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Sep 02, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

Wheatless Wednesdays: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013



I am lucky to have a mom who (for the most part) also follows a gluten-free lifestyle. Holiday gatherings are no longer void of all the goodies I savored as a child. Mom’s “famous” chocolate chip cookies now have a gluten-free counterpart at which hardly any gluten-loving family member would balk. The annual gluten-free holiday baking is welcomed – but now I succumb to the holiday bulge with the rest of you!

Mom’s flare with cookies goes far beyond rudimentary; my favorites are her chocolate crinkles and pumpkin chocolate chip. They both seamlessly convert to gluten-free, as most cookies do. And now that gluten-free flour blends are easily found in the grocery aisles, the process is just as quick as your traditional cookie recipe.

Andrea’s Gluten-Free, a St. Louis company with a dedicated gluten-free (and peanut- and tree nut-free) kitchen, sells a superb “super fine grind” gluten-free flour blend that I picked up at Schnucks. I highly recommend it for many reasons. The blend is a cup-for-cup substitute when baking standard recipes (ones that contain gluten) and worked beautifully for these cookies. The super fine grind texture is soft and light without the grit many gluten-free flours produce. The blend includes xanthan gum, which helps the mixture bind. And you’ll save a little dough (no pun intended!) since purchasing xanthan separately is quite expensive. As you mix the cookie ingredients together, your arm will feel the xanthan’s gumming action, but have no fear – it will result in a moist, cake-like cookie.

These beta-carotene-rich cookies make me proud. Take them to your favorite autumn harvest party or holiday get together. And don’t worry, I’m sending my recipe to Mom.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approximately 25 large cookies

1½ tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. milk
1 15-oz. can pumpkin purée (or use leftover roasted pumpkin puree)
1 cup sugar
½ cup olive oil
1 egg
2 cups gluten-free flour blend (without leavening agents)
2½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup black walnuts, optional
2 tsp. vanilla extract

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
• In a small glass, dissolve the baking soda in the milk. Set aside.
• Mix the pumpkin purée, sugar and olive oil together in a large bowl until smooth.
• Stir in the egg, flour blend, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt and mix to combine.
• Add the milk mixture, then stir in the chocolate chips, nuts and vanilla.
• Scoop ¼-cup dough balls onto the cookie sheet and press down gently to slightly flatten
• Bake about 12 minutes, until cookies are fluffy and cake-like.



Meatless Monday: Smoked Pumpkin and Stilton Soup

Monday, November 4th, 2013



Halloween is over, and you need to do something with those pumpkins perched on your front porch. Don’t burn out on pumpkin pie yet; try this quick and delicious soup instead. If your pumpkins have already met their grisly ends as jack-o-lanterns, you can use canned pumpkin. But if you want to go the extra mile with an intact gourd, you can slice it up and roast it yourself. I sometimes roast mine in a barbecue pit with maple wood for another layer of flavor.

Smoked Pumpkin and Stilton Soup
4 Servings

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tsp. Kosher salt, divided
1 large red bell pepper, diced
4 cups (1 30-oz. can) cooked pumpkin (or recipe follows)
2 cups vegetable stock
3 cups (¾ lb.) Stilton, crumbled and divided
1 cup heavy cream

• Place a large pot over high heat. Saute the olive oil and onion a few minutes, until translucent. Season with pepper and 1 teaspoon salt and saute another minute.
• Stir in the pumpkin and stock to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes. The pumpkin should bubble gently, but not quite simmer.
• Remove the soup from the heat and, working in batches if needed, use a blender to puree the mixture until smooth.
• Pass the pumpkin purée through a fine mesh sieve and return it to the pot over low heat. Be careful not to boil the soup.
• Stir in 2 cups Stilton and the cream, the season with pepper and the remaining salt, if needed.
• When the soup is warm, remove it from the heat and serve garnished with the remaining Stilton crumbles and a drizzle of olive oil.

Roasted Pumpkin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin into wedges and remove the seeds and pulp. Roast the wedges about 45 minutes, or until tender. Remove the skin and purée the flesh in a food processor. The purée can be stored in plastic bags in the freezer.



Meatless Monday: Dressel’s Roasted Pumpkin Arancini

Monday, October 28th, 2013



Here’s a dish at Dressel’s guaranteed to make your meat-eating friends jealous. The vibrant risotto inside these three crisp arancini gets its orange hue from rich pumpkin instead of seasonal staple butternut squash. The result rings savory, not sweet, and cloying pumpkin pie is the furthest thing from your mind. The crispy balls arrive on a bed of creamy greens (more cream than greens) sprinkled with toasted pepitas and drizzled with sorghum brown butter. Let them eat steak – we’ll take another round of arancini, please.





Make This: Pumpkin Mousse Shortbread Bars

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Has this crazy warm weather catapulted you back to craving the flavors of fall? Before you fully transition to your eggnog, nutmeg and cinnamon-based winter-time recipes, give these Pumpkin Mousse Shortbread Bars one last hurrah.

Pumpkin Mousse Shortbread Bars
Makes 9 to 12 bars

These bars are so easy to put together and, since they’re best served chilled, they can be made well in advance. The pumpkin mousse is soft and delicate; the shortbread is buttery and crisp, leaving a lovely lingering taste of fall.

4 oz. butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tsp. cold butter
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup almond flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. cold water
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup salted caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1 Tbsp. bourbon (optional)
½ tsp. pumpkin spice or allspice
3 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Fresh whipped cream for serving

• Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• Press parchment paper into the bottom of a 11-by-17-inch baking pan, leaving some overhang on all sides.
• First, make the shortbread layer: In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the 4 ounces of room temperature butter and ½ cup of sugar until fluffy and creamy.
• Use a spatula to stir in the flours, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
• Press the dough into the baking pan as evenly as possible. Poke holes into the dough with a fork.
• Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Set aside.
• Next, make the pumpkin layer: In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and set aside to bloom.
• Meanwhile, in a clean bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream to soft – not stiff – peaks.
• In a separate bowl, whisk the pumpkin purée, salted caramel, bourbon (if using), remaining sugar, remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract and pumpkin spice together.
• Heat the softened gelatin in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, or until dissolved. Stir the gelatin into the pumpkin mixture.
• Gently fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture until combined.
• Spread the pumpkin layer onto the shortbread base and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
• Once chilled, use the parchment overhang to lift the mixture out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a clean knife to cut into 9 to 12 squares, depending on size.
• Finally, make the chocolate layer: Melt the chocolate and remaining teaspoon of cold butter together until combined. Let cool slightly. Smear atop each bar in an even layer.
• Serve with whipped cream or chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

— photo courtesy of Carmen Troesser

Baked: Judy’s Loaded Pumpkin Loaf

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

As I meander along my path of baking discovery, exploring new ingredients and dishes in my kitchen, I’m also remembering the lessons I’ve learned from my mom that I somehow never recognized before. The other day she sent me a recipe for pumpkin bread that Judy, a now deceased friend and coworker of hers, had shared. Judy was one of the sweetest little old ladies I’ve ever met. She was perpetually cheerful, encouraging and kind. Instead of withholding her popular recipe, she shared it with my mom and anyone else in the office who asked. And for that reason, I was very much looking forward to making something she had loved so much.

As fate would have it, a good friend dropped off some fresh pumpkin purée, and this loaf was born. The original recipe is very simple, without a glaze, nuts and chocolate and fewer spices. It also asks for water in place of milk. I first made it the original way, and it was lovely as is: simple and moist. On my second try, I added a maple cream cheese glaze that put it over the top, and the pecans and chocolate chips lent some great texture and crunch.

The best part? Only one bowl and a whisk is needed to put it together. Step aside, banana bread. This recipe is for keeps!

Judy’s Loaded Pumpkin Loaf

Makes 1 Loaf

1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. ginger
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/6 cup almond flour (or regular flour)
½ cup canola oil
½ cup milk (I used almond, but any milk will do.)
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup pumpkin purée
½ cup pecan or walnut pieces (optional)
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
4 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup maple syrup, plus more as desired
¼ cup powdered sugar, plus more as desired

• Liberally grease a loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Add the first 13 ingredients (up to the nuts) to a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to gently combine until the mixture becomes a cohesive batter.
• Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips*
• Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until you can insert a knife or skewer into the center and it comes out clean or with few crumbs attached. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool completely.
• Meanwhile, make the glaze: Add the cream cheese, maple syrup and powdered sugar to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. For a thinner consistency, add more syrup. For a thicker consistency, add more sugar. To make it a touch boozy, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of bourbon.
• Once the loaf has cooled, smooth the glaze over the top and serve.

* Note: The chocolate chips went straight to the bottom of the loaf pan, and I had a hard time getting the loaf out. However, I loved the chocolate crust that it created. If you would like to avoid this, I suggest sprinkling the chocolate chips on top instead of stirring them in.

Stocking Up on pie pumpkins

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

101211_pumpkinsUsually at this time of year, it’s a cinch to snap up local pumpkins, both those of the cooking and decorative varieties. Crops, however, are a bit delayed this year due to the killer heat of last summer. We have seen some around at the local markets, so grab them while you can.

Pie pumpkins, often called sugar pumpkins, are smaller than the type used for jack-o-lanterns and have more of that tasty flesh. Halve the pumpkin, scrape out the guts (save the seeds!), then roast the halves cut-side-down at 350 degrees for around an hour. Scoop out the pulp and purée it before using in any number of applications, sweet or savory. Pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread are pretty standard. Try pumpkin soup, pumpkin flan, even pumpkin soufflé.

If you prefer, you can peel the small pumpkins, then dice the flesh and steam or stir fry it. The nutty flavor pairs well with curry. Sautéed, pumpkin is a perfect foil for creamy goat cheese in a quesadilla or salad.

Don’t let the pumpkin seeds go to waste. Rinse and dry them well, then drizzle with olive oil and salt and roast at 350 in a single layer for about 15 minutes. Use them to top a salad or make a brittle, perfect on top of cinnamon ice cream. For plenty more ideas on how to use up that pumpkin, click here.

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