"This is coming from someone who loves unicorns..."
You might know Rosanna Pansino from her YouTube channel, where has 8.2 million subscribers and counting. She makes and decorates over-the-top, pop culture-inspired cakes and candies and cookies on her show "Nerdy Nummies," but this YouTuber wears many hats. She's a New York Times bestselling author, an actress, and a seriously good baker who's racked up a lot of time in the kitchen. Most recently, Pansino worked with Wilton to create a range of adorably geeky baking supplies—including a poo-shaped silicone mold inspired by her love of the poo emoji. "It's just a funny treat. It makes me laugh, it makes me smile," she explained, "and I wanted to do something that didn't exist."
And though we'll have to wait until later this summer for that poo mold, I did have the chance to talk with Pansino in New York City about breakfast, baking, and all things unicorn.
Extra Crispy: What did you have for breakfast today? It sounds like you were raving about it.
Rosanna Pansino: So good. I had steel-cut oats, but they prepared it a little different. Usually when I get steel-cut oats, prepared very simply, plain, delicious, but I think they added a little bit of brown sugar. And they topped it off with some raspberries on the top and a little mint leaf for garnish. And then I ordered a big bowl of mixed fruit. It was so fresh, there was pineapple, blueberries, pomegranate, strawberries. Then I had a protein plate that had hash browns and scrambled eggs.
Is that a usual breakfast for you? Do you usually go sweet for breakfast or savory? What is your go-to breakfast at home?
I would say it varies so much because of my schedule. But I try to always eat my largest meal for breakfast because I feel like it wakes up my brain, my body, gives me all that energy. It’s the right time to just fully charge.
Do you think of yourself as a morning person?
Yes, I am a morning person. My family kind of started these habits with me at a young age. We would all get up, have breakfast together, and leave for the day, and it was usually pretty early because my dad would leave around 5 a.m., so we were up at 4 eating together, fully awake, getting the day fully started.
Part of what I love about your channel Nerdy Nummies is that it is such a family affair. We were just talking about how your most viewed video right now is with you and your sister, so I’d love to hear about how you got the whole family involved with what you do.
Getting my family involved with what I do was a slower process. I was making content online for many years before I kind of convinced them to join the team, but I love having them. I never thought I would have the opportunity to work with my family everyday, but we’re very close. I enjoy their company. I wanted them to be around all the time, and I’m so happy because YouTube allowed us to do that.
What, to you, makes a good Nerdy Nummies video or idea?
Oh, gosh. I don’t even know. I think it’s just something that gets me excited, makes me want to make it … I’m always playing video games, watching movies, and I’m keeping my eye out for food involved. There’s so much iconic food in video games and movies, and I watch movies, and of course I’m watching them to enjoy them, but I’ve always been looking out for cute recipes. I’m on the hunt for something yummy and fun. I can’t explain it. How do you pick one? Something that excites me, and then I know. That’s it.
Is there one dish that sticks out to you that you were stoked to recreate or are looking forward to recreating yourself?
There’s two ways to do it, and I really like doing it both ways. So there’s either making food from a video game or in a really popular TV or fantasy movie series, like the actual food—or recreating something that’s themed around the series. For example, Game of Thrones. I’ve made Game of Thrones cookies, with the Game of Thrones logo, but then I’ve also made Sansa’s lemon cakes, which she eats throughout the series. So it’s interesting because there are two different types, and sometimes I just end up doing both and multiple, especially for a series that I love like Game of Thrones.
What are your thoughts on the recent Unicorn Frappuccino and the unicorn and rainbow trend?
I hope this continues and stays forever. This is coming from someone who loves unicorns, and I don’t really know why it took so long for the rest of mainstream media to enjoy them as much as I enjoy them, but I’m glad it’s happening, and I hope it sticks around somewhere. I hope that there’s a place or a home for rainbow, magical unicorns, because it’s the best. My little sister, growing up, was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And she wrote down, on her third grade paper, “I want to be a unicorn trainer.” Like a horse trainer.
But magical. It was fun. [The Unicorn Frappuccino] tasted like sour mango. I almost bet my sister. I really thought it was going to taste like cotton candy or Funfetti.
No, it was like pink lemonade-y.
Yeah! It was different. It surprised me.
Do you have any kitchen essentials?
Definitely an electric hand mixer. A quality, electric hand mixer. Whether you’re making cookies, cakes, brownies, whatever it may be. An electric hand mixer comes in handy. You can get by without one. You can use a hand whisk, but an electric hand mixer is so much easier. I really prefer to use the KitchenAid ones because they’re high-powered and quiet. So when you turn them on, it doesn’t sound like a leaf blower or a really loud hair dryer. They’re pretty quiet, and I really appreciate that. My dog appreciates it, too. They don’t scare her.
Do you have any Instagram food photography tips?
If you have an iPhone 7, using portrait mode with food is amazing. It’s incredible. It looks like you have a very expensive, fancy camera—but it’s not. I used it on my breakfast photos from the hotel—oh, tie back in! It’s brilliant. It looks so good. Oh, I love it.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.