Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cookie Cutter Ginger Crisps

I got a Fred "Gingerdeadman" cookie cutter/press for Halloween this year and I scoped Pinterest looking for a suitable Gingerbread recipe.
I really liked the flavor and texture of this recipe, my husband's commentary was that it wasn't as "crisp" as a gingerbread cookie should be -- this might be I didn't cook them long enough, or it might just be by design. I don't know, but I sure liked them!
yield: 14 dozen small cookies (these giant gingerdeadmen didn't make that many)

1C salted butter, room temperature
½C brown sugar
½C sugar
⅓C molasses
⅔C light corn syrup
4 ½C flour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, ~3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in molasses and corn syrup until well combined.
  4. Add in the remaining ingredients on low speed until a smooth dough forms.
  5. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to less than ⅛" thick.
  7. Cut with floured cookie cutters.
  8. Line baking sheet with silpat or wax paper.
  9. Bake for ~8 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Buttercream

I always like trying new versions of old favorites and this recipe is a great version of a PB buttercream.
I used it to top the chocolate stout cupcakes from this recipe.

yield: ~24 cupcakes worth of buttercream

1C salted butter, room temperature
1C creamy peanut butter
3C powdered sugar
½C heavy cream

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter and peanut butter on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Lower the speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  4. Pour in heavy cream, and beat on low until smooth.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
  6. Beat on high for 5 minutes, until buttercream has become light and fluffy.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes or cake.
  8. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cheddar Bratwurst Soup with Pumpkin Ale

In this house we love pumpkin and we love beer. And I love cheese.
We found this recipe to incorporate them all!

yield: 6 servings

4 uncooked bratwurst
1 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 tsp caraway seeds
3 tbs flour
1 12oz bottle of pumpkin ale (I used Terrapin Pumpkinfest)
32oz chicken stock
1C water
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
⅓ C half and half
1 tsp mustard powder
2C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
big handful fresh dill, chopped
salt & black pepper to taste

  1. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Brown the bratwurst on all sides.
  3. Add ½ cup of water to the pan, cover, and steam the sausages for about 15 minutes.
  4. Remove cover, and remove sausages from the pan; set aside.
  5. Saute the onion, carrots, and caraway seeds in pot for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
  7. Pour in the beer, chicken stock, remaining water; whisk to combine the flour and liquid.
  8. Add in the potatoes and bay leaves.
  9. Cook for 30 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are cooked but not mushy.
  10. Remove the bay leaves and add the worcestershire sauce, half and half, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.
  11. Puree the soup with an immersion blender (or puree part of the soup in a blender) quickly, to puree part of the soup but to still leave it chunky. 
  12. Slice the sausages and add them to the pot.
  13. Slowly stir in the cheddar, stirring until it has completely melted and the soup is smooth. 
  14. Stir in the fresh dill.
  15. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Soup

Along with getting a huge haul of cranberries this year, we loaded up on pumpkins as well.
This recipe is perfect for a delicious, light soup needed in cold weather.

yield: 6-8 servings

2 tbs butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, peeled & diced
¾ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
6C chicken stock
2C pumpkin puree
2 tbs brown sugar
4 tbs heavy cream
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add sweet potato and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add salt, pepper, bay leaf, stock, pumpkin, and brown sugar.
  5. Cook soup, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and stir in heavy cream, lemon juice, and parsley.
  7. Use an immersion blender to puree soup (or stick it in a blender).
  8. Enjoy!

Halloween Dessert - Edible Intestines

I scoured Pinterest to find a creepy, yet delicious dessert that would be prefect for a Halloween party.
This recipe fit the bill -- easy, delicious, and gross looking!
1 box of frozen puff pastry
1 egg, lightly whisked
Food coloring: red & a little bit of brown
1 can of chocolate frosting
Mini chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Line the cutting board with wax paper.
  3. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Unfold the sheets puff party and cut into even pieces (I used Pepperridge Farm and cut along the folds).
  5. Use the egg to "glue" the pieces together end to end (think long strip of intestine), pressing the pieces together until smooth. (I made 2 long strips because of lack of counter space for one long crazy intestine).
  6. Using a small rubber spatula, spread chocolate frosting down the middle of each strip. (This is a bit of a balancing act, you don't want too much filling to bust out of the strips but you don't want too little and have skimpy intestines).
  7. Sprinkle the strips of frosting with mini chocolate chips.
  8. Gently lift the sides of the puff pastry and seal them together  at the top (over the filling) by pinching closed. Make sure that they are sealed as best as possible so you don't have leakage in your intestines when you transfer them to your baking dish seam side down.
  9. Carefully pick up each tube and transfer them to the greased baking dish.
  10. Wind the intestines around, curving them around the baking dish to make them look like intestines.
  11. At the ends, make sure to pinch the puff pastry closed and point them downward to look more realistic.
  12. In a small bowl, mix 8-10 drops of red food coloring with 2 drops of brown food coloring.
  13. With a paint brush, paint veins and arteries on the puff pastry.
  14. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned. A little chocolate might leak out, but then it will just look more realistic ;)
  15. Enjoy!

Cranberry Ice Cream

Loads of cranberries means lots of recipe options. Ice cream is always a good option.
At the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival we tried a cranberry ice cream that was so tart and refreshing, I knew I had to try to recreate it.
This recipe is spot on.
cranberry puree
¼ C water
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ C cranberries
2 tbs orange juice

ice cream
1 ½ C heavy cream
1 ½ C whole milk
1 C sugar

  1. Over medium heat, cook water, salt, and cranberries for 6-7 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Puree cranberry mixture and orange juice in a blender or food processor.
  4. Refrigerate cranberry puree for several hours, until cold.
  5. Place your ice cream container into the freezer (I use a pyrex bowl).
  6. Mix together cream, milk, sugar, and cranberry puree. 
  7. Churn ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. 
  8. Transfer to cold ice cream container.
  9. Freezer for at least 4-6 hours.
  10. Enjoy!

Cranberry Goat Cheese Ice Cream

I love goat cheese and I love ice cream.
I also love cranberries and had a ton leftover from buying a giant box from the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and knew it would be perfect to try in my KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker attachment.

yield: 1 quart

1 ½ C half and half
8oz goat cheese
¾ C sugar, divided
¾ tsp salt, divided
1 ½ C cranberries
⅓ C orange juice
½ tsp triple sec

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine half and half, goat cheese, ½ C sugar, and ½ tsp salt.
  2. Puree until very smooth, transfer to a container and refrigerate until very cold.
  3. Clean out blender/food processor.
  4. Combine cranberries, remaining sugar, remaining salt, and orange juice in a saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil and let simmer, stirring occassionally, until berries pop and soften to jam-like consistency.
  6. Transfer cranberry mixture to blender/food processor, blend until smooth.
  7. Stir in triple sec and chill for several hours in the fridge until very cold.
  8. Churn goat cheese ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions.
  9. Transfer to a large chilled bowl (I used a pyrex) and very quickly fold in cranberry syrup with a large rubber spatula.
  10. Quickly transfer to a container to freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.
  11. Enjoy!

Deep Fried Pumpkin Spice Latte

This year my husband & I had a pumpkin themed party for our birthday, the only qualifier was to bring something pumpkin flavored.
I found this recipe and knew it'd be a hit.
2C pumpkin spice latte
1 1lb loaf of pumpkin bread/loaf
½ C cinnamon sugar
Oil for frying (I used vegetable)
Whipped cream for dipping

  1. Cube the pumpkin loaf into ~1" pieces.
  2. Pour the latte into a shallow bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven to 350°-360°.
  4. Dunk each piece of pumpkin loaf into the latte.
  5. Fry them until crisp on all sides.
  6. Place fried pieces on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  8. Serve with whipped cream for dipping.
  9. Enjoy!

Drunken Pumpkin Spice Latte

I love pumpkin. I also love boozy treats.
I found this recipe and knew it was just the thing for a pumpkin themed birthday party!
Delicious and dangerous (you can't taste the alcohol), this was a hit!
yield: 1 pitcher (~8 cups) *I doubled this to make A LOT*

4 ½ C brewed hot coffee
1 ¼ C milk
1 ¼ C RumChata
½ C pumpkin pie vodka
¼ C sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

*optional toppings*
whipped cream

  1. Add sugar and cinnamon to hot coffee and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Serve warm or over ice. (I served over ice)
  4. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon if you're in the mood.
  5. Enjoy!

Oven Baked Parmesan Chicken

I don't know where I found this recipe because I have scribbled down on a piece of notebook paper.
It was delicious, the chicken was juicy, and it may be mildly healthier because it's baked and not fried.

¼ C flour
2 eggs
½ C parmesan cheese
1 lb thin sliced chicken breasts or tenders
1 tbs italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Place cooling rack on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Place flour, garlic powder, salt, and italian seasoning in one bowl.
  4. Whisk eggs in a second bowl.
  5. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a third bowl.
  6. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shake off excess.
  7. Dip in egg, let excess drip off.
  8. Roll in breadcrumbs.
  9. Spray top of chicken with olive oil.
  10. Bake 10 minutes.
  11. Turn chicken over and spray with olive oil.
  12. Bake ~12 minutes more, until crisp.
  13. Enjoy!