My favorite baking season is here! I’ve been doing less baking but still trying to squeeze some in, here and there. This time last year, I was baking and sharing all kinds of recipes. I haven’t gone as crazy this fall because, well, COVID and everyone in my house is trying to eat super healthy to keep our immune systems in a place to help fight off that horrible virus. Also, depending on the day, we’re not eating gluten or dairy. Sometimes, we’re strict vegans and other days we’re not. Kind of all over the place!
Carrie was off school Friday and we decided to make our annual trip to an orchard where they also sell apple fritters. First of all, everyone in NE Ohio was off school and flocked to that place! I didn’t feel comfortable being there so we grabbed our fritters and went right back to the car to eat them. I was so excited! I took my first bite and it was disappointing. Second bite, bland. Third bite, stale. I PUT THE APPLE FRITTER BACK IN THE BAG and decided it was definitely not worth eating. It was disappointing but not the end of the world. I knew right then and there that I’d just make my own apple fritter experience.
This morning, Carrie and I made our own. I had this recipe saved from Half Baked Harvest (my true love!). I bought local apples at Countryside Farmers’ Market on Saturday and I was ready to have my fritter moment.
I NEVER fry anything. I made an exception today and embraced all the elements of the recipe. It was 100% worth it!
These Apple Fritters are light, full of warm spices and the apples cook just enough and are bursting with flavor! Carrie didn’t want the coffee glaze the recipe calls for so we just left that out and I added a tiny bit of lemon juice to the glaze to cut the sweetness a little. They are beyond delicious! They’re little bites of glorious fall flavors.
After eating (inhaling) the first one, I took them over the top by adding a little homemade apple butter. I’ll just be here all day eating these!
Get the recipe (Half Baked Harvest), avoid all the crowds and stale, dry fritters and make them while all the juicy apples are in season. You won’t regret it!
Is it really November 26? I’m feeling very behind on all holiday things. Anyone else? This past weekend, Carrie and I drove to NC to see a concert put on by Carrie’s broadway idol, Jessica Vosk. It happened to be near Hannah’s place so, as a big bonus, we got to see Han too! It was a great trip! Brunch, wedding venue tour, concert, met Jessica Vosk, hot yoga and avocado toast. Super quick and fun trip! It was a little easier to leave this time because Hannah’s coming home for Thanksgiving!
Usually, when November 1st hits, I’m knee deep in Pumpkin Roll making. Not this year. I don’t know why but I hadn’t made any until today. Time has definitely snuck away from me and here it is the week of Thanksgiving and I’m cramming in some Pumpkin Rolls.
I told Hannah and Carrie this is their year to learn to make them while Hannah’s home. They’ve always enjoyed the scrumptious treat but never really spent time making these with me. I want them to know how so they can keep this annual tradition alive for years to come.
I learned how to make Pumpkin Roll from my mom and grandma and have always associated it with Thanksgiving because it’s usually part of the dessert line-up. I love it! Pumpkin Roll is delicious and classic and it’s a dessert that can be made weeks or months in advance and stored in the freezer. It’s actually much easier to slice while it’s frozen! It also makes a wonderful gift.
You don’t need many ingredients but you do need space and dedicated time and patience. Don’t be intimidated by the rolling. I’m going to share some of my tricks with you and you’ll see how easy it is.
Prep your pans! I use jelly roll style pans. I line them with unbleached parchment and give them a quick spray with oil to be sure they don’t stick. It’s not pretty but it gets the job done.
Start by beating the eggs, sugar and vanilla until nice and thick. Can we talk about the color of those eggs for a second? Beautiful!
Add the pumpkin purée (mine is homemade from pie pumpkins I got from Martha’s Farm) then add the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter into prepared pans. I’m making a double batch. One plain and one with pecans. Please add pecans! Just chop them and sprinkle them on top before baking. My sweet Daisy Mae is there to make sure I get it right! 🙂
Pop them in the oven and clean up your mess. You could also have a cup of coffee or glass of wine. Yeah, do that! These only bake until the top springs back when touched. If you bake it too long, there’s a chance it will crack when you roll it.
Here’s where I have some advice on the rolling. For years, I flipped these things out onto a towel covered with powdered sugar. There was always a dust cloud of sugar and it went EVERYWHERE! Also, the whole process made me nervous–would the cake come out of the pan, would it crack, would I miss the towel??!! Enough of that! I adopted a new technique a few years ago and it much less messy and more calming for the baker!
I get a larger cookie sheet ready by turning it over and covering it with a tea towel. I use my handy dandy powdered sugar sprinkler jar to sprinkle sugar right on top of the pumpkin roll when it comes out of the oven. Then I put the towel and cookie sheet on top and gently invert it. Remove the pumpkin roll pan and parchment and roll up the hot cake. Let it cool completely in the towel on a cooling rack. Cotton tea towels work best.
When the Pumpkin Roll is cool, make the filling which is simply cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla whipped up with a mixer until creamy and fluffy.
Gently unroll the cake and spread the filling to cover the cake. If your cake cracks, do not panic. These things are very forgiving. Keep spreading the filling and move to the next step.
Roll her back up nice and tight. It’s best to do that right onto a piece of plastic wrap then sprinkle a little more powdered sugar over the roll and wrap the whole thing tightly in the plastic then in foil. Stick it in the fridge or freezer for several hours to set up.
When you’re ready to serve, simply slice to your desired thickness. I like to slice mine in about 1″ slices. It’s so pretty and always tastes amazing!
For me, Pumpkin Roll is about the memories I have of Thanksgiving. I miss those big family gatherings. Due to all sorts of family changes, it’s hard to keep everything the same. That’s one of the many things I love about food. It can give all the feels, bring back nice memories and create new experiences.
Maybe next year Hannah and Carrie will make this for me! Until then, I’m ready to get going on preparing one of my favorite meals of the year. I have much to be thankful for! Safe travels if you’re traveling and enjoy time with all those you’re with. Happy Thanksgiving!
From the heart,
Pumpkin Roll Ingredients
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
Choppped pecans, if desired (highly encouraged!)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs, vanilla and sugar until thick. Add in pumpkin and mix to combine. Stir in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. If adding pecans, sprinkle those on top.
3. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen then sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and invert cake onto a larger cookie sheet covered with a tea towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool completely on wire rack.
4. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Roll cake as tightly as possible. Wrap in plastic wrap then foil and refrigerate at least one hour.
Store prepared Pumpkin Roll in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also store in the freezer for up to one month. Remove frozen Pumpkin Roll and slice in 1″ slices and serve at room temperature.
If you want to double the recipe, it’s about 3 cups of batter per pan.
I wish I had a fun memory or story to share about these scones. The truth is, I never made scones before this. I modified this Pumpkin Cranberry Scone recipe from a magazine my mother-in-law sent me a couple weeks ago. I flipped through the magazine and saw these and thought, I don’t know why I’ve never made scones. They’re one of my favorite things to eat and when I have one, it feels like an indulgence.
We had our first snow for the season here in NE Ohio this week. I want to be upset about that (not a fan of winter!) but I’ve decided to embrace all the wonderful things about a snowy day (you can remind me of these in February). Unlimited cups of warm, freshly brewed coffee and tea, a cute hat and scarf, my coziest socks and big, thick sweatshirts. One of the challenges with this November snow is it makes me think of Christmas instead of Thanksgiving. I’m a full blown Thanksgiving person. I give it all the attention and don’t bust out a single Christmas decoration until the day after Thanksgiving. These Pumpkin Cranberry Scones taste like November and look a little like Christmas. It’s pretty cool these little darlings can accomplish that amazing feat!
Simple ingredients are all you need. My trusty Mud Run Farm pastry flour made the scones light and tender.
You’ll also need: salt, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, cranberries, pumpkin, eggs, butter and half and half.
Start with the dry ingredients then add the wet and combine. These couldn’t be easier to put together and if you have all the ingredients measured, making what feels like a fancy breakfast is a breeze.
Gently knead the dough then roll or pat into a circle and cut into wedges.
Place the wedges on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with an egg wash and into the oven they go! That’s it! See all the chunks of butter? That’s your fluffy, flaky, fabulous factor!
While they’re doing their thing in the oven, whip up a quick citrus glaze just to take them over the top. Powdered sugar, orange zest and juice, butter and a little cream.
When the scones are finished baking, let them cool for a few minutes then get that glaze on them! The combination of flavors is so good and these truly are a fusion of all things November and December! I don’t have to feel guilty about eating something that kind of reminds me of Christmas because it totally still screams Thanksgiving! Brilliant! Also, I’d never feel guilty about eating a freshly baked scone. These are not super sweet and are the perfect texture for dunking.
I added some raw pepitas and more dried cranberries to the top to make them extra festive. I think they’re beautiful and all the colors make them fun and not too fancy!
Don’t wait for a special occasion to indulge! You can have these ready for breakfast or brunch in no time. Put on your cute scarf, puffy sweatshirt and cozy socks and meet your friend, spouse or significant other for afternoon coffee. Bring these glorious treats along to enjoy together. Eating scones together is the best kind of day!
From the heart,
Pumpkin Cranberry Scones Ingredients
2 ½ cups pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup butter, cut up
½ cup dried cranberries
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup half-and-half, light cream, or milk
½ cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 TBSP water
2 cups powdered sugar
1 TBSP butter, melted
2 tsp orange zest
2 TBSP orange juice
Add cream or milk as needed to thin
Preheat oven to 400 degrees °F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the 1/2 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cranberries and toss well. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; set aside.
In a small bowl stir together the 2 eggs, half-and-half, and pumpkin. Add pumpkin mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing it for 10 to 12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth. Pat or lightly roll dough into an 8-inch circle. Cut circle into eight wedges.
Place wedges 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl combine the 1 egg with the 1 tablespoon water. Brush wedges lightly with egg mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Remove scones from baking sheet. Let cool for 5 minutes before spreading with glaze.
For glaze, in a small bowl stir together powdered sugar, the 1 tablespoon butter, the 2 teaspoons orange zest and juice until well combined.
Spoon glaze over warm scones, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with dried cranberries and/or raw pepitas if desired.
Today has been a great fall day! It was chilly this morning. I got up early, went to the gym then headed straight to the last Countryside outdoor market of the season (they move indoors over the winter). I got these beautiful flowers from Little Bean Farm and Larder. There’s kale in there! This bouquet instantly brought me some feel good and I skipped through the meadow, taking in all the crisp air and gorgeous views. I was intentional about my time this morning because I didn’t have to rush. That was a nice feeling!
While at the market, I also picked up some things for chili tonight. I decided to make two kinds: my traditional style chili using Beyond Meat in the Instant Pot and a new recipe I found that calls for pumpkin, bourbon and chipotle peppers.
It’s so yummy! If you’re looking for a unique chili recipe, this one’s a keeper. It comes together quickly with simple, healthy ingredients! It’s vegetarian and gluten free. Yay!
Sauté onion, garlic and red pepper in a little olive oil. Add chili powder, salt and cumin then pour in the bourbon. It smells amazing right about now!
I still have lots of homemade pumpkin purée so I added that, crushed tomatoes, beans, chipotle peppers and butternut squash. These colors match all the trees right now. Beautiful!
That’s it! It simmers for about 30-40 minutes which gave me plenty of time to whip up a pan of cornbread. I knew the chili would have some kick so I thought a little cornbread drizzled with my favorite Brighton Wool & Honey Raw Wildflower Honey would be the perfect sidekick.
It’s still chili but it’s different and I dig it! It’s thick and loaded with unique flavors and the cornbread with honey is the perfect accompaniment.
It’s raining and cold and I don’t even care. Kinda busy here inhaling this meal. Also, I’m really glad I worked out this morning!
We have trick-or-treat in our neighborhood tomorrow night and I’m pleased as punch this recipe made enough so I can enjoy the leftovers. I bet it’s even better tomorrow!
From the heart,
Pumpkin Chipotle Bourbon Chili Ingredients:
1 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, diced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup bourbon
14 ounces pumpkin purée (either homemade or canned)
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 19-ounce can of black beans
1 19-ounce can of navy beans (you can use your favorite beans too!)
1 small butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers pureed with adobo sauce
Plain Greek yogurt, cilantro, onions for toppings
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is soft. Add the garlic and red pepper and continue to cook until the red pepper is soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chili powder, cumin, and sea salt and let it cook for 1 minute more.
3. Add the bourbon and bring to a boil.
4. Add the canned pumpkin, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans, navy beans, butternut squash, pureed chipotle peppers and 2 cups of water and stir the pot well.
5. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender.
6. Season to taste with sea salt.
7. Serve with toppings of your choice. I highly recommend cornbread and honey for dunking!
It’s finally feeling chilly here in NE Ohio and we’re drinking tons of warm apple cider! Carrie takes a mug of it to school almost every day. I enjoy it with a cinnamon stick, splash of bourbon or both. We make our annual trek to Patterson Fruit Farm to get apples, pumpkins, fritters, doughnuts and apple cider. I’m crazy about their apple cider doughnuts and only indulge one time a year. I thought I’d try making my own. I’ve made baked doughnuts many times but never made apple cider doughnuts. What have I been waiting for?
This recipe is super quick and easy. It’s a good one to make on a weekend morning for your family, or get together with friends for brunch OR simply make them for yourself! There’s nothing better than fresh doughnuts!
My vision for this Saturday morning was similar to the spreads you see in food magazines this time of year. You know the ones. The family is hanging out around a little fire in matching plaid shirts, cute winter hats, hands cupped around their warm drinks, smiling because they’re outside among all the changing leaves, eating doughnuts. It’s a nice picture, isn’t it?
My plan: Get up early, write in my gratitude journal, shower, make these doughnuts, take some quick pictures for the blog, pack up the doughnuts along with freshly brewed coffee and steaming hot chocolate and hit a local trail with the family. Get in a brisk walk then reward ourselves with a yummy fall treat. Doesn’t that sound so fun?
It didn’t happen. Carrie woke up complaining of a sore throat and headache which put a real wrench in my plan. Casey just doesn’t eat in the morning and he wasn’t making an exception today. Mama’s gotta roll with it so, we (Carrie and I) enjoyed a more slow-paced breakfast at home. The Apple Cider Doughnuts seemed to help me forget Plan A. That isn’t completely true but I do think they lifted Carrie’s spirits a little and that’s worth way more than cute plaid shirts and morning hikes!
These doughnuts are baked and come out light and fluffy. The ingredients are likely things you already have on hand: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, egg, apple cider, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and plain yogurt. Also, you’ll a donut pan. I love mine from USA Pan.
Step one is to boil the cider to reduce it so it has a more intense flavor. This only takes about 10 minutes and it’s worth it. Once reduced, let it cool. You’ll use this in the dough and the glaze.
Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another larger bowl. Add the dry to the wet and mix just until it all comes together.
I like to use a pastry bag to pipe the batter into the doughnut pan. You could also use a baggie or just spoon it in.
As I was taking the photo above, there was cute Daisy Mae eating her breakfast! This also reveals the high tech photo studio I have in my kitchen! 🙂 I’m just keeping it real and it’s not ideal but I’m working with what I have! See that beagle?
Pipe the batter and bake the doughnuts at 350 for about 8-12 minutes. Transfer from pan to wire rack.
Melt butter and add some of the apple cider reduction. Dunk the doughnuts in the butter cider combo then they get a dusting of cinnamon and sugar. Not great lighting here. There’s no window near my counter.
EAT THEM WHILE THEY’RE STILL WARM!
Apple Cider Doughnuts are a delicious start to the day or weekend. Maybe, you’ll even be eating these outside while wearing a plaid shirt and cute hat, sipping a warm drink! If you’re like me and life doesn’t always go as planned, you’ll appreciate these little pillows of fall flavors even more! Actually, just make a double batch!
From the heart,
Apple Cider Doughnuts
1 cup apple cider-reduced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 TBSP plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
3 TBSP unsalted butter
2 TBSP of the reduced cider
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one 6-cup donut pan.
In a small saucepan, heat the apple cider over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring every minute or two, until it is reduced by about half, around 10 minutes. Take off the heat, whisk in the butter until melted and combined, and set mixture aside for a few minutes to cool. Use 1/2 cup of the reduced cider for the doughnuts, and a couple tablespoons for the glaze.
In a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the reduced cider/butter mixture, sugar, egg, yogurt, and vanilla until well-combined.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir to combine. Do not over mix.
Fill a pastry bag or large size baggie with the batter and snip off the end. Fill each cavity about 2/3 of the way full.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, until risen and browned on the edges. Set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a wire rack set over parchment paper or a baking sheet.
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
While the doughnuts are baking, whisk together 2 tablespoons of the reduced cider with 3 tablespoons melted butter in a small bowl (big enough to dip the donuts in). Whisk together sugar and cinnamon in another similar sized bowl.
One by one, dip one side of the warm doughnuts into the butter/cider mixture, then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Sprinkle extra cinnamon sugar on as you wish!
Recipe modified and adapted from other recipes (Sally’s Baking Addiction and Food Network)
Do you know the bundt cake scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding? It’s the one where Maria Portokalos receives a cake from Ian’s mom. She has no idea what it is. Finally, she says, “It’s a cake! I know! Thank you! Thank you very, very much…There’s a hole in this cake.” Maria had the hardest time understanding why there was a hole in the cake and she put a plant in the center. It cracks me up every single time!
How did the bundt cake come to be? I did a little searching and found a fascinating article on Food 52 about the history of our beloved bundt cake, specifically, the bundt pan. I’m going to summarize the article but it’s definitely worth a read!
In the 1950’s, H. David Dalquist of Minneapolis, created and trademarked the word Bundt which is actually a variation of the German word bund, which translates to “association.” Dave hoped Bundts would inspire the gathering together of people. I don’t know about you, but if there’s bundt cake, I’m happy to gather!
Dave and his wife Dotty founded Nordic Ware in 1946. They made Scandinavian inspired bakeware. They were approached by a Jewish women’s group who were in need of a traditional old world cake pan. They needed one with a hole in the middle. Dave and Dotty agreed to make them but the pans didn’t sell right away. It wasn’t until the 60’s that a local Texas woman made a “Tunnel of Fudge Cake,” which required a bundt pan and featured a filling of Pillsbury frosting, as her entry for the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. She was awarded 2nd Place prize, and many bakers wanted the recipe. They also needed bundt cake pans!
Today I’m making an Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Brown-Butter Apple Cider Glaze. Not only is it apple season but it’s also my oldest daughter, Hannah’s, birthday! I won’t see her but I still feel the need to make a cake to celebrate her amazing soul! You definitely don’t need an excuse or reason to make this cake so just go for it. I promise this is unlike any cake you’ve probably had. It’s delicious!
This cake recipe is inspired by several recipes. I wanted something that included apple cider because we have tons of it in the fridge, fresh apples, spices and a rich glaze. Something a little more warm and special than the standard powdered sugar and milk drizzle. I combined various ideas and decided to go with a bundt pan. That’s what got me wondering about the history of bundt cakes.
Simple, seasonal ingredients. Local flour, eggs, apples and cider. Yes!
Prep the bundt pan. Hannah’s turning 24 so that’s my love note inside. 🙂 Generously butter the pan, a dusting of flour, then a note!
Combine dry ingredients, shred the apples and place the sugars, eggs, oil, applesauce, apple cider and vanilla in a mixing bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients, add the dry and gently fold in the apples. Inhale. It smells divine!
Pour that beautiful batter into your prepared bundt pan and into the oven she goes!
Bake the cake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool for about 10-12 minutes then invert the pan onto a cake plate or serving dish. Let her cool.
While the cake cools, there are dishes to be done. Why do I love baking? Ha! I’m just keeping it real! At least my Halloween mugs are there to cheer me on!
Ready to dirty up more dishes? Time to make the glaze. Sift powdered sugar and add either vanilla bean seeds or the vanilla bean paste. Brown the butter and add to the sugar then whisk in half and half and apple cider. Brown-butter has a nutty, rich flavor. It can burn easily so be careful on this step.
Here’s what not to do! Don’t try to put the glaze on while the cake is even the least bit warm! Oops! I’ll try to be more patient!
Once the cake is really cool, add the glaze and that’s it! I picked up some gorgeous flowers at the farmers’ market this morning and added them to the photo session. We just did a Facetime with Hannah and now I’m going to dig into this cake! It’s a really easy cake to make and perfect for a fall birthday. It would be delicious with warm apple cider (with or without bourbon), ice cream and mostly shared with family and friends.
You could also tap into your inner Maria Portokalos and stick a plant in the center to really fancy it up!
From the heart,
Apple Cider Bundt Cake with Brown-Butter Glaze
1 TBSP unsalted butter and some flour for preparing the pan
4 medium apples – peeled, cored, & shredded
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used local whole wheat pastry flour)
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
2 tsp. vanilla
2 to 3 TBSP half and half
2 to 3 TBSP apple cider
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
vanilla bean seeds scraped from a vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 oz. unsalted butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Get butter and flour in every single crevice.
Stir the shredded apple with lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the white sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the remaining 1 cup white sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs, apple cider, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Then add the flour mixture and combine once again. Gently fold in the apples until they are evenly distributed. Pour into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto your serving platter. Let it cool completely.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds or paste.
In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the butter until golden brown. It should smell delicious and toasty. Do not let it burn. Heat it for 5-8 minutes. Strain the browned butter to remove the darker pieces. Pour browned butter into the powdered sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Add 2 tablespoons of the half and half, add a little apple cider then add the vanilla. Stir vigorously until smooth. You want the glaze to be thick, but easily pourable. If it seems too thick, add the remaining tablespoon of half and half. Pour the glaze over the cake. Let it set then slice and serve!
Bring on the fall pies! Pie baking season is in full swing and I’m ecstatic! I adore every kind of pie; I don’t have a favorite. It’s fun to make pie all year long and use what’s in season or put together something you’re craving.
I’ve been counting down the seconds to share my trusty pie crust recipe with you. While I’m at it, I’m also going to share my apple pie recipe. Apples are coming in strong and I eat my weight in them this time of year. Honeycrisp apples. No words needed! I usually use a 2-3 varieties of apples in my pie. I love the different textures and flavors.
I’ve been making this crust for several years. There are many pie crust recipes out there and lots of opinions about shortening, butter, knead, no knead. Trust me, pie crust doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. This recipe is easy and reliable! I love that it’s not super sweet and it’s there to simply enhance all the delicious filling.
Flour, butter, sugar, kosher salt and apple cider vinegar are all the ingredients you need!
Pie crust tip #1: COLD! The butter should be cold. I cube and refrigerate a portion and freeze the rest. While I’m measuring, cutting and separating butter, I prep enough for 4-5 batches of crust. The butter is what gives the crust all that flaky goodness. The water should be ice water. Cold is your friend here.
When I made this batch, I used whole wheat pastry flour from Mud Run Farm. Pastry flour has less protein than all purpose flour. Pie crust doesn’t need all the strength from protein/gluten that’s in AP flour. It’s light and soft and makes amazing crust! You can certainly use unbleached all purpose flour but I highly recommend pastry flour. I put everything in the food processor except the frozen butter and water.
Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles the texture of sand then add the frozen butter and apple cider vinegar/ice water and pulse just until the mixture holds together. It will not look like dough at this point. You should still see pieces of butter. That’s your flaky crust insurance!
Dump it all out on the counter and work the dough until it gets smooth. You should still see pieces of butter. Split the dough into two portions, form into discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Depending on when you need it, refrigerate or freeze. If you freeze it, let it thaw in the fridge a few hours or overnight before you’re ready to make your pie.
Pie crust tip #2: MORE IS BETTER! When I have the food processor and all the ingredients out, I go ahead and make 4 to 5 batches of crust and stick them in the freezer so I have them available whenever the pie making urge hits (which for me is quite often). It’s so worth it since you have to clean up the mess anyway. I don’t clean the food processor in between, I just keep cranking out the crust!
Like I said, I’ve had great luck with this crust for many years. I got apples at Countryside Farmers’ Market on Saturday and couldn’t wait to make my first fall apple pie of the year! I find it therapeutic to make a pie. It’s a process and it requires extra time but the end result is so worth it. Also, pie just feels special and comforting. You gotta really love someone to make them a pie! Okay, that may be a little too far but pie does feel loving to me and that’s a nice way to spend a fall afternoon!
I’ve experimented with many apple pie recipes. This is my standard and it includes zest and juice from an orange and lemon and warm spices: cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I think fruit pies taste best when kept simple.
Carrie enjoys making pie with me so after history homework, we got busy prepping the beautiful apples. Nice, thin slices and the addition of sugar, citrus and spices make for a beautifully balanced filling. You can peel or not peel your apples. She got to choose so the peels came off.
Once the apples are loving their life in the sugary goodness, start prepping the crust. First, the pie dish.
Pie crust tip #3: DISH! Lightly butter and flour a pie dish. It gives the bottom of the crust a chance to brown evenly because it keeps all that butter that was worked into the dough a chance to stay in the dough.
Next, take one of the prepared pie dough discs and place it on a floured surface and gently roll it out. Place it in the bottom of the prepared pie dish. Gently coax the crust to settle into the dish using your hand.
Pie crust tip #4: CRUST DUST! Equal parts of flour and sugar sprinkled on the bottom of the crust. It creates a nice layer to ensure a non-soggy crust! Also, it’s a perfect spot to share your love note! I keep a jar of crust dust handy at all times.
Pour the apples into the prepared crust, dot with butter, roll out the top crust and place on top of the apples.
Next, we tuck in the apples! That’s what I’ve always said to Carrie and now that’s her favorite part! Fold the top crust under the bottom to seal it and then crimp the edge.
Brush the top with milk or cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. If you don’t have that sitting around, granulated sugar works too! Cut a few slits so the steam can escape, place on a baking sheet to catch any drips and pop that beauty into a hot oven.
While you wait, don’t ignore any apples that didn’t make it into the pie…
I bake at a high temp first to set the crust. I lower the temp for the last part of the baking time and cover with foil if it starts to get too brown. Once your pie is finished baking, let cool on a rack for several hours.
I made caramel the same day I made crust. Because why not!? Here’s the recipe for that. Just go ahead and make some. It really sets this whole thing off! Plus, you can use the caramel for so many other fall baked goods.
I never have apple pie without ice cream. I picked up some Mitchell’s Vanilla Bean and Saturday night dessert was all set! Who wouldn’t feel loved with this plate sitting in front of them?
It was so delicious! Carrie and I just kept cleaning up the edge of the pie that was in the pie dish. Those bites don’t count, right? If you really want to welcome in the fall flavors, make an apple pie with fresh, local apples. Go the extra mile and make the crust and caramel. Enjoy the process and feel all the love!
From the heart,
Pie Crust Ingredients:
Butter: Diced into 1/2” cubes: 9 TBSP in the fridge; 5 TBSP in the freezer
Pastry Flour: 2 1/4 cups
Kosher Salt: 2 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1/2 TBSP
Apple Cider Vinegar: 1 TBSP with 1/2 cup cold water
Place 9 TBSP cold butter and all dry ingredients in food processor and pulse until it resembles the texture of sand.
Add in the frozen butter cubes and start with 5 TBSP of the apple cider water and pulse until it holds together.
Dump it out and work the dough on the counter until it holds together and is smooth.
Divide in half and form into discs and wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate (preferably overnight). You can also freeze at this point.
Remove dough from fridge to soften a little. Place disc on floured surface and roll out.
Butter and flour pie pan. Once bottom crust is in prepared pan, sprinkle bottom with Crust Dust (equal parts of flour and sugar).
Apple Pie Ingredients:
6-7 cups apples peeled, quartered, and cored. Local are best; use a variety of baking apples.
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pie crust for bottom and top
Milk or cream and turbinado sugar for top crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine sliced apples in a bowl with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9- or 10-inch pie pan to extend about 1/2-inch over the rim.
Fill the pie with the apple mixture.
Top with the second crust and tuck in the apples! Gently tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp the 2 together with your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with a little milk or cream, sprinkle with sugar, and cut slits.
Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 30-35 minutes to set the crust. Lower temp to 375 and bake for 20-25 minutes longer. Check the pie often through the window to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. If it is, cover with foil and bake until it’s bubbling.
Serve with a drizzle of caramel sauce and ice cream.
It’s Friday! Whoopie! I don’t have much of a story about whoopie pies. I don’t really even like saying “whoopie”. I’m not sure why. Anyway, several years ago, I made Sweet Potato Whoopie Pies for Thanksgiving from a recipe I found on one of the baking blogs I follow, Sprinkle Bakes. I wanted something different and they were delicious! Carrie never forgot about them. She’s asked me to make them many times since then. I haven’t made them. She begged me this morning on the way to school (as she was holding a container of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for her advisory group meeting/teacher’s birthday).
I was given some local whole wheat pastry flour from my friends at Mud Run Farm at the farmers’ market last Saturday. They asked if I’d try it and see how I like it and I said, “YES!” Whole wheat pastry flour is one of my favorites to bake with. I knew I’d make pie crust (recipe coming soon) but also wanted to make another baked good using their tender flour.
Carrie, it’s your lucky day! I decided to use the flour and make whoopie pies! Keeping it fall, I chose to make a pumpkin variety. They’re pretty easy and make for a fun little dessert, treat or a sidekick to your morning coffee. I’ll get right to the details because I’m very last minute on this post but, trust me, you’ll want to try these.
Simple ingredients and not much prep. The picture below doesn’t include the filling ingredients. You’ll need cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and maple syrup for the filling.
Whisk the dry ingredients, mix the wet, then combine everything.
I used a small scoop to get the batter on a parchment lined cookie sheet. This is so easy. Once scooped, bake and let cool on a cooling rack.
Whip up the filling while the cakes are cooling. I put the filling in a piping bag to make things a little easier but you can just spoon it on the cakes. Place filling on the bottom of a cake and top with another. You’ve just made a whoopie pie! Yay!
I made a pan and topped them with mini chocolate chips. I don’t love that they look so dark but I know Carrie will love them with chocolate.
I think it would be fun to decorate the edge of the filling with chocolate chips or dried cranberries or maple candied pecans. I could really have some fun with these but I don’t have time for all of that today.
Aren’t they fun? They’re simple but there’s just something about the cakes with all the spices and pumpkin, combined with the maple cream cheese that just feels so right for fall. Simple but a lot going on, if you know what I’m saying.
I’m racing to pick Carrie up from school. I owe her a big thank you for begging me to make these. I should really take her advice more often!
From the heart,
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Ingredients Cakes
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour in my batch)
2 1/2 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup coconut oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 local eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
8 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
4 oz. unsalted butter (room temperature)
3 TBSP local maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a mixing bowl, mix the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until completely combined.
5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Keep them about 1 inch apart.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. This is when you could add something the the outside edge of the filling if you wish! Place them on a wax paper covered tray or plate and stick in the fridge until ready to serve.
Hello! I’m still plugging away at all things pumpkin and truly loving it! Today is a new one for me. Have you had crème brûlée? Have you made crème brûlée? Honestly, it never appealed to me until this past June when my niece (also named June) made it for my nephew’s high school graduation get together. She’s 13 and a marvelous baker!
After the tacos were eaten and grad gifts opened, we took turns sugaring and torching her sweet little crème brûlées. We enjoyed cracking the tops and what waited underneath that burnt sugar was absolutely divine! The custard was silky, sweet and full of vanilla flavor. I was in love and vowed to make crème brûlée someday.
Guess what? Someday came! With pumpkin baking mode hitting me hard, I decided it’s the perfect time to experiment with this simple yet decadent dessert and give it a fall twist. Vanilla crème brûlée + pumpkin + pumpkin spice + bourbon. Who’s with me?
I looked up several recipes and they’re all pretty much the same: cream, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla. I added pumpkin, pumpkin spice and bourbon to up the fall flavor.
These little cups of heaven are really easy! While the cream is heating, whisk yolks, sugar, vanilla and spices. Slowly add the warm cream to the yolk mixture (if you pour too quickly, you’ll have scrambled eggs). Lastly, fold in the pumpkin and bourbon. That’s it!
Pour the mixture into ramekins and place in a baking dish. Put them in the oven then add boiling water until it’s about halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake for 25-35 minutes. I only have 3 small ramekins so I used a combination of small and large. The small look much better but they all tasted the same.
After they finish baking, transfer to a cooling rack for 30 minutes then put them in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours. Once chilled, sprinkle sugar on top and torch them. Have fun! If you don’t have a torch, just stick them under your oven broiler.
Crack those babies and enjoy all the creamy delight under that hardened sugar. They’re so luscious and have all the flavors of fall without being overly sweet. I polished one off in a matter of seconds and knew I had to step away from the brûlée so I’d have some left for photos. I can’t tell you how much I love pumpkin and pumpkin spice things. The flavors and textures of this dessert make me very, very, very happy!
You can whip these up in no time! The longest wait time is when they’re chillin’ in the fridge. They’d be perfect for a fall party or shower, Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, any fall weekday or family weekend dessert. Heck, take them to a football tailgate (any Browns fans out there?)!
These little dishes of yum definitely enhanced our evening of shorts, t-shirts and backyard track ball. Don’t wait for a special occasion. Make your own occasions feel special! Pumpkin Crème Brûlée won’t let you down!
Whisk together the egg yolks, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla bean paste in a medium bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium low until it just simmers. Slowly whisk the milk into the yolk mixture. Fold in the pumpkin and bourbon.
Place six 6-ounce ovenproof ramekins in a roasting pan.
Divide the pumpkin mixture evenly among the ramekins. Place the pan in the oven and fill with just enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the centers are just set but still jiggle a bit. Could take 25-35 minutes.
Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temperature, 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cooled completely, at least 4-6 hours.
To serve, sprinkle each ramekin with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Brulee with a kitchen torch until the sugar is melted and golden brown. (You can also place the ramekins under a broiler until the sugar is golden brown, about 2 minutes.)
When I’m at the market and meet the people who’ve planted, nurtured, harvested and given life to their crops and the earth, I feel compelled to bring that food into my home and savor it. I want to give vegetables and fruits even more life and enjoy all they have to offer in taste and nutrition. It’s important to me and a real blessing to have access to wonderful food. I also believe food should be fresh, simple and easy to prepare.
Homemade pumpkin purée is super easy to make and it tastes better than the stuff you find in stores. You just need a little time, an oven and a food processor or blender to whip up your own puree. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used my share of canned pumpkin. It’s convenient and most of the organic ones I’ve tried are just fine. We eat a lot of pumpkin goodies in my house and most days there’s no time to make my own. However, sometimes, I’m reminded to slow down, enjoy the harvest and cherish the process of making my own ingredients.
This color alone should be motivation enough for you to make your own pumpkin purée! I use pumpkin in a variety of things: breads, pancakes, waffles, beagle food, lattes, pasta, risotto, cookies, pies, cakes, puddings…you name it and I’ll find a way to incorporate pumpkin!
It all starts with the pie pumpkins.
Simply cut the tops off and split them right down the middle. A nice, sharp knife makes this pretty easy.
Scoop out the seeds and keep them. We’ll talk about roasting those later!
Daisy Mae smelled pumpkin and came to scope out the situation in the kitchen! Be patient, girl!
Once all the pumpkins are clean, place them flesh side down on a cookie sheet and add a little water then bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until a fork pierces through easily.
Once they’re nice and tender, take them out of the oven and let them cool. Scoop out the meat of the pumpkin and place in a food processor or blender.
Process or blend until smooth. Transfer to jars or containers of your choice. It freezes well! If you freeze it, just thaw in the fridge when you need it. If you plan to use some right away, it will be just fine in the fridge for about a week.
Homemade pumpkin purée is silky and flavorful. Pumpkin is a great source of potassium and beta-carotene and contains some minerals including calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins E, C and some B vitamins.
Using ingredients I pick up at the farmers’ market gives me a sense of place in the local food cycle. There’s something special about knowing where it all came from and interacting with the people who worked incredibly hard to produce something so delicious and nutritious. It’s pretty amazing that I get all those good feelings from making pumpkin purée from local pumpkins, huh? I’m such a food geek!
I hope you make this and enjoy the process! Find a market or farm, choose your pumpkins and spend the afternoon getting to know your food and truly appreciate it. See it, feel it, smell it then taste it! I have so many plans for my pumpkin purée and I can’t wait to share them with you! Also, Daisy loves it!
Don’t forget the seeds, they’re one of the best parts! There’s no easy way to clean them. Just try to pull out most of the stringy orange pieces and soak the seeds in warm water and keep rinsing/soaking a few times to get them clean. The strings will keep sinking to the bottom. Once they’re all clean, lay them out to dry.
I experimented with three flavors for my seeds: Sweet: raw wildflower honey + brown sugar + pumpkin pie spice + vanilla Brighton Wool and Honey’s Raw Wildflower Honey is YUMMY! Don’t get me started on their laundry detergent, bee pollen and soap. Yeah, they’re just fantastic all the way around!
Spicy: olive oil + spicy blossom honey infused with Carolina Reaper + hubby’s Ghost Pepper salt
This honey from Fuego Spice Co is pretty amazing!
Spicy/Sweet: olive oil + chili powder + brown sugar
I divided the seeds into bowls and used 1 cup of seeds per flavor with 1 TBSP of the oil or honey then added in the sugar and spices. I let them soak for at least an hour then spread on parchment and baked at 375 for 10-15 minutes. Store them in glass containers to keep them crisp. Get creative! You can literally do any kind of spice combination!
That’s all the pumpkin I’ve got for now! Let me know if you make the purée and what you plan to use it for! Go the extra mile and make the seeds for snacking or, better yet, take a jar to your local farmer!
From the heart,
Pumpkin Purée Ingredients
4-6 pound pie pumpkins Instructions
1. Cut the tops off the pumpkins
2. Cut the pumpkins in half
3. Scoop out the insides and save the guts
4. Place the pumpkins flesh side down on a baking sheet and add about 1/4 inch of water
5. Bake at 350 for 60-90 minutes, checking periodically after 60 minutes; when a fork pierces through easily, they are finished
6. Let the pumpkins cool and then scoop the meat out into a food processor or blender
7. Process the pumpkin until smooth and transfer to jars or containers
8. Store in the freezer and defrost when needed or keep in the fridge for up to one week