thursday things – halloween 2014

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Today’s Thursday Things is dedicated to Halloween. Everyone’s favorite holiday.

Here’s what the internet has for us…

18 pictures that demonstrate how terrifying Halloween was back in the day…

These bat cupcake toppers from Oh Happy Day

5 easy ways to package Halloween candy.

Chipotle has upped the price from “free” to $3 for its costumed-up Halloween patrons

In case you don’t have a costume yet, try out one of these Frozen costumes.

This one is not necessarily Halloween-related but still kinda gross and creepy…

If you are entering Movita’s carve-off, here are 5 ways to extend the life of your jack-o-lantern.

Or, if carving isn’t your thing, try out these DIY pumpkin decorations.

Meanwhile in Halloween Recipe Land…

Candy Corn Upside-Down Cake from yours truly

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Spider Krispy Treats from Cookies & Cups

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Bloody Caramel Apples from FoodieCrush

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Warm Vanilla Cider from Some Kitchen Stories

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 Seven Layer Bar Crunch from A Periodic Table

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Graveyard Dip from The Law Student’s Wife

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Nutella Cream Filled Skeleton Snack Cakes from Gringalicious

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Monster S’mores from Say Yes

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pumpkin pie bites

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What is a pumpkin pie bite, you ask? Well, imagine all of the flavor and texture of a pumpkin pie in one tiny bite-sized snack.

It all started with this recipe, which is a spin on a thing called “impossible pies” which I guess were a thing before I was around. You take Bisquick (or any standard all purpose baking mix) and mix it with some pumpkin, sugar, and egg, throw it in some cupcake tins and bake it. Once it’s cooked you cool it and store in the fridge and it magically becomes the texture of a pumpkin pie.

Halloween is the perfect time for magic, don’t you agree?

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If Mr. Eats were here he would tell you that they are also delicious fresh out of the oven. He would then tell you that they really do taste like pumpkin pie when you put them in the fridge. Then he would tell you that he hates white chocolate and that I tricked him into eating these by telling him it was “just white coating” and definitely not white chocolate.

He would then tell you that he forgave me for my indiscretion because after I came clean about tricking him into eating white chocolate, he decided to start coating everything within arm’s reach in the stuff. He even said that it “was actually really good, especially for white chocolate.”

For dipping, I decided to finally try out Chocoley’s white chocolate. If it sounds familiar, you may remember them as the chocolate I used for my peanut butter eggs back in April. If you’re having a hard time deciding between the “dipping and coating” or the “candy and molding” varieties, you can see a better example there of the differences in finish. I used the dipping and coating formula for these because I just wanted a thin, matte shell and it did the job perfectly.

Mr. Eats still thinks he hates white chocolate, but I guess this is an exception to the rule since he devoured this stuff.  In fact, after I finished dipping the pumpkin bites, he joined me in the kitchen and started dipping apple slices and pretty much anything else within reach into the stuff, which I think is even more proof of the recipe’s magical powers.

pumpkin pie bites

Yield: 12 mini "pies" or 48 "bites"

Ingredients

    For the pumpkin pies
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Baking Mix (I used Bisquick)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole or evaporated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the bites
  • 3 cups white chocolate coating (I used Chocoley's white chocolate)
  • Sprinkles, for decorating
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet

Instructions

    Make the pies
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with liners.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the butter and whisk to combine. Add pumpkin and continue to mix until blended.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract until the eggs are blended. Pour into the pumpkin mixture and stir until the batter is smooth (it will be pretty thin).
  4. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan completely, about 30 minutes, then remove from the cupcake tin and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 2 to 4 hours until cold.
  5. You could enjoy them as-is, but why do that when you could turn them into adorable little bites?
  6. Make the bites
  7. Cut each "pie" into 4 wedges. Melt white chocolate in a double-boiler or melt it in 30 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, stirring in between intervals, until completely melted.
  8. Dip each wedge into the chocolate coating until completely covered, remove with a fork and shake off excess chocolate.
  9. Set onto parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with desired decorations.

Notes

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/21/pumpkin-pie-bites/

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pumpkin pie bites | wee-eats.com

 

dominique ansel’s banana bread

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As you may have heard, the great Dominique Ansel recently released the recipe for his infamous cronuts. The recipe takes three days, four rises, a deep fryer, and something called a “butter block”. Oh, and let’s not forget to make the glaze and the flavored sugar.

While I may never eat (and will more likely never make) a cronut, what I was more interested in was his much simpler, more approachable recipe for the great and humble banana bread. Because the one thing everyone needs is yet another banana bread recipe, right?

I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have not one but two recipes for banana bread right here on this very site, but I was intrigued. I mean, how amazing can banana bread really be?

I became even more intrigued as I continued reading the recipe… no vanilla, no brown sugar, not even a hint of cinnamon. Clearly this was some sort of trick. Would Mr. Eats even eat a quickbread that wasn’t covered in streusel? I wasn’t sure…

I fought off my urge to tinker with every fiber of my being… No, Natalie, we aren’t adding vanilla. Or brown sugar. That “dash of cinnamon” is definitely off the table – If the great Dominique Ansel doesn’t need it, then neither do I gosh darnit!

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After I congratulated myself on completing a recipe from start to finish by actually following the directions and not tinkering with a single ingredient… I tossed it in the oven and prepared myself for disappointment. I was ready to laugh and scoff and bring Chef Ansel down a peg.

Well color me wrong because this stuff is like banana gold. It turns out, apparently, that you don’t actually need any vanilla, or streusel, or cinnamon. All you need is bananas, flour, sugar, eggs and love. And lots of butter. You’ll definitely be needing that butter. And an over-sized loaf pan (my puny 8 by 5 would not do. Luckily I found some old larger loaf pan that, judging from the looks of it, I can only assume came from my mom or possibly a bomb shelter.

The loaf baked up with an incredibly light and tender crumb on the inside and a delightfully crisp exterior. I was a bit lazy about the banana-mashing so I still had a few chunks of banana, but i like it that way.

It is pure banana essence baked into loaf form and more than anything else – it is addictive.

Score one for Chef Ansel. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.

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Since I assumed that his cookbook would be full of cronuts and other complex things that frankly I get tired just thinking about… I had already decided that I wasn’t going to purchase it. However, now that I realize that there could be more gems in there like this banana bread,  I should probably just pre-order it now.

dominique ansel’s banana bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10" x 5" x 3 ½" loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and whisk in mashed bananas.
  4. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold the mixture until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add the melted butter to the flour and banana mixture, and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.

Notes

This recipe was found on Tasting Table

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/18/dominique-ansels-banana-bread/

thursday things

pusheen fall

I know that I’ve been drowning you in pumpkin, but I promise I didn’t intend for October to end up that way. If I had, I would have come up with some horrible tagline like PUMPKINTOBER or PUMPKINOCALYPSE or PUMPKINSTOCK2014… You know, something super clever. Because I’m so clever.

I promise you (especially you, Movita) that my next recipe will not have pumpkin. Not even a little bit. Not at all.

After that, though, all bets are off!

Meanwhile…

We celebrated Columbus Day here in America (Why? Nobody knows).

The deadline is fast approaching, so I hope you’ve at least come up with a plan for Movita’s pumpkin carve-off.

Taco Bell is releasing sriracha things. SRIRACHA. AT TACO BELL. Of course nobody here eats that junk anyway, right?

Bon Appetit gave us a list of essentials that actually kinda makes sense. It does not have 17 kinds of flours. In fact, it doesn’t even have any flour at all.

HuffPo gave us the low-down (or is it down-low? the 411? What are all the kids saying these days?) about all of the milks.

And Food52 is saving my tupperware from the trashcan (and thereby saving the environment). Go you, Food52! (hehe, it rhymes)

Pharrell committed crimes against humanity.

Martha Stewart still hates Gwenyth Paltrow.

Apparently edible cookie dough is a thing. (Wait, so all that cookie dough I’ve been eating WASN’T edible?)

Baked released their newest cookbook: Baked Occasions.

Serious Eats taught us how to turn our pasta into ramen.

And BuzzFeed shared the “American” section of grocery stores…

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I know I should be appalled but honestly all I can think is, “Who under the age of 90 is eating Cream of Wheat?”

It reminded me of the wonderful video of Australians trying American snacks. Spoiler alert: it went way better than the video of Americans testing Australian snacks.

And here’s your daily dose of cuteness.

pumpkin pie bread pudding

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Last week I was forced to thaw my pumpkin challah ahead of schedule in order to complete its photo-op and I knew that re-freezing it really wasn’t an option. Since I didn’t want all of the challah to go to waste I had to do something with it (poor me), so I went to the easy option: bread pudding.

I took my other bread pudding recipe and adapted it slightly… well, by “adapted” I mean “poured a can of pumpkin into”… That counts as “adapted,” right?

I also switched from white sugar to brown because, to me, pumpkin just screams “BROWN SUGAR” and reduced the liquids a bit to make up for the additional liquid provided by the pumpkin puree. I probably could have reduced the liquids a bit more since I had originally planned to only had 1 cup of pumpkin puree… then I got tired thinking of what I would do with the rest of the can of pumpkin and just dumped the rest of it in.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? There is some real science going on here, guys.

I worried that it might be too much liquid, and maybe it was, the pudding took way longer than others have to bake, although that could have been because I insisted on opening the oven door every ten minutes to check on it. (Shame on me, I should know better.)

I’ve included the recipe as I made it below, along with some notes in case you’re interested in scaling back on the liquid.

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So I took the pudding out of the oven with trepidation, terrified that it was going to be a soggy, soupy mess. Then, after I let it cool off a bit on a wire rack I popped into the fridge to firm up. This step is important…

The refrigerator is where the magic happens.

In the refrigerator, what was once a warm bread pudding transforms into some sort of magical bread pudding/pumpkin pie hybrid. The top of the pudding stays wonderfully crisp while the bottom turned into what I can only describe as pumpkin pie.

Like, literally, the exact taste and texture of a creamy pumpkin pie.

It. was. amazing.

The refrigerator also has the added bonus of firming up the bread pudding enough for you to actually slice and serve it versus having to scoop it with a spoon.  Slicing the pudding also makes freezing it an option. If that’s your thing, you can see my notes on freezing the bread pudding at the end of the recipe.

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I topped my bread pudding with a healthy dollop of freshly-whipped cream (spiked with some cinnamon).  I suspect that a scoop of ice cream or creme anglaise would be a nice touch, too.

pumpkin pie bread pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 casserole, 8 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 cups stale bread (I used pumpkin challah)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup cinnamon chips

Instructions

  1. Cut bread into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients except the bread and cinnamon chips.
  3. Once combined, add the bread and cinnamon chips; toss to coat.
  4. Pour into greased baking dish and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to overnight).
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325F. While the oven is preheating, set the bread pudding on the counter to take the chill off.
  6. Once the oven is preheated, remove plastic wrap from bread pudding and cover pudding with aluminum foil bake 20 minutes covered, then remove cover and bake for an additional 30 -50 minutes, until the bread pudding no longer releases liquid when pressed and the internal temperature reaches 165F.
  7. Cool bread pudding on a wire rack for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill until ready to serve (4 hours or up to overnight). This is where the magic happens.
  8. When ready to serve, either reheat individual servings of bread pudding for about 30 seconds each (being careful not to overheat them) in the microwave or reheat the entire pan in the oven by placing it in a cool oven, covered with aluminum foil. Set oven to 350 and by the time your oven is heated the bread pudding should be warmed through (you can poke it to check, if you like).
  9. Serve with creme anglaise, ice cream, or cinnamon-spiced whipped cream.

Notes

My bread pudding came out beautifully, but you could easily make the following modifications if you are short on any ingredients, however your cooking time may be slightly less: - You could use just 1 cup of pumpkin puree instead of one whole can, keeping other liquid ingredients the same - If you are using a full can of pumpkin puree, you could easily get away with reducing the whole milk and cream by another 1/4 cup each (or just reducing one by a half cup) - You could use all heavy cream or sub in half-and-half instead of using a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk

*As is - this recipe will create a nice crust on top of the bread pudding. If you prefer to not have a crusty top to your bread pudding, leave it covered for the entire baking time.

*The bread pudding magic really happens after its chill in the fridge, so you could serve it fresh from the oven but I strongly recommend the chill. This is what transforms the lower portion to the texture of pumpkin pie.

*You can (and I did) wrap individual servings of bread pudding tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them to enjoy later. Place in refrigerator to thaw and then heat for 30 seconds in the microwave (or warm in the oven).

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/14/pumpkin-pie-bread-pudding/

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