Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving recipe round-up

Looking for some last minute Thanksgiving recipes or inspiration? Here's a round-up of a few of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving.

My personal favorite cranberry sauce!
Pieces of fresh apple and rosemary make this a perfect Thanksgiving day bread.

Sweet Potato Curry Yeast Rolls
A nice change from your average yeast rolls...perfect with  turkey!

So easy and delicious!

Because you just can't get enough pumpkin on Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin, apples, cranberries, pecans, and spices make this the perfect Thanksgiving cake!

Apples and praline...nuff said!

Apple crack.

Pecan and chocolate chip mini pies...the perfect size pie for entertaining!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cranberry Salsa

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I wanted to post this cranberry salsa. At my families Thanksgiving Day celebration, we prepare pretty much the same meal every year. It's sort of the unwritten law that foods can be added but none of the traditional dishes can be left off the menu from year to year. Everyone in the family has his or her favorite that must be included. This is even true with our cranberry sauces. We have some that want the kind from a can, others that demand a fresh cranberry relish, and some (me) that love this hot cranberry rum relish. I'm sure that this salsa would be wonderful with the Thanksgiving meal, but we already have more than enough cranberry sauces on our table. So I'm not going to make this one for Thanksgiving Day. No this salsa has an even higher calling. If you're from Alabama, or pretty much anywhere in the South, you already know that THE most important football game of the year is played the Saturday after Thanksgiving. No, the Super Bowl isn't being played early this year. This game is waaayy more important than the Super Bowl here in Alabama. It's the day the Iron Bowl is played, Alabama vs. Auburn, with a year of bragging rights at stake. If you are a native Alabamian, you're pretty much born into allegiance to one or the other of these two teams. While the game is being played, everything else is put on hold for those 3 or so hours. With a game of this significance, of course tailgating food is required. So whether you are an Auburn or Alabama fan or a fan of some other team that plays a game after Thanksgiving, this cranberry salsa is great for game day. If football isn't your thing, and you couldn't care less who wins the Iron Bowl (gasp! sacrilege!!) this spicy/sweet cranberry salsa would be divine on a sandwich of leftover turkey and sharp cheddar cheese...drool!
This salsa is the perfect addition to any holiday party!

Cranberry Salsa
Printable recipe

1 (12-oz.) package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 navel orange, peeled and coarsely chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 green onions, roughly chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped crystallized ginger
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro*

1. Pulse cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.
2. Pulse orange zest and next 6 ingredients in food processor 3 to 5 times or until orange, ginger, and pepper are finely chopped. Stir into cranberries; cover and chill 2 to 24 hours.
*Make Ahead: Prepare recipe as directed, omitting fresh cilantro. Freeze in an airtight container up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator overnight. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

Source: Southern Living Nov. 2011 (adapted)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Ever Carrot Cake Cupcakes

A few years ago I made some cupcakes for a friend and somehow that turned into a full time job! These days I make a lot of cupcakes. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas or improvements on old recipes. I had been using a carrot cake cupcake recipe from a well known cupcake cookbook, (that shall remain nameless) and it was good. Adequate...tasty enough but nothing to write home about. Earlier this week I was asked to make some carrot cake cupcakes so I started Googling recipes and came across this one. The name grabbed me right away, The Best Ever Carrot Cake Cupcakes. That was exactly what I wanted. Not just it's an okay, tastes pretty good, carrot cupcake but The Best EVER! With pineapple and applesauce in the batter, I knew these would be a super moist cupcake. I decided to top them with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Guess what?? These really are The Best Ever carrot cake cupcakes.
I may still look to perfect other cupcake recipes but my search for the perfect carrot cake cupcake is over.

Best Ever Carrot Cake Cupcakes


4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 8-oz. can of crushed pineapple, well drained
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Small pinch of ground cloves
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans

For Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Toasted pecans, chopped (optional for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, apple sauce, sugars, pineapple and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and small pinch of ground cloves. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecan. Line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers. Fill each liner 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 min. Let cupcakes cool completely. While cooling, prepare frosting.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add milk a tablespoon at a time, if needed to get a smooth consistency. Top with the toasted chopped pecans.

Source: Paula Deen for Smithfield

A perfect dessert for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pecan and Chocolate Chip Mini Pies

Sorry for the long absence from posting here. Other parts of my life have had to take precedence over blogging, as of late. As much as I love both baking and blogging, I've had to put things on hold somewhat for the time being. Hopefully life will return to some form of normalcy very soon. Until then I'll do the best I can to share as often as I can. By the way pecan pie is great comfort food!

Pecan pie ranks right near the top of my favorite desserts. I'm pretty much a pecan pie purist. I don't usually  like to mess around with the traditional pecan pie I grew up eating. I posted that recipe here, way back when I first started this blog. It will always be a favorite of mine but decided to try something different this time. I mean pecans and chocolate are a match made in heaven, so I broke with tradition and have to say I was not disappointed. These little pies are very tasty. Mini pies are the perfect single serving and would be great for entertaining.

I discovered Lyle's syrups a couple of years ago and love the flavor. The golden syrup is great in all kinds of baking and can be used a substitute for corn syrup in many recipes. I highly recommend using it for this pie but if you can't find it you can use a light corn syrup instead.

Pecan and Chocolate Chip Mini Pies
Printable recipe

Your favorite recipe for a single crust pie, dough chilled. I like the crust from this pie. You could also use a refrigerated store bought pie crust.

For the filling:
3 large eggs
¾ cup Lyle's Golden Syrup*
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cups pecan halves, or coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400°F, and place a large baking sheet on the bottom rack.

Roll out the crust to ¼" thickness. Cut the crust into 6" circles using a pastry cutter, and press each circle into a mini pie pan or a jumbo muffin tin.* If you don't have a 6" round pastry cutter divide your dough into 6 equal pieces and roll out each individual piece into a 6" or larger, ¼"-thick round. Press them into the pans.

Refrigerate the pan until the filling is ready.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, syrup, sugar, melted butter, salt, and vanilla.
Divide the chocolate chips evenly among the pies, sprinkling them  into the bottom of each pie.
Pour 1/3-1/2 cup of filling into each of the pies. Divide the pecans evenly among the cups, sprinkling them over the filling. Fill each pie or muffin tin about 3/4 to the top. Don't fill to the pies very top of the pie pan.These pies puff up a good bit while cooking and will cook out if overfilled.

Place the mini pie pans or muffin tin on the heated sheet pan, and bake for 15 minutes; then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the centers of the pies are set.
Remove from the oven, and cool the mini pies completely in the pan before removing them and serving.

Yield: 6 mini pies or jumbo muffin size pies. 8-10 regular muffin sized pies.

source: King Arthur Flour Recipes

*you can also make these using a regular muffin tin but will need to adjust the cooking time slightly. I baked these  for the first 10 minutes at 400 degrees and 15-17 minutes at 300 degrees.

I made a few in a regular size muffin tin. Perfect party sized pie!
Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom  sponsored by Cherokee USALe CreusetWilton,Bags by Bloom and  Harvard Common Press