Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice instead of last 3 spices
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugar, water, oil, salt, and eggs. Beat until well mixed.
  3. Place a sieve over the bowl and sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves (or pumpkin pie spice). Mix until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Serve with cream cheese frosting.

What to do with the leftover pumpkin puree?


Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix

Rather than paying a higher price to consume artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, mono and diglycerides, artificial color, yellow 5, yellow 6, bha (preservative), make your own mix! It only takes a minute.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In a container with a lid or a ziplock bag, combine all ingredients. When ready to make, pour the powder into a cold pot and add the following ingredients:
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir over medium heat until thickened. Enjoy warm or refrigerate until cold.

Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers

This recipe is adapted from an Alton Brown’s Refrigerated Banana Pudding recipe. This version reduces unnecessary fat and sugar. This photo shows the pudding before it is fully assembled.

The amount of sugar added, in my opinion, is the least possible amount that should be added – it’s just sweet enough – very possibly not sweet enough for some. Taste the pudding while it’s still hot. If you’d like to add additional sugar, stir it in until fully dissolved.

Ingredients

Pudding
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups milk (2%)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional but adds a touch of richness and gloss)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Approximately 45 vanilla wafers (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (2 large or 3 small bananas)
Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1- 2 tablespoons powdered or fine grained sugar

Directions

  1. Using a whisk, combine milk, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat on stovetop.
  2. Allow milk to scald (heat to the point when tiny bubbles form around edges of pan). Whisk occasionally. Remove from heat.
  3. Temper the eggs by adding about 4 tablespoons of the hot milk into eggs. Whisk it all together and then add the eggs into the hot pan, stirring constantly.
  4. Return the pan to heat and whisk gently until custard thickens, another 2-3 minutes. Do not boil.
  5. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.
  6. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl for cooling.
  7. Spray a round piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and cover the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until the pudding is completely cold, approximately 2-3 hours.
  8. When the pudding is cool, remove the parchment and whisk or beat with a blender to cream it up. Sometimes I add a bit of milk if it seems too thick.
  9. Spread a small amount of the pudding in the bottom of a 1 1/2-quart glass mixing bowl. Cover with a layer of vanilla wafers, followed by a layer of banana slices. Spoon 1/3 of the remaining pudding on top of the bananas and repeat, ending with a layer of pudding.
  10. Put the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar beat with whisk attachment just until soft peaks form.
  11. Spoon the whipped cream over the cooled pudding and spread to cover completely.

Want to try–Alternate recipe by Trisha Yearwood. I watched this episode on Food Network. It looked really good, but I haven’t tried it yet.

  • 4 large eggs (3 yolks plus 1 whole) (I would skip the 4th yolk)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch salt 
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 30 to 40 vanilla wafers 
  • 3 to 4 medium ripe bananas 
  • Separate the yolks from the whites of 3 of the eggs; set aside the whites. Add the remaining whole egg to the yolks.
  • In a {cold} saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup sugar, the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir in the whole egg and 3 yolks, and then stir in the milk. {Now turn on heat} Cook uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Spread a thin layer of the pudding in a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Arrange a layer of vanilla wafers on top of the pudding. Thinly slice the bananas crosswise, about 1/8 inch thick, and arrange a layer of banana slices over the wafers. Spread one-third of the remaining pudding over the bananas and continue layering wafers, bananas and pudding, ending with pudding.
  • Top with whipped cream

Another one I’d like to try: Southern Banana Pudding from Add a Pinch

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I would use no more than 3/4 cup)
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs separated (you’ll need whites later for meringue)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box vanilla wafers approximately 45 wafers
  • 5-6 bananas
  • 3 egg whites reserved from above
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325º F.
  • Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large, heavy saucepan.
  • Lightly beat egg yolks and combine with milk in a large bowl or measuring cup. Pour the egg and milk mixture into dry ingredients in heavy saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until ingredients are thickened and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla.
  • To layer your banana pudding, begin by placing vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 2 quart oven-safe glass bowl or baking dish.
  • Slice bananas and place on top of wafers.
  • Pour one-third of custard over wafers and bananas.
  • Repeat layering process two more times until all wafers, bananas, and custard have been used, ending with a final layer of wafers. 

For the Meringue:

  • Whip egg whites with an electric mixer set at high speed.
  • Allow egg whites to foam, add cream of tartar and then gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time.
  • Continue whipping until sugar is well-dissolved.
  • Add vanilla once stiff peaks have formed and whip until well-combined.
  • Spread meringue over banana pudding, making sure to spread to the edges of the dish.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

3 Ingredient, Gluten Free Coconut Cookies

In my failed attempt to make coconut macaroons with unsweetened shredded coconut, I discovered a simple coconut cookie that is really nothing like a macaroon, but delicious nonetheless.

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can *sweetened condensed milk
  • 14 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl add all ingredients and form into desired shape. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
  2. Set the oven to broil and allow to brown to desired shade, approximately 1-2 minutes.
  3. Best eaten immediately.

*I had some extra sweetened condensed milk and decided to drizzle some on top of the cookies once they were finished baking. It turned out to be a wonderful glaze.


Fudge Pie

Original recipe: Sheryl’s Fudge Pie
You will need a metal pie tin for this recipe. Ceramic doesn’t work well. I have yet to try glass.

Ingredients

  • †2 ounces unsweetened chocolate squares
  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter (salted is fine, except Kerrygold, which is too salty)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt (skip if using salted butter)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a 9-inch metal pie tin.
  2. Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for one minute; stir. Heat for 30 more seconds. Let it sit for a minute and stir until the chocolate melts completely.
  3. Add sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour into prepared pie tin.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the center is firm.
  6. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Lebanese Orange Blossom Pudding (Mahalabia)

Adapted from Daliahskitchen.com

Delicious Lebanese Orange blossom pudding (Mahalabia) topped with simple syrup and ground pistachios. This is a popular Middle Eastern dessert. It’s low in fat and sugar (the way I make it) and totally addictive. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of milk (I use 1%)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon rose water 
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup crushed pistachios
  • Simple Syrup or Attar

Directions

  1. Whisk the cornstarch with a little water, then add it to the milk and bring everything to a boil in a small pot.
  2. Add the sugar, salt and rose water then simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture thickens.
  3. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  4. To serve, sprinkle with crushed, raw pistachios, a drizzle of simple syrup (or Attar) and a light sprinkling of sea salt.

Chocolate Cake

I’ve tried dozens of recipes for chocolate cake and this is the best one I’ve ever tried. Adapted from Add a Pinch.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
  • 2 cups sugar (I use 1 3/4 cup)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (I skip this)
  • 1 cup milk (I use 2%)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Recipe for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (below)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Preferably using a bundt pan, prepare by spraying with baking spray or butter and lightly flour. You can also use two 9-inch cake pans prepared the same way.
  2. In a stand mixer or bowl mix sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Place a sieve over the bowl and sift in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder. Use your paddle attachment and mix at medium speed until combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter until well combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan or distribute evenly between the two cake pans.
  5. Bake for about 35-40 minutes in the bundt pan or 30-35 minutes in the 9-inch pans, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If making cupcakes, bake for approximately 17 minutes,
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, remove from the pan and cool completely.
  7. If using frosting, allow cake to cool completely. If using glaze, apply while warm.

Note to self: Baked cupcakes on middle rack in small oven. 15 minutes in small muffin tin. 

My Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Milk

In medium bowl, beat butter and vanilla. Add confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until spreadable consistency is achieved.

Chocolate Glaze

  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the unsweetened chocolate and 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and place it over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the chocolate and butter have melted. Sift the powdered sugar and add it to the chocolate mixture along with 2 tablespoons of boiling water. While stirring constantly, continue adding boiling water in very small amounts until the glaze is thin enough to drizzle over the cake. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, if desired.

For Portal Cake:

After frosting the cake, carefully place crushed Oreo cookies evenly around the entire surface. Then top with Maraschino cherries placed inside a dollop of whipped cream.



Niran’s Vegan/Gluten Free Thin Mint Cookies

This is my friend, Niran’s wonderful recipe. Check out all of her amazing plant based recipes on Instagram at @niranfoodiegal.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 3 cups vegan chocolate

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350-F.
  2. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix well to combine.
  3. Flatten the dough onto a plate and cover with parchment paper. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to shape the cookies into 2.5 inch rounds.
  5. Bake for 11 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool.
  6. In a double boiler, melt 3 cups of vegan chocolate. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon peppermint oil.
  7. Dip the cookies into the melted chocolate to fully coat.
  8. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow the cookies to set.
  9. Place remaining melted chocolate into a piping bag (or use a ziplock with the corner cut out). Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cookie.
  10. Place in the refrigerator to set again for about 10 minutes.
  11. These are best stored in the refrigerator. They are a bit hard straight out of the fridge (my preference), but will soften up at room temperature.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350-F. *
  2. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
  5. Stir in the oats and raisins; mix well.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen

For bars: Bake 30-35 minutes in ungreased 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan.

*By accident I preheated the oven non-conventional to 350. I then switched it to 450 conventional while the cookies were baking it slowly raised up. The cookies came out better than ever.


Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350-F. Grease a 13×9 inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Add sugars to a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixture.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan, stirring constantly until golden.
  4. Add the butter to the bowl with the sugar and stir. Allow to cool slightly.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla and stir well. Stir in the oats and salt.
  6. Place a fine mesh sieve over the bowl and add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix until just combined.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined.
  8. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.