Cooking in college is hard, if not impossible, if you live in the freshman dorms. Those of us lucky enough to have kitchens in the UV, off-campus or even those worn-out communal kitchens in Mahoney are definitely not going to have the kind of adult kitchen equipment – electric mixers, food processors, pastry bags, parchment paper and cookie cutters – that we may have had growing up and that recipes often require.
Super Bowl 52 is coming up Feb. 4 and, despite the fact that we don’t have the means to throw the kind of fancy neighborhood gatherings our parents hold to watch the game, we undergrad Canes still love to throw parties with plenty of beer and snacks.
Pinterest is going to have elaborate football-shaped cheese spreads and bundt cakes decorated in teams colors. We here at TMH understand that sometimes you have to make the best with what you have.
This isn’t another college dorm microwave recipe or strangely mushy rice cooker concoction. This is a real recipe that you can make, which will keep your snacks festive and impress your friends. It may only be impressive because of the effort and thought you put in, but it’s way better than being the fifth person to show up with chips and dip.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute if your roommates are going to want to eat all the raw dough before it’s baked)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Note: Try your best for accurate measurements. If you don’t have measuring cups, a normal 15 oz. can of soup/beans/tomato sauce is approximately 2 cups.
In a medium sized bowl – whatever you normally serve jungle juice or popcorn in – cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Ideally, use an electric mixer. Realistically, use a fork and a lot of muscle – today might as well be your arm day. Beat eggs into the butter and sugar mixture one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
In a smaller bowl, ideally sift together flour and salt. Realistically, measure the flour and salt into the bowl and give it a good toss with the fork you used earlier. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture – relax your muscles here; if you overwork the dough, the cookies will get tough.
Separate the dough into two halves. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and plop one of the halves onto it. Using the wrap, mold the dough into a vague disk shape and cover with the wrap. Repeat for the other half.
Pop the dough into the fridge and chill it for three hours. I know you don’t have three hours before your Super Bowl party, so settle for an hour. Chilling is important because otherwise you won’t be able to roll out the dough, and your counter will be a sticky mess.
During that hour, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, get out a pan from your hopelessly disorganized cabinet, do your makeup for the party or take a quick shower, watch “Black Mirror” and ponder reality. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to roll out your dough.
Flour the surface where you’ll roll the dough – a big cutting board works – or just throw the flour straight on the counter, but make sure to clean it first. Next, find a rolling pin. Anything can be a rolling pin – the soup can you used to measure ingredients, an empty pickle jar or one of those Swell bottles Toppel was extravagantly giving out at Canefest this year. Flour the rolling pin, too, so the dough doesn’t stick and roll it out so it’s about 1/4 inch #thicc.
Find a circular cookie cutter – the mouth of any jar, cup or can will work. Cut out a circle. With a butter knife, make a 90 degree cut out of one side. Cut a small straight piece out of the scrap piece that just came out of the circle. Put the straight piece across the open space on your circle to make a face mask bar for the helmet. Repeat until you’ve used all of your dough – re-roll the scraps, or just have them as a snack.
Transfer the helmets to the pan and bake for approximately 10 minutes until the edges are golden brown.
Munch on your delicious, probably misshapen cookies, and chew on the fact that this is what college is all about: trying, failing, learning, growing and doing the best with what you have (and rooting against the Patriots). Be proud of your Pac-Mans.
If you’re feeling extra festive, grab a can of store-bought frosting and some red, white and blue or eagle-green food dye, and mix up the frosting with your team’s colors. Paint the helmet, and show your pride.
I’ve been making these Super Bowl helmet cookies with my mom every year since I was a little kid. At home, her expansive collection of baking supplies makes these cookies perfectly shaped and adult-party-ready. My college version is a little lumpy and look vaguely like a Pac-Man sticking its tongue out. But keep this recipe on hand, and in a few years, with more supplies and practice, you’ll be ready to take on an adult Super Bowl party (and hopefully the Patriots won’t be playing again).