Monday, October 30, 2017

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins #MuffinMonday

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are my hat tip to the season, made with a cup of pumpkin and lots of rich dark chocolate. The pumpkin gives the batter a beautiful orange color and makes the muffins moist but the flavor is perfectly subtle.

Food Lust People Love: Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are my hat tip to the season, made with a cup of pumpkin and lots of rich dark chocolate. The pumpkin gives the batter a beautiful orange color and makes the muffins moist but the flavor is perfectly subtle. If you are throwing a Halloween party, you’ll want to mix up a batch of these. The dark chocolate swirl and the orange pumpkin batter will be a hit on your holiday table.

I tend to be one of those people who resist cooking and baking with pumpkin until I can feel coolness in the air. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting that that just doesn’t happen in Dubai until autumn is pretty much over, calendar-wise.

But when it gets to be October and almost November, I guess it’s time!

Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins


If you are throwing a Halloween party, you’ll want to mix up a batch of these. The dark chocolate swirl and the orange pumpkin batter will be a hit on your holiday table.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups or 190g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 200g sugar
1/2 15 oz can or almost one cup or 200g pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil
1/4 cup or 60ml orange juice
4 1/4 oz or 120g 70% cocoa dark chocolate (I like Lindt.)

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it thoroughly, spraying with non-stick spray or lining it with paper muffin cups.

Melt your chocolate gently the microwave with a few short bursts of 10-15 seconds at a time, stirring in between.


In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and stir well.

In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, orange juice and eggs.


Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.


Pour about two-thirds of the melted chocolate on top of the batter and use a spoon to fold it in so there are still pockets of chocolate, in and around the pumpkin batter.


Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.


Use a small spoon to divide the remaining chocolate to top the batter in the muffin cups. Use a toothpick to swirl that chocolate into the top of the batter.

Food Lust People Love: Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are my hat tip to the season, made with a cup of pumpkin and lots of rich dark chocolate. The pumpkin gives the batter a beautiful orange color and makes the muffins moist but the flavor is perfectly subtle. If you are throwing a Halloween party, you’ll want to mix up a batch of these. The dark chocolate swirl and the orange pumpkin batter will be a hit on your holiday table.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Food Lust People Love: Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are my hat tip to the season, made with a cup of pumpkin and lots of rich dark chocolate. The pumpkin gives the batter a beautiful orange color and makes the muffins moist but the flavor is perfectly subtle. If you are throwing a Halloween party, you’ll want to mix up a batch of these. The dark chocolate swirl and the orange pumpkin batter will be a hit on your holiday table.

Cool for a few minutes and then remove the muffins and put on a rack to cool completely.

Word of warning: Depending on the temperature of your kitchen (still pretty hot here in Dubai!) the chocolate may come off a little onto your fingers as you handle the muffins. Lick it off and carry on. In a colder kitchen, the chocolate should set.

Enjoy!

Food Lust People Love: Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are my hat tip to the season, made with a cup of pumpkin and lots of rich dark chocolate. The pumpkin gives the batter a beautiful orange color and makes the muffins moist but the flavor is perfectly subtle. If you are throwing a Halloween party, you’ll want to mix up a batch of these. The dark chocolate swirl and the orange pumpkin batter will be a hit on your holiday table.


Check out all the lovely October muffins my Muffin Monday group have baked for your today. It’s so hard to choose which to make first!



#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Food Lust People Love: Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins are my hat tip to the season, made with a cup of pumpkin and lots of rich dark chocolate. The pumpkin gives the batter a beautiful orange color and makes the muffins moist but the flavor is perfectly subtle. If you are throwing a Halloween party, you’ll want to mix up a batch of these. The dark chocolate swirl and the orange pumpkin batter will be a hit on your holiday table.
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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sincere Pumpkin Patch Spicy Cheese Ball #SundaySupper

Extra sharp cheddar and cream cheese can be flavored with a variety of herbs and spices and rolled up ball- or log-shaped for a savory appetizer that will be a welcome addition to any party table. For added interest, roll your cheese ball in chopped pecans or walnuts.

Food Lust People Love: This pumpkin-shaped spicy cheese ball is a great addition to any Halloween or Thanksgiving party table.


If you’ve been reading along for a while, you might have noticed something.  I didn’t have a single Halloween post until last week’s Muffin Monday.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy Halloween.  In fact, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, when my girls were little, I was chief organizer and instigator of Halloween celebrations in our little neighborhood in the small oilfield town of Macaé, Brazil.

When we lived in Kuala Lumpur, we took part in trick-or-treating by joining another neighborhood’s festivities since no one went door-to-door in our mostly local area.  We parked on the route, decorated the trunk of our car and gave out candy.  But since the girls left home for university and I started the blog, my Halloween decorating and baking has dropped off significantly, although I still join my friends to give out candy if I happen to be in KL for Halloween.  It’s such fun to see the children in costumes.

Trunk-or-Treat - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia circa 2010


This week’s Sunday Supper theme is Halloween Finger Foods and since I don’t have little ones at home, I decided to go savory instead of sweet by making a spicy cheese ball that would be a great addition to any Halloween party table.  Goodness knows there will be enough candy already.

Like Linus from the comic strip Peanuts, I like to think that the Great Pumpkin will come to the most sincere pumpkin patch (or buffet table) and bring gifts for everyone.  He might even be tempted by this cheese ball.  It is most sincerely cheesy.

Ingredients
13 1/4 oz or 375g extra-sharp orange cheddar cheese
8 oz or about 225g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 small bunch chives (Mine was about 1/2 oz or 15g)
1 jalapeño (Mine was about 3/4 oz or 20g)
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika plus extra for decorating, if desired
2 tablespoons plain yogurt

For decoration: One broccoli stalk - with leaves, if possible
To serve: Crackers of your choice or bread

Method
Grate your cheddar cheese into a large mixing bowl. Finely mince your chives and garlic. Cut the stem end off of the jalapeño and remove the seeds, if you want to add just a little spice. If you like spicy food, by all means, leave the seeds in. Mince the jalapeño finely.



Add the softened cream cheese, the chives, garlic, jalapeño, smoked paprika and plain yogurt to the cheddar cheese.


Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon.



Line a small round bowl with cling film and heap the cheese mixture in it.  Press down with a spatula so the cheese fills the bottom of the lined bowl completely. Cover with the cling film and round out the top with your hands.  It’s like playing with Play-Do again.


Set the covered cheese ball in the refrigerator for several hours so it will stiffen back up.  I ended up leaving mine overnight because I got busy with other projects.

Remove the cheese ball from the bowl but leave it covered with the cling film.  Press the ball into a pumpkin-like shape.  Remember that pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes so don’t get too hung up on complete roundness or perfection.

Use your thumb to make grooves in the ball from top to bottom.



When you are satisfied that it looks like the best pumpkin you can manage, unwrap the cling film and use a soft paint brush to brush a little smoked paprika in the grooves to enhance the look.


Cut the stem off your broccoli, keeping a couple of leaves attached, if possible.  Cut what will be the top of your pumpkin stem at an angle.  Set the stem on top of your cheese pumpkin ball and push it in just a little.   Is that not the cutest thing!?



Serve with crackers or bread, and don’t forget to put out a knife so that folks can cut a piece off and spread the cheese ball.

Food Lust People Love: This pumpkin-shaped spicy cheese ball is a great addition to any Halloween or Thanksgiving party table.

Enjoy!


Still wondering what to make for your Halloween party? Sunday Supper is here to help with a great list of finger food recipes!

Spooky Snacks and Starters

Tasty Trick-or-Treats

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

  Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Food Lust People Love: This pumpkin-shaped spicy cheese ball is a great addition to any Halloween or Thanksgiving party table.
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars

These guys are called Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars and they are a big chocolately chewy, crunchy stack of sweet evil. Make some to take to a friend's house. You probably shouldn't be alone in your house with them. Fair warning.

Food Lust People Love: These guys are called Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars and they are a big chocolately chewy, crunchy stack of evil. Make some to take to a friend's house. You probably shouldn't be alone in your house with them. Fair warning.

I am overwhelmed by the number of food blogs there are out there. I tend to like the ones that are lighthearted and funny as well as having delicious recipes. Tell me a good story, then share some good food, and I will come back and spend time with you regularly. It’s like finding a new friend and we have a lot in common. I saw this recipe first at a favorite, Cravings of a Lunatic, but when I read Kim's post, she had gotten it from the helpful blogger and purveyor-of-valuable-advice Chef Dennis. He, in turn, got it from renown baker and chocolate expert, Alice Medrich’s book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies.

And that is what the internet means to me. Sharing and community and delicious food. Usually mixed in with a few good laughs. (And since I started writing this blog, I can call it research! Win-win!) You seriously need to make these brownies and share in the joy and love and succulently chocolate chewiness.

Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars


(Method adapted slightly from the original recipe by Alice Medrich.  Ms. Medrich doesn’t toast her pecans or use a microwave.  I have to toast pecans or I feel the spirit of my late Aunt Karen hovering over me. She always toasted her pecans because she said it enhanced their nutty flavor. Trust me: Aunt Karen was right. Plus she made the very best pecan pie. You should try it! )

Ingredients
For the brownie layer:
8 tablespoons or 120g unsalted butter
6 1/2 ounces or 185g semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons or 175g sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (cold)
1/2 cup or 65g all purpose flour

For the praline layer:
1/2 cup or 65g all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
8 tablespoons or 120g unsalted butter - melted
3/4 cup or 150g packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (after chopping) or 250g pecans (The original recipe says pecans or walnuts, but I am from Louisiana. There never was a praline without pecans.)

Method
Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C degrees. Put your pecans in a 9 X 13 in pan and pop them in the preheating oven. Set a timer for five minutes. As the oven heats, give the pan a shake and toss the pecans around. Keep setting your timer because we are going to move on to other steps and you DO NOT want to forget about your pecans and let them burn.

I toasted mine for around 20-25 minutes in total but only the last five to seven minutes were in a hot oven. (My oven heats up pretty slowly.) As your oven heats, you may want to shake them around more often to prevent one side from scorching.


Once the pecans are sufficiently toasted, tip them out onto a cutting board and dust out your baking pan with a paper towel. Let it cool a little and then line it with aluminum foil and butter or spray with non-stick spray.

Just a little darker, but, oh, the flavor!

Chop your chocolate into chunks and put it in a microwaveable bowl with the butter. Zap it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well between each zap. Mine took three rounds of 30 seconds and it was completely melted through.






Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. You can give it one more quick 30 seconds in the microwave at this point, if your sugar doesn’t seem to be melting quickly enough. Our sugar here in Cairo is not as fine grained as the caster sugar I can buy elsewhere so that extra 30 seconds was helpful. Give it a good stir, scraping all around the sides with a spatula to make sure there aren’t any hot spots.




Add the eggs and mix well.

Here's what happened when I tried to get fancy and crack the egg with one hand for the photo.
Eggshells. Don't let this happen to you. Man, were they a pain to fish out.

Beating in the eggs.

Add in the flour and beat vigorously until batter is smooth and glossy. A wooden spoon is probably best for this step. I removed the whisk and changed tools. The original recipe says that the batter should start to come away from the sides of the bowl, but that never happened for me.



Pour the batter into your greased, foil-lined pan. Gently spread the batter all over the pan and set the pan aside.



On to the praline topping. Combine flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix well using a fork. Set this aside.


Coarsely chop your pecans.


Melt your butter with quick zaps in the microwave in a microwave friendly container, then mix it in another bowl with the brown sugar and salt.



Separate your egg yolks then add them in along with the vanilla.



It looks like toffee sauce or the beginning of pralines. Yum already.
Add in flour mixture and then the pecans. Mix well.




Drop by small spoonsful on top of the brownie layer. Don’t worry about any little gaps because it will spread and cover the brownies during baking.



Bake for 20-25 minutes but set your timer for 10 minutes first so you can rotate the pan for even browning. Bake until the top is completely brown and cracked. I actually ended up baking mine for closer to 30 minutes.


Cool until firm on wire rack, then lift the ends of the foil and remove from the pan. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

These fulfill every promise in Ms. Medrich’s book title. No kidding: Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy AND Melt-in-Your-Mouth.

Food Lust People Love: These guys are called Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars and they are a big chocolately chewy, crunchy stack of evil. Make some to take to a friend's house. You probably shouldn't be alone in your house with them. Fair warning.

Enjoy!

If you love pecans, you might also love these recipes.

My party pecan pie - best and easiest way to make enough pecan pie for a crowd!


Pecan Bundt Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Icing - it's perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert table.


Chewy Brigadeiro Pecan Bars - these bad boys sport toasted pecans, melted chocolate, rolled oats and dulce de leche. You probably shouldn't be home alone with these either.

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Food Lust People Love: These guys are called Black Bottom Pecan Praline Bars and they are a big chocolately chewy, crunchy stack of evil. Make some to take to a friend's house. You probably shouldn't be alone in your house with them. Fair warning.


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