Pumpkin Pie with a Twist

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Today for Thanksgiving I made a pumpkin pie, with a twist! I hope you will try this. My family raved over it and it is all gone. After all what would the holidays be without pumpkin pie? This one tastes like the traditional favorite, but includes few special extra ingredients.

Classic Pumpkin Pie with a Twist


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup cold Butter

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 to 4 tablespoons ice water


1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)

2 large eggs

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground dried ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 tsp. finely grated and minced Orange zest

Preheat oven to 425°F. Mix together crust dry ingredients. Cut shortening and butter into dry ingredients ( bowl should be full of small clumps, when finished). Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture holds together. Use a rolling pin to roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1 1/4 times the size of a 8-inch pie pan. Place dough in pan and finish edges.

Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a whisk or electric mixer until well blended. Pour filling into crust and bake for 15minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool and refrigerate. Top with whipped cream, if desired, for serving.
Serves 8

Christmas cookies

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I have a real weakness for anything Raspberry, so I was thinking about making some Raspberry shortbread cookies. Sandwich cookies are about contrasts. Whether that means a contrast in flavors and/or textures. With these Raspberry White Chocolate Shortbread the contrast in flavors is wonderful; two buttery sweet cookies paired with a tangy sweet filling.

Shortbread ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup  powdered  sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1/4 - 1/2 cup of raspberry jam or homemade raspberry preserves
2 ounces white chocolate, grated

Homemade Raspberry Preserves:

2 cups  frozen raspberries, unsweetened
1/4 cup  granulated white sugar


In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using a 2 to 3 inch cookie cutter  cut out the dough. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a smaller cookie cutter  to cut out the centers of half of the cookies on the baking sheet. (You will be sandwiching two cookies together and there will be a small 'window or cut out' in the top cookie so you can see the jam underneath.) Place the unbaked cookies, on the baking sheet, in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

To Assemble Cookies: Place the cookies with the cut-outs on a wire rack and dust the tops with the confectioners' sugar.

On the bottom surface of the full cookie (top of cookie will face out) spread with about a 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Sprinkle with a little grated white chocolate. Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together, making sure not to smudge the confectioners' sugar. Using a small spoon, fill the cut-out with a little more jam.

The holidays have arrived

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The turkey has been cooked, and the pis are baked, now it's time to start thinking about Christmas cookies. I have a few treats in store for you this holiday season. To start off with I am going to share a new favorite with you. One thing that's nice about this recipe is that you can make the dough ahead of time and take it out, slice it, and bake it as needed.
Savory Sesame Herb Shortbread Cookies


1 c white flour

1/4 c whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tbls sugar

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried rosemary

1/4 tsp dried sage

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 c  butter  at room temperature

2 Tbs olive oil

sesame seeds


In a bowl, combine dry ingredients (except sesame seeds). Add butter and oil, and use a fork to cut the butter into the dough until it is mixed thoroughly and there are no recognizable butter clumps left.

Form dough into thin little logs (you may need to refrigerate dough for a bit to make it easier to handle), and roll in sesame seeds. Freeze dough for 30 min (or until needed).

Using a sharp knife, slice the log into ½-inch thick discs. Bake on parchment paper at 350° F for about 20 minutes or until the edges start to brown.

Caramel DeLite

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for greasing

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded coconut, toasted, plus more for garnish

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dulce de leche, warmed (available in the dessert-topping section)

1 quart coconut ice cream, vanilla, or any of you favorites will do.


1.Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter.

2.Pulse the flour, 1/4 cup coconut, brown sugar and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand with pea-sized pieces, about 5 times. Put 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture in each muffin cup and press to make even rounds. Bake until the crusts are golden, about 20 minutes.

3.Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate evenly over each crust. Turn off the oven; return the pan to the oven to melt the chocolate, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle each crust with 1 tablespoon of the remaining coconut. Cool slightly, then freeze crusts in the pan until set, about 15 minutes.

4.With a thin spatula, gently remove each crust from the muffin pan. Top with a small scoop of coconut ice cream, drizzle with dulce de leche and garnish with more coconut.

Makes 12 servings.

Homemade savory shortbread cookies

Thyme, lemon, and sea-salt shortbread is crisp and buttery, while blue cheese pecan crackers are rich and addictive. I got this one from  Epicurious . I hope you enjoy this one.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt


1.Stir the flour, salt, lemon peel, and thyme together in a medium bowl.

2.With your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until a coarse, crumbly mixture forms.

3.Blend the lightly beaten egg, egg yolks, and water together. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the egg mixture for brushing.

4.Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the remaining egg mixture and blend together with your hands without kneading the dough together; the dough will look a bit crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough together once or twice, just until it sticks together. Press the dough into a 1-inch disc, wrap in plastic film, and refrigerate until firm, about 1/2 hour.

5.Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place it on a floured work surface.

6.Press the dough into a 6-by-5-inch rectangle. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a larger 10-by-7-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough in half, forming two 5-by-7-inch pieces. Using a pizza wheel or sharp paring knife, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

7.Carefully place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet leaving a little room between each cookie. Brush the tops with the reserved egg mixture and sprinkle a little coarse sea salt on top. Gently press the salt into the surface of each cookie so it does not fall off.

8.Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and serve warm or at room temperature. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Makes 26 cookies.

Salted Carmels

This is not only one of  the hottest trends right now,it is ridiculously delicious. I invite you to try this Dark Salty Caramel recipe for your holiday treats to share with your co-works and your family. Your comments are always welcome.


14 1/2 ounces sugar

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup heavy cream, room temperature

2 teaspoons soy sauce

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt


Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a heavy 4-quart saucepan and put over high heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream and soy sauce in a liquid measuring cup. Have this and the butter standing by.
Remove the lid from the sugar mixture, and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. When the sugar mixture reaches 230 degrees F, reduce the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the syrup is a golden color and is approaching 300 degrees F, about 6 to 7 minutes. At this point, there is less likelihood of any crystallization, so gently swirl the pan to break up any hot pockets.

When the temperature approaches 350 degrees F, it will turn deep amber. Remove the pan from the heat, and gently swirl again to break up all of the hot pockets. Cool for 2 minutes.

Carefully incorporate the cream and soy mixture and the butter into the pan. Stir to combine. Return the caramel to medium heat, stir until the butter is completely melted, and continue cooking until it reaches 255 degrees F. Remove from the heat and pour into the parchment-lined pan, tap gently to release air bubbles.
Cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes, and then sprinkle evenly with the salt. Continue cooling on the rack for an additional 3 1/2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces and wrap individually in parchment. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Bon Bon Balls

Friday, November 5, 2010

Are you ready to try something really easy for the holidays? You have come to the right place.
I am going to share my favorite recipe with you, my dear readers. Be forewarned though they are delicious and are fairly addictive .

Bon Bon Balls

1 lb confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup margarine

2 cups chunky peanut butter

3 cups Rice Krispies

Chocolate Covering

2 (12 ounce) packages milk chocolate chips or Almond bark

Melt Margarine and combine with all bon bon ingredients.

  •  Make into balls.

  •  Chill or freeze at least 2 hours.

  •  Melt Chocolte in top of double boiler.

  •  Add more chocolate chips. 

  •  Drop in balls 1 at a time and cover with chocolate.

  • add topping at this time, Chocolate jimmys, coconut, granola, the list goes on.

  •  Chill until chocolate is hard and serve

  • Enjoy

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