Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Remembering Harold Ramis: Twinkies of Psychokinetic Energy & Ecto Cooler

When your dessert isn't pretty, you should at least help it out by cutting it with a knife... or shrinking it thanks to combining it with a picture of the greatest twinkie scientist ever.
When I was a kid, Egon Spengler was my hero. He was without a doubt the greatest Ghostbuster in all the land. Despite all the fancy PhDs around, everyone knew he was the brains behind the operation (and the awesome proton packs). To put it simply, he was everything my bespectacled young self wanted to be when I grew up (plus I was pretty sure there was at least an 80% chance I'd end up looking like him). As I got older, I realized it wasn't just Egon who I was a massive fan of, but the man behind the glasses, Harold Ramis. From Caddyshack to Stripes and Groundhog Day, the comedic genius excelled both in front of and behind the camera and shaped several generations' senses of humor.
Doe. Ray. Egon!
I may not have ended up looking exactly like Egon (thanks facial hair and changing glasses trends!), but I definitely still strive to be even half the fake scientist he was (maybe if I drilled a hole in my head...). My immediate reaction to seeing my Facebook feed flooded with Ghostbusters pictures was "Dear God, don't be Egon!", but after calming down, I knew I had to honor him the best way I knew how- with delicious foodstuffs.

Now presenting The Twinkie of Psychokinetic Energy & Refreshing Ecto Cooler!

Pretty much all science can be explained with twinkies if you're enough of a bad ass.

The Twinkie of Psychokinetic Energy
Adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker & All Recipes
Servings: About 8 oddly shaped twinkies
Time: 60 minutes
Pudding batter!

1 16 oz. box pound cake mix
4 egg whites
2/3 cup water
Half package instant vanilla pudding (about 2.5 oz)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1-3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 8 ox container cool whip, thawed
A healthy spoonful of marshmallow fluff
1 tbsp vanilla extract

I was so hopeful that the molds had worked out given how they looked before removal.
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment at high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  3. Combine the pound cake mix, water and instant vanilla pudding together at medium speed with the paddle attachment until just incorporated into a batter.
  4. Gently fold in the egg whites.
  5. If you're fancy, put your batter about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full into a cream canoe or mini loaf pan. If you're not, MacGyver some molds. Do this by folding a 12" square piece of aluminum foil twice and then rolling it around a spice bottle until you have somewhat of a twinkie shape. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and evenly distribute your batter. Pack the molds together in a large baking pan.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes are become golden and stand up to the tried and true toothpick test.
  7. While the cake is baking, make the filling by beating all the ingredients together in a stand mixer with the whisk until somewhat smooth (it doesn't need to be too pretty since it'll be hidden). Be sure to scrap often with a spatula because that marshmallow fluff isn't gonna make this easy.
  8. Carefully remove the cakes from their molds and let cool on wire racks.
  9. Once the cakes are completely cooled, create openings 3-4 in the bottoms of each (if yours are pretty enough to determine what the bottom is) by wiggling a toothpick around. Then add the filling using a piping bag with a large opening decorating tip (this is key, or it will not come out at all). Fill until almost, but not quite bursting.
  10. Enjoy the single tastiest twinkie you've ever had and be glad that your taste buds aren't superficial.
Once you determine which horribly mangled side is the bottom, fill away!
The twinkies definitely weren't pretty (splurge and get a fancy pan for them), but they were surprisingly the tastiest ones I had ever had. I'm normally not a huge fan of pound cake, but the added pudding mix really took the fantastically bouncy cake to another level. My only recommendation would be to make sure your twinkies are bursting with as much psychokinetic energy as possible because the marshmallow, cream cheese, whipped cream and sugar combo is perfect for making you wish any dessert was "35 feet long, weighing approximately 600 pounds".

Ecto Cooler
Adapted from Nerdist
Servings: 1 gallon of sugar juice
Time: 5 minutes

2 cups pulp-free orange juice
2 packets orange kool-aid
1 healthy spoonful Country Time powdered lemonade mix
1 3/4 cup sugar
Blue and green food coloring
Water to fill

Note: you can replace half of all orange with tangerine juice/powder

 I bought a fancy pitcher just for this. I'm so glad it could properly showcase the ecto cooler beauty...
  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a 1 gallon pitcher. 
  2. Fill to near the top with water.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Let sit in your fridge for over a week until even your freezer smells like delightful fruit candy.
If you can name what color it is, then you didn't do it right.
I never thought Ecto Cooler was the finest Hi-C flavor growing up, but, dammit, I drank a lot of it because Slimer was on the cover and we all know cartoons give the best nutritional advice. The concoction of indeterminate color was everything my sugar addled brain remembers from my youth. A strong orangey hit is just enough to make you forget that its basically pure sugar. I highly recommend turning this into mimosas for full circle enjoyment as an adult.

"This magnificent feast here represents the last of the petty cash."
Since my guests probably would've left if I only gave them sugar cakes with diabetes juice to wash it down, our massive feast was rounded out in to a full blown meal. Laura provided her guacamole that made me ask "Are you a God?", and Danielle put my deformed twinkies to shame with her delicious Pinterest-worthy Stay Puft Marshmallow men (and a bag of exploded ones to make me feel better). Maconda and Sacha supplied Chinese takeout (aka late night Ghostbuster fuel), and Megan brought baby shower cupcakes all the way from College Station to help give everything a slightly creepy paranormal feel.
Homemade goodness. Danielle's Stay Puft Marshmallow Men win prettiest honors, but Laura's guac (in honor of Slimer) always wins tastiest (until I hate myself for ingesting the entire tub).
A Ghostbusters meal wouldn't be complete without Chinese takeout. We also had a special guest appearance by baby (Oscar) shower cupcakes all the way from College Station compliments of Megan.
This definitely was a glorious Sunday afternoon worthy of the brilliant stranger who has somehow influenced me since I was three. One final time: Here's to the man who taught me that it was ok to be a nerd with a strange sense of humor and that twinkies were an essential scientific unit of measurement!

Even this painting isn't enough to pay proper tribute to Harold Ramis, but having something like this with my future family in it is a life goal.

And now, I leave you with the wisdom of the world's greatest slacker/smart-ass: Russell Ziskey. May we all have a teacher that dedicated in our lives.

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