Friday, September 24, 2010

Ginger Pumpkin Bread

 I am in the mood for something warm and toasty.  Something I can curl up on the couch with in my blanket and my sweat pants.   Something, that doesn’t necessarily need a plate to catch the crumbs that fall.  Something that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a snack. And maybe another snack later on.  Something like, pumpkin ginger bread.

Ginger pumpkin bread is the perfect thing to make on a cold, fall day.  When it is raining outside and the wind is blowing there is nothing more comforting than a warm, cake-like bread, baking in the oven creating a delicious spiced aroma that wafts throughout the house.  Of course what makes it even more special is when you have a wonderful helper to make the pictures more interesting and the process absolutely perfect.

I found this recipe in another one of the Martha Stewart Living publications, “Everyday Foods” Easy Comfort foods, issue #30.  This cookbook is filled with quick desserts that can be enjoyed anytime of the year but are especially appreciated in the fall season.  I have picked out a few more recipes in this book and hope to make them soon.  Ginger pumpkin bread would be perfect at a bake sale or brought to work for everyone to enjoy.  It goes really great with a cup of hot tea, a book and some peace and quiet.

Ginger Pumpkin Bread
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) butter, melted, plus room-temperature butter for pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
Sugar glaze

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour two 8 1/2 –by- 4 1/2 – inch loaf pans. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, pumpkin, melted butter and eggs.
  5. Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  6. Divide batter between prepared pans.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of loaves comes out clean.  About 50 minutes.
  8. Let cool 10 minutes and invert the pans and transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. See that cute little face in the corner?
  10. Glaze with sugar glaze.

Sugar Glaze

In a small bowl, mix 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar with 2 to 3 tablespoons water until mixture is smooth but thick.  Place wax paper under rack for quick clean-up.  For easy pouring, transfer glaze to a glass measuring cup and drizzle over loaves.  Let dry 15 minutes before serving.  Makes enough for 2 loaves. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apple Almond Tart

So everybody is back to school and the year is in full swing.  Nothing says fall and the start of school like apples.  Apples are everything and everywhere.  Living in Michigan, I am lucky enough to have all types of apples available to me.  Personally, my favorite are Golden Delicious to eat out of hand, and to bake with, I love Granny Smith.

 I picked up a quart of Granny Smith apples last week at the farmer’s market, knowing full well what I was going to do with them.  Finding the time?  That is another issue all together.  Well, the planets lined up and the world stopped turning for few moments to allow me to make something that has been on my mind for a long time and use my apples

Apple Almond Tart.  YUMMMM.  I found the recipe in one of the Martha Stewart “Everyday Food” magazines.  It wasn’t a recipe that was actually apart of the magazine, but a pull out ad, by the makers of Glad.  You know, garbage bags, plastic bags, reusable containers and freezer bags.  What caught my eye was the picture.  It was a full size tart with Granny Smith apples placed on a sweet almond cream.  (Picture my mouth drooling). 

I made the recipe just as is.  Except, I made 12 individual tarts (used my new tart pans) instead of one great big one.  The recipe makes 3 tart dough recipes so two of them can be frozen in the product the ad was advertising.  I used 2 of the 3 of the dough recipes in my little tarts.  You don’t need to double the pastry cream recipe.  I had enough for my tarts as well.

This recipe does have a few steps in it.  If you have a lazy afternoon and want to be alone in the kitchen by yourself, please make this.  It is buttery and warm and delicious.  The apples are tender and the almond matches so well with the crust and the tartness of the apples.  They are visually stunning too!  My picture taking skills don’t give the tarts what they deserve, a pastry case somewhere in France!

Apple Almond Tart


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1½ cups cold butter, cut into cubes
10 to 12 tablespoons ice water

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.  With your fingers or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons water; stir with fork.
  3. Repeat blending with remaining water as needed, just until dough begins to hold together.
  4. Shape into 3 disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate 2 disks for 30 minutes and freeze the third.
  6. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  7. Unwrap refrigerated crust and roll into a round bigger than the tart shell pan you are using.
  8. Fold and press over hang, freeze 15 minutes.
  9. Line tart shells with foil; fill with pie weights.  Bake 15 minutes; remove foil and weights.  ( I use dried beans)
  10. Bake until golden.  Cool on rack.
  11. Reduce heat to 375 degrees

Pastry Filling

1 cups (8oz) almond paste, crumbled
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tart apples, sliced thinly
¼ cup apple jelly, melted

  1. In a food processor, pulse the first 5 ingredients until crumbly.
  2. Add eggs; process until smooth.
  3. Add flour; pulse just until combined.
  4. Spread filling in tart shell
  5. Arrange apples as neatly as you can.
  6. Bake until apples are tender.  (mine took 30 minutes)
  7. Brush apples with jelly; cool on rack.  

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Double White Chocolate Layered Bars

All I can say is YUMMMMMM.   That is pretty much the reaction I received from everybody who tried these delicious morsels.  Double White Chocolate Layered Bars are probably going to be my quintessential potluck dish from now on…  Yes, they are that good. 

I found the recipe in the “Pillsbury Pasta” cookbook, volume #232-June 2000.  Yes, it is the same cookbook that the recipe for Ginger Coconut Shrimp was found in.   The recipe for the chocolate bars is the only dessert recipe in the cookbook.  I can see why!  You don’t need any other dessert recipe.  This is one in a million!  It is a very easy cake/cookie/bar to make.  They combination of flavors go perfect with each other and make an ooey gooey texture.  Ok, I am a sucker for ooey gooey. 

You guys have got to try this one!

Double White Chocolate Layered Bars

1 (18oz) pkg refrigerated white chocolate chunk cookies*
1 ½ cups flaked coconut
1 cup slivered almonds
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 cup white vanilla chips

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Remove cookie dough from package; press dough evenly in bottom of sprayed pan.
  2. Layer coconut and almonds over cookie dough.
  3. Drizzle with condensed milk.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and top is lightly browned.
  5. Cool 1 hour 15 minutes or until completely cooled.
  6. Place vanilla chips in small resealable freezer bag.  Microwave on DEFROST for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted, squeezing bag every minute of cooking time until smooth. 
  7. Cut off small corner of bag; drizzle melted chips over bars.  Cut into bars.

  • I couldn’t find white chocolate chunk cookies at my store, so I substituted white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and it worked fabulously!  Use the pull part cookies and just squish them into the pan. 
  • Also, the vanilla chips wouldn’t drizzle for me, so I just spread it on the      bars.  They taste the same!