Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Best Little Pumpkin Dessert




Creamy delicious layers of cream cheese, and pumpkin pudding, mingled with sprinkles of crushed gingerbread cookies, on top of a delicious shortbread crust and just in time for Thanksgiving.  This wonderful pumpkin dessert is another delicious variation on that well loved classic; "Better than Robert Redford Dessert", which actually goes by a variety of names from the very boring  "layered dessert",  to names that will make you blush.   But if you've ever tasted this dessert in any of of variations, and under any of its various names,  you will be sure of one thing it really is one of the best desserts. This week, as I was mulling over dessert ideas for Thanksgiving, this dessert favorite came to my mind and I thought "why not a pumpkin variation of the dessert"? So here it is; a delicious, rich, creamy, pumpkiny, better than Pumpkin Pie, and better Robert Redford, dessert.






I decided to make these in little jars, this time, for a fun presentation, and to delight my grandson, who is the official taste tester on hand this time around; but the recipe will work fine in a 9 X 13 cake pan, or two Pie Pans.  If you use the jars, use heat safe half pints or smaller, as anything bigger is more difficult to layer nicely, and since this is such a rich dessert, a little goes a long way.


Ingredients

Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I use Einkorn flour)
  • 3/4  cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Cream Cheese layer
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar

  • ½ of an 8 ounce container whipped topping (I use Truwhip, which is a healthier version        of Cool  Whip,  and can be found in the freezer section of your local health food store).

  • 1/2  cup finely crushed Gingerbread or Gingersnap cookies
Pumpkin layer
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 small packages (3.4 ounces each) vanilla instant pudding mix I use an organic brand.        Jello brand, also now makes a "natural" version of their puddings and gelatin                  mixes, which contain no artificial ingredients, colors or preservatives.
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely crushed Gingerbread or Gingersnap cookies
Topping
  • remaining ½ container whipped topping
  • remaining crushed Gingerbread or Gingersnap cookies


Instructions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Combine flour, butter, and nuts; mix and stir until the mixture is well combined and crumbly.
  3. Measure 2 heaping tablespoons into 14 -16  1/2 pint canning jars, or  1 9x13 dish baking dish if you wish to make the dessert in one big pan.
  4.  Bake for 15 minutes.
  5.  Let cool completely.
  6. While the crust is baking and cooling, place  cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix until well combined. Add ½ container of whipped topping and fold in until evenly distributed.
  7.  In a separate bowl,  mix milk and vanilla instant pudding,  until it begins to thicken. Add pumpkin puree and cinnamon and mix until well combined. 
  8. Once the crust has cooled completely, begin adding layers of filling. Start by spreading a layer of the cream cheese mixture. Top with a thin layer of Gingerbread crumbs, add the pumpkin layer, then another layer of Gingerbread crumbs. Finish with a layer of whipped topping.  Sprinkle with Gingerbread crumbs.
  9. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  10. Enjoy.

Tip: This freezes well, so it can be made ahead and pulled out to thaw 2- 10  hours before serving.  Thaw on the counter top for 2 -4 hours, or  in refrigerator for any longer period of time
Begin by mixing together the flour, butter and finely chopped nuts until well blended and crumbly.


Place approximately two tablespoons into the bottom of each jar.

 This recipe will fill 14 to 16 little jars.


Use a dowel or smooth broad based utensil to press the mixture into the bottom of the jar.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.




While the shortbread crust is cooking and cooling, prepare the pudding layers. Begin by mixing together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.




When the cream cheese and powdered sugar are well mixed, gently fold in half of an 8 oz container of whipped topping. Stir until well combined.  Set to the side.



In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mixes. Whisk until pudding begins to thicken.


Add a 15 oz can of pumpkin and two teaspoons of Cinnamon.



Whisk until all is well mixed and creamy.


Now its time to layer the puddings and the gingerbread crumbs. Start with the cream cheese layer overt he cooled shortbread crust. Next add a thin layer of gingerbread crumbs, then comes the pumpkin pudding layer, and a second layer of gingerbread crumbs.  Last top with the remaining whipped topping mix and a light sprinkle of gingerbread crumbs.  You can top with a gingerbread cookie or gingersnap, for a cute presentation.

  
My daughter had just made up a batch of gingerbread cookies just before I made this.... and she was so kind to share them with me; she's such a sweetie. Some of the cutouts were fall leaves and little acorns, as well as gingerbread men, so cute for Fall, and perfect timing for me to add them to this dessert.


Rich,


creamy,

deliciousness.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cherry Rose Tarts



 What do you get when you take Shortbread pie crust,  fill it with cherry pie filling, top it  with "pie crust rose petals", and drizzle it with Almond  Icing?  You get delicious little Rose Tarts, just in time for Valentines Day.  






Let's get started.

Roll half of the pie dough onto floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch thickness.
Cut 36 circles with the larger round cookie cutter.
Place three circles of dough into each muffin cup, for a bottom crust. Stagger them so that they look like petals around the top.

Press them into the muffin cup, so that they fill the cup evenly, and are well pressed together.


Distribute the Cherry Pie filling evenly in the muffin cups. 


One can of Pie filling will fill 12 muffin cups.


In two or three batches, roll out remaining dough onto a floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch thickness. Cut about 72 small circles( You will want to do them in batches, so that the dough doesn't dry out as you go). These will be your petals.

Cut each circle in half to create a half circle.

Layer them like petals onto the tart. 




I layered about nine petals inside the tart, and then created a center 3 petals and placed it in the center of the tart.


 For the center, roll a dough petal into a tight tube. 


 Layer with 2 or three more petals, by wrapping around this tube.  If needed, dip them in water to help them adhere to each other.

 Place it in the center of the tart. You can see the tart on right has the center placed in, and the tart o the left needs its center put in.


  Place into preheated oven and  bake 25 - 35 minutes.

Cherry Rose Tarts:
Ingredients:
1 recipe Shortbread Pie Crust
1 21 ounce Can Cherry pie filling
1 recipe Almond Icing
1 12 cup Muffin Tin
Two sizes of round cookie cutters (the small one 2-3 inches across, the larger one 3-4 inches across); I used a round measuring shot glass for the small, and a slightly larger round cutter for the larger one)

Instruction:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll half of the pie dough onto floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch thickness.
  3. Cut 36 circles with the larger round cookie cutter.
  4. Place three circles of dough into each muffin cup, for a bottom crust. Stagger them so that they look like petals around the top.
  5. Press them into the muffin cup, so that they fill the cup evenly, and are well pressed together.
  6. Distribute the Cherry Pie filling evenly in the muffin cups. One can of Pie filling will fill 12 muffin cups.
  7. In two or three batches, roll out remaining dough onto a floured surface to about 1/8 of an inch thickness.
  8. Cut about 72 small circles( You will want to do them in batches, so that the dough doesn't dry out as you go). These will be your petals.
  9. Cut each circle in half to create a half circle, and begin to layer them like petals onto the tart.  For the center, roll a dough petal into a tight tube.  Layer with 2 or three more petals, by wrapping round this tube.  If needed, dip them in water to help them adhere to each other. Place in the center of the tart.
  10. When all are finished, place in oven and bake 25 - 35 minutes; or until the crust is slightly golden brown.
  11. Drizzle with Icing,  or dust with powdered sugar.
  12. Serve hot or cold.
  13. Enjoy.
Note: These look pretty just dusted with powdered sugar, but they taste the best with the Almond icing drizzled over them.

Shortbread Pie Crust:
Ingredients:
3  cups Organic Unbleached Flour (plus 1 cup for dusting and rolling).
1 1//4  cup Butter, slightly softened
3/4 cup Organic Cane Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Organic Half and Half or Cream.
2 Tablespoons Organic White Vinegar

Instructions:
  1. Measure half and half and Vinegar together in a small bowl, and place into the freezer to chill.
  2. Measure flour, salt and  sugar into a mixing bowl.
  3. Cut in butter until the mixture is thoroughly blended and crumbly.
  4. Slowly add the cream and vinegar mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until all of the dough clings together, (don't be afraid to adjust the liquid up or down a little, to get just enough moisture in the dough to allow it to cling together nicely, but not be too wet).
  5. Stir and form into a ball.
  6. Cover and refrigerate about an hour, for best rolling results.

Almond Icing
Ingredients:
1 cup Organic Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
1-2 Tablespoons Organic Half and Half

Instructions:
  1. Add powdered sugar to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Add almond extract, and  stir.
  3. Stir and add the "Half and Half a little at a time, until the icing can be drizzled from a spoon.
  4. For this recipe, I saved a little of the cherry pie filling to add some color to the icing (less than a teaspoon), so that is an option if you want to add some color to your icing.


Dust them with Powdered Sugar,





Or drizzle them with Almond Icing.






Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments






I have a new class on Skillshare: "How to make Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments". In this class, you will learn how to make a wonderful cinnamon scented salt dough, using ground cinnamon and essential oils. Next, we will create ornaments that look gingerbread cookies and smell heavenly when baking in the oven, your whole house will smell wonderful and so delicious you will want to eat them. I will show you how to decorate them, hang them and store them so that they will last for Christmases to come. Click the link if your interested in taking the class, and I look forward to seeing you there.



"How to Make Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments" Link












Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Wholesome Old Fashioned Gingerbread


Its been smelling like gingerbread around our house....we've been baking cakes, cookies and even cinnamon salt dough ornaments; It smells wonderful. Beginning in Fall and into the New Year, Gingerbread is a favorite I like to bake.  This year I found this fun Gingerbread Pan at the "Tuesday Morning" store, and couldn't resist it.  Cute isn't it?
A little powdered sugar makes a simple sweet topping, and puts a little snow on the roof... really cute and fun for the kids.  Of course, a glaze, or frosting, or sticky topping would be delicious, and those of you that have the inclination, can get your cake decorating tips out, and really deck this out.
This recipe is a wholesome somewhat healthy recipe, which is nice at Christmas time, when there are so many sugar and dye loaded goodies going around; it is a wholesome alternative. Gingerbread is a wonderful cake to make  using all whole wheat or whole grain, because it comes out so moist and delicious.







It takes a little more than one of my Gingerbread recipes, to fill this pan up, so I make a double recipe for this one and pour the extra into muffins.


Wholesome Gingerbread


Ingredients:
2 and 3/4 cup Whole Wheat flour (I used Whole Einkorn Flour, you can use any whole grain or gluten free mix you would like)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup organic molasses
1/8 cup raw honey
1 cup buttermilk

Instructions:

  1.  Heat oven to 325 degree
  2.  Grease and lightly flour the baking pan; (to grease and flour this pan is very important for it to turn out well, however, if you are using a bread pan, you can simply spray with cooking spray).
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir and mix together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter and coconut sugar; mix until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after add each one.
  6. Add vanilla, molasses, and honey and mix well.
  7. Add buttermilk and mix until well blended
  8. Pour flour mixture into wet mixture, folding and blending as you pour.
  9. Mix until well combined.
  10. Pour into prepared baking pan. For this gingerbread pan, I put the mixture almost to the top, being sure to fill in the tree indentations.
  11. Place on a foil lined cookie sheet and place in oven.
  12. Bake 55-65 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool upright in the pan about 10 minutes.
  14. Using a long bread knife, slice across the base of the cake, removing the uneven top, making it level with the pan; this allows a nice even base to hold your cake up, once it is flipped over.
  15. Place a plate over the top (which is really going to be the bottom) of the cake, and flip the cake pan over.  Allow to slowly come out of the pan.  
  16. Remove pan, and cool.
  17. Dust with powdered sugar, or frost with frosting or icing.
  18. Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Monday, November 21, 2016

How to Make Cinnamon Pinecones


It's been smelling like the Holidays around here these last couple of weeks, because I have made several batches of Cinnamon Pinecones. I have been making these Cinnamon Scented Pinecones for quite a few years, now, and just love them. They are one of my favorite Fall routines. I like the cinnamon pinecones you can buy on sale at this time of year; but they aren't cheap... and I have often found that the scent is a manmade scent, that gives me a headache when I have smelled it for too long.  So, I began making  my own Cinnamon Pinecones several years ago.  The cinnamon oil from pure essential oils is a delicious smell that reminds me of Fall and Christmas time and it also works as an air purifier, is anti-bacterial and anti-viral.  I like to diffuse Cinnamon Essential oil through the fall and winter months to help fight the seasonal bugs. Cinnamon Pinecones are perfect for adding beauty, fragrance, and increasing the bacteria and viral fighting qualities in your home. If you are interested in a video class on how I make these, I now have a link to my Skillshare class,  for these. It is a free class for a short period of time, but you can actually sign up for Skillshare for a 3 month trial for only 99cents, to get  unlimited access to all of their classes.  Here's the link: "How to Make Cinnamon Scented Pinecones"


                                              How to Make Cinnamon Scented Pinecones












You'll love making up a batch of these for the holidays. If you are already a Skillshare member, just click the link, and you are ready to go. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and blessings to you all.