Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

I recently received a Le Creuset Dutch oven as a gift and couldn’t wait to use it. I’ve actually wanted one of these for a while after seeing it used during a cooking demonstration and also because so many recipes I come across call for one. Before using it to cook something though I opted to bake something first, so, I decided on something fairly simple, a Peach Cobbler. Since I didn’t have a recipe on hand I did a quick search on Food Network’s website and found a recipe from Paula Deen that was simple to follow and quick to make.

My lovely Dutch oven and my ingredients: Bisquick, sugar, milk, cinnamon, cinnamon sugar, & butter.

IMG_8833 IMG_8837

In my prepared Dutch oven -I sprayed it with cooking spray- I added the mixture of 2 cans of peaches, Bisquick, sugar and cinnamon.


In a Ziploc bag I mixed together the following ingredients to make the dough topping: more Bisquick, sugar, butter and milk.


I then dropped pieces of the dough on top of the peach mixture and sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar and then popped it into my 350 degrees preheated oven.


After 45 minutes it was done!


Unfortunately while it looked and smelled delicious I wasn’t thrilled with the way it tasted. It was lacking in flavor so I doubt I’ll be making it again.

Below is the recipe I followed. One thing to note, I opted not to use blueberries.

Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen


2 (16-ounce) cans sliced peaches in heavy or light syrup, or in fruit juice, your choice

1 pint fresh blueberries, optional

1/2 cup baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)

1/3 cup sugar

Ground cinnamon


2 1/4 cups baking mix (recommended: Bisquick)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

1/2 cup milk Cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar combined with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon; store in an empty spice shaker jar; shake well before each use)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a Dutch oven with vegetable oil cooking spray Drain 1 can of the peaches. Combine both cans of peaches, including the juice from the undrained can, the blueberries, if using, the baking mix, sugar, and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Place this mixture into the Dutch oven. To make the topping: Combine the biscuit mix, sugar, butter, and milk in a resealable plastic bag. Drop bits of dough, using your fingers, on top of the peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Place the Dutch oven into the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and crusty.

A Pumpkin Pie… And Tart

Thanksgiving is not only a day to indulge in some yummy food but also a day to save room for dessert. This year along with making the prerequisite pumpkin pie I also made something a little more special, a Pecan Pumpkin Frangipane Tart. (Frangipane is a filling that is made from or flavored with almonds.) I got the recipe two years ago when I attended a cooking demonstration at Williams & Sonoma. I made it for Thanksgiving that year and have wanted to make it again ever since.

First up though… The Pumpkin Pie. I followed a recipe that I got from the Food Network website. This is probably one of the simplest recipes I have seen for pumpkin pie but it turns out one the yummiest ones I have ever tasted. I actually wasn’t a big fan of pumpkin pie until I made this one; I always thought it tasted quite bland. Although, I did cheat a little and bought my pie crust instead of making it from scratch as the recipe calls for. I opted to use the Keebler Ready Crust Graham 2 Extra Servings Pie Crust to make sure that my filling wouldn’t overflow. I used a regular sized pie crust once and quickly learned my lesson. The filling overflowed and I had to spend a considerable amount of time cleaning my oven afterwards. Not fun!


To make the Pecan Pumpkin Frangipane Tart I started off by making my crust. Using a store bought crust for this tart just wouldn’t be the same. Using a food processor I pulsed together the following ingredients: salt, eggs, flour, confectioners’ sugar & butter.


I then formed the dough into a disk and refrigerated it for 2 hours.

Afterwards I rolled out the dough and pressed it into my tart pan and refrigerated it once again. It needs to be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes. I ended up being refrigerating mine for a few hours, but, it had no effect on the final outcome.

To make the frangipane I used sugar, cake flour, eggs, almond paste and butter.

I combined all of these ingredients in my mixer.

Now it was time to assemble the tart.

I started out by spreading Pecan Pumpkin Butter, which I bought from Williams & Sonoma, on the bottom of my dough. Unfortunately this is a seasonal item so it’s only available in the early fall. But, this isn’t the only thing you can use as the base for this tart. You could actually use fruit, jams/jellies, pudding and so forth. The frangipane is what really gives this tart it’s burst of flavor so whatever you use as the base is just a complement to that.


I then spooned the frangipane on top and smoothed it out evenly.

I baked it for about 30 minutes and this was the final product and it was delicious!


Pumpkin Pie

Recipe courtesy Joanne Chang

Pie Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
7 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
6 1/2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch ground clove
Pinch salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Equipment: 9-inch pie pan


Make the Pie Dough: In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix to combine. Add the butter and continue mixing until the mixture holds together when you clump it, and there are pecan-sized lumps of butter still visible.

Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and milk in small bowl.

Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap well and store in the refrigerator for several hours. (The dough will keep for several days in the fridge and several weeks in the freezer.)

On a lightly floured work surface, roll half of the dough into a 11 to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Line the pan with the dough and crimp the edges. Chill the pie shell for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the pie shell with aluminum foil and fill with dried beans. Bake the shell until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and beans.

Meanwhile, make the Filling: Lower the oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, mix together the pumpkin and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, milks, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, eggs, and yolk. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake until set, about 45 to 55 minutes. Cool and serve


Pecan Pumpkin Frangipane Tart

From Williams & Sonoma

For the Pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
10 tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten with 1 tbs. water

For the Frangipane:
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup firmly packed almond paste
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten with 1 egg white
1/3 cup plus 1 tbs. cake flour

3/4 cup (1/2 jar) Murihead Pecan Pumpkin Butter

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

To make the pastry, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and process in short pulses until pea-size crumbs form, 20 to 25 seconds. While pulsing, add the egg yolk mixture and process to form large, moist crumbs, 10 to 15 seconds more.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape the dough into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Roll out the dough 1⁄8 inch thick, dusting it with confectioners’ sugar if it begins to stick. Transfer the dough round into a 10-inch tart pan and, using your fingers, press the dough into the pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

To make the frangipane, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add the almond paste and granulated sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. While beating, add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and fold in the cake flour until just blended and no lumps of flour remain.

Spread the pecan pumpkin butter into the chilled tart shell, forming a layer about 1⁄4 inch thick. Spoon the frangipane on top in an even layer. Bake until the tart is golden and set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the tart cool to room temperature, then remove it from the pan. Dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Makes one 10-inch tart.

Gearing Up For Winter

One of my favorite things about the temperatures dropping is the opportunity to wear scarves. I’ve always viewed scarves as shoes. Shoes can make or break an outfit and a cool scarf can dress up even the most basic black coat. Once I learned how to knit and crochet scarves were the one thing I was looking forward to making – they are also the easiest things to make when you are just starting out. While I am usually partial to working with Lion Brand Yarn I came across yarn from Red Heart that I couldn’t resist.
Using Red Heart’s Boutique Magical Yarn in Wizard – which is actually four yarns in one – I created a scarf following a pattern called Spectrum. While the pattern said that only one skein of yarn was necessary to complete the scarf I actually used half of a second skein to get my desired length. One thing I learned quickly while using this yarn is that one section of it is not meant to be pulled apart in the unfortunate event you make a mistake while using it. That happened a few times to me and I ended up ripping the yarn when I tried to pull out the stitches – probably why I needed that second skein of yarn.


Next up I followed the Flights of Fancy scarf pattern from Lion Brand Yarn’s website while using Red Heart’s Boutique Midnight Yarn in Whisper – a yarn that has subtle changes in color with a metallic thread weaved throughout it. It’s a quick and simple pattern mainly comprised of double-crochet stitches.


And for the final scarf I used Red Heart’s Boutique Treasure Yarn in Tapestry – which again is a yarn that has subtle gradations in color – and followed the Snapdragon Stitch which is made up of double-crochet stitches and the V-Stitch. This was definitely my favorite of the three scarves because of the yarn color and the overlook look of the stitches. And while most scarves are made with at most two skeins of yarn this one actually took three. I initially only bought two but was lucky enough to find a third one with the same dye lot.


My winter accessory collection wouldn’t be complete without a good hat to keep me warm but I have always avoided wearing one. I have curly hair so hats tend to flatten down my curls… Not good. But, I have wanted to get a slouchy beret which seems to have enough room in it to allow my curls to stay intact. Before buying one though I decided to try and make one. First the search was on to find a pattern that would be simple enough to follow. I haven’t made a hat since I learned how to crochet a few years ago so I figured I should stick with something somewhat simple. With a Google search of “slouchy beret crochet pattern” I found a pattern from Donna Rutledge-Okoro appropriately titled Easy Slouchy Beret Hat Crochet. It was simple to follow and suggested using another Red Heart Yarn, their Supersaver Yarn which comes in a variety of colors but I chose Gray Heather. I was able to work this up in just a few hours and just in time too because it snowed the following day!


Crystals & Wire Pendant

At a shopping event I went to last month I saw a pendant that was made with crystals and wire that instantly caught my eye. While I did like it I thought it was a little too pricey and knew it was something that I could make myself since it was a free-form design that didn’t follow a specific pattern.

I used 22 gauge gold-tone wire (anything thinner would probably not hold up to all of the wrapping and anything thicker may be too difficult to wrap with) and random Swarovski crystals that I had left over from other projects to create my pendant.

Using about a yard length of wire I just haphazardly started wrapping the wire around itself adding crystals wherever I thought necessary. Afterwards I used round-nose pliers to curve any loose portions of the wire to ensure that the pendant would stay together. After about 25 minutes of work I ended up with a unique piece of jewelry.

I’m sure I’ll make a few more of these but I’m thinking I’ll use stones and seed beads next time to create more of a statement piece.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

After buying one too many cans of Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin I decided it was time to try out some different recipes other than the tried and true pumpkin pie – I’m saving that for Thanksgiving. While flipping through the newspaper recently I came across a recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding. It’s funny, as a child I couldn’t stand bread pudding but as I got older I acquired a taste for it. It could be because those that I do like aren’t made with traditional white bread but with Panettone, Croissants and so forth.

First things first, I got all of my ingredients together.

I then started cutting the bread into cubes – while the recipe did call for white bread I decided to switch it up a little and use cinnamon bread instead. After cutting up a little more than 4 cups of bread I toasted it in the oven for about 15 minutes. One immediate perk of using cinnamon bread was the aroma it filled my house with while it was toasting.

Following that I placed the cubes into my prepared baking dish.

While the bread was in the oven I whisked together all of my remaining ingredients that would compose the custard for the pudding.

Once all of the ingredients were mixed together well I poured it over the bread cubes.

After letting the mixture sit for ten minutes to allow the pudding to soak into the bread I cut pieces of cold butter and dropped them on top.

After baking for about 45 minutes my bread pudding was ready!


While it did taste good I was hoping for more of a pumpkin taste. Maybe I should have used the entire can of pumpkin instead of the 3/4 cup the recipe called for, then I wouldn’t have the dilemma of now finding a recipe that will only use this 1 cup of pumpkin I have sitting in my fridge.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Courtesy Domino Sugar

4 Cups White Bread, Cut Into Cubes

4 Eggs

3 Egg Yolks

1 1/2 Cups Milk

1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

3/4 Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree

1 Cup Domino Granulated Sugar

1/4 Tsp Salt

1 Tbsp Rum or Brandy

1/4 Tsp Nutmeg

1 Tsp Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp Cloves, ground

2 Tbsp Butter, cold, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Dry bread cubes on cookie sheet in oven 10 to 15 minutes. Place bread cubes in pan. In large mixing bowl, whisk together all pudding ingredients except butter. Pour mixture over bread cubes. Let sit 10 minutes until bread is fully soaked. Dab butter over top. Bake 40 to 50 minutes. (Pudding should set in center, but not dry).

Ruffle Scarves

I came across Red Heart’s Boutique Sashay yarn at my local Michael’s store and thought it looked pretty cool, but, I had no idea how to use it – it’s a fishnet yarn that creates ruffles as you knit or crochet with it. So, after watching a few video tutorials and finding a pattern for a scarf I was ready to try out this new yarn.


With my first attempt at making the scarf I started by casting on 10 stitches, but, as I was going along I soon realized that the scarf was going to be a bit too puffy for my liking.

So, I started over by casting on only 8 stitches and was much happier with the final result. Using only one ball of yarn and knitting every row I ended up with a pretty cool looking scarf.

I’ve actually made a few more in different colors after a friend saw mine and requested I make her some. Once I realized that it was quicker and easier to work with the yarn by winding it into a ball before knitting, making these additional scarves was a piece of cake.

And in turn she showed hers to someone and they requested I make some for them to give as Christmas gifts. So I have a few colors all wound up and ready to be knitted.

Teardrop Double-Strand Necklace

While going through some papers I found a magazine rip out of a necklace that I liked and wanted to make – a long gold-tone necklace with semi-precious teardrop gems and pearls. I didn’t have those exact components, but, I did have blue/yellow swirl glass teardrops and gold seed beads. While I did have glass pearls as well I didn’t like how they looked with the teardrops and seed beads. So I opted to go with coral glass oval beads which I found at my local Joann’s.

My supplies.

I got to work on making the necklace and decided to place six size 10 seed beads between alternating teardrop and oval beads using gold beading wire. I made two of these strands in different lengths and attached them to a double-strand toggle.

And here’s the finished product.


Unfortunately I wasn’t too happy with how it came out. I didn’t like how the necklace was hanging with the double-strand toggle. Also, my strand length wasn’t proportioned well between the two strands so I felt that the longer strand was too long. And finally, the seed beads I used weren’t the best quality so the gold tone began to rub off. So, I decided to make the necklace again.

This time I used TOHO Size 11 Gold Seed Beads that I got at my local Michaels store. I’ve used TOHO seed beads in the past and have never had a problem with them fading so I knew they were a safe bet.

I got to working on the necklace once again and opted to use a single strand toggle this time in hopes that the necklace would hang better.

I was much happier with the necklace the second time around. Using a single strand toggle meant crimping both strands together which provided the weight for the necklace to hang better. To correct the problem of the strand length I decided to leave the shorter length as is and removed two each of the teardrop and oval beads and twenty-four of the seed beads.

Croissant Bread Pudding

A few months ago I went out to dinner and for dessert I had Croissant Bread Pudding and it was delicious. Since then I have been wanting to try to make it myself. I finally got around to it this past weekend. I normally make Panettone Bread Pudding so I pretty much knew how to make it, but, I made a few tweaks to make the recipe my own.

My ingredients were pretty simple: Croissants, Eggs, Heavy Whipping Cream, Sugar, Cinnamon, Vanilla Extract and Rum soaked Golden Raisins.

I started off by slicing nine croissants in half and tearing up the bottom halves and placing them in a greased glass baking dish – I usually just use Baking Cooking Spray. I then placed the top halves right on top.


I started making the custard by whipping together the eggs and sugar until they were combined.

I then added in the heavy whipping cream, cinnamon, vanilla extract and the raisins along with the rum they were soaking in.

Once that was all combined I poured the mixture over the croissants and pressed them down with a spatula to ensure that they would soak up all of the custard. I let this stand for about 15 minutes before placing it in a 350 degrees F preheated oven.

Since I was completely winging this I was a bit unsure of the baking time. I started off by baking it for 30 minutes covered with aluminum foil and then removed the foil and baked it for an additional 15 minutes. When I took it out the oven it didn’t seem like the custard was completely set so I placed it in the oven for an additional 15 minutes and that did the trick.

After it cooled I was eager to see if my “experiment” came out well and I am happy to say it did. My friends (aka taste testers) agreed as well.

I am sure I will be making this again, but, with a few changes. I think that instead of throwing all of the raisins in with the mixture I will layer some of them between the torn pieces of croissants and the top halves. Also, I think I will start off by baking it covered for 45 minutes and then removing the foil for the final 15 minutes.

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every year around Christmas time I do what I like to call “marathon baking.” Basically for about two days straight my oven gets a good workout with me baking up different types of cookies and other treats. My staples are Rugelach, Linzer Tart and Peanut Butter cookies, but, every year I like to try one or two new cookie recipes. Last year my newest addition was Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies after a friend of mine saw them being whipped up on a cooking show on the Food Network. When I checked out the recipe it sounded easiest enough – not so easy was finding Malted Milk Powder. I went to three different supermarkets before I finally found it and then randomly saw it one day at my neighborhood Target. This past weekend was said friend’s birthday so I decided to bake up a batch of the cookies once again since she liked them so much the first time.

Here’s my batter all whipped up and ready to go. You can’t really see it in the picture, but, I was testing out a new spatula that I bought at Sur La Table – it’s curved on one side and flat on the other so it’s supposed to be better at scraping the sides of bowls and I will say it worked pretty well. On a side note, at the mall I normally shop at the Williams & Sonoma closed and a Sur La Table opened. I finally ventured in a few weeks ago and signed up for email updates and in turn received a $10 coupon which I put to good use this weekend by purchasing this Spatula, a Better Batter Whisk and an Icing Spatula. All of which were on clearance so I ended up only paying about $2.

My batter is laid out and ready for baking – this is actually were I messed up last time when I made these cookies. The directions specifically say that you need to leave ample space between each cookie since they spread out considerably during baking, but, I overlooked that part and ended up having to separate all of my cookies.

When my first batch came out of the oven I still had the problem of them being stuck together and I also noticed that they were a bit too brown so I opted to bake my remaining batches at 9 minutes as opposed to 10 minutes.

My remaining batches were much better, but, although the directions say to place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet I think the next time I make them I will either lightly grease the sheets or use parchment paper. It was a bit of a struggle to get the cookies off the sheets once they cooled for a few minutes.


Here all of the cookies cooling before I placed them in a tin.

They were super yummy…. I’m sure I’ll be making them again!

Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

2011 Ree Drummond, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time: 15 min

Inactive Prep Time:  —

Cook Time: 10 min

Level: Easy

Serves: 36 cookies


2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup golden brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 whole eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup (rounded) malted milk powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

One 12-ounce bag milk chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat slightly, then add the vanilla and beat until combined. Add the malted milk powder and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture, beating gently until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir in gently.

Drop by teaspoonfuls (or use a cookie scoop) on an ungreased baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between the cookies (they spread out quite a bit). Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. The cookies will be very flat and very chewy. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan with a spatula.

Optional: Allow to cool completely, then use 2 cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. Add sprinkles to the sides of the ice cream, then wrap individually in plastic wrap.

Banana Nut Bread

I have never a big fan of Banana Nut Bread. The few times I bought it it tasted a bit artificial to me. But last summer when some bananas I had started to overripe I decided to try out a recipe I came across on the internet. Recently when some bananas I bought couldn’t withstand the heat of the summer and started to ripen a little too quickly I decided to bake up two loaves to put them to good use. I prefer my bananas to be yellow with a tad hint of green to them. And yes I know that’s not the optimal time to eat them but for some reason I just cannot stomach them otherwise.

The overripe bananas.

They didn’t look like much once they were mashed up.

After creaming together the butter and sugar then adding the eggs and the dry ingredients my batter was pretty thick.

But once I added in the mashed up bananas my batter turned into something that was easily pourable into my prepared pans.


And after a little over an hour in the oven both of my loaves were ready and I must say they tasted delicious.

Favorite Banana Nut Bread

From About.com

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


1 Cup Butter or Margarine*

2 Cups Sugar

4 Eggs

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

4 Cups Flour

6 Large Bananas, very ripe, mashes

1 Cup Finely chopped Pecans**


Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Sift dry ingredients together; add to creamed mixture. Stir in bananas and chopped pecans.

Pour banana nut bread batter into 2 well-greased loaf pans; bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. This banana nut bread recipe makes 2 loaves.

*I opted to use butter

**Instead of pecans I used walnuts

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