Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Episode: Dale Beside Himself
Walnut Wallaroos

If I had enough know-how to be a detective, I’d start my own agency right away. I’m more of the fun-loving, laid back type, so I’d bring on my sister because she’s much more serious and responsible. I also think we’d need someone really smart to invent gadgets and vehicles to aid us in our crime solving. And to round everything out, we should have a loveable, well-traveled Australian with a little squeaky/buzzy “sidekick.” Wait a minute. I think I just described the Rescue Rangers! I guess it can’t be helped. The show’s been near and dear to me for as long as I can remember. Day after day, my Mom and I would get up early and watch some of The Disney Channel’s finest. I loved seeing those mischievous, little chipmunks don some snazzy outfits and take on hero roles. (Yeah, I didn’t get the Indiana Jones and Magnum P.I. references until many years later.) And Gadget, Monterey Jack, and Zipper are all forces to be reckoned with and were perfect additions to the Disney family. But the best thing about the Rescue Rangers is how they specialize in cases that have “slipped through the cracks.” And believe me, they take on more than simple missing kitty cases. (Can you say “mad scientist?”) Through their many adventures, whether on a case or not, they’ve crossed paths with the likes of crime bosses, pirates, and even aliens.

Monterey Jack’s previous experiences adventuring have been a big help to the Rescue Rangers in many of these cases. But they can also be a problem. I’m talking about the Walnut Wallaroos. Monterey Jack was taught this cookie recipe by The Great Eskimo Chief MightyMuckLuck when he was hitchhiking through the Southern Arctic in the middle of a snowstorm. (That’s quite a mouthful and I haven’t eaten gotten to actually making the cookies.) Now what’s wrong with Walnut Wallaroos? It’s not like Monterey Jack uses walrus nail clippings. The problem here is the sheer number of cookies made. Monterey Jack goes just a teensy bit overboard and bakes over 30 dozen! And the ones who have to pay the price are Gadget, Chip, and Zipper. (Gadget and Chip resort to hiding cookies when they get too full.) Monterey Jack doesn’t seem to mind though. He just dumps the entire pile into his mouth. Hey, they’re not cheese, but those cookies must be pretty good.

Recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

3 cups chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the milk and the dry ingredients alternatingly and mix until combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flatten the cookies slightly.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies begin to brown and are set, 10-12 minutes.

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and allow the cookies to cool slightly before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dig in!

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With all of this Walnut Wallaroo business, Monterey Jack, Gadget, and Chip don’t realize that an alien has switched places with Dale. They notice “Dale” acting weird, but they would never suspect that the real one was flying through outer space. I can’t blame them. I’m not sure if I could tell if there was an alien in my house. And my senses would be severely dulled by all those Walnut Wallaroo Cookies. I don’t know if my household could eat through over 30 dozen cookies, but we’d give it our all. Hey, we can’t let food go to waste. I guess I’m a touch like DTZ as well. Cookies are basically my erkburgles and I could never be happy living anywhere without them.

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

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Witch’s Night Out

Garlic Taffy Apples

Just when I think I’ve watched every animated Halloween episode or special in existence, one more pops up out of nowhere. I’m actually quite happy about that because there really aren’t enough Halloween cartoons out there. The last special to catch my eye is Witch’s Night Out. It originally aired before my time, but I read that it used to be played on The Disney Channel back in the 80’s and 90’s. Let me tell you something. I was practically raised on that channel and I don’t remember seeing it even once. I wish I had watched it years ago because now I feel like I’m late to the Halloween Party. Well, better late than never.

The Witch is kind of in the same boat, even though the big Halloween party takes place in HER mansion. Hey, Goodly didn’t know anyone lived there. He was wary of the place anyway because he feared it was haunted. If he knew about the Witch, he’d never go anywhere near there. As for myself, I’d never throw a party anywhere without the witch. Hands down, the Witch (The Godmother) is my favorite character. She’s so dramatic and the faces and movements she makes are just priceless. If she wants to come to my house to grant me a Halloween wish, my window’s open. (I really don’t want her crashing through it and getting glass everywhere.) Anyway, back to the party. The adults want to make Halloween a meaningful experience, which I stand behind 100%. Kids have it pretty sweet being able to go trick-or-treating, but adults don’t have anything unless they plan it themselves. (It’s an insult to Halloween to say it’s just for children.) So Goodly and the others come up with the idea of having a big party, complete with a ton of guests and food. But maybe he shouldn’t have assigned food duty to Malicious. I can’t deny that she’s got some serious cooking skills. It’s just that her tastes are a bit funky, so she makes the most interesting party hors d’oeuvres. Sardine meringues, pepperoni peppermints, peanut butter corned beef balls, and chocolate gefilte fish all sound absolutely delicious, but nothing gets me more into the Halloween spirit than garlic taffy apples.

Recipe makes 6 taffy apples.

Ingredients

6 large apples

6 sturdy skewers, chopsticks, or craft sticks

Caramel:

2 cups sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

½ cup water

1 cup heavy cream, room temperature

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature- cut into chunks

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder

Red food coloring

 

Directions

Thoroughly wash apples and dry completely. Insert the skewers down to the apple cores through the stem ends. Set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Place over high heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 230 degrees F. Reduce heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the syrup mixture is golden. When the syrup reaches close to 300 degrees F, gently stir. Continue to cook until the syrup turns dark amber and closes in on 350 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir, and let sit for a couple minutes. Gradually stir in heavy cream, butter, salt, garlic powder, and food coloring. The mixture will bubble, so be careful. Return the saucepan to the stove over low heat and stir until the butter is completely melted and the caramel is smooth. Remove from the heat and allow the caramel to cool to 200 degrees F.

Dip the apples, one at a time, into the caramel and swirl around so the apple is completely coated. Allow the excess caramel to drip back into the saucepan and move the apples to the baking sheet. The caramel will drip down the apple and form “feet.” If the caramel begins to stiffen before you’ve finished dipping apples, return the saucepan to the stove over low heat and warm until smooth again. Chill the apples until the caramel has fully set, 30-60 minutes. Now they’re ready to eat!

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I just couldn’t resist trying garlic taffy apples, and since I’m a garlic lover, I’m actually really into these. They could easily have been a hit at the party. But no matter how well the party was going before the Witch and her monsters (Small, Tender, and Bazooey.) crashed it, it would never’ve become a true Halloween party without them. Not a single guest was in costume. (They think that dressing up is silly and immature, but it’s okay to form an angry mob and chase down monsters.) The Witch was kind enough to point out that every day we go about our lives the same old way, but Halloween is the one day a year we can pretend to be whoever or whatever we want. That may have been an eye opener for the townsfolk, but that’s old news to me. And with witch’s magic on your side, you don’t even have to pretend. I don’t have that luxury, so instead of just “poofing” into whatever I want to be for the night, I’m stuck wrestling with a wig and a dress.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

 

Darkwing Duck

Episode: Can’t Bayou Love
Launchpad’s Hand Grenade Brownies

“I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the scourge that pecks at your nightmares. I am Darkwing Duck!” Okay, I’m obviously not Darkwing Duck. (The scourge that pecks at your nightmares? How does he come up with this stuff?) But I can dream, can’t I? Just look at Launchpad. One day he’s the number one fan of St. Canard’s Caped Crusader, and then BAM! He becomes Darkwing’s sidekick and even gets to take on the role of hero himself.

Rightly so, because I can’t think of a better partner than Launchpad. He does a lot of silly things, but he means well. Not only is he a great pilot, (He’s gotten better about his crash landings.) but he makes a mean batch of brownies. And by “mean,” I’m saying these brownies will give you a nice kick in the taste buds. As far as Darkwing is concerned, these delicious devils pack enough heat to be used in place of hand grenades. Even Jambalaya Jake is wary of them. No one’s gotten anywhere by playing it safe, so let’s get dangerous!

Recipe makes 25 brownies.

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or broken into chunks

4 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups flour

¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¼-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (How much heat can you handle?)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and line a 10 X 15-inch baking dish or lipped baking sheet with parchment paper

Melt together butter and chocolate either in a double boiler/bowl over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. On low speed, mix in the sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when the brownie is tested. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out brownie and allow to cool completely. Cut into about 25 pieces. Eat away!

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I can tell you that these brownies taste good, but I haven’t been able to test how they work as weapons. Every time I go to throw one, I end up eating it instead. I love these brownies as much as Launchpad and Gumbo do! And no, they don’t smell worse than beaver innards. Just take my word for it. The next time you’re out on an all-night crime-fighting spree, don’t forget to add some of these babies to your arsenal.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

 

Mickey’s Birthday Party

Birthday Cake

 I have no idea how I did it, but when I was a kid, I hardly ever slept. I couldn’t afford to. There was too much TV to watch. As time slowly crept to the wee hours of each morning and everyone else was asleep, I could be found in my living room huddled next to my television set. Some of my favorite things to watch on late-night TV were classic cartoon shorts. It didn’t matter who made them, how old they were, or if they were black and white or colored. I was captivated by them. That hasn’t changed. Yeah, I could’ve just waited a few hours and watched cartoons at a more “reasonable” time, but that’s not me. Watching cartoons alone in the dark really gave me a sense of companionship with the characters on my screen. I really felt like I was best friends with Mickey Mouse and the gang. We would go to the beach or try to catch ghosts. I was even invited to Mickey’s birthday party.

This is one of my absolute favorite Mickey Mouse cartoons, but not because of the birthday boy. Goofy and his cake escapades completely stole the show. That poor guy! I’ve had days just like his. You bake and bake, but nothing ever comes out right. When you’re finally happy with it or you just break down and buy a cake, you happen to trip and it collides with your friend. Thankfully, that didn’t happen with my cake. I’m not too great at decorating cakes, so it’s not the prettiest, but I felt like being a little ambitious in honor of my very own birthday.

 

Ingredients

 Cake:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 ¾ cups cake flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup milk, room temperature

 Marshmallow Fondant

 8 ounces of marshmallows

2 tablespoons water

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar, sifted

Pink food coloring

Buttercream Icing

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

½ cup shortening

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

4 cups (1 pound) powdered sugar, sifted

Red food coloring

 

Directions

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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

Cake:

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, combine milk and vanilla. In a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternatingly, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Divide batter amongst pans. Gently tap or drop pans on the counter to remove air pockets. Bake for 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.

Marshmallow Fondant:

Melt marshmallows in a large bowl in a microwave for 1 minute, stirring at the 30 second mark. Stir water and vanilla extract into marshmallows. Stir in powdered sugar a cup at a time until sticky dough is formed. Dust counter with remaining powdered sugar and turn out dough. You may want to rub your hands with shortening or butter to keep them from sticking to the dough. Knead dough until smooth, workable, and no longer sticky. This can take up to 10 minutes. Then it’s ready to use. You can also make this the night before. Just wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill. Allow it to warm up to room temperature before trying to work the dough.

Buttercream Icing:

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

Putting It All Together:

Unwrap cooled cakes. Cut cakes to size and even out, if needed. Cover the cakes with enough icing to hold in the crumbs and allow the fondant to stick. Roll fondant out as thin as you can without tearing it. Cover bottom cake tier with fondant and smooth out sides so there are no creases. Remove excess fondant. Smooth out edges with hands or tools. Repeat with the other cakes and stack.

Knead a small amount of pink food coloring into some remaining fondant. Shape small pieces of pink fondant into flowers or roll and cut out with a small flower cookie cutter. Scoop some icing into a piping bag with a large tip and pipe icing onto the sides of each tier and the top of the cake. Place fondant flowers on the cake. Add some red food coloring to a small bit of remaining icing and scoop red icing into piping bag with a thin tip. Pipe out “Happy Birthday” onto the side of the cake. Light some candles and get ready to sing!

Variations: You can always use different sized cake pans if you want larger edges or a larger cake in general. The cake I made is very light in color, so if you want a more brown cake, add a little brown food coloring to the batter when you’re alternating the wet and dry ingredients. If you want to completely change it up, make whatever kind of cake you like best. You can also use pre-made fondant or icing if you’re pressed for time or just don’t feel like making any. Icing can also be made without the butter. Just double the shortening for even whiter icing. That’s the way my mom does it.

You can just use buttercream if you don’t care for fondant. After you initially ice the cakes, chill for at least 10 minutes. Dollop more icing on and spread until even and smooth. Chill the cakes again before you stack them and add the details.

Since I was making this cake for just myself, I did single layer tiers, but typical tiered cakes have multiple layers. (And are much bigger and more work.) Just double everything, spread icing between cake layers, stack, cover the tier with icing, and move on to the next one.

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The cake’s not as big as Mickey’s, but it suits this birthday girl just fine. At least I’m not covered in it. Although I wouldn’t be too terribly upset. It’s still cake and it’s delicious even if it’s ugly or smashed. Hey, Mickey didn’t seem that heartbroken when he accidentally got his cake all to himself, now did he?

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!