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Cranberry Pecan White Chocolate Fudge

Confession time: I’m horrible at candy making. 

I’ve tried making fudge time after time after time, and most of those times, it turns out to be a goopy mess or burnt. 

But this fudge? 

Cranberry Pecan Fudge

It. Turned. Out. Perfectly!

I was so shocked. 

It’s not too bad in the taste department, either.

Alright, alright, it’s downright delicious. 

Cranberry Pecan White Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 cups of white chocolate
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons of whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup of pecans, chopped

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8 pan with aluminum foil. Spray with baking spray and set aside.
  2. Add white chocolate to a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt, orange zest, and heavy cream over medium high heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Allow it to cook for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Working quickly, pour the mixture into the mixing with the white chocolate.
  5. Beat on medium speed until the chocolate is melted and is completely smooth (about 1 - 2 minutes).
  6. Fold in the pecans and cranberry sauce.
  7. Pour into the pre-lined pan. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours or until fudge has hardened.
  8. Then, cut into squares and enjoy.

Notes

Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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Pumpkin Icebox Cake

I’ve been the “cook” in my family for years now, and I love it. All the planning and preparation and trying out new recipes = right up my alley. But it wasn’t always like that. Let me tell how that came about.

When I was 18, my mother and grandmother were both sick with a cold during Thanksgiving, and I was basically told, “If you want turkey and all the trimmings, you gotta cook it yourself.” Now, in previous years, my contribution to the meal was opening up the can of cranberry sauce and slicing it and setting the table. Not a lot. But that year? Trial by fire.

The gravy was the consistency of jello. The dressing was from a box. And the turkey? Burnt to a crisp.

 In fact, the only halfway edible thing was the pumpkin pie. . .  and that was all thanks to Mrs. Smith. Hey, at least I did turn on the oven and put it in. 

Somehow (still not sure how), my mother and grandmother both loved the meal and raved about it.

Yeah, I think it had less to do with my skills as a cook and more to do with the fact that they were getting a little vacation from cooking. And somehow (I”m even more unsure about how this happened), I became the designated family cook from there on out.

It’s been many Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Easters since then, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two. Well, hopefully more than a thing or two.

This year, though, I’m getting my own little break (no more flour everywhere or waking up before dawn to put the turkey in). No, this year we’re eating out for Thanksgiving.

But it I were cooking this year. . . this is what I’d be making for dessert. 

Pumpkin Icebox Cake

Pumpkin icebox cake. Which has some of my favorite things in it: Pumpkin? Check. Whipped Cream? Check. Cream Cheese? Spices? Check check.

IMG_2459

IMG_2471

Pumpkin Icebox Cake

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, melted
  • For the pumpkin filling:
  • 1 pint of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (add more or less depending on how sweet you want it) of confectioner's sugar
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (add more or less depending on how sweet you want it) of confectioner's sugar
  • 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In a large casserole dish (mine was a 12 x 9, but any dish of a similar size should work), combine the graham cracker crumbs, granulated sugar, and melted butter until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Press into the bottoms and sides of the dish.
  4. Bake in the preheated over for about 10 - 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  5. Filling:
  6. Whip the heavy cream and 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl, mix together both packages of softened cream cheese, pumpkin puree, 1 cup of confectioner's sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract.
  8. Once that's completely combined, remove about a cup of the whipped cream you made earlier and fold into the cream cheese/pumpkin mixture.
  9. Pour on top of the now cooled crust, using a spatula to spread the mixture out evenly.
  10. Top with the remaining whipped cream.
  11. To finish it, sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on top of the whipped cream.
  12. Let dessert chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or until it's set, then enjoy.

Notes

Other great toppings to sprinkle on to the whipped cream besides pumpkin pie spice, are crumbled gingersnap cookies, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, grated chocolate, or graham cracker crumbs. The amount of sugar is really just a suggestion. Feel free to use more or less depending on your tastes. If you want, let the dessert chill overnight. To me, it was so much better the next day after the flavors had had time to meld together more and the filling had set up even more.

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Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

Growing up, one of my friends’ mothers made the most addictive puppy chow at Christmas. I mean, that stuff was so good and sugary. So naturally, I came home telling my mother all about it and asking her to make some. She gave me the strangest, sort of horrified look. Then, it hit me. . . . she thought I was talking about puppy chow – as in, dog food. I quickly explained that ‘No your daughter hasn’t developed a love for dog food.’

She was very relieved. Whether she was more relieved over the fact that she wouldn’t have to make a dish with dog food or that her daughter hadn’t been indulging in some extreme eating, I’m not sure.

That brings us to pumpkin spice puppy chow.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow 3Full of my favorite fall things (i.e. cinnamon and spices), you know this is a favorite of mine.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow 2

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 16 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Chex cereal
  • 1 bag of Hershey's Cinnamon Chips
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • Reese's Pieces

Instructions

  1. Place the cinnamon chips in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds, then stir. Then heat in 10 second increments, stirring each time until completely smooth
  3. In a large bowl, gently fold together the Chex cereal and melted cinnamon chips until completely distributed.
  4. Pour the powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a large ziploc bag.
  5. Add the cereal, and shake until coated.
  6. Pour out onto a baking sheet and let it cool.
  7. Add the Reese's Pieces and enjoy
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Mini Caramel Apples

What’s better in Fall than Caramel Apples?

Nothing. Except. . . . . 

mini caramel apples

Mini Caramel Apples!

First, in a medium sized bowl, combine the juice of one lemon and about a cup and a half of water together.

Using a melon baller, scoop out little balls of apple. 

Apple Melon Baller

Place each ball into the lemon water to help keep them from turning brown quite as bad. 

Apples Lemon Juice

Insert a lollipop stick into each ball and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet to dry off. 

Meanwhile, melt the caramel bits according to the package directions. 

Once melted, allow the caramel to cool for couple of minutes. Then, dip each apple ball into it, swirling off any excess. 

Then, dip into any toppings you’d like. Chopped peanuts, pecans, sprinkles, etc. 

I’m a no topping kind of girl, so I left some of mine plain.

Mini Caramel Apples 2

Mini Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • 2 - 3 green apples
  • 1 bag of caramel bits
  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Toppings of your choice (chopped peanuts, sprinkles, pecans, etc)

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the lemon juice and water. Set aside.
  2. Use melon baller to scoop out bits of apple.
  3. Place each apple bite into the lemon water to help prevent oxidation.
  4. Insert lollipop sticks into each apple bite and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet to dry off.
  5. Melt the caramel according to package directions.
  6. Dip each apple bite into the caramel, swirling any excess off.
  7. Dip in toppings of your choice.

Notes

Allow the caramel to cool for at least a couple of minutes before dipping the apples in it.

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Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Bread

It’s fall, y’all!

Which for me means I can indulge my love of all things sweet potato and cinnamon. And one of my favorites that contains both is sweet potato bread.

This recipe is sort of a take on the sweet potato bread that’s a must-have for us every fall/winter, except it has the tangy addition of cream cheese in the middle. 

Can you say yummmm? 

Sweet Potato CC Bread Sliced

I certainly can. 

SP Bread Sliced 2

Between the cinnamon, nutmeg, rich cream cheese, and the sweet potatoes, this is the perfect Fall dessert for me. Because it really is more of a dessert to me than just a loaf of bread. Of course, that didn’t stop me from having a slice for breakfast this morning 😉 

Start off by whisking together the wet ingredients, sugars, zest, and spices. Then mix in the mashed sweet potato.

SP Cream Cheese Bread Whisk

Once that’s done you add in the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder) and mix until incorporated being careful not to over mix. 

Spoon a little over half of the batter into a prepared pan. Set the rest aside. 

Then, in a separate bowl mix together the ingredients for the cream cheese filling (cream cheese, sugar, flour, and egg).

SP Bread Cream Cheese Mix

Check out that ultra bright yolk! Now, that’s a very fresh duck egg. The best eggs for baking. . . duck eggs. Large, rich, and great for making fluffy baked goods. 

Now, spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the bread batter in the pan, spreading it out evenly. Top with the remainder of the batter.

Bake in a preheated oven for about 50 – 60 minutes, give or take. Baking times will vary, so the time listed is more of a suggestion than a rule of thumb. 

SP Bread Cooling 2

Once done, let it cool for about 10 – 15 before unmolding on to a cooling rack. Let it cool completely before slicing. 

Serving suggestions: While this bread is delicious by itself, I love a slice slathered with a little butter. Yumm.

Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Bread

Ingredients

  • Bread:
  • 1 cup baked sweet potatoes (peeled and mashed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1/2 (8 oz) package of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the oil and sugars until they're completely mixed together and creamy. Then, add the sour cream, egg, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest, and mix well.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and pinch of salt. Using a spoon, stir until mixed together, being careful not to over mix.
  4. Spoon a little more than half of the mixture into a 9x5 prepared bread pan, using the back of the spoon to spread it out evenly. Set the remainder aside for now.
  5. Cream Cheese Filling: In a separate bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sugar, egg, and flour and whisk until combined.
  6. Pour the cream cheese filling on top of the bread batter that was earlier poured into the pan. Use a spatula or back of a spoon to spread it out evenly.
  7. Top with the remaining bread batter, gently spreading it out evenly to cover the cream cheese filling.
  8. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with only moist crumbs and not raw batter. Baking time will vary, so be sure to keep an eye on it.
  9. Let bread cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and serve.

Notes

Tip: Buy fresh nutmeg and freeze it. Then, when you have a recipe that calls for ground nutmeg, simply take it out and grate it.

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