Friday, October 28, 2011

Apple Cider Harvest Cookies

My son, Aden, and I visited an orchard this past week and at the end of the tour the lovely lady handed out cookies and cider. The crowd got quiet and then came the "OH yum!" and the "Oh my goodness!" comments. As I took a bite, I immediately chimed in with the group, adding my own admiration for the small taste of fall. It was a perfect way to end a great tour with my little guy... along with the smile on his face that came from his enjoyment of the day and the cookie!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Just under 1/2 cup olive oil (Original recipe used crisco, I always use Olive oil but a bit less)
1 1/3 brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups unbleached flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup quick oats
1 cup of finely chopped unpeeled apples
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup of cider

Cream olive oil, sugar, egg and cider. Mix dry ingredients and add to the mixer. Fold in apples and raisins. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Depending on oven and cookie size. The cookie will still look a bit wet and I think it's from the olive oil.

Learning that the bag would weigh as much as him after it was filled with apples!!!

Glaring sunshine! But such a lovely day with my little love!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maple Glazed Walnuts and Almonds

There is a joy of homemade gifts. The thoughts of that person while you are creating something just for them. The joy of seeing them receive it with excitement. This will be one going on my list of gifting foods this coming Christmas season. Enjoy the snack of all snacks! Sweet or salty craving and this will cure it! And anyone you bless with this as a gift will think fondly of you as they enjoy your gift.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
3 cups total of Almonds and Walnuts (although the walnuts were favored by us)
1 egg (white only)
1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Shake of salt

Whip the egg whites for a minute then stream in the vanilla while whipping. When you see them thickening slowly stream in the maple syrup. Add in the cinnamon and salt. Stir in the the nuts and coat very well.

Bake at 300 for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool. Break apart the clumps. Can be served as is. I re-placed the cooled nuts into an oven heated to 285 degrees for 30 minutes because the coating wasn't as dry as I wanted it. So that is an option if you feel that way too. Play with all different kinds of options with these. If you don't like maplA spicy savory option would be good too!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Souffle

 It was Sunday and game time. My sister and I were planning on settling in with some delicious food and being that our new obsession at our favorite little lunch spot was the Yam Souffle, we were set out to enjoy the new favorite by re-creating it ourselves. Although this is technically a side kick, it became very clear that, for her and I at least, this was the main component of our meal! All other items were merely side dishes! That included the lemony Chicken Picatta we also slaved over!
A light and soft fall addition to your meal which will comfort you from the inside out.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1 small can of pumpkin
1 large can of sweet potatoes (or fresh if you want to bake them ahead of time)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of milk
2 tsp of cinnamon
dash of salt
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/2 stick of butter
mini marshmallows
(This can be made with all pumpkin or all sweet potatoes. We just used both because we had it. Just try for 3 cups or a little more of whatever you decide)
Beat all ingredients until extremely smooth. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Now if you're me, it's perfect and done. But if you're my sister, then it needs toasted marshmallows on top. Set oven to low broil. Top with mini marshmallows and broil for 1 minute.




We did a high five together and grabbed our plates, but if you're by yourself, a contented sigh will do!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Ginger Snap Crust

Fall is such a beautiful time of year. It's a time for sweaters, fireplaces, cozy candles and pumpkin! This cheesecake is sure to please and the perfect way to treat yourself to a luxurious dessert. It will fill you with the comforting feeling of fall. And I must almost insist that homemade whipped cream be made, plopped on top and sprinkled with cinnamon!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients for the crust:
1 1/2 cups of ground ginger snaps
1/2 stick of butter melted

4 packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup of pumpkin
3 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1 TBSP vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBSP unlbeached flour
Mix crust ingredients together and press into the bottom of a spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside. REDUCE OVEN TO 300 degrees.

While the crust is baking whip the cream cheese on high speed for 2-3 minutes. Seriously. Walk away. Scrape down sides and bottom of mixer. Add the sugar and mix on high for another minute. Mixture will thin out and be very fluffy and smooth. Mix in the pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs, one at a time. With the mixer on a lower speed, mix in the pumpkin pie spice, salt and lastly, the flour. Remove from mixer and stir with a spatula to remove any cream cheese from the bottom and sides of bowl. Pour into the crust. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and do not open door. Let it sit in the oven for 2 hours. Crack the oven door for 10-15 minutes. Then remove. Carefully, without jossling the cheesecake very much, place immediately into the refrigerator and chill for several hours. This will set the cheesecake and will look beautiful for serving.

Please, oh please, serve with whipped cream. Simply beat heavy whipping cream with 3 TBSP powdered sugar. Begin the mixer on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated then mix on high speed until whipped cream magically and beautifully appears before your eyes! This will make enough whipped cream for a crowd. If you are only eating a few pieces at a time simply do 1/2 cup or so of cream and 1 TBSP of powdered sugar.

*I baked individual cheesecake cupcakes in muffin tins. Baked them for 23 minutes. Turned off the oven and let them sit for the 2 hours.*