Cranberry Pie

It's a toss up whether you'll consider this a cake or a pie, but it's called pie in Sara Chase's cookbook, no doubt because it's made in a pie pan. You don't even need a mixer to make it, it's all done by hand and in short order, too. My daughter thought it was scone-like in texture. I think you'll find it somewhat like an upside down cake, but while there seems to be plenty of sugar in it, the cranberries are the balance and it isn't too sweet. It actually does need the ice cream addition.

Sara Leah Chase's Cranberry Pie

From her cookbook, Cold Weather Cooking

12 ounces fresh cranberries
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 10 inch pie plate.
Place cranberries in the pie plate along with the brown sugar, zest, cinnamon and walnuts. Toss so it is evenly mixed.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl, beat in the butter, sugar, vanilla and sour cream until blended. Gradually stir in the flour and mix until smooth. Pour evenly over the cranberries.
Bake until the fruit is bubbly and it is browned on top, about 55 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream.


Black Velvet Whoopie Pies

These Halloween colored whoopie pies are a combination of recipes. The basic recipe and idea was from Amanda at I Am Baker. The additions I made to Amanda's recipe came from Hedy Goldsmith, a multiple James Beard Award nominee in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category. She has a fabulous and fun cookbook called Baking Out Loud. In this cookbook, Hedy makes Mochaccino Whoopie Pies, so I snitched an idea from her recipe and added espresso powder and cinnamon to Amanda's fun recipe for Halloween. 
Now I'm going to have to go back and make Hedy's recipe!

Halloween Black Velvet Whoopie Pies
From I Am Baker and Baking Out Loud

1 package (15 1/4 to 18 1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix with pudding 
1/2 cup water 
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
3 tablespoons black food color 
3 eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Filling: 
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar 
1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow cream 
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon red food color 
1/2 teaspoon yellow food color

For the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cake mix, water, cocoa powder, oil, food color, eggs, vanilla. espresso powder and cinnamon in your electric mixer on low speed just until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. 
Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter, 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. (Cookies will spread so don't crowd.) 
Bake 8 minutes or until cookies are puffed and spring back when touched, turning baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. 

For the orange filling:
Beat all ingredients with your electric mixer until light and fluffy.
To assemble:

Place 1 tablespoon filling on flat side of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.


Pumpkin Shortbread

Here's a shortbread for autumn you're going to love with your cup of tea or coffee; these are great little dunkers. (Milk would work too.) Not too sweet, but with lovely pumpkin flavor and and nicely crisp. Your family might like them sweeter, so before you cut, glaze the whole thing with confectioners sugar mixed with milk (or eggnog!), or serve them with ice cream. I like them simple and elegant with just a sprinkling of confectioners sugar.
Spicy fragrance from your oven and an uncomplicated recipe for a perfect fall treat: a pumpkin spiced shortbread cookie. Win-win.

Pumpkin Shortbread
From Libby's

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (use 1/2 cup for a softer shortbread)
2 teaspoons sparkling or granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 300° F. Spray bottom of 9-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom with nonstick cooking spray. (I used a square tart pan)

Combine flour, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter and powdered sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in pumpkin until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Spread dough into prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake for 80 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Cool for about 10 minutes; remove side from pan. When cool, sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Use a serrated knife to cut into wedges. (Or squares)


Gingerbread Bars

This time of year, we all love anything with spices. And the fragrance that permeates the house when something with spices is baking. These bars are lovely and dense, with a nice mixture of the spices we all know and love, but with the added surprise of some fresh ginger and fresh orange zest for an even more delectable bar. You're going to love these. And the cream cheese frosting adds the perfect final touch. Gayle's recipes never miss.

Gingerbread Bars
From :pastry studio

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves           
1/8 teaspoon black pepper                                   
4 oz butter (8 tablespoons) at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup  granulated sugar                                             
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
zest of 1/2 orange

For the frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 oz (3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9” x 9” square baking pan.  Line the bottom with parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 sides.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  In another bowl, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until blended.  Mix in the molasses, grated ginger and orange zest. Add the flour gradually beating just until blended. You'll find the batter is quite thick, so use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 - 24 minutes,
Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Lift the pastry out of the pan, peel the parchment and cool.

Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add the vanilla and blend. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar and beat until smooth.  Frost the cooled bars. 

Store these bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  Bring to room temperature to serve. 


Marion Cunningham's Boston Brown Bread Muffins

When I was first married, we frequented a restaurant with my in-laws that always served a plate of delicious Boston brown bread in place of rolls. I came to love that bread and every time we went there, I looked forward to a slice (or two) with a slather of cream cheese on it. It was almost like having dessert before dinner! I made it once, years ago, in a can and it had to steam for a couple hours....very tasty, but I never made it again.
While sorting recently through my files, I noticed I had saved a muffin version of this bread, made by Luisa from The Wednesday Chef....and she used Marion Cunningham's recipe. I looked it up in The Breakfast Book and there it was. Don't know how I missed it, you know how much I love that book! Lightly sweetened with a mix of flours, these are unusual and delightful muffins. The molasses lends a nice deep flavor, the cornmeal a very slight crunch and those golden raisins give you a bite of sweetness. We ate them right out of the oven with butter and they sure brought back some fond memories!

Marion Cunningham's Boston Brown Bread Muffins
From The Breakfast Book

1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses 
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup golden raisins

Heat oven to 400 F. Grease your muffin pan. Mix together the flours, cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, molasses, sugar, oil, and buttermilk. Blend well. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter will be very fluid, that's OK.

Fill the prepared muffin tins 3/4 of the way and bake for 15 minutes, until your tester comes out clean. Serve hot with butter or cream cheese.


Donna Hay's Roasted Spatchcocks with Port, Mushrooms and Lentils

I wanted to say: how easy is that? But that's Ina and this is Donna. While we often think of the word spatchcock in reference to the preparation of a chicken (butterflying it for ease and speed of cooking), in Donna Hay speak a spatchcock is also a very young chicken. Because they are unavailable here, I substituted game hens. 
You'll find this a fabulous fall or winter dish, especially when you've had a busy day. Just assemble your ingredients and throw them all together in a roasting pan. Voila! No effort at all. The chorizo gives the dish some zing and the port makes it all luscious.

Donna Hay's Roasted Spatchcocks Game Hens with Port, Mushrooms and Lentils
From Donna Hay Magazine, Issue #82

4 game hens, tied
sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups green lentils
3 dried chorizo, sliced
5 shallots, peeled and halved
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups assorted mushrooms
1 1/2 cups port
5 cups hot chicken stock


Preheat oven to 475. Place all ingredients except game hens in a large deep sided roasting 
pan. Place game hens on top, sprinkle with olive oil and then salt and pepper.
Roast in oven for 30 minutes* or until game hens are golden and cooked through. 
*Note: That's a hot oven, but it still took mine 45 minutes. So make certain the temperature in the thickest part of the leg is 165°F  and the juices run clear.


Swedish Cinnamon Buns

I haven't any idea why these are called Swedish, but I thought they were fun because they are a yeast bread made in muffin tins with paper muffin liners...never have done that before. There aren't any raisins in these cinnamon buns either, so if you want to add them, sprinkle them over the brown sugar before you roll up the dough. Making any kind of bread from scratch always looks like such an effort, but it isn't, really. Just takes a bit more wait time in the kitchen. Your dough hook on a stand mixer does all the work. 

These aren't as decadent as Ina's sticky buns (which have the advantage of being quicker to make, albeit hideously fattening), but more like breakfast rolls without all the gooey topping. They sure were fabulous hot from the oven. Just add a bit of butter. Yum. 

Is there anything better than the fragrance of fresh rolls or bread in the oven?

Swedish Cinnamon Buns
From Cakelets and Doilies

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
50 g (about 3.5 tablespoons) butter, roughly chopped
3 1/2 cups flour
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 egg, beaten lightly

75 g (about 5.25 tablespoons) butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten lightly
Pearl sugar to sprinkle Or use silvered almonds 

Put the milk and ground cardamon in a small saucepan and bring to just below the boil. Take off the heat, stir in the butter and leave to infuse until the milk mixture is just warm (about 100 degrees F).
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with hook attachment. Add warm milk mixture and egg to flour mixture. Knead on low speed until you get a smooth pliable tacky dough, about 10 minutes. The dough is ready when it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Resist adding more flour to the mixture. The dough is very sticky.

Lightly grease your hands, and shape the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl, and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your room, it can take anything between 30 mins to 1 hour. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step.

Meanwhile, make filling:
Melt butter and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine dark brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
When the dough is ready, deflate the dough, cover with cling wrap and let rest for 5 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle roughly 24 by 10 inches. Generously brush melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough, from the longer side, tightly. Place it on its seam. Cut and discard the ends. Cut roll into 12 equal slices.
Line standard cupcake/muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. Place rolls in paper liners. Cover loosely with a tea towel. Let the dough proof for the second time until double in size, about 30 mins to 1 hour. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. While waiting for the oven to heat up, brush top of each roll lightly with the beaten egg and sprinkle over silvered almonds. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes a dozen.


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