Tag Archives: martha stewart

Mini Pumpkin Trifle with Cranberry Sauce and Whipped Cream Cheese

If you aren’t sick of pumpkin yet, it is your lucky day! If you are sick of pumpkin, never fear, you will soon be sick of peppermint. I’m planning a “12 Days of Christmas” and can’t seem to get away from the peppermint. ‘Tis the season!

But one last  pumpkin post. Yes, it is technically after Thanksgiving and we are supposed to have moved on from said pumpkin. In my defense, I had these made long before Turkey Day, but in true holiday fashion, was just too darned busy to sit down and actually write. Somehow the week before Thanksgiving I had more commitments lined up than I cared for. Too often the holiday season blurs by us without being able to sit back and enjoy the finer things.

Like pumpkin.

The previous post was all about pumpkin bread. That recipe made two loaves, which I would have gladly eaten every last bite, but really don’t have the budget to go out and buy all new clothes in the next size up. And, as previously mentioned, I was hosting a bunch of ladies for our November social. I was in charge of the bread and dessert, everyone else brought the soup. Since the week was already beyond busy, I needed something quick, easy, and tasty. Cute didn’t hurt either. Enter the Mini Pumpkin Trifle.

I’ve found that when you get a bunch of women together, they don’t eat much. Well, dessert anyhow. Even though you know that we all want to devour dessert. Or is that just me? If so, I’m ok with that. I like my dessert. But for this occasion I kept it small and easy to eat.

It started as just some pumpkin bread with a little whip cream on top. But no, I had to add more to my week. I thought it needed some color. What goes great with pumpkin? Cranberry sauce of course. But then I worried there was no texture. It needed a crunch. And what goes with cranberry and pumpkin? Ginger shortbread.  And that is my life, adding more to my schedule than I probably need to. But hey, that’s what women do best, right? Right.

And look at how cute they turned out! I’m not sure if I was more excited to eat the dessert or use the dishes. Complete with mini spoons!

While this dessert has four components, it doesn’t need all four, and each part is very easy and can be made ahead of time. The first is the pumpkin bread from the previous post. I kept one loaf out, froze the other and then thawed it out on the counter. Tasted just as fresh as day one.

The next part is cranberry sauce. This is the same cranberry sauce I use at Thanksgiving every year. I left out the cornstarch and instead smashed the cranberries which thickened the sauce. It can be made two days in advance. Maybe more but I’ve never tried!

I took a shortbread cookie from Martha Stewart. The recipe calls for cutting out the shortbread into shapes, and since I just wanted small slices of shortbread, I knew this would work great. I added ginger until the taste was right.

Must smell good….my pup was very curious!

And the whip cream – insanely easy. I wanted to use Mascarpone, but had some cream cheese leftover from something (who knows what, that seems like an eternity ago!). Either would work great.

So there you have it. Four recipes all combined into one great little dessert. Assemble however you see fit. Since my dishes  were so tiny, I just did one layer of each, but if you have bigger bowls more layers would be great. I assembled several hours before my event and chilled. The less you need to do before guests arrive, the better.

Yield: Depends on your serving size. Will make around 20 small dishes.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Brioche & French Toast

Difficulty: Easy!

Pumpkin Bread

Cranberry Sauce

Adapted from Emeril (bam!)

  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange (fine zest)
  • 1/4 cup Port (any sweet wine will work, in a pinch you could use cranberry juice but hold back on the sugar if it is sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (add more later if desired)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Add all ingredients to pan and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and smash cranberries. Sauce will thicken. Let cool and chill for later use.

Ginger Shortbread

Adapted from Martha Stewart

*Note: the original recipe calls for cranberries in the cookie. You could probably skip the sauce and just make these cookies as is and it would still be great I’m sure. The ginger was very subtle, so if you like a stronger ginger taste, add more. Best if made at least one day in advance.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Butter an 8×8 (or 9×9) baking pan and then line with parchment overhanging.

2. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in mixer about three minutes. You want light and fluffy, but not too light and fluffy.

3.In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and ginger. Add to butter mixture and mix until dough ball forms. Press into prepared pan.

4. Bake until slightly golden on edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool and cut.

Mascarpone Cream

Mascarpone Cream

  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (cream cheese should be at room temp, but not mascarpone)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Using electric mixer, beat cream, mascarpone, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl until peaks form. Can be made a few hours ahead, but should be day of.

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Triple Chocolate Brownies

The other day I was browsing a magazine and came across a recipe for Chocolate tart. It looked amazing and immediately had me craving chocolate (big surprise, I know!). But I honestly was in no mood for the work a tart would require. However, I still needed to satisfy my chocolate craving. So I turned to my favorite brownie recipe, Martha Stewarts Double Chocolate Brownies. Yes, my title says Triple Chocolate. Well, I’ve made a few changes in the several times I’ve made these brownies. But the base is solid – always delicious and easy. So feel free to make your own changes as they suit you. After all, brownies can be a very personal thing!

Now what makes these triple chocolate? The three forms of chocolate in the brownies: semisweet chocolate, Dutch-process cocoa powder, and my addition, white chocolate. I know white chocolate isn’t technically a chocolate, but for all intensive purposes, we are counting it towards the “Triple” in the title. Here’s a summary of white chocolate, courtesy of Wikipedia. Basically, it is cocoa butter but no cocoa. And I personally still think it is delicious and makes a wonderful addition to these brownies. Add them if you like, or maybe add nuts if you like nuts in your brownies.

The other changes I made were adding 2 TB of coffee (a must in just about any chocolate recipe, in my opinion. Really enhances the chocolate), and for the first time, I sprinkled sea salt on the top, which I will be doing every time now. As Martha says, these bars are solid enough to take on a picnic, or to serve at the end of a dinner party. I’ve done that a couple times and they are always a hit.

The best way to eat this is with a scoop of ice cream – I prefer blackberry. It pairs perfectly with the chocolate. If you can’t find blackberry, then vanilla or coffee will work wonderfully! And of course, they are great all by themselves, no ice cream necessary.

One of the biggest reasons I love this recipe is because it is so easy to make. No need for a box mix when you have this recipe!

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Modified slightly from Martha Stewart Double Chocolate Brownies

  • 6 TB unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Guittard – remember to use good chocolate!)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 TB strong coffee, cooled
  • 3 oz white chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a buttered 8 inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2 in overhang.

2. Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering (not boiling!) water. Stir until butter and chocolate have melted. (Since you are melting the cocoa powder, there is no reason to sift. But normally, sift your cocoa powder!) Let cool slightly.

3.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Put sugar, eggs, vanilla, and coffee in mixer bowl and beat with paddle attachment (original recipe says whisk, I prefer the paddle for a denser brownie. If you’d like yours airier, then use the whisk) and mix until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture. Mix until well combined, making sure to scrape the sides. Add white chocolate and mix just until combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake about 10 minutes, then lightly sprinkle some sea salt on the brownies. Put back into oven. Bake until cake tester inserted into brownies (not in the center or edges, but somewhere in between) comes out with a few crumbs but not wet, about 35 minutes. However, a little wet will just make for gooier brownies, so if that’s what you like, then by all means take take them out early!

Let cool as long as you can, and satisfy that chocolate craving. Yummy!

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

I don’t even know where to start with these. “Oh My God, so Good”. “The definition of yumminess”. “Little bites of Heaven”. All of these describe these cookies, yet just don’t seem like the right words. I do know that these are my new second favorite cookie, being second only to The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever. They aren’t even really second. They are more like 1b. I had no idea I would like these so much. I’ve had whoopie pies before, I’ve had pumpkin before, but these just blew me away! I actually had to make two batches and the second batch was even better than the first because the icing was better. And they turned out much prettier the second time.

The second batch with smooth filling.

The first batch I used mascarpone for the filling. I had 8 oz of mascarpone and only 4 oz of cream cheese. So I went with the mascarpone. Now, I’ve learned this painful lesson before but apparently it wasn’t painful enough the first time because I did the same thing again. Do not let mascaparone come to room temperature the same way you would with cream cheese. It becomes grainy and starts to separate. Cream cheese does not do this but I just wasn’t thinking apparently. Thankfully, they still tasted amazing even with the less than pretty icing. See the graininess?

The first batch with the grainy icing.

I also made them too big the first time, which explained the initial confusion over making 2 1/2 dozen verses the 4 dozen the recipe said. Again, my mind just wasn’t clear this day! The next day I made a half batch since the first batch was devoured in a very short period of time by my husband’s students. So the grainy icing didn’t matter too much! The first day I used a scoop that was about 1 1/2 TB. The second day I made them with the 1 TB scoop. This size was much better. The bigger ones were quite big, too big for whoopie pies in my opinion.

I got the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker who got it from a friend, but several commenters said it was the same recipe from Matt Lewis, which is also credited on Martha Stewart’s Whoopie Pies. So this recipe has been around the block, and with good reason. The flavors are very intense and feel as though you have the holidays melting in your mouth. These could even be your Thanksgiving Day dessert, with a bowl of cinnamon ice cream? Oh yeah. Now we’re talking.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

The cookies:

  • 3 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TB cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (if you don’t have turbinado, just use all granulated)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups chilled pumpkin (about 1 1/2 cans)
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the oil and sugars together until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined. Add the vanilla.

4. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix until combined and fairly smooth.

5. Using a tablespoon scoop, scoop level amounts of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. These won’t spread much, but keep them about 1 inch apart.

6. Bake about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.

The icing:

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups powered sugar
  • 3 TB maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. With a mixer, whip the butter until smooth.

2. Add the cream cheese and mix until smooth.

3. Add the sugar 1 cup at a time and mix until fluffy.

4. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and mix.

To assemble:

Here again a piping bag will be your friend. No fancy tips needed, no coupler, just the bag. It makes filling the cookies much faster. To assemble, flip half the cookies over once they are cool. Pipe about a tablespoon of filling in each.

The cookies halves.

Then simply place the top on the cookie and press lightly so the filling spreads to the edges. And then eat!

Note: Since these have a cream cheese center, make sure you chill them.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies

Chocolate peanut butter goodness.I don’t know about you, but I’m drooling just from the title. Chocolate and peanut butter in a whoopie pie? Thank you, Martha Stewart! These cookies were easy, yet a little time consuming, and are a wonderful treat, particularly with a scoop of coffee ice cream. Oh yeah, now we’re talking!

The recipe makes about 36 sandwiches, which is why it takes so long. That’s 72 cookies to scoop and bake. However, they bake quickly. I went easy on the peanut butter filling, not because it wasn’t delicious but because I thought the peanut butter overpowered the delicate chocolate cake/cookie. The chocolate insisted on equal representation! But if you are a peanut butter fanatic…load up! I had quite a bit leftover peanut butter, which also goes wonderfully over, you guessed it, coffee ice cream (preferrably Haagen Daz Five).

Thanks again, Martha, for a solid recipe! It was a hit!

Here’s the recipe

For the Cookies:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch-process
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Coarse salt, optional 

Directions:

Make cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl; set aside.
Put butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
Make filling: Put peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add confectioners’ sugar; mix until combined. Raise speed to high, and mix until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Season with salt, if desired.
Assemble cookies: Spread 1 scant tablespoon filling on the bottom of 1 cookie. Sandwich with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Cookies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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