Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Pumpkin Scones with Brown Butter Glaze

I know you're probably sick of pumpkin… move on from fall and Thanksgiving to more winter and Christmas foods, right? Not me - I love pumpkin and I just haven't had my fill yet. So I made these pumpkin scones. They were absolutely delicious and disappeared fast. I enjoyed mine with a chai tea latte - perfect combination. If you've still got a craving for pumpkin, give these a try… I think you'll love them on a cold morning for breakfast or a chilly night for dessert.


Pumpkin Scones with Brown Butter Glaze
3 cups flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk*
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup butterscotch chips (optional)

for the glaze…
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon milk
4 tablespoons butter

*If you don't have buttermilk on hand, just add a teaspoon or so of vinegar to regular milk and allow to sit for a few minutes. The milk will curdle and work perfectly.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the pieces of cold butter, using a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a course meal (about pea-sized pieces). You could also use a food processor to blend. 

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla. Add the mixture to the large bowl and stir until just combined. Fold in the pecans and/or butterscotch chips if using.

Use a small scoop to drop scone batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until just browned. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

to make the glaze…
Heat the butter in a small saucepan until just browned and bubbling. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, and butter. Stir until smooth, adding powdered sugar if needed to thicken or a drop of milk if needed to thin. 

Drizzle glaze on cooled scones. Enjoy!!

recipe from

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Caramel & Banana Napoleon

I'm not sure what possessed me to make this dessert, but I saw bananas in our fruit bowl and suddenly had a craving for some kind of dessert with banana. I don't even like banana much. It's probably my least favorite fruit. I certainly never pick up a banana, peel it, and eat it for breakfast. I suppose I can like anything if I turn it into a dessert… maybe I should try it with mushrooms (my least favorite vegetable). So even if you don't like bananas, try this light, simple, and delicious caramel & banana napoleon. It's layered with flaky puffed pastry, luscious vanilla pudding, bananas, and caramel.

Caramel & Banana Napoleon
2 bananas, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 box vanilla instant pudding
2 cups cold milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed*
1/2 cup caramel sauce**
1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash

* You'll find puff pastry in a box in the freezer section of your local market. Near the desserts and frozen pie crusts.
** You can use store-bought caramel sauce or make some at home. It's really not that hard… combine 1/4 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and continue simmering until it turns a deep amber color. Slowly add the cream and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool. 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Unroll one sheet of puff pastry (there are usually two in a box) on the parchment paper. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the pastry in thirds along the fold lines and then in thirds again, creating 9 squares. Separate the squares and brush with egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.


While your pastry is baking, make the pudding and whipped cream…
Using an electric mixer, combine milk and pudding mix in a large bowl. Beat for about 3 minutes or until the mixture starts to thicken. Set aside (or store in the refrigerator if not assembling the napoleons right away).

In another bowl, combine the whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat with the electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate if not using right away.

Allow the pastry squares to cool. They should puff up into flaky layers. Carefully separate each square into two pieces. Place a "bottom" on each plate, top each bottom with a layer of caramel, then some sliced bananas, a layer of pudding, a second layer of bananas, and a drizzle of caramel. Top with the "top" piece of each pastry square. Add a dollop of whipped cream next to each napoleon, dust with powdered sugar, and add another drizzle of caramel.

Delicious, right?! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toffee Bits

Emily found a recipe (along with some beautiful pictures) on a food-blog favorite of ours... The Novice Chef. So I surprised her by making them - with some slight adjustments of my own. The secret to keeping these cookies soft and chewy is corn starch. It's also the key to another favorite cookie of mine, the chewy almond sugar cookie.

I flew these in my suitcase from Oklahoma to California in a Tupperware container. They traveled perfectly! So these would be great for packaging as Christmas gifts!


Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toffee Bits
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits (you can usually find these in the market near the bags of chocolate chips)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer if you have one, beat butter and sugars together. Add egg and vanilla, beating until smooth. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating until completely combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and toffee bits (I use a large spatula to fold everything together).

Use a small cookie scoop (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) to scoop even amounts onto your prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Do not over bake!

Cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These are really delicious, actually luscious, to eat warm out of the oven - be careful not to burn your mouth.


recipe slightly adapted from