Monday, October 29, 2012

Perfect Pumpkin Parfait


When I first met Michael, because he was working as a chef, I would try and make things for him to impress him. One night when we first started dating he went to a concert at the Greek theater, and afterwards was going to come over. I decided that I wanted to make him a dessert which I had never done, so I made him a parfait. Though it was a pretty ghetto store bought pudding and cool whip parfait (I think I even through jam in there), I find that there is something very sensual about the layering of mousse or pudding and some amazing whip cream. This parfait is a beautifully smooth pumpkin mousse, cinnamon chip, and homemade whip cream layering that is so wonderful, and has a beautiful look that will add some sophistication to your Halloween celebration. There is only three days left until Halloween, so make it count!!

*Make mousse the night before you make your parfait.  
Ingredients:

Mousse:
Cinnamon chips
Cinnamon stick
5 large egg yolks
¾ cup =+2 tablespoons sugar
1 ¼  cup heavy cream
1 small can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin

Whip cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract




For this recipe measure out everything to start, and have all of your tools ready so you don’t need to scramble or worry.  Fill a large bowl half way with ice water and set to the side. In a bowl whisk together egg yolks, and ¾ cups plus two tablespoons of sugar and ¾ cup heavy whipping cream. Heat on a medium low heat while stirring constantly for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens in a medium sized sauce pan, or until the sauce covers a wooden spoon. Be sure not to turn the heat above this, because your eggs will scramble and you don’t want that. Transfer sauce to a medium bowl, and place in the ice water to let cool.

While cooling mix in the pumpkin, vanilla, spices and salt. In a separate small bowl mix together 1 teaspoon gelatin and bourbon until the gelatin completely dissolved, and then whisk into pumpkin mix.

In a separate bowl, beat ½ cup cream until it stiffens, and then fold into the pumpkin mix. Pour the pumpkin mix onto a shallow dish and refrigerate overnight.

To make the parfait the next day, make the whip cream by whipping all the ingredients together and layering your ingredients in a cup. We started with a layer of pumpkin, then cinnamon chips, then whip cream, repeat one more time, then do a small layer of pumpkin, whip cream then a few chips  and a sprinkle of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick. This parfait is one smooth dessert that is a delicious layering of fall flavors and smooth whip cream.

 

Spooktastic Spiced Rum Jello Shot

This is a really quick and easy one that we are posting to celebrate the 4th day until Halloween. We are showing you this incredibly simple recipe because we think it is great to have an option besides a cocktail in a glass, serve a cocktail in a shot, in the form of jello! This is a Halloween and fall inspired twist on the age old college jello shot, but much more refined.

Ingredients:
1 oz gelatin
2 cups boiling apple cider
6 oz cold water
10 oz spiced rum
Black sprinkles

This recipe is so simple it’s silly. Basically start by boiling two cups of apple cider, once boiled pour into a heat proof bowl and then whisk in the gelatin, until completely dissolved. Next pour the cold water and spiced rum.  To set it, pour the mix into a square baking pan that’s no larger than 9”x9”, and refrigerate for up to three hours to completely set.

Once set, to remove from the pan, fill a sink with warm water, and dip the bottom of the pan in the water (being sure to not get any water on your actual mold) for 2-3 seconds. The mold will release from the side of the pan. Flip the jello onto a cutting board and cut into equal sized pieces, and dip the top into your black sprinkles.

The sprinkles will cause a black run a bit, but this is great because it adds to the spooky effect of your alcoholic treat!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trick With Some Treat Macaron


These French macarons are a delightful way display the traditional Halloween colors orange and black! They are so cute, so scrumptious, and such perfect Halloween treats. All you need to do is follow the instructions, really pay attention, because trust us, it took a couple tries, but once we got used to it, these are a breeze! In this recipe we made two different flavors, both using our Food Nasty preserves. So if you want that recipe check back at our Summer Fruit Fall Jam post. The black is a cherry almond flavor, and the orange is nectarine brandy, and boy oh boy they are good. You can either divide everything in half, or just follow the recipe and add one flavor, your choice.

*When we say sift, we mean really sift through mesh.
*Be sure to reduce the heat the second you put everything in the oven.

Ingredients:

Cookie:
Black and orange gel food coloring
1 cup confectioners' sugar
 3/4 cup almond flour
 2 large egg whites, room temperature
 Pinch of cream of tartar
 1/4 cup superfine sugar

Filling: Swiss Meringue Buttercream
6 large egg whites
 1 1/2 cups sugar
 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ lb butter
1/3 cup jam or flavoring




Start by pulsing confectioners’ sugar and almond flour together, and then sift through mesh twice to get all the imperfections out.

Next preheat oven to 375 while you get the cookie mix ready. With an electric whisker, whisk egg whites  and food coloring until foamy, now add you cream of tartar, and continue to whisk. While you are whisking on a low speed, add superfine sugar, go back up to a high speed and continue whisking until you form firm peaks. Now sift flour mix over the eggs white and fold in until fully dissolved.

Next line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and make ¾ inch rounds with a pencil. We used a wine cork because it is the perfect size. Now transfer you batter to a pastry bag, or even a sandwich bag, and cut a small hole in the corner, and fill your circles.

Tap the bottom of the sheet to release air bubbles, and let sit for 10 minutes. One sheet at a time, place baking trays in oven, and immediately decrease heat to 325 and bake for 10 minutes, turning the sheet tray around half way through.

One they bake, let them completely cool and lift off parchment, if need be you can peel any sticking parchment paper off.

Now time to assemble the filling. Beat egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl sitting over simmering water until sugar dissolves. Once sugar dissolves remove from heat and beat until thick, add vanilla and butter, and your flavoring. Fill a pastry bag and pipe away! Fill your cookies with about a ½ tablespoon of filling, sandwich and eat!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Classic Caramel Apples

Apples have always had a wonderful place in every fall lovers heart. We bob for apples, we make apple pie, we harvest apples, Hell, we even give them to teachers at the beginning of the year. There is absolutely no better way to bring that tradition full circle than covering them in caramel!

These caramel apples are classics, very straight forward, simple, and wonderful!!! Celebrate 6 days of Halloween left, and bite into some caramel apples!

*Be sure to pay attention to the color of your sugar while it caramelizes, too soon it will be albino, too late it will burn.

Ingredients: makes 6

Sticks or whatevs to insert into the apples
 Nonstick cooking spray
 2 cups sugar
 1/2 cup heavy cream
 6 Granny Smith or Red Delicious apples
 1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts (optional)





Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and coat with cooking spray, this will prevent the caramel from adhering to everything.

 In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil over high, then reduce to medium-high and simmer, undisturbed, until caramel is golden brown, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in cream (mixture will sputter). And we say sputter we mean it, I practically seared flesh off. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

Now make a small slit in top of each apple, and insert your stick 1 inch deep into each slit.

For the finale….dip apples into caramel, swirling to coat. Sprinkle with nuts (if using) and transfer to sheet. If the caramel seems thin, just let it cool, and double dip (we allow it), or allow it to sit in the freezer for a few min to harden the caramel.

Serve up! Yummy!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Graveyard Cupcakes


If you are going to bake a bunch of cupcakes and bring them to a party, they may as well be a graveyard of cupcakes. Not every single one needs to say RIP, be creative and make a gravestone for each person at the party. Freak them out with a little personalized grave!

What Mikey and I did for these cupcakes is make a spiced pumpkin cake, topped with a cream cheese frosting, and a gravestone made of gum paste.  So get creative, celebrate the 7th day and the week until Halloween and spook your friends with their future grave site!

*Gum paste can be made from a mix or you can buy it premade at most cake shops or even Michael’s. The gum paste takes a while to dry so make the headstones a day in advance.

Ingredients:
premade gum paste
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 cups confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
 4 1/2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for pan
 2 tablespoons baking powder
 3/4 teaspoon salt
 1 1/2 cups milk
 1 1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
 1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
 7 large egg whites
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp clove
2 tbspoons spiced rum





First things first roll out the gum paste and cut into the shape of a gravestone and let dry overnight. Once they dry, use black food coloring and a paint RIP or your friend’s names on.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line your cupcake trays with cupcake holders. We used brown cupcake liners to signify the dirt under the grass.

Get four bowls together, this is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle but you will see why. In one bowl sift together
flour, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl combine milk, vanilla, and pumpkin puree, and set aside. In a third bowl beat butter with an electric mixer until the butter is pale and creamy. In a steady stream add continue beating until light and fluffy.

Reducing speed to low, add the flour mixture to the sugar mix in three batches, alternating between the milk mixture and flour, starting and ending with the flour mix.

In the fourth mixing bowl, beat all the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold one-third of the whites into the batter just until combined, fold in the remainder in two batches.

Pour the batter into the cupcakes holders so that they are about a ¼ of an inch to the top, and bake for 20 minutes. Make sure they are done by inserting a point and making sure it comes out clean.

When they are done remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack, and once cooled decorate by piping green frosting using our previous cream cheese frosting recipe, to create grass, and then place your gravestones on top! Build your graveyard! BOO!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spooky Pumpkin Pancakes


Michael has always loved a great breakfast, so we make this in honor of him. This is perfect to eat Halloween morning. You get the spices of the season, pumpkin for Halloween, and that sweetness getting you ready for all the candy you will be consuming!

*You can use whatever kind of chip you want, but we specifically used cinnamon chips by Hershey.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup Hershey Cinnamon chips






In a large bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of your dry mix and pour in milk a quarter cup at a time.

Next mix in the two eggs, and then your pumpkin puree. Mix until almost completely smooth, but still a bit lumpy. Now for the finale add in your caramel chips.

To make the pancakes you will want to use butter or a cooking spray to grease a frying pan. Use one large enough so you are able to make two pancakes at a time. Heat the pan on a medium high heat and pour about a ¼ cup of mix for each pancake. You will know to flip when little bubbles start to form, and then check the opposite side to make sure it reaches the same golden brown color.

Pile as many as you can on one plate and eat! You will love the warm pumpkin and melting cinnamon chips, smothered in syrup. Yum

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin and Bat Sugar Cookies



There are many shapes that could go to symbolize Halloween….witches, cauldrons, ghosts, ghouls. Two shapes however that will never fail to bring that fright and fun of Halloween are pumpkins and bats!!! These are cookies that are so simple to make, are fun to make with your friends or kids, because you can make them together and decorate them together. Michael and I chose a beautiful deep purple and a bright orange. Instead of plain old fashioned icing, we made a fantastic royal icing using orange blossom honey and a little almond extract. Enjoy these cookies, and make as many Halloween inspired cookies as you like!! Celebrate the 9th day of Halloween as we do our 13 days of Halloween countdown!

*You will want to refrigerate your dough for an hour before use, so keep this in mind with you time. Make dough ahead of time!

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough:
2 1/2  cups  all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the work surface
1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
1  cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4  cup  granulated sugar
1 large egg
1teaspoon  pure vanilla extract

Icing:
1 cup confectioner sugar
2 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon honey (we used orange blossom for extra flavor)
¼ teaspoon almond extract




Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl beat together butter and sugar until smooth. Make sure that your butter is at room temperature, otherwise it will be impossible to blend. Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla.

Beating on a slower speed, gradually add and mix in the flour mix. Your dough is going to seem very stiff, which is what you want. Now place your dough flattened on a plate, and covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once an hour has passed, roll your dough out on a floured surface, to about a ¼ of an inch. Cut your shapes out using your cookie cutter. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies start to turn golden brown. Let cool. Then decorate by using your icing.

To make the icing simply mix your ingredients together and add food coloring to color as much as you want!!! Now eat!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Trick-or-treat Biscotti


As an Italian I love biscotti, I have an affinity for any dessert that has almond in it to be honest. This treat is nothing less than a delicious Halloween twist on a traditional Italian almond biscotti using candy corn instead of slivers of almonds. The mix of the crunch of the cookie and then the chew of the candy corn is delightful to eat. Maybe you can make these and have them with your morning tea, or just offer them as a lovely treat for when people come to visit, but try them and you will not be disappointed. So celebrate the 10th day of Halloween with our trick-or-treat candy corn biscotti!

Ingredients:
¾ cup candy corn
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt





Start by preheating oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a little bit of flour.

Set aside all of your ingredients and most importantly chop up your candy corn into small pieces. In a small bowl whisk the eggs with the vanilla and almond extracts. In a large bowl whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chopped almonds. Then add the egg mixture and stir until a dough forms.
 Divide the dough in half, and on a lightly floured surface roll each half into logs about twice as long as wide. Place the logs on the baking sheet next to each other and bake for about 25 minutes or until they are firm until the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Next move the logs to a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, cut logs into slices about 1/4 - 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices of biscotti on a new baking sheet and bake about 10-15 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until firm to the touch. If you want them extra crunch, bake longer, and don’t be alarmed by the candy corn running. Remove from oven and let cool, if parchment sticks just peel it off. Let cool, and serve with tea, hot chocolate, or just eat!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween Pumpkin Milkshake

 
So we will fully admit that we love a good milkshake, and that a spiced one is possibly the best (besides strawberry). This is a simple recipe with all the fall flavors in it, we use soy ice cream in this to make it a bit healthier, and because milk can be very hard on your stomach. One special thing we have added is instead of the whip cream you expect, we have made an almond whip cream, which has the slight taste of marzipan, and is our new addiction.  The 11th day of Halloween comes in style with a delectable shake!

Ingredients: Milkshake
6 tbsp whole milk
7 scoops soy vanilla ice cream
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg

Whip cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp confectioners sugar
1 tsp almond extract
 
 
 
 

So simple, take your milkshake ingredients and blend! Yeyuh!!

For the whip cream take your cream, add the sugar and almond extract and using an electric whisk, whisk it together until it starts to form into a thick cream. You don’t want to over whip, you want it to be just right, so that the cream can form a bit of a peak, but isn’t overly stiff.

Using a sandwich bag, pour the whip cream in, cut one of the corners off, and use it to top your milkshake with whip cream…top with some cinnamon…and drink!! Yum

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Develish Marscapone Ginger Brownies



One thing that I have always loved about Michael’s cooking is the wonderful juxtaposition between flavors that he goes after. If there is something spicy maybe a little something sweet, if it is very savory there will be something acidic. These brownies are no excuse. We took the traditional brownie and added a wonderful marscapone ginger topping that will send chills down everyone’s spine.  The deep orange against the dark brown, and the tangy ginger against the rich sweet chocolate create a devilish duo that will wow any guest on All Hallows Eve. So take this recipe and celebrate the 12th day of Halloween with these devilish brownies.

Ingredients: Brownie Mix
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 stick(1/2 cup)unsalted butter, cut into bits
3/4 cp. sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Marscapone Topping:
6 oz marscapone
2 ounces (227 grams) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large ginger root
Orange food coloring




Start by setting out all of your materials, ingredients, and preheating the oven to 350 degrees and then butter and flour an 8 inch square baking pan.
In a small heavy saucepan melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth, and let the mixture cool completely.

Now dealing with the dry ingredients, in a medium bowl sift together the flour  Into a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs. While still beating, add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat the mixture at high speed for 3 minute's until thick and pale.

Now for the fun part, which you totally shouldn’t eat because it has egg but I do, mixing the batter all together. No add in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla, and then adding in the flour mixture, stirring until the mixture is blended well. Set aside about a ¼ cup of the mix for the topping.  Pour the batter into the baking pan, smoothing the top.
Lastly  we will make the marscapone ginger topping. Using an electric mixer, if you have one, process the marscapone and the cream cheese until completely smooth. Now for adding the ginger, clean the ginger by using a peeler to peel the outer hard layer off, and using a grater, grate all the ginger goodness into the mix. Don’t use any of the stringy fibers you see, just what you grated. Next add the sugar, vanilla, orange food coloring, and egg and process just until creamy and smooth (do not over process).

Spread the marscapone topping evenly over the brownie layer. And for the final spoon 16 small dollops (4 rows with 4 dollops of brownie batter in each row) of the reserved brownie batter evenly on top of the cream cheese filling. Run a knife or wooden skewer back and forth through the two batters until you have a marble effect.

Bake the Brownies in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 min, or until the brownie pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester, inserted in the center, comes out with crumbs adhering to it. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before cutting them into squares.

You will die with how fabulous these brownies are, and how addictive they are!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Boo-tastic Spicy Shortbread Cookies


I must say that I am incredibly obsessed with Halloween and have essentially sucked Michael into (whether he likes to or not) loving it with me. My birthday being October 21st it is only natural that I have this crazy obsession because since I was little I have had many Halloween birthday parties. That being said, this is the first of 13 posts that we will give you, day one being actually Halloween day.
For our first post, we give you some boo-tastic shortbread cookies. We are both lovers of shortbread because of its beautifully rich and buttery taste. When we were thinking of what to do, and thinking how shortbread is the easiest dough to color in section with food coloring and not have the colors bleed, and what would then make our recipe differ from the rest, shablam, Michael said it, why not make these a bit savory and spicy. So try out shortbread cookies with its buttery taste and the ever so wonderful spicy kick at the end, being sure to send a warm feeling to you on the spooky nights to come.

Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
 2 tablespoons coarse sanding sugar
1 tsp. cayenne
Food coloring


 



First preheat oven to 325 and get all of your tools out and ingredients measured out. When we bake we have everything pre measured, because it makes life so much easier and keeps you from getting all your ingredients dirty and your kitchen from become a baking mess.

Most recipes call for an electric mixer with a paddle, but we used a spatula just fine. So using the spatula cream together butter and sugar, mix in vanilla, and then add flour and cayenne slowly in portions. Because there is no egg, you can try the dough to see if there is enough spice, you want to barely taste it, because when you bake it the flavor will intensify.

Once mixed well, portion the dough into three sections preparing to add the food coloring. For yellow, just use yellow, for orange use red and yellow, and for white use nothing. It took me about 6 drops of food coloring to get the intensity I like, so do accordingly.

Now that all of your colors are mixed lay out in the shape of a rectangle, starting with yellow, then laying out on top of that orange, then on top of that white. Using a sharp knife cut a 2 inch wide log cutting through all the colors, so essentially you have a two inch thick about 8 inch long strip of dough, no lay on its side and cut little triangles out. Using your fingers you can round the corners a little and then lay on a greased baking sheet. Repeat the steps until you use up all the dough.

Bake for about 20 minutes, you want the dough to start to harder a little and pull it out before it starts to turn a golden brown. The cookies will blow out of shape a bit, which is fine because these are meant to be spooky, and they will harden while cooling. Let cool for 10 minutes, and then dig in! These delightful cookies will be sure to bring great joy to all who come to play tricks on you.