Maple Pumpkin Pie

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if our pets helped out? You know, with laundry or dishes or sweeping…nothing major but totally helpful. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately while packing up all my stuff. I’m moving this Saturday, and while I sweat and put stuff into boxes, my cat just sits there – unamused, and not helpful at all.

It’s plain and simply ungrateful, really. I feed her, change the waste that she deposits in a box each and every day, brush her, play with her and cuddle her…and she just sits there! The nerve….

Actually, while I was baking this pie, the last pie that will be made in my cute little apartment’s oven, the kitty strutted right up, and tried to dip her paw into the pumpkin filling bowl! Good heavens!

Anyway, I usually only make pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but I am seriously craving pie this week. Like an insane amount. Also, I’ve been seeing tons of awesome pumpkin recipes floating around on blogs, so I figured I might as well hop on the pumpkin train! And I’m soooo glad I did!

To make the crust, mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a medium bowl.
With a pastry fork, mix the butter and shortening into the flour mixture (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour).

Empty mixture into medium bowl. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.

Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes. In this time you could go do your hair or practice a fishtail braid…whatever.

Preheat the oven to 375. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough large enough to fit a 8″ or 9″ pie pan. Place it in your pie pan and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.

Add the eggs and beat with a fork until mixed thoroughly.

Slowly add the half and half and maple extract, stir until combined.

It should look like this..

Remove pie crust from the freezer and fill the crust with the pumpkin filling.

Cover the edges of of the pie crust with foil or a pie crust sheild….uhhh…I guess I didn’t take a picture of that!

Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 35 minutes or until the center is set or when a tooth pick or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy! I did.

Maple Pumpkin Pie
Lightly adapted from The Hungry Housewife
Recipe makes 1 pie

Ingredients:
Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 2 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka , cold
2 tablespoons cold water

Pie Filling
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half and half or whole milk
1 tablespoon maple extract

Directions:
Crust
Mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a medium bowl.
With a pastry fork,two forks or your fingers, mix the butter and shortening into the flour mixture (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour).
Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.
Flatten dough into 4-inch disk.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Pie:
Preheat the oven to 375.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough large enough to fit a 8″ or 9″ pie pan.
Place it in your pie pan and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.
Add the eggs and beat with a fork until mixed thoroughly.
Slowly add the half and half and maple extract, stir until combined.
Remove pie crust from the freezer and fill the crust with the pumpkin filling.
Cover the edges of of the pie crust with foil or a pie crust sheild.
Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 35 minutes or until the center is set or when a tooth pick or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

Other awesome pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal by Mississippi Kitchen

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Irish Chocolate Mint Cookies

For each petal on the shamrock
This brings a wish your way-
Good health, good luck, and happiness
For today and every day. – Irish Blessing

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

To celebrate one of my favorite holidays I thought I’d bring back an old fun recipe – Irish Mint Chocolate Cookies! Everything needs to be green on St. Patrick’s day. Green and chocolaty, and minty.

I’ve always liked St. Patrick’s day for so many reasons: It’s like another Halloween, it’s a day devoted to the colour green, and it’s a day for everyone to truly be Irish for a day (with excessive amounts of drinking). Early afternoon is generally when the celebrations start, and I love looking out my window to watch all the sparkly, unusually dressed people go by.

These cookies are so fun to bake. They’re colourful, and the mint icing really makes them beautiful. Let’s get to it shall we?

Irish Mint Chocolate Cookies
Taken from the Taste of Home Cookies book.
Yields 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
Dough:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1-1/2 cupe all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Icing:
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 to 2 drops green food colouring
1 to 3 tbsp milk

Drizzle:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp butter

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in chocolate and mint extract. Gradually add flour and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookies sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until firm. Cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, combine the butter, icing sugar, extract, food colouring, and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Spread over cooled cookies and let set.
4. In a microwave melt butter and chocolate chips for drizzle. Stir until smooth and drizzle over your cookie.
5. Kiss me I’m Irish!

Christmas Baking – Chocolate n’ Peanut Butter Dreams

Here they are…my favorite Christmas treat. This is the bar that I reach for on the goodie plate every time. I simply can’t get enough of them. I got this recipe from a good friend last year, and have now made them about 11 times!! A tried and true amazingly delicious dessert.

Want to learn how to make them? Of course you do!! Let’s bake. Combine peanut butter and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

Let it combine nicely. Take off the heat.

Add icing sugar and graham wafer crumbs and stir it up.

Place yummy mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan.

Then get the chocolate ready. Melt chocolate chips and shortening together.

Pour the chocolate on top of the peanut butter base, and place in the fridge for about 2 hours.

Eat! Oh my these were good. Key word being “were”.


Chocolate, Peanut Butter Squares

Makes 16 large squares.

Ingredients:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegetable shortening

Directions:
1. Combine peanut butter and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Melt completely.
2. Take off the heat and add icing sugar and graham crumbs, mix together. Place mixture into a 9 x 9-inch pan and smooth the surface.
3. Melt the chocolate and shortening together. Pour evenly over peanut butter base. Place pan in the fridge and wait for 2 hours.
4. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy!

Christmas Baking – Puppy Chow

This stuff looks strange.

I remember seeing this ugly snack for the first time. I was at a girls Secret Santa Christmas party and my friend brought it as her potluck treat. I thankfully accepted her contribution to the food table, eyeing the strange mixture of whatever-it-was as I placed it with the other food. I tried the snack to be polite, and then…I was HOOKED! Sure, this “Puppy Chow” isn’t anything to look at, but it’s tasty. It’s filled with peanut butter, chocolate and icing sugar and makes me a very happy girl. A very, very, happy girl.

To begin, melt PB and chocolate chips in a big pot on the stove. Once melted, take off the heat.

Put box of Crispix in a big bowl, and add melted chocolate and PB.

Stir everything together until Crispix is covered with the choco/PB mixture.

Pour into two large freezer bags.

Add icing sugar.

And now shake that mixture silly to “Jingle Bells”!

Put your freezer bags in the fridge or freezer to solidify the mixture, and then you’re all done! This is such a great gift. You can doll it up is a nice Christmas tin, or bag with a bow. It’s cheap, easy, tasty and fun!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Puppy Chow recipe

Ingredients:
1 box “Crispix” cereal
2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 cups peanut butter
1 small bag icing sugar

Directions:
1. Melt PB and chocolate chips in a big pot on the stove.
2. Once melted, take off heat.
3. Put box of Crispix in a big bowl, and add melted chocolate and PB.
4. Stir everything together until Crispix is covered with the chocolate and PB mixture.
5. Pour into two large freezer bags, and then add icing sugar.
6. Shake until covered (however much icing sugar you feel you need).
7. Cool in fridge/freezer (I always freeze mine).

Christmas Baking – Butterscotch Marshmallow Squares

I don’t know why I don’t just pretend it’s Christmas every month. I’m having so much fun!! I wake up, turn on some good Christmas oldies (Tony Bennett’s “I’ve got my love to keep me warm” is on currently) and get to baking. It’s heaven in my kitchen every day. My hands smell like brown sugar and butter, and I have butterscotch on my cheek with no worries.

This recipe, is an old one from my Great Aunt. I remember several Christmas goodies that she made, but these Butterscotch squares were my favorite. If my six year old self would have known how easy these were, she would have been a butterball herself.

First add your butter to a saucepan over medium heat.

Add your butterscotch chips.

Add your peanut butter.

Let them melt together and then take your pot off of the heat. Let mixture cool down a little for about 8 minutes.

Get 2 cups of mini marshmallows ready and add them to the butterscotch mixture.

Mix together melted ingredients with marshmallows, and place in a 9 x 9-inch square pan. Cool in the refrigerator (about 3 hours).

When the butterscotch goodness is ready, cut it into 16 squares and enjoy.

Ingredients:
½ cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 small or 1 large pkgs of butterscotch chips
2 cups of mini marshmallows

Directions:
1. Melt butter, peanut butter, and butterscotch chips together in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Mix together melted ingredients with marshmallows, and place into a 9 x 9-inch square pan.
3. Refrigerate for approximately 3 hours.
4. Cut into squares and enjoy! These will keep for up to a week in the fridge. You can freeze them too :)

Christmas Baking – Buckeyes

WARNING if you want to consume mass amounts of peanut butter and chocolate immediately this post is not for you. You must let the dough set for a couple of hours in the fridge before the chocolate dipping begins. Life is hard.

It’s Christmas baking time. I have been thinking and re-thinking my baking list non-stop this year. I’m. So. Excited!! Every post this month will be something from my Christmas baking list. The list I have contains easy recipes that I bake every year for the holidays, all of which are freezable. For my first post I thought I’d share my Buckeye recipe with you. This recipe comes from my sister’s Grandma (yes, my parents are divorced) who bakes up a storm every year.

To begin, grab some peanut butter (2 cups to be exact).

Put that peanut butter in a bowl along with 4 1/2 cups of icing sugar, a stick of butter, and 1 tsp of vanilla.

Mix all the ingredients together and put your bowl in the fridge. Yes, I switched bowls (this one was smaller for my fridge).

Now is the sad part – you have to wait to roll the peanut butter goodness into balls. I always make this recipe the night before the chocolate dipping, but if you like things done NOW, it’s ok! You can refrigerate the dough for 4 hours or so, and it is still fine. Once you have waited for your dough to cool, you can roll it into 1-inch balls. Set them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and insert a toothpick into each ball.

Now you have to wait again. Really? Yes, really. You want perfect buckeyes remember?! Chill your balls (tee hee) in the freezer until hard, approximately 30 minutes. While the dough is in the freezer melt your chocolate chips and shortening over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat.

Dip balls in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet.

Refrigerate (again) until chocolate is set, approximately 2 hours. And now, the good part. Eat your heart out beautiful. You deserve it.



Grandma’s Buckeye’s
Makes 40 peanut butter balls

Ingredients:
Balls
2 cups peanut butter
4 1/2 cups icing sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate dip
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup shortening

Directions:
1. Mix together the “balls” ingredients, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours.
2. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Set them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and insert a toothpick into each ball. Chill in freezer until hard, approximately 30 minutes.
3. Melt chocolate chips and shortening over medium heat. Remove the pan from heat. Dip balls in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, approximately 2 hours.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I’m so excited for Halloween this year. I have my own apartment to decorate as I please AND I just adopted a new cat from the humane society. So, I have a new friend to watch me prep for the 31st. In honour of my new kitty (Molly), my boyfriend and I carved our Halloween pumpkin into a cute kitty pumpkin! This was good for several reasons, the most important being the amazing pumpkin seeds that we roasted.

I look forward to roasted pumpkin seeds every year, and am obsessed with the plain sea-salted variety. This year I scoped out Cookin’ Canuck‘s blog and tried her Cinnamon sugar seeds as well. It was a very good idea. To begin, scoop all of the innards out of a large pumpkin.

Thoroughly separate the seeds from the “guts” and place the seeds into a strainer. Rinse the seeds leaving a bit of pumpkin on them (I like them better this way).

Dry the seeds with a kitchen towel, and place them on a large baking sheet. Toss with oil. See recipes for salted pumpkin seeds and cinnamon sugar pumpkin seeds below.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – Two ways
Makes approximately 2 cups roasted pumpkin seeds

Ingredients:
Plain, salted seeds:
1/2 the seeds from 1 large pumpkin (about 1 cup)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sea salt

Cinnamon sugar seeds:
1/2 the seeds from 1 large pumpkin (about 1 cup)
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack placed in the middle of the oven.
2. Scoop all of the innards out of a large pumpkin.
3. Separate the seeds from the “guts” and place the seeds in a strainer. Rinse (leaving a bit of pumpkin on the seeds) and drain.
4. Place all of the seeds on a kitchen towel, cover with another kitchen towel, and pat dry thoroughly.

For plain, salted seeds:
5a. Place half of the seeds on a baking sheet and toss with oil.
6a. Add sea-salt and spread in a single layer.

For cinnamon sugar seeds:
5b. Place the other half of the seeds on a baking sheet and toss with oil.
6b. In a small bowl, stir granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Toss the oil-coated seeds with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

7. Place baking sheet in the oven and cook until the seeds are golden brown and crunchy (test one, but be careful because it will be hot), about 25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Cool and serve.

These stay good in an air tight container for weeks!!

Nanny’s Butterscotch Pie

Oh my, Beautiful Butterscotch Pie.

My Nanny (another word for Grandmother in my family) makes the best butterscotch pie going. Since I was little I remember finishing my dinner quickly, and sitting patiently at the table until it was pie time. Butterscotch pie only comes out at special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, and when it does I go wild for it. WILD I tell you. I could eat a whole pie and be completely content.

Since Thanksgiving (Canadian of course) is coming up, I thought I’d share my favorite dessert with you. A dessert that really means something to me. It reminds me of family, and how happy a simple meal could make us when I was a child. It reminds of a time when I wasn’t constantly worrying about scholarships and deadlines. This dessert is special to me, my favorite, and I hope you like it :)

First, prepare your crust in a 9-inch pie pan. My favorite pie crust recipe is by the Pioneer Woman, and I use it for ALL of my pies and most of my tarts. This filling recipe makes enough for one pie, so double the recipe if you need to make two.

To prepare the filling, separate your eggs, lightly beat yolks and set aside the whites (you’ll use these for the meringue later). In a double boiler, whisk together all of the filling ingredients until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and pour into your pre-baked pie shell.

Once you’ve poured your amazing concoction into your pie shell, you can start your meringue.

Immediately spread the meringue over the hot filling, anchoring it to the edge of the crust at all points. Place meringue VERY close to the crust, working inward.

Bake for 20 minutes (or until meringue has a nice brown top) at 350 degrees F. Let it cool on a wire rack and serve!

Nanny’s Butterscotch Pie
Makes filling for one 9-inch pie

Ingredients:
Perfect Pie Crust
1. Get the recipe and directions here.

Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
4 HEAPING tbsp all purpose flour
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp butter

Meringue:
2 large egg whites (1/2 cup), at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp vinegar

Directions:
1. Prepare your crust in a 9-inch pie pan, and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.To prepare the filling, separate your eggs, lightly beat yolks and set aside the whites (you’ll use these for the meringue later). In a double boiler, whisk together all of the filling ingredients until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat and pour into your pre-baked pie shell.

3. To prepare meringue:
a) In a clean, grease free glass or metal bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
b) Add cream of tartar and beat until soft but definite peaks form.
c) Very gradually beat in sugar. Beat on high speed until the peaks are stiff and glossy, but not dry.
d) Add vanilla and vinegar.
e) Immediately spread the meringue over a hot pie filling, anchoring it to the edge of the crust at all points. Place meringue VERY close to the crust, working inward.

4. Bake for 20 minutes (or until meringue has a nice brown top), and cool on a wire rack.
5. Serve and enjoy!

*The pie can be stored for up to three days in the refridgerator.