Thursday Recipe Exchange: Spicy Pumpkin Cookies with Crumble Topping

Finally got down to some cooking. I started the week out with Pumpkin Squares (recipe here), a real favorite with everyone, so a big pan goes pretty quickly. Then it was on to a good spicy pumpkin cookie, the featured recipe tonight. The photo shows both a crumble topping and a cream cheese frosting, but since I really preferred the crumble topping, that’s what I included in the recipe. These freeze well, so they can travel to Thanksgiving dinner with family.

I really wanted to make a Pumpkin Bundt Cake this year, so I went searching for recipes and adapted one to use buttermilk, click here, which I thought created a very moist, flavorful cake.

And finally, Pumpkin Cream Pie with a brown sugar whipped cream topping, which I am really enjoying at Thanksgiving instead of the traditional custard pumpkin pie. Pictures and recipe here. I’ll probably make it again this year.

For the pet lovers, Bixby update is here. He’s five months old this week and a wild thing. And as I was writing this, JeffreyW put up some adorable photos of shelter puppies in sweaters, click here. Please keep your squeals to a minimum.

Now it’s your turn. Are you a fan of pumpkin? I know it can be one of those ingredients that inspires a very strong response, either positive or negative. What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe or product this time of year? If not pumpkin, what treat really puts you in a fall mood?

Tonight’s recipe:

Spicy Pumpkin Cookies with Crumble Topping

Cookies

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice

Cream together butter and sugar; add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla, mixing well. Sift together dry ingredients and slowly mix into pumpkin mixture and mix until well combined. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, then drop by spoonful on a baking sheet. Top with crumble topping, pressing gently into the dough. Refrigerate remaining dough until ready to bake.

Bake for 12-13 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 2 dozen

Topping

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not quick)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix together until crumbly

That’s it for this week. Stay warm – TaMara

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Pumpkin Squares Revisted

I make these every year and they disappear quickly. This year was no different. Not all my pumpkin creations are a success. Playing around with an oatmeal pumpkin cookie, I came up with an inedible concoction. Luckily Bixby and his playmates were not quite so discerning, so it wasn’t a complete waste of ingredients. I was glad to whip a batch of squares up after that to restore my faith in my own cooking.

Pumpkin Squares

Cake:

  •  4 eggs
  • 1-2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil or butter
  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice (less if desired, I like them spicy)

mixing bowl & 13×9 baking dish, greased

Beat eggs, sugar, butter & pumpkin together, add dry ingredients, mixing well. Spread into baking dish, bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Cool & frost (frosting below). These are rich, so I would cut them into at least 24 squares.

Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-3/4 cups powdered sugar

mixing bowl

Mix together cream cheese, sugar & vanilla. Mix until smooth.

You can frost & freeze in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.  Enjoy.

 

Originally posted 10/2011

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Pannekoeken

DSC_9048 (1600x1060)The show on the Food Network that I enjoy the most is the one hosted by the spiky haired fellow named Guy Fieri – Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  I have the dvr set to record all the shows and we watch them during meals.  All of the recipes are quick and easy although some of the sauces and seasoning recipes can be quite involved.

We saw this dish put together the other day and thought it looked pretty good.  It took some Google-Fu to find the recipe, the chef mentioned the name of it on the show but I never could really make out what he said despite several rewinds.DSC_9051 (1600x1060)I garnished this one with powdered sugar and a glop of creme fraiche, whipped cream or ice cream would work well.  I can readily imagine variations on this theme using different fruits.  I’m thinking peaches would be great using the same seasonings, berries should work but I’d have to give that some thought.  Mrs J nominates fresh pears.

Hah!  glad I found this Youtube before I hit publish.  It would seem correct that the name refers to the basic batter so a better title to this post would be Apple Pannekoeken.

Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Non-Traditional Side Dishes

JeffreyW's Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

JeffreyW’s Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

This is the time of year when we get a lot of blog visits from people looking for side dishes. And I have a lot of recipes for the traditional holiday sides, desserts and instructions on the various ways to cook your turkey. JeffreyW has a ton of mouthwatering photos. All of that can be found at at this link.

I thought it would be nice though, to focus on some non-traditional sides for tonight’s recipe exchange. In case you were looking for something different to showcase this year.

Soups make a nice starter at for any meal and tonight’s featured recipe is a savory winter soup. I also have a nice Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, (click here)

JefferyW favors brussels sprouts and came up with this wonderful recipe, Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin pictured above. (click here)

Roasted Brussels sprouts are pretty easy, and leave it to Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch” with his Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Grilled Onions. (click here)

I’m not big on the whole candied sweet potatoes, so I went looking for alternatives and found three I like,  African Sweet Potato Salad, Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes and Apples, click here for all the recipes. You can also just roast them in the oven, and I found two really good recipes here (honey roasted) and here (thyme roasted).

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you doing the cooking or does someone else have the honors? And most importantly, what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

The Thanksgiving featured recipe is one that works great as an appetizer:

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

That’s everything this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next Friday, but next week I’ll be featuring more recipes for the holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – TaMara

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Pumpkin Patch Edition

pumpkin-bars1a

I made pumpkin bars by request a week or so ago for a friend’s birthday. You should always have whatever sweet treat you want on your birthday. That recipe is here.

It put me in the mood for more pumpkin. I don’t go crazy and want everything pumpkin flavored during the season, I generally stick to pumpkin donuts (Dunkin Donuts are my preferred and difficult-to-acquire style), pumpkin bars and the occasional pumpkin pie. I prefer the Pumpkin Cream Pie that is the featured recipe tonight, to a traditional custard style pie.

That does not mean I don’t have a bunch of pumpkin recipes at my finger tips. To see everything, click here and it will take you to the pumpkin patch, er, page.

Last week when I mentioned tonight might be pumpkin week, several people sent me links to recipes and these two caught my eye:  from Mnemosyne: Mini Pumpkin Pies (recipe here) and a savory, Roasted Pumpkin Soup from Emeril – click here – (sorry I couldn’t find who sent this to me).

Friend of blog, Tes from TesatHome.com posted a good looking and definitely unusual, Pumpkin and Coconut Curry (click here).

And on a non-pumpkin note, this week’s menu of Lemon-Nut Pork Chops and Raspberry Poppyseed Cake is here.

There you go, a nice mix of sweet and savory for your pumpkin cravings. So what are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes? And what’s on the menu for this beautiful fall weekend, food or otherwise?

We’re not done yet…there’s still pie: Continue reading

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

Finally got the cream cheese in between two snow storms. It’s sunny now, I expect by noon the snow to be completely gone and I’ll be cycling by late afternoon. So I took the morning to make this pie.

A week or so ago, a neighbor brought over a slice of store-bought pumpkin cream pie, wanting to know if I had a recipe. It was very good, creamy as opposed to custard style. I preferred that, because one of the things I’m only so-so on is the texture of standard pumpkin pie. This addressed that, while keeping all the flavor.

The slice was heavily spiced and I like that, too. So when I went searching for recipes, none of them had enough spice, so I knew I was going to have to take some risks with the spices.  I tasted in between and continued to add until I felt like I had a good ratio.  I got a good idea from several recipes what would make it creamy and then I just went and played.

The first thing, the crust. I didn’t want a traditional pastry crust because I think those get mushy when you do a custard type pie. I thought I’d do a graham cracker crust until I saw someone use a ginger snap crust in a recipe and thought that would be a great, so that’s the crust I included with this. You can use any type you like and if you want graham cracker, just substitute the same amount of graham cracker crumbs for ginger snap crumbs.

Then I saw a recipe for brown sugar whipped cream and knew that would be perfect for this pie. So when I put it all together, this is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Cream Pie

Crust:

  • 2 cups ginger snap crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (more as needed, mine could have used a couple more tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Mix together in a 9-inch pie pan and press around the bottom and sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Cool while making pie filling.

Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (test after 1/2 and see if it needs more, pumpkin very bland without)
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

bowl, electric mixer

Combine cream cheese, pumpkin, cream, sugar and spices, mix until well combined and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Pour into cooled pie crust. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes, until the pie is mostly set, you’ll want the center to still move a bit, it will set completely while cooling and you don’t want to overcook it. I put foil over the pie for the first 40 minutes so it didn’t burn and took it off for the last 10 minutes to caramelize the filling.

You wouldn’t want to do this with a pastry crust, because it needs to bake, but with the crumb crusts they don’t need that baking time. You may end up covering a pastry crust the last 10 minutes if it is browning too quickly.

Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, ice-cold
  • 3 tbsp, packed, brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin spice

mixing bowl, ice-cold (I also put the beaters in the freezer)

Whip cream on med to high until it forms peaks. Using your fingers, crumble the brown sugar over cream, so it’s not clumped and add spices. Fold ingredients gently until incorporated. Spread or pipe over COMPLETELY cooled pie and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 pieces

I think this pie is a great Thanksgiving idea and can be made a day or so ahead – it’s actually better the next day.

Beauty in the Kitchen: Cinnamon

Every once in a while I write about how things you find in the kitchen can work to improve hair and skin. Oat flour, olive oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice are all things I’ve used with great success for healthy skin and soft, shiny hair. I have very sensitive skin, so I’m always on the look out for things I can use without a lot of chemicals in them. (You can read about my journey from irritated skin to beauty in the kitchen here.)

I was googling something the other day, can’t even remember what it was – definitely not looking for beauty tips – and stumbled across this from Dr. Oz (of the Dr. Oz show) and I thought, “sounds interesting”:

Spice Up Your Skin

As your skin ages, not only do wrinkles appear but the fresh dewy look of youth is replaced with dullness and even dry patches.

When combined, the spices cinnamon and nutmeg can soften fine lines and make your skin glow. Nutmeg actually lightens age spots by turning off melanocytes (pigment cells), while cinnamon helps plump skin, filling in fine lines and minor wrinkles. 

Nutmeg & Cinnamon Face & Body Wash

To make this inexpensive, skin-rejuvenating wash, take 6 teaspoons each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg and run through your coffee machine’s filter. Pour the mixture directly into a warm bath and soak in it. Or allow the mixture to cool and use as a face or body wash that you can leave on and let penetrate your skin for up to 10 minutes a day.

I actually mix 1/4 tsp of cinnamon with my oat flour mask (now I really am an oatmeal cookie). The one caution here is that cinnamon, like ginger, brings on the heat and using too much can irritate the skin. I don’t think I would do a straight mixture and leave it on for 10 minutes, but for me it works well in combination with the oat flour. I haven’t tried the “bath tea” yet.

Do you have anything from your pantry that has worked its way into your skin or hair routine?

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Roasted Butternut Squash-Apple Soup

First some housekeeping – there will not be a recipe exchange next Thursday as I will be headed to the beach for some needed R&R.

On to today’s recipes. About this time of year I receive a number of requests for squash and sweet potato soup recipes. I have several:  Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup, Sweet Potato SoupButternut Squash & Leek Soup and Winter Squash Soup (click on each for the recipes).

That brings us to tonight’s featured recipe. The base recipe came to me via an email. I looked over the recipe and thought it needed some punch. The first thing I did was roast the squash to help bring some depth to the dish. I added a little heat and finished with a splash of lemon juice to brighten everything when it was done. I don’t think of it as a stand-alone soup (like my very favorite Tomato-Spinach soup), but I think it would work well as a first course in any meal. I think it would be especially nice at a Thanksgiving table.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiced Apple Soup

  • 4 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large apples – tart works well, but I used my neighbor’s backyard apples which worked great
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 cups (3 quarts) water or vegetable broth
  • splash of lemon juice

baking dish, dutch oven or large saucepan

Put about 1/4 inch of water in the baking dish, put squash face down and roast at 375 degrees until it is easy to put a fork through the skin. Turn over and continue roasting until tender and squash are golden brown. About 30-40 minutes. You can turn the heat up after you flip them to brown them, if desired. Remove to cool.

Meanwhile, core and slice apples into about 1 inch pieces. No need to peel or get fancy with the dicing since this is a puréed soup. Melt butter in the saucepan, add apple, onions and sauté until apples are soft and onions are golden. Add spices and coat the apple mixture. Scrape squash from skins and add to the apples, add water or broth. You can use chicken broth, but to keep it vegetarian I used vegetable broth. Let simmer for 30 minutes, purée until smooth, heat an additional 5-10 minutes, adding water if necessary and add a splash of lemon juice just before serving.

You can use a blender or hand blender to purée the mixture. If you use a blender, add a couple of ladles of soup to the blender, cover and blend slowly to start, to keep the mixture from expanding too much. I’ve seen hot liquid blow the lid off…you don’t want that. Blend in small batches. With a hand blender, keep it immersed and again blend slowly, to avoid splattering the hot liquid.