Pumpkin and More Pumpkin

I really enjoy finding recipes from other blogs to share with you guys.  The only problem is I find so many that it’s hard to choose which ones to include without the post being incredibly long!  So I managed to narrow things down to TEN pumpkin recipes.  All look drool-worthy and absolutely freakin’ delicious.  See if there is one you like and make it!  If you do, please tell me about it in the comments…I truly would love to know what you end up making and loving!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Pumpkin Butter

Mini Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecakes

Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Pretzels

Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

Mini Pumpkin Doughnuts with Rum-Cider Glaze

Pumpkin Candy Cups

Pumpkin Scones

P.S.  I guess I shouldn’t be worried about linking too many recipes–check out this blog!  LOTS of pumpkin going on on this page!  Wow!

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Treetop Friends Baby Shower

A couple of weekends ago I had the extreme joy of hosting my little sister’s baby shower.  I am beyond thrilled that she is having a baby…it’s just her and I in our family and she is the first to have a baby/grandbaby, so this is pretty exciting for us and our parents!  In just a little less than a month we’ll be welcoming baby Micah into the world and you can bet he will be spoiled to death.  And I will probably spoil him the most!  At least I’m gonna try.  Haha.

The shower was a brunch and held at my parent’s church.  We did a delicious breakfast casserole and fresh fruit, along with a dessert table that I planned months ago.  It all came together perfectly and everyone had a great time.  So wonderful having the opportunity to bless the parents-to-be.  Great memories.

The shower was themed after the nursery, which is going to be Treetop Friends.  Think trees, bird’s nests, owls, etc…

Here is the AMAZINGLY detailed cake by Celebrations by Sonja.  It seriously looked just like the invitation.  This is all buttercream, no fondant and I can honestly say her cakes not only look fabulous but are probably some of the best tasting I have every had.

Now for the dessert table…

“Treeknot” Mini Cinnamon Rolls

 A close-up of all the yumminess.

The macaroon “bird’s nests” were delicious and it was the first time I’d ever made them.  I got the recipe here and just tweaked a little by omitting the Nutella, adding some almond extract and filling them with blueberries and drizzling melted white chocolate over the top.  Yum.

Such a fabulous time…now we wait for baby Micah to make his grand entrance!

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Key Lime Buttercream Filled Doughnuts

Doesn’t the title of this post make your blood sugar skyrocket just reading it?  It does mine!  As it should because these doughnuts are loaded with LOTS of sugary goodness.  After I made Key Lime Pie, I still had some key lime juice I wanted to use up so it wouldn’t go bad.  I really wanted something easy and I remembered the buttercream recipe that was part of my key lime roundup so I thought that would be delicious to try out!  Although…I wasn’t feeling cake or cupcakes.  Hmm, sandwiched between cookies?  Nah, not it.  Then it hit me…DOUGHNUTS.  I literally felt like I was a mad scientist and brilliance had just struck me!  A loooong time ago I had made these super easy doughnuts (notice this was when I was a beginner blogger and wanted to achieve that Bakerella look…and uhh, DIDN’T haha) and they were so dangerously good that we ended up eating an obscene amount within minutes and I had not even dared to make them since.

But the time had come.

So I fried.  And powdered.  And filled.  And powdered again.  And behold, deliciousness was born.  The key lime buttercream was outstanding.  It would definitely be wonderful on cupcakes or cookies.  And the doughnuts, well, they were fried to perfection and so wonderfully doughy and warm…ahhhh.  My poor husband split a half of one with me and was then tortured the rest of the night with the knowledge that they were just sitting in the kitchen, mocking him.  But he resisted and I was very proud of him for that!  We strongly believe that desserts should be treats and not something to eat in massive quantities (unless doing bakery research..ahem) but these doughnuts made doing so extremely difficult.  Extremely.

Enjoy!

Key Lime Buttercream Filled Doughnuts
 
Ingredients
For the Doughnuts
  • 8-16 Jumbo Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits*
  • 1, 1.5 Qt. Bottle Vegetable Oil
  • Powdered Sugar (for dusting)
For the Key Lime Buttercream
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1½ t. Key Lime Zest
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 3 c. Powdered Sugar
  • ⅓ c. Key Lime Juice
  • 2 Drops Green Food Coloring (optional)
Instructions
To Make Doughnuts
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil to at least 290 degrees. Carefully drop four of the biscuits into the oil and cook on each side for about 1.5-2 minutes until lightly browned on each side. Place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and let cool off. Put a couple of cups of powdered sugar into a large plastic Ziploc bag. Place the doughnuts, one at a time in the bag and shake until they are covered with powdered sugar. Set aside on a large cooling rack.
To Make the Buttercream
  1. Beat the first four ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with key lime juice, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Beat in green food coloring (if using).
  2. With a pastry tip inserted into a pastry bag or large Ziploc bag, fill with buttercream and insert into the side of the doughnut. Squeeze and fill with buttercream. The doughnut will get noticeably "puffier" and expand a bit from the buttercream. (One of mine even burst a little on one side because I got slightly carried away, but that was ok..it still tasted good.) After they have all been filled, dredge one last time in powdered sugar. Eat immediately or store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 8-16 doughnuts. *How many doughnuts you want will depend on how full you fill them. I only made 8 and I had some frosting leftover but if I had done 12 or even 16, I would have just filled with a little less buttercream in each one and it would have filled all of them.

 

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Mini Doughnut Muffins

Another recipe to add to your mini dessert collection!  Well, I suppose these are actually classified as breakfast but seriously, let’s be honest…this is DESSERT.  A really, really, delicious, cinnamony, sugary, cakey, yummy dessert!  These taste just like a cake doughnut, minus the frying part so I suppose you can feel not *quite* as guilty eating one or two or four.  They are mini after all.

I chose to do half with cinnamon sugar and half with strawberry jam and powdered sugar and they were both delicious.  The batter was VERY thick which worried me a bit as I was spooning it into the mini muffin tins but much to my pleasant surprise these turned out super tender and like I said before, just like a cake doughnut!  I’m thinking this recipe would be perfect for my doughnut pan.

Add this recipe to your New Year’s Eve desserts menu!  Think about serving them with small mugs or shot glasses of milk at the end of the night.  Perfect end to a night of partying.

(Recipe adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookbook)

Mini Doughnut Muffins
 
Ingredients
Doughnut Muffins
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • ½ t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 10 T. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¾ c. plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • ¾ c. Whole Milk, at room temperature
  • 2 T. Buttermilk, at room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • 8 T. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Ground Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2, 24-cup mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the milk and buttermilk.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time until just combined. Beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in ⅓ of the flour mixture until combined and then half of the milk mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until incorporated. Do not over mix.
  5. Fill the prepared muffin cups just to the rim with batter, about a spoonful. Bake, one pan at a time, until lightly golden and firm to touch, 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  6. While the muffins cool, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a large, resealable plastic bag. Brush each muffin generously with melted butter. Place a few muffins in the bag with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Shake well to coat the muffins. Repeat with remaining muffins.
Notes
-For Jelly Doughnut Muffins, I omitted the nutmeg and filled middle of the doughnut muffin with strawberry jam before baking and shook in a bag with powdered sugar after they had cooled. You could also fill them with jam after baking, with a pastry bag and small tip. -Makes about 40 doughnut muffins.

 

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New Year’s Eve Party Mini Desserts

I have been in love with mini desserts for years.  They are just so darn cute and the fact that you don’t have to pick just ONE dessert but can in fact try several, due to their tiny size, is just awesome to me.  I love them so much that I actually used to cater desserts and only did miniature sizes.  It was so much fun and sometimes I really miss planning dessert tables for weddings or parties with loads of colorful, bite-size desserts!  Thank goodness for the holidays when I can unleash my creative baking skills (obsession?) on all my family and friends!

So, I thought what would be better for a New Year’s Eve party than mini sweets?!  Finger foods are VERY popular for New Year’s Eve parties and these desserts stay right with that theme.  Some of these are super easy (2-3 ingredients), which is great since you have no doubt been in the kitchen waaaayyyy too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Also, another way to make easy miniatures is to bake up a normal 9×13 pan of brownies, blondies, cake, etc. and cut them small with a knife or fun-shaped, small cookie cutters or take any regular ‘ole cookie recipe and just make smaller than normal cookies (be sure to cook them for less time!).  Ok, let’s check out some other awesome tiny goodies from around the blogosphere:

First up, Mini S’mores Cakes.  How cute are these?!  Get a lot more mini ideas from Delish here.

I LOVE baklava.  Love it.  It was the one thing I was looking most forward to indulging in over the Christmas holiday. I’ve actually made Baklava Cups before and they are super good and MUCH less labor intensive than the traditional way.  See more ideas from Women’s Day here.

Mini Oreos.  Yum.

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Pops. How fun!  However, if you’re afraid of the ice cream melting before people can scarf them down, try it with buttercream frosting.

I love these Mini Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  Rice Krispie treats are sooo classic and just plain good.

Banana Split Bites.  Delicious and gorgeous.

Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts.  Perfect after a night of imbibing.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  One of my favorites.

Poptarts on a stick.  Totally awesome.  AND easy.

These Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes look soooo rich and decadent.  Pure bliss.

Cut these yummy Red Velvet Brownies super small for bite-size treats.

These Lindt Mini Chocolate Trifles are adorable.  Use some larger shot glasses for the cups and think about switching up ingredients…caramel sauce for the fudge, brownies for the cookies, etc.

I have been making Brownie Tassies forever.  The only thing I do differently is top them with coffee buttercream and toasted, slivered almonds.  People will go nuts over these.

Ummm, excuse me but this Chocolate Covered Bacon Caramel Popcorn is dangerous.  Dangerous I tell you!!  And I am SO going to make it.

These Mini Cherry Pies are just down right pretty.  And begging to be eaten.

I love the playfulness of this Gumdrop Fudge.  Very festive and party appropriate.  Not to mention easy.  We like easy!

Well, hopefully this gives you some inspiration for whatever crazy New Year’s party you may be hosting or attending.  Tomorrow I’ll have my own recipe for Mini Doughnut Muffins!

 

 

 

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Sugar Rush 2011

Last year Drury partnered with some local businesses to bring the first every Sugar Rush event to Springfield, MO.  It’s basically a sampling a sweets made by local vendors and restaurants with all the profits going to Care to Learn, an organization dedicated to meeting the basic social and economic needs of kids in schools across the Ozarks.

I didn’t know about the event last year in time to go and I almost missed it this year but found out about it at the last minute and managed to score two for one tickets!  I asked my friend Robyn (of Red’s Cupcakes!) to go with me and together we ate our way through 25+ vendors and three plates of desserts.  Yes, THREE plates.  There were a LOT of mini cupcakes, some cookies, chocolates and truffles and even doughnuts and frozen yogurt samples.  I can’t say I was terribly impressed with anything but I definitely had my favorites.  I think Robyn and I agreed the front runners were Amycakes (awesome from scratch cupcakes and cookies), Elle’s Patisserie (loved her truffles and pastry), My Mary’s Jellies (truffles filled with wine-infused jelly–omg, so going to be making my own!) and one that I really liked, Granolove (super delicious homemade granola).  These places stood out above all the rest for quality and taste.

It was so much fun and I absolutely cannot wait for next year!  Here are some pictures from the evening-enjoy!

The Cup Pumpkin Cake
The Hot Chocolate Cups
Tea Bar and Bites Pumpkin Cake

Love Bites Truffles
My Mary's Jellies Red Wine Truffles
Tea Bar and Bites Coconut Cream

Granolove Granola
Style by the Slice Vanilla Bean
Sisters in Thyme Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Elle's Patisserie Salted Caramel Truffle
Gigi's Cupcakes Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla
Bambino's Caramel Chocolate Amaretto Cheesecake

Amycakes Red Velvet
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Apple Cider Doughnuts

A few weeks ago on a nice, bright Saturday morning I took a little road trip with my friend Sharla to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets.  We had a great time and scored some awesome bargains.  However, my favorite find of the whole trip was this doughnut pan from Norpro.  I have been wanting one for some time and was really excited to finally find one that was a great brand at a decent price.

The store where I bought the pan also had this apple cider doughnut mix conveniently placed next to it.  I’ve been seriously longing for an apple cider doughnut from Edwards Apple Orchard from when we lived up in Rockford.  This place is amazing…the coolest general store with all kinds of yummy stuff, finger lickin’ bbq, some of the best apple pie I’ve EVER had (and yes, we DID try a slice with cheddar cheese and it was good!!)  and their beyond drool-worthy apple cider doughnuts!  Jeremy and I have seriously discussed taking a weekend trip to Rockford just for the doughnuts at the orchard (of course I’d probably have to sneak in some Chicago shopping hehe).  They also have a petting zoo, live music and apple picking galore!  Oh how I miss it!  Apparently, they don’t have a website but here are some pics I found.

Ok so back to my doughnut mix!  I made them this past weekend with the new pan and I have to say that I loved both!  The pan worked wonderfully however, the side of the doughnuts that were in the pan got a bit darker and a tad more done than the other side.  Not an issue really, just looks kind of funny.  And the mix was great!  Not quite the caliber of the orchard doughnuts but really, really good.  We liked them hot out of the pan, brushed with butter and dipped in cinnamon and sugar but they were even better after they had cooled off and set for a while.  You could really taste the apple cider and the texture was very moist and cake-like.  Loved them!  Of course I’ll be trying from scratch doughnuts next but if I ever need any in a pinch, I’ll definitely go with this brand!

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Missouri Baking Co. – St. Louis Bakeries, Pt. 2

About a week ago I posted the first part of two bakery reviews from a trip that Jeremy and I took to St. Louis recently.  Now it’s time for the second review and I have saved the best for last!  When we were googling “St. Louis bakeries”, one of the first things to pop up at the top of the search was Missouri Baking Company.  This place had awesome reviews and people especially raved about their Italian desserts, cookies, pastries and gooey butter cake.  Since they don’t have a website, I wasn’t really sure what to expect in the way of a menu or what the place looked like.  We pulled up to an old, brick, factory-like building that was quite non-descript except for a large sign that said “Missouri Baking Co.” on the side of the building.  We walked inside and were greeted by several bakery cases, people everywhere and no tables or chairs.  This place was very straightforward, no frills which probably meant they don’t need to impress you with decor or aesthetics because their baked goods are just that good!

So, we got a number (yes, you had to take a number!) and I frantically tried to pick out what I wanted.  I am not so good with the decision making so trying to choose from this sea of delectable looking sugar was SO hard.  Plus, we couldn’t see any prices so we had no idea what we were going to spend AND they only took cash.  What to do?!?  Finally our number came up.  I knew I wanted a cannoli and asked the girl working which of their bazillion different kinds of cookies was popular and she recommended the Amaretti cookie.  Jeremy settled on a slice of Italian vanilla cheesecake and a brownie.   Our total was $4.75.  Say what???  Jeremy and I immediately looked at each other in shock and wanted to choose at least five more items…but we didn’t.  So we took our stash out to the car and got busy taking pictures and eating (between being in the car and extremely overcast skies, these are the best pics we could get but I thought Jeremy still did a great job).

Ok, first the brownie.  It was just…meh.  Kind of like they threw it in as an afterthought for the person who comes in the door and says “what the heck’s a cannoli?”.  It was a more cake-like brownie studded with chopped walnuts and covered with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, very reminiscient of the ones they sale at Walmart, two to a package that school kids get in their lunch.  So definitely our least favorite item.

But, things got immensely better from them on!  Jeremy’s cheesecake was awesome.  Not overly sweet, super creamy and smooth, with some sort of delicate indescribable crust (now that I think about it, I’m not sure it even had a crust) and was dusted with cinnamon.  So simple and so delicious!

Next the cannoli.  Isn’t it pretty?  I think I’ve had a very Americanized cannoli once it my life and this one was nothing like it, thank goodness.  It consisted of a waffle-cone like shell, filled with some sort of sweet custard that had a faint hint of cinnamon and was studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips and finished with a cherry.  So, so delicious!  We loved it.

Lastly, our absolute favorite was the Amaretti cookie.  The almond flavor of this cookie was INSANE and I love almond flavor.  And the texture was perfect–slightly chewy outside but so soft inside.  Just divine.  I definitely wished I had chosen more cookies, so if we ever get a chance to go back (we’ll find some excuse!), I plan on getting quite the selection of cookies and without a doubt will try their gooey butter cake.  This place really is all about the BAKING, especially authentic Italian baking which is refreshing since everyone and their brother thinks that if they can make a cupcake, they can open a bakery.

Check them out if you are in the St. Louis area!  You will most likely find something delicious that you’ve never tried before!

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Doughnut Hearts

I’m sure you’ve noticed Valentine’s Day is everywhere right now so I thought I’d get an early start with a fun v-day idea. Forget heart-shaped pancakes and waffles–homemade doughnuts are where it’s at! Well, semi-homemade doughnuts. I actually thought my idea was fairly original until I discovered Krispy Kreme had already beat me to the punch–in 2007! That didn’t deter me however and I got down to deep frying!

Cookie Cutting

 

I was a tad skeptical since these are made with buttermilk biscuits. And I was definitely disgusted as I poured a whole BOTTLE of vegetable oil into my electric skillet! But I quickly got over that after I tasted one of these babies hot out of the oil, dipped in glaze/powdered sugar/cinnamon sugar–warm, melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

Basic

And naturally I had to make some filled ones. Raspberry, of course. That was always my favorite doughnut. Back when I was allowed to eat doughnuts, before I was conscious of what calories and trans fat were. Sniff.

Filled

These were just for kicks and giggles.

Conversation2

Conversation1

I think they’re quite cute. I just want to eat them up. Wait….I did.

Pink with Red Sprinkles

5 Hearts in Circle

Lastly, what to do with all the little cut out hearts? Doughnut hole hearts! YUM.

Minis

I’m not much of a doughnut connoisseur but Jeremy and I LOVED these. I was almost just as happy to discover the yummy glaze recipes that I used for them too. Needless to say, I think my doughnut drought has come to an end and I’ll be spending a little extra time at the gym to atone for my sins.

Homemade Doughnuts

2 quarts vegetable oil
1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I actually used reduced fat–couldn’t tell a difference)
-Powdered Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar, Glaze (see recipes below) for dipping
-Raspberry/Strawberry Preserves, etc for filling

Directions

1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or electric skillet to 325 degrees (mine never got to that temp so I started frying at 290).

2. Spray a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. Using this as your surface, separate the biscuits and cut out holes with a cookie cutter for the doughnut shape you desire.

3. Gently place doughnuts in hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side.

4. Drain on plate covered with paper towels. Dip in coating of your choice.

5. If using a filling, cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag, insert a very small tip and fill the bag with the preserves. Push the tip through the side of the doughnut and fill.

Basic Glaze

1/3 c Butter, melted
2 c Powdered Sugar, sifted
2 t. Vanilla
3-4 T. Warm Milk

Combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Stir in milk until somewhat thin, but not watery. Dip.

Satiny Chocolate Glaze

3/4 c Semi-Sweet or White Chocolate Chips
3 T. Butter, melted
1 T. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 t. Vanilla

Melt chocolate in microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each time. Stir butter, corn syrup and vanilla into melted chocolate until combined.

Dip.

Eat.

Mmmmmmmm.

Note: When coloring white chocolate, use a GEL based dye, as opposed to water or oil based. They will ruin the chocolate and cause it to seize. Not pretty.

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