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.
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!
For the Maple Syrup Sweetened Condensed Milk:
- 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.
For the Ice Cream:
- 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.
Yields: About 6 cups
Note: *I used McCormick’s Color From Nature natural food coloring made from plants, vegetables, and seeds. You can find it in most grocery stores. It’s in powder form and I found that it blends better with your cream base if you mix it with a little water first. I used 1/4 teaspoon of the sunflower color mixed with 1 teaspoon of water; then blend it into the cream mixture. Adjust the amount of coloring to preference; as you can see from the photos, the color is pretty saturated, so I’ll probably use less next time.
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
For the crust:
- 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.
For the chocolate ganache layer:
- 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.
For the pie filling:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Makes 4 servings
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
Banana Cream Filling:
- 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
Whipped Cream Topping:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400ºF
For the crust:
- 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.
For the filling:
- 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.
For the topping:
- 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.
Note: You can certainly leave the crust in the original tin pan, if you prefer; it just makes a “prettier” presentation in a glass pie pan.
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.
For the filling:
- 4 large apples, cored and peeled
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons butter
For the crepes:
- 2 cups milk
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
For the crepes:
- 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.
For the apple filling:
- 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.