Friday, November 25, 2011

Favorite Thanksgiving Sweets 2011

Soooo I definitely baked up a storm this Thanksgiving and it was glorious! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook and I have the biggest sweet tooth ever so baking is right up my alley as well. I baked multiple desserts for the many Thanksgivings we attended but my two favorite are below. One being these decadent chocolate pumpkin bars from the amazing food blog, How Sweet It Is and then also a pumpkin bread pudding from Smitten Kitchen. Both recipes were well received and are definitely keepers. I'm wishing now that I hadn't given my sister the leftover pumpkin chocolate bars!

Pumpkin Pie Fudge Brownie Bars from How Sweet It Is

Pumpkin Pie Fudge Brownie Bars from How Sweet It Is
makes one 9×13 pan
brownie layer
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
10 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325 F.
In a small bowl, beat eggs and vanilla and set aside. In a double boiler, add butter, cocoa, sugar and salt. Mix until the mixture becomes a batter – this will take approximately 10 minutes and at first will just look like clumps of cocoa power. Be patient! Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the egg mixture (very slowly while whisking, so you don’t have scrambled eggs!) until combined. Stir in flour until batter is smooth, then pour in baking dish. Use a 9×13 dish for thin bars, and an 8×8 for thicker bars. For 9×13 dish, bake for 12-13 minutes. For an 8×8 dish, bake for about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely! Then make pumpkin layer.
pumpkin layer
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a bowl, whisk together sugars and egg until smooth. Add in pumpkin and spice, again mixing until combine. Finish by adding in heavy cream, stirring until everything is mixed, then pour on top of the cooled brownie layer and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 10 minutes (9×13 dish) or 15 minutes (8×8 dish), then reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake for 18-20 minutes (9×13 dish)/22-25 minutes (8x8dish) or until pumpkin layer is set. Let cool completely (ideally overnight, or about 3-4 hours) then slice and serve.
***I baked in an 8x8 dish and was very happy with the size/thickness of the bars. I also didn't use a double boiler (I know shame on me!) and instead just melted everything together in a pot and it worked fine, just watch it so it doesn't burn.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding from Smitten Kitchen

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, October 2007
I made a few of my own adaptations to this, using only milk and no cream (to me, it makes no difference to me in dishes like this, so I figure I’ll give my arteries a break), and doubling almost all of the spices. Oh, and I added bourbon, but you probably anticipated that.

1 1/2 cups whole milk (Or 1 cup heavy cream plus 1/2 cup whole milk)
3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted* (can skip this step if using the second set of instructions)

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Gourmet’s Instructions: Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon, if using, in a bowl.
Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Alternate, Come On, Be Lazy With Me, instructions: While preheating oven to 350°F with rack in middle, melt butter in bottom of a 8-inch square baking dish. Once it is melted, take it out of the oven and toss bread cubes with butter, coating thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients. Pour them over buttered bread cubes in baking dish, stirring to make sure all pieces are evenly coated. Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

***I did the gourmet's instructions, I didn't add any bourbon and I did use whole milk.

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