Pumpkin Bars

So this recipe is really similar to the Bourbon Pumpkin cake recipe I posted earlier. The big difference is no Bourbon. Still super moist and flavorful though. I modified the original recipe that this is based on. It called for a few ingredients I didn’t want to use and I substituted ones I did want to use. Easy enough. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars

  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Icing

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. whole milk

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Spay a 9″x13″ baking pan and line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth. Combine the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder & soda, and salt. Gradually beat into the pumpkin mixture on low speed. Pout in to the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool. Once it’s cooled flip over onto a board or plate and remove the parchment. Flip it back into the baking pan.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and butter until smooth. Add in the vanilla and milk, beat until smooth again. Spread onto the bars, cut, and eat.

 

 

 

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Maple Shortbread Cookies

It’s definitely fall here in Seattle. It’s cooler, rainy, the leaves are changing color, and it’s getting dark earlier. Therefore it’s been inspiring me to make fall like things. Such as the Bourbon pumpkin cake I posted earlier and the soon to be posted pumpkin bars, which to be honest are almost the same as the cake only without the Bourbon. And this recipe. Apparently there are Canadian cookies similar to this that I’ve never had. I’ve upped this slightly by added a Bourbon maple frosting to it, which I used some Bourbon barrel aged maple syrup and some Bourbon. I’ve got to use up that Bourbon somehow (other than drinking it)! These cookies are pretty delicate and crumbly because of all the butter so be warned. I may try modifying it in the future to see if I can cut down on this. Enjoy!

Maple Shortbread Cookies

Cookies

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon

Directions:

I used a food processor but you can use a bowl and beater. Combine the butter, sugar, and cornstarch. Add in the maple flavoring. Gradually add in the flour and combine until smooth. Roll out into a lightly floured board and shape into a log, I make mine somewhat rectangle as that’s how I like my cookies. Note: You could make this into a disk and roll out to use a cookie cutter after it chills if you wanted. You’d need to re-refrigerate the dough again if you wanted to roll it out again after making the cut outs with the cookie cutter. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into 1/4 in slices if not using a cookie cutter.

Pre-heat your oven to 325°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the cookie 1″ apart from each other. Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges a light brown. Cool.

In a small bowl beat together the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and Bourbon. Spread over the cookies and let set until the glaze dries. Eat.

Lemon Cream Pie

A coworker of mine LOVES lemon. She’ll eat fresh lemon every day, pretty much. So she was having a bad week and I decided to make something lemon for her to cheer her up. I had a bunch of mascarpone cheese and some leftover lemon curd. So I decided to make her a lemon cream pie. This is one of those recipes that I completely made up, which I don’t do a whole lot. But it turned out perfect. Added bonus? No baking! Enjoy!

Lemon Cream Pie

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 5 oz package of graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see my recipe here)
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 pkg Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Put your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer. This will help with the whipped cream.

Melt the butter in a microwave dish, about 20 seconds at a time. I usually cover mine with a wet paper towel, just in case it “pops” and splatters the microwave. In a food processor crush the graham crackers until they are fine. Combine with the melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Press into a pie or square cake pan, whichever you prefer.

In a medium bowl, beat together the mascarpone cheese and lemon curd.

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and hot water. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Add into the cheese/curd mixture, beat until smooth. Pour into the pan.

Pull out your bowl and whisk from the freezer. Beat the heavy cream, starting out slow and increasing the speed as the cream thickens. When it has soft peaks slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Beat until firm peaks form. Spead on top of the lemon pie mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour and then enjoy it.

Bourbon Pumpkin cake

A few years ago I got a cookbook called Booze Cakes and this recipe is based off one from that book with a few modifications, of course. It’s perfect for the fall. It’s like a pumpkin pie, super moist. I was lucky enough to find a great Bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup at Costco. It enhanced the subtle Bourbon flavor. Enjoy!

Bourbon Pumpkin Cake

Cake:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup good maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin butter
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Frosting:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bourbon

Direction:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray 2 round cake pans or 1 rectangle 9″x13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray. I line mine with parchment paper and spray the paper. It really makes getting the cake(s) out super easy.

In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 mins. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until well combined.

In a medium bowl; sift together the flour, baking powder & soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add to the butter mixture with the milk in alternating additions until well combined. Add in the pumpkin, vanilla, bourbon and Grand Marnier. Pour into your cake pan(s) and cake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

For the glaze; bring the maple syrup, butter, pumpkin butter, and salt to a boil. Lower and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add in the bourbon and Grand Marnier and simmer for 1 more minute. Allow to cool.

One the cake(s) have cooled slightly, take a skewer and poke a ton of holes in the top. Pour the glaze over the cake and allow it to soak in. Finish cooling the cake all the way.

For the frosting, in a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add in the bourbon and beat until combined and smooth. Frost your cake and eat.

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

So this recipe is quite different than the last one I posted. I received this from a friend of a friend and thought I’d give it a try. I modified the original slightly and will probably tweak it a little more. Even though it’s a pie you make it in a spring form cake pan. Which worked really well for building it up but the graham cracker crust stuck to the bottom on me, even though it had a stick of butter in it! I’ll have to work on that part but overall it was delicious. Enjoy!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp real vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. Kahlua
  • 3 1.55 oz Hershey chocolate bars

Directions:

Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until pretty fine. Add in the brown sugar and melted butter. Press into the bottom, and slightly up the sides, of a 9″ spring form pan.

In a medium bowls beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add in 1 cup of the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Beat until smooth.

In another bowl, I put mine with the beaters in the freezer for 30 mins, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in the remaining powdered sugar and Kahlua, beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in 2/3 of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Once it’s all incorporated, pour it into the spring form pan.

In a small microwave proof bowl, nuke the chocolate bars for 30 seconds at a time until completely melted and smooth. Pour on top of the peanut butter mixture and smooth out. Pour the remaining whipped cream on top and smooth out. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

To get ideas for cooking, and to post to this blog, I frequently ask people I know what their favorite dessert is. Recently one of those was peanut butter. Since I’ve already made peanut butter cookies I decided to try coming up with something else. Lucky for me I had recently come across a recipe for peanut butter pie. Which was fine but I happen to like chocolate with my peanut butter so I added a layer to the top. It turned out pretty good. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

  • Pastry for a single-crust pie (see previous blog post)
  • 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 4 1 1/2 oz Hershey chocolate bars

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. On a lightly floured workspace roll out the dough and line a pie pan with it. Chill while making the rest of the pie.

In a large bowl, beat together the corn syrup, sugar, peanut butter and salt until creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 60-70 minutes. It will puff up, that’s fine. It will also fall once you take it out, that’s fine too. You want it to be almost set, so a knife inserted in the middle will come out almost clean.

Allow to cool. Break up the Hershey chocolate bars and microwave in a microwave proof bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between, until melted and smooth. Pour over the top of the cooled pie and smooth out. Eat.

Raspberry Swirl

This is one of the first recipes I ever made out of the Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook that my mom gave to me when I moved out on my own. It’s always been one of my favorites from that cookbook, it and the bread pudding recipe in it (I’ll post that recipe sometime in the future). The only change I’ve made is to add, surprise surprise, booze; Chamborg to be exact (with is a raspberry liqueur). This is perfect for the summer as it’s like an icecream version of cheesecake. Enjoy!

Raspberry Swirl

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 10 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbsp Chambord

Directions:

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and 1 tbsp sugar. Lightly press into a greased 11″ x 7″ pan.  Bake in a 375° oven for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

In a bowl beat the egg yolks at medium speed until light yellow and the consistency of mayo. Add in the cream cheese, sugar, and salt; beat until smooth.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Beat the heavy cream until it’s stiff. Fold in with the egg whites and then fold that into the cream cheese/egg yolk mixture.

Crush the raspberries (thaw if using frozen first). Add in the Chambord and stir. Gently swirl 1/2 through the cheese fillings. Spread on top of the graham cracker crust. Spoon the remaining raspberries on top. Freeze for at least 1 hour, longer is better. Let sit at room temp for  30 minutes before serving.

If you are going to store for longer than a couple of hours you should cover it with foil.

Fruit Custard Tart

I got this recipe from a series of Italian cooking classes that I was lucky enough to take several years ago. You can use all sorts of different fruits for this, whatever you have on hand. I used Granny Smith apple this time but I’ve made this with raspberries, blueberries, etc. I also like to “soak” my fruit in a little liquor, whatever I have that’s the same flavor. In this case, a little apple schnapps, but I’ve also used Calvados (apple brandy). Enjoy!

Fruit Custard Tart

Dough:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg

Custard:

  • 2 large apples, sliced
  • 3 eggs, 2 yokes and 1 whole
  • 2 tbsp. apple liquor
  • 1/2 tsp real vanilla
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add in the cubes of butter and pulse until combined. It should look like peas. Add in the egg and extract and pulse until it has gathered. Press into a 9 1/2″ tart pan.

Place the apples over the dough in the tart pan. In a medium bowl add the egg, egg yolks, sugar, flour and beat in the cream. Pour over the apples and bake for 1 hour or until set. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Apple Hand Pies

As my blog tag line states, these are my experiments in the kitchen. This recipe definitely falls into that category! It is still very much a work in progress. Most recipes I post I’m in the process of making them as I’m writing up the blog post. This one is not one of those. In fact, I made it twice before I posted this recipe. And it’s still not perfect. I’m not completely satisfied, even though it turned out tasty.

OK, so I do like a challenge. One of the bartenders at one of my favorite waterholes is vegan. She was commenting on the fact that so few people make desserts that are vegan; even though there are a lot of alternatives for butter, eggs, and other dairy products. I gave it some thought, looked in my favorite cookbook, and found a pie crust that used vegetable shortening instead of butter or lard. Growing up in Spokane, WA. there was a bakery close to where we lived and made hand pies. You know, sort of like what Hostess makes. You could buy, and I’m seriously dating myself here, 6 for $1.00 (or that’s what I remember anyway). I thought this would be perfect, I’d make apple hand pies!

One thing I did learn from this is that unlike traditional pie crusts, where keeping it cold is ideal for a perfect crust, this one does not work that way. The first time I made it I tried keeping it cold, it cracked at every opportunity. The second time I started out with it cold but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to work. So I warmed it up and the dough stopped cracking. Unfortunately, it also didn’t come out flakey either, it was somewhat dry. Hence it is a work in progress, I’ll keep working at it. But it is nice to have a vegan dessert in my repertoire. Enjoy!

Apple Hand Pies

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 to 5 tbsp ice-cold water

Filling:

  • 3 apples, I used granny smith
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided 1 and 2
  • 4 tbsp Calvados*
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Glaze:

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Calvados*

Directions:

To make the pie crust I use my Cuisinart food processor. Add in the flour and salt, pulse a couple of times to combines. Add in the vegetable shortening in little chunks. Pulse until it starts to look like coarse cornmeal or peas. Add in the water one tbsp at a time, pulsing to combine; until the dough holds together without cracking but isn’t moist. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes before you’re ready to roll it out.

For the filling; peel, core and dice the apples into small cubes. Heat a pan with the vegetable oil and add in the apple, lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar, and Calvados. Saute until the apples just start to soften. Add in the corn starch and cook for another minute or so, until it thickens. Cool.

Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/8″. I used a 6″ biscuit cutter to cut out the dough. Scoop 1 tbsp of the apple filling onto the dough, wet the edges, and fold it over. Crimp the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tbsp of oil.  Bake in a 375° oven for 25 minutes.

Combine the powdered sugar and Calvados, beat until smooth. Drizzle over the hand pies once they’ve cooled.

*You can substitute apple juice for the Calvados (which is apple brandy) if you like.

Tres Leches Cake

So this recipe was a request, no more like a demand, from someone I know. I decided, even though they were being a pain, to make it for them anyway. For once I didn’t really modify the recipe other than changing the frosting. The original called for a simple powdered sugar frosting. I figured, this being a Mexican cake, that it deserved a Dulce de Leche frosting instead. Turned out really good, according to those who got to eat it. Be warned, this cake is moist! Enjoy!

Tres Leches Cake

Cake:

  • 9 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp real vanilla, divided equally
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk

Frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup Dulce de leche
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Spray a 9×13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper and spay the paper. This makes taking the cake out super easy.

Take the separated eggs and using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on medium-high for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they form soft peaks. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the sugar until combined. Turn it back up to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form.

In another bowl, use your hand mixer to beat the egg yolks until light yellow and the consistency of mayo (about 5 minutes). Stir in 1 tbsp vanilla and mix to combine. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites and with a spatula gently fold in to combine. You don’t want to deflate the egg whites too much.

Shift together the flour and salt. Gently fold in the flour a little at a time, mixing until just combined. Again you don’t want to deflate the eggs too much, this is what is going to give your cake lift and make it light.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out moist but not wet. Allow it to cool. Using a platter or cutting board turn the cake out by placing it on top of the pan and flipping it over. Thanks to the parchment it should come right out but you may need a knife to loosen the sides. Remove the parchment and flip it back onto the baking pan. Use a skewer or fork and poke a lot of holes all over the cake. This will help it absorb the milk mixture.

In a bowl whisk together the sweetened condensed, evaporated, and whole milk with 1 tbsp of vanilla. Pour it all over the cake. It’s best to let it sit overnight to soak up all the milk.

In another bowl, beat together the butter and Dulce de Leche until smooth. Add in the vanilla and pinch of salt. Beat for another minute. With the mixer on low add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating until smooth. Frost the cake once all the sugar is added and enjoy!