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Nerd Night: Snickerdoodle Bars

It was a long week, last week, and even kind of a long weekend, as Monkey ended up at an Academic Team competition that we knew would be “all day” but hadn’t entirely grokked would be an 8:30 – 6:30 kind of all day. (That is a long day even if you enjoy extended nerdery. I mean.)

Honestly I doubt either child would’ve bothered getting dressed at all on Sunday if not for the siren call of Nerd Night, complete with zombie-fighting hijinks and—of course—sugar.

For my part, I wasn’t up for anything complicated. I wanted something I could bake in very short order on Sunday morning so that I could go about my day and get some other things done (say, all the things I didn’t get done during the week while I was dealing with fun little distractions like having food poisoning). So: it had to be simple, it had to be fast, and it had to be GOOD.

It had to be… a snickerdoodle bar cookie.

snickerdoodle-bar-plate
(If you don’t like snickerdoodles, you probably kick puppies for fun, right?) (more…)

Comments { 3 }

Nerd Night: White Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

Soooo… last week was sort of A Week. By Friday—no joke—I was falling asleep with my eyes open on the couch at about 8:30. (We’re all fine. Our school district is in the middle of an enormous clusterfuck and as I am stupidly “involved” and “part of the solution” [geez, whose stupid idea was THAT??], it’s just been… a really long week.) On the bright side, it was just the kick in the pants I needed to sit down with Chickadee this weekend and order her graduation invitations. We may have high-fived over the notion of her being nearly finished with this particular circus.

At the same time, Otto’s youngest brother Wild Thing was here to visit, and Sunday was BOTH Valentine’s Day AND Nerd Night. Clearly, no matter my exhaustion, a special dessert was needed. Something… luscious. Silky. Something RED. I checked the pantry; yes, one can of cherry pie filling remained. Cheesecake with cherries was clearly the answer.

Say, something like this:

white-choc-cherry-cheesecake (more…)

Comments { 12 }

Nerd Night: S’mores Cake

Y’all. I am so tired. I am so tired I’m saying “y’all,” which I’m pretty sure is a felony for a yankee like me regardless of how long I’ve lived in the south. This past week was absolutely nuts and wonderful, and I am looking forward to telling you all about it… probably tomorrow or Wednesday, once I’ve gotten my head back on straight. Being in The Vagina Monologues is always simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating, and I don’t know if you know this, but I am not quite as young as I used to be. (Weird!) Anyway. All of the highlights about that are coming, I promise (complete with a tale of surprise my family sprung on me that made me shriek like a little girl). Please be patient with me.

In the meantime, Nerd Night waits for nothing, not even our final Sunday matinee, so yesterday morning I raced around like a crazywoman making this cake for my favorite nerds:

smores-cake-full

I’m glad it started out so pretty, because it did not stay that way. (more…)

Comments { 4 }

Nerd Night: Berries and Cream Cheese Chocolate Cake

I’m still trying to decide if baking decadent things I cannot eat is a healthy sublimation of my sweet tooth or just a giant, masochistic flaw in my reasoning process. Best not to think about it too much, I suspect.

The smoothie cleanse I mentioned last week? I’m going to tell you more about it, today, but after I tell you about dessert. So if you’re just here for dessert and don’t give a rat’s ass about my weird diet things, check out the cake and then be on your way. Here I was, having just come off 10 days on kale smoothies and eating… mostly veggies, still, and it seemed like a great idea to make a decadent chocolate cake. With a berry filling. And a cream cheese filling. And chocolate fondant. Why not?

choc-berry-wedge

It turns out that it’s kind of hard to get a good picture of a dark chocolate cake with a dark berry filling, but this is, in fact, a 4-layer cake with one layer of gooey cream-cheese-y filling and two layers of mixed berry compote. I’m told it was delicious. (more…)

Comments { 9 }

Nerd Night: Identity Crisis Lemon Bars

Listen, I am a person who aspires to balance. I’m not saying I’m a person who ever ACHIEVES balance, mind you, but I do aspire to it. So when I make a completely over-the-top dessert like I did last week, I try to go for something a little simpler and less-sugar-shock-inducing for the following week.

I had an ulterior motive, too. Lemon bars are Otto’s favorite, and I realized while looking for a recipe that I’ve never actually made them before. (I am a terrible wife.) Whenever we eat out somewhere that has lemon bars on the menu, he gets one. Anyway. Often we send dessert off and an empty pan returns, so I planned from the start to make two pansful, on account of Otto ran a Big Event for work last week and I basically didn’t see him after Wednesday morning until Sunday night. He’d worked hard. He deserved a traditional, perfect lemon bar.

Unfortunately, he’s married to me, so what he got are THESE lemon bars. And they were good, the family tells me, but they were not entirely traditional. Still, no one complained.

lemon-bar-plate (more…)

Comments { 17 }

Nerd Night: Boston Cream Pie (and other things)

We had some scrambling to get Nerd Night rescheduled, this week, which prompted our friendly neighborhood Dungeon Master to share this with the group:

interesting-nerd-nightIt’s possible it made me laugh louder and longer than was strictly necessary, but I admit to nothing.

Now, normally my argument against rescheduling or canceling Nerd Night is that MONKEY WILL BE SO DISAPPOINTED, but when the subject of canceling last night or moving it to today came up, this time, like the doting mother I am, I was all YOU CANNOT CANCEL I AM ALREADY MAKING A COMPLICATED CAKE. See, Boston Cream Pie (motto: not actually pie!) is not hard to make, but it does require a bunch of steps, and because I am a planner, I had already made the custard when word came in that we might be canceling. Schedules were rearranged and they’re gaming today, thank goodness, because I do NOT need this in my house this week:

bos-cream-side (more…)

Comments { 20 }

Nerd Night: Blueberry Citrus Streusel Bars

For some reason, there are several cans of fruit pie filling in my pantry. I’m not sure why. It’s not the sort of thing I generally buy, and I have only the vaguest of memories of discussing having some for camping to go with this cast iron “hobo pie maker” thing that Otto owns and loves (even before I could no longer eat wheat, the idea of sticking some Wonder bread and pie filling into a campfire was not all that appealing to me, but whatever). Anyway, after a multi-week hiatus from Nerd Night, I opened the pantry yesterday and decided I need to use up some of that canned fruit. But a pie would be too obvious.

I found this recipe, which seemed like a decent start. Sweet berries, plus a creamy citrus layer and crunchy topping. Mmmm. It called for fresh blueberries rather than pie filling, so I modified the crust to make it heartier because I knew the canned stuff would be gloopier (technical baking term). I upped the oats, some, and subbed in some whole wheat flour, and I think it worked out.

blueberry-bar-close

They’re pretty, anyway. (more…)

Comments { 4 }

Nerd Night: Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt with Double Bourbon Glazes

I must confess: We didn’t actually have Nerd Night this week. School finished up on Friday and people were already scattering for winter break, so we’re on hiatus for a few weeks, which sent my youngest into something akin to the Nerdling DTs. (I got a serious of texts from him last week during AP Physics—good to know he’s paying such great attention during class—breathlessly informing me that the Pathfinder Society website indicated there was a game night at a restaurant downtown that night and he didn’t have any homework and could he please go even though it was a school night because really Pathfinder is his favorite and Nerd Night was suspended and if he didn’t go he wouldn’t get to game for WEEKS and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE could he?) (I said yes. He had a great time, even though after he told me with judgy eyebrows that most of his fellow gamers were, you know, DRINKING BEER. I reminded him that sometimes even nerds grow up to enjoy an adult beverage from time to time, and as long as they can still roll initiative without spilling anything, that’s okay.)

So this one is just a recent success from a few weeks ago, selected both for its holiday cheer and the fact that—let’s not forget—it’s a couple of fantastic adults who are opening their home to a pack of oddball teenagers every week, and they deserve everything wonderful. Sometimes that wonderfulness involves bourbon. Like the week I made this cake.

choc-gingerbread-bundt
(more…)

Comments { 6 }

Nerd Night: Honey Banana Cake with Nutella Glaze

Thanks for the recipe feedback—it’s a go, I’ll now be sharing whatever I send out the door on Sundays when my lovely nerdlings meet up with the rest of the Nerd Herd for a night of RPG shenanigans punctuated by a diabetic coma. Our friends provide dinner and the game leadership, I provide dessert, and my teenagers provide the incessant bickering. (Win/win/no comment.)

This weekend I baked for two days straight, seems like. I like to send buckets of cookies to the teachers before Winter Break, and that cannot be accomplished by baking Thursday night; I start the weekend before, prep and freeze doughs, etc. The LOGICAL thing would’ve been to send some of those cookies to Nerd Night. But because I am me, I spent two days baking cookies and then thought to myself, “Self, it’s Nerd Night. LET’S BAKE A CAKE.”

This cake:
round-banana-cake

Except I’m a liar, sort of. I made two, and this here pretty one is the one I kept (because it’s smaller). The one I sent to Nerd Night was… less pretty. (more…)

Comments { 6 }
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