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

 

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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pumpkin cookies & cream ice cream

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I’ve been waiting SO LONG to tell you guys about this. Two whole weeks, to be exact.

Remember how I got those pumpkin spice Oreos and they didn’t suck? Well, immediately I started thinking about one of my favorite ice creams – which is cookies & cream, with Oreos, naturally.

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I looked over at Mr. Eats after tasting my first pumpkin spice Oreo and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Oh. My. God.

Mr. Eats: What?

Me: WHAT IF I MAKE COOKIES AND CREAM ICE CREAM WITH THE PUMPKIN SPICE OREOS?

Mr. Eats: [contemplating this idea]

Me: BUT INSTEAD OF VANILLA ICE CREAM, I DO PUMPKIN ICE CREAM! WITH THE PUMPKIN OREOS! PUMPKIN COOKIES AND PUMPKIN CREAM!

Mr. Eats: And then will you clean up the pieces of my skull? Because you just blew my mind.

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Unlike most of my ideas which take months if not years to finally make… this one only took a few days (only because we didn’t have any heavy cream in the house so I had to wait until my next trip to the grocery store).

The base, adapted from Jeni’s Ice Creams (shocking, I know) was a breeze to make.  Then I just crushed up my cookies and mixed the two together… If you are into pumpkin at all then you need to make this ice cream because it is CRAZY good. It may even be one of my greatest accomplishments to date.

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Imagine, if you will, a rich and creamy pumpkin ice cream full of crushed pumpkin-spiced Oreo cookies. It’s like if pumpkin pie and cookies and cream ice cream had a baby, then scooped that baby up and put it inside of a deliciously crunchy waffle cone.

You’re welcome.

pumpkin cookies & cream ice cream

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 sleeve pumpkin spice Oreo cookies (or Joe Joe's)

Instructions

    Make the base:
  1. In a small bowl, make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of milk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk cream cheese and salt. Add honey and pumpkin puree and continue whisking until smooth. Fill another large bowl with ice water and set aside.
  3. In a 4-qt saucepan, combine the cream with the remaining milk. Stir in the sugar, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling.
  4. Boil for 4 minutes then remove from heat to whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return to heat and continue cooking, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, one minute more until the mixture is thickened.
  5. Carefully whisk the hot milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour into a 1-gallon freezer-safe bag and seal. Submerge in ice water about 30 minutes, until chilled. Dry bag and store in refrigerator until ready to spin the ice cream.
  6. Spin the ice cream
  7. Pour ice cream base into frozen canister and spin until thick, about 20 minutes. You can either pour in the crushed cookies at the end of your spinning process, or layer them with the ice cream when transferring the ice cream into a container for storage. My finished ice cream required a 5 cup storage container.
  8. Press parchment paper onto the top of the ice cream and freeze in coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours.
  9. When ready to enjoy, set ice cream on counter about 10 minutes to soften. Scoop and enjoy!

Notes

The ice cream base used in this recipe was adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home which I highly recommend you pick up. It's only $9.99 right now and worth every penny!

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/11/pumpkin-cookies-cream-ice-cream/

 

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pumpkin challah

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‘Tis the season for pumpkin and I’ve been practicing my bread braiding lately so naturally my next step would be to braid pumpkin. I mean, duh, obviously.

I believe challah is traditionally a four-rope braid and, although my skills are vastly improved from my first attempt, I have not quite achieved that level of skill yet. So, for the sake of everyone’s sanity, I stuck with practicing my three rope braid. Next time I think I will be ready to level up my skills to four ropes.

Having never made challah, apparently there are about a bajillion different recipes and a katrillion ways to make it, so basically every source of research was useless to me. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to keep it dairy-free, because I feel like if you’re putting dairy in your challah it is no longer challah.

Not that it isn’t some other dairy-licious egg bread, it’s just not challah. Not really. And why would I want to have not-challah when I was craving challah?

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The end result was surprisingly good, especially when you take into consideration that I had almost no idea what I was doing. It had the perfect challah texture that I was looking for. Though the pumpkin gives the bread a stunning orange hue, the pumpkin’s flavor wasn’t overly pronounced. In fact, if you left out the cinnamon and spices you could easily serve it alongside dinner.  Either version will transform beautifully into french toast or bread pudding, but more on that coming later.

This bread, like all bread, is best eaten the day its made but will freeze beautifully as well. Since I lost my memory card last weekend when I made this bread, these pictures are actually from my defrosted loaf.

pumpkin challah

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf challah

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 package instant dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks, whites reserved
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon neutral vegetable oil; divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup, reserved
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

    Make the dough
  1. Mix yeast with water and sugar; set aside 5 minutes until foamy.
  2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat in the pumpkin, 3 tablespoons oil, honey, eggs, yolks, and salt. Beat on medium speed until combined.
  3. Add 1 cup of flour and beat on low until combined. Add additional cup and continue beating until combined.
  4. Continue adding remaining 2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, kneading until smooth and elastic.
  5. If the dough is too wet and stick, continue adding last cup of flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough becomes smooth. I actually ended up dumping mine out onto the counter to knead by hand so that I could judge the texture better. You want it to be soft enough to keep a dent when your finger pokes it, but not sticky enough to stick to your finger.
  6. Once desired consistency is reached, pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a large bowl. Add dough to bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set in a warm place until doubled in size 60 to 90 minutes.
  7. Shape the dough
  8. Once doubled in size, gentlly punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly-floured surface.
  9. Divide into 3 equal portions, and roll each into a 14 to 17-inch rope. (You could do a 4 or more ropes of dough but I'm not that skilled).
  10. Once braided, place onto baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to proof until doubled in size, another 60 - 90 minutes.
  11. When nearing the end of the bread proofing time, preheat the oven to 375 F. I usually set mine above the stove and turn the stove on about 30 minutes into proofing. The heat from the stove warms the top of the oven just enough to give my bread an extra boost.
  12. Beat remaining two egg whites. Brush bread with egg white and place into oven. Bake 40 to 50 minutes.
  13. Check on the bread at the 30 minute mark, if it is browning too quickly tent with foil and continue cooking. You can tell the bread is done when it is a beautiful deep golden brown and is firm and hollow when tapped. The internal temperature should be around 190F, for those of you who are into that sort of thing.

Notes

This bread, like all bread, is best eaten the day it is baked but will freeze beautifully as well. To freeze bread, wrap tightly in plastic wrap then again in foil to freeze. Thaw bread still wrapped at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.

If you don't want to make this all in one day, you could allow the bread to do its first rise overnight in the fridge. Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour before proceeding with shaping the dough.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/07/pumpkin-challah/

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