Maple Pumpkin Tart


Life. Is. Stressful. Between SAT studying, which is October 6th, being an editor for yearbook with deadlines looming ahead, and a paper due for my college english class, life is busy this weekend. So of course I have to take time and wind down. So I bake! And y’all get to see the results and make it for yourself!

Maple Pumpkin Tart with Shortbread Crust
Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine

servings: serves 8
prep time: 25 minutes
cook time: 75 minutes

ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoon dark brown sugar, plus 1/4 cup
2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 each large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
15 oz canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

directions:

The requisite holiday pumpkin pie takes on a sophisticated look in the form of a tart. Make sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Tart may be frozen, tightly covered, then thawed in the refrigerator prior to serving.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan or a 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. Prepare crust. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla on medium speed until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt and add to bowl. Mix on low speed just until dough forms crumbs and flour is blended, about 15 seconds.

3. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan. With clean dry hands, press dough smoothly and evenly onto bottom and sides of pan. Using a fork, prick top of dough lightly. Bake crust 15 to 18 minutes, until firm and lightly colored; edges should not begin to brown. Let crust cool for 20 minutes before filling. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

4. Make filling. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, brown sugar and maple syrup, until smooth. Add cream, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt, whisking just to incorporate. Use a whisk to blend pumpkin in thoroughly. Pour into partially baked crust.

5. Bake tart until filling is just set in center and edges are firm, about 52 to 57 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours up to overnight. To serve, carefully slide a small knife around edges of crust to loosen it. Serve chilled or at room temperature, topping each slice with a drizzle of maple syrup and a spoonful of whipped cream, if desired.

Cinnamon Buns


Mmmmm…cinnamon buns. They are heaven on earth. The best cinnamon roll ever. I shall never buy canned cinnamon rolls at the grocery store again. They wanted to speak for themselves today. 🙂

Cinnamon Buns
Recipe adapted from: Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

INGREDIENTS

Dough

1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
(2) .25 oz. pks. active dry yeast (I use 2 TB instant yeast)
1 tsp. granulated sugar (only if needing to proof the active dry yeast. If using instant yeast, disregard this)
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup melted butter OR margarine
1 cup 110 degree water (approximately)
1 cup warm milk (must be warm)
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs – slightly beaten
Approximately 5 cups all-purpose flour, sifted plus more for kneading/floured surface.

Coating

1/2 cup melted butter OR margarine
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I don’t like a lot of nuts in dessert so feel free to add more.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar – your preference)
INSTRUCTIONS

Mix together 1 sugar and the cinnamon; set aside (this will be used later to spread on dough)
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in warm water; set aside (if using instant yeast, you can skip this step)
In a large bowl, mix together milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup melted butter, salt, and eggs; add yeast mixture and 4 cups of flour to mixture; beat until smooth; stir in enough flour to form a slightly stiff dough.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. I always know when my dough is finished kneading (either by hand or machine) when it can stretch quite well. It must be elastic enough.
Place dough into a large greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes.
Roll dough out onto a floured surface into a 15″ X 20″ rectangle.
Brush 1/2 cup melted butter over dough; sprinkle cinnamon sugar liberally over dough; sprinkle nuts evenly over dough, if desired.
Tightly roll up dough and pinch edges together to seal; cut the roll into 12 – 15 slices using dental floss or thread.
Coat the bottom of a 13″ X 9″ X 2″ baking pan with 1/2 cup melted butter; sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar evenly in the bottom of the pan. (When attempting to make these a little bit of a lower fat version, I do not do this. If I do, then make sure after they are done baking, that you flip the pan over so that all the delicious drippings go onto the rolls.) Typically, I prefer more “doughy” rolls and like them as HUGE cinnabon sized rolls, but some have mentioned that they prefer an additional 8×8 pan for the extra dough.
Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the prepared pan; cover pan and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or just eye ball them until nearly doubled in size.
Bake rolls in a 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s) (plus additional rise time)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12 huge Cinnabon size or divide into two pans for regular sized rolls

Ingredients for dough:

Kneading the dough:

Dough before it rises:

It will be about twice the size after 1 hour.

Dough being filled with sugar/cinnamon mixture, butter, and walnuts 🙂

Before going into the oven…

Mmmmm…. I figured you wanted to see it again 🙂

Now it’s your turn to go make them! You’ll be happy you did!

Daisy’s Place Bake Sale auction


As most of you know, I sell cupcakes and 10% goes to Daisy’s Place Retriever Rescue. I donate to Daisy’s Place because Number One: I love animals and Two: I have a Lab myself from their rescue named Murphy. He is a sweet 9 year old black lab.

They are a small rescue for older dogs and have recently had some sick Labbys. One of them is one of my foster dogs, Iris who recently had a cancerous tumor removed from her hind leg. That surgery cost approximately $900 and with other sick dogs’ surgeries and treatments, they are in a tough situation. The costs of the surgeries and treatments have been very high, so they are doing all they can to fundraise. They have created a bake/cook sale auction. I offered two of my items to the bake sale, my pecan pie cupcakes and my applesauce spice muffins. Please visit their auction site on September 24th to make your bid if you live in the local Charleston area to help the rescue and the sweet labbys. It is only a 24 hour auction, so bid quickly to win your item! I will have the auction site posted as soon as I get the information.

Thank you!

American Cancer Society: Cupcake Competition



Yay!!!! I won my first cupcake competition!


The Judging Room


My pecan pie cupcakes in the judging room.


A youth contestant named Jacob Eagle made these “spaghetti and meatball cupcakes”. He entered the “Special Occasion” category.


Yummy Shrimp and Grits cupcakes made by an Amateur Contestant


Vegan Strawberry Cupcakes made by Whole Foods

Pecan Pie Cupcakes


So, as y’all know I have a cupcake competition coming up to benefit the American Cancer Society. The category I signed up for is “What says Charleston?” and it has to be creative. Pecan Pie, as we all know, has been a traditional southern favorite for many years.

I had originally started with the idea of making sweet tea cupcakes and I stumbled on a sweet peach tea recipe. It had you use the crystal light packets and they were GROSS. So my sister BEGGED me to make the pecan pie cupcakes and they were great. Hopefully I will place in the competition on Sunday!

As y’all can see above, my way of being creative with the cupcakes was actually making them look like pecan pies as well as tasting like one. If you are interested in the recipe, I have it below.

Pecan Pie Cupcakes
Adapted from: The Cupcake Club
Makes 12

Cupcakes:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs, room temp
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and oil at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until light, approximately 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary.
Add flour mixture to oil & sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add in sour cream. Fold in pecans and vanilla. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Tap pan against counter to release air bubbles.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Brown Sugar Buttercream

1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp butter, softened and divided
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tbsp whole milk

1. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar, 1 stick butter, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, approximately 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in the 2 tablespoons butter. Let cool in refrigerator until somewhat firm.
2. In a large bowl, beat cooled brown-sugar butter mixture and at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar and enough milk to achieve a spreadable consistency.

Thanks for stopping by achefinthyme.com!

Mushroom Kale Rice Bowl


I have been on a vegetarian kick this week if you haven’t noticed. It is just too hot here in South Carolina to sit down to a meal of meat and mashed potatoes. And honestly, I’m not feeling meat lately (sorry to my meat lover followers). The vegetarian dishes I’ve been making this week have been SO good and it doesn’t have anything weird in it like tofu (sorry to my tofu lovers but it is a little too bouncy for me). Anyways what I am trying to say is that I think many people would love this if they would venture out a little and try some awesome veggie dishes!

Also, as you may have noticed, I plated my dish without rice. I was really hungry, ok? It was good with out, but if you need some extra carbs to fill you up, go ahead and eat the rice with it!

Mushroom Kale Rice Bowl
Adapted from: Blog Babble

Serves 4
4 cups cooked white rice
2 bunches of kale, chopped
2 portabella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper for mushrooms
2 tbsp peanuts

Prepare rice in rice cooker and cook according to directions. Slice portabella mushrooms and chop up kale. In a large soup pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add kale over medium high until done (not too soggy, not too crunchy) Prepare Spicy Peanut Sauce (below). In a skillet, saute onions in 1 tbsp olive oil until tender. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender. Add salt and pepper and toss in pan.

Spicy Peanut Sauce
2 Tbsp creamy salted peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp rice vinegar (yuzu flavored or add 1 tsp lemon juice)
5 dashes cayenne
fine black pepper to taste

Place a small pot over med-high heat on your stove top. Add all the sauce ingredients and stir briskly until they melt and blend together. Reduce heat to medium and simmer/stir for about two minutes. Turn heat to low.

Final Directions:
Add sauteed mushrooms, onions, 1 tsp soy sauce and spicy peanut sauce to the large pot with the kale. Toss until well mixed and garnish with peanuts.

Thanks for visiting achefinthyme.com!

Open Faced Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Olive Walnut Relish


Open Faced Grilled Eggplant Sandwiches with Olive Walnut Relish
Recipe from: Fine Cooking

3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for brushing
2 Tbs. minced fresh mint, plus small leaves for garnish
2 Tbs. minced shallot
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped
2 Tbs. toasted walnuts, finely chopped
1 to 1-1/4 lb. globe eggplant (2 small or 1 slender large), peeled if you like, trimmed, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
4-1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices crusty, artisanstyle white bread
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 oz. mixed baby greens
1 8-oz. package burrata (or fresh mozzarella), drained
Prepare a medium-high gas or charcoal grill fire. In a small bowl, combine the oil, mint, shallot, and vinegar. In another small bowl, combine the olives and walnuts. Beat the vinaigrette with a fork to blend, and then mix 2 tsp. into the olive mixture.

Arrange the eggplant and bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the eggplant on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush the bread slices on one side with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill the eggplant, covered, until tender, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Grill the bread, covered, until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

Arrange the grilled bread on a cutting board, oiled side up. Top each slice with some of the mixed greens. Arrange the eggplant rounds atop the greens. Beat the vinaigrette with a fork to blend, and then spoon about 1 tsp. over each round. Slice the burrata about 1/2 inch thick and arrange over the eggplant. Sprinkle lightly with salt and spoon about 1 tsp. of the olive relish over each burrata slice. Cut the sandwiches in half and transfer to plates. Garnish with small mint leaves and serve.