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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 Recipes

TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Italian-American families often have a festive pasta dish such as lasagna at the Thanksgiving table, along with traditional Turkey Day foods.

We’ve got two options for Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, a treat throughout the holiday season. Both recipes are courtesy of Cabot Creamery, makers of our favorite supermarket Cheddar.

This first recipe is courtesy of Kristina LaRue, RD, LDN, for Cabot Creamery. It uses better-for-you whole grain pasta and flour. Note that in this recipe, you can substitute white pastry flour and conventional elbow macaroni; but in baking cookies, cakes, muffins, etc., the substitution proportions will differ.

RECIPE: PUMPKIN MAC & CHEESE

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces whole grain elbow macaroni
  • 4 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 cups nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup 100% pure canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 ounces Cabot Alpine Cheddar*, shredded and divided
  • 6 ounces Cabot White Oak Cheddar*, shredded and divided
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  •    

    Pumpkin_Mac_and_Cheese_cabot-230

    Pumpkin Mac & Cheese. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery.

     
    *The recipe used Cabot Alpine Cheddar and Cabot White Oak Cheddar, but you can substitute Sharp Cheddar or Extra Sharp Cheddar.
     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Coat a 13 X 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

    2. COOK the macaroni to al dente according to package directions. Rinse and drain.

    3. LINE a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange bacon. Cook bacon for 10 minutes and blot dry. Crumble and set aside.

    4. MELT the butter in large pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and slowly add the milk until the mixture is smooth and the ingredients are incorporated.

    5. STIR in the canned pumpkin and continue to whisk until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the spices, cheese (reserve 1/2 cup for topping) and yogurt, whisking quickly to combine until the cheese is melted.

    6. POUR the macaroni into the prepared baking dish and coat evenly with the pumpkin cheese sauce. Top with the remaining cheese and bacon.

    7. BAKE for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

     

    Mac___Cheese_in_a_Pumpkin-cabot-230

    Your favorite mac and cheese recipe can served in a baked pumpkin. Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery.

     

    RECIPE: MAC & CHEESE BAKED IN A PUMPKIN

    This recipe is baked in a pumpkin, but there is no pumpkin flesh in the recipe. Instead, you can use the recipe above for a pumpkin-in-pumpkin dish.

    Ingredients For 16 Servings

  • 1 large pumpkin, about 11 inches in diameter, preferably with one flat side
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups small elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Large pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups whole milk, heated
  • 2 pounds (about 8 cups) Cabot Sharp Cheddar or Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated & divided
  • 1 cup buttered bread crumbs
  • Optional garnish: sprigs of fresh thyme
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 375ºF.

    2. PLACE the pumpkin flat-side-down or remove thin slice from one side so the pumpkin will be stable. With a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin in half horizontally, slightly above stem, to form a bowl. Remove the fiber and seeds. With a spoon or an ice cream scoop, scrape out some of the flesh so shell has a thickness of 3/4 to 1 inch.

    3. SPRAY the top edge of the pumpkin with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil; then place it cut-side down on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until the pumpkin still holds it shape but the flesh is cooked and can be pierced easily with a toothpick. While pumpkin bakes…

    4. COOK the macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

    5. MAKE the cheese sauce: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Sprinkle the flour into the butter and whisk constantly until there is a thick, smooth paste with nutty aroma (about 5 minutes).

    6. ADD the mustard, red pepper and Worcestershire. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue stirring until the sauce thickens and returns to a simmer.

    7. REDUCE the heat to low. Add 7 cups of the cheese and stir until melted. Add the macaroni, stirring until well coated; remove from the heat.

    8. TURN the baked pumpkin over with oven mitts. Place it in a large shallow baking dish (from which you’ll serve it), or leave it on the baking sheet. Fill the pumpkin with the macaroni mixture and top with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. (Put any mac and cheese that won’t fit into another small baking dish).

    9. BAKE until the filling is puffed and golden, about 40 to 50 minutes longer (a smaller baking dish will be done sooner). Let stand for about 10 minutes to settle before serving. Garnish and serve.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Chocolate Pumpkin Tart

    One year we made pumpkin pie with a chocolate cookie crust. But here’s an even better filling for that crust, that marries pumpkin and chocolate.

    “There’s just something about the combination of pumpkin, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and chocolate that make me go a little weak in the knees,” says Annalise Sandberg of CompletelyDelicious.com. “This tart is almost equal parts pumpkin and chocolate and is sure to win over everyone.”

    The prep time is 15 minutes, cook time 1 hour. The yield: 8 servings.

    If you’d like to bake something with a special twist this Thanksgiving, go for it! Find more recipes at CompletelyDelicious.com and GoBoldWithButter.com.

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN TART

    Ingredients For The Chocolate Cookie Crust

  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet or dark chocolate, melted
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream.
  •    

    Chocolate-Pumpkin-Tart-completelydeliciousGBWB-230

    The art of the tart: chocolate swirled into pumpkin. Photo courtesy Completely Delicious | Go Bold With Butter.

     

     

    bittersweet-disks-2kingarthurflour-230

    Bittersweet chocolate disks from Guittard. The better the chocolate, the tastier the outcome. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. MAKE the cookie crust: Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, salt and butter together in small bowl and mix with fork. Press into a buttered 8-inch tart pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set crust aside.

    3. MAKE the filling: Combine the eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add the pumpkin purée and heavy cream and mix until incorporated. Measure 1 cup of the mixture and set aside.

    4. MELT the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.

    5. SET the baked crust on a sheet pan and pour the filling into the crust. Combine the melted chocolate with the reserved filling. Spoon it on top of the on top of the partially filled crust and swirl it into the existing filling.

    6. BAKE until the center is set and no longer appears shiny, 40-45 minutes. Let the tart cool to room temperature. Store in fridge until ready to serve.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Watermelon Turkey

    We found this turkey on the Facebook page of the Watermelon Board. Whoever created it: We like your style!

    You can make one with a small watermelon plus:

  • Miniature bell peppers
  • Skewers of grapes and cheese cubes
  • A small pear
  • Raisins for eyes
  •  
    Give it to the kids as a project, and let them proudly display it as the centerpiece!

    Check out dozens of nifty watermelon carvings for every holiday and special special occasion, on Watermelon.org.

     

    watermelon-turkey-watermelon.orgFB-230

    Make this fruit and vegetable turkey as a holiday centerpiece. Photo courtesy Watermelon Board | Facebook.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Unsweetened Whipped Cream

    whipped-cream-230-IST-b

    Grab your hand mixer and start whipping! Photo by Robert Matic | IST.

     

    If you’re putting whipped cream on a very sweet dessert, such as pecan pie or double chocolate cake, you can halve the sugar in the whipped cream or eliminate it entirely.

    An unsweetened or just slightly sweet whipped cream provides a better counterpoint to the sweetness of the dessert. Otherwise, the sweet-on-sweet can be cloying.

    Another tip: Make your own whipped cream. Once you see how easy it is and how much better it tastes, you’ll never go back to store-bought aerosol cans.

    Just look at the ingredients comparison:

  • Reddi-Whip contains cream, nonfat milk, corn syrup, sugar, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan (a thickening agent), mono- and diglycerides (emulsifiers, to preserve the texture of the product) and nitrous oxide as a propellant.
  • Homemade whipped cream contains cream, sugar and natural flavors (vanilla, almond extract) and no other additives. (If you use a cream whipper, then you are using nitrous oxide as a propellant.)
  •  
    The amount of heavy cream you use—one half or one pint—yields up to five times as much whipped cream.

     
    Here’s how to whip the cream in a bowl with beaters; however, if you you want an even easier way to make whipped cream that you can prepare days in advance, consider a cream whipper, also called a whipped cream maker or canister.

    RECIPE: CLASSIC WHIPPED CREAM

    You can also make flavored whipped cream, from bourbon to salted caramel; chocolate whipped cream (recipe below); and savory whipped cream for meat and fish.

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHILL the bowl, beaters and cream thoroughly before beginning. Using an electric mixer whip the cream, vanilla, and sugar in the chilled bowl until soft peaks form (3-5 minutes). Makes about 2 cups.

     

    CREAM WHIPPERS

    We’ve used a cream whipper for many years. They last forever—we still have our mother’s unit from the 1960s.

    You simply pour the cream into the canister, add the sugar and flavoring, and then aerate instantly with a nitrous oxide charger instead of whipping for 5 minutes with the beaters. All of the whipped cream is good to the last drop; it stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

    In addition to whipping cream, you can use a cream whipper for espumas (foams), gravies, sauces and soups. In fact, there’s a thermal version that keeps the contents cold for up to eight hours with no refrigeration needed, or hot for three hours—on the kitchen counter or the buffet for people to help themselves.

    The differences between a cream whipper and beater whipped cream: The cream will be more highly aerated (airier, not thick) and will emerge from the nozzle of the whipper in a thin ribbon, as opposed to a rounded mound as large as you like, from a spoon.
     
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE WHIPPED CREAM

    You can use dark, milk or white chocolate.

    Ingredients

  • 4 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  •  

    red-pin-cream-whipper-230

    A pint whipper from iSi. Don’t buy a half pint whipper to save money. It’s a lifetime purchase, and you’re likely to want a larger batch at some point. (Note that a half liter equals a pint).

     
    Preparation

    1. MEASURE the chocolate into a medium bowl; set aside.

    2. HEAT the sugar and 1 cup of the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.

    3. POUR the cream mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted. Let cool.

    4. ADD the remaining cup of heavy cream and beat with electric beaters (or in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment) on medium speed, until thick and fluffy.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Bundt

    pumpkin-spice-pound-cake-bundt-spiceislands-230r

    Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake made in a bundt pan. Photo courtesy Spice Islands.

     

    As a follow-up to our recent article on autumn bundt cakes, here’s one that’s especially appropriate for Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Spice Bundt. The recipe is courtesy Spice Islands.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE POUND CAKE BUNDT

    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 2-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened (no substitutions)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  •  
    For The Caramel Pecan Topping

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • Dash salt
  • Dash ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Optional garnish: whipped cream*
  •  

    Preparation

    For The Cake

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Generously grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.

    2. BEAT the sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla; the add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each.

    3. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, salt and spices; mix well. Alternately add dry ingredients and pumpkin to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour into prepared pan.

    4. BAKE for 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.
     
    For The Caramel Pecan Topping

    1. COMBINE the brown sugar, cream, maple syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

    2. REMOVE from the heat and stir in the cinnamon, vanilla and pecans. Serve warm over the cake. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
     
    WHIPPED CREAM TIP: If you’re putting whipped cream on a very sweet dessert, such as this caramel topping or pecan pie, you can halve the sugar in the whipped cream or eliminate it entirely.

    An unsweetened or just slightly sweet whipped cream provides a better counterpoint to the sweetness of the dessert. Otherwise, the sweet-on-sweet can be cloying.
     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cranberry Popcorn Balls

    The oldest popcorn known to date—actual ears of corn—was discovered in a cave in New Mexico, and carbon-dated to be more than 5,600 years old. It was not eaten as a snack food by early Americans, but was popped and then pounded into meal that was mixed with water and cooked.

    Fast-forward several thousand years: The early Colonists ate popcorn as a breakfast cereal, with milk and a sweetener. (Think puffed corn cereals like those from Arrowhead Mills and Nature’s Path, among others, not to mention Kellogg’s Corn Pops.)

    In the 18th century, after the corn harvest, rendered fat would be thrown into a cast iron pot over an open fire. When the fat was hot, farmers would toss in corn kernels, a little molasses or other sweetener, and then wait for the corn to pop into a sweet, hot treat.

    By the 1840s, corn popping had become a popular recreational activity in the U.S. Popcorn balls, the kernels stuck together with a sugar syrup, were hugely popular around the turn of the 20th century, both for eating and for holiday decorations (they were hung with ribbons from Christmas trees).

    With the availability of bagged popcorn brands, popcorn balls began to wane, appearing mostly in the hoiday season from Halloween through Christmas.

    Here’s the full history of popcorn.

       

    cranberry_popcorn_balls-popcorn.org-230

    Homemade cranberry popcorn balls for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Photo courtesy Popcorn.org.

     

    Popcorn is a better-for-you snack. Plain popcorn is loaded with whole grains, fiber and antioxidants.

    Of course, when you add butter, salt and sugar, it adds less-better-for-you ingredients. But compared to other sweet and salty snacks, it’s the winner.

    So consider these popcorn balls a better option for holiday snacking.

     

    popcorn-bowl-crunchdaddy-230

    Plain popcorn is a terrific snack: whole grain, high in fiber and low in calories. Photo by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE

     

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY POPCORN BALLS

    You can serve these from a platter or a serving bowl, or wrap individually in cellophane and tie with a ribbon for a party favor or stocking stuffer. Add a name tag to create a combination place setting and take-home favor.

    Ingredients For 18 Popcorn Balls

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, slightly mashed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 quarts unsalted popped popcorn
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients, except popcorn, in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil; lower heat and cook to 250°F on a candy thermometer. The mixture will bubble up in the pan, so watch it carefully to keep the mixture from boiling over.

    2. POUR slowly over the hot popcorn and mix until the corn is well coated. Let it stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture can easily be formed into balls.

    3. SPRAY your hands with a cooking spray (or use butter) hands and form the popcorn into 3-inch balls.
     
    ANOTHER HOLIDAY POPCORN RECIPE

    If you’ve got sage left over from the stuffing or other recipe, make this sage popcorn recipe.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pear Cème Fraîche Ice Cream

    Pear is a popular fall flavor. Pear sorbet is one of our favorite seasonal treats.

    But you can also churn pears into ice cream, as we discovered in this recipe by Samantha Seeley, who blogs on food from her home in that great food mecca, Hudson Valley, New York. She contributed the recipe to the delicious recipe files on VermontCreamery.com.

    Make a double batch, because the single quart doesn’t last very long!

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 30 minutes. With freezing, total time is 6 hours, 45 minutes. You can see the recipe with full photos at Sweet-Remedy.com.

    RECIPE: PEAR CRÈME FRAÎCHE ICE CREAM

    Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 3 ripe pears
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 container (8 ounce) Vermont Creamery Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche*
  • 1 cup maple glazed pecans
  •  
    *You can add vanilla extract to regular crème fraîche.

       

    pear-creme-fraiche-ice-cream-sweetremedy-vtcreamery-230

    Calling all ice cream gourmets: Make Pear Crème Fraîche Ice Cream. Photo courtesy Sweet Remedy | Vermont Creamery.

     

     

    madagascar-vanilla-creme-fraiche-vtcreamery-230

    Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche: We love it! Photo courtesy Vermont Creamery.

     

    Preparation

    1. WASH, peel and chop the pears. Combine the pears and the arrowroot or cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add the water and place over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, while stirring. The mixture will thicken up. Refrigerate until you are ready to churn the ice cream mixture.

    2. BEAT the milk and eggs together in a large saucepan. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger and cook over medium-low heat. Constantly stir with a wooden spoon until thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat. Once cooled, add the heavy cream and place plastic wrap directly on the top of the mixture. Refrigerate for 4 hours or longer.

    3. CHURN the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churning is complete, add the crème fraîche to the ice cream, it will resemble soft serve. Mix in the pear mixture and maple glazed pecans recipe. Transfer to a container with a lid that is suitable for freezing. Freeze until frozen through, usually about 3-4 hours.

     

    HOW TO PICK A PEAR

    Anjou, Bartlett and Bosc pears are varieties that can be eaten raw or cooked. Other varieties, such as Forelle and Seckel, are better eaten raw.

    Pears are one of the few fruits that are much better when they’re picked before they ripen. Pears ripen from the inside out, so as soon as the stem end has a slight give to it when gently pressed, the fruit is ripe. Don’t wait for the midsection to be soft.

    Buy firm pears and place them in a paper bag to ripen if you need them in a day or so. Placing a banana or an apple in the bag speed up ripening (here’s why).

     
    WHAT IS CRÈME FRAÎCHE?

    Crème fraîche (pronounced crem fresh, French for “fresh cream”) is a thickened cream. It’s not as thick as sour cream, but more of the consistency of yogurt, which is an appropriate analogy because it is slightly soured with bacterial culture. Originally from Normandy, the dairy heartland of France, today it is used extensively in Continental and American fine cuisine.

    Sour cream, which is more accessible and less expensive, can be substituted in most recipes; but crème fraîche has advantages: it can be whipped, and it will not curdle when cooked over high heat. In addition, it is usually a bit lighter in body than commercial sour creams, more subtly sour, and overall more elegant.

    Crème fraîche is made by inoculating unpasteurized heavy cream with Lactobacillus cultures, letting the bacteria grow until the cream is both soured and thick and then pasteurizing it to stop the process. Thus, authentic crème fraîche cannot be made at home because generally, only pasteurized cream is available to consumers. To add Lactobacillus to pasteurized cream will cause it to spoil instead of sour.

    The only negative to crème fraîche is that it’s pricey. You can make your own with far less expense with this crème fraîche recipe.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Fudge

    Here’s something special to make for work colleagues, friends, family and Thanksgiving hosts: Pumpkin Spice Fudge.

    It’s an easy recipe from Nestlé. In fact, you can let kids old enough to work with hot liquids make it as their contribution. Prep time is 10 minutes, cooking time is 20 minutes.

    RECIPE: PUMPKIN SPICE FUDGE

    Ingredients For 48 Pieces (About 3 Pounds)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup (5 fluid ounces can) evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pie filling)*
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice†
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) white chocolate chips
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •    

    pumpkin-spiced-fudge-nestle-230

    Pumpkin Spice Fudge. Photo and recipe courtesy Nestlé.

     
    *Pumpkin pie filling has spices blended in. Pumpkin purée is not seasoned; the appropriate spices are added separately as the recipe requires.
     
    †Pumpkin pie spice is simply a blend of the traditional spices that go into pumpkin pie. If you don’t want to buy a pre-mixed container, it’s easy to make your own. Combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

     

    carnation-evaporated-milk-230

    First marketed in 1857 as a safe milk drinking option, evaporated milk and its sibling, sweetened condensed milk, have become an asset in cooking as well. Photo and recipe courtesy Nestlé.

     

    Preparation

    1. LINE 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, letting the foil drape over two ends of the pan to serve as handles.

    2. COMBINE the sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until a candy thermometer reaches 234°F to 240°F (soft-ball stage).

    3. QUICKLY STIR in the chocolate chips, marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until the chips are melted. Immediately pour into the prepared pan.

    4. COOL on a wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cooled. Refrigerate the pan, tightly covered. When ready to serve…

    5. LIFT the fudge from pan using the foil handles; remove the foil. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

     

    WHAT IS EVAPORATED MILK?

    Evaporated milk, also known as dehydrated milk, is a shelf-stable canned milk product. Approximately 60% of the water is removed from fresh milk.

    Prior to the 19th century and refrigeration, milk was highly perishable. In the summer heat, it spoiled in a matter of hours. In addition, there were sanitation problems: Milk straight from the cow was contaminated harmful with bacteria.

    Gail Borden conceived of a shelf stable canned milk product in 1852. His first condensed milk product, launched in 1854, lasted three days without souring. Borden was granted a patent for sweetened condensed milk in 1854. Commercial production began in 1857.

    In Borden’s early product, sugar was added to inhibit bacterial growth. Competitors perfected the technique of sterilizing the product to vastly improve shelf life. Today, evaporated milk has no added sugar; a separate product, sweetened condensed milk, is evaporated milk that contains sugar. [Source]

    While not a hit right out of the gate, evaporated milk soon became popular as a safe and reliable substitute for fresh milk. It could be shipped easily to locations lacking the safe dairy production and/or refrigerated storage.

    The Florida Keys were an example of a hot and remote area that had no dairying. Evaporated milk made it possible for residents to finally enjoy milk in coffee and in cooking. Key Lime Pie, initially made with evaporated milk and now with sweetened condensed milk, is a legacy of Mr. Borden’s vision.

    The shelf life of canned evaporated milk will vary from months to years, depending on the sugar content and its proportion of fat. Carnation Brand makes evaporated milk from whole milk, nonfat milk and 2% milk.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Turkey Cupcakes

    You can find lots of turkey cupcake photos in Google, but these are the combination of easiest and best looking for the home baker to whip up.

    If you have kids (or adults) who don’t like pumpkin pie—or if you want to bring a memorable house gift—bring two dozen of these! If you’re looking for a kids’ project, ditto: Give them frosted cupcakes and let them do the decorating.

    You can bake your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe from scratch, use a cake mix, or in a pinch, purchase plain chocolate cupcakes. You can buy frosting or make your own.

    While we enjoy the convenience of a cake mix—which is simply saves you the time of measuring and mixing the ingredients—we’re much fussier about homemade frosting. Most canned chocolate frosting tastes…canned. Here’s our recipe for homemade chocolate buttercream frrosting.

     
    RECIPE: THANKSGIVING TURKEY CUPCAKES

    Ingredients for 24 Cupcakes

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  •    

    turkey-cupcakes-sixsistersstuff-230

    Gobble up this gobbler. Photo and recipe © SixSistersStuff.com.

  • 16 ounce can chocolate frosting (or your favorite homemade chocolate frosting)
  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate sprinkles
  • 2 cups candy corn
  • 48 Wilton candy eyeballs (found at major grocery stores, baking supply stores or online)
  • Red frosting or strips of red fruit leather
  • Variation: 24 large malted milk balls for heads
  •  

    candy-eyes-1-8-inch-confectionaryhouseAMZ-230

    Candy eyes come in different sizes and colors. For this recipe you want the smallest size like these, which are 7/16″ in diameter. You can buy them online. Photo courtesy Confectionary House.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the cake mix according to package directions to make 24 cupcakes. Bake and let cool completely. Frost each cupcake with chocolate frosting.

    2. HOLD each cupcake upside down and dip into the chocolate sprinkles. For feathers, push five pieces of candy corn upside down into the top of the cupcake.

    3. ADD two candy eyeballs and push a candy corn into the cupcake for a beak.

    4. PIPE some red frosting next to the candy corn beak, or adhere a strip of red fruit leather.
     
    VARIATION: Use malted milk balls as the head; press into the cupcake. Affix the candy eyeballs with frosting, and pipe a small amount of yellow frosting, and a small amount of red next to it, as the beak and the wattle.
     
    Here’s the original recipe plus a video of the preparation. Find more delicious recipes at SixSistersStuff.com.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ICING & FROSTING

    The difference between frosting and icing is that icing is made with confectioners’ sugar (also called icing sugar or 10x sugar), while frosting is made with granulated sugar (table sugar).

    Because most people don’t understand this difference, the two words are often used interchangeably.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cheese Hors d’Oeuvre For Entertaining Or Snacking

    We found these photos on the Facebook page of Jarlsberg USA, and liked the idea for holiday entertaining as well as family snacking.

    Make four or five different versions to serve with cocktails, or one or two types for a TV snack. For a children’s activity, you can set out ingredients and let kids assemble their own snacks.

    The key to visual appeal is to offset the pale color of most cheeses with other, bright colored ingredients. Turkey and Swiss cheese may be a popular combination, for instance, but to the eye it’s beige and beige. Go for bright and appealing.

    Then, all you need are four-inch skewers, plain or twisted (for a fancier touch). Or, check out our festive party picks for stars, evergreen trees metallic fringe and colored cellophane tips.

    Use the list below to pick two or three ingredients to pair with the cheese. The skewers are plenty tasty as is, but you can serve them with a dish of honey mustard for dipping. You can buy honey mustard, or make your own by adding honey, sugar or noncaloric sweetener to mustard, in a proportion to your liking.
     
    COLORFUL CHEESES

    In addition to your favorite cheeses, consider options beyond beige. Check out these special cheeses with deep colors:

  • Cahill’s Farm Flavored Irish Cheddar in Elderberry (red marbled) or Porter (brown marbled) flavors (photo).
  •    

    skewers-jarlsbergUSA-fb-view2-230rev

    Two popular pairings with cheese: dried apricots and basil-tomato. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

  • Mimolette, a French cow’s milk cheese the color of a harvest moon, in the shape of a ball (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto looks like green cheese from the moon (photo).
  • Basiron Pesto Rosso, a Gouda-style cheese from Holland, with a harvest moon color that comes from the addition of tomatoes (photo).
  •  
    Then, it’s time to pick your add-ons:

     

    skewers-jarlsbergUSAFB-230rev

    Serrano ham and sundried tomatoes are bright additions to appetizer skewers. Photo courtesy Jarlsberg USA.

     

    PROTEINS

  • Ham cubes
  • Serrano ham slices
  • Pepperoni
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  •  
    VEGETABLES

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Blue or purple potatoes (cooked and sliced or cubed)
  • Cherry/grape tomatoes
  • Dilly beans
  • Gherkins/pickle slices
  • Pepperoncini
  • Pimento-stuffed olives
  • Red, orange or yellow bell pepper strips
  • Snow peas
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • FRUIT

  • Clementine/tangerine segments
  • Dried apricots
  • Kiwi
  • Mango cubes
  • Melon cubes
  • Pineapple cubes
  • Red or purple grapes
  •  
    Send us photos of your favorite creations!

      

    Comments

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