Sparkling Cider Muffins

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For a variety of reasons, we open a bottle of Martinelli’s each holiday we host. The thing is, we never finish a bottle of it. This recipe uses up some of the leftover and some pureed pumpkin (for when I don’t use the whole can making puppy treats for Gibbs and Nugget).

Combine 1/2 cup oat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/3 cup sparkling cider and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Pour into lined mini or full sized muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and check for doneness. The full-sized may take an extra minute or two.

When still hot, sprinkle with a 1:1 sugar:cinnamon mix.

If you’d like to eat them my favorite way, eat them while a bit warm still and reading a good book.

 

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Graham’s Cookies

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To be clear, these cookies are not cookies Graham made. Rather, these are cookies that his sweet sister makes a version of and I was determined to create a from-scratch version. These have less oatmeal than the originals, but that means you can sneak them to people that “don’t eat oatmeal cookies.”

Cream together 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar. Beat in 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup old fashioned oats, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, and 1 cup dark chocolate morsels. If you like walnuts or macadamia nuts, throw some in too. If you’re related to Graham, don’t do that, it’s probably not safe.

This will, in fact, look like it’s mostly cherries and chocolate. Do not judge me.

Drop by tablespoons a few inches apart on silicone or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 14-17 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool then remove to cooling rack. Smack husband’s hand away when he tries to steal them while piping hot.

 

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Clouds of Whipped Cream

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I know, there’s already a post with a recipe for whipped cream. But with the holidays approaching, you need peppermint whipped cream in your wheelhouse for holiday desserts, hot chocolate, and I won’t tell anyone if you add it to your coffee, too.

Chill a bowl in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Using a mixer (chill the mixer paddles for extra credit), whip 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract. Don’t use spearmint (which makes up the regular “mint extract”). If you’re struggling to find peppermint, check the cake decorating sections of your local grocery store or even craft stores. If you still can’t find it, you can buy entirely too much of it on Amazon.

 

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Pudding Pie

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A word of caution: this is not a pie that you can throw together at the last minute. This is a pie that needs to be refrigerated for at least 24 hours. Sometimes longer. I recommend making this with the chocolate animal cracker pie crust, but the shortbread crust is a good option, too.

 

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 cups whole milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Whisk together. Whisk over medium heat until it just barely comes to a boil and starts to get thick. For me this takes about 15 minutes because I don’t want to curdle anything and I keep it over medium-low heat if we’re being honest. First you want it to coat the back of your spoon. This means that when you lift a spoon, you can wipe your finger in the sauce and leave your finger trail. Keep stirring until it’s thick like pudding.

Remove from heat. Add 6.5 ounces (1 bar) bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped roughly, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon chili powder if you want it to have a bit more flair. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Stir until it’s all melted together. Pour into your pie crust. No need to bake it. Pour any excess into a pudding container of your choice.

Let your pie come to room temperature, then move it to your fridge to sit, uncovered, for at least 24 hours. 36 hours seems to be a sweet spot.

 

 

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Animal Cracker Pie Crust

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In a food processor, crush approximately 2 cups of chocolate animal crackers (or other wafer cookie) until it forms fine crumbs. Measure 1 1/2 cups of these crumbs into a mixing bowl. Slowly stream in 6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled.

Press into a pie plate and really smash it all together. The more compact you can make it, the easier it is to serve intact later.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

 

Let cool completely before filling with pie filling of your choice.

 

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Dutch Oven Pancakes: Pannekoeken

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This recipe comes from my husband’s family, and was relayed to me recently using non-measuring terms. Graham held up his hands about an inch and a half apart and told me we used that much sugar. Don’t worry, I have actual measurements for you.

Whisk together 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon sugar, a pinch of kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup almond milk. When thoroughly combined, spread a light layer in the bottom of two greased cast iron skillets or 9×9 glass pans. Or find a plethora of tiny cast iron skillets or spring form pans. Swirl around so the dough climbs the walls of your pans a bit, which will encourage it to grow when you bake it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

When removed from the oven, spread a generous amount of Greek yogurt over the surface of the pancake, then mix in brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved into the yogurt. This ends up being pretty sweet, so you likely won’t need syrup. Top with fresh fruits of your choice and dig in!

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