Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Brownies

Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Brownies Print

Though I really do like, and sometimes even love, everything I bring you here on Dreaming Dessert, I kind of feel like I throw too many superlatives around. I mean, there is such a thing as over-promising… Right? Having said that – OH-MY-GOSH! these Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Brownies are outrageously delicious! Fudge-y and not too sweet, with a slight tang from the raspberry sauce that’s a delightful complement to all of the chocolatey goodness from the brownies and smooth, creamy ganache.

I have friends who’ve said that they don’t care for chocolate/fruit combinations, and I was in that camp too, but then I had a chocolate flourless cake with an amazing raspberry sauce on top and that completely changed my mind and tastebuds. With Valentine’s Day approaching, what better dessert to put forth than a beautiful Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Brownie delight?!!

I would really love you to try this one! And if you could get let me know if you tried it and how you liked it, that would be wonderful too!

Ingredients

    For the brownies:
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips (Guittard or Ghirardelli are my favourites)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup organic, unrefined cane sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • For the raspberry filling:*
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups of raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • For the chocolate ganache:
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of fresh raspberries for garnish, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF

    For the brownies:
  1. Spray the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with an oil/flour spray like Baker’s Joy. Line with parchment (or foil), leave a 2 to 3-inch overlap on two sides; spray parchment with oil/flour spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large glass mixing bowl, melt chocolate with butter and oil in microwave at full power for 1 minute; whisk until fully melted and smooth. (You may need to microwave for an additional 15-30 seconds to completely melt the chips).
  4. Add sugar to the chocolate mixture and whisk for 10-15 seconds. Add eggs and whisk vigorously until smooth and glossy, for about a minute. Using a rubber spatula, stir in dry ingredients.
  5. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan, smoothing top with spatula.
  6. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs, 40-45 minutes. (Start checking at 35 minutes, to be safe) Let cool in pan for 15-20 minutes, then remove using parchment; let cool completely on a rack.
  7. For the raspberry sauce:
  8. In a small saucepan, bring water to boil. Whisk in the honey and cornstarch, then add the raspberries, mashing them lightly with a spoon. Stir until thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  9. For the chocolate ganache:
  10. Place chocolate chips in a large bowl.
  11. Heat cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Allow to sit for a minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. (If necessary to melt all of the chocolate chips, microwave for 15-30 seconds on high) Let it cool for 15-20 minutes, then pour over brownies.
  12. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so to let the ganache set. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if using.
  13. Cut them in squares after the ganache has set up.
Note: If you’re short on time and want to simplify the raspberry sauce step, use a 10-ounce jar of fruit juice-sweetened raspberry jam like Polaner’s or Smucker’s All Fruit that’s been warmed in a saucepan or microwave.

Brownies can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Adapted from: Martha Stewart and Genius Kitchen

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Lamington Cream Cake

Lamington Cream Cake Print

Have you ever heard of Lamington’s? They’re delicious little squares of sponge cake dipped in chocolate and then covered in flaky coconut. They originate from Australia, and although I’m not absolutely sure, I think they might be Australia’s National Dessert. If not, they should be! This Lamington Cream Cake is a variation on a really good thing. Lamington purists may not approve, but I think that creamy custard in the middle of those two layers of chocolate and coconut dipped sponge cake really make it sing! Strawberry jam is another option for a filling and sometimes both the custard and jam are used. I’m thinking that seedless raspberry jam would be another yummy filling to try.

Don’t let the multiple steps in the recipe discourage you from making this truly memorable cake – it’s worth the little extra effort. I have this one in the “repeat” category!

Ingredients

    For the sponge cake:
  • 9 tablespoons butter (1 stick, plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons self-raising flour*
  • For the chocolate coating:
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
  • For the cream filling:
  • 6 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 5 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups half ‘n half (light cream)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut, unsweetened
Preheat oven to 325ºF

Directions

    For the cream filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch and honey together, then whisk in the eggs until thoroughly combined.
  2. In a saucepan heat the milk and vanilla until warm (you don’t want it to get too hot!), remove from the heat and very slowly add the milk to the egg mixture.
  3. Put the mixture back into the saucepan, whisking constantly until it boils. Remove from the heat, continuing to whisk until it thickens to custard consistency.
  4. When the filling has cooled for about 5 minutes or so, place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding so that it doesn’t form a skin. Cool completely.
  5. For the sponge cake:
  6. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan (or use a flour/oil spray like Baker’s Joy), set aside.
  7. Melt butter and honey in a small pan over low heat until it bubbles lightly (very warm, but not hot).
  8. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in the butter-honey mixture. Stir in the beaten eggs. Using a whisk, mix until smooth.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan.
  10. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, turning halfway through baking time. A toothpick should come out clean, when poked into the middle of the cake.
  11. Let cake cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. Slice in half.
    For the chocolate coating:
  12. Place chocolate chips into a medium bowl.
  13. Heat cream until hot, but not boiling (I microwaved mine for 45 seconds on High in an 800w microwave); pour over chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Pour into a shallow pie or cake pan.
  14. Putting it all together:
  15. Spread coconut out in a shallow pie pan.
  16. Roll the edges of both cake layers in the chocolate, then roll both cake layers edges in the coconut.
  17. Gently dunk the top of the top cake layer in chocolate, transfer to a rack and sprinkle coconut over the top until fully covered.
  18. Chill until the chocolate sets, at least 1 hour.
  19. When the chocolate on the cake has set, place bottom cake layer on your serving plate.
  20. Spoon on the cream, smoothing with a spatula to within 1/4 inch of the edge of the cake. The cream should be about 1/2” thick.
  21. Put top layer on and you have Lamington Cream Cake!

*If you don’t have self-rising flour on hand, just add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup of flour, and whisk to mix.

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Champagne Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Champagne Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting Print

Here we are at 2018!! For many, a new year is a beginning, another chance to keep those promises to yourself and others that maybe didn’t get kept the previous year? For me, the energy that comes from the fresh start of a new year is motivational, so I try to ride that “wave” as long as I can. Here’s hoping that we can all achieve our goals, large and small, in 2018!

For my first post of this brand-spanking new year, I whipped up some delicious and celebratory Champagne Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting. These cupcakes are subtly sweet with just enough of that sparkling wine flavor to tell that it’s there, and the crumb is moist, but still fairly light. I hope you’ll try them! Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and productive new year!!

Champagne Cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Sucanat, ground*
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons champagne
  • For the icing:
  • 6 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used clear vanilla extract to keep the icing as white as possible)
  • Directions

    Preheat oven to 350ºF

      For the cupcakes:
    1. Put liners in a cupcake pan.
    2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until combined. Set aside
    3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and ground Sucanat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg whites, vanilla, sour cream, and champagne and mix on medium speed after each addition until incorporated, about 2 minutes.
    4. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed for 1 minute, being careful not to over beat the batter. You can finish with a spatula.
    5. Fill cupcake liners just over half full.
    6. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating pan half way through. Test with a toothpick, it’s okay if there are a couple of crumbs left on it.
    7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely.
    8. For the icing:
    9. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    10. Add the honey. Mix until combined and smooth. (If you beat too long the frosting will be too soft to pipe. If this happens, place the frosting in the refrigerator or freezer until it firms again). Or you can forgo the piping and just spread the frosting on each cupcake with a spatula. It’s still pretty and little less work and fuss!
    Yields: 12-14 cupcakes

    NOTES:

    *Grind Sucanat in two batches in a blender until fine and powdery.

    Makes 1 1/2 cups of frosting which will frost about 12-14 cupcakes.

    Cupcakes adapted from: Life, Love and Sugar
    Frosting adapted from America’s Test Kitchen – Naturally Sweet cookbook
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Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies Print

Happy almost Christmas, everyone! First off, I want to apologize for my spotty posting here on Dreaming Dessert lately; I’ve had some health concerns that have kept me out of the game, but I’m hoping that we’re past that now and I can resume with my regularly scheduled posts. One recipe that I really wanted to make sure to share with you before Christmas arrives are these oh-so-delicious Chocolate Mint Thumbprint Cookies. If you’re a fan of chocolate and mint, especially in cookie form, you’re gonna love these little morsels! I hope they end up on your holiday baking list!

Ingredients

    For the Cookies:
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unrefined cane sugar, finely ground*
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar, lightly ground in blender
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 oz white chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Green food coloring gel, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF

    For the Cookies:
  1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Add the dark chocolate to a microwave-safe bowl, and heat in 15-20 second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolk and extracts and mix until combined. Add the melted chocolate, mixing until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add the flour/cocoa mixture, incorporating completely. Dough will be slightly sticky.
  6. Roll the dough into small balls (I used a tablespoon). Roll each ball in the lightly ground cane sugar and place on the baking tray. Use your thumb, or the back of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to make an indentation in the middle of each ball.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly firm, and cracked around the edges. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the Filling:
  9. Add the chopped white chocolate and heavy cream to a microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 20-30 seconds. Stir until melted. Stir in the mint extract, and, if using, a tiny dot of green food gel (I dipped the tip of a toothpick into the gel, swirled it into the white chocolate and stirred until fully blended).
    Fill the indents in the cookies with the mint chocolate filling. Refrigerate the cookies for about 30 minutes to allow the filling to set. Drizzle on some extra melted chocolate.
Barely adapted from: Marsha’s Baking Addiction

NOTES: *Process unrefined cane sugar in a blender until it’s fine, but not powdery.

These cookies freeze really well, but the yumminess will decline if left in the freezer for longer than a month.
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Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans

Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans Print

Here we are at Thanksgiving already! It’s funny how the older I get, the more quickly the holidays arrive every year! Yeah, that’s what we’ll call it, “funny”….. I’m always excited to have some quality time in the kitchen preparing my family’s favorite dishes, though. We’re pretty traditional when it comes to Thanksgiving fare, so it’s the usual pumpkin and pecan pies that make their way to the table for the holiday, but every now and then I make a slight departure and this year it’s going to be Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans. I’ve seen plenty of sweet potato pie recipes over the years and been curious, but always opted for the classic, custardy pumpkin pie. This Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans recipe is a keeper and one that will be added to our holiday menu for years to come! I hope you’ll try it too! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans

Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Pecans

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 3 – 3 1/2 tablespoons ice water
  • For the pie:
  • 2 1/2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup half ‘n half
  • 3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

    For the crust:
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, process the salt and flour until blended; cut in cold shortening until the size of peas.
  2. In a small cup, beat egg with a fork or small whisk, add in the vinegar and water; whisk until well blended.
  3. Add the water/egg mixture gradually to the flour mixture, process just until it holds together when pinched.
  4. Shape into 4” disk
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
  6. Roll out dough. Lift dough and gently press into pie pan. Trim overhanging dough to ½” beyond the lip of the pie pan and tuck overhang under itself. Folded edge should be flush with the pan’s edge. Flute or decorate edge as desired.
  7. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  8. Line chilled pie crust with a layer of heavy foil, (making sure edges are covered so they don’t get too browned), and fill with pie weights. Bake crust for 25-30 minutes at 375ºF
  9. Transfer pie pan to wire rack, remove weights and foil and let cool completely.
  10. For the pie:
  11. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  12. Using a fork or sharp knife point, poke sweet potatoes in several places. Place on a paper plate and microwave on high for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender in the center of the potato. Halve potatoes lengthwise and allow to cool until warm.
  13. Melt butter with cinnamon and nutmeg in microwave for 30 seconds (+/- 15 seconds depending on your microwave’s power).
  14. Scoop flesh from the cooked potatoes into the bowl of food processor. Add salt and process until smooth about 1 minute or so, scraping bowl as needed. Add spiced butter, sour cream, half ‘n half, eggs and yolks, maple syrup, bourbon and vanilla and process until smooth, about 1 more minute, scraping down the bowl again.
  15. Pour potato custard mixture into the cooled pie crust.
  16. Set pie on baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes, until filling is set around edges and jiggles a little in the middle when the pie is shaken; the center should register 165ºF. Be sure to rotate baking sheet halfway through baking.
  17. Let pie cool on a wire rack.
Serves: 8

Barely adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen – Naturally Sweet Cookbook
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Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Apple Cinnamon Rolls Print

Sooo many times over the years I’ve wished for the ability to create scratch and sniff images to post here or some other magical way to bring you the amazing aromas in my kitchen, but never, ever as much as when baking these Apple Cinnamon Rolls! You can imagine it though, right? There’s homey cinnamon, apples and lightly sweet yeast-y bread all mingling together for one of the most heavenly of aromas. And oh, my goodness, they taste just as fabulous as they smell! I adapted a cinnamon roll recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbook Naturally Sweet into these Apple Cinnamon Rolls. If you haven’t seen their wonderful cookbook that’s chockfull of delicious, un-refined and lower sugar dessert recipes, you should definitely check it out. I know this recipe is longer than the one’s I usually bring you, but trust me, this one is worth that little bit of extra effort. And you’ll win major points with the family… Trust me!

Ingredients

    For the apple filling:
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced small
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • For the cinnamon-sugar filling:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • For the dough:
  • 1 1/4 cups warm whole milk* (110 degrees)
  • 4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • For the optional glaze:
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons maple extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF

Directions

  1. Spray a 9” round cake pan with a flour-oil spray (like Baker’s Joy).
  2. For the apple filling:
  3. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add apples and sugar. Saute until apples are softened slightly, around 10 minutes or so. Set aside.
  4. For the cinnamon-sugar filling:
  5. Mix ingredients in a medium bowl until mixture is thoroughly combined.
  6. For the dough:
  7. Whisk warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a medium bowl; let sit for about 5 minutes until it gets bubbly.
  8. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Stir in yeast-milk mixture and 2 tablespoons melted butter until a sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to a generously floured counter, and knead for about 2 minutes until the dough forms a smooth ball.
  9. Roll dough into a 12”x9” rectangle, with the long side toward you. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, breaking any clumps apart with a fork, then add the cooled apples, pressing lightly into the dough with a rubber spatula.
  10. Roll the dough away from you into a tight log. Cut into 8 equal slices using a serrated knife. (Make a small indentation with a knife point every 1 ½” starting from one of the ends, then cut through with the serrated knife.)
  11. Place rolls cut-side up in the prepared pan, with the first roll placed in the center of the pan and remaining rolls around the perimeter. It’ll be a snug fit, but that’s okay.
  12. Brush tops with remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter, cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in a warm location to rise for 30 minutes. The dough should spring back when lightly pressed. Remove plastic.
  13. On the middle oven rack, bake buns for 23-25 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking (they should be medium-golden brown in color). Remove from oven and loosen the rolls with a knife and let cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Flip rolls again so they’re right side up on your serving plate. Let cool for another 5 minutes.
  14. For the optional glaze:
  15. In a medium bowl whisk softened cream cheese, melted butter, maple syrup, maple extract, milk, and salt until smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour glaze over buns and serve.
Adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen-Naturally Sweet cookbook

NOTE: *You can use 2% milk if preferred, but 1% or skim milk won’t give good results.
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Pumpkin Upside Down Muffins

Pumpkin Upside Down Muffins Print

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.

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • For the muffins:
  • 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

Directions

    Preheat oven to 425ºF

    For the topping:
  1. 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.
  2. For the muffins:
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cool muffins in pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around muffins, inverting onto a cooling rack.

Yields: 12 muffins

Adapted from: Whole and Heavenly Oven

Note: *Process Sucanat in a blender until it’s fine and powdery. Do not grind brown sugar.
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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies Print

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.

Ingredients

    For the Cookie
  • 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
  • For the Drizzle/Topping
  • 3/4 cup caramel sauce (I used King’s Cupboard brand)
  • Medium grain salt for sprinkling (Fleur de Sel is good)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with maple sugar. Add pumpkin and mix until completely combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
  3. Dough will be stiff, but sticky.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Yields: 24-26 cookies

Adapted from: Shugary Sweets

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Lemon Ice Cream

Lemon Ice Cream Print

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!

Ingredients

    For the Ice Cream:
  • 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)
  • For the Maple Syrup Sweetened Condensed Milk:
  • 2-14 oz. cans full-fat condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions

For the Maple Syrup Sweetened Condensed Milk:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. For the Ice Cream:
  4. Mix together the maple-sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, extract, Limoncello, and food coloring, if using. Set aside.
  5. Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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Affogato

Affogato Print

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Pour 1/2 ounce hazelnut liqueur into each serving dish or cup.
  2. Put a generous scoop of ice cream into each dish.
  3. Pour coffee and over ice cream and serve.
Serves: 3
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