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Monday, October 31, 2011

Honey Butter


Wow, there's a lot of 1's in the date today...and just think about what it will be like in 10 days!

Last year, Bob and I hosted our first Thanksgiving. Because my family's Thanksgiving menu has remained virtually unchanged for 30+ years, I had to be creative with how I would add my personal touch to the meal without sacrificing the dishes we've all come to expect and love. A few years ago, the amazing Annie posted some compound butters that she served at her first Thanksgiving. I thought this was a fantastic idea! No one would mind having a few extra choices to add to their roll, so it was a great opportunity for me to add a little something extra without causing a scene :-)

I found this honey butter recipe of Alton Brown's. I loved that it had cinnamon and some extra flavors. As I mentioned last year when I posted the delicious Herb Butter that these butters were my brother-in-law's favorite part of the entire meal! Either the butters were that good, or the meal was that bad (just kidding! We have our dishes down to a science at this point!)

Compound butters are not only great for holidays but there are nice way to add a little something extra to a dinner party or a small, intimate gathering with friends. Plus, they are so completely easy to make!

Honey Butter

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. To loosen the butter, place butter into the bowl of a mixer (or you may use a hand mixer) and beat at low speed using the whisk attachment.

2. Increase the speed to medium and add the honey, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined, about 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Remove butter from bowl and spoon onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll into a log and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Alternatively, use decorative tip and piping bag to pipe butter into small dishes, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Happy Halloween with Pumpkin Pancakes!!!




Happy Halloween! Just a last minute recipe with an idea that turns ordinary pancakes into a festive treat. I have wanted to try pumpkin pancakes for a while now, and I started thinking about how to make them more Halloween-oriented - why not use chocolate chips to make them into jack-o-lanterns? My mom used to make pancakes in Mickey Mouse shapes and used chocolate chips for the face, so this concept is virtually the same.

In my opinion, pancakes should be light and fluffy, but too often the pancakes I order in restaurants are heavy and dense. Like the pumpkin waffles, this recipe uses the technique of whipping up egg whites to fold into the batter; I think this creates a super fluffy pancake. We really loved these pancakes, although they could use more pumpkin spice flavor. Next time I'll probably double the pumpkin pie spice.

Have a spooktacular day!

Pumpkin Pancakes

Servings: 2 - 3

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (double this to bump up pumpkin spice flavor)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg yolks, melted butter, and vanilla extract together, whisking to blend until smooth.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing with a spatula until just combined.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until thick and stiff.

5. Gently fold the egg whites into the pancake batter until fully incorporated.

6. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over medium heat.

7. Lightly spray the pan with cooking spray or use butter or butter substitute (we like Brummel & Brown). Pour batter onto pan in 1/4-cup increments (I like scooping it with a 1/4 cup measuring cup and using the bottom of the cup to smooth out the thick batter).

8. Cook each pancake until lightly browned on each side, about 1 minute per side. Air bubbles will start to reach the surface of the pancake and escape, indicating that it may be time to flip.

9. Transfer each cooked pancake to a warm plate (or one in the microwave to prevent cooling) and repeat with the remaining batter.

10. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings.

Source: Adapted from The Curvy Carrot, originally from Bon Appetit via Epicurious

Some deviled eggs my mom made with black olive spiders on top! :)



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apple Pie Floats


Do you ever find yourself looking for ways to use up that big container of apple cider? I always buy a big gallon of it at the apple orchard each year and then end up scrambling to finish it. This idea for an ice cream float with apple cider is fantastic! I've never thought of it before. I made one of these for Bob and I to share. Not knowing the name of this recipe, Bob took a sip and said "it tastes like apple pie!" :) He did comment that he would prefer a tad more ginger ale, so I've made a note in the recipe below to adjust to your own taste. Happy Fall!!!

Apple Pie Floats

Yield: 1 serving

1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup ginger ale, or a little extra depending on personal preference
1 - 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, or any seasonal flavor such as cinnamon or apple pie
ground cinnamon and nutmeg for sprinkling
1 - 2 tablespoons jarred caramel sauce

1. Pour apple cider and ginger ale into a glass.

2. Add vanilla ice cream.

3. Sprinkle on nutmeg and cinnamon to taste and drizzle caramel sauce on top.

4. Serve immediately with a straw and a spoon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crescent Mummy Dogs


After seeing these adorable Mummy Dogs on Picky Palate, I made them for a little pre-Halloween get together last year. I didn't get a chance to post them before Halloween, so I saved the post for this year. I used light crescent rolls and turkey hot dogs to make them a bit healthier. You can even use breadstick dough if you prefer. These were delicious and so festive! They are perfect for a Halloween party - whether as a main dish or as a snack. I think kids would love these as well.

Crescent Mummy Dogs

1 can of crescent rolls (I used light); you may use breadstick dough if you prefer
1 package hot dogs (I used turkey hot dogs)
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375F.
1. Separate crescent roll dough at perforations. Cut into thin strips of dough.

2. Wrap strips of dough around each hot dog to resemble mummy wrappings (as shown in photo), pressing loose edges together so they stick and stay in place.

3. Place wrapped hot dogs on a baking sheet and spray dough lightly with cooking spray.

4. Bake for 13 - 17 minutes, or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are heated through.

5. Use mustard to dot eyes onto mummy faces, and serve with your favorite condiments.

Source: Inspiration from Picky Palate, recipe from Pillsbury

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Cornbread



I saw this Pumpkin Cornbread recipe the day before I planned to make the Turkey Pumpkin Chili - score! Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment to chili, and what better side to serve with pumpkin chili than pumpkin cornbread?!

This cornbread was fantastic! Some cornbread recipes result in bread that is slightly on the dry side, but this one isn't. It's not moist like a cake, but in cornbread terms it's definitely moist; I think the olive oil helps keep it from getting dry. This recipe is simple and quick to throw together. We both loved this cornbread and will be making it again soon!

Pumpkin Cornbread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cornmeal
2 whole eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon molasses

Preheat the oven to 400F and grease an 8 x 8-inch baking dish (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, brown sugar, and cornmeal.

2. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs, and then stir in the pumpkin, oil, and molasses.

3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined, and then pour the batter into the pan, smoothing out the top as much as possible.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Turkey Pumpkin Chili


As if it isn't already apparent, I love cooking and baking with pumpkin. Pumpkin is actually very healthy; it's high in vitamin A and fiber. The problem is that most pumpkin recipes are desserts or sweets where the health benefits are often overshadowed by sugar, butter, oil, etc. Don't get me wrong, I certainly enjoy those recipes, but I love to find healthy recipes that incorporate pumpkin as well.

Cara posted this Turkey Pumpkin Chili last year and I immediately bookmarked it. After making the very spicy Turkey Chili last month, I decided to try another variety. This chili is no where near as spicy as the Turkey Chili I posted last month; it actually has a nice amount of spice for my taste. While you may not even taste the pumpkin itself, it nicely thickens the chili and adds an almost creamy element. The labs on our floor are having a Pumpkin and Chili potluck next month, and I plan to bring this chili - it covers both categories!

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium sized green peppers (or 1 red; 1 green), diced
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (I used regular oregano)
1 small can (4-ounce) diced green chili peppers
15 ounce can beans of choice, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
14-ounce can diced tomatoes
15-ounce can pumpkin puree, or 2 cups homemade
Pumpkin beer, optional

1. Spray a large pot with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until just softened. Add the garlic and bell peppers, and cook about 5 minutes more until tender. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and oregano.

2. Add pumpkin beer if using. Cook until mostly reduced, then continue.

3. Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes to blend flavors.

Alternatively, just brown the turkey with the seasonings and combine with remaining ingredients in a crockpot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

4. Serve with your favorite chili toppings - ours are shredded cheese and chopped onions.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles



I had a recipe for pumpkin waffles that required the batter sit in the fridge overnight, intending to make the batter on a Saturday night so we could have them for breakfast on Sunday. Time got away from me and it was too late to start making waffle batter, so I decided to search for a recipe in the morning that didn't require an overnight incubation. Thankfully I found this one on Smitten Kitchen.

We loved these waffles! The whipped egg whites make for a fluffy interior, and the outside is still nice and crispy like a waffle should be in my opinion. These sort of taste like pumpkin bread! This recipes makes a lot of waffles, so we have the leftovers in our freezer. I look forward to being able to pop one in the toaster for a quick weekday breakfast!

Pumpkin Waffles

Makes 5 full traditional (not Belgian) waffles (20 squares)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

4 large eggs, separated

2 cups well-shaken buttermilk*

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

*Or use 2 cups milk with 2 tablespoons vinegar and allow to curdle for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron.

1. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

3. In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them gently into the waffle batter until just combined.

4. Brush waffle iron lightly with oil or spray with cooking spray (I like to use Pam for Grilling because it's a high temperature formula and holds up better to heat of my waffle iron). Pour or spoon batter into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. (When I make waffles, I like to transfer the batter to a pourable measuring cup and pour it onto the waffle iron. I don't even bother spreading the batter because the weight of my waffle iron's lid spreads it nicely).

5. If serving many people, transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Repeat with remaining batter. I just cool my extra waffles on a cooling rack, break up the squares, wrap them in waxed paper, and pack them up in freezer bags. Then they are ready to pop in the toaster from frozen.


Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin Scones



I've only made scones one other time (Chocolate Chip Scones), and I really loved them. When Annie posted these pumpkin scones almost two years ago, I immediately planned to make them. I mentioned before that sometimes I never get around to making a recipe and it gets pushed to the next year . . . that is exactly what happened with these scones, although twice. I've even bought the buttermilk twice before!

I was determined this fall to finally make these scones! We had planned a girls shopping day so I decided to bring the scones to have before we started our day. These scones are not what I think of as typical scones; they are more like a cake. My mom didn't even want to try one because she's not a big scone fan, but she thought these were more like a coffee cake, and she loved them! In fact, everyone loved these, including Bob who is a self-proclaimed pumpkin-hater! (We have since discovered his dislike of pumpkin is really a dislike of the texture of pumpkin pie!) The butterscotch chips really do add a great flavor to the scones, and the spicy glaze is nice as well. Bob has already asked me, several times, to make these again - that's a winner in my book!

Pumpkin Scones


For the scones:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/3-1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dash of ground nutmeg

Dash of ground ginger

Dash of ground cloves

2 tablespoons milk


Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt; whisk to combine.

2. Add the cold butter chunks to the bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using two forks or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs and the largest butter pieces are no bigger than peas. Mix in the butterscotch chips.

3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract.

4. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir together gently just until the dough comes together. If necessary, knead a bit with your hands, but be careful not to overwork the dough or you will end up with tough scones.

5. Transfer the sticky mass of dough to the prepared baking sheet. Pat the dough into a 8 or 9-inch round. I sprayed my hands with non-stick cooking spray to make this process easier and prevent the dough from sticking too much to my hands. It also helps to smooth out the surface a bit.

6. Bake the round until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17-25 minutes. (The original recipe stated 22 - 25 minutes, but mine cooked in closer to 17 minutes.) Allow to cool to room temperature. Slice the dough round into 8 wedges.

7. To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and spices in a small bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine, until a thick glaze is formed. (If necessary, add a bit more milk to achieve a consistency good for drizzling the glaze.)

8. Use a whisk or a plastic bag with the tip cut off to drizzle the glaze over the finished scones. Allow the glaze to set before serving.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally adapted from Joy of Baking

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars




Does anyone else feel like they have so many fall recipes that they want to try, but there simply isn't enough time?! I have felt this way for several years, and have an ongoing list that I just roll-over to the next year. I am really trying to make an effort to enjoy this fall to the fullest and squeeze in as much baking as I can, especially because I'm told I'll have a lot less free time in a couple months :-)

This recipe is one that I found on, perhaps last year? I had it saved, and it jumped out at me as I was looking through my recipes. I really love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate (most notably in the Pumpkin-Chocolate Tart), and adding in cheesecake (like the mini-pumpkin cheesecakes) just made it sound even more appealing.

I really cannot gush over these as much as they deserve - they are fantastic! I knew I would like them, but I didn't expect this much. These bars consist of a basic chocolate cookie crust, topped with pumpkin cheesecake, and a portion of the cheesecake mixture is combined with melted chocolate and then swirled in to create pockets of pumpkin-spiced chocolate cheesecake! The cheesecake is perfectly creamy and the chocolate adds a nice touch but isn't overpowering. If you love pumpkin, chocolate, and cheesecake as much as I do, you are sure to love these!

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

For The Crust:
20 chocolate wafer cookies (half a 9-ounce package) (I used 4.5 ounces of chocolate animal crackers/cookies)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For The Filling:
2 8-ounces packages cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.

2. In a food processor, blend cookies with sugar until finely ground (you should have about 1 cup crumbs); add butter, and pulse until moistened.

3. Transfer crumb mixture to prepared pan, and press gently into bottom. Bake until fragrant and slightly firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

4. Place cream cheese in food processor or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; blend until smooth. Add sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs, flour, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt; process until combined. Set aside.

5. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Add 1 cup pumpkin mixture; stir to combine. Set aside.

6. Pour remaining pumpkin mixture into prepared pan. Drop dollops of chocolate mixture onto pumpkin mixture; swirl by dragging paring knife through the chocolate and pumpkin several times to create marbled pattern. Bake until cheesecake is set but jiggles slightly when gently shaken, 40 to 50 minutes.

7. Cool in pan. Cover; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days). Using overhang, transfer cake to work surface. With a knife dipped in water, cut into 16 squares. Serve.

Source: Adapted from

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