During my sophomore year of college, I decided to change my major from Communications to Writing. I met with my adviser to discuss the change, and the conversation didn’t exactly go as planned. My adviser, while brilliant and kind, was also a little off beat and spoke with a very thick accent.
After telling him that I’d like to pursue a major in writing, he got a very concerned look on his face and said very gently,
“Ellen. I am worried. I am worried for you that you will never get married.”
Obviously, this prompted a very confused look from me. I was also worried about this, but not sure what it had to do with my major. He continued,
“Finding work as a writer is very hard. You will not make much money. I am worried that you will not have husband and then you will not be able to find job writing and you will have to be a cook.”
“I suggest you study English Education. Teacher is more practical career.”
At the time, I was appalled. I got back to my dorm room and called my mom crying and babbling about being single and broke for the rest of my life. It sounds bad, I know, but my adviser really did mean well. I’m fairly certain all he meant was that if I planned on supporting myself by being a writer, I should be aware that it would be very hard to make any money. Good point. However, the delivery obviously needed a little work. I ended up meeting with the head of the English department later that week who told me that if I had no desire to be a teacher than I really shouldn’t be one and that I should continue with my plans to switch my major to Writing. He didn’t make any promises about my matrimonial future, but I did feel a lot better after that meeting.
What’s even funnier (I think) is that I ended up taking a Creative Writing class from that same adviser a semester or so later and somehow or other our conversation about how I was never getting married came up in class (we talked about a lot of weird things in that class.) He had no recollection of course of telling me this and was dutifully horrified. He then told me that if any of his sons were not already married, he would be more than happy to have me marry any of them.
Well, it’s been a little over 10 years, and it turns out that he was partly right. I am not married, and I do have to support myself. However, I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it, and parents and children across the US can all rest easy that I am thankfully not a teacher.
I’m never going to write the next great American novel, and I might never get married. Neither of these means my world is ending. What I can do is continue with my awesome job, write about my ridiculous feelings, and bake delicious treats. Take that, college adviser.
Chocolate Cupcakes with a Graham Cracker Crust and RumChata Frosting:
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. white sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. special dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 c. whole milk (2% will also work)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. boiling water
Start with the crust:
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Mix graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 c. of the white sugar and melted butter in a medium sized bowl. Stir until combined.
Place 1 Tbsp of the graham cracker mixture in each muffin cup. Use the bottom of your 1/4 measuring cup to press down the crust in each cup. Reserve some of the crumbs to sprinkle on top of your cupcakes once finished.
Place 2 tsp of the chopped chocolate in each cup on top of the crust. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes until golden brown.
For the batter:
Mix remaining sugar (2 cups plus 2 Tbsp), flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of your electric mixture. Use your paddle attachment and mix the dry ingredients together on a very low speed.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add all at once to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and continue to beat on medium for 2 more minutes. Add the boiling water and stir it in. The batter will be pretty thin.
Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle each one with the rest of the chocolate. Bake 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely.
1 c. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. almond extract
4 Tbsp. RumChata
Cream butter at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Add Almond extract, salt, and 2 Tbsp of the RumChata. Mix on high for 3 minutes, adding some more sugar and RumChata depending on your tastes.
Frost cupcakes and top with remaining graham cracker crumbs.