Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows

Marshmallows in a bag from the store are now a thing of the past for me. After eating these, there is no way I could ever go back. Amazing doesn't even begin to describe them!

I was in need of a homemade gift for a gift exchange this week. Since food is what I do best, I decided to go with that. I am making a jar of hot cocoa mix and including some of these marshmallows along with it. (The marshmallows I am including are Christmas tree shaped... didn't get pictures of those!)

The best part of this recipe (besides how easy it is!) is that it really is two marshmallow treats in one. Once everything is mixed you have THE BEST marshmallow fluff. Seriously, the jarred stuff has nothing on this. If you want actual marshmallows, you just spread in a pan, let set for a few hours, and then cut into whatever shape you want. You could also change the flavor by adding a different extract, dipping in chocolate, etc.

These would be perfect additions to cookie trays for the holiday season or even as a seperate gift along with some hot cocoa mix (which I will blog soon).


Homemade Marshmallows
Recipe from Alton Brown

•3 packages unflavored gelatin
•1 cup ice cold water, divided
•12 ounces granulated sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
•1 cup light corn syrup
•1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract
•1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
•1/4 cup cornstarch
•Nonstick spray
Place the gelatin into the bowl of a stand mixer along with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover, clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 to 15 minutes. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping. While the mixture is whipping prepare the pans as follows.

For regular marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Lightly spray a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture and move around to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Return the remaining mixture to the bowl for later use.

When ready, pour the mixture into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Allow the marshmallows to sit uncovered for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using a pizza wheel dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

For miniature marshmallows:
Combine the confectioners' sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line 4 half sheet pans with parchment paper, spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray and dust with the confectioners' sugar mixture.

Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip. Pipe the mixture onto the prepared sheet pans lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch between each strip. Sprinkle the tops with enough of the remaining cornstarch and sugar mixture to lightly cover. Let the strips set for 4 hours or up to overnight.

Cut into 1/2 inch pieces using a pizza wheel or scissors dusted with the confectioners' sugar mixture. Once cut, lightly dust all sides of each marshmallow with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers: Apple Crostata

This month we were challenged to make a crostata, which is basically a free-form, rustic pie. We were allowed to choose our own filling and I decided on an apple filling with a crumble topping.

I thought this was a perfect challenge for Thanksgiving. Once the dough has been made and chilled, it is rolled out, filled, and the edges are folded up around the sides. Pie doesn't get any easier than that!

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, fun, and lots of good FOOD! I have so much to be thankful for and one of those things is YOU! Thank you for stopping by my blog and for the kind comments. They mean so much to me! Have a great Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cookie Carnival: Sassy Cinnamon Cookies

I love cinnamon chips. I know that they aren't available everywhere and that people stock up on them when they find them. That is what happened with me. I haven't seen the cinnamon chips in stock here in El Paso but had a nice stash in the freezer from Arizona. :) I like to ration them out so they last longer!

These cookies were a great use for them. These are HUGE cookies (1/4 cup of dough per cookie) and are delicious. They taste like huge snickerdoodles with cinnamon chips. Definately a great cinnamon cookie!

The only change I made was to omit the pecans and increase the cinnamon chips by 1/2 cup to compensate a bit.


Sassy Cinnamon Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350.

In large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until creamy. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Stir in cinnamon chips and pecans.

In small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Shape dough by 1/4 cupfuls into balls. Roll in sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place balls 3 inches apart on large cookie sheet (do not flatten).

Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until set and light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

The Cookie Carnival is hosted by Tami of Tami's Kitchen Table Talk... stop by her blog to join in on the fun!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TWD Rewind: Cran-Apple Crisp

This week for TWD we were allowed to pick a past recipe that we would like to make. I immediately started looking at all the fall-ish/holiday recipes that I didn't get a chance to make. There are so many that I want to make but decided to pick a recipe that I didn't have to go to the store to get ingredients for!

I had cranberries in the freezer leftover from the the Cranberry Shortbread Cake and I always have apples on hand, so this crisp was the way to go. The filling is a mixture of apples, fresh cranberries, and craisins. The topping is your basic crisp topping of oats, sugar, and butter. The recipe does call for coconut, but I was out so I didn't use it.

I took this crisp to a friends house and we all loved it. I served it with vanilla ice cream but it would be equally good alone or with fresh whipped cream. Or, if you really want to holiday it up, you could do like I did on a different apple cranberry crisp and use an egg nog sauce on top. YUM!

You can find Dorie's recipe HERE or you could use the one I made 2 years ago HERE. Both are great recipes, so you can't really go wrong! :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Granola Bars

Break out the Kleenex.... we all knew this day would come. Today marks the end of Pumpkin Mania. I will give you a minute to dry your eyes.

This is the last pumpkin recipe I have in my draft folder and while I still have one large can of pumpkin left in the pantry, I don't see any new pumpkin recipes in the near future. Pumpkin on Thanksgiving - YES. But new pumpkin for Thanksgiving - no.

These pumpkin granola bars are absolutely delicious and didn't last long around here. I didn't have all the ingredients on hand when I made them, so I changed a few things. How I ran out of honey I'll never know, but pure maple syrup was a good substitute. Also, I was out of applesauce, so I increased the pumpkin. Not sure how I ran out of honey and applesauce at the same time, but the changes still resulted in a great bar.

I hope you enjoyed all the pumpkin recipes over the last 2 months. I know I did!

Pumpkin Granola Bars
Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 by 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set-you don’t want them to be under baked. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

5. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Makes 10-12 granola bars

Friday, November 19, 2010

FFwD: Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux

How do you take a pretty picture of a whole chicken? I'm sure there are those fabulous food photographers out there who make it look good, but this is just a weird picture for me! But don't let the look of it fool you - this is THE BEST ROAST CHICKEN EVER!

And the best part? It is for Les Paresseux. That's French for Lazy People. This chicken couldn't get any easier. Season, throw in the oven, take out of the oven, and eat, eat, eat!

I hope you have all listened to me in previous FFwD posts and have purchased the book, but if not, GO BUY AROUND MY FRENCH TABLE! You really won't be disappointed. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I mentioned in my pumpkin ice cream post that I paired snickerdoodles with it for ice cream sandwiches. Naturally, when I saw these pumpkin snickerdoodles I knew I would be making them ASAP!

If you think snickerdoodles are good, these are even better. I mean really, really good! Classic snickerdoodle taste with the fantastic addition of pumpkin. Fall in a cookie. YUM!

And, yes, you can start calling me Pumpkin Lady. My husband already has! :)


Recipe from Bunny's Warm Oven

1 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add the 1-1/2 cups sugar and pumpkin. Beat until combined.

2. Beat in vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Beat in egg. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Cover and chill 1 hour.

3. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls into the sugar-cinnamon mixture, rolling to coat. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

4. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove and cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie

Best Sweet Potato Pie EVER. Seriously, sooooo good! You will want this on your Thanksgiving table. Don't shy away from the ground coriander... it totally makes the pie. There was enough filling for 1 large pie and 1 mini pie and the large one went to work with Nathan while the mini one stayed here. I wish there was more, but thank goodness next week is Thanksgiving because I will be making it again!


Sweet Potato Pie
Recipe from Joy the Baker

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2- 5oz cans evaporated milk (1 1/4 cups evaporated milk)
3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Boil two medium sweet potatoes in their jackets in a covered pot over moderate flame, until yams are very soft and tender.

Test with a thin sharp knife. If there is any resistence, boil longer. Knife should penetrate the sweet potatoes fast and smoothly. Remove potatoes from the water and allow to cool on a plate or wire rack.

When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes, cut into chunks and place in a large bowl. Mash potatoes thoroughly with a potato masher. There should be NO lumps.

Measure 2 cups and put in a medium sized pot with the packed brown sugar, all of the spices, the 1/2 stick butter, and one 5 oz can of evaporated milk. Cook on low flame for about 5 minutes, whipping with a wire wihisk until butter and brown sugar are melted down and mixture is well blended, smooth and starts to bubble. Remove from fire and let cool in pot.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the three eggs with a fork. Add the second 5oz can of evaporated milk, granulated sugar and vanilla to the eggs and continue beating until creamy. Pour the cooled sweet potato mixture from pot into a large bowl. Stir in the egg mixture.

Heat oven 450 degrees with a cookie sheet inside. After heated. pour filling into the pie shell and put on the HOT cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for ten minutes then turn oven to 325 (300 with the convection fan turned on) and bake for 1 hour more, or until edges and center are raised and puffed and the center only shakes slightly.

Remove from oven. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour before serving.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin Ice Cream

I realize that it is either getting cold or is already pretty cold in most places but up until yesterday, it was still tank top weather here in El Paso. Although, I personally believe that ice cream is a year round treat and it doesn't matter what the temperature outside is... Inside it can always be ice cream time!

This pumpkin ice cream was so good. It tasted like frozen pumpkin pie. Mmmmmmm! I also used the ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches for the kids. Let me tell you... pumpkin ice cream sandwiched between two snickerdoodles is A-MAZ-ING!


Pumpkin Ice Cream

5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks: set aside.

Warm the milk, cream, sugar, spices and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the edges begin to bubble. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by placing a medium-sized metal bowl in a larger bowl filled with some ice and a little water. Set a mesh strainer on top.

Gradually add half of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Turn the heat to low and scrape the yolks back in to the saucepan. Stir constantly, scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (between 160˚ – 170˚F).

Working quickly, pour mixture through the strainer and into the bowl with the ice bath. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved and cooled. Chill thoroughly in the fridge, preferably overnight.

Once chilled, add the vanilla and pumpkin puree. Whisk until incorporated, then press through a fine-mesh strainer. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for at least one hour before serving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

I love mini-muffins. They are the perfect size for popping into your mouth and, let's face it, anything mini is cute! :)

These pumpkin muffins are fantastic. The texture is very much like a cake donut and when rolled in cinnamon-sugar and powdered sugar, they taste almost identical. Plus, they are baked and not fried, so that makes them healthier than a donut!

I wanted to mention one change I made. The recipe calls for dipping the muffins in butter then rolling them in the sugar. I do this with another muffin I make, but didn't feel like melting the butter when I made these. If you pop them straight out of the muffin tin and put right into the sugar, the sugar will stay and you won't have to use the extra butter.


Pumpkin Donut Muffins
Recipe from Cassie Craves

For the pumpkin batter:
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup light-brown sugar
2 large eggs

For the sugar coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture and beat to combine.

2. Spoon batter into each mini muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, roll in butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Corn Soup

Daylight Saving Time has never really bugged me in the past. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and we don't switch time there. I always enjoyed that and it was weird having to change time once I left Arizona. But still... It never really bugged me. Sure, it takes a couple days to get used to the difference, but it isn't so bad.

But now? Let's just say DST and I are not friends! I have gotten so used to the natural light coming in my dining room at dinner time. I am not claiming to be some awesome food photographer but the natural light definately helps. Now there is NO light at dinner. If I want a decent picture, I need to eat by 4! I'm sure I'll get used to it soon, but in the meantime, the pictures may not be great! :)

Now onto the soup! This soup in PHENOMENAL! Pumpkin, corn, black beans, red pepper, chili powder, lime juice, and a jalepeno (if you want it spicier). SO GOOD! The only thing that would've made it better would have been a dollop of sour cream right on top. I loved this soup and will be making it again and again!

Have a great weekend!

Pumpkin Corn Soup
Recipe from Krista's Kitchen

1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
Dash cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice

In a large saucepan, saute onion and red pepper in butter until almost tender. Add the corn, jalapeno, garlic and chili powder; saute 2 minutes longer.

Stir in the broth, pumpkin, black beans, salt and cayenne until blended. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lime juice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Gingerbread

I would like to say that I'll share something with you that isn't pumpkin but that really isn't the truth. :) Although it is starting to wind down a bit. I think there are only 4 or 5 more pumpkin posts coming up. It's okay to let the tears flow... It will be a sad time when pumpkin mania ends!

This is a great quick bread recipe that combines two of my favorite fall flavors - pumpkin and gingerbread. I think it was a perfect pairing of sweet pumpkin bread and spicy gingerbread. SO GOOD! I loved it and am glad to have a few mini loaves stashed away in the freezer!


Pumpkin Gingerbread
Recipe from All Recipes

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.

2.In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.

3.In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.

4.Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips and Crystallized Ginger

You didn't honestly think that pumpkin mania would come and go without a new pumpkin scone recipe, did you? :) These are great "grown-up" scones. The crystallized ginger adds a bit more heat than ground ginger and I loved that addition. While the kids ate these, they started to pick around the ginger bits. The best part of this recipe is that you can increase or decrease the the ginger or cinnamon chips to your liking.


Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips and Crystallized Ginger
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

2 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 cup cinnamon chips
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
coarse white sparkling sugar, for topping

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Work in the butter just until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in chips and ginger.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and eggs till smooth. Add the pumpkin/egg to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.

Line a baking sheet with parchment. Scrape the dough onto the parchment and divide it in half. Round each half into a 6" circle. The circles should be about 3/4” thick.
Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar, if desired. Slice each circle into 6 wedges.

Carefully pull the wedges away from the center to separate them just a bit; there should be about 1/2” space between them, at their outer edges.

For best texture and highest rise, place the pan of scones in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered. While the scones are chilling, preheat the oven to 425F.
Bake the scones for 22 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, with no wet crumbs.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TWD: Not Just For Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake

This cake has two different components as does my review of this cake. The crust is an amazingly delicious shortbread. The filling is a delicious cranberry/orange jam. The sweetness of the shortbread balances out (or is meant to balance out) the tartness of the cranberries.

I was iffy about this cake. I really loved the crust but thought the filling was too tart. In the future I would probably add a bit more sugar to the filling. My husband and kids however LOVED this cake. I mean LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. No complaints about anything being tart. My 5 year old even said to me, "Mommy, this is really yummy. Make sure to put it on your blog." :)

Overall I would have to say this cake is a winner since it got 7 thumbs up (2 thumbs from each member of my family and one thumb from me).

Oh, and one change.... The shortbread dough was supposed to be chilled and rolled out but I didn't read that part before starting and didn't want to wait. I just pressed the dough into the bottom of the pan, topped with the filling, and crumbled the rest on top. It worked great, so if you are in a time crunch next time, that is always an option!

Head on over to Jessica's blog Singleton in the Kitchen for the recipe or you can find it on page 208 of Baking:From My Home To Yours.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin cheesecake has been on my list for a while now. The problem is a cheesecake is huge and extremely tempting so I never got around to making it. Then my best friend, Monica, said that she wanted to make a pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving and asked if I would make one and post it for her prior to T-Day so she could make it. That was the push I needed to hurry and make one!

(Now, let me have a small pity party for a second and say that I wish that we were still in Germany so I could've just brought the cheesecake to Thanksgiving instead of Monica having to make her own!!!)

I started with Dorie Greenspan's basic cheesecake recipe and tweaked it to create an awesome dessert that will be the star of any sweets table. I absolutely LOVED this cheesecake and will be making it again. Lucky for my waist, my good friend Lesa (who I also met in Germany and is now in El Paso with me!) took 1/2 of it off my hands. :)

If you are looking for a fantastic pumpkin cheesecake recipe, this one is IT! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

For the crust:
1 3/4 cups gingersnap crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
4 (8oz) blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups heavy cream

Butter a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides.

Preheat oven to 325.

Beat the cream cheese at medium speed for 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and pumpkin and continue to beat another 4 minutes. Mix in salt and spices. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the heavy cream.

Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in a roaster pan.

Pour batter into springform pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn off the oven's heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.

Friday, November 5, 2010

FFwD: Potato Gratin

Please forgive the photo... it is really hard to photograph potato gratin! But this creamy, cheesey, delicious potato goodness should not be ignored because it lacks beauty. Oh no... this dish is amazing!

It starts with thinly sliced potatoes (thank you mandoline!). The potatoes are layered in a dish and covered with heavy cream that has been infused with garlic. Then it is all topped off with grated cheese. (Dorie suggests Gruyere... I used Swiss.)

I cut the recipe down and baked the gratin in four mini ramekins. This was the perfect side dish! I ended up serving this with the roast chicken that will be posted for FFwD later this month.

Make sure to go buy Around My French Table. This recipe, along with a ton of other delicious ones, will be there!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Even though I have a ton of pumpkin recipes to post I figured I would give you all a break (a short break- pumpkin lovers have no fear!) and post something non-pumpkin.

I made these cookies about 3 weeks ago but pumpkin mania got in the way of me posting them. I actually feel kinda bad for not posting them sooner as they are the perfect chewy chocolate chip cookie.

There is a certain store bought chocolate chip cookie that these remind me of. You know, the small uber chewy ones. These have the same chewy-ness but with a better flavor since they are homemade. Seriously, I had to give away the majority of these because I couldn't stop eating them!

I hope you will take a break from any pumpkin mania to make these little treasures... You won't be disappointed!

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.

2. In medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.

4. Slowly mix in the flour, until combined. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

5. Roll dough into tiny balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough. Place on baking sheet and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for 8 minutes or until cookies are golden brown and set. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

One of the best things about pumpkin is how universal it is. While I enjoy it in baked goods and sweets (and I may enjoy it a little too much!), I also love to use pumpkin in savory dishes. Two of my favorite savory pumpkin dishes are pumpkin penne and pumpkin soup.

This pumpkin mac and cheese is full of pumpkin flavor and oh so creamy and cheesey. It was a great weekend lunch and a nice twist on the classic mac and cheese I usually make.


Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
Recipe from Nila Rosa

2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp. worchestire sauce
1/4 tsp ground red pepper (Optional: Just for a little kick)
Salt and pepper, to taste
10 oz. choice of small pasta
1/3 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil pasta according to package directions to al dente. Mix breadcrumbs with 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese. Add enough to water to keep it crumbly but able to clump together. (about 1 ½ tsp.)

Heat pumpkin puree in a medium saucepan over medium to high heat. Add milk and thoroughly combine.

Turn heat down to low. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and the mozzarella cheese. Stir until melted into pumpkin mixture.

7Add mustard, worchestire sauce, red pepper(if using),and salt & pepper. Mix pumpkin sauce with drained pasta until thoroughly combined. Mix in rest of cheddar cheese. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Place pasta in baking dish and top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TWD: Peanuttiest Blondies

I really love blondies and these were no exception! They are supposed to have peanuts but I decided to leave them out. The peanut flavor was still there from the peanut butter in the dough. Add in chocolate chips and they become a delicious PB&Chocolate Blondie.

Thanks to Nicole of Bakeologie for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Time for more pumpkin!!!! Come on... I gave you the weekend off. You should've expected more pumpkin come Monday! :)

These cookies taste SO MUCH like pumpkin pie to me. I ate them warm out of the oven (delicious), at room temperature (still delicious), and frozen (oh my goodness... AMAZING!). These fantastic cookies retain their softness when frozen so there is no need to thaw before eating. There is just something amazing about them once they are cold. Mmmmm... makes me want to go grab one out of the freezer now!


Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cinnamon chips

Combine dry ingredients; set aside.

Cream butter, shortening, and sugars together in mixing bowl. Mix in pumpkin, vanilla, and egg.

Add dry ingredients all at once; blend until just combined. Fold in cinnamon chips.

Drop rounded scoops onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. (Tops will be lightly browned and cookie will still be soft.)

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