Non stick aluminum is perfect for baking the pieces.
We use melted isomalt nibs from CakePlay for the initial hold of the pieces then go over with brown royal icing for a secure finish.
Here is a sneak peak at my gingerbread house that is currently under construction.
If you would like some tips and tricks on how to build your own house you can check out my link here.
Here are some links to my past gingerbread houses if you are looking for some creative inspiration!
Looking for another dessert for your Thanksgiving table? Give this Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Pecan Crust a try!
The great thing about this dessert is you can make it a day or two in advance. The flavors are reminiscent of a pumpkin pie but with a twist. The pumpkin cheese cake has a wonderful spicy pumpkin pie flavor and a smooth creamy cheesecake texture that marries well with the spicy crispy crumbly gingersnap pecan crust.
The sour cream topping has a touch of bourbon and creates a nice, cool not-to-sweet addition to this cheesecake. I followed most of the recipe with a few changes below and I also baked my cheesecake in a waterbath. I have the directions below if you'd like to do that as well.
You can find the entire recipe here. Start by inverting the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan (this makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan), lock into place and spray with Pam. Cover the bottom and sides of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Set aside.
Gingersnap Crust: I like a substantial crust so I doubled the recipe and instead of graham crackers I used gingersnaps for a more festive flavor. Here is the doubled recipe with gingersnaps:
1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs (around 25-30 gingersnaps finely ground in food processor)
1 cup finely chopped pecan (I tossed them into the food processor with gingersnaps)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
Stir everything together in a bowl until well combined. Press crumb mixture into prepared springform pan, pressing evenly up the sides and onto the bottom. Chill crust for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used a waterbath to bake my cake. Fill a large stock pot with water, heat until simmering. You will also need a roasting pan to place the cake and water into for the waterbath.
Topping:In a small bowl mix together the sour cream, sugar and bourbon. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
Filling: In a medium bowl whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla and bourbon. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment stir together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt and spices (I substituted with 1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice and additional 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg for a bold flavor). Beat in the cream cheese at high speed until creamy and smooth, around 3 minutes. Reduce speed and add the pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth and combined. Pour filling into crust then put springform pan into the roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into pan to come half way up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 45 minutes then reduce temperature to 325 and bake for another 30 minutes. Sides of cake should look set with slightly jiggly center. Remove cake from oven but do not turn off!
Spread topping over cheesecake and place pecans halves around the top of cake, then return to oven for another 5 minutes. Turn oven off and prop open door. Leave cake in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes then chill, covered with plastic wrap, overnight before serving. To serve, remove side of pan and bring to room temperature for best flavor.
When October hits, pumpkin mania begins! These Buttery Pumpkin Cookies are a great addition to the group. These soft and moist cookies are buttery and pumpkin flavored with the perfect amount of spice.
The brown sugar butter glaze adds a sweet toffee-like flavor that nicely compliments the pumpkin. I added a little sprinkle of fall leaf quins for a little festive color. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment or silpat and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter for 30 seconds, then beat in the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until incorporated. Beat in the pumpkin. Beat in the flour.
Drop 1/4 cup (#16 scoop) of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes (I baked mine for 15 minutes). Let cookies cool on a wire rack before adding glaze.
Glaze: in a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and brown sugar together. Stir in 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar. Immediately spoon glaze over cooled cookies. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice and leaf shaped quins if desired.
These Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting are the perfect fall dessert. Because you bake these up in a 9 x 13" pan they are perfect for taking along to a party or potluck at work. The cake is a moist, flavorful pumpkin spice studded with mini ginger chips for a little sweet heat and chopped nuts for crunch. The recipe calls for toasted walnut but I used toasted pecans for their seasonal flavor. The typical cream cheese frosting get a flavorful twist with the addition of real maple syrup.
The recipe itself is versatile, you can follow the full recipe using a half sheet pan and get 4 dozen 2" bars or use the scaled down recipe like I did and get 3 dozen bars. Either way everyone will enjoy this fall favorite. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. I will give instructions for the scaled down recipe. Start by lining a 9 x 13" baking pan with parchment paper. I used binder clips to hold the edges of the paper to the pan. Set aside.
Cake: Beat the oil and sugars together until well blended. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin. Stir in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Note: I used a FULL tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice instead of scaling back for the smaller recipe. This gave my cake a terrific spicy flavor. Gently stir in the flour until just combined. Stir in the ginger chips and chopped nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 20-30 minutes or until completely cooled.
Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together. Beat in the maple syrup then the powdered sugar and salt. Frosting should have a nice spreadable consistency.
Frost the cooled bars and sprinkle with more chopped nut. Let the frosting sit for 15 minutes then remove cake from pan and cut into bars.
I found this delicious Triple Peanut Cookies recipe in the 2015 Fall Baking by Better Homes And Gardens Magazine. The magazine is filled with pages of mouthwatering desserts, many made with all of falls best: cinnamon, ginger, caramel, apple....
...but these peanut butter cookies caught my eye. Who can say no to a trifecta of peanuts! The huge cookies bake up with a slightly crisp edge and a soft center. The peanut flavor is composed of peanut butter, peanut butter chips, and chopped salted peanuts. This cookie is for all the peanut butter lovers in your life. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the recipe here (click where is says inside) on page 32 of the magazine. Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment or silpat and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees if you will baking these the same day. I chilled the dough overnight and baked the next day.
In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the butter, peanut butter and shortening for 30 seconds. Beat in the sugar mixture for 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in flour and stir in peanut butter pieces. I like to chill this dough for 30 minutes or overnight before scooping.
Finely chop salted peanuts so that you end up with 3/4 of a cup. Mix chopped nuts with 2 Tablespoon sugar in a small bowl. I added a 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside. Using a 1/3 cup scoop, scoop dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheet 3 inches apart. Flatten ball to 3/4 inch and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of chopped peanut mixture. Bake for 14-15 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
To kick off fall baking I started with these huge Cinnamon Coffee Cookies. Each cookie is around 4 1/2 inches! These spicy sweet cookies bake up thin with slightly crisp edges and chewy centers. The cinnamon and sugar give these cookies a decidedly fall cozy flavor while the "coffee" is barely a hint to round out this spicy treat. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment or silpat and set aside. In a small bowl stir instant coffee (I used instant espresso) into hot water until dissolved.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the shortening and butter until combined. Mix in the sugars, spices, salt, baking powder and soda until well combined. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and coffee. Beat in flour until combined. Chill the dough for 2 hours (or overnight) until the dough is easy to scoop.
In a small bowl mix together 1/3 cup sugar with 1 tsp. cinnamon. When dough is chilled, use a #16 scoop and roll balls of dough into the cinnamon sugar mixture until well coated. Place on prepared baking sheet, 3 inches apart, and flatten to 3/4 inch thick.
These cookies will spread so do make sure to space them out! Bake for 12 - 15 minutes (I baked mine for 15 minutes). Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes then carefully transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Makes around 14 huge cookies!!
These Bittersweet Chocolate Salted Caramel Mini Oreo Pies are rich and delicious and only require five ingredients (well six if you add the tablespoons of bourbon in the caramel!) and the whole thing is made on the stove top, no oven needed! The crust is a no-bake combination of crushed Oreo Cookies and melted butter pressed into the mini pie pans. The caramel layer is a delicious salted gooey layer (mine was a little too gooey, next time I will make sure to cook it a little longer so that it's firmer) that is easily made on the stove top.
The top layer is a bittersweet ganache made from bittersweet chocolate melted together with simmering cream. Top the little pies with a sprinkle of sea salt for a salty sweet chocolate delight. Make these delicious pies in advance, keep them in the fridge and they are ready whenever you want to present a fantastic dessert! Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. I made this recipe into mini pies so I divided the mixture between four pies to serve for dinner and placed the rest in individual ramekins for later. You can also make one big pie instead of mini pies. Start by crushing 36 Oreo Cookies in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Melt one stick of butter and mix into the crushed cookies until completely incorporated. Divide the mixture between mini pie pans and ramekins. Press mixture firmly into the bottom of the pans and up the sides. Freeze the crusts for 10 minutes until set.
While crusts are in the freezer make the caramel. In a small sauce pan combine 8 tablespoons butter with the brown sugar and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles.
Whisk in 1/4 cup heavy cream until smooth. At this point I added 2 tablespoons of bourbon and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cool caramel for 15 minutes before pouring into crusts then return to freezer for around 30 minutes until just chilled and set.
After the caramel has chilled make the chocolate gananche. Heat one cup heavy whipping cream until simmering and pour over chocolate. Let sit for five minutes then whisk until smooth and glossy.
Pour over caramel then freeze for a final 30 minutes until chilled and set. I then like to move the pies into the fridge for around three hours to set up. Top each pie with Fleur de Sel sea salt before serving.
I came across this easy Strawberry Crostata recipe to use up some more of the delicious in-season strawberries we are enjoying here in Northern California. The crust is a simple rustic form that is folded up over the fresh strawberry filling.
I chose to bake mine in the oven but you can also cook this crostata on the grill! The strawberries are the star in this dessert with their fresh sweet flavor. I added a little Fiori Di Sicilia flavoring because I think strawberries and orange are a perfect pair! The crust is delicious, crisp and flakey. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Here is how you can make your own.
You can find the entire recipe here. Start with the crust.
Crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade pulse together the flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt until blended. Add the pieces of ice cold butter and toss with the flour mixture. Pulse a few times until the butter looks like small peas.
Add the ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time while pulsing until the mixture looks like sand and clumps together when you squeeze it in your hand. Don't over work the dough or the pastry will be tough and hard. Dump the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press the dough together into a disc. Cover tightly in wrap and chill for 1 hour.
When the dough has chilled for 30 minutes start to preheat the oven to 450. When the dough has chilled for 1 hour remove from fridge and roll into a 12 inch circle. Transfer dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Filling: Wash, hull and cut strawberries into quarters. Set aside. In a medium bowl mix together the cornstarch, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla extra and 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicillia if using. Toss in strawberries and mix to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes then ladle into the center of the rolled dough leaving a 2 inch border of dough. Brush the top of the strawberries with melted strawberry jelly and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Fold over and pleat the edges of the dough leaving an opening in the center. Brush dough with half and half or a beaten egg. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 25-27 minutes. I like my pastry really dark ala Tartine Bakery style so I let it bake a little longer. If your pastry is starting to look to dark, tent with foil. The crostata is done when the strawberries start bubbling up around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving or let cool completely and serve at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.