Mostly Blowing Things Up
Sometimes I look at the bookshelf and wonder when Scott got into things like Elemental Differential Equations and Boundary Value Problems. I would ask, but he might tell me what differential equations and boundary problems are, and then the little mouse that is on the wheel in my tiny left brain might hyperventilate and die. So I was happy to learn that Scott started thinking about these issues during the winter of 1986, at the latest. He would have been 8 years old.
I know this because Scott’s mom sent us a few of his childhood things last week, including an essay he wrote in the fourth grade. The prompt for the essay was “describe your perfect war person.”
We must leave aside, for a moment, the bewildering revelation that in 1986 our great nation asked the fourth grade to design a new war machine. It was the Cold War. We’re just going to let that one go.
I am posting Scott’s essay below because it never got the praise it deserves. It is downright a propos today, which suggests he was ahead of his time. And if you want to know more about how it is literally possible to be ahead of your time, we appear to have a book called Gravitation and Space Time that I could lend you.
(Click on these if you have trouble reading them.)
When you turn the page, it says this:
He kind of got a check plus, but it’s not clear because the plus and the check are so far apart. And despite having infrared eyes, maximum running and jet pack speeds, and specific slimeball, creep and scum-sucker opponents, Rattlesnake was found lacking in detail.
Modern-day Scott looked distressed when he saw this. After a while, I asked him whether he wanted to expand on any of his good ideas. I asked him what Rattlesnake would eat, for example, if he ate food.
“Thorium-fission energon batteries,” Scott said.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us that I don’t know how to make those. So I made Rattlesnake’s second favorite food, which is pumpkin cupcakes. I made lots of them because if Rattlesnake goes hypoglycemic on us, our democracy is totally screwed.
These mini-cupcakes are adapted from this Bon Appetit recipe. We decorated them all Halloween-like for our friend Angie’s amazing Halloween party (where I ate delicious spinach-sausage-cheese dip, and club crackers wrapped in parmesean and bacon. I know– who cares about the cupcakes anymore, right?) But if you change the sprinkle colors up, these cupcakes will be good party tokens through the winter holidays.
I didn’t change much in the Bon Appetit recipe except to work around some of the things you might not have on hand, like self-rising flour and pumpkin pie spice mix. And I decreased the sugar in the icing, because cream cheese frosting is better when you can taste the cream cheese through all that powdered sugar. These cupcakes would also be awesome with the amaretto frosting here.
Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients for cupcakes:
1 c. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp.+ 1 pinch salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. canned pure pumpkin (unsweetened– not prepared pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Ingredients for cream cheese frosting:
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine the 1 c. flour, 2/3 c. packed brown sugar, the 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder, the 1/4 tsp.+ 1 pinch salt, and the spices (the 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. allspice, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. ground ginger).
In another bowl, whisk together the 1 egg, 1/3 c. oil, 1/3 c. sour cream, 1/2 c. pumpkin and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Pour into mini muffin pans lined with cupcake liners.
Bake 15-16 minutes, or until a toothpick jabbed into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Remove cupcakes from the tin and let cool on a rack (they don’t take long to cool since they are so small–maybe 20 minutes.)
To prepare frosting, beat the 1 package cream cheese and the 1 stick butter in an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the 1 tsp. vanilla and the 1 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar. If are going to color the frosting, add the food coloring now.
Frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles or otherwise. (Note: I chilled the frosting for an hour or so before spreading it, per Bon Appetit, but found it much easier to work with after it came to room temperature again. So I might not chill the frosting before applying to the cooled cupcakes next time.)