Monday, September 26, 2011

Down in the Dumps

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.
Sheila Graham

I am feeling a bit down in the dumps.  My parents have left and begun their trek back home.  My sweet brother-in-law is moving away by the end of the month.  The Geek has gone out of town for business.  The chicklets are cranky (most likely because of all the change) and to top it off I have a bad cold.  At times like these I find the best medicine is either a nice bike ride or a good ol' dose of comfort food.  Since it is raining cats and dogs right now (which I am sure is contributing to my stellar attitude) ... I'm going to opt for comfort food.  I seem to also be suffering from a serious case of "pumpkin fever" at the moment, so this recipe looks like a perfect remedy for my "dumps".  Here's my slightly edited version of the recipe complete with my witty commentary.  Hope you like it. 
Pumpkin Dump Cake

Here's what you need:

1 15 oz can of Pumpkin Puree
Someday I may go all "Martha" and make my own pumpkin puree from scratch ... today, however, is so not that day.

1 10 oz can Evaporated Milk
I almost made the mistake of using condensed milk ... I can't help but wonder what this would have tasted like if I had.

1 cup light brown sugar
Can I just say I am a huge fan of brown sugar?  I am.  I often use it instead of white while cooking.  I know ... I'm such a rebel!

3 eggs
Farm fresh if you got 'em ... store bought if you don't.  My chickens are being a little stingy with the egg delivery right now so I had to resort to using store bought large ones.

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Like I said in a previous post, you can buy this or you can make it yourself using a recipe like this one I just discovered.

1 box of yellow cake mix
I used my favorite brand, but since they don't pay me to advertise I'll say just use whatever brand you want.

1 cup (you read that right ... 2 sticks)  of melted butter
This is comfort food, pure and simple.  By definition it must be sweet, gooey, buttery, an/or crunchy and most definitely not fat free.  Hey, I don't make the rules folks :)

1/2 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers
I'd go with the honey ones here ... but that's just my personal opinion.  Experiment if you want ... I dare ya ;)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
I had some walnuts so I used them and nobody complained.

1/2 cup toffee bits or white chocolate chips
The original recipe said that toffee chips were optional and I beg to disagree ... they are a must.  This is comfort food, remember?  Toffee chips are a two-fer ... sweet AND crunchy.   I threw the suggestion of white chocolate chips up there because they sounded good too, but to be honest  I didn't use them, but I would have if I'd had any in the house.  Maybe next time.

Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Or if you have a octogenarian oven like mine, set it to whatever you need to to make it 350 degrees.  My oven tends to be about 50 degrees off, but she's a sweet ol' gal so I cut her some slack.  One of these days I'll get around to posting a picture of her ... she's a 1930 (give or take a year or two) six-burner Magic Chef gas stove and a dream to cook with.
Next you'll want to spray a 9×13 baking pan with some cooking spray.  I didn't have any so I used some solid shortening and it worked just fine.  Don't go overboard, just give it a light coating of the stuff.  I just want to say here that I prefer to use glass pans when baking.  They just always seem to give me better results.  What about you?  Are you a glass or a non-stick gal (or guy)?

Once you have your pan prepared.  Grab a big ol' bowl  and throw in the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Make sure you stir it all up nice and good until it's all mixed together.

Now pour the pumpkin "stuff" into your pan and spread it all out real even. 

Sprinkle your entire box of cake mix on top, followed by your nuts, graham crackers and toffee (or white chocolate chips if you are going that route)
Pour your two sticks (just try not to think about it, okay?) melted butter all over the top of your masterpiece.

Pop the baby in the oven and bake it  for a good  45 to 50 minutes.  You'll know it's done when the center is set and edges are all lightly browned.  

Now I heavily suggest you cut yourself a slice while it's still warm.  Top it off with a big scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream (or whipped cream if that's your poison) and a sprinkle of cinnamon and sit back and...