Monster Mash! Aka The Greatest Snack Ever

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Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn. Yes, that is correct, I did say Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn. It’s a giant ball of sugar and I love it! Combining some of the iconic flavors of Fall all into one very sugary yet delicious treat. The perfect cure for the Monday Blues.

The recipe is super simple and easily makes a giant batch. But be warned, a sugar coma is likely to follow if you eat the whole thing yourself.

Monster Mash (Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn)

Recipe slightly adapted from Young Married Chic

Popcorn, popped (you can air pop, stove pop, or microwave – your choice!) (At least 3 oz, but the more the better in my opinion!)
1/2  butter, salted (1 stick)
1 cup yellow cake mix
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (I did 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and a dash of cloves and ginger)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of candy corn
1 cup of honey roasted peanuts
Halloween Sprinkles (optional – they definitely make this more festive but it’s still a little early in the season so I wasn’t able to find any yet)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside for later. Pop popcorn as you desire (at least 3 oz, if not more) – remove unopened kernels and pour into a large bowl.

In a small heavy saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the cake mix, spices, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a slow simmer, making sure not to boil or burn the sugar and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes. You should have a glob that is starting to amass together in a ball.

Pour mixture over popcorn in the bowl, stirring until all corn is coated. Stir stir stir and make sure you get every last kernel.

Spread the popcorn evenly over the baking sheet and place in the oven

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the caramel has turned light brown. Remove from oven and let cool. It will begin to harden at this point.

Break the popcorn up into smaller chunks and stir in the candy corn and peanuts. Store in an airtight container. Or if you’re feeling friendly, package individually to give away to people to prevent yourself from eating it all in one sitting like I may or may not have done.

I have decided that at least one day every weekend for the remainder of Autumn will consist of making my favorite Pumpkin Treats or testing out new ones, making&eating my favorite Autumn Dinners, & watching Halloween Disney Movies or Halloween episodes of old TGIF shows 🙂

Hope you’re all enjoying the start of the Autumn season as much as I am!

xx

-C

 

Frozen Mint Oreo Cheesecake Pie

As I may or may not have mentioned, I took the CSET math recently, and after that I went into major hibernation mode to recover, thus my unexplained disappearance for the last week and a half or so. But now I am back, and as promised, I bring along my frozen mint oreo cheesecake pie recipe!

Delicious Mint Oreos

How will this pie not be delicious? Do you see everything in this photo? Oreo pie crust, mint Oreos, & Cool Whip!

Oreo, cream cheese, cool whip, & other things mush. I swear it tastes better than it looks.

And the final product! Which my family was trying to eat as I was topping it with Magic Shell and taking photos. Sorry for the poor photo quality. I had people hovering behind me, waiting to devour the pie.

And there you have it, delicious frozen creamy goodness, perfect for a hot summer night. Like an ice cream pie, but not. Though probably just as bad for you, if not worse. Shh. Don’t tell.

Frozen Mint Oreo Cheesecake Pie

Recipe by me 🙂

1 Oreo Pie Crust (you can make this yourself, though I say just buy one…save time and oreos)
2 rows of Mint Oreos..or more, but reserve some for topping (unfortunately I did not count how many I used – I just grabbed handfuls and said yay oreos! Don’t judge me.)
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 container Cool Whip (frozen whipped topping, Cool Whip has the best flavor in my opinion)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp peppermint extract
Magic Shell for topping (optional…though highly recommended)

In a food processor, pulse the Oreos until you have some cookies that are finely crushed, and some that are larger chunks. You may want to add a few Oreos at a time while pulsing to retain the larger chunks. Reserve a handful of Oreos for topping, and a few to be broken up and placed into the filling. Add the cream cheese and sugar, and blend for about 2 minutes or until creamy. Then add the Cool Whip, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract, and blend until thoroughly combined. The texture should be thick but creamy.

Using a rubber spatula, spoon the filling into the Oreo pie crust. Break a few remaining Oreos into large chunks and push them into the mixture. Smooth top of pie filling and place all remaining Oreos on top (I broke them into varying chunks).

Replace plastic top of pie container, seal edges (press the foil down), and place in freezer for 3 – 4 hours. Before serving, drizzle top of pie with Magic Shell, allow to harden. There is no need to allow the pie to thaw, it remains fairly soft and creamy despite freezing.

Now I want to make another one. Mmm…mint oreos yum 🙂

Enjoy!

xx

-C

Summer Pie

There is nothing I love more than summer fruits – apricots, blueberries, plums, nectarines, peaches, & cherries are by far my favorite fruits. Combine any combination of these with a a flaky pie crust and you definitely have a dessert winner in my book.

The other day my bff (since before bff was a term, i.e. literally friends forever) brought me a HUGE box of fresh cherries the other day. Of course my family has been devouring them but I set aside a good amount to make a pie that would be bursting with cherry goodness.

I lack a cherry pitter so the pitting was all done the good ol’ fashioned way…by hand…with a knife. It was pretty messy and I highly suggest wearing a giant apron to cover your clothing while doing this. I was watching True Blood as I was performing this task, and (warning: this is about the most macabre thing I’ve ever said) I kept thinking that the cherries and their juice were reminding me of the hearts Eric pulled out of people last season. Well that’s enough gross right there. Moving on…

I also had about 6 ripe apricots, fresh from the garden, sitting on the kitchen counter, so I thought hey, why not throw those in too! I think my next pie will be an apricot-blueberry. Or just plain apricot. Mmm…apricots.

Ready to go in the oven!

I had leftover pie crust dough so I fought the temptation to cut them into bats (I have a bat cookie cutter for Halloween) and chose hearts because I suppose that’s more appropriate for summertime. I thought about doing a star but I don’t have a star cookie cutter and no one wants to see me freehand. It’s not a pretty sight.

Post-baking. I don’t like my pies shiny so I left out an egg-wash. Clearly I made the right choice – just look at that golden brown deliciousness!

The hearts kept their shape! Success! Too bad the crimping of the edge didn’t hold as well.

Not the prettiest picture. I apparently can make pies but not cut slices.
It was a pretty juicy pie, so it had to be put in a bowl. Still delicious.

Cherry-Apricot Pie

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

4 cups fresh cherries, pitted (not the tart kind, the sweet kind)
5 – 6 fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar (adjust this according to the sweetness of your cherries and apricots)
1/8 teaspoon salt
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Stir together the cherries, apricots, cornstarch, sugar, salt, lemon and almond extract gently together in a large bowl.

Roll out half of chilled dough (see recipe below) on a floured work surface to 13-inch round. Gently place it in 9-inch pie pan. Trim edges to a little more than a half-inch overhang.

Spoon filling into pie crust, discarding the majority of the liquid that has pooled in the bowl. Dot the filling with the bits of cold butter.

Roll out the remaining dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface, drape it over the filling, and trim it, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edge decoratively. I take one knuckle and indent all around the pie, creating a wavy/braided look.

Cut slits in the crust with a sharp knife, forming steam vents, and bake the pie in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, on a baking sheet in case of juice leaks. Reduce the temperature to 350°F. and bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until the crust is golden. Let the pie cool on a rack.

Resist the temptation to eat hot pie, the liquid will still be very hot and juicy, and needs time to set. Allow about 30 minutes cool time. If you’re smart, you’ll allow the pie to cool while you’re eating dinner, rather than after dinner where you’ll just end up staring at it and picking at the crust. Not that I did that. Definitely not me.

Pie Crust

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks butter, very cold, chopped into small squares
1 to 1 1/2 cups ice water (fill a measuring cup with a few ice cubes and water)

I took this recipe and adapted it for my food processor because well, why not. Much faster than doing it by hand.

In your food processor, pulse together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Dice two sticks (8 ounces or 1 cup) of very cold butter into about 1/2-inch square pieces. Add them to the food processor and pulse. Continue to pulse until it looks like all the butter pieces are about the size of tiny peas. Maybe 30 to 45 seconds, not very long at all.

Drizzling 1/2 cup of the ice-cold water (but not the cubes) over the butter and flour mixture in the food processor. Run the processor as your add another 1/2 cup of ice water. If the dough looks too dry, add about 1/2 cup more of ice water. Once it has combined together, gather the large clump into one giant mound, and knead gently on a floured surface.

Divide the dough in half, and place each half on a large piece of plastic wrap. Let the dough chill in the fridge for about two hours before rolling it out.

Note: Dough will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer longer. If not using it that day, wrap it in additional layers of plastic wrap to protect it from fridge/freezer smells. To defrost your dough, move it to the fridge for one day before using it.

We still have cherries left so another pie will definitely be happening soon :]
Happy Baking!
xx
-C

12 Days of Desserts: Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 Days of Desserts: Day 2

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are one of those ultra comforting sweet foods for me. When I’m extremely stressed out, I will bake chocolate chip cookies to help me relax. They’re simple and delicious and don’t take that long to make. I also like to trade cookies for favors ^^
Chocolate chip cookies, my favourite currency. During the holidays, it’s also nice to gift cookie baskets to friends, family, and neighbors. These chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorites to add to a cookie variety basket. [Picture was lost due to my malfunctioning phone -__- I’m nearly positive J is laughing at me now as I always seem to make my phone malfunction, old or new. I have no comment]

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip bag

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour [I sometimes swap out 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of unbleached flour, it seems to make the cookies slightly heartier]
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter (softened)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips [or as much as you see fit. I start with 2 cups and see how it looks, and usually end up adding another handful more]

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Cream the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixer bowl. Add eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat in the flour mixture into the bowl with your wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips (and optional 1 cup of your favorite nuts).
On your cookie sheet/baking sheet, drop rounds of the cookie dough. I form small balls of dough with my hands, but you can also use a teaspoon to do this. [Also recommended, use of a Silpat. Cannot tell you how much of a baker’s best friend this item is! If you don’t have one, add to your Christmas wish list!]
Bake for 8 – 11 minutes, or until the edges are just about golden brown, and the cookies are “set”. Meaning they do not wiggle wobble when you’re moving the cookie sheet. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from cookie sheet, otherwise your cookies will still be too hot and may break as you remove them, and also, you might burn yourself. Place on a cookie rack to cool. And of course begin to nibble on one as the rest cool.

Enjoy!