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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Halloween

RECIPE: Skeleton Gingerbread Cookies

skeleton-gingerbreadmen-grandmasmolassesFB-230

Try your hand at making skeletons from royal
icing. Photo courtesy Grandma’s Molasses |
Facebook.

 

If you only use your gingerbread people cookie cutters for Christmas, you’re missing out on another holiday application: gingerbread skeletons for Halloween, the skeletons piped on with royal icing.

We don’t have the skill that of the professional who created these nifty skeleton designs, but we used the opportunity to practice, practice, practice (and although we still need a lot of practice, the cookies taste great). You can also try a paint brush instead of piping.

RECIPE: HALLOWEEN SKELETON GINGERBREAD COOKIES

Ingredients

For The Gingerbread

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
 
For The Royal Icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 large egg whites, beaten
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CREAM the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the molasses and beat well. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again to thoroughly combine.

    2. SIFT the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.

    3. DIVIDE the dough into three balls and flatten slightly. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly: at least an hour (or you can do this part a day in advance).

    4. ROLL out the dough and use your cookie cutter to create the forms. Bake at 350°F for 9 minutes. Cool and ice.

    5. MAKE the icing: Sift the powdered sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat in the beaten egg whites, for about 5 minutes or until the icing is thick enough to hold its shape. Use immediately.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Halloween Ice Cream

    While crafty cooks are inspired to turn ice cream cones into witches’ hats and use candies to create ghost and black cat faces on a scoop of vanilla or chocolate, specific Halloween ice cream flavors don’t typically come to mind. (When did you last see pumpkin ice cream?)

    Baskin Robbins will sell you an ice cream cake in the shape of a jack o’lantern or a haunted house.

    But our friends at Talenti inspired us by carving a jack o’lantern face into their Alphonse Mango Sorbetto, naturally colored like a harvest moon.

    Perfect, we thought; and promptly bought a few pints to carve and then pass, lid on, around the dinner table as a Halloween surprise.

    With its deep orange color, we nominate mango a Halloween flavor, served plain or with a scoop of vanilla for a delicious “Creamsicle” effect. For extra panache, layer the flavors in a glass parfait or sundae dish or a wine goblet.

    More Halloween ice cream ideas:

       
    talenti-mango-jack-o-lantern--230

    Mango sorbet: a great holiday color. Photo courtesy Talenti.com.

     

     

    Carmel-Apple-Pie-talenti-230

    Another seasonal option: Caramel Apple Pie.
    Photo courtesy Talenti.

     
    • Substitute orange sorbet for mango, or serve them together.
    • Freeze orange or mango sorbet into balls and make jack o’lantern faces with a tube of black decorating gel.
    • Top ice cream with a Halloween cookie, such as Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Oreos, Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies (soft, oversize cookies you can use as a base for the ice cream), or Lucy’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Patch Cookies. We also discovered a local brand of ginger snaps shaped like jack o’lanterns (plain ginger snaps will do) and pumpkin spice cookie mixes from Betty Crocker and Pillsbury.
    • Candy corn: a few kernels create a seasonal garnish for vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
    • Try eyeball candy instead of a maraschino cherry.

     
    Other ideas? Let us know!

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Spiced Almonds

    The roasted almonds are sweetened with sugar, brown sugar and honey, and spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and pumpkin powder (dried, ground pumpkin—look for it at natural food stores or online). The 19.75-ounce can is available at retailers nationwide (approximately $9.95 depending on retailer).

    It’s easy to make spiced nuts—almonds, pecans, walnuts or other favorite—to enjoy:

    • With cocktails
    • As snacks
    • As garnish for cakes, cupcakes, puddings, ice cream and other treats
    • In green salads with goat cheese or blue cheese
    • As sides with coffee, tea and hot chocolate
    • As gifts, in a small tin, plastic container or cellophane bag tied with ribbon

     
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICED NUTS

    We adapted this recipe from one by Spice Islands. The nuts can be made up to three days ahead. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you’re making a lot, it’s best to make them in small batches to ensure that the nuts are thoroughly coated.

       

    pumpkin-spice-almonds-can-planters-230

    Limited Edition Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds. Nuts are better-for-you for snacking; these Planters nuts have 5 grams of protein in every serving.

     

    planters-pumpkin-spice-nuts-kaminsky-230

    Seasonal snacking: Planter’s Pumpkin Spiced
    Almonds. Photo by Hannah Kaminsky | THE
    NIBBLE.

     

    Ingredients

    • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
    • 1 tablespoon white sugar
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon finely-ground pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove or nutmeg
    • 2 cups almonds

     
    Varying The Spices

    Instead of a pepper-allspice blend, you can use cayenne and other favorites. There is no right or wrong combination: just what you like. For an herbal edge, we often add rosemary or sage. Consider adding:

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ground orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground rosemary
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

    2. COMBINE corn syrup, sugar, salt, black pepper, allspice and white pepper in a bowl. Add pecans; stir gently to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

    3. BAKE almonds for 5 minutes; stir. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes more, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer pecans to a sheet of wax paper. Separate nuts with a fork. Cool.

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Candy Corn Macarons

    Dana’s Bakery makes delicious macarons; they’ve been a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, and a favorite gift we send to macaron lovers (the Macaron Of The Month Club is a luxurious gift for the connoisseur).

    The cookies are both tender and tantalizing, thanks to Dana’s eye for color and palate for flavor. We haven’t found more creative offerings anywhere.

    The “Flavor of the Month” for October is Candy Corn, is a vanilla macaron in candy corn colors—orange, white and yellow. And surprise: There’s a piece of candy con embedded in the filling.

    Candy Corn macarons are available until October 31st at DanasBakery.com or by calling 1.800.477.1816 ($30 for twelve).

    Bonus: All macarons are made with gluten-free almond flour.

     

    candy-corn-macarons-danasbakery3-230

    A sophisticated macaron interpretation of candy corn. We love it! Photo courtesy Dana’s Bakery.

     

    THE HISTORY OF MACAROONS & MACARONS

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Pumpkin Cider

    pumpkin-cider-hkaminsky-230

    Pumpkin cider, with or without rum. Photo ©
    Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    People speak of comfort foods; this is a comfort drink. Thick, flavorful, fragrant pumpkin cider made with pumpkin purée is a seasonal treat that can be served to kids or turned into a cocktail with spiced rum.

    RECIPE: SPICED PUMPKIN CIDER

    Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix, which is seasoned)
  • 2-1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup spiced rum (or substitute more apple cider)
  • Garnish: whipped cream, fresh-ground nutmeg
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the pumpkin, cider, spice and cinnamon stick in a medium-large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil; then simmer for 20 minutes. If you’d prefer a thinner drink, add more cider to achieve desired consistency.

    2. REMOVE the cinnamon stick; strain the mixture to remove any clumps. Add the rum stir. Garnish with optional whipped cream or nutmeg. Serve warm.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Burger

    Pumpkin is the not-so-secret ingredient in these veggie burgers, which have real nutritional heft thanks to the addition of chickpeas and pumpkin seed protein powder.

    Whether you’re determined to keep the spirit of summer alive or looking to transition into more autumnal foods, these pumpkin burgers span both worlds. You can make a double batch: The finished patties freeze beautifully.

    The recipe was developed by Hannah Kaminsky.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN PROTEIN BURGERS

    Ingredients For 6-8 Burgers

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 14-ounce can (1-3/4 cups cooked) chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seed protein powder
  • Salt and pepper
  •    

    pumpkin-burger-kaminsky-230

    Make your veggie burger a pumpkin burger. Recipe and photo © Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

  • Optional condiment: pumpkin hummus (mix pumpkin purée into plain hummus)
  •  

    organic-pumpkin-puree-can-farmersmarket-230

    We like this organic pumpkin purée. Photo
    courtesy Farmer’s Market Foods.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly grease and set aside.

    2. HEAT the olive oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. When it is shimmering, add the garlic and onions, sautéing until aromatic and lightly golden brown. This should take no more than 6 to 8 minutes; be careful not to overdo it or you could burn the garlic.

    3. DEGLAZE the pan with the balsamic vinegar, turn off the heat and let the mix cool for 10 minutes.

    4. ROUGHLY MASH the chickpeas in a separate bowl, with a fork or potato masher. Keep the texture fairly coarse so that the burger maintains a satisfying bite. Add in the pumpkin purée, mustard, spices and herbs, mixing well to incorporate. When cool enough to handle…

    5. ADD the sautéed vegetables and pumpkin seed protein powder; stir to combine. Mix thoroughly, making sure that there are no pockets of dry ingredients. The mixture should be soft but manageable—something you can fairly easily mold into patties that will hold their shape. Season with salt and pepper to taste. With slightly moistened hands…

     
    6. MEASURE between 1/3 and 1/2 cup of the burger mixture for each patty, and form into round, flat pucks. Space them out evenly on the sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake 10 more minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before removing from the sheet.

    7. SERVE while still hot, or cool completely before freezing and storing (for up to 6 months).

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Gouda Cheese With Spicy Pumpkin Seed Brittle

    Who but the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (EatWisconsinCheese.com) would come up with this innovative pairing: Gouda cheese with pumpkin seed brittle! Serve it as dessert during “pumpkin season.”

    The result, while seemingly simple, is a complex dessert that is creamy, crunchy, spicy and sweet. (If you don’t like spicy foods, leave out the pepper.)

    RECIPE: SPICY PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE

    Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) hulled spicy roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and/or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Gouda or other favorite cheese
  •  

    A seasonal “cheese course.” Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     

    Preparation

    1. STIR together the baking soda and melted butter; set aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside a second sheet the same size. Butter the parchment on one side.

    2. COMBINE the sugar, water and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan; bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; wash down any sugar crystals on sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Simmer the syrup 10 to 12 minutes until it reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat. With a wooden spoon, add the pumpkin seeds and pepper.

    3. RETURN the pan to medium-low heat while stirring; melt again until mixture turns amber brown and reaches 290°F (if the syrup becomes granular during cooking, continue to cook until it remelts). Remove from heat; stir in butter-baking soda mixture with wooden spoon.

    4. POUR the mixture onto the prepared cookie sheet; cover with the second parchment sheet. Press the mixture with a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thick. Remove the top layer of parchment; cool completely; crack brittle.

    5. STORE the brittle between layers of parchment in a sealed container for up to two weeks. Plate with a wedge of Gouda cheese, or serve alongside a platter of assorted cheeses.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Load Up On Pumpkin Foods

    Butternut-Squash-Ravioli-pom-wonderful-230

    Pumpkin ravioli. Photo courtesy Pom
    Wonderful.

     

    Some people don’t like pumpkin, so fall offers them no pumpkin joy. Others are so excited that a diet of pumpkin latte, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pancakes is seasonal splendor.

    It becomes a Bubba Gump menu of pumpkin: pumpkin bagels and cream cheese, pumpkin pancake mix and coffee creamer for breakfast; pumpkin spice yogurt or soup for lunch, pumpkin pasta or risotto for dinner; pumpkin spice cookies and loaf cakes for snacking; and of course, for dessert, pumpkin pie and pumpkin ice cream.

    And that’s just what you can pick up in the store! We got a mailer from Trader Joe’s that was all pumpkin, all the time; so we headed over to load up on pumpkin products.

    All of the following are available at Trader Joe’s (except asterisked items), and many are available at other retailers nationwide.

    Breakfast

  • Pumpkin Croissants
  • Country Pumpkin Spice Granola
  • Joe’s Pumpkin O’s (Cheerios-type cereal with pumpkin and cinnamon)
  • Organic Pumpkin Toaster Pastries
  • Pecan Pumpkin Instant Oatmeal
  • Pumpkin Bagels and Pumpkin Cream Cheese (what a treat!)
  • Pumpkin Butter
  • Pumpkin Bread Muffin Mix
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Scone Mix
  • Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
  • Pumpkin Greek Yogurt
  • Pumpkin Pancake & Waffle Mix, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancake Mix
  • Pumpkin Rolls with Pumpkin Spice Icing
  • Pumpkin Spice Coffee
  • This Pumpkin Walks Into A Bar (cereal bars)
  •  
    Snacks

  • Pumpkin Brittle Chips
  • Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramels
  • Iced Pumpkin Scone Cookies
  • Pita Chips With Cranberries & Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps (crackers)
  • Pumpkin Joe Joes (sandwich cookies)
  • Pumpkin Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte Mix
  •  

    Lunch & Dinner

  • Honey Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli
  • Organic Canned Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Ale
  • Pumpkin Cornbread Mix
  • Pumpkin Croutons
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (to season sweet potatoes, squash,
    rice)
  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Toasted Seed Pumpkin Oil (for grains, salads, vegetables)
  •  
    Dessert

  • Ginger Pumpkin Mini Mouthfuls (ice cream sandwiches)
  • Pumpkin Bar Baking Mix
  • Pumpkin Biscotti
  • Pumpkin Bread Pudding
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  •  

    Pumpkin-CreamCheese-traderjoes-230

    Pumpkin cream cheese is a seasonal favorite at THE NIBBLE. Photo courtesy Trader Joe’s.

  • Pumpkin Ice Cream
  • Pumpkin Macarons
  • Pumpkin Pie Mochi Ice Cream
  • Pumpkin Pie and Mini Pumpkin Pies
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  •  

    Plus…

  • Mini Decorative Pumpkins
  • Orange Pumpkins
  • Pumpkin Body Butter (skin care)
  •  
    Head for the store!

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Seed Brittle

    pumpkin-brittle-zulka-230ps

    Surprise friends and family with some
    pumpkin brittle, garnished with a drizzle of
    chocolate. Photo courtesy Zulka.

     

    Here’s aother delicious recipe from our friends at Zulka sugar: pumpkin brittle. Enjoy it by itself, with a cup of tea or a pumpkin spice latte. Make a batch to celebrate Halloween, or to bring to Thanksgiving dinner.

    You can customize the recipe by adding other seeds—nutritious chia, flax, hemp, nigella or sesame, for example. We actually prefer the deeper flavor complexity of a pumpkin-sesame seed mix. Just keep the total of all seeds to two cups.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SEED BRITTLE WITH
    CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 8 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups roasted and lightly salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  •  

    Preparation

    1. SET out a cookie sheet and top with a silicon baking mat or wax paper. Lightly oil the mat or wax paper.

    2. COMBINE the sugars, butter, salt and water in a sauce pan over medium-high heat; stir. Once the butter is completely melted, stir again and clip on a candy thermometer and heat to 300°F.

    3. REMOVE from the heat and immediately stir in the baking soda. Add the pumpkin seeds and stir well. Quickly spread over the mat or wax paper and spread to the edges with a lightly oiled silicon spatula. Let cool 30 minutes. Gently break into pieces.

    4. POUR the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 30 second intervals until the chocolate chips are fully melted, stirring as they get more melted until smooth. Spoon the melted chocolate into a baggie or disposable pastry bag and snip a very small piece off one corner. Drizzle over the brittle pieces. Chill the brittle to set the chocolate. Store in an airtight container.
     
    Find more delicious recipes at Zulka.com.

     
      

    Comments

    HALLOWEEN: Trick Or Treat With Pumpkin Brownies

    It will be a ghoulishly delightful change this Halloween when you serve Fairytale Brownies’ new Halloween brownies in Pumpkin Spice, with a Halloween label that features jack-o-lanterns and bats.

    Perfect for party favors, the individually wrapped, 3” x 3” dark chocolate brownies are also sold in bulk by the dozen, if you want to present them on a dessert tray or plate them individually (perhaps as the base of a brownie sundae, with pumpkin ice cream?).

    Treat your friends, treat your co-workers, and let these delicious brownies melt in your mouth. Like all Fairytale Brownies, they are made with Callebaut Belgian chocolate, alfarm fresh eggs, pure creamery butter and dark brown sugar. Then, sweet pumpkin purée is blended with cream cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger, and swirled into the brownie batter.

    And although religious Jews don’t celebrate Halloween, the Fairytale line is certified kosher (dairy) by the Greater Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth.

       

    trick-or-treat-brownies-fairytale-230

    Trick or treat! These Pumpkin Spice Brownies are definitely a treat. Photo courtesy Fairytale Brownies.

     

     

    pumpkin-spice-brownies-fairytale-230

    Pumpkin Spice Brownies in a gift box have a
    plain cellophane wrap. Photo courtesy
    Fairytale Brownies.

     

    HOLIDAY GIFTS: THANKSGIVING & CHRISTMAS

    For Thanksgiving treats, hostess gifts and holiday gift giving, the Pumpkin Spice Brownies are available in a plain cellophane wrap, in a gift box. You can choose all Pumpkin Spice Brownies, or a combination box with Chocolate Chip Brownies.

    The Pumpkin Spice Brownies are limited edition, available only through December 31, 2014. But if you can’t live without them, they do freeze beautifully.

    Get yours at Brownies.com.

     

      

    Comments

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