty making a giant cinnamon roll worthy of the Skinni’s Book of World Records. As much as I’d love to make a record-breaking, giant cinnamon roll of death, I’m going to play it safe and just bake up a bunch of yummy, regular-sized ones.

Recipe makes 16 cinnamon rolls.

Ingredients

Dough:

1 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees F)

2 ¼ teaspoons yeast

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 eggs, room temperature, beaten

2 egg yolks, room temperature, beaten

4 cups flour

 

Filling:

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Pinch of Salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly

 

Icing:

4 ounces (½ cup) cream cheese, room temperature

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Dough:

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar in the warm milk. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes, or until foamy. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the sugar, salt, butter, eggs, egg yolks, and 2 cups of flour. Add the yeast mixture. Mix in the rest of the flour until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball again and place in a large, clean bowl. Lightly coat dough with oil and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

In a small bowl, make the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into an 18 X 12-inch rectangle. Evenly brush the melted butter on the dough. Sprinkle the filling over the dough and spread to cover evenly. Pat down on the filling just a bit to encourage it to stick. Beginning with the long edge closet to you, use your fingers to tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Use a serrated knife to cut the cylinder into 16 rolls. Place the rolls on a couple of greased baking sheets and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the rolls, rotating the pans halfway through, for 30 minutes, or until the rolls are browned and cooked through.

Icing:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar and beat until the icing is smooth.

Putting It All Together:

Allow the rolls to cool slightly and generously spread icing on top. Now you can enjoy!

babylooneytunesBaby LT Cinn Roll

I love cinnamon rolls as much as the Baby Looney Tunes do, so I know these won’t last long. If it were possible, that sweet smell would have me floating all over the place like the Babies. But what I truly love about this episode (besides the excuse to make cinnamon rolls) is that a little bakery education is thrown in there. The Babies are truly making a cinnamon roll from kneading the dough, to spreading the filling, to rolling it, and baking it up. It takes some work, but cinnamon rolls (and saving bakeries) are definitely worth it.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

Jem

Episode: A Father Should Be…
Carrot Cake

“Me and my friends are Jem girls!” Actually, I don’t think most of my friends have any idea who Jem is. That is a crying shame. This show’s got it all: the clothes, and the hair, and the singing. I love it love it! And even though the show is chock full of drama, I don’t mind because all the situations are truly, truly, truly outrageous. I love Eric Raymond, but it’s impossible for me to take him seriously as a bad guy. And Jem and the Holograms are always being locked up or stranded somewhere. And everything that The Stingers do is completely over-the-top. (That’s why they’re my favorite!) Yeah, this show is definitely not about the typical rock stars. Well for one, there aren’t a whole lot of bands with a holographic projection computer meant to serve as an “ultimate audio-visual entertainment synthesizer,” like Synergy. And there aren’t a whole lot of rock stars who support a charitable organization to the extent that Jem and the Holograms do for the Starlight Foundation. Not only do they live with the girls, most of the money the band makes goes to support them. Yup, that means they are a big time rock band that isn’t rich. (When it comes to money.)

The Starlight Girls aren’t just there for show. They have their own problems to face and do play important roles in the series. Without them, there really wouldn’t be a Jem and she works hard for their sakes. When Ba Nee can’t handle being apart from her father any longer, Jerrica/Jem, the Holograms, Rio, and Riot and his dad’s connections all pitch in to find him. But before any leg work is done, Jerrica offers Ba Nee a great big piece of carrot cake to help cheer her up. When that doesn’t do the trick, she knows there’s a big problem. I’m fortunate enough to not know what Ba Nee’s going through, but I do act similar when I’m upset. If I’m offered something yummy like carrot cake and I turn it down, then it’s time for action.

Recipe makes 9 giant cake squares.

Ingredients

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups carrots, grated

3 cups flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a 9 X 9 baking dish.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil. Add the grated carrots in small amounts, alternating with the eggs, one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Bake for about 1 hour. Remove the dish from the oven and cool upside down on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the dish and allow it to cool completely. Cut and serve!

Jem Cake Ba NeeJem Carrot Cake

It could be that Ba Nee likes carrot cake because of its connection to her father’s red hair, but I’m sure nothing in Starlight Mansion tastes bad. They don’t eat anything fancy, but it’s all made with love. Jerrica would go above and beyond for any of her girls, but Ba Nee has been pretty special throughout the show. She gets to sing her own song twice! And she is the only one in the entire series who has the ability to make peace between Jem and the Holograms, The Misfits, and The Stingers.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

The Reluctant Dragon


Upside-Down Cake

When I was little, I loved so many cartoon characters so much that I truly believed they were real. I wanted them to be real and I shied away from anything that could prove otherwise. I find that really silly because the characters are real (They just exist a little differently than I do.) and I love them twice as much now that I know how much work was done to bring them to life. If I had seen The Reluctant Dragon when I was younger, then I would’ve come to realize that years ago. It’s fun and (Dare I say it.) educational watching Robert Benchley lead the viewers on a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and taking them through each part of the animation process from drawing, score and voice acting, foley, cameras, ink-and-paint, maquette-making, storyboarding, and ultimately animating. (Whew! That’s a lot.)

The cartoon that this movie all boils down to is The Reluctant Dragon. The Dragon would rather recite poetry than fight and is so peace loving, he has trouble breathing fire. (The Boy has to call him a Punk Poet to make him angry enough to do it.) He invites The Boy and Sir Giles, the Dragon Killer, to his picnic full of cakes and muffins and tea and jam sandwiches. Sir Giles, also being a lover of verse, is most interested in the Dragon’s poetic abilities and they recite poetry. My favorite poem in the short (And one of my favorite ever.) is “To an upside-down cake.” The entire thing is about how an upside down cake has problems because its top is on its bottom and its bottom is on its top. It’s truly beautiful. And “Radish so red” by Sir Giles is also lovely, but I’m more into cake.

Upside-down cakes can be just about any flavor, but I like pineapple the best. The Dragon doesn’t have any fruit on his cake, so it’s okay to just leave off the pineapple slices. I baked my cakes in 6-ounce ramekins, but jumbo muffin tins work too. (It’s just stickier getting the cakes out.)

Recipe makes 8 mini upside-down cakes.

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

3 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons pineapple juice (Optional)

8 pineapple slices (Optional)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide the butter amongst the ramekins, so each one has 1 tablespoon. Add two tablespoons of brown sugar to each one and mix. Place a pineapple slice in each ramekin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Then whisk in the sugar. Add the oil, milk, vanilla, and pineapple juice and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. Divide the batter amongst the ramekins and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of the cakes to loosen them. Invert each ramekin onto a plate. Once the little cakes are free, they’re ready to serve!

reluctantdragonReluctant Dragon Cake

A sweet, little upside-down cake may have cares and woes about its top and bottom being mixed up, but it should be more worried about me. You know, The Dragon and all the people get a happy ending, but I’m not so sure about that upside-down cake. Just like how I’m not so sure about Robert Benchley’s ending. He did get to meet Walt Disney, though. And I know that the animation process has changed a ton since The Reluctant Dragon, but it’s not any less magical getting an idea out of someone’s head and putting it on a large screen for the whole world to see.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

The Phantom Tollbooth


Punctuation Mark Cookies

The first time I watched The Phantom Tollbooth was when I was in 6th Grade. We just covered the book (Or was it just excerpts?) by Norton Juster and were being treated to the movie. I can’t really remember much about the readings or watching the movie. (We also covered Where the Red Fern Grows, so I suppressed a lot of memories from that time.) I do know that I enjoyed them, but I don’t think I truly appreciated them. When I caught the movie floating around on my television years later, I thought I’d give it another go. Within seconds of the opening credits, I freaked out. “What? This is a Chuck Jones film! Look at who’s in this! They’re legends! How did I not notice any of this before?” And then I finished the film and freaked out again. “It’s so cleverly done! It’s beautiful! I can’t get these songs out of my head!” I was very ashamed of my younger self for not caring as much back then, but I guess I was in the school lull like Milo. I also had to discover a love of learning. (I never did learn to love school, though.) If I treated words and numbers like they are in The Phantom Tollbooth, maybe my education would’ve been a tad more enjoyable.

If I lived in the Kingdom of Wisdom, you’d probably find me in Dictionopolis. I just can’t help but love all the letters and words for sale. It’s so overwhelming that I’d probably try to use upholstery, flabbergast, and quagmire in the same sentence too. And I laugh when Milo starts making a speech at King Azaz’s banquet and it’s served to him as food. “I didn’t know I was going to have to eat my words.” Priceless! Now I’m serving up letters and such too, but they’re not from Milo’s plate. When Milo and Tock are thrown into the dungeon, they meet a Which. (Get it? Which? And her brother is a Whether Man! I love it!) The poor Which was wrongfully thrown in the dungeon after Princesses Rhyme and Reason left the land. Lucky for her, she’s got all the comforts of home in her cell and can pass the time by making up cookies! She offers the tastiest looking tray of punctuation marks and representations of King Azaz and the Mathemagician to Milo and Tock. It’s fun enough just seeing that, but I bet it’s even more fun eating them. I hear the the question marks are delicious!

Recipe makes about 20 chocolate shortbread cookies, depending on the size.

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

 

Directions

Sift and combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, and mix until combined. Remove the dough from the stand mixer and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/4 an inch. Cut out shapes with any similar-looking cookie cutters or make stencils and cut out with a paring knife. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. For the cookies that have the details like extra marks and lines, now would be the time to carve those in. I also tried creating the details by making an extra tiny batch of dough using darker cocoa powder and pressing the darker dough onto the lighter one. Once you’ve used up all your dough, chill the cookies for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake cookies until crisp and firm, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Now would be the time to eat them!

Phan Tollbooth CookiesPhantom Tollbooth Cookies

No wonder Tock snuck another one! Who knew that education could be so delicious? And making a batch of these is far from boring. Milo needed an adventure through a magical tollbooth to cure his boredom blues. All I need are some cookies!

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!