Pumpkin Bread

Here is an awesome recipe for pumpkin bread, to me it’s perfect, it’s wonderfully moist and spiced just right.

I got this recipe from Allrecipes quite a while back, it’s called “Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread”.  Well since I grew up in Maine, I was intrigued.  This has been my go-to pumpkin bread ever since.  I have made this for so many people, making as many as 50-1 pound loaves in one day, people love it so much that they pay me to make it!

Now this isn’t a diet recipe.  I strongly suggest that you make is as written the first time, so that you know how it’s supposed to taste.  Yeah I know that there is a ton of sugar and a whole cup of oil, but this makes a lot of batter, almost 5 pounds of batter, enough to make 2 HUGE loaves (2 1/4 pounders) in standard bread pans or 4- 1 pound 2oz. loaves, or a whole bunch of minis.  I’m sure that many have made this substituting applesauce for some of the oil, and if you do, don’t tell me about it, I’d rather not know……  LOL

Funny thing happened when I made this recipe, my camera didn’t record any of the pictures to the card, so these pictures are from other things and are just used for illustration and to make the post less boring.

Here is what you’ll need

  • 1 can (14-15 oz.) pumpkin, solid pack puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • vegetable oil
  • granulated white sugar
  • eggs
  • water
  • vanilla extract
  • flour
  • salt
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • cloves
  • nutmeg
  • baking soda

Nothing fancy here.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

First combine the pumpkin, oil, sugar, eggs, water and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Easy right?

Now in a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients, which are all of the dry ingredients, and mix to combine well.

Now just mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir until combined, a few small lumps are OK.

Pour the batter into 2 loaf pans that have been greased and floured.  Remember taking the time to flour the pan will result in a much nicer looking loaf that rises a bit higher.  A parchment sling helps get it out cleanly too.

place in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top no longer looks wet.  If it starts to brown too fast, just turn down the oven even further.

And here you have it

Go make some, it’ll make you famous!

My favorite way to serve this is with cream cheese that has been whipped with cinnamon and sugar, just add cinnamon and sugar to cream cheese- 1 block of cream cheese, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, whip until combined with an electric mixer!

Click here for printable recipe

 

 

 

Posted in Quick Breads and Muffins | Leave a comment

Pumpkin Cream Pie!

Pie, I love pie, I love pumpkinny things.  Believe it or not, I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, I don’t dislike it, it just isn’t my favorite, might be a texture thing.

I got this idea in my head for a pumpkin cream pie, so I was off googling for a recipe and most of what I found involved instant pudding mix.  Since this is a scratch baking blog, I thought that we could do better, so I adapted my base cream pie recipe into this wonderful creation!

Gather the goods!

First we’re going to make the crust.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the crushed graham crackers, sugar and spices, and mix them up.

Add the melted butter and mix again

Press it into a 9″ deep dish pie pan.  Try to get it even, but don’t lose your sanity over it, it’s just pie..

Bake this for 8-10 minutes or until fragrant and just starting to brown, it’ll smell wonderful!

Whisk up the eggs in a heat proof bowl and set aside.

Next in a heavy bottomed saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, and spices in the saucepan and whisk.  Don’t have the individual spices?  No problem, just use a slightly rounded teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in place of the other spices, I bet that would work great.

Next add the milk and the pumpkin and whisk it all together and place over medium heat.  Now this is important, you’ll want to whisk constantly while heating, you don’t want it to burn on to the bottom of the pan.  Cook whisking constantly until it comes to a boil.

Once thickened and boiling slowly add about 1/3rd of the hot mixture into the eggs to temper them, whisking quickly to avoid making scrambled eggs, I love scrambled eggs, just not in my pie!

Add the egg mixture to the saucepan and whisk to combine.  bring to a boil once again and cook for one minute, while whisking.  Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla, whisk to combine.  Pour into prepared pie crust.

Now cover with plastic wrap and press against the surface of the filling, this will help prevent pudding skin.  Chill for at least 5 hours or until completely cold, overnight is best.

When chilled cover with sweetened whipped cream.  I make my whipped cream by combining 1 1/2 cups of cold heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla in a bowl and whip to stiff peaks.

There’s that groovy mixer again!

Spread the cream over the pie.  A quick note, we used real cream here, so it will start to break down a bit after a day or so, even in the fridge, so this pie is best eaten within a day or two.

now cut a big ‘ol slice and dig in

Click here for printable recipe

 

 

Posted in Pie and Pastry | 5 Comments

Beer Batter Bread

Hiccup….

Sorry!

Want an easy bread that will come together in a flash?  Here it is.  This loaf is like a biscuit in texture, but with a whole bunch more flavor, thanks to beer.

I don’t drink beer, I never buy beer, so I was lost in the beer section.  I just kinda closed my eyes and chose one, it worked, phew!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a standard 9×5″ loaf pan

Rustle up your stuff  (check out the butter, off brand with a funky, crooked wrapper!)

 

That’s some honey from a great friend, who’s sister has bees, on purpose….

First take the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix them together.

Next add the melted butter, beer and honey.  Look, it’s like science or something!

Stir it up until all of the flour is moistened.  It’ll be kind of lumpy.

Now pour it into your prepared pan.  You can also plop this into a greased muffin pan, just fill each up all the way, and bake, they will take much less time then the whole loaf, so keep an eye on ’em

Pop it into the oven for 35-45 minutes or until nice and golden brown.

Let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting, otherwise it’ll get a bit gummy.  Then you have my permission to attack it with copious amounts of butter!

Click here for printable recipe

 

Posted in Bread and Dough | 2 Comments

“Peter” Pumpkin Bars

Where did this name come from?  Maybe the rhyme Peter Peter Pumpkin eater?

This is a recipe that my mom made every fall, it’s from her church cookbook and it was contributed by my grandmother’s neighbor Alicia, they never tasted as good as when she made them, she was a great cook!

Here is what you’ll need

  • pumpkin 1 can, 15 oz
  • brown sugar
  • eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • flour
  • cinnamon
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • cream cheese
  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract

This is a really quick and easy recipe to put together, you’ll use the “quick bread” technique here.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 baking pan

Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs and vegetable oil together and mix ’em up.

Ooh, look at me and my cage free eggs.  I buy them because I imagine the chickens laying them are able to roam around and have an active social life, maybe I should have never watched Chicken Run….

now because this is an old recipe and my mom used a sifter just like this, I felt compelled to get it out of the cabinet.  Put your flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in it (or just whisked in a bowl) and sift into the wet pumpkin mixture.  Now don’t put oatmeal into a sifter, it’ll take you FOREVER to sift oatmeal…

Now this recipe just calls for cinnamon and that’s how I made it and that’s how my mom made it, but if you want more of the typical fall spices, you can always substitute 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for the tablespoon of cinnamon.  If you want to use spices that you already have, you can use cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, equal to 1 tablepoon (use more cinnamon than the others)

Stir it up and add the oatmeal.  Remember, we are using a quick bread technique here, so you don’t need to beat the batter smooth, a few small lumps are OK.

Now pour this into the prepared pan.  I’m using a parchment sling, so that I can get it out of the pan easily.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Let ’em cool completely before frosting.

While they are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting.

Combine all frosting ingredients in a bowl

And beat until smooth

simple as that!  Now spread on the COOLED bars.  My mom always put chopped walnuts on the top and I like that Idea, so I did too.  My mom always handed me the glass nut chopper, with the plunger that pushed down and let me go to town chopping the walnuts, made me feel like I was helping!

Moist and delicious.  Like most baked goods with spices, these are better the next day, the flavors just combine for a great flavor.

Click here for printable recipe

Posted in Cookies and Bars | 4 Comments

Oatmeal Cream Pies!

Here is a fun recipe for a childhood favorite, made from scratch.  Does it taste exactly like the original? No, not really, but I think that it is BETTER!  Of course I do, it’s from scratch, and I’m a bit biased!

Rob’s determined to call these Little Mikey’s Oatmeal Cream Pies, and I’m trying to break him of that, but my efforts aren’t working…

Let’s get started!

Get your stuff (the butter is hiding behind the oatmeal, yeah that’s it…)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

We’ve made cookies before so I won’t bore you with tons of detailed pictures.  First cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy with an electric mixer, this should take 3-4 minutes, you want Fluffy!  This recipe is best if you use dark brown sugar, I didn’t have any so I used light, yeah that’s right, this is a pretty safe substitution in most cases.

Next add the molasses, vanilla extract and eggs, and beat to combine.  Here’s a trick that I like.  Give your measuring spoon a little spritz of cooking spray before measuring molasses, honey, or corn syrup, it will slide right out!

Well most of it anyway!

combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in a sifter or a small bowl, then sift or combine and add to the butter mixture all at once, mix just to combine.

This is pretty exciting, edge of your seat stuff…

Now add that oatmeal, This recipe now qualifies as healthy right?

Mix until just combined.

Next, on an ungreased baking sheet, or one lined with parchment, plop little mounds of dough about 1 tablespoon full 2 inches apart.  This is a great time to get a cookie scoop, they will make each cookie the same exact size, just scoop and scrape off the excess on the side of the bowl.  I have a bunch of different sizes, even a big one that I can scoop mashed potatoes with when I need to bring out my inner lunch lady

Bake them for 9-11 minutes or until they are lightly browned around the edges, but the centers are still soft, you may need to rotate the pan half way through to get even baking.  Let them cool for at least 5 minutes on the pan to finish cooking and so they don’t fall apart before putting them on a cooling rack.

Let them cool completely before filling them.

Now on to the filling.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I dislike cooking with hydrogenated fats.  Most of the time I can use butter or my non-hydrogenated organic shortening and it will work just fine, but in a filling like this, hydrogenated shortening is the only thing that will get you the real, fluffy cream filling you desire.  I tried with butter and my organic shortening and it didn’t work, I had to add lots of powdered sugar just to get it thick enough to spread, and then it was more like a heavy, sweet frosting.  If you have to skip the Crisco, you can use this recipe and it will work, but it just won’t be the same.

Gather your stuff

I wore a disguise when I went shopping for Crisco….

I know that “Fluff” brand marshmallow cream isn’t available everywhere in the US, heck it’s only been here in the south for a relatively short time, so if you cannot get it, you can substitute “jet puffed” marshmallow cream or other brand, you will need two jars and it will likely only yield 14 oz, but it doesn’t make a lot of difference, it will still come out just fine.

Now just combine those 3 ingredients in the bowl of a mixer

And whip for a few minutes until light and fluffy

Let me say this again, you will NOT get this result with anything other than hydrogenated vegetable shortening, the stuff is magic, evil magic, but magic none the less.  I wish that I had a picture of the butter version, just imagine thick soup…

Now put a good dollop of filling between two of the cookies, and EAT ONE!

Yield, around 18-20 finished pies

Click here for printable recipe

 

 

Posted in Cookies and Bars | 2 Comments

Scones!

Here is a basic scone recipe adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe, it’s a good one with a good method, so I thought I’d share it with you!

These are best eaten with tea, with your pinky pointed up, and an exaggerated English accent wouldn’t hurt either.

Gather your ingredients

I’ve chosen to use cream, because if milk is good, cream is better!  Milk or half and half will do just fine.

First sift the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together.  No sifter? No Problem, just use the method from other recipes with a whisk and a bowl to combine the dry ingredients

Cut the stick of butter into smaller pieces and blend it together with a pastry blender, like this one.  For a recipe like this I like kickin’ it old school (I’m really trying to bring that phrase back), and using a pastry blender.  You could give it a few pulses in a food processor, but then you have that whole machine to clean, so use a pastry blender unless you have a maid

Just blend until most of the butter is worked in and there are no chunks any larger than peas, put that can of peas away…

I moisturize, can you tell?

Now is a great time for add ins.  You’ll want to do it now, because they will distribute more evenly, and you won’t have to overwork the dough later to get them in.  You can add chocolate chips, raisins, blueberries, dried cranberries, citrus zest, candied ginger, whatever you think would taste great in a scone, just no peas…  I would add about 3/4-1 cup of your desired add in.

Next take the cream (or milk or half and half), the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk together.  Add to the flour mixture.

Now just stir it up until just combined.

Take the dough and divide in half.  Using floured hands and a floured surface (the dough is sticky and soft), make 2 5-6″ round disks of dough and place on a greased baking sheet or one lined with parchment.  Divide each disk into 6 wedges.  Separate the wedges slightly to allow them to puff up while baking.

If you have any leftover cream brush the tops and sprinkle with some sugar.  Place baking sheet in the freezer for about a 1/2 hour, the King Arthur website suggested that we do this, and who am I to argue, they say it helps them puff up better in the oven, I think that they may be on to something….

Preheat oven to 375

Remove the pan from the freezer and resist touching it with your tongue.   Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are nice and golden brown and look like scones.

These look an awful lot like biscuits don’t they?  Well really because they are, but just a more rich and sweeter version.

Now with some jam.  Get that cup of tea ready and that pinky in the air

Click here for printable recipe

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Here is the most popular cheesecake that I make, people can’t seem to get enough of it!

Remember the cheesecake that we made before?  You can refer to that for more detailed instructions by clicking here

You’ll only need to spend 3 1/2 days on a treadmill to burn it off….

Let’s get the stuff!

Now the chips that come in a bag are called “white baking chips” they aren’t really white chocolate, but they’ll work just fine in this recipe, there is no need to run all over town and sell some plasma to get gourmet white chocolate made by nuns, if you want to, go ahead, but it isn’t necessary.

Lets make the “raspberry swirl” part of this cheesecake

Place the fresh or frozen raspberries, corn starch, sugar and water in a saucepan.

Stir it together over medium heat until boiling, lower heat a bit and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the raspberries are completely broken down into the sauce.

Once cooked, strain the sauce, to get rid of the seeds, I like a seedless swirl, but if you don’t mind them, you can skip this step, but I recommend straining

You should get around 2/3 to 3/4 cup sauce.  Set aside to cool while making the rest of the cheesecake.

Next crush the vanilla wafers and combine with melted butter, press into a greased foiled wrapped springform pan.  Remember doing this before in the other cheesecake recipe?

Now for the filling.  You have everything at room temperature right?  No cheating here!  Mix the softened cream cheese until smooth on low speed with the mixer, then add sugar to combine.

Next combine the cream or half and half in a microwave safe bowl

Microwave at 30 second intervals until melted.  Be careful not to let it get too hot, or it will burn or get clumpy.  When the bowl feels warm and most of the chips are melted, stop microwaving, and just stir, the rest of the bits will melt.

Lawdy lawdy, heavy cream and white chocolate…

Now blend this melty bowl of goodness into the cream cheese mixture, using a mixer on LOW.  Scrape the bowl as needed.

Once blended, add the eggs one at a time on LOW until well blended.  Remember, we’re using low, we don’t want to beat air into the mixture or cause the eggs to puff while baking, both things could cause cracks and ruin your day, I’m not sure how I’d recover from such a thing…

Once everything is nice and smoothly blended, pour about 1/2 of the mixture into the prepared pan.  Drizzle with about 1/2 of the sauce.

Next, carefully drizzle the rest of the filling over the first layer.  Now wrecklessly drizzle the rest of the raspberry goodness over the filling and swirl with a knife.  Hold back here, less swirling the better, you want it to look purdy, if you mess it up, it’ll still taste good, but people will talk…  Ok Maybe I’m paranoid, or have weird friends, but don’t take chances

Now place your cheesecake in the water bath (you wrapped your pan right?) and bake at 315, low is best, for 50-60 minutes until the edges are set and the middle jiggles like jello, not sloshing around, but jiggling is OK.  Try not to over cook, it can cause cracks, and we know the heartbreak that could cause, and it will also make the filling go from creamy to something not so creamy!

Once baked take out of the oven and let remain in the water bath for a 1/2 hour.  Place cheesecake in the fridge for at least 4 hours before un-molding overnight is best.  Here is what you get!   Sorry for the blur, I swear I wasn’t drunk..

If you wanna pimp it up, you can do this with some whipped cream and shaved white chocolate, I’m an overachiever so I did.

you want some don’t ya!

Click here for printable recipe

 

Posted in Cakes | 1 Comment

Waffles!

Wonderful, light and fluffy waffles with a crispy outside, how awesome would that be for a weekend breakfast?

I’m going to share my favorite recipe with you.  I have to warn you though, this isn’t as easy as just dumping some mix into a bowl and adding water, IT’S SO MUCH BETTER!  Trust me on this, it is well worth scraping the sleep boogers out of your eyes and splashing water in your face for.

Get your stuff

I’m using some fancy schmancy grapeseed oil, but plain ‘ol vegetable oil or canola works fine.  Heck you could even use melted butter for more flavor, but it will brown a little faster.

Yup those eggs are a blueish green, got them at the farmer’s market, they are from happy chickens, or maybe chickens that don’t realize that Easter is over, either way the eggs are darned tasty!

Remember how to separate an egg? Well we need to do that again.  Remember not to break the yolk into the white, or they won’t whip.

Set the whites aside, and place the remaining ingredients in the bowl with the egg yolks.

Whisk until combined and all of the large lumps are gone, little lumps are OK.

Set that aside and whip the egg whites.  If you happen to have a 60’s era mixer handy, use that….

Bet on high until stiff peaks form.

now just fold those whites into the batter, you remember how to do that right?  If not click here

Keep folding until most of the puffs of egg white are incorporated, a few small bits left are OK.

Now add the batter to the preheated waffle maker.  Use a Belgian style for this.  Add the recommended amount of batter for your waffler according to the user’s manual.  I have a Presto Flipside waffler, I use 1 cup of batter for one waffle and bake for 4 minutes.  The amount of time that they bake will depend on your waffler, just bake until most of the steam has stopped.

Here is what you get, crispy, fluffy waffles, they are totally worth the effort, go make some now!

Printable recipe click here

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 egg whites
Posted in Quick Breads and Muffins | Leave a comment

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

Here is something so simple, and so delicious it’s hard to believe.  It’ll make you famous!  OK, maybe not famous, but people will love it.

 

It’s so simple that I’m not even creating a PDF recipe for it.  It’s just two ingredients.

 

Chocolate and heavy cream!  Have to use heavy cream because milk or half and half will not work, you need the fat.

I really like using milk chocolate for this, but semisweet or dark chocolate will work too, but sometimes I find them not quite sweet enough.  This is gonna come out like a mousse.

Get your chocolate and cream.  I use 1 cup of cream to 2 cups of chips, if you are doing this by weight, for every 8 oz. of cream, you will want 12 oz. of chocolate.  This can be doubled, no problem.  If you are filling and frosting a cake, go ahead and double the recipe and you will have plenty to fill and frost with a generous layer.

Get your stuff

Now take the cream and bring it to a boil, you can do this in a saucepan or in the microwave.  Take off from the heat and add the chocolate, whisk gently until completely melted, it should look like this.  At this point you could add a couple tablespoons liquor, like Irish cream, ameretto or other favorite spirit.

Place this mixture in the fridge and cool until cold to the touch, it will be quite a bit thicker at this point.  You’ll need to give it a stir here and there while it cools.

When completely cool, just whip on high with a mixer until it becomes a mousse consistency, forming soft peaks.  Make sure not to over whip, it will separate on you.  If you do over whip, don’t despair, you can re-melt it all together and start again.

Look at that thing of beauty!  It’s ready to spread on a cake, or you can even use it as a mousse dessert.  If you serve it as a mousse, don’t serve it right out of the fridge, it will be too solid, let it set out for about 30 minutes.

Now go make some!

  • 8 oz (1 cup) heavy or whipping cream
  • 12 oz. (2 cups if using chips) chocolate, I prefer milk chocolate.

 

Posted in Frostings, Fillings, and Glazes | 4 Comments

Peach Cobbler

 

Until I moved to North Carolina, I assumed a cobbler was just pie filling with a crust thrown on the top, kind of like a lazy pie.  Boy was I wrong!  In the south a peach cobbler is often a gooey pan of what I would call a peach dumpling, there are cakey areas and gooey areas, and it is just simply fantastic, rustic, comfort food.

With peach season upon us I felt compelled to make a cobbler and blog about it, well and eat it!

If peaches are in season, I highly recommend using fresh, but you can use frozen if you like or just want to avoid having to peel peaches.

Gather your fixin’s

Click here for printable recipe

First, if using fresh peaches, we need to get the skin off.  Just peeling with a knife isn’t easy, so we are going to boil the skins off.  First bring a pot of water to a boil and set up a mixing bowl with ice water.

Place the peaches a few at a time into the boiling water and boil for one minute

After one minute, remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice water to stop the cooking.

As you can see, the skin will now just rub off, use a knife to score and get it started.

Here they are plain nekkid, and look at that color, you can tell that they are nice and ripe

Slice them up and put them in a saucepan (I emptied the pot that I boiled them in and rinsed it out).  Add the sugar.  The original recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, I went with just a 1/2 cup since the peaches were very sweet and ripe.  If you are using frozen, or your peaches aren’t ripe, use the whole cup.

Start preheating the oven to 350

Now cook for 5-10 minutes or until tender, it will depend on the thickness and the ripeness of the peaches, mine took 5 minutes.  Set aside.

If you are using a glass or ceramic baking dish, melt the butter in there either in the microwave or the preheating oven.

In a mixing bowl combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt, whisk together.  If you have self rising flour, you can use that, just omit the baking powder and salt.  To be honest I’m willing to bet that this recipe was originally made with self rising flour, it’s a staple of southern kitchens.

Add milk and vanilla, whisk into a nice smooth batter.  No technique here, probably there are grannies all over the south who make this without a recipe

once mixed pour that batter over the butter.  I know that at this point you think I’m crazy, who would put the batter on the BOTTOM of a cobbler, that seems like sheer madness!  but hang in there, you’ll see that it all works out in the end.

OOH, look at that butter, sweet sweet buddah!  We’re using real butter right?  Margarine will work , but butter tastes so much better.

Now carefully spoon the cooked peaches and syrup over the top of the batter, don’t just dump, you want them sitting on top of the batter.

Now place in that preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until the top is nicely browned and the juices are bubbling.

After some oven magic, the crust is on the top!!!

Let it cool a bit, at least 20 minutes so it isn’t like volcanic lava.  Scoop it out and eat it as is or with some vanilla ice cream.

See I told you, like a gooey peach dumpling, pure comfort on a plate!

Printable recipe click here

  • 4 cups sliced peaches (5-6 peaches)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sugar

 

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Posted in Pie and Pastry | 1 Comment