My Cake Decorating Gallery

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Brownie Tart - Behind The Husband's Back


Calling all Peanut Butter and Chocolate lovers!!

We were having dinner guests over and I had plenty to do in the realm of dinner so I wanted a tasty, pretty but easy dessert. I also was in the middle of an unusual situation where most of my cake pans were in boxes and possibly in storage, though I was in my new house already. One thing I did have was my fluted false bottom tart pan. It's pretty big, 10 inches wide and 1 inch deep. I had this idea if I could use a brownie base in a tart pan shape, then I could maybe do some embellishments to make it into something new and special. 

I'm not above using box mixes if I feel like it, and my favorite brownie mix is any kind of Ghirardelli. One of their brownie boxes - I usually go for Double chocolate - fills up my tart pan nicely. It baked in about the same time as you would expect a single layer of short brownies to bake - maybe a little less if your tart pan is bigger than your brownie pan, maybe more if vise versa - so keep your eye on it. 

I cannot remember the specifics but The Husband was going to be out of town yet we were hosting some of his relatives whom we see maybe once a year. His sister and family and parents were there too so it was a nice group. This was a chance to make something The Husband hates and I never get to make - anything involving peanut butter! I love peanut butter. I know there are tons of people who don't like it. I, however, love love love it. We were having salmon for dinner, and PB/Chocolate in no way makes any sense for dessert, but I didn't care. The Husband was out of town and my mind was made up.

I had never made peanut butter frosting before and selected a recipe and it was ridiculously good. I would use it again in a heartbeat on chocolate cupcakes, chocolate cake... Anything. For this peanut butter lover's chocolate tart, there were two other things I did to push it over the top. First I took several Reese's Peanut Butter cups and placed them inside of the brownie batter which I had just spread into the tart pan. I put in maybe 6 or more, so that every piece when sliced liked a pie, would get some extra peanut butter goodness. Lastly, after quickly piping on a basic design (just using a snipped ziploc bag as my pastry bag filled with the soft peanut butter frosting), I took it to one more degree of delish by adding toppings: some roasted spanish peanuts sprinkled on top, some shaved chocolate curls (use a vegetable peeler on a bar of any kind of chocolate), and a drizzle of Sander's milk chocolate hot fudge dessert topping (which, if you are from metro Detroit, is a decadent splurge just on its own).

Was it all too much? Probably, but I love chocolate and peanut butter and was sorry I only had a small triangle since we had so many people over. I sent the last piece with our out-of-town relatives instead of hoarding it like a pig (though it did cross my piglet mind). A small piece was great with some ice cream - the Reese's PB cups were taken over by the dark fudgy brownies and rich and sweet peanut butter frosting. Yes, it was sweet on sweet on sweet. Probably wouldn't win any Top Chef competitions due to its lack of balance.. and store bought brownie mix. I'm OK with that! It was delicious and you probably know a chocolate and peanut butter lover as well - I know they will love this easy dessert.






Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Brownie Tart
By Kitchen Bliss

1 box Ghirardelli brownie mix
1 recipe Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frostin' (see recipe below)
6 or 8 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups


Optional Toppings:
Sander's milk chocolate hot fudge topping
1 chocolate bar, such as semi sweet, bittersweet, milk chocolate
1/2 cup of spanish peanuts

Directions:
Mix up brownie batter according to directions on box and spread into a large tart pan with removable bottom (10 inches wide, 1 inch tall -- or use a 10 inch springform pan). Unwrap Reese's PB cups and press into the brownie batter in whatever pattern you'd like. Bake according to box, checking early and remove from oven when just set, for fudgy brownies.

Mix up peanut butter frosting recipe. After brownie cools, remove from springform pan or tart pan and transfer to serving plate. Decorate with frosting in any manner you choose and then top with toppings.





Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frostin'

Originally from the recipe seen on the A Cooking Bookworm blog.


1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (half a stick) softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup of creamy peanut butter (do not use 'natural,' the kind you need to stir)
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream


Cream the soft cream cheese (nuke it in the microwave for a few seconds, if you forgot to leave it out for a few hours) and together with a mixer. Stir in vanilla and peanut butter. Slowly add the powdered sugar and add enough cream or milk to make it spreadable or pipe-able - whatever consistency you'd like. 


Sunday, March 30, 2014

My First Gumbo


This was my first time making gumbo, last September. I was really excited to try it - I am not sure if I've had it before so I'm obviously not a gumbo expert, BUT, I kept getting okra from my CSA and I wanted to put the fresh farm okra to good use. This is a great recipe to do that!

I found out that there is pretty much one recipe for gumbo for every family from Louisiana, so I sifted through tons of recipes online. The gumbo purists seem to agree that there are no tomatoes in gumbo and that you must use file powder (ground sassafras leaves), so I decided to give both of those a "go." I used tidbits from recipes here and there and was really happy with the results overall. I might try it with tomatoes sometime, and definitely will use more creole seasoning to kick it up! I used more oil vs flour than listed below, but it was too oily - I ended up spooning some extra oil (also probably from the sausages) off the top of the soup towards the end of cooking. I adjusted the amount of flour to 1 cup below, which should help, I think.

Kitchen Bliss Gumbo
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 large onion
4 stalks celery
1 large or 2 small green bell peppers
5 cloves garlic
1.5 large cartons of chicken stock (2 full cartons is probably fine)
4 bay leaves
1 lb andouille style sausage, such as Dearborn brand, cut lengthways and then sliced
2 - 3 Tablespoons creole seasoning, such as Tony Chachere's
1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning (I found one without salt, just spices - McCormick brand)
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
3-4 teaspoons file powder
2 cups sliced okra
1 rotisserie or whole cooked chicken, shredded
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails cut off
1/2 bunch green onions

rice, for serving


Cook the vegetable oil and flour in the bottom of a heavy sauce pot to make a roux:  slowly whisking pretty much constantly (every time I left it, I rushed back to find little bits but the little bits kind of blended in later so it was OK), over medium low heat until mahogany in color. This takes 20 min or so. Meanwhile, in a food processor, coursely chop onions, celery, garlic, green bell peppers. Scrape into roux and start adding other ingredients: chicken stock, sausage, bay leaves, creole and cajun seasoning, thyme.

Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer for 30 or 40 minutes. Add shredded chicken, file powder, and sliced okra. Simmer for 20-30 minutes more, adjust for seasonings - add more creole, cajun, file, or salt and pepper to taste. I noticed some extra oil on top at this point, perhaps from my sausages, so I skimmed it off the top and it was fine.

When ready to serve, put shrimp into simmering gumbo and then turn it off and the residual heat will cook the shrimp within a few minutes. Serve in a large pot and ladle over rice and top with chopped green onions, more file powder or creole/cajun seasoning to taste.

I really enjoyed this and we all had seconds. I liked mine with a little more cajun/hot seasonings. We had a bunch of leftovers and I scraped the leftover rice into the gumbo and it really thickened up nicely and made great leftovers. I think this is one of those recipes that you can adjust and make it to your family's liking, I hope you try gumbo soon and enjoy!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kitchen Bliss Favorite: Delicious Shortbread Cutout Cookies



I am often looking for simple recipes with natural ingredients and no nuts so that I can feel good about sending in a home baked treat with my young children to school. For Son #1's birthday, I know he doesn't care for cake and besides his obligatory birthday cake and ice cream for his party, which he didn't touch, I wanted to make him something he loves - cookies. I ordered some cute dinosaur cookie cutters from Amazon and it matched a few other dino-themed things I had going on for the party. I quickly made up a basic icing out of powder sugar and milk with some fun colors and sent a big batch of iced dinosaur cut outs for his class in pre-school and served the rest at the party. These cookies were soo good. I liked them way better than cake and ice cream, too. You could spend a lot more time decorating them than I did (I spared you the close up photo of the sloppy dino decor), and they were a bit delicate but dinosaur cookies have a lot of small body parts sticking out which easily break off. The taste and quality were worth it. I would possibly roll them out thicker so they would hold up better next time, like I did with the hearts below.


When Valentine's Day rolled around, I wanted to make this recipe again and create simple cut out hearts for Son #2's potluck lunch at school. Since the kids are only 1 year old, just simple sprinkles on top were a fitting decoration and made this a doable recipe on a busy weeknight.

I found this recipe by googling "bakery style cut out cookies" and eventually finding a recommendation to this shortbread Joy of Baking recipe. I love it, I will definitely only use this recipe for cut out cookies going forward.

See Recipe Below, originally from: Joy of Baking

Shortbread Cookies:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract


In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.  Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.  (I found the less it chilled, the easier to roll and cut - and then just make sure to chill it again after cutting out shapes, before baking - shapes held up great!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle.  Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter.  Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Hosting a Friendsgiving


I wasn't too familiar with the concept of a "Friendsgiving" but I did know some of our friends in Chicago would host one - many of them not Chicago natives, would travel home for the holiday, so they decided to gather on a different day with local friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. Friendsgiving is a great way to extend the turkey-related festivities - sometimes you can't travel home for the holiday or can't see everyone you'd like to. Try hosting a Friendsgiving! A few of our Chicago friends recently moved back to Michigan so we were very excited to not only be able to participate this year, but host the first Michigan edition of "Friendsgiving."

You can stick to traditional Thanksgiving foods that you know and love, or it can be a great time to try new twists on traditions, try out new recipes, and share new experiences. I seriously contemplated attempting a Turducken. I researched it for days - three meats layered with three types of stuffings - this could be really good! I also kept running into reviews of it being "just so-so" and eventually we decided on going a different route that we were more familiar with - a deep fried turkey.

You can organize your Friendsgiving any way you'd like, but our friends typically conducted it in a "pot-luck style" fashion. The host handles the turkey, gravy, etc - and the other invitees fill in the menu with other holiday favorites like stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, rolls, vegetables, desserts and appetizers. You can really great creative with menu items and the pot-luck style helps spread out the cooking effort.

This was our first formal dinner party in our new house and I spent most of the time just prepping the house, unpacking my party serveware and making updates to personalize our home a little.


Did you see that magnetic chalkboard with the Friendsgiving sign above? That was one of my little projects I just had to do the week before the party. I had wanted a magnet board somewhere in the kitchen as well as a chalkboard, but some of the custom ones online looked quite expensive and never combined them both. Then, when I was at Ikea, I saw they had a totally affordable magnetic board and they said you could cover it with fabric and hot glue it in the back- cool, that's something I can do! More graphic prints that I love! I quickly googled to see if there were any magnetic backed chalkboards and Amazon had this awesome "ziggy board" which is way better than a chalkboard because these pens are brighter, easier to use, and wipe right off with water. Love it! Now I can use the chalkboard for reminders or menu lists, and use my personalized magnets for invites and other papers. When I get sick of the pattern, I can just rip it off and change it.


My mom is a wreath wiz and made me this super cute fall wreath (I glittered the B and added that), too bad hardly anyone uses our front door! Haha! I pressed these leaves and used some for decorations on my table as well. My mom was a big help with this party and she listened to all my ideas and gave me lots of great advice on the food and decorating!

I decided on a buffet-style way to serve the food - lay it all out in the kitchen for everyone to help themselves - and this left more room for decorating the table. This was more elaborate than I've ever done in the past so I had a lot of fun buying a new chevron runner from Etsy, making nice floral arrangements, pressing leaves, and adding other touches of fall decor with candles.


I also went to Nino's and got a cool assortment of fall and unusual flowers and made 3 flower arrangements - two with a white/green/yellow theme and one big red and yellow one for the table centerpiece. I used raffia to tie around the vases for extra decoration. It was really fun!!



More flowers on the table and also an extra arrangement in a green vase - even several days later I am enjoying the flowers!



I also was trying to bring in the old with the new - I hadn't cared for the design on my grandmother's china set that my mom was thinking of donating to good will, until I was planning for this party and realized it's perfect for a fall dinner. Plus, it has more meaning than just buying something new - it had a gold leaf pattern. My mom also has many wine and champagne glasses with gold and even a gold stainless steel silverware set - but! How was this going to go with my already ordered gray chevron table runner and silver/gray pattern curtains? Ah ha - a gold and silver, old and new - theme! I bought some cheap silver chargers from Bed Bath and Beyond and added raffia and silver ribbon with the napkins, and I think the overall look was a good mix of old and new, modern and traditional, silver and gold. It was really fun to plan it all out!


Now on to the best part - let's talk about all the food! I did not do a great job taking a picture of the appetizers or desserts, but I can still describe everything. I tried a few new recipes which I would definitely make again.

First and foremost, spiced nuts from Martha Stewart! They were the very yummiest homemade nuts I've ever had. I got the idea from watching "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" where Giada was talking about some rosemary nuts from a bar/restaurant in NYC. I tried that recipe the weekend before Friendsgiving but it was not quite sweet enough and too salty. Martha had a similar recipe but featured more butter and sugar so I knew that would be perfect and it was! The only thing her recipe was missing was a dash of cayenne so I added that, but it could have used some more to get a little spice going. Definitely try these - it's a perfect appetizer for holiday cocktail parties, the rosemary is very interesting and matches great especially with pecans - I used about 90% pecans vs the other nuts.


See Martha Stewart's recipe for Roasted Rosemary Nuts below! It's so yummy!
Rosemary Roasted Nuts
Adapted from Martha Stewart's recipe here. 
INGREDIENTS

2 cups mixed nuts, such as cashews, walnuts, and pecans
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Coarse salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I added this myself - add spice to your taste preference!)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, roast nuts until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat butter, sugar, and rosemary over medium-high. Add nuts; stir until butter mixture is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Spread nuts on prepared baking sheet; season with salt. Cool to room temperature, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes.

When I made it, I had extra butter/sugar chunks and it made for really tasty large brittle-like texture. I made three batches (6 cups of nuts) and had 1 cup leftover, for 11 people. They were delicious the next day, as well, so this is a good make-ahead dish. The problem is it's hard to ever have any leftover! We had impromptu guests a few days later so I made a 1.5 batch and I wish I had made more, it was only 3 people eating but it's mostly gone!

I had a selection of cheese and crackers - Costco had an interesting "tapas" selection of Manchego, Tipsy Goat and Iberico - pre-sliced which was convenient. The Londoner was gross though, I will not try that again! The blue cheese was fabulous though no one liked it plain however it played a key role in my next new appetizer recipe that I tried, which was a big hit - Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese!

I forgot to take a picture, but I used cute bamboo skewers with a twist at one end to secure them. Bacon is obviously delicious and this is a great tapas-style appetizer that is easy to put together and can be served room temperature! I tried this recipe the week before with my mom, half with goat cheese with herbs and half with blue cheese. I liked the herbs but the blue cheese gave the best tang! The dates are sweet like caramel candy, the bacon is salty and smokey, and the blue cheese inside breaks it all up with a tangy bite. Yum! Here is a photo of what they look like from the blog The Sweets Life:

They have the same recipe on their blog that I used from allrecipes.com:
Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese
INGREDIENTS
1/2 pound bacon cut in half
16 plump medjool dates, pits removed
2 or 3 oz blue cheese

DIRECTIONS
Spoon blue cheese into the center of each date and wrap with a half slice of bacon, then secure with a tooth pick or wooden skewer. Bake in the oven at 375 for 30-40 minutes until the bacon is crispy. If some of the cheese melts out, that's OK. These can be served warm or room temperature and they weren't half bad reheated the next day for leftovers!

Of course your guests who do not like blue cheese will not go for these, as The Husband would not try them, but it's worth it for the rest of us who love blue cheese. For me, I only want one or two of these, but many of my friends really had several and enjoyed them quite a bit.  They are a wonderful addition to a cocktail party especially if you are going for a tapas theme! Try them with your favorite cheese, too. I tried a Danish Blue from Papa Joe's and an American Blue from Costco, both were tangy but the Danish Blue was creamier. I got the dates from Costco as well - I buy these often, the boys and my parents love them!
Finally, I had planned on using my appetizer spoons somehow and was going to make shrimp. However, I eventually decided against it and bought some sushi and put one slice on each spoon and had a few different kinds of rolls for my 18 spoons. I put the soy sauce and ginger on top and there was also wasabi there and everything was ready in a bite-size package - forget the chop sticks! I thought it was a good way to use appetizer spoons with not much effort. I forgot to take a picture the day of so this was just a recreation that I did a few days later.


I was looking up ideas for fall cocktails and came across a Pear / Prosecco combination from Claire Robinson which I wanted to try. This was my "welcome" cocktail and it was pretty tasty though I'm not a big anise/licorice fan. Of course it's more of a girly drink and I wasn't thinking about the fact that most of my guests were either children, pregnant or men. Those of us who tried it enjoyed it and now I have a bottle of pear liqueur to figure out what to do with! I used my mom's gold champagne glasses on a silver tray for presentation. Would I make it again? No. But, it looked cool. As an aside, have you seen these super cute chalkboards I'm using for labeling foods? I saw them at Crate and Barrel a year or two ago and finally got to use them for this party. They came with some chalk but the ziggy pen from my ziggy board worked WAY better! Love it!


Anise and Pear Bubbly
Recipe from Claire Robinson, found here here
Ingredients
2 cups pear nectar
1 cup pear liqueur (recommended: Poire William)
2 star anise
4 bottles Prosecco
16 cranberries
Directions
In a small saucepan over moderate heat, add the nectar, pear liqueur and star anise. Bring up to a boil and turn heat off. Allow to steep for 5 minutes, then discard the star anise. Cool to room temperature and chill until ready to use.

To serve, drop 1 cranberry to the bottom of each champagne coupe or flute. Add 2 tablespoons of the spiced pear mixture for coupe glasses and 3 tablespoons for the flute glasses. Top with Prosecco and enjoy!

I liked the cranberry floating in the glass. I only opened one bottle of sparkling wine, Asti Spumanti, as that was more than plenty for the two people who were partaking!

After frying our cajun-seasoned (cajun and poultry seasoning rub and creole butter injection) 18 lb turkey for an hour or so, it was perfectly golden brown. I should have taken a picture of it before carving but trust me in saying it had the most beautiful crispy brown skin! Success! Our friend expertly carved it and he did a wonderful job, it looked beautiful on the platter and all of the sides that everyone contributed looked great, too. Finally it was time to eat! We had 11 adults and the 18 lb turkey was just the right size, hardly any leftovers.

I had decided on buffet style serving so the kitchen counter was cleared off and I used my new leaf-cut place mats as a backdrop for the food. Everything was delicious! We had Chris' sausage apple cornbread stuffing, Karen's sweet potatoes, Tom and Gwen's baked garlic green beans and rolls, Megan's cranberry relish and corn, and I finished out the dinner with classic mashed potatoes (inside that adorable ceramic bird serving dish - isn't that adorable?) and gravy. It was all so flavorful, everyone really enjoyed it and we were stuffed, and we haven't even gotten to dessert yet!

I didn't get all the recipes from everyone but everyone totally loved Karen's sweet potatoes - check out her recipe below - I have always wanted to try one of these casseroles with the marshmallows on top and I was so glad she brought this!!


Karen's Sweet Potato Casserole
Yield: 16 servings

Ingredients

Potatoes
2 ¼ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup half and half (may substitute whole milk for a lighter version)
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Cooking spray

Topping
1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions
1.              Preheat oven to 375°.
2.              To prepare potatoes, place potatoes in a dutch oven, and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until very tender.  Drain; cool slightly.
3.              Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Add half-and-half, ¾ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and vanilla.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.  Add eggs, beat well (mixture will be thin).  Scrape mixture into a 13” x 9” baking dish coated with cooking spray.
4.              To prepare topping, sprinkle miniature marshmallows over top of casserole.  Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife.  Combine flour, ¼ cup sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Stir in pecans, and sprinkle over potato mixture and marshmallows.  Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden brown.


The rolls, butter, gravy boats, cranberries and wine is ready and waiting at the table for us!


Next, let's talk about desserts! Andrea brought a lovely French apple cake which was chock full of apple and Megan made a delicious pumpkin pie from Crate and Barrel / Cook's Illustrated. She had put a lot of work into a homemade crust and the special preparation and wasn't sure about it but I loved it - it came out perfect. I found the recipe online - check it out below:

Pumpkin Pie 

by Cook's Illustrated as seen here.


Serves 8

Why This Recipe Works: Too often, pumpkin pie appears at the end of a Thanksgiving meal as a grainy, overspiced, canned ­pumpkin custard encased in a soggy crust. We wanted to create a pumpkin pie destined to be a new classic: velvety smooth, packed with pumpkin flavor, and redolent of just enough fragrant spices. To concentrate its flavor, we cooked the canned pumpkin with sugar and spices, then whisked in heavy cream, milk, and eggs. This improved the flavor and the hot filling helped the custard firm up quickly in the oven, preventing it from soaking into the crust. For spices, we chose nutmeg, cinnamon, and, surprisingly, freshly grated ginger. Sugar and maple syrup sweetened things, but for more complex flavor, we added mashed roasted yams to the filling (switching to canned candied yams streamlined the procedure). To keep the custard from curdling, we started the pie at a high temperature for 10 minutes, followed by a reduced temperature for the remainder of the baking time. This cut the baking time to less than an hour and the dual temperatures produced a creamy pie fully and evenly cooked from edge to center.
Make sure to buy unsweetened canned pumpkin; avoid pumpkin pie mix. If candied yams are unavailable, regular canned yams can be substituted. The crust must still be warm when the filling is added. When the pie is properly baked, the center 2 inches of the pie should look firm but jiggle slightly. The pie finishes cooking with residual heat; to ensure that the filling sets, let it cool at room temperature and not in the refrigerator. Serve with 
whipped cream.

  • 1 recipe Foolproof Single-Crust Pie Dough (see related recipe)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup canned candied yams, drained
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Lay pie dough on generously floured counter and roll dough outward from its center into 12-inch circle. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it over 9-inch pie plate. Lift dough and gently press it into pie plate, letting excess hang over plate’s edge.
2. Using kitchen shears, trim all but 1/2 inch of dough overhanging edge of pie plate. Tuck dough underneath itself to form tidy, even edge that sits on lip of pie plate. Use index finger of one hand and thumb and index finger of other hand to create fluted ridges perpendicular to edge of pie plate. Wrap dough-lined pie plate loosely in plastic and freeze until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Line chilled pie crust with double layer of aluminum foil, covering edges to prevent burning, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake until pie dough looks dry and is pale in color, 25 to 30 minutes.
4. Transfer pie plate to wire rack and remove weights and foil. Return crust to oven and continue to bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack and let cool slightly. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
5. While crust bakes, whisk cream, milk, eggs and yolks, and vanilla together in bowl. Bring pumpkin, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to simmer in large saucepan and cook, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer into bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Whisk mixture, then pour into warm prebaked pie crust.
7. Place pie on prepared sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and continue to bake until edges of pie are set and center registers 175 degrees, 25 to 45 minutes longer. Let pie cool on wire rack to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. Serve.







Also my mom was nice enough to participate even though she wasn't attending, and she made delicious spice cookies and buckeyes. I also couldn't resist getting some cupcake-shaped chocolates and belgium chocolate cups from Costco just to add some items to the dessert table.


Last but not least, did you see that super cute fruit turkey? This was an idea I saw online and it was one of the first things I did to prepare Saturday and then I covered it and put it in the garage to chill and totally forgot to serve it! I noticed it after all the kids were done eating - oh well - I brought it out at the last minute and we enjoyed most of it the next day as well. I used a pear and jabbed in the skewers and then cut a clementine for the beak and fixed it on with a toothpick, along with the strawberry underneath and a sliced blueberry for the eyes - also fixed on with toothpicks. Cute!

I hope you enjoyed all of my fall recipes and Friendsgiving ideas! We are very blessed to have wonderful friends and family and very thankful everyone could make it. I hope you try a Friendsgiving or some new recipes for your Thanksgiving meal - let me know your favorite recipes!