9/30/14

pumpkin spice rice krispie treats

Do you remember me talking last fall about the wonderful find that is the Pumpkin Butter from Trader Joe's?
I made a few recipes with the pumpkin butter, it's so versatile!
Truly not just for toast. Is that what it was intended for? Toast?
I've never used this on toast--have you?
Last year I made quite a few recipes with it:
-sea salted pumpkin-oat cookies
-pumpkin snack cake with pumpkin buttercream (oh this was good!)
-pumpkin bread candy bark
-pumpkin butter-cinnamon chip cookies
-and the extremely popular pumpkin butter crunch bars! (dangerously addicting)

And now the latest creation: pumpkin spice rice krispie treats.
I mean why not?
I haven't seen rice krispie bars made into fall mode, have you?
I added a handful of walnuts to these too for an extra layer of texture.
And why I didn't use pumpkin seeds is beyond me--excellent idea.
These treats are loosely based on the espresso-cream rice krispie bars recipe I made back in 2010.
Actually rice krispie bars are so versatile, easy to swap whatever seasonal ingredient you want.
Not sure how plain pumpkin would work, it might be too wet/heavy to add in, unless you sauté it down a bit?
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pumpkin spice rice krispie treats
print recipe

4 TB salted butter
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
¼ cup white chocolate chips
3 TB pumpkin butter
hefty pinch of sea salt
10 or 11-ounce bag of mini marshmallows
½ cup of walnuts, or pecans or pumpkin seeds (optional but wonderful)
 6 ½ cups rice krispies

Spray a 13 x 9-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In a very large 6 or 8 qt. pan, melt the butter, cream cheese, pumpkin butter, and white chocolate chips over low heat, constantly stirring.
(this part takes a while as you want to melt everything low and slow since there is chocolate in there).
Once melted add in a hefty pinch of sea salt, stir.
Using a rubber spatula immediately add in the marshmallows—all the while keep an eye on the bottom of the pan, don’t let it burn!  Ok to take pan off heat for a bit if needed if you think it’s getting too hot.  Once marshmallows are added just keep stirring until melted-- you will be stirring a lot.  After its melted take off the heat, add in the rice krispies and nuts too if using.  Mix until well combined.  It will be hard to stir—thick for sure.
This is when you have to work fast and stir until well combined; making sure to get the bottom well combined as well.  Once all mixed then transfer mix to your prepared pan and push down into pan with spatula or water-wet hands. After it’s all smoothed over this is when I like to add a touch of nuts on top for decoration, optional of course.
Place in fridge to set and cool.  They need to cool completely before cutting into bars.  You will need a very sharp knife to cut through these with ease.
Depending on how you cut them they should make about 15-20 bars.


9/26/14

friday links

Happy Friday!

Last week I finally got some time to head out and spend time with my surfing buds.
78 degree day with no tourists and full on sun.
Was nice to have that time off.
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Using the very last of my large stash of wild maine blueberries in a super-charged smoothie.
I tried the new chocolate flavor of Tera's Whey and I love it!
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I received a copy of Baked Occasions, the newest book from the Baked Boys.
And can I tell you this is their best work ever!
This book is jam-packed with a years worth of celebrations! Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito offer cookies, puddings, whoopie pies, cakes, brownies, and more to commemorate holidays both expected and unexpected. Rum-infused Hair of the Dog Cake for New Year’s Day and Peanut Butter Sheet Cake for Texas Independence Day join Praline Ice Cream Cake for Mardi Gras, Chocolate Pop Tarts for Halloween, and 12 Days of Cookies for Christmastime. With 65 gorgeous photographs and 75 unique recipes, you’ll have everything you need to create a wide range of sweet treats for quirky festivities and traditional holidays all year round.
Seriously, take a small look of what's inside....these guys amaze me!
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rainbow icebox cake with homemade chocolate cookies

PicMonkey Collage
The book is laid out with monthly dessert celebrations of special days and occasions.

PicMonkey Collage (1)
Blood orange tiramisu, black velvet conversation heart cakes, gonzo cake...

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easter coconut sheet cake
I cannot recommend Baked Occasions enough.  There is over 75 recipes, very easy to follow instructions. Nothing is too fancy pants to make, all recipes are easy to make, easy to follow along with. If you are looking for THE cookbook for your foodie friend this is it!
I will be making something soon.
I'll leave it up to you to decide, choose one & tell me in the comments below:

- Baked Ultimate Birthday Cake
- Buttery Pound Cake with Salty Caramel Glaze
- Chocolate Pop Tarts with PB & Jam Filling
- Pistachio White Chocolate Cheesecake

around the web:

chewy peanut butter-apple granola bars
smuckers has a wonderful kitchen makeover giveaway #spreadalittlesunshine
apple pie cake
DIY football cupcake toppers
twizzlers caramel-apple filled twists
20-minute sweet & sour chicken
is there arsenic in rice?
pumpkin magic cake
4 ways to manage depression naturally
the amount of caffeine in Starbuck drinks! (ut oh)
"worry about yourself!" (well said August)
how to froth milk in the microwave?
is pea protein really the best all-around protein supplement?
wait your turn at the new swing playground in Boston
melatonin for more sleep & better bones
pumpkin cheesecake ice cream from Ben & Jerry's is here
pumpkin spice peanut butter cookies
best brunch recipes from Martha Stewart
3 steps to perk up your posture
how to make proper scottish shortbread
the ramen donut is here
want to boost your willpower? sip lemonade
frustrated restaurant owner posts stupid sign
soy consumption linked to tumor growth in breast cancer
always hungry? this could be why
study links potassium to fewer strokes in women
one yoga pose to do no matter how busy you are
5 healthy food pairings to supercharge health & diet
slow cooker italian pot roast w/ sun-dried tomatoes & kalamata olives
woman gets 3rd boob--why?
gorgeous photography of trey ratcliff
5-year old with autism paints stunning masterpieces
strangest playgrounds

Have a wonderful weekend!

9/22/14

pumpkin french toast w/ salted maple butter

So I wasn't going to post this, BUT when everyone saw it on my Instagram feed, I got a couple requests for it.
Sorry for the lack of photos, but I hadn't planned on using one of my breakfasts as a post.
I need to share more of what I make in everyday life; I have a bad habit of that.
I forget that you all like kicked up foods too, no matter how weird they might be...right?
Plus I'm with you when it comes to super easy meal making because I am lazy don't have a lot of time, and want to eat right now good tasting food fast.
Best part? Super easy to make.
Plus it's really tasty and kind of good for you too--right?
I mean there's real pumpkin in there too.
Oh!  Speaking of canned pumpkin, I spent a little bit more money and got a couple cans of
pumpkin puree from Whole Foods.
When I opened the can I was shocked at how bright and gorgeous the orange color of the pumpkin was.  I don't know if the pumpkin they use is better or what?
But it looked better and tasted better.
Yes, big difference in taste.
I know I'm the biggest fan of Whole Foods, but I'm telling you that canned pumpkin
(Whole Foods 365 brand) was tasty! Not watered down or bland tasting like some other brands.
So, if you're so inclined, try a can; and let me know if you notice a difference in taste.
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With this french toast, you can easily make the egg custard the night before, provided you cover it nice and air tight.
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The 'salted' maple butter just gives it an extra kick.
It's not overly salty, just pairs really nice with the pure maple syrup.
Any leftover maple butter is so good with pumpkin pancakes, bagels, toast, grilled cheese...endless possibilities!

pumpkin french toast with salted maple butter
print recipe

salted maple butter
1 stick (8 TB) of unsalted butter, room temp
1 TB pure maple syrup
1 ts of sea salt (this is optional, but wonderful)

Mix all ingredients until well blended. I used a hand held mixer. Then place in ceramic dish, cover
with plastic wrap, and place in fridge to harden a bit.
Or for fancy results place butter into plastic wrap and roll into a log, cover tight, place in fridge until it hardens. When ready to use just slice and use.
I used a small ice cream scoop to scoop out the butter--kind of fancy.

pumpkin french toast
4 eggs
1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree
3 to 5 dashes of pumpkin spice seasonings
2 to 3 dashes of cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup whole milk +2 TB heavy cream
about 9 to 11 slices of bread (oatmeal or sourdough works best)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, mix really well until you have a nice smooth custard.
If using next morning, store in airtight non-reactive bowl (use glass or ceramic) with cover.
When ready to use, let custard come to room temp a bit.
Dip both sides of each bread in custard and fry in a hot buttered frying pan.
Cook booth sides until desired doneness, serve with the salted maple
butter, and maple syrup.
The butter tastes so good you might not need the maple syrup.
Makes enough for 9 to 11 slices.

9/19/14

friday links

Happy Friday!

It's cold out!
As I type this post, we have 47 degrees at 9am here on cape cod.
I guess I won't be going for my nightly swim in the ocean today.
Actually I have been going every night now that the beaches are empty and enjoyable again.
Believe it or not the ocean temp is about 66 degrees when the sun is out and it's not too bad.
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Have you started baking with pumpkin?
I haven't -- I know bad right? You are expecting new pumpkin creations from me?
I'll get on that this weekend; maybe if I pass a bottle of pumpkin spice under my nose it will
inspire me?
Hubby asked for these pumpkin oreo's I made last year at this time.
These are good, and I made them into icebox cookies, easy, just slice and bake!
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Speaking of pumpkin....the pumpkin pie macarons have arrived at Whole Foods!
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I wanted these to suck, but they didn't, they were really tasty and I am not a fan of white chocolate.
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So I asked him what he was looking at (the man in the maroon had a big ass camera), he said
the mansion on the cliff (the right side).  Boring.  Here I was hoping it was a whale or something.
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Is there anything better than a bag of fried scallops? Perks of living on cape cod.
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Seafood bisque
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Oh the joys of food blogging when one of your favorite pastry books just magically shows up
at your door. The book Pastry by Nick Malgieri is THE book, the guide for all things pastry.
This is the definitive guide for pastry making.  Can't tell you enough how much this one book
will teach you about pastry making.
Pastry by Nick Malgieri is the pastry bible.
PicMonkey Collage (1)

"Cooks eager to stretch their skills will find Mr. Malgieri an inspiring coach." ~The New York TimesPicMonkey Collage

around the web:

11 health benefits of green tea
butterscotch-peach pie!  Hello!
how to undue the damage of a desk job
enormous group of migrating rays
early symptoms of parkinson's disease
this face mug & it holds cookies!
the best list to have for Fall: The Best Apples for Baking & Cooking
pumpkin spice cake balls
tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos (my year is complete)
what you should know about ebola (from CDC)
romantic photos in motion
have you seen this house built on a cliff?
the movie The Skeleton Twins preview (can't wait to see it!)
MIT is hosting a breast pump hackathon?
pets stuck in odd places
what is orthorexia?
breakfast from around the world
foods for vibrant hair
BBQ chicken french breads
vietnamese shredded chicken salad
mini cinnamon sugar-pumpkin muffins
history of candy corn
jalapeño popper pull apart bread
chocolate chip cookies made with bisquick
NY'ers eating alone isn't as depressing as it sounds
madame sherri's castle ruins (haunted?)
meet Hello, another modern day alarm clock
horror farm themed cakes for Halloween (warning, it's scary!)
jacques pepin explains how to make people happy
10 fun ways to reduce your cortisol
slow cooker chicken pho
how to cook pasta in 60 seconds
passenger shaming on Instagram
tiny plastic beads in your toothpaste?
prudent diet to prevent prostrate cancer
30 pick your own apple farms near/around Boston
class held in Boston to help Bostonians lose their accent
hot fudge peanut butter pie
actor Kevin Spacey stalker goes to jail for 2 years
chewy apple-peanut butter granola bars
4 ways to manage depression naturally
happy national butterscotch pudding day!
pumpkin spice & chocolate muffins (bookmarked!)

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Have a wonderful weekend!

9/15/14

peanut butter chocolate bundt cake

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Here on the cape we've already started with the cooler weather.
Yesterday it didn't get above 66 degrees, and then nighttime brought 49-50 degrees.
I am not ready for this. Last year at this time our summer lasted a bit longer--well into the end of September.  I was so happy, the beaches were fairly empty and the ocean was definitely still swimmable.  A refreshing swimmable I should say. I also remember that last year my full-blown carb cravings didn't start until the second week of October. And now those cravings started this weekend.
What is it about the first onset of cooler weather that instantly brings on those cravings for sweet foods, greasy foods, fried foods?  It has to be a brain-chemical thing?
I literally found myself reaching for a third another slice of this cake, where normally I was content with a bite or three.
Summer has me religiously eating my berries, drinking my beet juice, downing my water, and happily eating my salad.  Whereas fall has me ditching all of those in replace of spicy buffalo wings with extra blue cheese sauce to drink eat with a fork celery.
And then going home to eat the frosting off three slices of this peanut butter chocolate cake!
As I write this post, all that's on my mind is salty potato chips.  I have to go to the store today, so I have to make sure I walk right past those wonderful bags of salty, greasy goodness.
Someone said to help combat these fall carbs cravings is to eat more protein in the am.
Is this true?
Do any of you have these crazy carb cravings right at the beginning of fall?
Should we start a support group?
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Vultures I tell you...vultures!

This recipe is from The Little Epicurean who I love & adore!
But eat something before you go to her food blog.
(my changes to the recipe are minimal and in parenthesis).

peanut butter-chocolate bundt cake
recipe from The Little Epicurean
print recipe

Chocolate Cake:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped (I used bittersweet chocolate)
3 TB instant espresso powder (I used 1 Starbuck Via)
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 3 TB)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used 1 cup)
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ts baking soda
3/4 ts sea salt

Peanut Butter Cake Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 TB granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 ts sea salt

Chocolate Glaze:
4 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 TB light corn syrup

Peanut Butter Glaze:
2 TB smooth peanut butter
2 -3 TB whole milk (I used heavy cream)
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

Chocolate Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter a 10-cup bundt pan and set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat unsweetened chocolate at half power at 30 second intervals.  Stir often.  Heat until chocolate is melted.  Set aside.
In a glass measuring cup, stir together instant espresso powder and cocoa powder.  Add enough hot water until liquid mixture measures 1 cup.  Stir until powders are dissolved.  Add milk and let cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, making sure egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Scrape down bowl as needed.
Add slightly cooled melted chocolate. Continue to mix on low-medium speed until combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of milk mixture, then 1/2 of flour mixture.  Repeat, ending with the milk mixture.  Mix until combined.

Peanut Butter Cake Filling:
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Add sugar and mix until combined.  Add half of the beaten egg.  Discard other half of egg.  Mix until combined.
Fold in flour and salt.  Add milk and stir to combine.  Mix until flour is incorporated.

Cake Assembly:
Add half of chocolate batter to prepared bundt pan.  Distribute peanut butter cake filling on top of chocolate layer.  Swirl with knife to spread out peanut butter batter.  Add remaining chocolate batter to cover peanut butter batter.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for a couple of minutes before unmolding.  Let cool to room temperature of wire rack.

Chocolate Glaze:
Over a double boiled, melt together chocolate and butter until smooth.  Alternatively, you can microwave it at half power at 30 second intervals until melted.
Remove from heat and whisk in glucose.  Pour over cooled bundt cake.

Peanut Butter Glaze:
Stir together sifted powdered sugar, peanut butter, and salt.  Add milk and stir until smooth.  Add additional milk if glaze is too dry.  If glaze is too thick, add additional sifted powdered sugar.  Drizzle peanut butter glaze over chocolate glazed bundt cake. (I got greedy with the glaze and added all of it on, did not swirl it on in lines. If you want it more decorative/pretty then use a plastic bag and pipe on the peanut butter glaze).

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