UPDATE: This post is written by Alec Harvey for Alabama NewsCenter. Learn more at: http://alabamanewscenter.com
Rosanna Pansino has just gotten on her book tour bus for the first time, and she’s kind of amazed.
“I’m currently on a bus cruising around Maryland, and it’s a huge bus,” she says by phone. “It’s so cool, with six beds in it. It’s one of the funnest things I’ve done.”
Yes, Pansino, online star of “Nerdy Nummies” and author of “The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook,” not only plays a geek on YouTube, she’s one in real life.
“I’ve never labeled myself as a nerd, but that’s what I was labeled in high school,” says Pansino, whose tour brings her to Mobile’s Books-A-Million Thursday at 7 p.m. “Still today, people call me dorky. I liked video games and comics and sci-fi and stuff like that. If you like those things, you’re considered nerdy.”
Pansino has run with it, making a mark as a cook and nerd by serving up recipes for Textbook S’mores (marshmallow treats decorated as textbooks), Game Boy Ice Cream Sandwiches, Harry Potter Pumpkin Pastries and other treats that let Pansino and her fans embrace their inner and outer geekiness.
The YouTube series, which has about 4 million subscribers, came about while Pansino, 30, was working odd jobs in Los Angeles after graduating from college.
“I’m really creative and needed a creative outlet, and I just fell in love with it,” she says. “I had a lot of creative control. I got to produce, host and edit my own Web series.”
She started making videos in 2011 but kicked into high gear a year later, working about 50 hours a week.
“Now, I’m working on it about 90 hours a week, but it doesn’t feel like work because I’m doing what I love,” Pansino says.
And what does she love?
“I want to empower the word ‘nerdy,’” Pansino says. “All the things I was teased about in high school … Luckily some of those things are becoming more mainstream. I bake things that are video-game themed or have fantasy sci-fi themes like ‘The Hobbit.’ My dad used to read me ‘The Hobbit’ like a nighttime story.”
For her cookbook, Pansino has picked some of her favorites from the “Nerdy Nummies” show, but two-thirds of the recipes are new. Chapters include math and science, fantasy and science, space and gaming.
Ask for a favorite recipe, and she’ll give you two:
“I would say that the recipe favorite to decorate was the periodic table of cupcakes,” Pansino says. “My favorite recipe to eat is the chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve been tinkering with it for over a year-and-a-half. It’s so good it’s dangerous.”
After the tour, Pansino will continue producing “Nerdy Nummies” online, and the second of two specials she’s done with the Cooking Channel will air.
Right now, though, she’s enjoying the ride.
“One of the things I wanted with the cookbook was to really go on a big tour,” Pansino says. “I work about 90 hours a week, and I’m cooped up in my kitchen. I love it, but I wanted to get out and see the country.”
Pansino will sign books Thursday at 7 p.m. at Books-A-Million, 3962 Airport Blvd., Pinebrook Shopping Center in Mobile.
WI-FI CHEESECAKE RECIPE
(Photo and recipe from “The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook”)
What you need:
New York-Style Cheesecake filling and crust (recipe in Pansino’s book, or use your favorite cheesecake crust and filling)
Electric blue food coloring gel
9-inch springform pan
#12 decorating tip
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Make the crust as directed, pressing the crumb mixture 2 inches up the sides of the
9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes to set the crust. Remove the pan from
the oven to cool, but leave the oven on.
- Make the filling as directed. Measure out and set aside 2 cups of the filling and pour the
rest into the prepared crust and spread evenly.
- Tint the reserved 2 cups of cheesecake mixture with electric blue food coloring until you
reach the desired shade of blue.
- Scoop the blue mixture into a decorating bag fitted with a #12 tip.
- Pipe a 2-inch-diameter circle in the center of the cheesecake.
- Pipe three concentric rings around the center circle.
- Bake, cool, and chill as directed.
- Cut the cheesecake into portions to resemble Wi-Fi signals.