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Old 10-22-2009, 11:07 AM   #376
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Wow those look awesome! Really really cool!
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:26 AM   #377
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It's not my picture, but they did turn out pretty cute!

I actually came up with another quirky idea for Easter Bunny cupcakes. I took them to my godmother's house and everyone loved them.
Make a regular set of cupcakes, get some yellow frosting to go with it too. My friend had some tiny pastel candies (although I'm sure you can use the pastel M&Ms that turn up around Easter) that we used as eyes. We took the pink ones solely for the nose. I bought a pack of those Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate Marshmallow Lovers and used the marshmallows for the teeth under the nose. Then I took some chocolate sprinkles and set them as the whiskers.
I ran out of ideas for ears so I ended up cutting paper into rabbit ear shapes and just sticking them into the frosting. I'm sure in the future I'll bake some thin ear shaped cookies to use as my brother thought the paper was edible.
They came out ridiculously cute. I know I have a photo of them somewhere online, but if not I'll post one when I get home.

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Old 10-22-2009, 06:21 PM   #378
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VP Care to post a couple of pumpkin recipes? My mother wants to buy a couple for decoration and asked me if I knew any good recipes, since the soup my dad made of them in the past was horrible.

I thought of this thread immediately, since in N-A it's quite a popular thing for Halloween right? I'd be most interested in sweet dishes if possible, cakes cookies and muffins sound good to me!
Pumpkins are carved for Hallowe'en here, but I'm not really sure if they're the cooking variety, I'd check on that before attempting to bake with one you've bought for carving.

Here are the recipes I used. In my opinion, and according to others who had my pumpkin creations, the cake is the best. It's really dense and moist, sort of like a carrot cake.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe & Photo - Joyofbaking.com



Pumpkin Spice Cake:

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cups (270 grams) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup fresh or canned pure pumpkin (about 1/2 of a 15 ounce can)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (200 grams) sifted cake flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk, room temperature

Note: To make your own buttermilk combine 1/2 cup (120 ml) of milk with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and let stand for 10 minutes before using.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces (228 grams) cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (preferably Grade A dark amber)

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

For Garnish:

1/2 cup (50 grams) toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour (or spray with Baker's Joy) two - 8 inch (20 cm) cake pans.

Cake: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the pumpkin puree and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the pumpkin batter, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Divide the batter in half and then pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert and remove the cakes from their pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of your food processor (or use a hand mixer) and pulse until smooth. Add the maple syrup and confectioners' sugar and process to combine. Adjust syrup or sugar until you have the right consistency.

Assemble:

Place one of the cake layers, top side down, on a serving plate. Frost with a layer of icing. Place the second cake, top side down, onto the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with chopped nuts, if desired. Refrigerate but bring to room temperature before serving.


Here are the cookies. These make really large, moist, puffy, cake-like cookies.

Pumpkin Cookies Recipe With Picture - Joyofbaking.com



Pumpkin Cookies:

2 cups (160 grams) all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/4 cups (260 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil or corn oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (215 grams) canned pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 ounces (115 grams) room temperature cream cheese, regular of low fat

2 tablespoons (25 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (55 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Note: Instead of frosting the cookies, you can add to the batter either 1 cup of chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts) or 1 cup of chocolate chips (semi sweet or milk)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the oil, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Using 1/4 cup of batter (can use a small ice cream scoop or measuring cup) place small mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter until soft and creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until the frosting is soft and creamy.

Makes about 18 cookies.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe | Cheesecake Recipes

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 1/4 cup graham crackers or ginger snaps, crushed into crumbs

Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in crumbs. Press into ungreased 9"x9" springform pan and bake 350°F for 10 minutes. (NOTE: when I made this, I didn't bake the crumb crust prior to baking the cheesecake, and it turned out perfectly.)

Filling:
2 - 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 - 14 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat cream cheese and sugar together well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour over crust Bake 350ºF for 1 hour or until firm.

Chill and garnish with whipping cream. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or ginger on the whipped cream if desired.

Serves 12.

A couple of cheesecake making tips: make sure that the cream cheese comes to room temperature before mixing it, that makes it much easier to work with. Put a pan of water in the oven on a rack below the rack the cheesecake is on. This helps to keep it moist, and prevents it from cracking. I know this recipe says to bake until it's firm, but practically every other recipe I've seen says to bake till the edges are firm and the inside is still a little jiggly, it'll set completely as it cools.

General pumpkin baking tip - you can buy two kinds of canned pumpkin, one is just pure pumpkin with nothing added, the other is pumpkin pie filling which has spices and sugar added to it. I've used both, but if I use the pie filling, I either add no extra spice, or very little (usually just a little extra cinnamon), and I also adjust the sugar accordingly.

I've also made muffins and pumpkin loaf, but seriously, the pumpkin spice cake batter I posted above blows them all away. That'll now be my go-to mix for any sort of pumpkin-based cake/loaf/muffin thing. It should have its own fan club, it's that good.
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Old 10-22-2009, 09:26 PM   #379
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I made a great almost creole-ish chicken thing the other night. I had chicken which I was bored with before I even started, so I just chucked in a can of cream of chicken soup, some onion, chicken seasoning, mixed dried herbs, a vege stock cube, cracked pepper and salt and it was done. It needed other things, like maybe some crushed roma or mushrooms, but I got bored(er) and stopped putting things in halfway through. I like it when random works.
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Old 10-22-2009, 11:05 PM   #380
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Barbacups

You will need:
1 large muffin/cupcake pan
1lb. of ground beef---browned and drained of the extra juice
1 package of the flaky biscuits
Shredded cheddar cheese
Your favorite BBQ sauce (Famous Daves Sweet and Zesty is really good in this recipe)
1/4 to a 1/3 cup of brown sugar

Set your oven to the temperature according to the biscuits package.

After you've browned your meat and drained it, put it in a large enough bowl to mix.
Combine the BBQ sauce and brown sugar with the meat. You can add as much or as little BBQ sauce as you'd like. I usually put enough in so that the meat is nice and wet. I've also started adding about a 1/2 cup of the shredded cheddar cheese in with the mix because when you cook it, the cheese melts.

Take the biscuits and flatten each biscuit individually and press in to each muffin cup. Once you've formed your own little biscuit cups you can fill them with the meat mix.
Cook at the temp on the biscuit package for as long as directed, or until the biscuits turn golden brown. Add a bit of shredded cheddar cheese on the tops to melt, then cool a bit and enjoy!

I hope you like the recipe!!
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:34 AM   #381
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Made this Kung Pao Chicken last night after watching a colleague make it last weekend. Very easy and tasty, and not nearly as hot as the presence of all those chiles (which are left intact, and not eaten of course) might lead you to expect--most of the heat comes from the Sichuan peppercorns. In North America, you might need to visit a Chinese/Asian store to find a couple of these ingredients, particularly the Sichuan peppercorns (which are actually the seedpods of an ash shrub, not "peppercorns")--those are essential for real Kung Pao. "Dark soy sauce" isn't interchangeable with the regular kind, it's thicker and sweeter (though the variety labeled "mushroom soy sauce" will work). Chinese "rice vinegar" is darker (deep yellow) and stronger-tasting than the rice vinegars I'm used to seeing back in the US; if you can't find it, my guess is that cider vinegar or even balsamic would do. "Chinese cooking wine" (Shaoxing) can be substituted for with a cheap dry sherry.


a pound of chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
a T. of regular soy sauce
a tsp. of Chinese cooking wine
a half-tsp. salt
one-and-a-half tsp. cornstarch

Combine the above, and let sit to marinate while preparing the rest.

a tsp. of dark soy sauce
a tsp. of regular soy sauce
2 tsp. of Chinese rice vinegar (see note above)
a tsp. of toasted sesame oil (the dark, Chinese kind)
a T. of broth or water
a T. of sugar
a tsp. of cornstarch

Mix the above and set aside. That is the sauce.

oil for frying (you really only need a couple tsp., but more is fine)
a T. of Sichuan peppercorns
about 10 dried red chiles
about a T. of minced ginger
a couple cloves garlic, minced
about half a dozen green onions
a handful of unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Heat a wok or frying pan; add oil. Add peppercorns and chiles, and stir-fry until the chiles are blackening and the peppercorns are releasing their scent. Add marinated chicken; stir-fry a few minutes more. Add ginger, garlic and green onions and stir-fry a couple minutes, to release their scent. Add the sauce and stir-fry until it begins to look slightly glossy and thickened (this won't take long). Add the peanuts, and stir-fry no more than a couple minutes longer.


I served this with some steamed rice and parboiled baby bok choy, in a light sauce I whipped up in the wok using vegetarian oyster sauce (I only used the vegetarian kind 'cause it's kosher), a little garlic and ginger, salt and pepper, and a bit of broth and cornstarch to slightly thicken. It was a nice combination.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pumpkin cake sounds good, wish I could try making it here. I always make carrot cake with a maple-orange glaze rather than the heavier cream-cheese frosting, wonder if that might be good on pumpkin cake too.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:26 AM   #382
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Thanks a lot for the recipes VP. Yeah we checked wether they were edible pumpkins and the farmer we're going to buy them from has both kinds. We'll probably get a few of each.

I'll show these two my mom and let her decide on which recipe to use, but if you say the cake's the best I think we should try that one!
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:05 PM   #383
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I am going to make this Garden Vegetable and Bean Soup recipe this weekend

Garden Vegetable and Bean Soup Recipe
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Old 10-23-2009, 04:26 PM   #384
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Thanks a lot for the recipes VP. Yeah we checked wether they were edible pumpkins and the farmer we're going to buy them from has both kinds. We'll probably get a few of each.

I'll show these two my mom and let her decide on which recipe to use, but if you say the cake's the best I think we should try that one!

You're welcome! If you go to the direct link for the cake or cookie recipe I sent you, there's a section before the recipe that explains how to prepare raw pumpkin for cooking.

I'd definitely go with the cake, but if you're making a whole pumpkin, you'll have enough for several recipes. It can be frozen for months in a ziplock bag till you need it. Good luck!


Yolland, how do you make the glaze? The pumpkin cake is very dense and moist, just like a carrot cake.
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:53 PM   #385
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THANKS for all the pumpkin recipes! Baking with Pumpkin is what I really love about this time of year!!!
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Old 10-24-2009, 02:03 AM   #386
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Pumpkin is amazing!
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Old 10-24-2009, 03:06 AM   #387
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Yolland, how do you make the glaze? The pumpkin cake is very dense and moist, just like a carrot cake.
I make it two different ways, because sometimes I make a carrot bundt cake and other times I make a tealoaf-type carrot cake. For the bundt cake, I use powdered sugar in a 4:1 ratio to the overall liquids, in this case a 50/50 mix of OJ and maple syrup (grade B is preferable here). Just sift the sugar into a bowl, add the fluids, whisk until smooth, and then drizzle over the cake, which should be mostly cool. But, you know, now I'm thinking that orange probably isn't as nice with pumpkins as it is with carrots, so maybe it'd be better to just use all maple syrup for the liquid, then maybe fold in some pecans, since those are reliably great with pumpkin. You'd probably need to reduce the sugar:liquid ratio to 3:1 if you did that, since OJ is tart.

When I make the tealoaf-type one, which is a more 'rustic' cake using wholewheat pastry flour, I just mix maple syrup and OJ 3:2 and then brush them over the cake while it's still warm. That, obviously, is more like a lacqueur than a traditional glaze, and visually adds little besides a bit of dark sheen, but it does enhance the flavor since I use maple syrup and orange zest in the cake.

I can't imagine the latter glaze working well with your cake. The more conventional one might--though that picture you posted, it just looks to me like the kind of cake that's meant to be frosted. I was really more envisioning a glazed pumpkin bundt cake. But maybe give it a try if the idea of a maple glaze sounds good to you?
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:33 PM   #388
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I'm making a recipe tomorrow night that calls for beef bouillon cubes. I ended up with little cubes of chicken consomme. Will that make a difference, or are consomme cubes and bouillon cubes fairly interchangable?

I don't think having beef flavored x vs. chicken flavored x will make much of a difference - it's a chicken pot pie soup, so I would think chicken would be the way to go anyway!
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:47 AM   #389
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I've used them interchangeably in some things - i.e.: beef when making chicken fried rice and vice-versa - and it hasn't made that much of a difference. I certainly don't think you can go wrong considering you're making a chicken-based dish. The only thing I'd recommend is to watch the salt. Some consomme cubes can be quite salty, so if you're averse to extra salty things at all, I'd hold off on adding any additional salt till you taste it.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:27 AM   #390
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Thanks, VP!
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