Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

So I made these pumpkin whoopie pies a few weeks ago and I was totally amazed at how easy they were.  They turned out to be such cute little cakey cookies with a delicious cream cheese frosting.  But then, the weirdest thing happened.  I put them in an airtight container overnight and when I opened the container to serve them the next evening, they were watery.  As in there was liquid all over the bottom of the container.  I have no idea what happened.  Any ideas??  Is that a pumpkin thing? 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Pecan Pie

I am addicted to cookbooks.  Oftentimes, I like reading them and looking at the pictures, daydreaming about baking for hours.  I really love church cookbooks.  Man, those ladies (and gents) can bake.  Those spiral bound collections of everyone's family recipes are fantastic.

This chocolate pecan pie is from my mother in law's church cookbook.  I tweaked it a little bit, the original recipe only had pecans for garnish and I love pecans so I amped up the amount of pecans.

Chocolate Pecan Pie adapted from A Taste of Asbury
1 9 inch pie shell-honestly, I used Pillsbury's ready to use crust, I was in a time pinch
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecan halves

Beat together the corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs.  Mix in chocolate chips and pecans.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake for an hour at 325 degrees or until the filling is set.  Allow to cool because the combination of corn syrup and hot chocolate chips will burn your mouth like none other.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Butternut Squash Bread

My husband and I used to live in Seattle.  He loves it there, with the temperate climate and fantastic restaurants, longtime friends and access to a lot of good jobs.  I didn't so much love living there.  I was terribly homesick for the Midwest and my family and so when given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to move back here.

However, Seattle is such a great city to visit and because we have some friends still living there, we try and make it back for a visit every year.  This year we went back in August, for a big birthday celebration.  The friend we stayed with lives right above Macrina Bakery.  Literally right above it.  Each morning I would go down and ogle the pastry display case and wait for my coffee and cinnamon roll.  They have a huge window that faces the street that you can watch as they prepare the days cakes and other goodies.  As a souvenir for myself, I picked up the Macrina Bakery cookbook.

This delicious take on pumpkin bread is from that cookbook.  Ideally, instead of using pumpkin, you make it with roasted butternut squash.  It is packed with pecans, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds adding crunch to this super moist bread (really more of a coffee cake).

Butternut Squash Bread adapted from Macrina Bakery Cookbook
2 cups roasted butternut squash
4 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk (I used powdered buttermilk and water)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1 cup oil (I used peanut oil)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup hulled toasted pumpkin seeds (make sure they are hulled, I used ones with the shell on and it made for some chewy bread)
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Toast the seeds for about 20 minutes and toast the nuts for about 15 minutes on 375 degrees.  Toasting the nuts and seeds add a ton of flavor.

Mix together the remaining ingredients.  Fold in the3/4 of the  nuts and seeds.

Pour the batter into two greased loaf pans.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts and seeds on the top of the loaf.  Bake loaves for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. 

Allow to cool and enjoy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Honey Wheat Bread

I tell you what, you go on vacation for two weeks and coming home is a shocker.  I have been home for four days and am still out of sorts.  This morning before work I managed to somehow stain my shirt and then got my hair stuck in the button trying to change out of it.  I cannot manage to sleep later than 5:30AM, suffering from reverse jet lag because I am totally exhausted by about 7PM.  You would think that I would be able to transition back home better. 

This bread is a great transitional bread.  Maybe you aren't sure you want to jump feet first into the whole wheat bread thing.  Try this.  The whole wheat flour adds depth and character while still being soft and sweet.  It is one of my family's favorite breads and it makes two loaves, so you can always share.

Honey Wheat Bread
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 cup wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons instant yeast
1 egg
4-5 cups all purpose flour

Combine water, cottage cheese, honey, and margarine in a saucepan and heat until the butter is melted.  Remove from heat and allow toll cool a bit.

In another bowl, combine 2 cups of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, salt, yeast and egg.  Add warm liquid and stir together.  Stir in remaining flour until you have a stiff dough.

Knead until smooth and elastic (about 2 minutes).  Place in a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise until dough is doubled in size (about 45-60 minutes)

Turn dough out on floured surface and knead again for a minute.  Divide dough in half and shape into two loaves.  Place into greased bread pans, cover, and allow to raise again until the loaves just rise over the rim of the pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes for full loaves.  Allow to cool.

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