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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobbler Cookies

I had full intentions of getting this up just in time for Thanksgiving but my camera was not being cooperative.

I found these to make with my 3rd graders. They loved them and I heard one girl saying to herself "This is the best day of school EVER."

They are quite simple:

  • Fudge strip cookie for the background feathers
  • Nutter Butter for the turkey body
  • Icing to hold it together (I used some pre-made Betty Crocker cookie decorator icing in the handy little dispenser)
  • Chocolate chip eyes
  • Candy corn beak
  • Gummy worm cut into smaller pieces for the wattle
  • Chocolate covered pretzel for the feet

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cranberry Fruit Conserve

Break out your fancy bowls for this one.

Ina changed my views on cranberry sauce. Really, I still love it from a can but this is soooo much fancier. This is one of my Thanksgiving staples (I think I've made it for three years now) and it has already been requested for tomorrow. Don't skip out on the orange and lemon zest since it gives it so much flavor and freshness. I do however skip the pecans since I don't see it as a necessity. So easy to make! It gels up wonderfully and your entire house (or little apartment in my case) will smell like Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Fruit Conserve

~Ina Garten from Barefoot Contessa Parties


1 (12-ounce) bag of fresh cranberries, cleaned

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

1 orange, zest grated and juiced

1 lemon, zest grated and juiced

3/4 cup raisins

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Cook the cranberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat for about 5 minutes, or until the skins pop open. Add the apple, zests, and juices and cook for 15 more minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the raisins and nuts. Let cool, and serve chilled.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

So my cheesecake cracked. I choose to think of it as having a T for Taylor. I've tried out a few pumpkin pie recipes over the last few Novembers and one was never completely right so I just combined a few together. This one is very creamy and has the right amount of spice. The cinnamon in the crust also brings out the pumpkin. I'm sure I'll make this for Thanksgiving later this month.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Slightly modified from a few recipes
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs (from 10 whole crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Filling:
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, very soft
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick, springform pan.

Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and melted butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.

Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overbeat). Add in pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.

Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven and reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).

Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mini-Pumpkin Pies

Earlier in the school year I signed up to bring snacks to a Beginner Teachers meeting in November in hopes of making pumpkin pie. Tomorrow is the meeting but instead of doing an entire pie (or two) I decided to do mini pies. I've seen mini-pies everywhere lately and have been wanting to try some out. I saw some really cute mini-pumpkin pies on Bakerella and modified them by using pumpkin cookie cutters to cut out the pie crusts. I don't have a mini-muffin pan, surprising since I have nearly every other baking pan known to man, so I used a regular muffin tin. They turned out adorable and more perfect than I thought I could pull off being slightly rushed and worn out from staying at work til dark working on report cards. The tiny leaves add a cute touch as well.

I used the same pumpkin pie recipe as before with the refrigerated pie crusts. One package of pie crusts (2) made at least 18 mini-pies. I did use my rolling pin to re-roll out the scraps. The pumpkin made 36 mini pies!