Yep, it’s another pumpkin recipe! But it’s pumpkin season and these amazing Pumpkin Upside Down Muffins are just too good not to share! As if I would ever hold out on you…. Not a chance! Another bonus of these moist, but tender-crumbed, perfectly pumpkin-spiced, pecan-caramel bedecked muffins is that they are lightly and more healthfully sweetened with unrefined sugar. Making them that much more awesome!
I usually try to sweeten all of the desserts I bring you with either maple syrup or maple sugar, and I will continue to incorporate them into my recipes, but I’ve been experimenting with using Sucanat, as well. If you aren’t familiar with it, Sucanat is natural, unprocessed cane sugar. As much as I love maple syrup, there are some recipes that it doesn’t work well in, and maple sugar, while very versatile, isn’t super easy to source, so I thought it would be nice to bring you an alternative. I’ll also be trying some recipes with coconut sugar because it’s unrefined too and has a mild flavour profile that will work well with a lot of different recipes.
I hope you’ll check in to see the new treats and try the recipes I come up with as I continue on this amazing dessert blogging adventure.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (or brown sugar)
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup Sucanat (finely ground*) or brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cups pumpkin purée
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Bring butter and maple syrup to a low simmer over medium-high heat. Stir caramel until it turns a medium golden brown. Remove from heat and whisk in whipping cream and pinch of salt. Divide chopped pecans into the bottom of the individual tins of a greased 12-cup muffin tin. Top each with about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon caramel sauce. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin, Sucanat, eggs, oil, and vanilla until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and all of the spices. Gently fold flour mixture into liquid mixture, stirring until just combined.
- Divide muffin batter evenly between muffin cups, spooning batter over nuts and caramel. Bake muffins at 425ºF for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 375ºF and continue baking 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a couple of crumbs showing.
- Cool muffins in pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around muffins, inverting onto a cooling rack.
And just like that, it’s Autumn! Here in the northern Rockies, it’s like someone just flipped a switch and said, “OK, change of seasons”! I do love the beautiful fall colours and the crispness in the air, and the irresistible aroma of apples, pumpkin, and wonderful fall spices in my kitchen. These Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies are a crispy-exterior-chewy-in-the-middle kind of cookie with a perfect blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves-a delicious way to begin your fall baking. I topped these cookies with a store-bought caramel sauce (yep, I totally cheated, and yes, it has regular white sugar in it! Gasp!), then sprinkled the caramel with a pinch of medium-grain salt, but you can absolutely leave it off if you prefer a less-sweet cookie, and they’ll still be sooo yummy. I hope you’ll try these little gems and fill your home with the warm and homey scents of the season.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup maple sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup caramel sauce (I used King’s Cupboard brand)
- Medium grain salt for sprinkling (Fleur de Sel is good)
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with maple sugar. Add pumpkin and mix until completely combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
- Scoop out a generous tablespoon of dough and lightly roll into a ball. Place dough balls onto a parchment paper or silicone sheet-lined cookie sheet, about 2” apart.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes. Remove from oven and, using a pancake spatula, flatten each cookie slightly (so the caramel sauce doesn’t slide off). Cool completely on a wire rack.
- For the drizzle, spoon caramel sauce into a microwaveable container and microwave for 15-25 seconds on high power. Pour sauce into a plastic squeeze bottle and squeeze a little onto the top of each cookie, spreading almost to the edge or just spoon about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of caramel sauce on top of each cookie. When caramel has cooled completely, sprinkle with salt.
Dough will be stiff, but sticky.
I had to make just one more ice cream treat before summer leaves us, but choosing which flavor to make…that was a challenge! Sometimes that’s the most challenging aspect of this blogging adventure. After some internal debate, though, I settled on this luscious, tart, and creamy delight: Lemon Ice Cream. Have you ever had lemon ice cream? This was a first for me and to be honest, I wasn’t sure that I was going to love it. But what’s life without a few risks? Right? That tells you a little something about me, when eating a new ice cream flavor is a risk… Turns out there was nothing to fear, ‘cuz this stuff is GOOD! It’s like dipping your spoon into a soft and creamy lemon drop. If you’re a fan of lemon, then I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this one!
- 1 3/4 cups maple syrup-sweetened condensed milk. (Recipe below)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (4 or 5 lemons)
- 1 tsp lemon extract
- 1 tablespoon Limoncello
- 2 or 3 drops yellow food coloring* (Optional. See Note Below)
- 2-14 oz. cans full-fat condensed milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- Bring condensed milk to a boil in a sauce pan. Lower the heat and whisk in the maple syrup until fully incorporated. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until it thickens.
- Store maple-sweetened condensed milk in a glass jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. It makes about 16 ounces and should last a week or so refrigerated.
- Mix together the maple-sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, extract, Limoncello, and food coloring, if using. Set aside.
- Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
- Fold whipped cream into the lemon mixture. Be sure to fold the whipped cream until all of the white streaks disappear, but use a light hand when incorporating it because you want to keep the texture as light as possible.
- Pour into a freezer-safe container (Tupperware or a loaf pan works well), cover with plastic wrap that touches the surface of the cream, and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.
Summer’s end might be around the corner, but there’s still plenty of time to fit in an ice cream treat or three. With that in mind, I bring you a classic affogato recipe. My only adjustment to the original recipe is to substitute sugar-free vanilla ice cream. I used espresso, as is customary, but you can absolutely use coffee, just make sure it’s really strong. The next time I make this, I think I’ll sprinkle on some dark chocolate shavings and some finely chopped hazelnuts. Yum! This was my first affogato and I can tell you unequivocally that it won’t be my last! That flavor combo is amazing, and seriously, you couldn’t get much easier than combining three ingredients! Right?! So when you’ve just prepared a multi-dish dinner and don’t feel like making a complicated dessert, but still want something special, this ice cream delight is your solution.
- 1 pint vanilla-bean ice cream, sugar free (you won’t use the whole pint)
- 1/3 cup espresso or double-strength coffee
- 1 ½ ounces hazelnut liqueur, divided
- Pour 1/2 ounce hazelnut liqueur into each serving dish or cup.
- Put a generous scoop of ice cream into each dish.
- Pour coffee and over ice cream and serve.
This Peanut Butter Mud Pie has to be the most decadent and indulgent recipe I’ve brought you yet! But, it’s July, right?! And July is National Ice Cream Month, so that’s all the reason we need to splurge! I’ve been wanting to make Mud Pie for the blog for some time now, and as much as I love the original, I thought I’d change it up by substituting peanut butter ice cream for the coffee ice cream. And oh my gosh, if this isn’t a slice of heaven! If they made a calorie-cancelling potion, I would eat this every day…well, maybe once a week, but oh, that would be something to anticipate. If you brought this pie to a large family function or a big company event, and sliced it thin, you could make the indulgence a little less guilt producing and you’d still have the joy of experiencing this amazing Peanut Butter Mud Pie.
- 24 Famous Chocolate Wafers or 1/2 package of Oreo cookies, crushed (I used a food processor)
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2/3 cup chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 recipe peanut butter ice cream (see below)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Peanuts, chopped and lightly toasted
- Using food processor, crush wafers or Oreo cookies; blend together with the melted butter. Press into a 9” deep-dish pie plate. Bake crust at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool crust.
- Pour chocolate chips into a heat-resistant bowl. Heat the heavy cream until hot but not boiling and pour it over the chocolate chips, whisking until smooth. Pour ganache on the cooled cookie crust and spread across the bottom of the crust until you have a ¼-inch layer. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Set out *peanut butter ice cream to soften, stirring a bit so that it’s spreadable but not too melted.
- Mound the ice cream into your chilled crust; carefully spreading into a slightly domed pie shape. Return to the freezer for at least 1 hour.
- Pipe whipped cream on top of the pie. Drizzle warm ganache over the top of the pie. Chop toasted peanuts; sprinkle over the whipped cream on the top of the pie.
- 1 3/4 cup maple syrup-sweetened condensed milk. (*Recipe below)
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter, divided
- 2 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
- /2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine *condensed milk, peanut butter, and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Gently fold in whipped cream until completely combined with no white streaks remaining. Pour into a loaf pan and freeze overnight or at least 5 hours.
- Bring 2-14 oz. cans of full-fat condensed and 1/2 cup maple syrup milk to a boil in a sauce pan. Lower the heat and whisk in the maple syrup until fully incorporated. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until it thickens slightly (It won’t be as thick as the canned, but that’s OK).
- Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
- It makes about 16 ounces of maple sweetened condensed milk and should last a week or so refrigerated.
This Raspberry Margarita just might be your new favorite summer drink! I know it’s mine! Raspberries and lime really do make the perfect pairing in this frosty, oh-so-pretty summertime drink. And it’s just in time for the 4th of July holiday as one more way to celebrate. I pureed the raspberries in this drink because I’m not fond of the seeds and I know a lot of people who don’t love them too, but if they don’t bother you go ahead and save a step by leaving them in when you blend the ingredients. I hope you’ll add this delicious and lovely Raspberry Margarita to your list of must make summer beverages. Happy 4th, everyone!
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups fresh raspberries, pureed
- 1/2 cup raspberry liqueur
- 1/2 cup white tequila
- 3 tablespoons orange liqueur
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- Lime slices for garnish
- Raspberries for garnish
- 5-6 cups ice
- To puree raspberries: place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl, pour raspberries into the strainer and press with the back of a wooden spoon to force the juice from the berries. All that should remain in the strainer are the seeds and pulp. Discard seeds.
- Blend raspberry puree, raspberry liqueur, tequila, orange liqueur, honey and lime juice. Add ice and blend. Garnish with lime slices and raspberries.
I have to admit that I rarely eat bananas straight from the peel; by themselves they just aren’t my fruit of choice, but put them in a bread or a cake or a cream pie and suddenly I’m all about the banana. This Banana Cream Pie is a perfect blend of creamy vanilla custard, banana, flaky crust, and of course, whipped cream to top it all off. This is such a classic pie and everyone has their favorite, go-to recipe, but I thought I’d bring you this maple-syrup sweetened version of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe’s Old Fashioned Banana Cream Pie. It’s best eaten the day it’s made or the bananas will brown and not look so appetising, but as good as this yummy pie is that shouldn’t be a problem.
- Marie Callender’s or any 9-inch pie crust you prefer
- 1/3 cup real maple syrup
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 2/3 cups milk (2% or whole)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium bananas
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Remove from the fridge and let sit for half an hour to soften.
- Carefully transfer crust from the pie tin it came into a 9-inch glass pie. (See Note) If it cracks, lightly moisten your fingers and press it back together.
- Prick all over the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork, then place in the fridge for an hour to chill.
- Line the chilled pie shell with a layer of aluminum foil, covering the edges so they don’t burn, and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the weights and foil and continue to bake the crust until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes more. Set aside to cool completely.
- Whisk the cornstarch and salt together in a medium saucepan, pour in maple syrup and stir to blend. Whisk in the half-and-half or heavy cream, followed by the egg yolks and the milk until the mixture is smooth.
- Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens. The resulting texture and thickness should be that of an almost set pudding. Remove pan from heat and let the mixture cool until warm.
- Pour one-third to one half of the warm filling into the pre-baked pie shell.
- Peel the bananas and slice on top of the filling, then cover with remaining filling. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap over filling surface. Refrigerate pie until it is completely chilled, at least 3 hours.
- Whip the cream, syrup and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie (if you are going to pipe the whipped cream, you’ll need to whip the cream to stiff peaks) Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Don’t you love those rare Sunday mornings when you have time to make a special breakfast for the family? Or just for yourself? Apple Pie Crepes are just that kind of special. I know, I know, I always thought that crepes were difficult and scary too, but they really aren’t. All you need is a non-stick pan and some spray oil to insure they don’t stick to the pan, and easy-peasy, you have crepes! And if you make the crepes and filling ahead of time, then all you need do is a little “construction” and you have yummy apple crepes sitting on your breakfast table in no time at all. They smell soooo good and disappear far too quickly. Which is why making extra crepes to have on hand (they keep really well for a few days in the fridge) is a smart thing to do.
- 4 large apples, cored and peeled
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Mix all ingredients (milk through maple syrup) in a large bowl and whisk the mixture until lumps dissolve.
- Heat non-stick frying pan on high until very hot, spray it with oil spray. Using a soup ladle, pour small amount of batter into the frying pan as you roll the pan in a circular motion to cover the bottom of the pan evenly with a thin layer of crepe batter. Depending on the size of your soup ladle, you could use a whole ladleful, or slightly less. The important thing is to cover the bottom of the pan with just a slightly thick layer of batter. If you coat it too thickly, it will be dough-y.
- Let this thin layer of crepe batter cook for 1-3 minutes until the batter on top bubbles and loses all of its sheen and the edges are dark golden brown, then flip the crepe to the other side and let it cook for another minute on that side. To flip the crepe, run the edge of a spatula around the sides of the crepe, until you reach the center of the crepe from all sides and the crepe comes away from the pan. Transfer cooked crepes to a plate, stacking them as you go.
- Chop apples into small cubes, place cubed apple in a medium bowl, add maple syrup and cinnamon, and toss everything together to fully coat the apples. Let sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Melt butter on medium-low heat in a 10” skillet, add chopped apples and saute until soft, about 25-30 minutes.
- To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup sauteed apples down the center of a warm crepe, fold the sides of the crepe over the apple filling. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
Okay, so I might be pushing it a bit making a summer fruit tart in mid-May, but truth is, you could make this tart pretty much any time of the year if cost isn’t a factor for you. (Out of season fruit can be a little on the pricey side depending on where you live….) But that, my friends is the only possible drawback to this oh so pretty tart, that will garner many oohs and aahs when served at your next gathering. I used strawberries, blueberries, kiwis, and raspberries, but blackberries and/or mandarin oranges are a couple of other options that would be tasty – and pretty, as well. If you are short of time, you can easily make the crust and cream filling a day or two in advance; putting the fruit topping on the day you’ll be serving the tart. I hope you’ll try this delicious and easy tart, whatever the season!
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup pecans, very finely chopped
- 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 1 8-ounce package light cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
- Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices (cut in half), blueberries, raspberries
- 1/2 cup of orange marmalade
- In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, nuts, and maple syrup and process until the mixture forms a sticky ball.
- With your fingers, press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a 12-inch removable-bottom tart pan (You may need to dip your fingers into some flour to keep the dough from sticking to them as you press it into the pan). Bake for 12-14 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool completely.
- Beat the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla together until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream until completely incorporated. Spread over the cooled crust.
- Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust in a double layer. For the next circle, use 1/4-inch kiwi slices (cut in half). Add a circle of blueberries, then a circle of raspberries in the middle, or just mound raspberries in the circle of blueberries. (See photos).
- Strain orange marmalade into a small bowl, using a fine mesh strainer. Microwave the resulting jelly on high for 15-20 seconds, just to warm it. Using a soft brush, gently brush the jelly over the fruit until completely covered. (There may be a little jelly left over)
- Keep the tart in the refrigerator. Remove about 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream.
Most everyone has their favorite Girl Scout cookie; I’ve certainly had my favorites over the years (frankly, I wouldn’t turn any of them down…), but the one that’s stood the test of time is the Do-si-do. Those yummy cookies with the creamy peanut butter filling sandwiched between tender oatmeal cookies somehow keep going in my mouth one after the other. These Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies are a copycat of those wonderful Do-si-dos, but they’ve been made without refined sugar; which, despite the abundance of butter and peanut butter, still makes them more healthful than the original version. When you’ve depleted your stash of Do-si-dos, this recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies will be waiting for you, calling your name….
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), room temperature
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
- 5 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons of flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup of quick oatmeal
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- With a stand or hand mixer cream together the 3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup of maple syrup until well combined.
- Mix in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
- Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Using a two-inch cookie cutter, cut out the cookies.
- Place cookies onto a baking sheet, about an inch apart, and chill on the sheets for about 20 minutes before baking.
- Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack while you make the peanut butter filling.
- Add the butter, peanut butter, and remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup to a medium bowl and mix on medium speed until fully combined and fluffy.
- Pipe or use a spoon to spread a generous tablespoon of the filling on one of the cookies and top with another cookie to make the sandwiches.