Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm a Winner! And a Happy Thanksgiving!

I went out of town for a much needed break and vacation for 9 days during the Thanksgiving holdiday. I was so excited to see my family, and I had planned on baking the whole Thanksgiving meal by myself, which I have never even come close to doing before. This was major!!! I had a master menu list, a master recipe list, a master to do before cooking list. I have never been more excited about cooking! About 5 minutes before I left my house, the beloved UPS man left these babies at my door. I was ecstatic and packed them to use for my Thanksgiving meal.
And you know what the best part is? I won them!!! Yes, a whole Le Crueset lot of beautiful wonderful dishes. I love them. I mean, I really LOVE them. I won them over at Lick the Bowl Good and when Monica emailed me to tell me, I couldn't have been more surprised or happy. Thank you Monica for having such an awesome blog, and an amazing giveaway! Check her site out, she always makes me drool.

I stayed with my sister over Thanksgiving, and I love her to pieces but her kitchen has much to be desired. Not only is it miniscule... it has no dishwasher, no garbage disposal, and a small oven... NO, I'm not kidding. But I made it work. Here is a picture of some of the fruits of my labor.

I have lots of recipes to share with you (see my beautiful brand new red Le Crueset dish?). But first I have to say, if you haven't tried PW's Green Bean Casserole, you must go make it today!! It is incredible. I've always hated the traditional cream of mushroom, fried onion green bean casserole and when I found her version, I was instantly smitten. And it proved to be a huge success. It will definitely be appearing at my Thanksgiving dinner and lots of other dinners throughout the year as well.
My favorite dish was probably the Sweet Potatoe Casserole and my mom's Pomegranite Salad. What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

Yes, I'm still on a pumpkin kick! I just can't get enough pumpkin. I'm very excited for Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving. Here is a tasty little treat I found on Picky Palate. They were surprising. I expected more of a pumpkin pie taste, but the shortbread crust gives it a surprising twist. Very good, very rich, very perfect.

Chocolate and Pumpkin Pie Shortbread Bars

2 sticks softened butter
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Cups canned pumpkin
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 Cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
Sprinkles of choice if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter and sugars until well combined. Slowly add in flour and salt until dough forms. Press into the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish that’s been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.

2. To prepare pumpkin layer, mix pumpkin sugar, cream, eggs, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixing bowl until well combined. Pour over shortbread layer. Bake for 45 minutes or until pumpkin layer is golden brown.

3. Let cool for 30 minutes then cut into bars. Melt chocolate over a double broiler or in microwave until smooth then spread over bars. Sprinkle with white sprinkles if desired and serve room temperature or chill until ready to serve.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

I have always wanted to try a pumpkin roll or chocolate roll, but they look so intimidating! I'm here to tell you that they are not hard at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say, they are actually pretty easy to make. I feel bad that I didn't get a better picture, but I was in such a rush to serve this bad boy. Next time I might double the filling because it was so darn good, and I didn't feel like there was enought of it. Go on, try it, you'll be surprised and delighted. It was delicious!
Recipe from: My Kitchen Cafe

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2/3 cup mashed (canned) pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan. Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of the pan and leave an inch overhang on each of the short ends of the pan. Lightly grease the wax paper and sides of the jelly roll pan.

Mix the sugar, flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, eggs and pumpkin in a large bowl. Once mixed, pour mixture over the waxed paper. Sprinkle the walnuts, if using, on top of the mixture. Bake for 14-15 minutes until edges pull away from the sides of the pan and center is done.

Lay a large dishtowel on the counter top (it is best to use a dishtowel without any texture – a tea towel or similar towel works best). Spread a thick dusting of powdered sugar all over the towel. When the cake comes out of the oven, turn the pan upside down on the powdered sugar-laden towel so the wax paper is on the top. Gently peel off the wax paper, being careful not to tear the roll. Starting at one of the short ends, roll the pumpkin cake up with the towel to cool. While the roll is cooling, mix the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar together until it is light and creamy. Once the roll is cool, unroll and with an offset spatula, carefully spread filling in an even layer over the cake. Roll it up without the towel and place in the refrigerator (covered with plastic wrap or wax paper) for about an hour before serving.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

I have been wanting to try my hand at Whoopie Pies for quite some time. When I found this easy recipe for pumpkin ones, I was instantly committed. They were a cinch to make, and oh so dreamy. I really loved the filling, and having it sandwiched between the light pumpkin cookies was a dream come true. I will definitely be making these again.
Recipe found on: Food, Friends, & Fun

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 package spice cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 recipe marshmallow-spice filling (see recipe below)

Marshmallow-Spice Filling:
Up to 2 hours before serving, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter and one 8-ounce package softened cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 of a 7-ounce jar marshmallow cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Beat until well combined.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Grease cookie sheets. In a large mixing bowl, beat pumpkin and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add cake mix, eggs, and milk; beat on low speed until combined, and then on medium speed for 1 minute.
2. By the heaping tablespoon, drop mounds of batter 3 inches apart on cookie sheet; keep remaining batter chilled. Bake 13 - 15 minutes or until set and lightly browned around edges. Carefully remove from pan; cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. If desired, place cookies in a covered storage container with waxed paper between layers to prevent sticking. Store cookies at room temperature for 24 hours.
Prepare Marshmallow-Spice Filling up to 2 hours before serving. Spread about 2-1/2 tablespoons filling on flat side of one cookie; top with a second cookie. Repeat. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 hours.