Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

I recently discovered Natasha’s Kitchen. She has tons of great recipes that have awesome pictures, easy to follow directions, and a fun sense of humor. The other night I made her Pumpkin Creme Brûlée for dessert. Oh my goodness! It was a hit. Plus my hubby got to play with the torch to make the caramelized topping. He actually let Whitaker take a turn with the torch. This dessert is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert bar or any fall time meal. Enjoy and check out Natasha’s site!

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

3 large whole eggs

1/2 cup sugar (plus extra for caramelizing)

1 cup pumpkin puree (make your own or use the can stuff)

1/4 t ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 whole eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until well blended. Heat 1 and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a sauce pan, almost to a simmer; stirring frequently. You don’t want to burn the bottom. Slowly add hot cream into the egg & sugar mix. You need to pour & whisk slowly as you are combining the hot cream with egg & sugar mix. Or you will end up with scrambled mess!

Next, strain the mixture through a small mess strainer into a bowl. Whisk in 1 cup pumpkin puree and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Divide the mixture into 8 (4 oz) cups and place in a large casserole baking dish. You might need more than one baking dish. Fill the baking dish with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes. The centers of the creme brûlée should barely move when you wiggle the pan.

Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate creme brûlée until ready to serve; you can refrigerate them even a week before your event.

When you are ready to serve, you can caramelize the top. Put 1 teaspoon of sugar on top. I used Vanilla Sugar from Beautiful Briny Sea made right here in Atlanta, Georgia. Spread sugar evenly over each custard. Heat the top with your torch. (This is my husband’s favorite part. Guys just love fire.) Keep torching until you have a caramelized top.

Once you have caramelized the top, do not refrigerate. This will cause your topping to not be crisp.

Ooey Gooey Butter Leprechaun Cookies

I  wanted to created some cookies to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  We combined a few recipes to get this final result.  This recipe allows for different extract flavors to achieve the flavor you want.  Also you can use a different food coloring gel to match whatever you need.  These cookies live up to their name.  They are ooey and gooey.  If you like a crisp, crunchy cookie, keep on moving.  Add a little fun to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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Ooey Gooey Butter Leprechaun Cookies

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 t baking powder

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese,  softened

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1½ cups granulated sugar

2 t  vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla)

1 t  almond extract (you can use mint extract if you want to give that edge.  A good friend of mine said she might use Key Lime extract)

Green food coloring, gel based (this is where you can change colors for other celebrations)

1 t kosher salt

1  egg plus 1  egg yolk

1 cup powdered sugar for rolling & dusting cookies

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer cream together cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth. Beat in granulated sugar, extracts, salt, and desired amount of green food coloring.   Mix until well combined. Be sure to scrape sides of the bowl to make sure all gets mixed in. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until creamy and light.

On low-speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place powdered sugar in a pie plate; set aside.

Use cookie dough scoop to measure dough.  Then roll dough in hands to create 1-inch balls.  (your hand will turn a little green if you used a lot of green food coloring you can live with it or use disposable rubber gloves)

Then roll in confectioners’ sugar to lightly coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes.  Cookies should look puffy and crackly.  The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet.  Then move cookies to a wire rack.

Keep cookies in airtight container.  Then can stored at room temperature or in your refrigerator.  

 

Chocolate Corn Flakes Chocolate Chip Cookies (It’s a Yummy Mouthful)

It should be pretty clear by now that my boys LOVE cookies.  I am raising actual Cookie Monsters!  We have a glass cookie jar that sits on the counter.  Usually that cookie jar displays the recent cookie that have been made in our kitchen.  I love hearing the sound of the jar being opened up.  A slight clang of glass and you know someone is in the cookie jar.  I love hearing my oldest and his friends getting into the cookie jar.  There is something magical about boys gathering around for a snack after shooting hoops or a long day at school.

As the cookies start getting low, I am quickly reminded that we will need more soon. We have several recipes that are always classics in this home.  The Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie and  M&M Cookies are our usual standbys because the ingredients are simple and always on hand.

My soon-to-be four year old was eager to make cookies last week.  I told him we were going to mix it up and add one of his favorite cereal- Kellogg’s Chocolate Frosted Flakes. He was beyond thrilled to help with the process.  The cookies were super easy to make and turned out perfect.  You can always use plain corn flakes for your cookies.

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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Chocolate Corn Flakes Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 cup regular oats, uncooked

1 cup chocolate corn flakes cereal (picture below)

1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and additional 1/2 cup for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat shortening and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars.  Beat until all combined.  Add eggs one at a time.  Then add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and soda.  Gradually add to butter mixture.  Mix well.  Stir in oats, chocolate corn flakes, and chocolate chips.

Using a cookie dough scoop, drop dough 2 inches apart on your baking sheet.

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I always add extra chocolate chips to the top of my cookies before baking. It adds more chocolate and makes your cookies look good too!

Add additional chocolate chips to top off cookies.  Gently press in the chocolate chips. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  You want the cookies to be lightly browned.  Remove cookies and place on a wire rack for cooling.

And yes, this is Whitaker’s current favorite cereal:

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Our Valentine’s Rice Krispie Treats- On Mission in My Kitchen

I’m always looking for ways to get my boys in the kitchen. Simple recipes like this one help get my little guy involved.

I began getting him involved at the grocery store. I showed him what ingredients were on our shopping list. He helped me find Rice Krispie cereal, large marshmallows, butter, and sprinkles. Letting your child make fun decisions like, “What sprinkles would you like to use?” allows them to have ownership in the process.

In the kitchen, we took time to count out the marshmallows. We are working on counting to ten so we counted five different times. Yes, I’m very intentional when “teaching” in the kitchen. It is natural learning and having fun at the same time.

While standing on a stool beside me, he watched while we adding heat.  We watched as the butter melted and then the marshmallows melted. He smelled the yummy vanilla. And he added the food coloring and was excited when the color began to transform the marshmallow mixture.

He scooped up the cereal using a measuring cup. You can’t mess this recipe up so it’s okay if the cup is overflowing.

I think his favorite part was using the sprinkles he picked out. Lots of sprinkles were added.

As we waited for the treats to cool, I asked him “Who should be share these treats with?”. I’m trying to working with my boys to be outward focused. It is a daily conversation. “How can we bless someone today?” “Who’s day could be brighten?” “How can we show the love of Jesus today?”

He quickly decided that some neighbor friends might like these treats. We packaged them up in disposable aluminum pan. (I try to keep these on hand. The Dollar Tree always has the best assortment and they are one dollar.)

I loved that before he even tried his treat, he was skipping out the door with his brother to deliver the goodies.

It is the simplest recipes and experiences in the kitchen that can get your child involved. Yes, it will take longer and there might be more messes. I believe the quality and intentional time together makes it so worth it.

On Mission in the Kitchen,
Amanda

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3 T butter and additional unsalted butter to grease pan

4 1/2 cups of large marshmallows (we use 50 large marsmallows)

Red food coloring or gel

1 t vanilla (I used Mexican vanilla)

6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal

Assorted Valentine’s sprinkles

 

Prepare your 13×9 pan or whatever shape and size you desire by coating the pan with butter.  Set pan aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla.  Then add red food coloring to achieve the desired color.

Add Kellogg’s Rice Krispie cereal.  Stir until well coated.

Using a buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into your prepared pan.

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Sprinkle the mixture with sprinkles.  Press in sprinkles.  Allow time to cool.

Using a knife, cut your treats to desired shapes.  Rice Krispie Treats are always best if served the same day.

Thanksgiving Pie– No More Choices

Every year we plan out our Thanksgiving menus.  Turkey, Sides, Appetizers, Beverages, and Desserts!  Oh the desserts!  We are traditional and make Pumpkin and Pecan Pies.  I have thrown in a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (YUM!).

When I hit the dessert table, I usually take a little bit of everything.  (It’s the right thing to do!)  But what if two of your favorites were combined.  Like Pumpkin Pie married Pecan Pie!!

Well, it happened the other night in my kitchen.  A few years ago, Southern Living introduced this little union.  And we all lived happily ever after! You need to plan to make this pie the night before serving.  It is better when it has time to completely cool and flavors will pop.  I have made a few adjustments to the recipe and it is perfection.

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Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle work surface with powdered sugar. Roll out piecrust, and place on prepared surface. Sprinkle piecrust with chopped pecans. Place wax paper over piecrust and pecans, and lightly roll pecans into crust. Fit piecrust, pecan side up, in a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp.

Mix together pumpkin  and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and well mixed; pour into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Remove and shield edges with aluminum foil or crust protector.  This will keep your crust from burning.  Then bake an additional 25 minutes.

While pie is baking, you will create your pecan streusel topping.  This will create the pecan pie element to your pie.

For Pecan Streusel:
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
Mix all the pecan toppings together until well blended.After pie has baked 45 minutes,  gently top pie with Pecan Streusel Topping. Reduce oven temperature to 325°,  and bake 10 minutes. This will allow streusel to golden a bit. Then cover pie with aluminum foil.   Cool completely on a wire rack at least 3 hours.  Once cooled, place in refrigerator over night.  This will allow all the flavors to go crazy.
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First Week of School Cookies

Well, we have almost made it through our first week of middle school.  Eeeekkkk!  How did he get so big?  Each year, we make cookies for the first week of school.  It is a welcomed treat after the first day of school.  Nothing says welcome home like warm cookies and cold milk.  This gives me time to talk about his day and hear about all his adventures.  Also, my kid likes to bring his lunch.  He enjoys having his first week of school cookies in his lunch box.

This year we tried to cram all his favorites into one cookie.  Chocolate chips, M&Ms, peanut butter, and oatmeal made these cookies extra yummy.  Simple and tasted amazing.

Here’s to a great school year and lots of singing and dancing in the kitchen!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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First Day of School Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 t vanilla extract
1 whole egg
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 t baking soda
1½ cups old fashioned oats
1 cup M & M’s
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Then add in peanut butter.   Add in vanilla and egg. Mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter.  Mix for a little less than a minute. Do not over mix.  Fold in old fashioned oats, M & M’s and chocolate chips.

Make teaspoons of dough and place on prepared cookie sheets.  I prepare my cookie sheets with parchment paper.   Bake cookies for 11ish minutes or until lightly golden brown and firm on the edges.  Remove from the oven and let set for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once completely cooked, keep cookies in an airtight container.  Cookies  (if not all eaten) will last up to a week.

 

 

Heart Shaped Cupcakes

The day of LOVE is here.  This is a super easy treat to whip up for your little sweeties.  We even cheated and used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  And guess what, it was still yummy!

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Pick your favorite cake mix- I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake
Pick your favorite icing- I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
Glass marbles
Sprinkles for decorations

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Make cupcakes according to recipe directions. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into liners.  Fill cupcakes only 1/2 full.  If the liner is too full, you will not end up with heart shapes.
After filling the liners, place a marble between the liner and the pan. You will see the cupcake take the shape of a heart.
Bake cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add your own flair with sprinkles.