Monday, October 28, 2013

Vegan Drizzled Caramel Corn

It wouldn't be Halloween without Caramel Corn for me.  I remember making batches of this sweet, salty, crunchy, concoction for Halloween parties when my kids were growing up. So, of course for our neighborhood Halloween party, which was last Saturday night, I was going to make Caramel Corn.
Now, one of our neighbors is vegan.  Not to worry, I have Earth Balance, a non-hydrogenated vegan spread, which would be perfect to use for the caramel corn.

I wasn't sure if the Earth Balance would harden, but after baking in the oven for an hour, I had no need to worry. I have made frosting before with Earth Balance with less than stellar results. Also, I like the caramel drizzled on as opposed to heavily coated. I used two bags of microwave popcorn, and baked it in my roaster pan, which works out well. Much better than putting the caramel corn on baking sheets, and easier to stir. Once the caramel corn is baked, and cooled, I add in more goodies.


I usually add in candy corn, peanuts, Craisins, MM's, etc.  Most candy corn is made with honey, which is not vegan, or is it?  My Vegan neighbor nixed the candy corn, so I didn't add it.  I only added peanuts and Craisins,  More candy corn for me.

Here is the Baker and the Cook at the Halloween Party.  (I have a a tiara of cupcake liners on my head.)  

  Vegan Light caramel Corn 

 Cooking Spray

4 quarts popped popcorn

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Light or  Dark Corn Syrup

8 Tbsp Earth Balance or other vegan spreads

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract


Spray large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Add popcorn and place in preheated 250 degrees F oven while preparing caramel.

Mix brown sugar or, corn syrup,  Earth Balance and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.

Boil 5 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla; mix well.

Pour syrup over warm popcorn, stirring to coat evenly.

Bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 15 min.. Remove from oven and spread on foil lined baking sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Cool; break apart.* Store in tightly covered container.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Nutella Pumpkin Bites

Before you know it, Halloween will be here, Yikes! Are you ready?  Have you bought your Trick or Treat candy, are the costumes ready? Or are you one those last minute procrastinators? There will be a lot of Halloween parties this weekend, because Halloween falls on a Thursday this year, so you have to be ready early.

I must admit that when my kids were little, Halloween, was not my strong suit, when it came to costumes.  I didn't sew, so I had to rely on odds and ends or store bought costumes.  Thank goodness, elaborate costumes weren't in vogue, back in the day.  It was always cold, or rainy, or both, so you were more concerned about keeping the kids warm, than their costumes.  Also, it seems like one of my kids was always sick on Halloween. One of my favorite memories from Halloween, was to see them dumping out their stash of Halloween candy on the floor, and swapping for their favorites.  That was before, parents had to check the candy for dangerous or tampered candy.  My children are grown adults, now.

 Nutella Pumpkin Bites are the perfect Halloween treat, if you need a last minute idea for a party.  They only have 4, ingredients; Nutella, flour, one egg, and pumpkin, and they bake in 12 minutes.  These would be good to have your kids help you make, so easy and so good. They are full of Nutella and pumpkin flavor.  You can mix in the pumpkin or swirl it in. I started swirling it in and over swirled  over swirled the pumpkin. I added an orange glaze and M & M for the pumpkin look, but decorate anyway you want.  These would be perfectly fine with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, as well.

Nutella Pumpkin BitesAdapted from Liv Life

1/2 cup Nutella
1 egg
5 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
Preheat oven to 350ยบ.  Lightly spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl mix the Nutella and egg together until smooth. Add the flour and mix until smooth. 
Spoon batter into the mini muffin tin, filling about 2/3 full. Spoon about 1 tsp pumpkin puree on top of each muffin cup, and lightly swirl.  Place the tin into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar if desired, or glaze, when cooled.

 1 c. powdered sugar
Orange gel food coloring
1-2 Tbsp milk
MM's for garnish

Place powdered sugar in bowl.  Add very small amounts of gel food coloring, until desired color.  Add milk until desired consistency.  Spoon over cooled bites.  Garnish with MM's


Monday, October 21, 2013

Boo! Chocolate Cupcakes with Creepy, Cute Decorations

When it comes to Halloween, I like cute decorations as opposed to creepy and scaary.  I have never liked scary movies, books, or haunted houses.  It's just the way that I am wired.  So when it comes to Halloween cupcakes, cute it is for me.  I know that there are others, who embrace the dark side, and that's fine for them. If you want to see really frightful treats go to see, if you are really brave.  I know, I'm a wus, and I startle easily.

Back in the day, I had taken my kids to the the Batman movie, and we got a shopping bag size popcorn.  I was the one holding the popcorn, and when the music got louder, you guessed it the gigantic bag of popcorn went up in the air, and all over the floor.  I was so embarrassed.

These are my "frightful" decorations. The cupcake wrappers, pics, and bones are from Gina, to make sure that I have a Happy Halloween. I made Chocolate cupcakes, and Chocolate Butter Cream frosting to complete the picture. Boo! Are you afraid?? 

Chocolate Cupcakes Adapted from Joy Of Baking

1/2 cup (50 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup (240 ml) boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups (175 grams) AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F). Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl mix the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder, until smooth Let cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder, and salt. 

Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16-20 minutes or until springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting.

1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cocoa
4 c. confectioner's sugar
1/4 c. milk, more or less

1. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy
2. Add cocoa and 1c. sugar to butter mixture and beat until incorporated
3. Add half of the milk and remainder of sugar and beat until incorporated.
4. Continue to add milk until you get desired consistency

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts with Apple Cider Glaze and More

I made all of these baked  Pumpkin Spice desserts from one recipe and one pan with the exception of the mini muffins. Yep, the Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts with Apple Cider Glaze or Cinnamon Sugar, the Mini Bundt Cakes with Apple Cider Glaze, and the Mini Pumpkin Spice Muffins, one recipe. This recipe with my mini bundt pan is a great idea, especially if you have trouble deciding if you want doughnuts, or mini bundt cake, or muffins, Pumpkin Spice or Apple Cider?

You see the farm stand across the road from our sub-division sells Apple Cider doughnuts from the apple orchard. Also, a little coffee shop in town has awesome Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts.  Which one doughnut do I want, Pumpkin Spice or Apple Cider?  I solved the problem by making Baked Pumpkin  Spice Doughnuts with Apple Cider Glaze and got both of my Fall flavors in one dessert. These awesome doughnuts have a lot of pumpkin and spice flavor with the Apple Cider glaze. The sprinkles are compliments of Gina@SP Cookie Queen. Go check out Gina's scaaary Halloween Treats.  

Another great idea using the mini bundt pan is to flip the mini bundt cake over to get a doughnut, so cool  or, or vice versa.  I do not have a "donut pan", per se, but I can make doughnuts.  I don't like single use baking pans.  I was tempted to buy a doughnut  pan, but i stood strong, and then I saw this mini bundt pan at Aldi's, and it was a steal at $3.99.  I was leary at first, but it is well made, and I have no probelm getting the little desserts out of the pan. My mini bundt pan has six cavities, and I used about 1/4 cup of batter per cavity.  You can also make regular or mini muffins, if you don't want 'doughnuts.  i finally decided, it's time to get my pumpkin cans out of the pantry.

Baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
Top of Form
Bottom of Form

1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon, heaping, ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon, heaping, ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cinnamon and sugar mixed together, to taste. I used 2 to 1, cinnamon to sugar.  You don't want the doughnuts too sweet.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease 3 6-cavity donut pans with non-stick spray, mini bundt pan, or muffin pans with non-stick spray.

Beat together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth - some lumps will remain. 

Using a scant 1/4 cup of batter for each, fill the donut cavities, mini bundt cake, or muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake the donuts for 12-14 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the donut comes out clean. 
Remove the donuts from the oven, let cool in pans for 5 minutes, and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

 For Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts, while the donuts are still warm, gently toss in cinnamon sugar.  

Apple Cider Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4-1/3 cup apple cider

Combine powdered sugar and cider, until desired consistency.  Spoon over mini bundt cakesm doughnuts, and muffins.  Add sprinkles.

 Adapted from A Bitchin' Kitchen

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pork Curry with Apples

I am enjoying our Fall weather and cooler temps.  I am also enjoying the bumper crop of apples available in our area, eating them, cooking and baking with them, and drinking the apple cider.  I am drinking hot cider with cinnamon stick, as I type, Mmm! 

We had some leftover grilled Pork Tenderloin, and instead of making the usual stir fry with the pork, I made a Pork Curry with Apples.  It was wonderful, with the sweet juicy apples and pork in a flavorful curry sauce topped with  raisins. This is such a versatile dish, because you could 3/4 lb. of fresh pork or chicken, cut in cubes. as well as the leftover pork or chicken. You can also add more garnishes, like  toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, mint, or, sliced green onions.  Maybe next time that I make it, I will use some of those other garnishes, too.  Either way this dish comes together quickly,and you have can have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. I served this  with quinoa, instead, but you could use rice or noodles, to, depending on what you have in your pantry.  We will definitely be making this one, again.

Pork Curry With Apples  
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
 2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 lb. cooked pork tenderloin, chopped ***Can also usr fresh chicken or pork
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup apple cider
1 large apple peeled and chopped.  I used McIntosh apples
2 Tbsp curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Raisins for garnish
Cooked Quinoa or rice
Heat olive in in medium skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions, and garlic, cook for 5-6 minutes until softened.  Add chopped pork, and heat through. Add chicken stock, apple cider, chopped apple, and curry powder.   Cook over medium heat until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Garnish with raisins, and serve over quinoa or rice.

*** If you use fresh, cubed chicken or pork  Increase olive oil to 2 B\Tsp, saute the fresh meat,before adding the onion and garlic.


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