White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

One of my favorite cheesecake flavors is White Chocolate Raspberry. One day I got to thinking what about a cupcake that incorporated those flavors, just without the cheesecake part. I knew I wanted the frosting to be white chocolate, but I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to incorporate raspberry into the cupcakes. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fold fresh raspberries into the batter or make the cupcakes with a raspberry swirl. Ultimately, I decided to make a true raspberry cupcake by incorporating a fresh raspberry puree and raspberry powder – made from freeze-dried raspberries – into my batter. 

To make the raspberry puree and the raspberry powder I used my food processor to process the fresh raspberries and freeze-dried raspberries and then used a fine mesh sieve to sift the seeds out of the raspberry powder and pressed the raspberry puree through the sieve to separate it from the seeds. A quick tip, I processed the freeze-dried raspberries first and then the fresh raspberries afterwards so I wouldn’t have to clean my food processor in between. If you are wondering where you can get freeze dried raspberries from, I found mine at my local Target. And while you could make these cupcakes without the raspberry powder, adding it really enhances the raspberry flavor, especially if you end up with a batch of raspberries that aren’t incredibly sweet. The powder also intensifies the color of the cupcakes without having to use food coloring to get a nice pink color reminiscent of raspberries.

Once the raspberry powder and puree was ready, I incorporated the puree into my wet ingredients and the powder into my dry ingredients and then mixed the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients alternating with milk. When filling my cupcake liners, I erred on the side of caution when filling them since I wasn’t sure how much they would rise. As you can see, I filled them about 3/4 quarters of the way…

Once they were baked though I noticed that they didn’t rise that much and I could have filled them just about to the top. And I have to mention that the smell of these cupcakes is pure raspberries. There was no doubt what the flavor was going to be.

After letting them cool in the pan for 15 minutes I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once they were cooled it was time to make the frosting.   

Now, for the white chocolate frosting you may be tempted to and they are easier to come by, but don’t use white chips for it. With most brands, white chips do not contain cocoa butter and thus cannot be called chocolate. If you do use them, your frosting will not be smooth, but instead will have chunks of the chips in it even after melting and beating it into your frosting (I speak from experience). It’s best to buy white chocolate in bar form and check the ingredient list to make sure it does contain cocoa butter. For this recipe I used two Lindt White Chocolate bars that you can find in the candy aisle or you can use Ghirardelli White Chocolate Bars that are normally found in the baking aisle.

I started by melting and cooling the chocolate and then I gradually beat it into butter that I had already beaten. I opted to make the frosting in my stand mixer so I could keep it running constantly while adding in the ingredients. Once the chocolate was incorporated, I then gradually added in confectioners’ sugar and finally vanilla extract and heavy whipping cream. Adding the whipping cream helps to make the frosting light and fluffy. And in case you are wondering, even with the chocolate and confectioners’ sugar the frosting is not overly sweet. I transferred the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and piped swirls on each of the cupcakes and topped some with a fresh raspberry for a final touch.

Raspberry Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

6oz. (1 1/4 cups) fresh raspberries

1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries,

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor add the freeze-dried raspberries. Pulse a few times until they become a powder. Sift the powder through a fine mesh sieve to eliminate the seeds. Set aside.

Add the fresh raspberries to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the raspberries until they have broken down. Press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl to separate the seeds from the puree. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and raspberry powder and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter on medium speed until cream. Add the sugar and continue beating until light & fluffy.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, then the vanilla extract and finally the raspberry puree until just incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk on low speed. Raise the speed to medium until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

White Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: About 2 cups
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Ingredients:

8oz. white chocolate

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Chop the white chocolate and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to love and gradually add in the cooled melted chocolate.

Still on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

Add in the vanilla extract and salt increase the speed to medium and then finally add in the heavy cream and beat for another minute or so.

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Feliz Cinco De Mayo! I was planning on making a different version of these crumble bars last year for Cinco De Mayo, but I ended up making a Key Lime Bundt Cake instead. And truth be told, these crumble bars are not the exact recipe from the ones I saw. I decided to tweak the recipe to use ingredients I had on hand and I thought the filling from the original recipe sounded too sweet since it listed two cans of condensed milk (and one is sweet enough) so I used the filling recipe for my Key Lime Pie. What I ended up with was a delicious crumble bar with hints of coconut in the crust and topping and a filling that was perfectly sweet and tangy.

I began by making the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I combined all of the ingredients – flour, shredded coconut, oats, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, Kosher salt and coconut extract (which is completely optional, but, will up the coconut flavor) – and pulsed it until it started to clump together but was still crumbly. I reserved a cup of the mixture and pressed the remaining amount into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan I lined with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes until it was beginning to brown. I actually took it out of the oven at the 15-minute mark but since it still looked a bit undercooked, I decided to leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. You don’t want to leave it in too long though as you will be baking it again with the filling and you don’t want the crust to get hard during the second bake.

While the crust was cooling, I made the filling. In a large bowl I beat egg yolks until they were pale and fluffy and then added in condensed milk, key lime juice and lime zest. Now, I used key lime juice, but you could easily just use freshly squeezed lime juice. I prefer the flavor of key limes over regular limes and while I would love to use freshly squeezed key lime juice, key limes are a rarity at my local supermarket.

Once the crust had cooled, I poured the filling on top.

And then sprinkled the reserved flour mixture over it.

I then baked it in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the filling had set and the crumble topping was beginning to brown.

After letting it cool completely on a wire rack, I refrigerated it for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1 cup old-fashioned oats*

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons coconut extract (optional)

For the filling:

1 14oz. can condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup lime juice**

Zest of 1 lime

*can substitute quick oats

**I used key lime juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor combine all of the ingredients for the crust. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together but is still crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture and press the remaining amount into the prepared baking pan, just on the bottom. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Cool for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: While the crust is cooling make the filling. In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a hand mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in the condensed milk and then the lime juice and lime zest.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust and sprinkle the top with the reserved crust mixture.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the filling is just set and the crumble topping is golden.

Let cool completely on wire rack and then refrigerate for at least hour before slicing into 12 bars.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Coconut Macaroon Brownies

If you love chocolate dipped coconut macaroons, Almond Joy candy bars or anything chocolate and coconut, today’s recipe is for you. It’s Coconut Macaroon Brownies!

Up first I made the brownie layer. While the recipe directions called for melting the dark chocolate and unsalted butter in a double boiler, I opted to do in the microwave. I placed the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until it was completely melted and smooth. I set that aside and in a large bowl whisked together, by hand, eggs, sugar, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, espresso granules, vanilla extract and salt until it was smooth. Next, I folded in coconut flour. The coconut flour helped to make the brownies extra fudgy and dense and also keeps this recipe gluten-free. And finally, I folded in milk chocolate chips. I spread this into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that I lined with parchment paper, making sure to leave an overhang on all sides to make clean up easy and more importantly removing from the brownies hassle-free. I then place the pan in the refrigerator for an hour.

Next up, the macaroon layer. Using my stand mixer with the whisk attachment, I beat egg whites until they were frothy and then slowly added in sugar, vanilla extract and salt until stiff peaks formed. Finally, I added in shredded coconut and my macaroon layer was ready.

Using a small offset spatula, I spread the coconut mixture over the brownie base.

I baked it in a 375 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the brownies were set and the macaroon layer had a golden-brown color. I let the brownies cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 2 hours.

I then removed them easily thanks to parchment paper and let them cool for about another 30 minutes before slicing.

And even though I did clean my knife between each slice my brownies didn’t slice perfectly clean. Nevertheless, it didn’t take away from how delicious these brownies are. The chocolate layer is the perfect amount of chocolate without being overly sweet. That’s primarily due to using a dark chocolate as the base and also adding those espresso granules. Coffee really enhances the flavor of chocolate. As for the coconut layer, by using unsweetened shredded coconut as opposed to the traditional sweetened version in typical macaroons, the coconut layer isn’t crazy sweet either. You really do get to taste the coconut flavor.

Coconut Macaroon Brownies

Ingredients:

Brownie Layer:

8 oz. dark chocolate (70% cacao), coarsely chopped*

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon instant espresso granules

1 cup coconut flour

1 cup milk chocolate chips

Macaroon Layer:

4 large eggs whites

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

4 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut

*I used Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Bars found in the candy aisle

Directions:

Make the brownie layer: Line a 9 x 13 – inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhand on all sides. In a microwave safe bowl add the chopped chocolate and butter. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval until the chocolate and butter are smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, both sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt and espresso granules until smooth. Add in the chocolate/butter mixture and continue whisking until smooth. Fold in the coconut flour and then then the milk chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Make the macaroon layer: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Slowly add in the sugar, vanilla extract and salt and gradually increase the speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks form. Reduce the speed to low and add in the shredded coconut and beat until just combined. Spread the coconut mixture over the brownie layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cut into 24 brownies.

Recipe from Food & Wine

Spinach & Mushroom Stromboli

I’m not a fan of working with yeast. I think it’s because the first time I did so it was a bit of a disaster. It took three tries before the yeast proofed and the bread I was making never fully rose. Ultimately the bread did taste good, but I knew that it could have been better. After that experience I have avoided certain recipes that involve yeast. The key to working with yeast is to make sure the temperature of your water/milk is spot on, that you knead your dough enough without overworking it and that you have the right environment for your dough to rise. With those three points in mind I am hoping to curb my apprehension and delve into making more yeast-based recipes. Recently I make homemade Stromboli.

A fellow blogger, Sally’s Baking Addiction , posts a monthly baking challenge for her followers to try. Along with recipe she provides full step-by-step directions as well as pictures and videos to help you along. For this first month of the year her challenge was homemade Stromboli. While hers was filled with sliced deli meats I opted to fill mine with vegetables – specifically spinach, mushrooms and jarred roasted red peppers.

To make the dough I began by combining warm water, instant yeast and sugar in the bowl of my stand mixer and covered it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for a few minutes. I then added in olive oil, salt and flour and using the dough attachment on my mixer, I mixed the ingredients on low for 2 minutes. Next, I dusted my counter with flour and kneaded the dough for a few minutes. I knew it was ready when I poked it and it slowly bounced back.

Next, I sprayed an ovenproof bowl with cooking spray and placed the dough inside of it, turning to coat it. After covering the bowl with aluminum foil, I placed it in a warm spot so the dough could rise for an hour. To ensure a warm enough environment, while prepping the dough I preheated my oven to 200 F and once I was ready to let it rest I turned the oven off and placed the covered bowl inside leaving the oven door slightly ajar. I ended up having to prop it open with a measuring cup so it would be open just enough. After 30 minutes I closed the oven door completely.

And this is what my dough looked like after an hour. It may not look like it doubled in size, but, it did.

Now, this dough was enough to make 2 Stromboli’s, but I was only planning on making one. So, I divided the dough in half, coated one-half in olive oil and then wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed it in the freezer. The other half I formed into a 10×16 rectangle and brushed it with melted butter and minced garlic.

I then sprinkled some dried parsley on top.

Next, I arranged cooked spinach and mushrooms along with jarred roasted red peppers I sliced, leaving a 3-inch border on one long edge and a 1-inch border on the other side and on both short ends.

And finally, since everything is better with cheese, I sprinkled shredded mozzarella on top.

Next it was time to roll it up. Before rolling, I brushed the edges of the dough with an egg wash. I then carefully rolled the Stromboli starting with the long-edge with the 1-inch border, tucking the sides of the dough in as I rolled it. I then carefully transferred it to a baking sheet I lined with parchment paper.

Before placing it in a preheated 400 F oven I cut 4-slits into the top of the dough and brushed it with the remaining egg wash and sprinkled it with dried parsley.

After baking for about 25 minutes my Stromboli was done.

I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Spinach & Mushroom Stromboli

  • Servings: 2 Stromboli's
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Ingredients:

For the dough (for 2 Stromboli’s):

1 1/3 cups warm water (between 100 – 110 F)

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 7g / 1/4 oz. packet)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting

 

For the filling (for 2 Stromboli’s):

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons dried parsley

5 oz. bag spinach

8oz. package sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced jarred roasted red peppers

3 cups shredded mozzarella

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

 

For rolling and topping:

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water

Additional dried parsley for topping

 

Directions:

In the bowl of your stand mixer whisk together the water, yeast and sugar. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for five minutes.

Add the olive oil, salt and flour and using the dough attachment beat the ingredients on low speed for 2 minutes. Lightly dust your counter and hands with flour and knead the dough for 3 – 4 minutes by hand. The dough is ready when it is soft and when poked it slowly bounces back.

Lightly grease a bowl with cooking spray (or oil) and place the dough inside of the bowl coating it with the cooking spray (or oil). Cover with aluminum foil and place in a warm spot to rise, about 60 minutes with instant yeast. The dough should double in size.

While the dough is rising cook the spinach and mushrooms. In a large non-stick skillet warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms begin to soften and release their juices. Add the spinach and season with additional salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are cooked and the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Once the dough is ready… Preheat the oven to 400 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Punch the dough down to release any trapped air. Divide the dough in half*. Dust your counter with flour and dust a rolling pin with flour and shape each half of the dough into a 10×16-inch rectangle.

Mix the melted butter and garlic together and brush on the dough and then sprinkle with parsley. Spread half of the spinach mushroom mixture and the sliced roasted peppers onto the dough leaving a three-inch border on one long edge and a one-inch border on the opposite long edge and on both short edges. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella.

Brush the egg wash along all 4 borders. Now you are ready to roll the Stromboli. Begin with the long edge with the 1-inch border. Carefully roll towards the opposite long edge while also tucking in the edges of the short sides. Once completely rolled tuck in the ends and carefully transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets.

Brush the top of the Stromboli’s with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with dried parsley.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and enjoying.

*If you are only planning on making 1 Stromboli shape one-half of the dough into a ball and coat it with olive oil and the wrap in plastic wrap and then place in a resealable bag and freeze. When you are ready to use, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Remove from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

One Banana Three Muffins

Normally when I have overripe bananas my go-to is to make a Banana Nut Bread. But that requires 3 bananas and this time around I only had 1. And while I could have tossed it, I’m not keen on eating overripe bananas, I also don’t like to waste food. So, I decided to tweak a recipe to turn that 1 banana into muffins.

Truthfully before making and dividing the batter I wasn’t sure how many muffins I would get from it. Once I was done prepping it, I was able to divide it into 3 large muffins. I used a 6-cup muffin pan as opposed to a 12-cup cupcake pan.

After baking in a 375 F preheated oven I let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

And the following morning enjoy one for breakfast.

These muffins were delicious! From now on when I buy bananas I may leave one to overripe so I can bake up a batch of these muffins. They are quick, easy, delicious and the perfect amount!

 

Banana Nut Muffins

Ingredients:

3 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cups flour

1 overripe banana, mashed

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line 3 cavities of a 6-cup muffin pan with liners.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside.

In another medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a handheld mixer. Add the egg and continue to beat until well incorporated. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and beat until just incorporated. Stir in the mashed banana and the walnuts.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin pan and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the muffins and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookie Palooza: Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

I normally end Cookie Palooza with a no-bake option for those individuals who just don’t have the time to bake or for those who baking is just not their thing. Unfortunately, not this year though. Although, I am bringing you a cookie that’s pretty fool-proof and will have people asking you if you made them yourself. A Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookie.

 

I began by making the dough. In a large bowl I creamed together butter and confectioners’ sugar and then added in vanilla extract and finally flour. I covered the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerated the dough for an hour.

After an hour I removed the dough from the refrigerator and used a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then formed it into small logs that I placed about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Yes, they are closer than that in this picture, but it was only for the picture.

Next, I pressed about three-fourths of the cookie with a fork to flatten it. To prevent the fork from sticking to the dough, since it was starting to get a bit sticky from being handled, I dipped the fork in flour every few cookies. I’ll admit that they did look a little wonky before going into the oven and I was having doubts that they would look good after baking…

But, after baking them in a 350 F preheated for about 15 minutes, they didn’t look all that bad. Especially after dipping the unflatten part of the cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkling it with holiday sprinkles. And while I used holiday sprinkles, you could totally do chopped nuts instead or your favorite color of sprinkles.

Final verdict… These were a hit! Sometimes butter cookies can be on the dry side and/or lacking flavor, but these were neither. I was actually asked if I had made them myself, they were so good! This is definitely a nice cookie you can gift to anyone on your list this year. But, if you are still doubting you could whip these up, check out the no-bake option I ended last year’s Cookie Palooza with… A Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookie. Which is eerily similar to how I ended this year.

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza. As the year winds down and we look forward to 2021, that will hopefully be better than this year, stay safe and be healthy!

 

Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

For Cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

 

For Dipping:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon shortening

Holiday sprinkles

 

Directions:

In a large bowl cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar using a handheld mixer on medium speed. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well. Gradually add in the flour until combined. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F. Shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into 2 1/2-in x 1/2-in logs and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. With a fork, flatten three-fourths of each log lengthwise. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 – 16 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Cool on the baking sheets.

Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Dip the round end of the cookie into the chocolate and then place on a piece of wax paper. Before the chocolate sets sprinkle with the sprinkles. Let chocolate firm. To speed up the process you can place the cookie in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

While pumpkin is predominantly used in dessert dishes, it can also be used to make some delicious savory dishes. Pumpkin is actually really good for you, so, by using it in dishes that aren’t overloaded with sugar you can get some great health benefits from it. It can boost your immune system, protect your eyesight, lower your risk of certain cancers and promote heart and skin health. So, while the past couple of weeks I have brought you pumpkin desserts this week I am bringing you a pumpkin dish that is perfect for the cold days ahead… a Turkey Pumpkin Chili.

As with most chili’s this one is cooked in just one pot and takes minutes to prepare. I started out by sautéing onions and then adding in the ground turkey and spices. Once the meat was browned, I added in the beans, pumpkin, water and chicken broth and continued to cook it until it was thickened.

And enjoyed it with a dollop of sour cream and hot sauce on top.

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 15oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 15oz. can pumpkin

1 14.5oz. can chicken broth

1 3/4 cups water

Hot sauce, sour cream and scallions for topping

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender. Stir in the turkey, coriander, smoked paprika and salt, cook, stirring occasionally to break up the ground turkey, until the meat is browned.

Add in the beans, pumpkin, water and chicken broth to the turkey mixture. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often until everything is heated through and the chili begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.

Top with hot sauce, sour cream and/or scallions.

Recipe from Real Simple Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

It’s Fall Y’all! And you know what that means… It’s time for some pumpkin treats. Truth be told I feel like Fall came out of nowhere this year. Between working from home and barely going anywhere due to the pandemic the days are just passing by quickly and rolling into each other. Now that September is winding down though I’m doing my best to be cognizant of the days/dates to make sure I get all of my holiday projects and goodies done. I’m kicking off Fall with a Chocolate Pumpkin Flan.

While traditional flan uses eggs as the base to make the custard, this flan uses a combination of cream cheese, eggs and pumpkin. One thing that does remain the same though is the delicious caramel sauce. And I am happy to say that I was finally successful in making caramel sauce. I have tried in the past and all I have ended up with is burnt sugar. I was determined this time to get it right. One thing that helped, besides having patience, was using a smaller saucepan. I normally use a medium sized one and I think that was preventing the caramel from coming together. By using a smaller one it was easier for the sugar to melt into the water and begin the caramelization process. I also resisted the urge to stir it and instead swirled the pan every few minutes to ensure it wouldn’t burn.  As with a traditional flan, once the caramel was done I poured it into the pan I was using and then poured the batter for the flan over it. Oh, one other thing this flan has that a traditional flan doesn’t have… melted chocolate. If you didn’t know, chocolate and pumpkin go together really well. After baking in a water bath, initially I was thinking that I could bake a 9-inch pan inside of a 10-inch springform pan, but, after I added the water it seeped right out so I ended up baking it in a water bath inside of my roasting pan, I let it cool and then refrigerated it overnight before unmolding it. It didn’t come out easily, but, once it did it thankfully didn’t break apart.

Final verdict… It was delicious. It had the exact consistency of an egg custard flan but the flavor of pumpkin and chocolate with a hint of spice thanks to pumpkin spice. Which is just a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice.

So, even with all the craziness going on are you looking forward to the holidays? Me and a friend were saying the other day how when the summer started, we had no clue how the summer would be and what we would be able to do. And now here we are, the summer is over, and we made it through without doing anything really. With the extra time on the weekends I was able to get some projects done in my backyard and I am in the middle of remodeling my living room. All in all, I am sure most people are looking to put this year to bed. For now though, bring on the pumpkins, the mums and the scarves!

Chocolate Pumpkin Flan

Ingredients:

2oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

1/4 cup water

1 12oz. can evaporated milk

1 8oz. package cream cheese, softened and cubed

4 eggs

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Microwave the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl on high for 1 minute, or until almost melted. Stir until completely melted, set aside to cool.

In a small saucepan add 3/4 cups of the sugar and the water. Cook on medium heat until the mixture is golden brown and a syrup-like consistency. This will take 10-15 minutes. Do not stir the contents, instead swirl the pan every few minutes. Pour into a 9-inch round pan.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, combine the evaporated milk and cream cheese and mix together until smooth.  Add the remaining sugar, the eggs, pumpkin, pumpkin spice and melted chocolate and continue mixing until well incorporated. Pour the mixture over the syrup in the pan.

Place the 9-inch pan inside of a larger pan, a roasting pan is ideal, and fill the larger pan with enough water that it comes halfway up the sides of the small pan.

Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before inverting and unmolding. Drizzle any remaining caramel sauce left in pan over flan. Slice and enjoy!

Recipe from Kraft Foods

No Churn Passion Fruit Ice Cream

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! Happy 1st (official) day of summer. I say official, because I am sure there are plenty of people who feel that Memorial Day is the kick-off to summer. Which, I don’t completely disagree with, but, the weather in my neck of the woods has been saying otherwise. There have been some warm days, but, quite a few days have felt like we are back in April with the rain, wind and chill in the air. As you know, April showers bring May flowers, well, we are well into June now Mother Nature so we don’t need so much of the rain. Hopefully she’ll listen. So, what better way to kick off summer than with some homemade ice cream. Last year I shared with you a No Churn Coffee-Caramel Ice Cream to kick off the summer and this year I am sharing with you a No Churn Passion Fruit Ice Cream. YUM! Passion Fruit happens to be my favorite Chobani Yogurt flavor. That’s where the idea for this ice cream flavor came about. I figured if it tasted good as a yogurt it ought to taste just as good as ice cream (and I was right.)

While I came across quite a few different recipes for this ice cream, I opted to go with one that required only 3 ingredients and less than 15 minutes of prep time. I purchased frozen passion fruit pulp from my local supermarket. To defrost it, I placed it in my refrigerator for about a day. Once it was defrosted I combined it with a can of sweetened condensed milk, whisking the two together until they were well combined. In another bowl, using my hand mixer, I whipped extra cold (I placed it in the freezer for 10 minutes) heavy cream until stiff peaks formed. I then added in the passion fruit mixture and beat everything together until just combined. I transferred the mixture to a loaf pan and placed a piece of wax paper directly on the surface before covering the pan with aluminum foil and then placing it in the freezer. And of course, I snuck a taste of it beforehand and it tasted just like my favorite Chobani yogurt, without the pesky little black seeds

After letting the ice cream set in the freezer for a few days (I am sure it was ready after a few hours, but, I happen to make this in the middle of week and was busy some doing baking and other things and totally forgot it was in freezer) I scooped myself a scoop or two and enjoyed it.

Passion Fruit Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 14 oz. package of Passion Fruit Pulp, defrosted

1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup of cold heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Place the heavy cream in the freezer for 10 -15 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the defrosted passion fruit pulp and sweetened condensed milk.

In another medium bowl beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Add the passion fruit mixture and continue beating until the two mixtures are combined.

Transfer the mixture to a loaf pan and place a piece of wax paper directly on the surface and the cover with a piece of aluminum foil before placing in the freezer. Free for at least 2 hours and up to two weeks.

Recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine

Margarita Cheesecake

Instead of drinking a margarita this past Sunday for Cinco de Mayo I opted to bake one instead in the form of a cheesecake. While this was a great dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the light lime flavor also makes it perfect for the upcoming warmer months of the summer.

I began by making the crust. I crushed Nilla Wafers into crumbs and then combined it with melted butter and then pressed it into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I then placed it in the refrigerator until the cheesecake mixture was ready. While I used Nilla Wafers for my crust, you could opt to get the salty rim of a traditional margarita in the form of a crust made with crushed pretzels instead.

Using a hand mixer I bet three room temperature 8oz. blocks of cream cheese until it was light and fluffy. I then added in sour cream, sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and lime zest. I continued beating everything on medium speed until it was well combined. I then added in four eggs one at a time. On the off chance you taste the filling and think that it’s too much alcohol don’t worry, the alcohol flavor will burn off while the cheesecake is baking. On the converse side, if you feel like it’s not enough now would be the time to add in more.

I poured the filling into the prepared pan and then placed it on a baking sheet and baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until the center was just set.

A few minutes before removing the cheesecake from the oven I combined sugar, lime juice and sour cream in a small bowl. After removing the cheesecake from the oven I spread this sour cream mixture over the cheesecake and then placed it back in the oven for an additional five minutes.  This gives the cheesecake a nice topping and one other thing I like about it, it hides any cracks.

I then placed the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool and then placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours for it to chill.

Before serving, I removed the ring from the pan and garnished the cheesecake with thin slices of lime.

Margarita Cheesecake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vanilla wafer cookie crumbs*

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups sour cream, divided

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 tablespoons Grand Marnier**

3 tablespoons gold tequila**

4 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed

2 teaspoons lime zest

4 large eggs

Thin lime slices, for garnish

 

*I used Nilla Wafers

**I used the 5cl/50ml sized bottles. Each had exactly 3 tablespoons. For the tequila, I used Jose Cuervo Gold.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the cookie crumbs and butter in a medium bowl until well blended. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and 1-inch up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.  Refrigerate.

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of sugar, Grand Marnier, tequila, 3 tablespoons of the lime juice and the lime zest and beat until well combined. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended after each addition.

Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling into the crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the center is just set, about 50 minutes. In a small bowl combine the remaining sour cream, sugar and lime juice and stir well to combine. Pour this over of the cheesecake and smooth with an offset spatula. Return the cheesecake to oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool completely and then chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Before serving, remove the ring from the pan and garnish the cheesecake with the lime slices.

Recipe from Food Network