Grapefruit Brûlée (Broiled Grapefruit)

Chill grapefruit. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut and segment grapefruit. Slice a small piece off of bottom rind so that each half sits flat on baking sheet.

Sprinkle a tablespoon raw sugar or light brown sugar onto cut and segmented grapefruit.

Broil on high for 5 min, and top with whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Enjoy! 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I almost wore boots today, and it’s barely September. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and I do everything I can to encourage its arrival. I had a school meeting of a few moms at the house last night, and being unprepared with a sweet treat of any kind to serve, I went digging around my pantry and found a can of pumpkin puree.


Ingredients

For filling:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For cookies:

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking pwder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat together eggs, brown sugar, oil, and pumpkin puree.
  4. Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk together until fully incorporated.
  5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Drop 1 1/2 inch rounded spoonfuls unto the parchment-lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool on rack.
  7. Beat together (with a paddle attachment on a mixer) cream cheese and butter. Add in powdered sugar, and beat until smooth. Add in vanilla and blend well.
  8. When cookies are cooled, sandwich about 1 heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling between two (comparable sized) cookies. Slightly press and adjust so that the filling is even and to the edge of the whoopie pie.
  9. Refrigerate before serving if you’d like the filling to firm up a bit, or serve as is, ooey and gooey. 🙂 Enjoy!

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And in my usual fashion, I hunted around for the perfect recipe and ended up pulling and combining several, and tweaked here and there to make it to my liking. You’ll see that I used white whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour. I also don’t care for shortening-based fillings, so I went with cream cheese. Enjoy…and may Fall come quickly…

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

Like A Bridge Over Truffled Waters

I have a confession: I really dislike making Christmas cookies and treats.

A roast or a stout stew, yes, but a couple dozen cookies can easily slay me. I marvel at the amount of cutely and carefully packaged homemade cookies, bon bons, brittles, and mini-loaves of breads that arrive at my house this time of year. It’s always a glorious outpouring of love in little tins, boxes, and baggies. If it were possible for me to put a bow on some seared ahi tuna, I may be in business, but cookies and treats….I just can’t seem to pull them off.

Despite all this, I am enamored with the “idea” of holiday baking and sweets. A friend of mine made this comment the other day on her Facebook status: “Sometimes [reading blogs] makes me feel like every other mother is frolicking through the kitchen with laughing babies following behind and they do crafts and read books and bake bread.” I laughed as I read her post, remembering the scene that surrounds every attempt I’ve ever made at gingerbread houses and holiday baking. There’s no frolicking. It usually involves mess, stress, and a mom learning to die to perfectionism and expectations. There’s no rule that says you must make treats at Christmastime–it is not at the heart of what Christmas is about. And yet, I’m willing to silence the candy-cookie scrooge within, in hopes of spreading just a little bit of the sweetness that comes to my door.

So, it is with this frame of mind that I offer you a chocolate truffle recipe. I combined two different treats into one (because if you are gonna do it, you might as well get everything you want in one bite!) It’s like an Almond Joy on the inside, a Kahlua truffle on the outside. Boom.

I present to you…

cocococoakahluatruffles

Coco Cocoa Kahlua Truffles (say that 3x fast!)

  • 16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 7 oz. bag of sweetened coconut flakes

Coatings for truffles: unsweetened cocoa powder, or toasted coconut

Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for a minute or two. Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. If chocolate is not completely melted, microwave in 10 second increments and stir until melted. Mix in the Kahlua. Cover and place in the refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take several hours or overnight).

chocolate ganache

In another bowl, combine coconut flakes and condensed milk. Mix well, cover, and also refrigerate until firm.

coconut

Place your coatings for the truffles on separate plates. Remove the coconut mixture and the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. With your hands, scoop a small amount of coconut mixture and form into a ball, about 1/2 inch in diameter. This will be the center of your chocolate truffle. (You can form all the centers first, or do the entire truffle one at a time.)

coconut ball

After making the coconut ball center, use a small spoon to scoop out chocolate mixture, and form into ball over the coconut, about 1 inch in diameter. Lightly roll to form ball. (The balls don’t have to be perfect! They look cute as misshaped morsels!)

chocolate ball

Immediately roll the truffle in the coating (I used the cocoa powder) and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

cocoa powder

cocoa dusted

Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm. Truffles can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or else frozen for a couple of months. Enjoy…and hopefully you have some left over to share! 🙂

4 and truffles

Makes approximately 60 truffles.

Morning Hospitality {Baked French Toast}

When we think about hospitality, we often forget breakfast as an opportune time for hosting family and friends. 

Whether you plan to wake up to a houseful of 6 or 16, doing the work the night before is always my preferred mode of operation. A make-ahead quiche, a pan or two of baked french toast, and a big bowl of fresh fruit, and you’ve got a lovely breakfast fit for the finest guests. Exactly the kind of folks I had over this weekend.

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Baked French Toast

  • 1 loaf French bread, cut in 1 inch slices
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup

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Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla. Pour over bread slices, cover, sprinkle with cinnamon, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350F. In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture.

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Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Baked French Toast

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake

It’s pretty much impossible to go wrong with tart apple and creamy caramel. Throw in some cream cheese and the turning of leaves, and you’ve got Fall bliss.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

  • Double batch of my caramel sauce 
  • 1 lb. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • 2   eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 extra serving graham pie crust (or 1 regular graham cracker pie crust plus six mini graham cracker crusts for extra filling) 
  • 1 granny smith apple: peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon pecans for garnish

graham cracker crusts

Heat oven to 325°F. Make caramel sauce. Set aside to cool.

diced apples

Toss chopped apple with flour and cinnamon. Set aside.

helper

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended. Fold in apple mixture.

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Pour a thin layer of caramel at the bottom of each crust. Pour cream cheese mixture on top of the caramel and fill crust, leaving 1/4 inch crust unfilled at top.

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Bake 40 minutes or 25 minutes for mini cheesecakes. Cool.

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Pour cooled remaining caramel sauce over cooled cheesecakes. Garnish with pecans if desired. Refrigerate 3 hours.

Caramel apple cheesecake

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate has antioxidants. Whole wheat flour is more nutritious than white. Butter is dairy, egg is protein, and sugar…um…sugar is just what makes whole wheat chocolate chip cookies a sweet start to your week.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips (I like mini, but regular chocolate chips are okay, of course!)

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Heat oven to 375ºF. Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be stiff). Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown (centers will be soft). Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.

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