Pumpkin Caramel Tart

I’m not quite sure my attempt at spelling ‘Give Thanks’ is too clear in this Caramel Pumpkin Tart, but at least know that the effort was there! While this particular tart was made for the Thanksgiving Holiday, this dessert can definitely be made throughout the winter season and is a perfect staple for a weekend get-together. Its clever use of hazelnuts for the crust creates a nutty flavor that is tough to beat, but happens to combine nicely with the (surprisingly) light tasting pumpkin-caramel filling.

Here are a few tips for making this tart:

  1. Careful with the Caramel: Making caramel is a form of art. The best advice I would give is to follow the recipe, have a buddy help if you can and carefully watch the color as the sugar cooks. It’s amazing how quickly the caramel mixture will turn from a tasty concoction to a completely burnt mess in just seconds.
  2. Hazelnuts Crush Quickly: Hazelnuts will quickly turn into a paste (not what you’re looking for in this recipe) if you leave them pulsing in the food processor for too long. Just keep an eye on it.
  3. Always Fresh Ginger: It’s amazing how quickly I can tell if fresh ginger has been used in a recipe. If you can, I’d highly recommend to use fresh ginger. A good tip is to buy some and store in the freezer so that it can be used at any time.




Pumpkin Pie


Even though Pumpkin flavored items seem to dominate everything in Fall – pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin caramels and much, much more – I still felt that no Fall season would be complete without at least one homemade pumpkin dessert.

While I could have been a bit more creative with my pumpkin pie, I ultimately decided that ‘classic’ was better in this situation and chose this recipe. However, even though I didn’t jazz this recipe up with any additional flavors, I felt that the design element was crucial and so I added leaf-shaped dough cutouts to the pumpkin pie crust to give it somewhat of a rustic and fun edge.

Here are just a few tips with your next pumpkin pie:

1. Crust: The crust is one of the most important parts of a pumpkin pie. I have always loved using this recipe for a classic crust; however, I’d love to experiment sometime soon with this chocolate dough or this gingersnap crust.
2. Spice ratio: Many recipes call for ‘freshly grated nutmeg’. While this might sound like just another step, it is totally worth it and you will be able to taste the difference. Just make sure you use a balanced ratio of spices so that one spice doesn’t overpower the others.
3. Add some flair: Whether using a special cutout (leafs, pumpkins, hearts, etc.). a special whipped cream or something else, try to a add some flair with something different to help liven up the pumpkin pie.

What’s your favorite pumpkin dessert?



Mini Pumpkin Pies

Sundays are a perfect day for a long prepared dinner and dessert, and especially pie. I have been wanting to make a traditional pumpkin pie for a few weeks now and have been attempting to resist the urge to do so until Thanksgiving. However, this past weekend, I completely caved at the thought of making mini pumpkin pies. In my opinion, mini desserts are just more fun and they save those in consumption a few calories (as long as only one mini pie is eaten and not three!). This recipe for Pumpkin Pie is very flavorful with its touch of many spices and basks perfectly in a super-flaky crust that is to die for. Watch out, it is hard to just stop at one mini pie!

Step 1: Make Dough and Roll Out With
Pin; Shape for Mini Pie Tins

Step 2: Mix Ingredients for Filling Together

Step 3: Bake Individual Pie Crusts
(I used muffin tins) and
Let Cool; Pour in Filling and Bake; Eat!

These are a perfect treat to take to a family or friend’s house for Thanksgiving. Plus, the other perk of these is that no extra silverware is required. No forks or plates required, just a strong appetite and sweet tooth!


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I totally cracked a smile and a slight giggle upon hearing the name of this pie-cake concoction the first time (and, yes, I might have been acting immature). However, apparently the history and naming of the Whoopie Pie is a hotly contested topic. Depending on where you live, you may or may not have heard of this esteemed dessert. But, I do guarantee that you have eaten it at some point in your life or had something very similar.

In my opinion, the Whoopie Pie is less of a “pie” and more of a cake-like sandwich with the frosting diverted to the center instead of on-top. But, the key to making these different is the filling and the type of which you decide to make.

Amongst the many different varieties of Whoopie Pie (chocolate, red velvet, vanilla, etc.), I decided to make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies to spin some festivity into a normal Sunday.

Step 1:  Mix Dry Ingredients

Step 2: Combine With Wet Ingredients

Step 3: Form Rounded Patties and Bake

Step 4: Cream Butter and Cream Cheese

Step 5: Add Bourbon, Vanilla and
Powdered Sugar; Chill

Step 6: Assemble and Eat!

The filling used in this recipe is surprisingly lighter in nature and left us all wanting more (as I was told I needed to be more generous in my dousing of filling for these next time!). I’d like to make these again just for the fact that they are incredibly easy, delicious and make a great treat that is just a bit different than an average piece of cake.

Can I get a “whoop whoop” for Whoopie Pies?


Homemade Ice Cream: Pumpkin Pie

For Christmas, my wonderful boyfriend bought me an ice cream machine from Cuisinart. I was thrilled at his neat choice and was just waiting for the perfect weekend to try it. This past weekend I finally had enough time to peruse through recipes. While searching, I found plenty of amazing recipes, but I figured that I’d play it “safe” the first time around with Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream.

Step 1: Mix Together Wet Ingredients With Mixer
Step 2: Add Pumpkin Purée and Spices

Step 3: Place in Ice Cream Maker

Step 4: Take Out After 25 Minutes and Freeze

Step 5: Scoop and Eat!

I am definitely happy with the results from this ice cream maker. Pretty simple and little effort and time required. Now I’m inspired to “spice it up” a bit the next time I decide to make ice cream. Curious what I mean? Stay tuned!


Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

“Let them eat cake!”

No, but really, everyone should eat cake (at least before everyone’s New Year’s resolutions starts!). After hearing this phrase on the television (this phrase was supposedly spoken by a princess who learned that the peasants had no bread and was rumored to have  been Marie Antoinette, but no actual proof exists), I became inspired to bake a cake for our annual Christmas dinner.

Now, although the original recipe called to make homemade frosting (Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake With Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting), I copped out and bought store-bought frosting because I was in a pinch and used a bundt pan instead of creating multiple layers. My deviations resulted in an easier version; however, although I saved myself time and energy, I am sure that the original version (complete with homemade frosting!) would have been more flavor-filled and fulfilling. But, that adventure will have to be saved for another day – at least everyone could eat cake!

Step 1: Mix Together Liquids

Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients Into Liquids

Step 3: Bake and Add Frosting

Now, truly after this recipe, I swear that my healthy New Year’s resolution will actually start (I swear!).


Pumpkin Bars

I’m in love… with pumpkins. All right, not quite, but I do thoroughly enjoy the Holidays because of the presence of pumpkins. Carving pumpkins, toasting pumpkin seeds, creative decorative pumpkins, and baking pumpkin concoctions are just a few of my favorite aspects of pumpkins.

Now, unfortunately, Halloween has already come and past. But, when visiting my family in Michigan, they took me to an interactive indoor-outdoor musuem and learning center that was completely adorned with hundreds of pumpkins throughout the entire outside park. After venturing throughout the park and finding many different intricately decorated pumpkins, I found one particular pumpkin that caught my eye:

So, all joking aside, I really just wanted to make a pumpkin-inspired baked good of some sort. So, after scouring the internet for recipes, I came across pumpkin bars on FoodNetwork.com. In the end I chose this Pumpkin Bars recipe that Paula Deen adapted from Patty Ronning.

Step 1: Mix Ingredients and
Pour Into Butter Baking Dish

Step 2: Bake, Frost, Cut!

The result? 5 Star Rating (out of 5 Stars of course!).

Enjoy the Holidays and I highly encourage baking with pumpkin!