It’s not very often that I get motivated enough to cook or bake. In fact, I don’t think I’ve baked a real dessert in the entire time I’ve lived on my own. My stove collects dust and my oven sometimes opens it’s door to let out cries for attention like “Pleeeease slip a casserole in me,” “C’mon Jay, shove that oiled up pan inside me,” and the very cutting standby “bake some damn cookies you lazy bastard!” Since it’s Pumpkin-mania everywhere it’s too enticing to pass up some of the great desserts while browsing the grocery aisles. On a recent shopping excursion I picked up 2 of possibly the simplest pumpkin flavored desserts to make in history that will serve as a nice treat during the Halloween Countdown.
Betty Crocker’s always been known to help a brother out in the kitchen…and a sister. I really would invest more time into cooking, if I had it, but these powdery concoctions can be made in almost no time at all. By the time I get home from work, cooking is the last thing I want to do. Crap, why would I want to slave over a meal that I’m going to devour in 4 minutes when there’s important programming to enjoy on my DVR?
So, it’s not as rare as Halley’s Comet, but once in a while I do actually cook/bake. This time I decided to bake. Out of the two that I picked up, Betty Crocker’s Pumpkin Bars and Pumpkin Spice Cookies, I obviously opted for the easier to make of the two. Making the dough and then forming the actual cookies out of the dough would’ve been an extra step that I couldn’t be fooling around with. I had other important duties to tend this weekend like watching The Loved Ones and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Pumpkin Bars it is!
The directions recommend butter, or a spread that is 65% vegetable oil, so I opted for the slightly healthier option of Smart Balance instead. Melted that up, and threw it in a bowl with the powder mix. Here’s where the hard labor comes in: I mixed that shit up all by myself. My arm was getting sore that’s how serious I was when mixing it. The dough became like a big ball and then I formed it into the baking dish (or pan, whichever you are using). I used a dish since that’s all I had in the condo. Sprayed the dish with fat-free canola oil before throwing in the dough. After about 25 minutes in the oven, I took it out and it looked and smelled excellent.
I was surprised because I was sure it was going to come out looking like a ridiculous globby mess, but it looked really good. Directions said to let it cool completely, so I went back to my movie watching and came back to ice it. The directions also recommend using Betty Crocker Cream Cheese icing, but the store I was in didn’t carry that so I got Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing. The icing job wasn’t stellar, but originally I wasn’t even going to put icing on it so I’m cutting myself some slack.
On my first taste test with a glass of milk, the bars actually came out delicious. When my family jokes around about who really made them, I’ll be honest – Betty Crocker only did half the work. I churned that dough up like I was a friggin’ machine. And I slathered that icing on like I was my 8 year old nephew. These pumpkin bars won’t be sticking around very long, but luckily those cookies will last me through the majority of the Halloween Countdown!