Sunday, December 16, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
Do you feel that? There's a nip in the air. Our house is decorated with lights and trees and glitter. Rudolph and Frosty and Charlie Brown are all over the television, and warnings of shooting our eyes out can be heard over and over. At this time of year, nothing seems to fill my Christmas food cravings better than a yummy, warm, spiced bread, and pumpkin bread will forever top my list of "things I'm willing to go up a size for." Recently, I introduced this beloved recipe to my two oldest kids, and much to my dismay, they loved it...no more full loaves just for Mommy. Bummer. If you're in the mood for your house to smell like what Christmas should always always smell like (plus you get a yummy treat to go with that great smelling home) make this bread. If you don't like it, bring it to me and I'll hide it from my kids and eat it alone in my closet while I let out my pants.
This recipe makes 3 loaves of bread or 3 dozen muffins. I like to split the difference and make 2 loaves and a dozen muffins for the kids.
2/3 cup of Crisco
2/3 cup of water
1 can of pumpkin
3 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
2 tsp of baking soda
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of cloves
1 tsp of nutmeg
1 cup of chopped nuts (I use pecans)
Now, before I get started on the actual recipe itself, I want to mention two things about the ingredients. First, you'll notice there is cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Yes. All three all necessary. They each add something important to the recipe, so you don't want to skip any of these.
Second, you may notice in my ingredient picture, I don't have a carton of eggs. That's because in my breads and cakes, I prefer to use powdered eggs. I wouldn't recommend them for an omelet, but for baking, powdered eggs tend to make the end product much more moist and delicious. Of course, you can always use eggs you crack, too.
Now on to the actual recipe...
Start by creaming your Crisco and sugar in a mixer until it's fluffy.
Add eggs and pumpkin and mix it really well.
In a separate bowl, combine all your dry ingredients. This is important. Without this step, the dry ingredients won't properly incorporate into your wet ones, and it could be really bad.
Before you add the dry to the wet, chop your nuts up to have them ready to fold in.
Now, a spoonful at a time, add the dry to the wet and mix it up until it's just incorporated. This is technically bread, but I love the cakey texture it has when the gluten isn't well developed.
My kids aren't fans of the pecans, so I made a dozen muffins that were nut free.
Fold in the pecans (or walnuts...I bet that would be awesome) and split the batter into loaf pans.
Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes at 350, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Bake the loaves for about an hour.
Here's hoping you have some sweet little beauties that will enjoy these with you this holiday season, too!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I want to add that this picture is not mine. This IS, however, what my flan looks like. I just wasn't able to snap a shot of mine flipped out yet!
1 cup of sugar
1 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temp
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tsp of vanilla
You also need 1/2 cup of water, but I forgot about that before I snapped this picture...
The hardest part of this recipe is making the caramel sauce, and it's so not hard. You just have to pay attention to it. Stir together your cup of sugar and your half cup of water in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Now put your spoon down and don't even think about picking it up to stir your sugar water mixture again. Every few minutes, you're going to swirl the sugar so it doesn't burn, but if you stir it, your sugar will crystallize and you're going to have a big mess.
Let this boil until your sugar turns to an amber color. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Just be careful. It can turn from amber to burned in a matter of 15 to 20 seconds.
Set this aside and let it cool and harden.
While you're waiting for your sugar to harden, put everything else into the blender. No, seriously. Throw it all in. Turn it on. Blend it until it's smooth, and pour it on top of the hardened caramel.
To remove it from the dish, run a knife around the edge and hold the very bottom of the dish in a sink of very hot water for a few seconds just to loosen the caramel sauce. Put a plate on top of the flan dish and very quickly flip it. The caramel sauce will ooze all down the sides, and you can cut into it like a delicious caramel cheesecake!