Thanksgiving Desserts

Thanksgiving Desserts

Now that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I can’t wait to spend the morning in the kitchen baking one (or two) of these delicious desserts. When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, you can really have fun with the types of desserts you make. Apple, pumpkin, pear, cranberry…the options are endless!

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Rose Apple Pie with Bourbon Glaze | A Cozy Kitchen

Rosemary Cranberry Sorbet | Country Living

Coconut Pumpkin Pie | Heather Christo

Pear Crisp with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | A Dash of Cinema

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

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Flavor of the Month: Butterscotch

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1. Cookie Butter Butterscotch Fudge |2.  Boozy Banana Butterscotch Ice Cream | 3. Butterscotch Eclairs |4. White Butterscotch Buddies | 5. Butterscotch Sundaes with Caramel Popcorn

Made primarily of butter and brown sugar, Butterscotch can be used for a variety of treats. The butterscotch eclairs with a plaid design are super creative and would be fantastic as a party snack. Similar to toffee with a honey color, butterscotch can be devoured as a syrup or a hard candy. October is the perfect time to whip up some butterscotch desserts and candies since it’s the designated candy month (okay, maybe that’s every month). But, you won’t go wrong with making butterscotch goodies for trick-or-treaters this coming Halloween.  Make your autumn even more special with this sweet flavor, and since it’s  simple to make as a syrup, you can pair it with pretty much anything. Nothing wrong with a little butterscotch on butterscotch!

Pear Crisp

Pear Crisp and Ice Cream

If you haven’t yet found the perfect autumn dessert, look no further. Upon first taste of this Pear Crisp, you won’t want to eat any other dessert. Or food for that matter. The recipe is quite simple and the only time-consuming part is waiting for the crisp to bake for 30-40 minutes. I used less sugar for the pear portion of the recipe since the pears I picked were already very sweet and ripe. This dish is best served warm, with a generous serving of vanilla bean ice cream.

Ingredients

Filling:

1. 5 pears
2. 1/3 cup of baking sugar
3. A pinch of salt

Topping:

1. 1 & 1/2 cups of All-purpose flour
2. 1/3 cup baking sugar
3. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
4. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
5. 3/4 cup chopped pecans
6. 1 stick of melted butter (zap it in the microwave for about 1-minute)

Recipe

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash and peel the pears.
3. Cut the pears in half (from stem to bottom) and use a spoon to remove the seeds.
4. Dice the pears and place into a large bowl with the 1/3 cup baking sugar and pinch of salt.
5. In a second large bowl, mix together the flour, baking sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans. Mix in the melted butter until you have a crumbly texture.
6. In a baking dish, spread the pears around the bottom and layer the crumble mixture on top.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes (40 minutes if you want a more golden brown on the crumble).
8. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream and don’t forget to help yourself to seconds!

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{Photos by Lauren}

Around Town: Cooks County, Los Angeles

aOn the side of a long, busy road in Los Angeles, a small restaurant with a bright blue awning called Cooks County serves some of the best farm-to-table dishes I’ve tasted. The space is small with dark wooden tables and chairs, natural sunlight filtering through the front windows, and an open view of the kitchen. Starting with bread and a vegetable dish (to balance each other out, of course), we followed up our appetizers with salmon and pork chops. Everything was made with careful attention to detail and the dishes were incredibly rich in flavor. Of course, to end an already satisfying meal, we had to try the dessert. The fresh mint ice cream with homemade whipped cream was otherworldly. I hope to make it back to Cooks County soon. It was one of those meals you wish never ended.

P.S. A Farm-to-Table restaurant in New York City.

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{Photos by Lauren}

Around Town: I Like Pie, Claremont

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A few weeks ago, I did not like pie. At Thanksgiving and other holidays and celebrations where pie was involved, I would opt out of dessert or find an alternative, like chocolate cake or ice cream. However, after passing by I Like Pie, an adorable pie shop in Claremont, I decided to give pie another chance. After my first bite of the Caramel Apple Crunch, I may have found my new favorite dessert (five pies in seven days confirmed this). The Triple Berry and Strawberry Rhubarb pies are also delicious. Served with a huge scoop of Dr. Bob’s vanilla ice cream and you’ve got yourself a dessert that is impossible to pass up.

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f{Photos by Lauren}

Around Town: Fonuts, Los Angeles

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If you like donuts, cupcakes, or cake, you will love Fonuts, a Los Angeles-based bakery that sells doughnuts that are baked and/or steamed, never fried. Even though these desserts are ‘doughnuts,’ they taste just like cupcakes (with holes in the middle). Regardless of how they are made, they are delicious. There are unique flavors, such as Maple Bacon, Cheddar, Rosemary Olive Oil, and Strawberry Buttermilk, among many, many more. These fonuts are the perfect way to top off a late brunch downtown. It can be tough to choose which fonut to buy, so try the mini fonuts for $7 and you’ll get to try a little bit of all everything.

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{Photos by Lauren}

Around Town: Molten Chocolate Cakery, Seattle

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Seattle is filled with unique little shops tucked behind tree-lined streets, so when I found Molten Chocolate Cakery, I could not have been more pleased. The cakery is decorated with charming trinkets and cozy wooden tables and chairs, and the chocolate aroma greets you at the door. I was tempted to order everything on the menu because they had one of the best selections of desserts I have seen in a long time: milkshakes, cake, cookies, pudding, ice cream…tell me when to stop. Order one of their thick milkshakes, rich chocolate molten lava cakes, or gooey cookies and you’ll have yourself a decadent afternoon treat. I am such a fan of this place, and the next time I am in Seattle craving molten chocolate cake (which is almost always), you’ll find me here.

P.S. Since this week seems to be chocolate-themed, check out Chocolate Croissants for more sweetness.

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{Photos by Lauren}

Eat & Watch: Chocolate Croissants & It’s Complicated

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I hold a special place in my heart for romantic comedies. Actually, two directors in particular: Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers. I saw It’s Complicated (2009) in theaters, mainly because I love Nancy Meyers movies and Meryl Streep. And Steve Martin, obviously. There’s a scene where Meryl and Steve’s characters sneak into Meryl’s bakery late at night where she teaches him how to make chocolate croissants. The sequence is flirtatious and fun, but it also made me crave pastries. After seeing that movie, I was inspired to make chocolate croissants, but I haven’t gotten around to it until now (recipe here). I usually prefer plain croissants, but after tasting these fresh out of the oven, I am hooked. These croissants are delightful and will make you want to pack up all of your belongings and hop on the next flight to Paris so you can enjoy them every morning.

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Watch the scene:

{Photos by Lauren; It’s Complicated}

Eat & Watch: Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes & the Nutcracker

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing the Nutcracker, a stunning ballet that is perfect for the holidays. In honor of the show, I made Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes in an adorable Nutcracker Cupcake Set (on sale!). I wanted to do a nut recipe for obvious reasons, and these cupcakes (which are more like brownies in a cup) have a great flavor and texture due to the brownie mix and walnuts. Instead of the cream cheese frosting, I made my own chocolate frosting and sprinkled mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and finely chopped walnuts on top.

If you don’t want to brave the cold to see the Nutcracker this season, add the movie-version, Nutcracker (1986), to your list of ‘Christmas Movies to Watch.’ While it might not compare to seeing the show live, you can watch it while wearing your pajamas and stuffing your face with cupcakes. Whether you see the live show or movie, you can’t go wrong!

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Chocolate Chip Walnut Cupcakes

(Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis)

Cupcakes:
• 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
• 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for garnish
• 1 (21-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge)
• 2 eggs, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup water

Directions:

* Special equipment: 12 paper cupcake liners, a 12-cup muffin pan.
* For the cupcakes: Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

1. In a small bowl combine the walnuts, 1 cup mini chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of the brownie mix. Toss until all the ingredients are coated. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl mix together the remaining brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Stir for 20 seconds until blended.

3. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan (cupcake liners will be full). Bake for 22 to 25 minutes until a cake tester inserted into the cupcakes comes out with moist fudgy crumbs.

5. Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting:
(Recipe courtesy Cathy Lowe)
• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
• 1 stick butter, softened
• 3 – 4 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Sift sugar and cocoa together into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl combine 1 cup of sugar mixture with butter and 1 tablespoon cream, beating until smooth.
3. Add another cup of sugar and another tablespoon of cream, beating well.
4. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
5. Spread frosting on cupcakes when cool.

Enjoy!

{Photos by Lauren}

Casper & Ghost Treats

Ghost Pancakes| Spooky Ghost Pizza | Halloween Ghost Peep S’mores | Ghosts in the Graveyard Pudding Cups

Casper (1995) will always be one of those special Halloween movies – I mean, who doesn’t love a friendly ghost? If you are hosting a Halloween party or are just having a themed movie night, Casper and these ghostly treats are a great combination. Eat ghosts while you watch ghosts! The spooky ghost pizza is so creative and looks delicious, and the ghost pancakes are simple and clever. Even though Halloween is still 3 weeks away, it is never too early to start planning and getting excited for the spookiest night of the year.

{Casper via}