- no more hurricane season
- 24 days til Christmas
- 30 days til 2010 (whoa)
I can’t wait to see what this month brings.
I can’t wait to see what this month brings.
I remember how excited I was to finally have a springform pan. I could make cheesecakes galore! However, with being on a diet lately, I had no excuse to make one, until now. Work had a Thanksgiving potluck, and I thought, perfect excuse to make a PUMPKIN cheesecake. I have had my eye on this pumpkin cheesecake recipe that I found on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, and it did not disappoint. I was still getting compliments on the cheesecake a couple of days later!
I topped it with the caramel I made earlier that was a little too soft to be candy, and it ended up being a little too hard to be a topping too. It made a bit of a mess for people trying to slice up cheesecake, but oh well!
- 5 ounces graham crackers (9 whole crackers), broken into large pieces
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces) packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350F. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth. In a medium bowl, stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Add granulated sugar mixture to cream cheese and beat for another 2 minutes. In a medium bowl (or the same one), whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) until combined. Beat at medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
- Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set and measures 140 to 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 50 to 60 minutes.
- Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove sides of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.
..because I’ve been winning a lot lately! First, I won the roses. Then, thanks to all of you, I won the Marx Foods photography contest. Now, I found out I won an etsy package from Team CAC! WOW! I’m blown away by this package…
So, I went to the convenience store today and bought lottery tickets. Heck, why not? I’m sure my lucky streak will run out soon, but why not take advantage of it?
These cookies are usually impressive when I bring them to a party. Sure, it’s time consuming, but all in all, very easy and cheap to do yourself!
Your cookies might not come out as perfect as you would like the first time, but give it 3-4 times, and you will see your skills improve and your creative juices start flowing with new cookie ideas. (Just in time for the holidays!)
Supplies you need to decorate:
First, of course, you roll and cut your sugar cookies. This is my favorite recipe.
Rolled Sugar Cookies
Source: Cookie Craft
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl.
- Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together for about 2 minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and extract/zest and mix until blended.
- Gradually add the flour/salt mixture to the wet mixture until the two are thoroughly combined.
- Divide the dough into 2-3 portions and form them into a disk shape. Then, wrap each portion in wax paper and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.
- Once chilled, roll dough out into desired shapes and place on a Silpat or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 12-16 minutes, until cookies start to turn golden along the edges.
Then, whip up some royal icing (This is the recipe I use, and I sub 2 tsp. of almond extract for 2 tsp. of the water called for in the recipe.). Really mix it well until it gets fluffy and stops looking shiny. It takes a while, especially with a hand mixer (I’ve been there…), so if you are using a hand mixer, be prepared to mix for a good 10 minutes.
Of course, color your icing the colors you want. Flood icing is simply royal icing with a little bit more water added until it’s fairly liquidy. The best way to find out if your icing is the right consistency is to mix it well and let it drip from a spatula or whisk, into the bowl. If the icing holds its shape in the liquid for about 5 seconds, it’s good to go! Then, just pour it into your squeeze bottles.
Now that all of your icings are prepared, fill your icing bag about a quarter of the way full. This allows you to maintain good control of your icing, and overfilled bags can really be strenuous on your hands to squeeze. Depending on the complexity of the cookie, choose tip 2 or 3. Tip 2 is good for more detailed cookies, but I used tip 3 for the below cookie since the shape is fairly simple.
Then, pipe your outlines. If you happen to mess up, use a toothpick to guide the icing to the right spot. Make sure there are no gaps in your icing, because if you leave gaps, flood icing will spill right out of your cookie.
After all of your cookies are outlined, start squeezing your flood icing in.
After you squeeze a fair amount in, use a toothpick to spread icing into the corners of the cookies.
Now, your cookies should look something like this. If you have detailing to add, like I did, allow the flood icing to set for a couple of hours so that it just doesn’t sink into the flood icing.
I can’t stress this enough: Allow your cookies to dry for 24 hours. I tried 12 hours once, but one good squish crunched the flood icing in, revealing some flood icing that was still very wet underneath.
I hope this helps those of you who were curious about royal icing decorating. It’s not that bad at all, and the results are really awesome!
Cool cookies on a cooling rack.
Thanksgiving was last week, and it made me realize that there is so much to be thankful for that I take for granted all the time. With the holidays coming up, I want to pay it forward.
JCPenney’s is helping Salvation Army with their Angel Giving Tree campaign. Angel Giving Tree is where you choose a child and get them some items on their wish list to help make their Christmas a little brighter.
I’m doing Operation Baking Gals for the third time in a row, and especially with this time of the year, this is a great opportunity to show the troops how much you appreciate them! If you are interested, definitely sign up for a team!
Of course, you should consider donating any food in your pantry that you think you won’t need or use anytime soon. You can also volunteer your time at your local food bank. I used to do this in college, and as generous as people are with donating, they need people to package the food in boxes to give to families! It only takes a couple of hours of your time, and it’s very rewarding to know that you are helping!
So, if you are thinking of helping out during the holidays, these are all great ideas. If you’ve done volunteering during the holidays before, are there other organizations that you’ve helped out that you can suggest?
Interested in the rest of the Surviving the Holidays series? Check out these topics.
I can’t believe that I’m watching the last game of the regular season for LSU. Football is my favorite sport, and man, have we had a roller coaster of close heart attacks, blow outs and, sadly, losses!
I’m looking forward to whatever bowl LSU is in, but I’m still in disbelief that the season is almost over and my Saturday nights will be pretty plain now.
We had a pretty good run this year, guys. Let’s just forget what happened in the last 30 seconds of the Ole Miss game though…
Top row: Cajun Smoked Turkey, Cornbread dressing, Honey-baked Ham
Second row: Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Cauliflower Au Gratin
Bottom Row: Homemade Yeast Rolls, Rice Dressing
After much planning and excitement, Thanksgiving with our families was absolutely wonderful. It was great to spend time with everyone, and to see the responses to the food we cooked. I’m going to share a couple of recipes with you, since our families insisted on bringing dishes as well.
I hope you also had a great Thanksgiving! I can’t believe it’s time to plan for Christmas now!
Originally, I bought Christmas cards from Target last year at 75-90% off for us to use this year. However, this was a deal I couldn’t pass up, because I was planning on putting a wedding picture in the cards anyway.
SeeHere is a new photo site that I just heard about, because the Internet has been buzzing about this deal for 50 FREE, yes, free photocards for the holiday season until 11/30/09. (Yeah, sorry about the last minute notice!)
Here’s the code: freebies4mom-1109
It took me about 30 minutes, because I am pretty particular about things haha! I think the hardest part was choosing one picture of us from the wedding. Here’s a preview (aka print screen…sorry for the quality!)
So, definitely consider this deal if you’re in the market for photocards.
Also, for more steals and deals, Shutterfly is having a promotion for Buy 1, get 1 50% off for their photo books (in all sizes/styles) AND is offering free shipping with a $25 purchase. I guess this will be my Black Friday project. 😛
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday with their family and closest of friends.
I can’t wait to share with all of you my kitchen adventures for hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner. Things so far are on schedule, surprisingly, so I’m sure tomorrow won’t be too stressful in the kitchen. It will be great to see family for the first time since the wedding in May.
The recipe above, by the way, is a great idea for leftover ham. I love how easy this recipe is and how it just screams Fall season. Check out the recipe here.
The day is finally here. Turn on NBC for the Macy’s Parade. Fork out the jersey to watch some NFL…oh yeah, and of course, spend time with family and friends over food and fun!
The ever-burning question on this day is to ask yourself what you’re thankful for. Well, I’m thankful for a wonderful and supportive group of family and friends who do nothing but lift me up. I’m thankful for my husband, who is absolutely wonderful to me. I’m thankful for a roof over my head and a steady job. I’m also thankful for y’all who read my little ol’ blog. It makes me so giddy when I see comments from y’all, and I just love sharing my thoughts on here.
Have a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving everyone!