Today I’m taking a break from the seven deadly sins theme and turning to something more whimsical and less hostile than Hell’s fiery embrace: Peter Pan syndrome.
Peter Pan syndrome is a pop-psychology diagnostic term derived from the Latin phrase, puer aeternus, or “eternal boy.” By definition, this psychological condition exists among adult men and women whose emotional intelligence has remained on par with that of an adolescent. For examples, see the current generation of 20-somethings; like no generation before us, we have inexplicably managed to Stretch Armstrong our way from youth to adulthood without actually having to grow up.
While the numbers of stay-at-home dads slowly rise, so too do the numbers of stay-at-home college grads.
Call of Duty and Halo tag along beside their original target audience, aiming to suspend time while strengthening thumb muscles.
The non-stop party life spills out on either side of the weekend, cultivating a “lather, rinse, repeat” philosophy drenched in drunken “oopsies” moments and Hangover reenactments. Work is just that thing you do during the daytime, sandwiched between foggy-memory mornings and happy hour festivities– oh, and it’s probably not that job you always dreamt you’d have by twenty-five.
Maybe you’re still in school, acquiring three Masters degrees and a PhD, you little smartypants– whatever it takes to keep the so-called real world from knocking at the door to your parent’s basement, right? You may eventually cease to speak English, instead falling back on your impressive mental filing cabinet of jargon du jour– possibly even cooler than your childhood mastery of Klingon.
Dodging life’s natural progression into true adulthood comes in many forms, but we (collectively, the slightly ambiguous Generation Y) all seem to do it, and in spite of my every effort to be poised and mature, I do it too…
Confessions of an Easy Bake Oven Graduate: 9 out of 10 times, I choose the cupcake with the most sprinkles on it, not the gourmet cupcake from boutique bakeries like Sprinkles. Putting on my frilly, overly-feminine apron and getting into Betty Homemaker mode is just as fun as playing dress-up. Unless it’s a super-sweet riesling, I make a funny face whenever I try to choke down a glass (or a sip) of wine. Sometimes I wonder if big cities like Chicago are really just smoggier versions of Never Never Land, and the suburbs are where you migrate to once daylight breaks and you turn in your Pretty Pretty Princess Crown. And most importantly, my most favorite thing in the whole world is my (slightly oversized) pony. Sometimes I secretly wish I could keep him in my 16th floor apartment and feed his tubby little self cupcakes all day.
We’ve got a lot of growing up to do (myself included, and some more than others), but there’s something to be said for hanging on to a tiny piece of Peter Pan syndrome lifelong.
Weed out the destructive tendencies, find a fulfilling job, and never grow too old to find the joys in the simple, silly things.
These b-e-a-utiful purple cuppies are the food version of what we should all strive for: sophisticated yet playful. Get on it.
Almond Lavender Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting
For the cupcakes (makes 14-18):
(adapted from TFATO)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 Tablespoon dried lavender flowers
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 Tablespoons whole milk
Just a dash of salt
…blue and pink food coloring for lavender hue (optional)
For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (NOT melted)
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream (or more for desired consistency)
Dried lavender flowers to top
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with paper liners
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, and dried lavender until light and fluffy
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between each
4. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and extract and mix until just combined (don’t overmix!)
5. Add milk and vegetable oil and mix until just combined
6. Spoon batter into cupcake liners and fill each 2/3 full
7. Bake for 16-18 minutes until slightly golden, then allow to cool on a wire rack.
— frosting —
1. Beat butter on medium speed in an electric mixer for about one minute
2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating well between each
3. Add brown sugar and beat
4. Add vanilla and almond extracts and beat
5. Add 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream and beat. Continue adding more, one Tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached (be VERY careful it doesn’t get too liquid-y!)
6. Spoon frosting into a piping bag (or piping gun, if you’re feeling feisty) and pipe onto cooled cupcakes
7. Sprinkle dried lavender flowers on top!
8. Place in large airtight container (make sure it’s deep enough so the frosting isn’t ruined) and refrigerate to allow frosting to harden.