According to the news, it should be a little cooler when you are reading this. I sure hope so. I wish it would get cool enough to wear winter clothes. I go by the saying that the more of me I can cover up, the better it will be for all of us! Maybe it will happen soon … or I’m heading to Alaska.

I am pretty tired of this heat. It’s a damp heat, you know. Arizona is a dry heat. If you’ve read this column for very long, I think we have all agreed that damp or dry, hot is hot. It’s just a matter of whether you want your sweat to drip from your body or if you want your sweat to never have a chance to get your clothes sopping wet and your makeup winding up on your chest (or your knees). With dry heat, it evaporates the minute you even begin to think of sweating. That’s my theory, anyway.

But since I’m used to it, I’ll take the damp heat. That is until I win the lottery and can move around to the perfect place at the time. It’s kinda like “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

n n n

Pumpkin Dump Cake

INGREDIENTS

Cooking spray

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 (15.25-ounce) package spice cake mix (such as Duncan Hines)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Whipped cream

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan with cooking spray. Whisk together pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl; pour mixture into prepared pan.

Stir together cake mix, pecans and melted butter in a medium bowl, forming a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle mixture evenly on top of pumpkin mixture in pan. Bake in preheated oven until center of cake is set and golden, 40 to 42 minutes. Cool cake completely on a wire rack before serving, about two hours. Chill after cooled if desired. Cut cake into 12 squares. Serve with sweetened real whipping cream.

Thanks for the dump cake recipe, Becky. Anytime I see dump cake, I’m gonna print it. That’s the best kind. And this one uses my favorite cake mix ever … spice cake!

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To get ahead of the game for a change, I am printing a recipe for ghost cookies. Here is what our friends at Pillsbury have to say. Then when you finish reading that part, you’ll come to the recipe.

Prepare for a sweet scare when these adorable Halloween ghost cookies are all iced, decorated and ready to party. Super easy and kid-friendly to make, these butter cut-out cookies coated with royal icing are the perfect dessert for your Halloween spread.

Candy eyeballs add a playful, whimsical touch to these spooky treats, but you could also use black icing to draw eyes on your ghost cookies. Using a classic cut-out butter cookie keeps the edges of your ghost cookies shape neat and clean; no worries about the cookies expanding when they bake. Whip up a batch with the kids and let them go to town with the decorating for a fun Halloween kitchen activity.

Ghost Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Candy eyeballs

Directions

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar gradually, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl; beat into butter mixture gradually. Divide dough into four pieces, and flatten into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap; chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll each portion of dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with 3- or 4-inch ghost-shaped cookie cutters. Place on prepared baking sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned around edges. Let cool three minutes on baking sheets; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Once cookies have cooled on wire rack for 30 minutes, ice and decorate as desired, using candy eyeballs. Let icing set and serve immediately or keep in airtight container for up to two days.

Here is a quick and easy powdered sugar recipe you could use for the icing. Of course, you could even use a canned icing if you wanted to make this easier. But, this recipe is so easy you could probably have it made by the time you opened the canned icing.

Powdered Sugar Cookie Icing

Ingredients

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon milk or orange juice, or lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk or juice. Stir in additional milk or juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency. Makes 1/2 cup, enough to drizzle over one 10-inch tube cake or cookies.

If you have recipes or tips to share, or a request, send to Conversations with Gin, P.O. Box 334, Clute TX 77531 or email ginscolumn@hotmail.com.

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