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Whiteout, Part II and Butterscotch Pudding

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Ever feel like you’re caught between a dream and the best version of bedrock reality, with one foot on solid ground and the other part of you–well, floating off in never-never land somewhere?

Butterscotch pudding, especially the homemade, still warm version, can make you feel like that. There’s something earthy and comfortable and reassuring about the mix of brown sugar and butter flavors, a sense of the substantial and solid. But then there’s the delicate smoothness of the pudding, and the slightly ethereal quality of the creamy and subtle blend of flavors–and suddenly all that bedrock earthiness evaporates in your mouth and on your tongue. Then you get to the bottom of the bowl and you almost doubt if you ate anything, yet somehow you feel warm and relaxed and cared for–on solid ground. That’s homemade butterscotch pudding for you.

In the second half of “Whiteout,” Zach and Becca find themselves in that tension between dream and reality. Both the blizzard and their intense love straddle the line between powerful reality and fleeting dream, and they’re never quite sure which it is, or what the duality means for their lives. But, like butterscotch pudding, they sure do enjoy the experience!

butterscotch pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

1 3/4 cup milk*

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

optional: 1/2 teaspoon scotch or whiskey

*Use dairy milk only. Soy, almond, or other milk varieties will not set up properly. You can also use a combination of milk and cream for a thicker, creamier pudding.

Add the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt to a medium saucepan. Add the milk to this mixture, and whisk ingredients together until the dry ingredients are dissolved.

Place the saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Stir this mixture constantly until it begins to simmer, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the saucepan as you stir. Allow the mixture to simmer for about a minute, stirring constantly, then remove the pudding from the heat. Once the pudding is off of the heat, add the vanilla, butter, and scotch or whiskey (if using). Stir ingredients together until the butter is melted.

Pour the pudding into two cups. Cover the cups with plastic wrap, laying the plastic wrap directly on the pudding if you don’t want the pudding to develop a skin. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until chilled.

water bath

{Expediting the cooling process with an ice bath}

If you want to speed up the chilling process, put the saucepan with the pudding into an ice bath (take a  large bowl and fill the bottom with cold water and ice and set the saucepan into the water, ensuring the water does not go into the saucepan). Stir the pudding while it is in the ice bath for about 5 minutes, or until it is cool enough to touch. Pour the pudding into cups and refrigerate for about an hour, or until the pudding is fully set. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

butterscotch pudding with topping

{Topped mine with a dollop of chilled hot fudge-delicious!}

{Adapted from Dessert for Two}

To download all of Whiteout (for free!) click on the cover.

To hear or view Part II, click on the links below the cover.

Enjoy!

Whiteout cover

Whiteout, Part II, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Whiteout, Part II, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Whiteout, Part I and Vanilla Cupcakes

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Ever been in a whiteout? Most people think of whiteouts as blizzard conditions so severe that you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you (and some of us were in exactly those conditions just this past January).

But there are other kinds of whiteouts–times in our lives when a feeling or event or experience totally overwhelms us and immerses us in that moment, unable to see beyond what’s in front of us. This post explores different kinds of whiteouts.

Whether the scrumptious cake of our vanilla cupcake or its delicate and delicious white frosting, whether the blizzard Zach and Becca wander into in the story or the transcendent love they discover while out there, there are plenty of rich and overwhelming experiences here. Take a minute (or an hour or longer) to immerse yourself in some or all of these “whiteouts.”

Put aside all your other cares and concerns, and be swallowed by these treats. You’ll be glad you did!

cupcake

Vanilla Cupcakes

1 egg white

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 Tablespoons milk

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place two cupcake liners in a muffin pan.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and granulated sugar. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and milk. Stir until ingredients are combined. Add the flour and baking powder, slowly stirring until the flour is just combined.

unbaked cupcakes

Divide the batter between the two muffin cups. Bake for 11-13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes before frosting. Makes two cupcakes.

cupcake1

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 teaspoons milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

3/4-1 cup powdered sugar

To make the frosting, add the butter, milk, vanilla, and salt to a bowl. Mix ingredients together with an electric mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Add as much powdered sugar as you want until you get the consistency and flavor that you desire. (I used about 3/4 cup.) Frost the cooled cupcakes. Cover any leftover frosting and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enough to frost 2-4 cupcakes.

cupcake2

{Cupcakes adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

And now for “Whiteout,” our new story:

To download the entire story (for free!) click on the cover.

To hear or view Part I, click on the links below the cover.

Enjoy!

Whiteout cover

Whiteout, Part I, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Whiteout, Part I, text © Jeffrey Anderson