Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Bread (told you I'd come back to it)

Here's the pumpkin bread I leap frogged and told you I'd come back to.  AND, here's the confession about the pumpkin bread.  This is actually the 2nd time I've made it recently.  The first time it got all enjoyed away before I could photograph it so you didn't get to see it.  Please forgive me, unless you're one of the people who enjoyed it away.

The first time I made it without walnuts (because I forgot to buy them, eek.)  The second time I remembered!  Yay.  I liked it much better with the walnuts.  I tend to like a little crunch in my fruity breads.  The recipe called for pumpkin pie spice but it was EXPENSIVE.  I stood there contemplating the $6 for the tiny container and then I decided to read the ingredients.  It's all the spices that were going into it anyways so I just added an extra "pinch" of each.

Enough talk, here's some pictures.  I wish the internet had scratch and sniff or lick and taste or something fun like that.  Until then you'll just have to go with look and lust.  Enjoy.

 1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup water
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon plus a pinch cinnamon
1 teaspoon plus a pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch ginger
1 cup toasted walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Arrange walnuts in single layer on a baking sheet and toast, turning once, for about 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Meanwhile, grease two 9x5" loaf pans with butter.

2.  Allow walnuts to cool.

3.  Mix pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, butter, water, brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.  

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and walnuts.  Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.  Pour into prepared pans.

5.  Bake 50 minutes to one hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Desserts

Ok, I'm leapfrogging the pumpkin bread I made to tell you about Thanksgiving.  I'll come back to the pumpkin bread, I promise.

Hubby's mom has become addicted to my (Shirley's) chocolate chip cookies.  I feel safe saying that if I'd showed up to Thanksgiving dinner without them SHE would have divorced me on the spot.  I made about 4 dozen and set a dozen aside for her.  I got a good laugh every time I heard her tell someone to "try the cookies, the ones with opium in them."  Haha, like I said, she's addicted.

Hubby's aunt requested Banana Bread Pudding.  I wasn't quite sure how to handle it since I couldn't cook it on site and it's amazing served warm but only 'eh' served cold.  I baked it LATE the night before to minimize the time between baking and serving as much as possible.  I wrapped it in foil and toted it along.  Then we just covered the top with foil to warm it up in the oven for 15 minutes.  (I cheated and rewarmed the rum sauce in the microwave.)  I have to be honest and say that the reheating dried it out a little.  This is absolutely something that should be served immediately on coming out of the oven. 

Finally, I made Chocolate Almond Toffee.  Sadly (hahahaha), it didn't all fit in the box I was using to bring it to Houston so some of it is here.  It went pretty quick.  Toffee is just one of those candies that you take a bite of and then you pick up another piece and have another bite.  You continue to have "just one more bite" until it's all gone.  It's just the nature of toffee to be amazing.

Aside from the 3 dishes I brought there were 2 tables of desserts!  Everything I tried was delicious.  There were turkeys prepared 3 ways.  I had smoked turkey and I'm sold!  Lots and lots and lots of other food and everything was great.  It's a good thing there was so much food because there were a good 50 people and lots of us stuck around for a leftover dinner.

I also attained a new, beautiful, necklace.  My little cousin (well, hubby's little cousin) Lizzy will be 18 all too soon.  I met her 2 weeks before she turned 3 and now she's just under 2 weeks from 18.  Wow, I'm getting old!  ANYHOW, she and a friend have been making jewelry.  Necklaces and bracelets and now they're starting to make rings.  Lizzy brought a bunch of necklaces to see if any of the aunts or cousins wanted to buy anything.  I was glancing over them.  Some weren't my personality and others were.  She had a good variety available and all of them were pretty and well made.  Then I saw it.  A dragonfly necklace with black and grey toned beads.  Seriously, it's as if she made it for me.  When she gets her Etsy store up I'll have to let you know. 

This week I'll be making my birthday cake .... a devil's food with cream cheese frosting.  I probably should try to make a loaf of bread as well.  Not sure what kind of bread I'll make.  I'll have 4 - 6 family members in town so I feel like I should probably feed them.  People appreciate eating, right?  Hm?  Maybe I should make something else too.  I do need to find a "new" thing to make for my other blog.  Any ideas?



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies Two Ways

My husband doesn't like raisins in food.  I'm not sure if he's broken or if this is acceptable.  Whatever the case may be I am always required to make my oatmeal cookies raisin free.  This time my sister needed to bring a large quantity of oatmeal cookies to work so we made two batches, one with chocolate chips (for the broken people) and one with raisins.  YAY RAISINS!

The recipe called for the raisins to be soaked in very hot water for 10 minutes so that they didn't steal moisture from the cookies.  I'd never really considered that would be an issue but we went with it.  Of course, being the daughter's of our mother, we added a little rum to the hot water.  Yep, we love rum.  With oatmeal, cinnamon, walnuts and rum soaked raisins (or chocolate chips .... for the broken people) these cookies were delicious.  Sis said her co-workers were asking for the recipe.

Since this is my second EXTREMELY successful cookie from Shirley O Corriher (out of the two I've tried) I'm a little inspired to work my way through the cookie section of Bake Wise.  What can I say?  She's a genius!

disclaimer:  i do not actually believe that raisin haters are broken.  they're just .... raisin haters.

Monday, November 22, 2010

For Loki and Jeff

I made THESE yesterday for some friends and two requested the recipe.  Loki, Jeff, here ya go.  I hope you enjoy them.

Cookie Bars With Jam Filling

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup earth balance soy free natural buttery spread, cold
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup jam
heaping 1/2 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 F and line a 12x8 (or 13x9) baking dish with parchment.  Whisk flour and baking powder in a large bowl, add sugars and mix well.  Add the "butter" and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Stir in the oats.  Press 3/4 of the mixture evenly into bottom of baking dish.  Bake for 10 minutes.

While that bakes stir almonds into remaining mix. 

Allow bottom layer to cool a few minutes and then spread on jam.  Sprinkle on chips.  Sprinkle on remaining mix with almonds and gently press down.  Bake for an additional 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool  in the dish then lift out parchment and cut into slices.  Enjoy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oh, By The Way .....

... they make really good ice cream sandwiches too!

cookies from Chocolate Chip Heaven post with Blue Bell Butter Pecan ice cream

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chocolate Chip Heaven

If you could all please take out your copies of Bake Wise, turn to page 375 and bask in chocolate chip heaven!  I really almost wish these cookies weren't so good because then I might not have eaten so many of them all by myself.  My middle liddle sister must have eaten at least a cup of dough (with sprinkles).

Usually I tell you what I'd like to change about a recipe.  This time I have nothing.  Shirley's extremely scientific method of baking produces absolutely perfect chocolate chip cookies (for those of us who aren't allergic to nuts.)  I enjoyed these so much that I'm making another batch tonight for a weekend trip to my in-law's.  Hopefully they'll enjoy them as much as we did!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Grenadine Cake Balls

Grenadine cake balls were the third and final treat from Halloween party.  For once, I didn't include liquor.  Hubby and I thought it best to offer a virgin option for those who wanted it.

To make these chop up 10 maraschino cherries in a blender, not too fine.  Add cherries to the batter for a 6" yellow cake and bake as directed.  Once the cake cools crumble it up and then add grenadine.  I think I added about 4 teaspoons.  Form mixture into balls and freeze.  Melt chocolate or candy coating.  Dip frozen balls into coating and dry on parchment paper.