I started my junior year of college this week.
Junior.... COLLEGE.... Um... WHAT?
It's bizarre, really, how fast we grow up. It feels like just yesterday I was running to the office in middle school because I ripped my shorts straight down the middle because I dropped it like it was [a little too] hot on the playground. (True story; I was a wild 5th grader.) I can vividly remember the first day of 8th grade at my high school, exactly what I ate and where I sat at lunch that day, how my mom picked me up and I immediately proclaimed how much I hated it. I remember the first day of senior year, thinking about how ready I was to graduate, but how equally scared I was to leave my comfort zone. Just as vividly, I remember walking blocks upon blocks from my dorm in the East Village with the most painful blisters on the backs of my ankles for the hot minute I was attending college in New York City. and now, here I am... only two years away from being done with school forever. (Don't you dare mention grad school, just no.)
The first day back at school after summer break has always been my least favorite day of the year. Almost routinely, my first days have always been marked by so much knowingly unnecessary, yet unavoidable anxiety. This time around was no different. I was awkward when I introduced myself, my voice started shaking whenever I had to tell my teachers that I went by Graham and not Anthony (my actual first name), and once I got home, I may or may not have chugged a watermelon martini and went to bed at 9pm out of pure exhaustion. But this year, I was actually, wait for it .... excited to go back. I guess I really am getting old.
To celebrate my second-to-last first day of school, I decided to whip up something special. Remember: it's scientifically* proven that sugar can calm your nerves on the first day of school.
* Disclaimer: Though Graham Blackall likes to believe he is a scientific authority, he is just a lowly boy with a sugar addiction.
Well, attempted to whip up something special. I don't know whether or not it's because of school, but I'm having an off week in the kitchen. In 24 hours, I have ruined three different recipes. I had this lovely idea of celebrating back-to-school with a peanut butter and jelly dessert. Cute, right? Well... my oven didn't agree. First, I made a peanut butter pavlova — the meringue fell. After that, I decided to make a big giant vanilla cake that I would going to cut into a giant pb&j — my eggs scrambled when I added them into the batter. Finally, I had the genius idea of making a concord grape cake (strange, I know) with peanut butter mascarpone frosting. I had spent hours perfecting the recipe and as I was taking the cakes out of their pans, every single one of them cracked in half. This is when I realized that PB&J just wasn't going to work out.
Luckily, I've had this recipe waiting, ready to be posted since last week. It's the most delicious white chocolate mascarpone tart in an Oreo crust. Aaand it's no-bake, so you have less chances to mess it up! To top it off, I made an Oreo whipped cream and covered the whole tart in cookie pieces and white chocolate shavings (not pictured). Absolutely amazing and pretty damn painless to make.
- 10 oz. Oreo cookies
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 tsp. salt
In a food processor or blender, process the whole Oreo cookies (including the cream) until they turn into fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to the melted better and the salt. Mix until they form a workable crust. Press the crust into your tart pan. Freeze the crust while making the filling.
White Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
- 8 oz. high-quality white chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream
- 8 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
In a large bowl over simmering water, melt the white chocolate until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Whip your cream until soft peaks form.
In another bowl, mix together the mascarpone and confectioner's sugar until combined. Add in the cooled white chocolate and combine. Fold in the whipped cream.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Refrigerate overnight to set. Serve with Oreo whipped cream, cookie pieces, and white chocolate shavings.
Oreo Whipped Cream
- 10 Oreo cookies
- 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
- sugar, to taste
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
In a small bowl, cover the oreo cookies with heavy cream. Let sit for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator to infuse the cream. Strain the infused cream into a bowl and whip with the sugar and vanilla extract until you reach your desired consistency. Use immediately or store in the fridge.