Monthly Archives: October 2012

Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots

Yes, you can!  If you want to be the hostess-with-the-mostess, this is the recipe for you.  Nothing says holiday party like your favorite dessert turned into a miniaturized version that also happens to be a Jello shot!

Really, no Fall Fest is complete without pumpkin and no party is complete without Jello shots.  Ever since I saw the two combined I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to show off.  Find all the fall fest recipes here:  Caramel Apple Crumb Bars, Apple Cider Sangria, and Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream.

My only compliant is too much of the pumpkin Jello seeped into the crust.  To solve this problem I would either make these Jello shots a few hours before serving (versus the night before) or add two layers of pumpkin Jello.  However, the bourbon whipped cream is a must!  There is nothing like bourbon goodness to make a perfect Jello shot.

The aborableness factor is high and the taste matches.  The crust is crispy and flaky and store-bought!  Shhhhhh, if you’re making fancy Jello shots, you can buy a store-bought crust, it’s a rule.  The Jello-pumpkin mixture tastes just like pie and has lots of spicy-goodnesss.  And obviously bourbon whipped cream is amazing!

Print the Recipe!

Pumpkin Pie Jello Shots
Adapted from That’s so Michelle
Inspired from Brit & Co
Yield – 40+

2 pre-made pie crust, two crusts come to a box, so in other words, one box)
cooking spray
1 envelope Knox gelatin
1 + 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon of each nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup white rum
1 cup + 1/2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F and liberally spray your mini-muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. Roll out your pie dough with flour until it is about 11 inches in diameter.  Use a round cookie cutter or glass to cut circles larger than your little muffin tin.  I have two mini-muffin pans and the cups are very different in size.
  3. Carefully press the circles into the muffin tin and prick several times with a corn on the cob holder.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Remove from the muffin tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  1. Pour 1 cup of water in a cold sauce pan and sprinkle the gelatin on top.  Let this sit for about 2 minutes.  Turn on the heat and add the pumpkin, spices, and sugar.  Stir until everything is combined and the mixture is warm.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the rum, 1/4 cup water, and cream.
  3. Place your mini pie crusts on a foil lined cookie sheet.
  4. Carefully pour into your mini pie crusts.  I used a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon and that worked well for me.  I place extra in little cups for more more traditional jello shots.
  5. Refrigerate overnight.
  1. Before serving whip the 1 cup of heavy cream until you reach soft peaks.  Add in the bourbon, vanilla and powdered sugar.  Whip again until stiff peaks form.
  2. Use a piping bag and a small star tip to pipe a dollop of whipped cream on each jello shot pie.
  3. Enjoy responsibly!
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Filed under Beverages, Pie

Caramel Apple Crumb Bars

Sometimes you see a recipe and you know you’re going to making that one soon!  That’s what happened when I saw this recipe for caramel apple crumb bars! Talk about fall in every bite!!  Our Fall Fest party was the perfect opportunity to create a rich bar.  Easy for grabbing and eating.

PS – there is kind of a hurricane going on right now.  Whatever.  The fridge is stocked, I’m making some cinnamon rolls (pumpkin cinnamon rolls, no less!), I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, I’m ready.  Bring on Sandy.  As long as no one gets hurt and there isn’t too much damage, I’m looking forward to this storm.  I’m sure I’ll have more goodies to share as a result of this extra baking time.

These are some good bars.  The crust is crispy and crunchy and the apple filling is flavorful.  The caramel is a great companion to the apples and the crumb topping.  The bars received great reviews at the party.  I cut them small so everyone could grab a bar and snack away.  I highly suggest making some of these caramel apple crumb bars with the last of your fall apples!

Print the Recipe!

Caramel Apple Crumb Bars
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield – 30-40 squares, small squares (9 x 13 pan)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 small macoun apples
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
10 ounces caramel candies
2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line a 9 x 13 pan with foil.  Spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla and stir to combine.  At this point I used my hands to knead the dough together.
  5. Press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of your prepared pan.  Set aside the remaining third for the topping.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.
  1. Peel, core, and slice the apples.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan.  Add in the apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine and let the mixture cook for about 10 minutes.
  1. Unwrap the caramel candies and place them in another small saucepan with the cream.  Stir and heat until the caramels are all melted.
  2. Carefully spread the caramel over the baked crust.  Spread the apple mixture evenly over the caramel.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining crumb crust over the top.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Cool completely before cutting and serving.


Filed under Brownies/Bars

Apple Cider Sangria

You know I love sangria right?  I mean who doesn’t?  Fruit, wine, extra booze, a little bit of sparkling something – it’s heaven in a glass!  I’ve always considered white sangria a marvelous drink for summer get-togethers and red sangria fantastic for winter parties.  Now I have something fabulous for fall festivities – apple cider sangria!

It’s the weekend!  Grab your favorite pitcher, put on a cozy sweatshirt, and make yourself some apple cider sangria, you’ll be happy you did!  Apparently Hurricane Sandy is coming to New York.  I should go stock up on the wine now,  there would be nothing worse than being trapped in the house during a hurricane without any wine!!!

This is goooooood sangria.  Sweet from the apple cider, crisp from the Pinot Grigio, and spiced from the cinnamon and ginger.  The sangria is easy to make and delightful to drink!

Print the Recipe!

Apple Cider Sangria
Adapted from How Sweet it is
Yield 4-6 (12-16 servings)
Note – I made 3 pitchers, so the amounts in parentheses are totals to make 3 pitchers worth

1 (3) bottles pinot grigio
1 1/2 (4 ½) cups apple cider
1/2 (1 1/2) cups brandy
1 (3) pears, cored and cut into slices
2 (6) apples, cored and cut into slices
3 (9) inches ginger, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch slices
3 (9) cinnamon sticks
1 (3) cups seltzer
apple slices and cinnamon sticks

  1. The night before or early in the day combine the first seven ingredients into your pitcher.  If you have small pitchers like me, make a larger batch but divide among several pitchers.
  2. Stir gently to combine and place in the fridge.
  3. Before serving add the seltzer.
  4. Serve over ice with apple slices and cinnamon sticks as garnish.


Filed under Beverages

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

As with many cupcakes, the name is long.  You just need a long name to describe the wonderfulness of the cupcake.  In this case, the title may seem long, but in fact the real title should read something like – brown butter spiced pumpkin cupcakes with a salted caramel cream cheese buttercream.  See?  Too long.

This is the first in a series of four recipes that show off the things I made for the fall party I hosted a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, there was some excellent snackage at this party!  Don’t you wish you were my friend and you lived in Brooklyn so you could have came to my party?!?!

Also, it’s Wednesday, and I want to keep my fall tradition of posting of a pumpkin recipe every Wednesday.  I don’t know if the 30 of you who read my blog noticed, but every Wednesday, I’ve been posting pumpkin recipes.  Look back, you’ll see Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt, Pumpkintinis, and Pumpkin Muffins.  Next week’s pumpkin recipe is going to blow your mind.  Literally. Blow. Your. Mind!

Anyway, this is a pretty good cupcake, and by pretty good I obviously mean super delicious!  The pumpkin cupcake is moist and tender.  The brown butter adds a wonderful aroma and nuttiness.  There is delightful spice from all of the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.  Salted caramel sauce is a bit of work, but if you need to make it twice, no worries, sometimes the first batch doesn’t come out..  Don’t get discouraged, the sauce is worth it!  So rich and creamy.  Adding salted caramel to a cream cheese frosting is much encouraged.  Enjoy!

Print the Recipe!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod
Yield – 45 mini cupcakes

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Make brown butter by melting the butter in a small pan.  Stir and heat until the butter becomes browned and smells nutty.  Pour through a fine sieve and place aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and browned butter.
  5. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry.
  6. Use a 2-tablespoon mini ice cream scoop to portion the batter into lined mini-cupcake tins.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a wire rack.

Salted Caramel Sauce
2 cups sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sea salt

  1. Add the sugar to a dry saucepan.  Heat over the stove and watch closely.
  2. As the sugar melts, it will brown and become lumpy.  Whisk to evenly distribute the heat.  Continue to heat and whisk until all of the sugar has melted into a smooth brown syrup.
  3. Add in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk to fully incorporate the butter into the sugar.
  4. The mixture will appear greasy, but just keep whisking.
  5. Turn off the heat and pour in the cream.  Let the mix bubble and carefully whisk to incorporate.  Whisk in the vanilla and sea salt.
  6. Pour the caramel sauce into jars to cool.

Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce

  1. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy
  2. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Beat in the salted caramel sauce.
  4. Transfer the frosting to a piping bag with a round tip and pipe a blob on each cupcake.
  5. Drizzle the cupcakes with extra salted caramel sauce.  If you let the caramel sit for too long, reheat to make the drizzling easier.

    The middle layer is a little sneak peak for Friday’s post!


Filed under Cupcakes

Better Than Sex Cupcakes

These are messy, very messy, messy like…

I’m not going to go there!  Ruth requested a fun, girly cupcake for a bachelorette weekend.  After some heavy brainstorming, this is what we came up with!  One Valentine’s Day, a hundred years ago, I made a better than sex cake for a ladies night and I remember a boxed mix with caramel topping, cool whip, sweetened condensed milk, and toffee bars.  I wanted to make an updated, from scratch version – so here it goes!

First, bake and cool the cupcakes.  Make the dulce de leche too.

Then, poke a lot of holes in the top.  You want there to be places for all the dulce de leche.

Use lots of foil here – you’re going to make a mess, but try to minimize! Pour a generous amount of dulce de leche on top of each cupcake.

Now pipe a swirl of beautiful frosting.

Place a few pieces of Heath bars on top.

Finally, get really messy and find your inner Pollack!  Artfully squiggle fudge sauce and extra dulce de leche.  Finish with an extra sprinkling of Heath bars.

Place cupcakes in the fridge to firm up because things are starting to move around.

And the taste as stated by Ruth, I did not taste one :-( – “A dense, deep, dark chocolate cupcake, meets a light buttercream frosting accented with dulce de leche drizzle and Heath bits.  The cupcake was soft and melted in your mouth yet the cupcake lingered in your mouth because of the bite of the Heath bar.  It’s a party in your mouth!”

Print the Recipe!

Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield – 12 cupcakes
Adapted from Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa, I used Hershey’s Dark
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
1/3 cup hot water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, soda, powder, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Mix together on low with the paddle attachment.
  3. Beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and milk in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix until just combined and then scrape down the sides.  Turn on the mixer and add the hot water slowly until well combined.
  5. Fill 12 cupcakes liners with a basic ice cream scoop and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Whipped Vanilla Frosting
3/4 cup whole milk
3 1/4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cups granulated sugar
food coloring

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture becomes smooth and thick resembling pancake batter.
  2. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and allow to cool completely.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – beat for 8 minutes
  4. Add in the cooled flour/milk mixture and beat until the entire frosting is light and fluffy, about another 5-8 minutes.
  5. Add the food coloring and mix until well combined.

Dulce de Leche
Fudge Sauce
3 Heath Bars, chopped

  1. Make the dulce de leche the night before by poking three holes in the top of a can of sweetened condensed milk.  Place the can with the holes up in a small saucepan surrounded by water.  Boil for four hours.  Add more water as needed.  Open the can and stir before using.
  2. Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake.
  3. Pour about 1 tablespoon of the dulce de leche over each cupcake.  Spread with a spatula.
  4. Use a large star tip to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.
  5. Place 4-5 larger pieces of Heath bars on each cupcake.
  6. Drizzle with the fudge sauce and extra dulce de leche.  Sprinkle any remaining Heath bars on top.
  7. Refrigerate until serving.


Filed under Cupcakes


So here it is – it’s quarter to 8 on Thursday night, I have a headache, I’m exhausted, and I’ve been unproductive all day.  The Tigers are going to the World Series and I just don’t have the energy to finish a post.  I’m sorry.  A new recipe will be posted Monday, I promise.  As a little treat for you eyes, here are a few of my favorites!

Cocktail time, always - strawberry vodka lemonade!

A sweet and delicious combination! What can be better than dark chocolate & pistachios & sea salt?

My favorite fall recipe – pumpkin bread!

I love you brownie sundae! I’m so excited to make you again for Michelle’s birthday!


Filed under Not a recipe

Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips – GF

These scones were another two-fer: scones for Andrea as she carb-loaded before her half marathon and gluten free for my brother’s girlfriend.  I’m not going to turn into a gluten free girl, but after two successful recipes using all-purpose gluten free flour, I now understand how easy it is to switch the flour to accommodate those with food allergies.

I bought cinnamon chips from King Arthur Flour a couple of months ago and have been itching to use them.  They just seemed like the perfect fall addition to any baked good.  When Andrea asked for scones, I immediately thought about making pumpkin scones, 1. because pumpkin is delicious, and 2. it’s fall, everything needs to be pumpkin!  I searched for pumpkin scone recipes and came across the one on the King Arthur Flour website.  It seems as though a lot of bloggers use recipes from this site, so I thought I would give it a go.  Especially considering I was using their cinnamon chips!

It is strange to make scones when not watching British television marathons, but I should really do so more often!  I no longer need to wait until I need six hours of Downton Abbey or Pride and Prejudice, I can make scones anytime!  These are some fantastic scones, like the best scones I’ve made!  They were moist with big crumbs. I hate with scones are dry and mine usually are.

In addition to the terrific texture of the scones, the flavor was spot on!  There was just enough spicy goodness and the cinnamon chips were delightful surprises in each bite.  This is the type of scone you can easily eat two of, especially on a sunny fall morning on the back deck!

Print the Recipe!
Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Chips – GF
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yield – 12 scones

2 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1 1/2 cups cinnamon chips
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup turbinado sugar or any other coarse sugar

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger.  Cut the butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to incorporate into the dry ingredients.  Blend until you have pea sized pieces.
  2. Mix in the cinnamon chips.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla.  Add this to the dry and mix until just combined.
  4. I used my hands to lightly knead the dough together.
  5. Divide the dough in half and place one half on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Shape the dough into a long rectangle with greased or floured hands and then divide into thirds with a greased bench scraper.  Cut each third diagonally with the bench scraper.  Lightly move the triangles away from each other.  Repeat with the other half of the dough on a second baking sheet.
  6. Brush the top of each scone with the half-and-half and then generously sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  7. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 425 F at this time.
  8. Bake the scones for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool slightly before eating on a wire rack.


Filed under Breakfast