Saturday, October 29, 2011

Glazed Pumpkin Buttermilk Donuts

I have never made donuts before but these caught my eye here and I just had to give them a try.  I mean they are pumpkin, people!  And donuts seem so harvest-y, don't they?  Anyway, I was prepared to do some work on these and they came together so fast.  So if you are looking for a new Halloween/ Harvest tradition (or just a delicious treat) this just might be your recipe!

Glazed Pumpkin Buttermilk Donuts
(about 2 1/2 dozen, plus donut holes)

3 1/2 cups flour
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 cup sugar
2 T butter, melted
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
canola oil (for frying)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spice and sugar.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients except the oil (it's for frying). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in.  Mix all together until the dough is well combined.  My dough was pretty sticky.  Turn out onto a well floured surface and roll the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick (this may seem pretty thin but they puff up a lot when frying).  Cut with a donut cutter or I just used a canning jar lid and a medicine cup (you know the ones that come on the top of child rems Motrin?) for the middle.  

Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet or heavy pan over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot (I drop a piece of dough in and it started bubbling like crazy when it was hot enough). Gently slide the donuts in tot he oil, frying the first side until the edges are lightly browned.  Carefully flip the donuts over and allow to cook until lightly browned on this side a too.  Remove and place on a plate covered with paper towels to.  While the donuts are still hot dip them in the buttermilk glaze (recipe below).  Place on a cooling rack place over a cookie sheet to air dry until ready to serve.

Buttermilk Glaze*

3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 t vanilla

Whisk together until smooth.  Dip hot donuts in the glaze and then allow to air dry on a cooling rack.

*I made one and a half times this recipe for all my donuts.  I also added 1/2 t maple flavoring to half this recipe for a little variety! Super Yummy!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sweet and Salty Halloween Treats

I saw these little beauties on Pinterest and just knew that I had to make them for a fun Halloween party I am co-hosting!  They are so super fast and easy and are just so Halloweeny!  Now, go grab the 3 ingredients and whip up a batch of these for your super spooky Halloween friends!

Sweet and Salty Halloween Treats

pretzels (I used the waffle squares but twists would work just fine)
Hershey's Hugs (kisses would also work)
candy corns

Preheat oven to 350.  Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place as many pretzels as you want on the sheet.  Unwrap and place a Hug on the top of each pretzel. Put the cookie sheet in the oven for about 3 minutes, just until the Hugs are shiny.  Pull the tray out of the oven and top each one with a cant corn, pressing down slightly.  Now let these cool and the Hug set up.  I put mine in my cold garage (the fridge would work too) to speed things up.  See, now how easy was that?!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blueberry Syrup

Every summer we go blueberry picking.  We pick TONS!  And this is why!  They are super easy to freeze and freeze really well. Then all year (ok, they totally don't last that long!) We can make super yummy blueberry recipes with the fresh, frozen berries we picked over the summer.  So on this wonderfully sunny, Sunday morning in Michigan we made blueberry syrup to top delicious waffles and fresh whipped cream!  Heaven, pure heaven!

Blueberry Syrup
(2 1/2 cups of syrup)

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t vanilla
1 t cornstarch (mixed with 2 t water)

Mix all the ingredients, except the cornstarch, in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium high, stirring constantly, until it boils.  Once the berries are boiling mix the cornstarch with the 2 t water and mix to dissolve.  Add the cornstarch to the boiling berries and stir to combine.  Reduce the heat and let the berries simmer until the syrup is thickened and no longer milky.  Serve warm over waffles, pancakes, ice cream, or what ever else needs some blueberry syrup!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hot Chocolate

It is so that season, and I am LOVING it!  Hot chocolate season, of course!  I gave up a long time ago searching for the perfect hot chocolate mix.  It doesn't exist and making your own is simple, cheap and easy! So, here is my favorite recipe.  Now, go get your favorite mug and indulge in a big mug and a bubble bath!

Hot Chocolate
(1 serving)

1 1/2 cups (12 oz) skim milk
2 T milk
1 T cocoa powder (the unsweetened kind)
2 T sugar
a dash of salt
a splash of cream
3-4 drops vanilla extract
a dash of cinnamon (optional)

Put milk in a sauce pan and heat over medium.  In a small cup or bowl mix the 2 T milk, cocoa powder and sugar together with a whisk until it is the chocolate is totally incorporated.  (The cocoa powder can be stubborn to mix in and I have found this is the easiest way.) Pour this mixture into the milk that is heating up and whisk to blend.  Now add salt (not too much) vanilla, cream (this gives it just the perfect amount of creaminess) and cinnamon (if using).  Stir until hot (or the perfect drinking temperature).  Pour into your favorite mug and slide into that bubble bath!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fudgy Chocolate Chip-Toffee Bars

I actually have a few other recipes ready to put on here but I just couldn't wait to put these on!  Maybe I was just really craving chocolate or cookies or fudge or all of the above but  I made these last night and I literally moaned out loud when I took my first bite!  And today, well, I pretty much skipped breakfast, lunch and dinner just to justify eating more of these!  So I thought if they are that good they deserve a BIG picture.  Anyway, I think I first saw them on interest but they are from the Pillsbury website.  I don't usually buy into the whole "store bought" cookie dough thing, but in this recipe I don't think it really matters.  Besides, I LOVE how easy it made this recipe.  Ok, now go make these!  Try them warm (my favorite way) or cold (my husbands favorite).  Either way, I don't think you will be disappointed!

Fudgy Chocolate Chip-Toffee Bars
(about 32 bars)

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs, divided
1 (8 oz) bag Heath toffee bits (found in the baking isle by the chocolate chips)
1 roll (12 oz) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough (I used Nestle Toll House)
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 T butter
1 t vanilla

Heat oven to 350.  Spray bottom only of a 9x13 in pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 1/2 cups of the graham cracker crumbs, and 3/4 cup of the toffee bits until crumbly.  Press mixture evenly into the greased pan.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until firm. 

Meanwhile, let cookie dough stand at room temperature until it softens slightly.  In a 2-quart sauce pan, heat chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and 1 T butter over medium heat, stirring constantly until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Spread evenly over the graham cracker crust.

In a medium bowl, break up cookie dough and stir in the remaining 1/2 cu of graham cracker crumbs.  Crumble this mixture evenly over the fudge layer.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining 3/4 cup toffee bits.  Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool as long as you can.  The longer they cool the firmer the bars will be.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Caramel Apples or Apple Dip

I am still working through this HUGE bunch of apples we picked, so I thought I would put up another apple recipe.  Who doesn't love a caramel apple?  I found this recipe on the newsletter of one of my favorite authors.  Her name is Marcia Lynn Mcclure, she writes clean romance novels.  The stories are always fantastic, usually set sometime in history.  They are totally sappy, cheesy, love stories and I just eat them up!  Total eye candy for me!  Anyway, apparently this recipe is one that Marcia's mom made all the time, and I can totally see why!  Now I have amazing caramel apples to enjoy while I read a Marcia book! The great this is this recipe can either be caramel apple dip or you can dip whole apples in it. Either way you won't be disappointed and you may never go back to unwrapping those store bought caramels again!

Caramel Apples or Apple Dip
(makes 10 caramel apples)

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/8 t salt
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter
1 t vanilla
10 medium apples
Popsicle sticks
waxed paper

In a sauce pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to very, very soft ball stage (for dip) and soft ball stage* for dipping apples.  Once it is at this stage, remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla and completely combined.

For apple dip serve with sliced apples.

For caramel apples wash and dry apples.  Insert a Popsicle stick into to top of each apple and set aside.  Place a length of wax paper on a cookie sheet, butter the wax paper and sprinkle it with sugar (this is very important, caramel apples will stick to the wax paper otherwise). Once my caramel reached the soft ball stage I continued stirring for a few moments until the caramel was a good caramel color (do not do this for too long or your caramel will be too hard). Then I stirred in the butter and vanilla. I let my caramel cool slightly, (when I tried to dip the apples right away, the caramel just slide off the apple).  I let the caramel sit for about 2 minutes and then the caramel was perfect.  Set the dipped apples onto the wax paper and let them set up.  You can leave them like this or you can go on to dip them in melted chocolate, drizzle them with chocolate, decorate them with nuts, sprinkles, or coconut, etc.

*Soft ball stage can be determined with a candy thermometer OR if you are like me and don't have one, just get a small bowl filled with ice water and drop a small amount of the bubbling caramel into it.  If you can pick up the caramel out of the water and it holds together in a soft ball, it is ready!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Apple Crisp

This time of year makes me think of comfort food and apples and trees that look like they are on fire with color.  Michigan in the Fall is AMAZING!  I am really going to miss it!  One of our favorite Fall activities is picking our own apples and pumpkins at one of the many orchards around here.  So with apples coming out of our ears, I of course turn to dessert to use some of them up.  Apple crisp is one the top of my apple dessert list, especially when it has extra crumble on top and good vanilla ice cream melting over the top.  Hungry yet?  Ok, here is the recipe... I found it over at the Parsley Thief. (I did alter it just a bit)

Apple Crisp
(10 servings)

6 apples, peeled and cored (I used Fuji, fresh off the tree)
1 t lemon zest
1 T lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

Crumble topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 t salt
1 cup oatmeal
2 sticks cold butter, diced

Preheat the oven to 350.  Slice the apples into bite sized chunks.  Place in a large mixing bowl and combine with the lemon zest, lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Toss to combine and pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and butter.  Beat on low for for 1-2 minters until the butter is incorporated and the mixture crumbles.  You can also do this with a pastry cutter or your fingers.  Sprinkle all the crumbles evenly over the apple mixture.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 1 hour, or until the topping is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Caprese Salad Skewers

I have seen this salad pop up all over the internet. I love that these are bite sized and individual.  Besides they are so easy and beautiful.  I have made them a couple of times now and they are always a hit.  The last time was for this Fall Baby Shower I put on with my BFF Abby.

Caprese Salad Skewers

Cherry tomatoes
fresh basil leaves
fresh mozzarella (I used and LOVE these little marinated mozzarella balls.  I found them at my grocery store.  The brand is Galbani)
balsamic vinegar
sea salt (optional)
fresh ground pepper (optional)

Place a tomato, basil leaf and mozzarella on a toothpick and repeat until you have the desired amount.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

(If you don't use the marinated mozzarella, you may want to sprinkle the skewers with sea salt and fresh ground pepper)

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