We all have those moments that make Christmas morning special. For some, it’s smelling fresh cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. For others, it’s hearing classic Christmas carols as the gift giving begins. In my childhood, it was frantically searching through black trash bags of discarded wrapping paper trying to find the one piece of a toy you accidentally threw out.
On a more serious note, my mom is an excellent baker and always prepared at least six or seven different types of Christmas cookies every year. I don’t know how she did it! This year I got one done, next year I’ll try for two. Baby steps.
-2 3/4 cups flour -1 teaspoon baking soda -1/2 teaspoon baking powder -1 cup butter, softened -1 1/2 cups white sugar -1 egg -1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 375. Combine the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
2. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mix. Roll rounded teaspoons into dough balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (You really need these to be dough balls, they flatten out quite a bit when baking so if they aren’t firmly round you’ll end up with super thin and flat crisps.)
3. Bake for 9 minutes, then let stand for 2 minutes before removing from pan.
There’s a few iconic names in the culinary world: Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay….and Ina Garten. If you’ve ever watched Ina’s show on Food Network Barefoot Contessa you’ll see she’s the epitome of The Hamptons but damn, girl doesn’t shy away from butter or calories so she’s OK in my book.
This Ina recipe is such a flavorful breakfast, and in her words “How easy is that?”… Yes, it’s easy too! I typically serve this with bacon and biscuits. Ina would probably say serve this with “good bacon” which I’m assuming means go to your closest local farm and talk to the farmer about sourcing bacon from a pig that’s out at pasture. But between you and me, I’m OK with using Smithfield here.
-1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme -1/4 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary -1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley -1/4 teaspoon garlic powder -1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan -6 eggs -2 tablespoons heavy cream (or light cream is OK too) -1 tablespoon butter -salt and pepper
Now, there are two ways to do this. Refer to Ina’s recipe if you want to cook each egg in individual dishes, my version bakes them all together and you portion out the eggs after they’re cooked.
1. Heat the broiler. In a pie pan, put the butter and cream, place under broiler for about 3 minutes then remove. Meanwhile, mix together the thyme, garlic powder, parsley, rosemary, and salt and pepper.
2. Crack the 6 eggs into the pie pan, being careful not to break the yolks and trying to keep each yolk evenly spaced so it’s easier to portion out when serving (meaning so no one is getting a helping of 4 yolks while someone winds up with nothin’ but egg white). Sprinkle the herb mixture over top then the Parmesan cheese. Return to broiler and cook for 7-8 minutes until the whites are cooked.
How early is too early to start with the pumpkin recipes?
Answer, it’s never too early. Ok, well maybe August is a little too early, but we’re beyond Labor day now, school has started, we’ve had at least one day where I could leave the windows open and didn’t need the air conditioner. It’s officially time for the pumpkin recipes!
What better way to begin than with a Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe? This is the epitome of Fall. This is the pie you really only eat this time of the year. Sure, some may argue that Apple Pie is an equal contender in the Fall Pies, but I challenge that idea. Why? Well, Apple Pie you eat at other times of the year too. Apple Pie is even considered a summer pie, and it’s on menus throughout the year. You definitely eat Apple Pie in Spring, Summer, and Winter. But not Pumpkin Pie. I can say I’ve never ever made a Pumpkin Pie outside of September, October, and November. Never. Bring a Pumpkin Pie to your 4th of July party and see how many funny looks you get.
See? That’s why Pumpkin Pie is the epitome of Fall.
While I’m posting the recipe below so you can read it before you make it, full disclosure is this the pumpkin pie recipe on the can of Libby’s Pumpkin.
I’ve eaten a lot of pumpkin pies, and I absolutely love this recipe the best. I find the spice blend to be the perfect balance of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. It has that perfect dense texture not too heavy and not too airy. This is a crowd pleasing recipe that is so easy you can make it several times this Fall.
Now, let’s talk about this whipped cream.
You read right, this is coconut whipped cream and it’s the perfect topper for a classic pumpkin pie.
If’ you’ve never made you own whipped cream, it’s incredible easy and it only takes three ingredients and needing a handheld or stand mixer. You’ll want to use powdered sugar for the sweetener, while you may be able to get away with using regular sugar a problem can arise where the granules don’t dissolve all the way and you can end up with a coarse or grainy texture. No one wants that in their whipped cream! So use the powdered sugar for a smooth texture.
The coconut whipped cream has a subtle coconut flavor. This is because you don’t want to coconut flavor of the whipped cream to overpower the pumpkin pie flavor. The pumpkin pie is the star of this show, and the coconut whipped cream is the supporting star. I think you’ll love this combination, I plan on putting this coconut whipped cream on everything I can.
Classic Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream is a perfectly spiced pumpkin pie topped with a cool coconut whipped cream. A balanced taste of sweet and savory, the coconut whipped cream adds a subtle hint of coconut that is a welcomed change from a traditional whipped cream.
For the Pumpkin Pie -1 refrigerated pie crust -1 15oz can Libby’s Pumpkin -3/4 cup white sugar -1/2 teaspoon salt -1 teaspoon ground cinnamon -1/2 teaspoon ground ginger -1/4 teaspoon ground cloves -2 eggs -1 12oz can Carnation evaporated milk
For the Coconut Whipped Cream
-1 cup heavy whipping cream
-1 teaspoon coconut extract
-1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1. Heat oven to 425. Place your pie crust into your 9″ pie dish, prick the bottom of the shell several times, then prebake for 5 minutes.
2. In one bowl, mix the sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. In another larger bowl, beat the eggs then stir in the pumpkin and the sugar & spice mixture. Slowly stir in the evaporated milk.
3. Pour into the prebaked pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool at least 2 hours. Keep leftovers refrigerated.
4. While the pumpkin pie is baking, make the coconut whipped cream. In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat on medium speed the heavy cream, the coconut extract, and the powdered sugar for 2 minutes. Keep in the fridge so it’s nice and cool when you’re ready to serve!
Use powdered sugar for the whipped cream, using granulated white sugar can cause grainy whipped cream.
There are some things that just belong in pairs. Peanut butter & Jelly. Wine & Cheese. Chips & Salsa. And now I give you Chocolate Chip Cookies & Brownies.
No longer do you need to choose between these two favorite desserts. With a moist first layer of brownie and a top layer of golden brown chocolate chip cookie, you’ll really want a glass of ice cold milk handy.
-1 stick of butter, room temperature -1/2 cup white sugar -1/4 cup dark brown sugar -1 egg -1/2 teaspoon vanilla -1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour -1/2 teaspoon baking soda -1/2 teaspoon salt -1 cup of chocolate chips -1 box brownie mix and the ingredients needed for the mix
1. Heat oven to 350.
2. In a medium bowl cream together both sugars and the butter. Add vanilla and egg and cream until smooth. Stir in all the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
3. Prepare the brownies according to the instructions on the box. Pour brownie batter into 9×9 baking dish. Take the cookie dough an drop over batter in pieces until you’ve used all the dough. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Nothing says ‘Fall’ quite like a freshly baked apple pie.
Admittedly my childhood has turned me into an apple pie snob. My mom’s go-to recipe was from the Joy of Cooking and once you’ve tried this, no other pie comes close. I attribute this to slicing the apples thin, this doesn’t use large chunky apple pieces. By slicing them thin, each forkful is a dense bite of layered apples perfectly covered in sweet and cinnamony goodness. The finishing touch on this is a family trick from a great-great-aunt, brush the top crust with milk for that mouth-watering golden brown finish.
-1 package Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust
-6 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced thin
-1/2 cup white sugar
-2/3 cup dark brown sugar
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon cornstarch
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 tablespoon butter, cubed
-1/2 tablespoon milk
-cinnamon and sugar for topping
1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line the bottom pie dish with the first pie crust. Trim the edges slightly for an even edge.
2. In a bowl, mix the apple slices, white sugar, and brown sugar. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg then pour into apples and stir to combine. Dump into pie shell. Sprinkle the cubed butter over top the apples.
3. Top the pie with the top crust, seal and flute the edges, trim any that is too much excess. Lightly brush the top crust with the milk (as much as you need, you might not use the whole 1/2 tablespoon). Then take additional white sugar and cinnamon and generously sprinkle over the crust. Lastly, cut several vent holes.
4. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350 and bake 40 minutes.
Unless you’ve the movie an An American Tail, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Long story short it’s a cartoon mouse that pronounces “r’s” as “w’s”.
But as we have entered October, I can’t help of think of that phrase as we release the secret weapon of Fall: pumpkin!
As I strolled up the “not big enough for 2 shopping carts” aisle of my local Shop Rite I grabbed several cans of pumpkin in preparation for this Fall season, and now that it is universally acceptable to burn apple spice candles and cook with pumpkin, I present to you Pumpkin Chocolate Oatmeal Bites.
These are best as a snack with coffee or a little bite for breakfast. These aren’t a rich, decadent dessert more of a light coffee treat. I added the cinnamon sugar mixture over top, you can leave it off but I felt without that they were tasting a little low on the sweet meter.
-2 cups old fashioned oats -1/3 cup packed brown sugar -1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder -1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice -1/4 teaspoon salt -1 egg white -1 egg -3/4 cup milk -1/2 cup canned pumpkin -1/2 teaspoon vanilla -1/2 cup chocolate chips -1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Heat the oven to 350 and grease a mini muffin tin.
2. Combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg white, egg, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla. Add these wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
4. Spoon into mini muffin tins, filling them to the top. Bake for 15 minutes.
I’m all about the snacks. You name it…tapas, appetizers, dips, hors d’oeuvres, they are all my weakness. I much prefer to have an assortment of light bites rather than a full dinner, but in a house with two men ages 41 and 17 that doesn’t necessarily always cut it at dinner time. But on the weekends or during Sunday game time I can indulge my affinity for assorted snacks.
So I love a good dip. And since I love a good dip, I’m pretty picky about the chip that gets paired with said dip. I have a few brands I’m particularly fond of, but occasionally I’ll opt to make my own oven baked tortilla chips. I love these because I don’t just make a plain chip, these get seasoned and are super flavorful and pair really nice with a cool dip. You can leave the seasonings off and just salt them if you’re looking for a basic chip. The amount of seasoning really varies to what your taste is, I recommend making one batch first, trying them, and seeing if you’ve nailed it the first time or if you need to increase of decrease the quantities.
Each flour tortilla will yield 8 chips -8 flour tortillas (do not use corn, I find they become chewy not crunchy!) -vegetable oil -garlic powder -onion powder -paprika -sea salt (you can use regular table salt, but I find the ground sea salt texture is best) -cayenne pepper (optional)
1. Turn your oven to broil on high. 2. Poke each tortilla several times with a fork. Brush each tortilla with about 1/2 teaspoon of oil enough to moisten the the whole tortilla but you don’t want to have pools of oil on top. Sprinkle each tortilla with your desired amount of seasonings. I typically do 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder and salt, then a dash of the onion powder and paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Certainly at more cayenne if you want a spicy chip. With a pizza cutter, cut into 8 triangles.
3. These are rapid cook chips since it’s on broil, it helps to make a big batch in a matter of minutes, but it means you REALLY gotta watch these and time them as they are broiling. The difference between deliciously crispy chips and incinerated pieces of black triangles is about 2 seconds. So, broil each batch for 1 minute and 30 seconds. That’s it, if your broiler isn’t as strong as the one in my oven you can go a few more seconds until they are golden browned and crispy. If you prefer a slower cook, you can bake at 350 for 7 minutes, flip and cook another 7-8 minutes.
This past weekend marked the sweet finish to a busy, yet amazing summer! For those of you that don’t know, I married my husband on June 18. As this was the second marriage for both of us, we opted for a very small and intimate wedding. I quickly found out that even a wedding dubbed “small and intimate” carries the same nerves and stress as a 100+ person event! But even with all the jitters, last minute stresses, and hours and hours of projects I would want to live this day over and over again.
So I mentioned 2 weddings this summer. My older brother just tied the knot this past weekend! The weather decided to be quite mischievous. All week the forecast showed the wedding day as being the only day of the week it would rain. Now don’t start with the “It’s good luck if it rains on your wedding!”. No bride wants a rainy day. None! Anyway, as the hours passed and we got closer and closer to ‘go time’, the rain completely disappeared from the forecast and the sun made a spectacular appearance setting just behind the ceremony site. Many hors d’oeuvres and cocktails later the evening was deemed a huge success.
Now onto the yummy part.
These blueberry muffins are epic. The unique finish to these is that they aren’t topped with your plain ole cinnamon + sugar, Oh no. These get topped with nutmeg + sugar. Trust me, it makes a huge difference.
Muffins -2 cups flour -2 teaspoons baking powder -1/2 teaspoon salt -1/2 cup butter, slightly softened -1 cup sugar -2 eggs -1 teaspoon vanilla -1/2 cup milk -2 cups fresh blueberries
Topping -1 tablespoon sugar -1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1. Heat oven to 375. Prepare your muffin tins by greasing and sprinkling with flour, do not use liners!
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter, then beat in the sugar, then the eggs, then the vanilla. Add in the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the milk. Lastly, stir in the blueberries.
3. Fill each muffin tin to the top. Mix together the sugar and nutmeg and sprinkle over each muffin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the muffin tins for 30 minutes before removing.