Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread is another fall favorite at my house.  I make this from the first leaf falling off the trees and all the way through the holidays. You might find it hanging out up until Easter.  This gets made a lot.  This another recipe of mine that is well used, and stained.

I make it in large loaves, small loaves, and mini loaves.  I give it away and I also freeze it for later.  Small loaves make great food gifts to appointments during the holidays.  Wrap completely cooled loaves in holiday colored plastic wrap, and add a bow.  When doing this I like to add a small container of whipped butter and perhaps a plastic knife since most places don’t stock serveware like we do at home.

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Sweet Potatoes and Killer Bee Honey Butter

There are many things in the kitchen that are pretty easy to cook and mashed sweet potatoes is one of those things. In my opinion, cooking a sweet potato is cooking 101. If you’re a relatively inexperienced chef, keep on reading. If you’re an experienced home chef,  you can probably skip to the delicious recipes closer to the bottom of the post.

Everyone has seen someone massacre a sweet potato by boiling it in water. I think this is about the worst thing you could ever do to a sweet potato. Roasting it in the oven or baking it in aluminum foil is the best way to maintain, if not improve, the flavor. The key to baking a sweet potato is knowing when it’s done. Under cook it and you’ll be eating grit. Over cook it and you’ll squeeze the moisture out of it and you’ll be left with a watery stringy mess. Bleh!

Ok, a critical part to cooking a sweet potato begins at the grocery store. The size really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you buy all of the same sized sweet potatoes. You want them all to get done cooking at the same time, so don’t go buying big potatoes and little potatoes. I have seen some pretty huge sweet potatoes and some so small I’m not sure why the store is even selling them. I prefer to buy sweet potatoes that are about 2.5 inches in diameter. Buy too small and they can over cook quickly. Buy too large and the interior can be under cooked while the exterior is mush.

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Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies are the one cookie that embodies all the warm spices of the holidays; cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.  The flavor kind of reminds me of gingerbread men.  If you are only going to bake one cookie this holiday season, you should make it this one.

This cookie is soft and chewy.  Since it is rolled into sugar prior to baking, it sparkles too.  The flavors are strong enough that it holds up well under a light coating of almond bark or chocolate coating.  If you really want to dress this one up, add some holiday sprinkles.

This recipe can be halved, but since it requires at least an hour in the refrigerator prior to baking, I make the whole batch at once.  Yes, it does make a lot of cookies, but if I had to guess, I would guess these are made mostly around the holidays and holidays mean sharing right?  So go ahead and make them all and spread some holiday cheer.

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New Orleans Style Bread Pudding

New Orleans Style Bread Pudding is my kind of bread pudding.  This bread pudding does not have large pieces of bread hanging out.  This is creamier than other bread puddings, but not too egg-y.

It can be made with any kind of leftover bread that you have laying around.  One day I would like to try this with stale cinnamon rolls. But, that would mean there were leftovers………..

I prefer making this with some dried out quick yeast rolls.  I’m able to crumble them pretty quickly and these rolls absorb the liquid pretty easily.  As you are mixing up this bread pudding, the consistency will look like really wet oatmeal.  No worries, this will bake up and set just fine.  If it needs a little extra baking time, that’s OK too.  It just means crispier edges, which in my opinion is the best part.

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Snickerdoodles

If I had to choose the one cookie recipe that I think would please everybody, it would be Snickerdoodles.  Soft, buttery, and covered in sugar and cinnamon.

No worries about someone who doesn’t like chocolate, or those who may have a tree nut allergy.  These are great with coffee, tea, warm cider, on winter days, on warm days, well they are great no matter when or how you serve them.

Snickerdoodles are one cookie you can bet will always be on my Christmas cookie gift platters.

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No-fail Sugar Cream Pie

Sugar Cream Pie is truly a regional specialty.  I had never heard of one until I met Andy.  In case you missed the memo, both Andy and I started our lives in the Midwest.  He was born in Indiana, I was born in Illinois.

Even though Illinois and Indiana are so close to each other, this pie calls Indiana home, and most folks across the border have never heard of it.  Same with buckeye balls, I never heard of those before Andy either.

Some version of sugar cream pie was made by Andy’s Aunt Alice, but I have not been blessed with any recipes.  She was the pie baker for Andy’s grandmother’s restaurant, Elizabeth Parker’s in Richmond, Indiana.  Eventually she was the pie baker for Uncle Bill and Aunt Karen when they took over the restaurant.  Andy loved all of Alice’s pies, except perhaps chocolate.  He isn’t a chocolate fan.

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Cinnamon Pie Crust Pinwheels aka Rollie Pollies

I heard it again today. Actually I didn’t hear anything, it was a text.

DD: How long do I bake these things.

Inner voice: What things?

Me: Huh?

DD: The roly things with pie crust.

Inner voice: Haven’t we talked about this at least a dozen times?

Me: “Until they look done.” I was driving and that was the best response I could give based on stoplight time – driving and texting is bad, bad, bad!

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