Monday, November 9, 2009

Mini Desserts

Last month my friend/sister (meaning that she is not only a friend, but more as a sister to me) had a party at her house to celebrate a couple of events; her birthday, her 25th wedding anniversary and the decoration of the family Christmas Tree. That I may add is about 15 feet tall. Yearly she has a dinner party with the family to help her decorate for Christmas and a great excuse to get together. Plus everyone gets in the holiday mood. Not a bad idea, right?

It was something like a potluck kinda party, everyone was taking something. I, of course, offered to take some dessert. Being a big family and having so much fun around, mini desserts was the best bet. So I got to work and came up with Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with walnuts and Cream Cheese Frosting and to challenge myself I offered mini pies, because I had laying around a Pumpkin Pie recipe that I was wanting to make for a while now.
Take a look and see for yourself the final result and let me know what you think.

Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes
(make them at home: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes)

Mini Pumpkin Pies

To make a delicious Pumpkin Pie follow the recipe below courtesy of How To Eat A Cupcake, and if you thought that this recipe couldn't get any better take a look at her blog and browse around you'll love it as much as I do. Blogs are a great way to rich out to others and teach them great and delicious recipes.

Pumpkin Chiffon Pie (from The Culinary Arts Institute Cookbook; 1985)


Take your pie dough and make circles out of it, bake in a mini cupcake pan

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg whites
1 cup chilled heavy cream, stiffly beaten (Like Cassie did in her recipe, I only used 3/4 cup of cream and added 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla)

Soften gelatin in the cold water and set aside. Combine pumpkin, sugar, milk, egg yolks, spices, and salt in the top of a double boiler. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes. Stir in softened gelatin and cook 5 minutes more. Cool. Beat the egg whites (I added 3 tablespoons of sugar to the egg whites) until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into thoroughly cooled pumpkin filling. Pour mixture into pie shell. Chill until set. Top with whipped cream. Now enjoy, but remember to share!

Want a closer look? Well, here you go!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Decorating Cookies (Cook with your kid)

Being so close to the holidays like Thanks Giving and Christmas it is not a wonder why people are so busy baking cookies, cakes, cupcakes and mini desserts. Be it for house parties or business events there has to always be a dessert involved somewhere. I know that I have mentioned this before, but it is this time of year that I enjoy the most, maybe because there is always something baking and that sweet smell makes in the kitchen makes everyone smile. This might even bring you back to childhood memories. It does to me.

I have seen a lot around about cookie swaps and was so intrigued by the idea that it hit me that I had never made sugar cookies to decorate. And wow have I seen some great web sites out there with beautiful decorated cookies. It's truly a work of art.

After getting my hands into a sugar cookie recipe I needed cookie cutters, well, about that... I went cookie cutter crazy and my dear husband gave me his card, Am I a lucky gal or what?

My daughter and I started the task of decorating with some frosting and candies (they were everywhere), we had a sugar rush and the best time ever. I sometimes wonder why don't we parents do more things with our kids, it connects us so much to them and by the time they are growing up (which we can't stop from happening) this are the moments that they will cherish for the long run.

But let me say that decorating a cookie is harder than it looks. I take my hat off to all of those creative artists out there that make fantastic decorated cookies, oh boy are you all talented or what! That's why there is this saying "practice, practice, practice" and "Practice makes perfection", decorating a cookie with frosting or icing is all about creativity and a steady hand (patience might be a good word too).
Since our cookies where for us and to spend some time together while talking about her day at school, well, let just say that anything and everything could be used to decorate those yummy tasting cookies. And so it did, take a look at some pictures.

As I mentioned my daughter and I where both 1st timers decorating cookies, but we couldn't let you all think that everything was all running smoothly, here look for yourself:

Somehow the cookies managed to fall and all the frosting and decorations had a party on there own. They tasted good anyways, accidents do happen. To all of you out here that buy decorated cookies, take all of this things in consideration:

1. A great recipe is needed to make the cookies stay in the shape you want the to.

2. Decorating them with frosting or icing isn't an easy taste, you need a great creativity and steady hands.

3. The cookies can all fall down and the baker must start all over again.

Please do appreciate the hard work that is put into the labor of desserts making, specially if they taste as great as they look. But above all enjoy your cookies!