Snacks

Super Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

The Starving Artist is gonna keep this post real simple. Sometimes your day just blows up, and all you're thinking is, "Screw it, I need some f-ing cookies." So you prowl through the cabinets, scrape together whatever ingredients you have on hand, and end up with these Super Simple Peanut Butter Cookies. Sometimes life sucks, but these cookies don't.

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Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside, too. Life kinda sucks today, so we're setting a lot of things aside.
  3. Now, setting aside whatever is pissing you off, grab a large mixing bowl, and using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar for 1-2 minutes until well combined.
  4. Next, add in the peanut butter and continue mixing until well combined while contemplating a more peaceful state of mind, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, then mix in the egg and vanilla extract until fully combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Now that you're feeling a little better, place the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out a golf ball sized wad of dough from the bowl, roll into a ball, and coat in the granulated sugar. Place each ball of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to leave a little room between each one. Gently press down with a fork on the top of each cookie to make a small criss-cross pattern.
  6. Finally, bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5-10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  7. And Boom! You're in a better mood, and you also have cookies.

Double Chocolate Chipotle Cookies

One of the most surprising aspects of life as a starving artist is the near complete absence of female companionship. I mean, come on, the whole reason you get into the starving artist racket is to leverage your deep, brooding, artistic sensibilities to attract the ladies WITHOUT having to go to all the trouble of learning to play the guitar and sing, or God forbid, hold down a real job. The sweet kiss of a lovely, devoted lover was supposed to be the payoff for a life lived in near poverty committed to bringing life to the beauty and depth of the human condition. Hah! Someone sold me a bill of goods. The only sweetness in the starving artist's life these days comes from these Double Chocolate Chipotle Cookies. Just like that longed for lover, they're sweet at first blush, bring a little heat later on, but best of all, they don't hog the sheets.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 & 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Directions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Place the dark chocolate in a double boiler and heat until the chocolate is warm and smoothly melted. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. While your chocolate melts, in a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, 1 & 1/2 cups of white sugar, cocoa powder, and chipotle pepper until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture before adding the next, then beat in the vanilla extract and water.
  4. Next, mix the melted chocolate into the butter mixture, then gently stir in the flour mixture until incorporated. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips. Cover the bowl, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. When the dough has cooled enough to handle, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll the cookie dough into small balls, then roll the balls in the sugar to coat. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. I roll them up A bit smaller than a golf ball, and put them 6 at a time on a standard cookie sheet.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until cookies are set, 12 to 14 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheet for a minute or two before removing to racks to finish cooling. Keep on baking until your dough is gone, and you're desperate to taste the sweet, spicy taste of romance.

Messed Up Popcorn

In a previous life, my wife turned me on to the pleasures of lemon pepper popcorn. Super simple, and nice and spicy. We'd dial up the latest episode of Dexter, pop some corn, overdose it with lemon pepper, then spend the next hour scarfing down popcorn and wine while rooting for a serial killer. Kinda messed up, but fun. These days, lemon pepper no longer does it for me, my wife and Dexter are long gone, and I'm seeking a new level of messed up. I think I found it while watching AMC's new series Preacher, and chowing down on my latest popcorn concoction. Give it a try, then let me know what you think.

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

Directions

Pop your popcorn however you like. My preferred method is to pop it in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid. Heat the pan over medium-high heat and add 3-4 kernels. Once the test kernels pop, add the rest, reduce the heat to medium, and shake constantly until all the kernels pop (or until there are a few seconds between each pop). Just like Jiffy Pop!

Next, melt together the butter and coconut oil, then whisk in the soy sauce, garlic salt, and Sriracha.

Finally, pour the soy sauce butter mixture over the popcorn, toss to coat, then settle in for some amazing popcorn. Bring napkins. And wine.

Easy Homemade Corn Dogs

A couple interesting facts I learned at the children's museum last weekend: Lightning bugs are actually beetles, and I don't like children. Also, I'd forgotten how much I like corn dogs. Not the soggy, ketchup drenched, kid-friendly microwave version sold at the museum and scarfed down by my niece, but a good old-fashioned, perfectly fried corn dog, dipped in yellow mustard, and chased with a 24-ounce beer. State Fair style. After my disappointing child-drenched museum corn dog experience, I set my mind to cooking a proper one. It's not quite a Fletcher's State Fair of Texas corn dog, but it's a damn good imitation. And yes, I can say "damn". Children aren't allowed in the studio.

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 Ingredients

  • Vegetable or canola oil, for frying3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 8 hot dogs
  • Wooden skewers

Directions

  1. Fill a Dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet with oil (enough to fully submerge your corn dogs on their sides, about 3-4 inches), and heat it to 350 degrees.
  2. While the oil is heating, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bow, then whisk in the egg and buttermilk.
  3. Next, stick the wooden skewers into your hot dogs.
  4. Finally, once the oil is heated, pour the batter into a tall glass or jar, and dip each hot dog into the batter, covering it fully. Transfer immediately to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. When done, transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. Let cool slightly, then enjoy with yellow mustard. No ketchup!

No-Churn Espresso Ice Cream

As a single artist/blogger/trainwreck with no children, every day is Independence Day. Too much wine by 4:00 p.m.? No problem. Just blow off laundry and settle into a night of wine, cheese, and Netflix. Up too late working on a new print? Then sleep in. Who's gonna care? Only the dogs. Still don't wanna do laundry? Walmart sells a 4-pack of boxers for $9.95. Wanna bring ice cream to the 4th of July picnic? Then do it. No one expects practicality from an artist. But they do expect good taste, and this delicious No-Churn Espresso Ice Cream will not disappoint. But good luck keeping it cold for three hours at the park. Like I said, no one expects practicality from an artist.

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 teaspoons instant espresso, plus 2 & 1/2 teaspoons warm water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. If you're not ready to wear out your elbow and forearm, use a standup mixer instead of a hand whisk.
  2. Next, dissolve the instant coffee granules in warm water, and stir it into the heavy cream mixture along with the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract.
  3. Finally, pour the ice cream mixture into a Pyrex or metal loaf pan, and freeze for 5-6 hours to get a soft-serve consistency, or overnight for truly frozen ice cream.