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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: November 2010

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Pumpkin Tiramisu

It’s no secret that I love pumpkin.  When I found out Eric and I weren’t traveling home for Thanksgiving this year, I racked my brain trying to decide what dessert to make for Thanksgiving Day.  Normally, I would make a pumpkin pie or cheesecake, but there was no way I was about to do that for just the two of us.  We would have way too many leftovers, and having one of those in the house for too long would have been dangerous!  I have a hard time resisting anything with pumpkin, what can I say?  Looking through all the pumpkin recipes I have bookmarked, I came across one for tiramisu.  The recipe seemed simple enough to cut down, so that’s what I decided to make.

This tiramisu, like I mentioned in my 24×24 post, tastes similar to a pumpkin spice latte.  The original recipe did not have any espresso, but I decided to add some.  After all, I know I love the combination of pumpkin and espresso and figured it could only make this tiramisu better.  Plus, I love the espresso-soaked ladyfingers in traditional tiramisu.  This tiramisu turned out even better than I thought it would.  The pumpkin mixture is light and fluffy, and there’s just a hint of spice.  I actually prefer my pumpkin desserts with a bit more pumpkin spice and have reflected the changes in the recipe.  I had never tried amaretti cookies before making this, and I loved the crunch and almond flavor they added to this.  I used rum like the recipe called for, but I think this would also be great with Frangelico. Overall, this was a fantastic dessert.  It was simple to put together the night before and tasted fantastic after a heavy Thanksgiving meal.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Pumpkin Tiramisu
1/2 cup heavy cream, very cold
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
heaping 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
8 ladyfingers, halved crosswise
2 shots espresso (about 3 ounces)
1 teaspoon rum or Frangelico (optional)
4-5 amaretti cookies, crushed

Combine heavy cream and sugar in a medium bowl. Beat mixture with a hand mixer, gradually increasing speed from low to medium-high, until stiff peaks form. Add mascarpone, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and continue beating until mixture is smooth. Set aside.

If using rum, mix into espresso. Quickly dunk four ladyfinger halves into the espresso mixture, placing two halves each into two small glasses. Top each with a small amount (about 1/6) of filling. Repeat process twice more, using three ladyfinger halves each time, to end up with three layers of ladyfingers and three layers of filling. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, top each tiramisu with crushed amaretti and serve immediately.

Makes 2 generous servings

Heavily adapted from Epicurious

Bubble-Top Brioches

Bubble Top Brioche Rolls

If you saw my 24×24 post, Thanksgiving for Two, you know that Eric and I spent Thanksgiving without our families this year. I knew it would be tough, which is why I really wanted to do something special on Thanksgiving Day. I usually make yeast rolls for Thanksgiving, but I decided to go a different route this year. Since the stuffing recipe called for a loaf of brioche, I figured why not make the brioche from scratch and use half for the stuffing and half for rolls. Since getting Dorie Greenspan’s newest book (the day it came out, thanks to Eric), Around my French Table, I’ve been wanting to make these brioches.  I can tell you without a doubt that I will not be waiting for another special occasion to make them again.

Brioche is a rich egg bread. It’s intensely buttery, so much so that you won’t even need any to spread over it. The inside is incredibly soft, while the outside has a lovely golden crust. Eric and I both agreed that these are the best rolls I’ve ever made. The way they smelled was simply magical, and we both loved how springy they were when pulled apart. Had anyone else been in the kitchen with us, I’m quite certain they would have laughed at the ‘oohing’ sounds we made upon taking our first bites. We had to move these away from us while we finished cooking for fear we would finish them off before they made it to the table. We had just enough left over to make french toast the next morning, and it was by far the best french toast I’ve ever eaten (another recipe from Dorie’s book).  I’ll be making the brioches and the french toast again soon.

This dough does have to sit overnight, so make sure to leave time for that when you make it.

Bubble Top Brioche Rolls

Bubble-Top Brioches
1/4 cup warm (110º) whole milk
1/4 cup warm (110º) water
3 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water, for glaze

Combine the milk and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add a pinch of sugar, then sprinkle over the yeast. Allow to sit until yeast is dissolved. In a small bowl, whisk flour and salt together and set aside. Using a rubber spatula, stir the yeast until the mixture looks creamy. Add the flour mixture all at once, and turn the mixer on low to dampen the flour. Increase speed to medium-low and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The dough will be dry and messy at this point.

Turn mixer to low and add the beaten eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated before adding another. Beat in the remaining sugar, increase speed to medium and continue beating for about 3 minutes, or until the dough starts to come together. Reduce speed to low and add butter in 2-tablespoon pieces, beating for about 30 seconds before adding more. Once all the butter is incorporated, the dough will be very soft. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 8-10 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs the dough hook.

Transfer the dough to a large, lightly buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise until nearly doubled in size, at least an hour. The length of time this takes will depend on the warmth of your room. To deflate the dough, gently lift the edges and allow it to fall back in. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate, deflating the dough every 30 minutes for 2 hours. Press plastic against the surface of the dough and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to make rolls, butter 12 muffin cups. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces (a scale works wonders here). Cut each piece into thirds. Roll each piece on a lightly floured work surface until a smooth ball forms. Place 3 balls into each muffin tin. Cover with wax paper and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until almost doubled. The dough will rise above the muffin cups. Preheat the oven to 400º. Gently brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash, taking care not to let it drip between the dough and the sides of the muffin cups. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 23 minutes, covering brioches with a foil tent if they start browning too quickly. Transfer pan to cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing brioches. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 brioches

Adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan

Foodbuzz 24×24: Thanksgiving for Two

As most of you know, Eric and I moved from Florida to Virginia at the beginning of the year.  While we really like Virginia, it’s twice as far away from our family than Florida was.  Two fourteen hour car trips in less than a month just wasn’t feasible, so we decided to stay here for Thanksgiving and spend Christmas in Alabama.  I don’t know about you, but in my family, the Thanksgiving meal never varies from year to year.  While there’s nothing wrong with that, I figured why not change things up a bit?  After all, we would need something exciting to do on Thanksgiving Day.  I thought it would be fun to create a menu that had our favorite Thanksgiving dishes, but with a twist.

The Menu:
Appetizers – Capricho de Cabra cheese with sea salt crackers and Pan Fried Almonds with Thyme
Main Course – Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
Sides – Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with Walnuts and Lemon Vinaigrette, Chorizo Stuffing, Bubble Top Brioche Rolls
Wine – Veritas Cabernet Franc
Dessert – Pumpkin Tiramisu

Thanksgiving Table Thanksgiving table for two

Appetizers We made these almonds for Friendsgiving, a party we had before Thanksgiving. They disappeared in no time, so we decided to make more to snack on while cooking our Thanksgiving meal. We also had Capricho de Cabra, which is an incredibly smooth Spanish goat cheese. Perhaps our favorite discovery since moving to Virginia is its abundance of wine growing regions.  This medium-bodied cabernet franc from Veritas paired perfectly with our meal.

Sides These Bubble Top Brioche Rolls were the most delicious rolls I’ve ever made. They were so soft and buttery. I think the Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes were my favorite side dish ever. Eric, who normally isn’t even a fan of sweet potatoes, absolutely loved these. Instead of a heavy green bean casserole, I opted to make a lighter green bean dish. These are tossed in a lemon vinaigrette and topped with toasted walnuts.

Turkey Eric said this was the best roasted turkey he’s ever had, but my dad’s fried turkey is still his favorite. I loved the way the herbs looked when the turkey breasts were cut and how their flavors really seeped into the turkey. The chorizo and brioche stuffing was a nice change from traditional stuffing. Since I was already making brioche rolls, I used half the dough to make a loaf to use in the stuffing.

Pumpkin Tiramisu This pumpkin tiramisu tasted sort of like a pumpkin spice latte. The original recipe called for the ladyfingers to be brushed with rum, but I couldn’t resist drowning them in espresso.

RabbIt took about 2 seconds for Rabb to steal my seat once I got up to start cleaning.

Abby We don’t normally give Abby any type of human food, but I couldn’t resist the cute face she was making while Eric was carving the turkey. Once we finished our dinner, I got a tiny piece of turkey to give her. She was quite willing to do tricks for it, too.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her roll over so quickly!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I’ll be posting these recipes soon.  :)

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin rolls are a classic Thanksgiving dessert for many people, but not in my family.  I had never tried one until last weekend when I decided to make one myself.  I’d like to tell you I’m not sure why I waited so long to try making a pumpkin roll, but that wouldn’t be true.  Visions of torn cake plagued me every time I considered making one, and I was just sure I would break the cake while rolling it.  I’m not sure why I thought that, especially considering I’ve done cooking-related things that are much, much more difficult than rolling a cake.  It seems pretty ridiculous to have ever thought that now that I’ve made one.  If you’re worried about it like I was, don’t be.  This cake was a breeze to roll up.  In fact, I rolled this one while talking to my sister on the phone.  The truth is, this is one of those desserts that looks harder to make than it actually is.

If pumpkin pie’s not your thing, this might be just the dessert you’re looking for.  The cake is fragrant and filled with the wonderful flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon and clove.  Because it’s a sponge cake, it’s incredibly moist.  The cream cheese filling is sweetened, but it still has a slightly tangy taste, as well.  It goes perfectly with the pumpkin cake (think pumpkin cream cheese muffins, but in dessert form).  Eric and I each had a slice the night I made this, and I kept an extra slice when he took the rest of it to work.  It’s a good thing, too, because I very well could have eaten several slices of this!  I like pumpkin pie, but this cake has definitely won me over.  If you’re still looking for a Thanksgiving dessert, this one can be made in next to no time and will taste delicious even after a day in the refrigerator.

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe, tasty and fun-filled Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Roll
For the cake:
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
For the filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
additional powdered sugar for decoration (optional)

Preheat oven to 375º. Butter a 10×15 jelly roll pan and line with wax paper. Butter and flour paper and set pan aside. Lay a tea towel (or other thin, cotton towel) on the counter and sift powdered sugar over. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. In a medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar on medium-low speed until mixture is thick and lighter in color. Beat in pumpkin until combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture. Pour batter onto prepared pan and spread evenly, tapping the pan on the counter as needed to release any air bubbles. If desired, sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Bake cake for 11-15 minutes, or until the top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately turn cake onto prepared tea towel. Carefully remove wax paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting at the narrow end of the cake. Place on a wire rack and cool completely. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla together on medium-low speed, either in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer. Increase speed to medium-high and continue beating until filling is smooth. Unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled cake, spreading just barely to the edges. Reroll cake and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving.

Serves 10

Adapted from Very Best Baking

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought I’d share a super simple recipe that might come in handy this week.  Pumpkin spice cream cheese is my new favorite way to enjoy my breakfast bagel.  You can make this now to ensure you have something quick and easy for breakfast on Thanksgiving Day.  After all, cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal takes a good bit of time.  Since it doesn’t take much effort to slather cream cheese on a bagel, you can eat this even if you’re pushed for time.  It would also make a fantastic early morning breakfast for Black Friday.

This cream cheese reminds me so much of pumpkin cheesecake that it almost feels sinful to eat it on a bagel. While it probably cancels out the calories I save from putting it on a whole-wheat bagel thin, it’s still not an unhealthy breakfast.  If bagels aren’t your thing, it also tastes fantastic with sliced apples, and I bet it would be great with graham crackers, too.  Sure, you could certainly buy pumpkin cream cheese, but I can almost guarantee you it won’t taste as good as this.  Plus, you might not even need to make a trip to the store for the ingredients.  I made this on a whim one day because I already had all the ingredients on hand.

Anyone out there have any fun day-after-Thanksgiving traditions?  Since we’re not going “home” for Thanksgiving, we’re not sure what to do Friday.  Shopping or not, we’ll definitely be enjoying this for breakfast on Friday morning!

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese, brown sugar and syrup in a small bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until creamy. Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla and continue beating until smooth. Refrigerate for one hour to allow flavors to meld. Store in an airtight container up to one week.

Adapted from Pinch My Salt