Let’s pretend to be sophisticated and make grown-up candies this holiday season.
Here’s something funny annoying that I know I’m going to end up doing this winter.
I’ve had many no-bake things that are gift-worthy (fudge, chocolate, candies, etc.) on my mind due to my current situation.
I’ve been trying to pretend that I actually want to be making candies instead of baking cakes and cookies.
In reality, I can’t wait to get back to an oven and stove.
However, and here’s the annoying part, I know that when I get home I’ll have so many no-bake ideas built up that I will continue to neglect my oven and rely instead on my refrigerator.
I know. Eye roll. Let’s hope that it won’t happen.
For now, I have these grown-up chocolate cups to share.
70% bittersweet chocolate cups filled with dulce de leche spiked with salt and chinese 5-spice.
Spicy, salty, warm, and rotund, these candies are an experience: the crisp shell, after a quick bite, melts and luxuriously coats your tongue with a myriad of flavors.
I love the kick of spice and burn from the pepper and the warmth from the cloves and star anise.
I was inspired by a small canister of Dean and Deluca 5-spice I picked up at the grocery store.
I don’t have a stove, so I used a store-bought can of dulce de leche, which is a great substitute iff you add a lot of salt.
Alternately, make your own dulce de leche. Don’t forget the salt! It is ultra-super-critical.
This flavor combination is coming back. Soon.
Consider yourself warned.
Five Spice and Dulce de Leche Chocolates makes about 24 candies
1.5 lbs 70% bittersweet chocolate
1 14-ounce can of dulce de leche (or make your own)
2 pinches kosher salt
2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice
Set out 24 mini cupcake liners (the aluminum and paper ones) on a sheet pan.
Chop and melt your chocolate slowly to avoid burning; carefully paint a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom and sides of your cupcake liners.
Place in a fridge or freezer for 5-10 minutes to set.
Stir the dulce de leche, salt, and spice together.
Place 2 teaspoons of dulce de leche in the chocolate cups.
Rap the sheet pan a few times to even out the dulce de leche layer.
Top off with melted chocolate until the edges lay flush with the chocolate; rap the sheet pan on a counter, hard, to even the chocolate layer out and remove any air bubbles.
Return to the fridge/freezer until the top layer of chocolate has set.
Remove from the wrappers, if desired, and enjoy!
When you don’t have a kitchen (just a microwave and a fridge and a bureau for counter space), you have limitations.
i.e. I’ve been washing dishes in the bathroom. Which only has push-button faucets, which means every 8 seconds, the water turns off and I have to hold down the handle again. As if washing dishes could be MORE torturous.
Also, no oven. Or stove. Which means that recipes cannot only be no-bake, but no-cook.
Also, it’s finals week. Which means, I ain’t got time. For anything. Other than crying and Game of Thrones, of course.
Stop looking at me like that.
These bars are dead simple, and deadly delicious.
Just 6 ingredients, and they can be whipped up in just a few minutes.
It’s really hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate. But PB, chocolate, and graham crackers?
It is LITERALLY impossible. It cannot be done.
For example: graham crackers sandwiched with peanut butter and chocolate. Impossible to do wrong.
The best part of these bar cookies, aside from their no-bake conception, is the fact that the graham cracker crumbs stay crunchy in the melted butter/PB base, which creates an airiness and crunchiness that is incredibly difficult to resist.
Actually, impossible to resist. Cut these small, because that means you can eat a million and one of them.
Peanut Butter Graham Bars (no bake)
makes 1 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan of bars
8 tablespoons butter, melted
scant 1 cup smooth peanut butter
big pinch salt
1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 sheets of crackers)
1 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped dark chocolate plus 1 tablespoon white chocolate, optional
1 tablespoon peanut butter plus 2 teaspoons chopped white chocolate, optional
Butter a 9×9 or 8×8 square pan.
Melt the peanut butter and butter together in a microwave; stir until smooth.
Stir in the salt, confectioner’s sugar, and graham cracker crumbs.
Press into the pan firmly; refrigerate until set.
Meanwhile, melt the dark chocolate with the second measure of butter; pour over cooled and set peanut butter base and smooth out; rap on the counter a few times to release air bubbles.
Refrigerate until set.
To decorate, melt the dark chocolate together with the white chocolate; stir until smooth.
Melt the peanut butter with the white chocolate; stir until smooth.
Splatter and drip the two mixtures over the set bars; allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing to ensure that topping is set.
No, I did not burn it down. Thank goodness.
No, the building did not burn down. Thank god.
Everyone is safe, but there was major damage done.
I am hardly the one most affected in this whole ordeal.
Let me tell the (theorized) story.
People staying over Thanksgiving break understandably wanted to make latkes to celebrate Thanksgivukkah with the house.
They deep fried the latkes, took the pot of hot oil off the burner, and placed it on another burner.
All good. Except they failed to check if the second burner was off (people were cooking like crazy, and it’s an electric stove, so)… It was not off.
It is no ones fault; there is no blame to lay. It was a complete and total accident.
Apparently, the fire alarm went off while they were eating dinner, and it was discovered that there was a grease fire raging on in our house kitchen.
The sprinklers dumped gallons and gallons of water into the kitchen. It flooded.
The lounge flooded.
The remediation crew came in and threw everything out.
Everything. From my hoarded Madagascar vanilla beans to my favorite, homemade apron. (This one.)
My carefully curated pantry was emptied.
Where bags of flour, sugar, cocoa, and spices once resided, there is nothing.
Today, they’ve gutted the kitchen. There is no longer even a cabinet.
I cried. Not gonna lie.
The apartment below the kitchen, a faculty member’s, has had extensive water damage and flooding through the ceilings. They have 2 dogs and 2 small children. My heart goes out to them in this trying time as they attempt to put their life back together.
Our kitchen will (fingers crossed) be back up and running at the beginning of winter quarter.
None of you are probably wondering what will happen to this blog in the two weeks to come, before I can go home.
A lot of no bake stuff, some posts I have saved up, some cookie swapping.
Enter these memorable cookies, which I made 2 weeks ago and which are still fragrant and melting on my tongue.
I was craving something buttery and sweet, something that balanced coconut, raspberry, and salt.
Putting raspberry jam in cookies has proven to be too steep a task for me recently, so I decided on something simple, that could be served with the jam on the side: enter the classic Scottish shortbread.
And, honestly, no one touched the jam but me. It’s not necessary, but you will include it on a serving tray with these cookies if you know what’s good.
The cookies are a mash-up of ingredients I had in my pantry (before it burned down, RIP).
Coconut oil, butter, cream cheese. Flour, salt, sugar. Simple, simple, simple.
The dough is easy: cream, mix, press, crimp, bake.
My friend who thought she didn’t like coconut loved these! Yay! Yet another victory for coconut oil!
Back soon with peanut butter. Or lemon. But not both. (Ew ew ew that’s probably something only my dad would like.)
Coconut Oil Shortbread
makes one 9-inch pan
2.2 ounces (4 1/2 tablespoons) butter
3 ounces (5 1/2 tablespoons) coconut oil, solid
1.5 ounces cream cheese
3 ounces (3/4 cup) powdered sugar
7 ounces (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
scant 2 ounces (1/4 cup) sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9-inch round pan.
Cream butter, coconut oil, and cream cheese together for 3 minutes, until homogeneous and smooth.
Scrape the bowl and add the sugar, flour, and salt.
Mix on low until a crumbly dough forms.
Scrape the crumbs into the prepared pan and press down firmly.
Prick all over with a fork; crimp the edges and score if desired and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, until shortbread is golden and fragrant.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
Eat with raspberry jam! Please!
I’m grateful to be surrounded by love and warmth and family.
This brief respite has been much needed, and much appreciated.
It saddens me to leave (tomorrow), but I am comforted with the knowledge that I will be back in just a few short weeks.
I love my home: my house, my friends, my family, my town.
I love this place.
I was dearly missing this place.
I thought I’d share some snapshots of home with you; the first photo is of my beloved bed, where I haven’t been spending enough time this break. (Too many things to do! People to see! Places to go!)
You get a preview of our holiday cards (blech) and some cute photos of my kitten and pup.
Also, THANKS GUYS, for being awesome and reading these stupid posts of mine on this silly little blog.
You rock. Thanks for that. I sure do appreciate you.
Thanksgiving Menu 2013:
Roasted roots: herbed sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots with honey mustard aioli (GF)
Roasted brown butter and maple Brussels sprouts (GF)
Honey glazed turkey with giblet gravy (GF)
Maple and apple cranberry sauce (GF)
Cornbread stuffing with spiced sausages, pecans, sage, and celery (GF)
Goat cheese, buttermilk, and olive oil mashed potatoes (GF)
Whole wheat butternut squash mac and cheese
Mixed green salad with pomegranates, walnuts, shaved fennel, apples, and Parmesan with pomegranate dressing (GF)
Butterscotch and thyme apple pie (GF)
Maple kefir brûlée tart (GF)
Pumpkin roll with Frangelico and mascarpone whipped cream, brown butter glaze, chopped pecans (GF)
Yes, I made all of that myself. Boy, was it a marathon. A very, very, very, long and delicious haul.
My photos were all very rushed and poorly lit; I had hoped to show you pictures of all the gluten free goodies I made, but no such luck.
At least I got a picture of the pumpkin roll cake… So I can torture you with yet another pumpkin recipe!
This will be the last pumpkin recipe of the year.
It’s one to remember: light, fluffy pumpkin sponge cake rolled around mascarpone and maple whipped cream, topped with brown butter and Frangelico glaze and chopped pecans.
You might just be inspired to pull out one last can of pumpkin.
Happy Thanksgiving (weekend), y’all.
Pumpkin Roll Cake
for the cake:
powdered sugar, for sprinkling on towel
90 grams (3/4 cup) flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, pepper, coriander
3 large eggs
200 grams (1 cup) sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
for the filling:
1 cup whipped cream
1 cup mascarpone
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
for the glaze:
4 tablespoons butter, browned
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup powdered milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons Frangelico (optional)
For the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a sheet pan very well; line with parchment paper.
Sprinkle a dishtowel with powdered sugar.
Whisk the flour, leaveners, spices, and salt together.
Beat the yolks and ¼ cup of the sugar very well, then stir in pumpkin.
Sift the flour mixture over the yolks and fold in gently.
Whip the egg whites and remaining sugar to stiff peaks.
Fold into the pumpkin mixture, then spread the batter out onto your prepared pan.
Bake for 15 minutes, until set.
Flip over onto towel and let cool for 5 minutes.
Gently roll up the cake and set aside to cool completely.
For the filling, beat the whipped cream to soft peaks, then gently beat in the other ingredients.
Spread onto the cooled, unrolled cake, then reroll the cake.
For the glaze, mix everything together until no lumps remain; drizzle over the rolled cake.
Garnish with chopped pecans.
How all I wanted all I needed all I ever desired ever was a new lens?
Something shiny, big, and full of glass?
I bought myself one!
After the horrors of 7th week (1 paper, 2 midterms, 3 p-sets and no sleep) I decided I was deserving. Ahem.
But, y’all, let me tell you: I am bad at ebay. I do not do ebay good.
I lost 4 (four!) auctions for various 17-55 mm f2.8 USM Canon lenses.
I had fallen into a pit of despair (FWP), when suddenly, I noticed a new BUY IT NOW lens and I jumped out of my seat and my pants and bought the damn thing.
I promptly put my pants back on and sat down
but nevertheless, my excitement was not dampered.
The lens came super quickly (it only took the weekend to arrive!) and I was stunned.
It’s really a beaut; there is so much glass! I’m unused to that, and I find it truly gorgeous.
It makes my camera look gigantic, yes, but ooooo mami that depth of field will getcha!
Compared to my lil’ eensy kit lens (which I still and will always love. It’s got sentimental value, okay? Sentimental value and no lens cap. Oops.), this thing is a giant monster princess who will be treated with love and care and kept safe.
Very safe. (She says as she smudges glaze all over it.)
Obviously, I was very excited to bake something and take photos of it with my new toy.
Obviously, knowing me, I was going to choose something I hate photographing.
Whyyyyy am I so stubborn and ridiculous?
I hate bundt cakes. Wait, no, I hate photographing bundt cakes. We’ve been through this. I’m bad at it.
And yet, I baked a bundt cake. Hmph.
This cake, doe. It is a never fail. I have made it so many different ways, and have yet to be displeased.
This is my favorite adaptation.
First, I brown half the butter. Half is creamed until light and fluffy, and then its nutty, flavorful, melted partner gets poured in.
The result? All of the benefits of the brown butterwith an accompanying light and fluffy crumb due to the aeration from creaming, which cannot be done with solely melted butter.
The cake would be much denser if all the butter were to be browned.
Next: I freeze my bananas. Solid. Then I melt them in the microwave and discard most of the banana water. It will make your cake too wet and dense. You concentrate the flavor of the bananas a bit with the heat of the microwave, then you get rid of the excess liquid: boom. Bigger, bolder banana flavor.
Brown sugar makes up the majority of the added sweeteners here, and it gives depth and warmth thanks to the molasses.
Buttermilk keeps the crumb tender and soft; we only need a touch, as too much would make the cake soggy and crumbly.
Finally, a smattering of chocolate chips, because chocolate.
To top the cake, buttermilk, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and milk powder get whizzed together to make a thick glaze that is not too sweet and has just the right amount of tang.
‘Tis a beautiful bundt. There. I said it. The interior makes up for the photos exterior.
225 grams (8 ounces, 16 tablespoons) butter, divided in two
150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
250 grams (1 1/4 cup) brown sugar
splash vanilla extract
4 medium bananas, frozen solid
120 grams (1/2 cup) buttermilk
big pinch salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
360 grams (3 cups) flour
200 grams (heaping 1 cup) chocolate chips, if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a bundt pan very thoroughly.
In a small saucepan, melt half the butter; keep cooking it until there are little brown pieces and it smells nutty; remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Cream the other half of the butter with the sugars for at least 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Stream in the browned butter and beat until combined.
Beat in both of the eggs and the vanilla and beat for at least 3 more minutes, until the mixture is pale, fluffy, and very smooth.
Meanwhile, place your bananas in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, or until the peels are just starting to soften; peel the bananas and return them to the bowl.
Microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes in 15-30 second bursts.
The bananas should be melty and should have let off a bit of liquid.
Using your hands to hold the bananas in the bowl, press and pour as much of the liquid out of the bananas as possible, without losing any banana pieces.
Pour the bananas into the creamed butter and sugar and beat until homogeneous; the mixture will look very curdled.
Pour in the buttermilk and beat to combine; the batter will still look curdled.
Dump the flour on top of the batter, then add the salt and baking soda to the top of the flour mound.
Mix on low until the batter is homogeneous and smooth; stir in the chocolate chips, if desired.
Spread the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until a tester comes out completely clean; the top will be firm and dark brown, but due to a bundt pan’s shape, the interior might not be done.
Check in multiple places to ensure a completely cooked cake.
Allow the cake to cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan before inverting it onto a serving platter and glazing.
Disclaimer: this post contains explicit words, but it also contains chocolate. Read at your own discretion, my loves.
Wake up ready to kick this day’s ass.
Put on those leggings that make you feel like fucking wonder woman
pull them up up up
snap the waistband
choose your warmest wool socks and your favorite sports bra.
Admire your butt in those leggings.
Ready to yoga this day away.
Om, motherfucker, om.
Get to your bike
jiggle the key into the lock
key won’t turn shit shit shit
take it out, try again.
No luck. Contemplate forcing it open, worry that it will break.
Pull off your gloves with your teeth, smash the key but no, it’s really fucking stuck.
Check the time: you’re too goddamn late for class anyways.
Stream off all the curse words you know.
Blame the bike;
blame the cold;
blame the key,
just not yourself.
Decidedly not yogic. Fuck it.
Back inside, strip off the scarf, jacket, socks, gloves.
Back into the warmth of the kitchen.
Retreat into your head.
Slice gorgeous little Concorde pears, whip eggs with a touch of sugar,
brown butter, stir in heaps of dark chocolate until it’s smooth and shiny.
Dip in a finger and then another.
Dance around listening to Van Morrison, spoon in mouth, chocolate smeared down your chin.
Talk to your father on the other side of the Atlantic; try to make yourself seem calmer than you really are; pretend you have your shit together.
Switch to Stevie Wonder as you munch on gingersnaps.
Bake the cake for half as long as all of the Stones songs in your library.
Work on yet more goddamn chemistry problems while you wait.
Celebrate the correct ones with a piece of chocolate.
Paint your toes electric blue.
Wish for the ocean.
Braid your mile-long hair and notice that your arms are tired by the end of it;
resolve to do 10 extra chuttarungas today.
Pick all of the crispy, crunchy bits off the cake: they were going to fall and burn anyway.
Wish for a cup of milk,
settle for your water bottle.
Shudder when Christmas music comes on;
no no not ready too much too soon Jesus let me take it one fucking holiday at a time.
Watch the cake rise rise rise
and then fall in the center, cooling into a gooey pudding. What the fuck.
Giggle and agree when your friend says it’s kinda ugly;
gracefully declare it “rustic” but secretly plan to hide its hideousness with globs of whipped cream and a shower of powdered sugar.
Call it a torte and explain that it’s supposed to look that way. Pick the pears off the top when no one is around.
Laugh at your ugly fucking cake through the lens of your camera.
Serve that motherfucker with love, gratitude, humility, and a chocolaty smile.
This cake is utterly simple, almost flourless, and full of lovely chunks of pear, whose juices turn it into a pudding.
The center will collapse in; fill in the crater with whipped cream and no one will be any the wiser.
It’s almost brownie-like in its texture, and the sweet pears play a beautiful foil to the rich chocolate.
Serve it in mugs with spoons. Feed your heart; feed those you love.
Much love from my full heart to yours.
Pear and Dark Chocolate Torte
adapted from Cook Eat Love
makes 1 6×3 inch cake
170 grams (6 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped
140 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons) butter
pinch kosher salt
120 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 large eggs
25 grams (3 tablespoons) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 small pears, peeled, cored, and chopped and tossed with an extra 25 grams (3 tablespoons) flour
360 mL (1 1/2 cups) whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks
powdered sugar, to taste, and for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour a 6×3 inch springform pan.
In a saucepan, brown the butter; stir in the chocolate and whisk until a smooth ganache forms.
Whisk in a pinch of salt.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar until they are tripled in volume and very pale in color, about 7 minutes.
Sift the flour and baking powder over the eggs, then fold it in.
Fold in the chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour-covered pears.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour, until the center is barely jiggly; immediately transfer it to the freezer.
Softly whip the cream with a touch of powdered sugar, if desired, then spread over the cooled cake.
Dust with chocolate shavings and powdered sugar.
Eat with a SPOON.
The tides of autumn are flowing into winter;
great gusts of wind mix and swirl leaves and snow as waves do river and sea.
The glory of fall has long since faded,
the embers that set fires to hearts gone out;
tamped down by wind and rain and snow.
Trees stand, tall and stolid, bare branches creaking and cracking,
old men straightening their backs.
Creeping ivy creeps no more, its grip on wind whipped walls failing;
stripped bare, its leaves float forgotten, the last whispers of a season.
The wind breathes deep
and the trees sleep as deeply.
It is here, in this seasonal limbo, that I am floating
Y’aaaaaalll I am so excited to go home home home. You have no idea!! I’ve finalized my menu, typed out time tables, recipes, and shopping lists.
The entire document is 10 or so pages.
(Why can’t it be so easy to write a 10 page paper? Hmm.)
Everyone’s gearing up for Thanksgiving.
Do some clicking around the blogs and you’ll see gorgeous, tempting foods that make me want to restart my entire menu (I won’t) or make it a meal comprised entirely of pie (I might.)
I’m sharing some of the most tempting (and hopefully inspiring!) Thanksgiving-worthy posts/recipes I’ve seen thus far.
First of all, Pie Week. Done. Get me into Adrianna’s kitchen. Let me live there forever eating her lovely, inventive pies. Please.
I fainted at the thought of cornbread+biscuit stuffing. Also, I want to move to Tennessee/see the world through Beth’s lens. Gorgeous.
Brown butter crumbs. On top of cauliflower. Glory be. Can you imagine eating this with a poached egg?!?!
Cranberries are among my favorite fruits. These adorable pâte des fruits confirmed that for me.
Good luck planning your Thanksgiving menus!
Cranberries and pumpkin are both emblematic of their respective seasons, at least for me: I associate pumpkin with fall and cranberries with winter.
Perfect for Thanksgiving, which lies along the seasonal lines in my mind.
This cake boasts the best of both. A soft, tender pumpkin cake, fragrant with brown butter and spice, is baked on top of bubbling, jammy cranberries.
The whole thing is inverted, resulting in gorgeous ruby gems lining the top of a sweet little cake.
If you don’t like cranberries, at least promise you’ll bake the pumpkin cake.
It’s the best pumpkin cake I’ve ever tasted! So subtly sweet and soft, and not overwhelmingly spiced or dense. It’s light and fluffy and buttery.
Best of all, it only requires a pan, a bowl, and a whisk! Quick and easy clean-up, which is crucial when you’re in the midst of hectic holiday cooking, I know!
This is ~maybe~ the last pumpkin recipe of the season. I’m making something pumpkin for Thanksgiving, though, and if my calculations are correct all goes as planned, I will make, shoot, and share the 3 (three!) desserts I’m making for the hollyday, and maybe even the 8 (eight!) savory dishes I’ll be preparing.
Which would mean one more pumpkin recipe.
Brown Butter Pumpkin and Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
cranberry portion adapted from Zoe Bakes
makes 1 6×3 inch cake; could be doubled for a 2.5×9 inch cake
for the cranberries:
340 grams (3 cups) cranberries, picked over
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
for the pumpkin cake:
25 grams (2 tablespoons) oil
115 grams (1/2 cup, 8 tablespoons) butter, browned
50 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
200 grams (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) pumpkin purée
180 grams (1 1/2 cups) flour
pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon pumpkin spice
Butter and flour your pan very well.
In a large pot, place cranberries and first measure of sugar.
Cook over medium heat until many of the cranberries pop and the sugar melts.
Pour cranberries into pan and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk oil into browned butter, then whisk in sugars and pumpkin.
Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda and powder, and spices together.
Whisk them into the butter mixture; batter will be very thick and soft.
Spread the batter over the cranberries, being careful not to mix them too much; smooth the top.
Bake for 35-40 minute, until a tester comes out completely clean.
Allow to cool almost completely before turning upside down and unmolding.
Serve with powdered sugar.
“Impossible, for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage. Impossible, for a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage. A slipper made of glass is just a shoe and dreamers never make the dream come true. Impossible!”
-The Fairy Godmother, Cinderella
You’re probably hoping that your eyes deceive you and that these buns are not, in fact, orange.
That these buns are not, in fact, made of pumpkin.
Another pumpkin recipe on the blogosphere? Impossible! It will explode, raining orange, autumnal purée and pepitas over all of us.
P.S. Still lolling at that gif. Like I can’t even. Hahahahahahahahaaha.
Okay. Yes. Oops. It might be one pumpkin recipe too many.
I exploded the blogosphere and GET THIS IT GETS WORSE YES I KNOW
because I still have at least one more pumpkin recipe
(but probably 2)
and then I’ll be done IpromiseI’msorryI’msorryIknowI’mabadblogger.
So let’s all forget that we’re sick of pumpkin. Let’s pretend it’s a new and exciting medium in which I, as a food blogger, can work. (HA!)
Let’s just enjoy this damn orange vegetable while it’s still kind of fall and semi-acceptable.
Okay? At least it’s November and not May. Let’s look on the bright side of this tired squash.
Let’s talk bunz.
Soft, brown-butter, yeasted and spiced pumpkin dough is folded around a butter, pumpkin spice, and sugar filling into which you will undoubtedly want to faceplant.
Strips are cut, then cut again, then twisted and folded and knotted and topped with heaping amounts of sugars.
The Swedish-inspired buns expand a little, rise a little more, and then get baked to golden perfection.
The bottoms of my buns got a little burned. (Teehee.) Double up baking sheets so this terrible tragedy doesn’t happen to you.
These are perfect with a hot cup of tea or coffee. They would be a most marvelous accompaniment for a Swedish fika.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Kanelbullens
inspired by Call me Cupcake! (Serious blog admiration/love/drool.)
makes approximately 16 buns
for the filling:
85 grams (6 tablespoons) butter, very soft
45 grams (scant 1/4 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
granulated sugar and Swedish pearl sugar, for decorating
Place pumpkin and milk in a saucepan and heat to 110 degrees F; sprinkle the yeast over and allow to bloom for 5 minutes.
Whisk the browned butter, sugar, and pumpkin spice together very well.
When the yeast is dissolved and little bubbles are forming in the pumpkin/milk, whisk that mixture into the butter mixture.
Place in the bowl of a stand mixer and dump all the flour on top.
Mix with the dough hook for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is crazy soft and smooth, like a baby’s bottom.
You now have two options: leave the dough for up to 3 nights in the fridge in an oiled bowl with saran wrap pressed lightly against the surface, or let it rise at a warm room temp in the same bowl/wrapping situation until doubled in size, about 2 hours, depending on temperature.
If you refrigerate the dough, let it come to room temp before proceeding, which may take a while depending on the heat of your kitchen.
When you’re ready to finish the buns, roll the dough out into a large rectangle on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch.
Mash the butter, sugar, and spices together with a fork or spoon (if your butter isn’t soft, use a mixer to soften it).
Spread the butter mixture over the rolled out dough- it should be very thinly spread.
Fold the short edges over, to fold the dough like a letter.
Cut strips of dough, then split them almost all the way up, leaving a small bit at the top still attached as one– like pants!
Twist the pant legs, then knot them together.
Place the buns on a well-insulated baking sheet (my bottoms got burned– I would recommend doubling up) lined with parchment.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugars.
Allow to rise while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and the buns are baked all the way through (pull one apart to inspect).
Enjoy warm with tea or coffee!
Sidenote: I cannot wait for February 2014. I’m dying with anticipation for Season 4 of what is arguably the best television series ever made.
And yes, I’m willing to make that argument.
My dad and I good-naturedly disagree about this all the time.
Speaking of my dad, he’s here in Chicago visiting me and giving a talk at the Booth school. I’m sitting here writing this while he works next to me at the Quad Club.
We just had dinner at the Green Zebra…
Life is good.
Edit: Sitting in Harper Memorial. Just ate breakfast at the dining hall. Wish I were at the QC. Wish I had just eaten at the Green Zebra.
One thing I miss most about home is the leisure time spent watching my favorite shows avec mon papa.
I’m going through serious withdrawals, because while we have a Slingbox, I just don’t have enough time to sit down and watch the many hours of TV that have racked up. I wish I did, but I don’t. For a period of time, he was in London, and that didn’t help either. Oh well.
Also, I just miss spending time with him and my mama and mes animaux.
I’m so grateful that he is here this weekend, and I’m incredibly excited to go home for Thanksgiving, which is already my favorite hollyday.
It has been pretty bracingly cold in Chicago over the last few days.
I can’t say I’m surprised or unused to this type of weather, since Ithaca has very similar weather patterns (it generally lags 1 or 2 days behind Chicago weather, but is temperature-wise very similar), but it sure came on fast.
Supposedly, it will be 64 on Sunday… Again, can’t say I’m surprised.
But three short days ago, it was 27 degrees F with the sun out, not including the windchill.
Edit: It’s around 45-50 degrees out today. Gorgeous. Perfect. My kind of weather. Cool enough to be comfortable. Warm enough to be pleasant.
Enter: bread pudd’n.
Hot, crunchy, citrusy, and custard-like, it’s a great comfort dessert.
The bread pieces on top are crunchy and crispy from the almonds and extra sugar which caramelizes in the oven.
Those on bottom are soft and gooey, bathed in custard redolent of citrus and butter.
It’s an eggy delight, and so simple!
I would love to be curled up on a couch right now, wrapped in blankets, with a steaming bowl full of bread pudding topped with a great mound of softly whipped cream and powdered sugar, watching Game of Thrones.
Can someone come make that happen?
Orange and Lemon Bread Pudding
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch kosher salt
2 1/3 cups milk
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1 batch orange curd, fully cooled (recipe below)
1 1/2 loaves soft Italian bread
turbinado and granulated sugar, for sprinkling
handful almond slices, for garnish
powdered sugar and softly whipped cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 12-inch round pan (or other pan of comparable size).
Slice your bread into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick.
Whisk eggs, milk, lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt together.
Spread each of the sides of each of your slices of bread with orange curd, then arrange them in your pan.
Pour the milk and egg mixture over the slices of bread, making sure that they all get at least partially covered.
Sprinkle heavily with turbinado and granulated sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes, turning halfway through, until custard is set but slightly wobbly.
Garnish with lots of almonds and stick back in the oven for 5 minutes, to let the almonds toast up a little bit.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Bread pudding and whipped cream or ice cream are a match made in the heavens above. Do it.
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest of 2 oranges
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
8 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
Whisk sugar, juice, zest, cornstarch, salt, and eggs together in a pot.
Begin to heat over low-medium heat until it comes to a boil; allow to cook until thick.
Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar or lemon juice.
Either transfer to a stand blender or use a hand blender: blend in the chunks of butter until the curd is very smooth and silky.
Allow to cool, then transfer to the fridge with a piece of clingfilm placed directly on the surface of the curd to cool completely.
Who wants to be a millionaire Thanksgiving superstar?
Cause, like, this pie, yo.
Good gracious gravy!
Sorry. I got excited.
This pie… There’s just so much good stuff going on! Yummy, delicious stuff.
First, let’s talk crust. I know. It’s the scariest part for most people. But crust is your friend!
Buttery, flaky, tender crust. How could it NOT be your friend?
The trick to a good pie crust is not a food processor, I’ve decided.
YesokokIknow, the food processor revolutionized pie crust because it shaved 5 minutes off the preparation time and allowed people to keep their hands clean.
Newsflash: you’re cooking and baking, your hands are going to get dirty sometime. Pie crust is a good excuse to play around in flour and butter.
(BUTTER. Not shortening. As you can see in this pie, I’ve swapped my usual buttermilk for water to give a more sturdy crust, since it’s a custard pie that will not have par-baking. That said, I could have swapped butter for shortening. But why, oh why, would I want to sacrifice that flavor? Oh, right. I wouldn’t. And neither would you. I won’t have it any other way.)
By making your pie crust by hand, you get a good feel for the texture. In a food processor, an extra 3 pulses gives you a gummy crust that will be tough and shrink during baking. (Insert sad face here.)
Let’s take this chance to play with our food, no? It’ll be fun.
Dump your flour, salt, and a pinch of sugar into a big bowl.
Cube your butter into little chunky chunks, then throw it back in the fridge for 5 minutes to re-chill.
Meanwhile, fill a small bowl with cold water, and chuck 2 ice cubes in it. Keep a tablespoon near the ice water.
Stir the flour n’ stuff around with your hands.
Take your butter chunks and place them all in the flour, all snuggly and nested down in there.
Now, with your fingers and palms, start to smash the cubes into flat sheets. Rub about half between your hands to create a coarse meal. The others, leave as small, flattened chunks, the size of peas.
You should have a rough mish-mash of butter and flour and butter-flour meal.
Here comes the fun: dunk the tablespoon measure in the ice water and put 2 measures into your butter/flour.
Using your hands, gently stir the mixture together. Some will stick to your hands. Just scrape it off and put it back in the mix.
If there are still a lot of dry chunks at the bottom of your bowl, add up to 2 more tablespoons of water, but go slow.
When your crust is done, it will hold together and all of the flour will be hydrated, but it won’t be very sticky or gooey. It should be smooth.
Give it a couple kneads, a little massage, and wrap it up nice and snug in some plastic wrap.
Back in the fridge she goes!
To roll the crust out, liberally sprinkle a clean countertop with flour, then place your crust in the middle.
Sprinkle the top with flour, and gently, starting from the middle, roll towards the edges, creating a rough circle shape.
Once it’s 3 inches larger in all directions than the bottom of your pie dish, roll it up on your rolling pin (like a roll of paper towels) and place it in the dish. Crimp the edges by rolling the excess up underneath, then pinching to create pretty little ruffles.
Back to the fridge! Keep it COLD, y’all!
So you’ve got your awesome all-butter pie crust made and ready and chilling.
Let’s fill it with heavenly goodies.
Start with brown sugar and a friendly pinch of salt, and add the ambrosia of the godsnutty brown butter.
Whisk whisk whisk in warm, autumnal spices and six (6!) egg yolks to ensure a silky, custard-like texture.
Stir in 70% bittersweet chocolate, melted and luxurious.
Finish with a sprinkling of pecans and turbinado sugar.
You’ll smell this pie long before it emerges from the oven. It’s fragrant with the best things in life: butter, spices, and chocolate.
Once it’s partially cooled, you’ll stick it in the freezer and it will thicken into a custard-y pie, the smooth and gooey chocolate interrupted only by crisp pecans.
Serve this pie sprinkled with a touch of powdered sugar, and unsweetened whipped cream or barely sweetened vanilla ice cream.
I might have to make this again for Thanksgiving.
It is among the 3 best pies I’ve ever made.
It is that good, people.
tl;dr: MAKE THIS.
P.S. I posted this on 11/11 at 11:11. My wish is for you to make this (JK! Then it wouldn’t come true!!)
Pumpkin Spice Brown Butter Chocolate Pecan Pie
for the crust:
165 grams (1 1/2 cups)flour
8 grams (2 teaspoons) sugar
113 grams (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into small pieces and cold
45 grams (3 tablespoons ice water, or as needed)
for the filling:
140 grams (scant cup) bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips
220 grams (1 cup plus 2 scant tablespoons) sugar
150 grams (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons) brown sugar
17 grams (2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons) nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or a big pinch each cloves, nutmeg, and star anise, plus 2 pinches each cinnamon and ginger
big pinch kosher salt
180 grams (13 tablespoons) butter, browned
120 grams (1/2 cup) milk
6 egg yolks
approximately 300 grams (2 1/2 cups) pecan halves, the pretty ones saved for garnish and the rest chopped roughly
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling, if desired
Make the crust: stir the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl.
Add the butter cubes in and cut them in with a pastry blender or your fingers, flattening some and rubbing others into the flour.
Leave pieces the size of peas; the rest should resemble a coarse meal.
Stir in the water, starting with 2 tablespoons, until the dough comes together; it shouldn’t be sticky or crumbly, but just barely hold together.
Knead gently 3 or 4 times, then pat into a disk and refrigerate.
Meanwhile, make the filling: begin by melting the chocolate, gently; do this in a microwave on partial power or over a double boiler.
When the chocolate is 2/3 melted, remove from heat and stir until all melted; set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, spices, and salt together until no little lumps remain.
Whisk the brown butter in vigorously. Whisk the yolks and milk together, then vigorously whisk them into the butter/sugar mixture.
Finally, whisk in the melted and cooled chocolate and stir in the chopped pecans.
Set aside to thicken and rest while you finish the crust.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll the crust out, gently, to a 1/8 inch thickness.
Place it in a 9-inch pie pan that is about 2 inches in depth.
Flute or crimp the edges as desired, then place in the freezer until it is hardened, about 10 minutes.
Pour filling into the crust and decorate with the reserved pecan halves.
Top with a little turbinado sugar, then place on a cookie sheet in the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes, until top is shiny and filling is set; you may need to cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent the pecans from burning (mine got a little toasty…).
Remove from oven and allow to cool almost completely, then finish the chilling in the freezer to make the filling extra dense.
Enjoy with unsweetened whipped cream and a little powdered sugar!