This Sweet Potato Bunt Cake w/ Maple Cream Sauce is filled with fall flavors. This cake is dense and moist and topped with a delicious maple cream sauce. If anything, just make this recipe for the maple cream sauce. It’s so good you can drink it.
Whether you’re looking to make a cake for dessert for the week, or bring something to a dinner party or make a new dessert for your thanksgiving table, this sweet potato cake recipe is an absolute winner! Additionally, this cake makes a great breakfast cake. It’s not overly sweet, its just the right amount.
The first step in making this cake is creaming the butter and the sugars (granulated sugar as well as maple sugar). Once the butter and sugar are fluffy and eggs one at a time. Next, you’ll add the mashed sweet potatoes along with vanilla extract. Finally, you’ll add the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well, but do not over mix. The batter will be thick, that’s ok. Pour the batter into a lightly greased bunt pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 45 – 55 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
When I was younger, my family and I looked forward to apple picking every year. We would drive about 2 hours upstate New York, and spend the day, and had so much fun. The orchard we used to go to sold preserves and other food products they made with the apples or other fruit they grew.
Every year my mom would buy either pear or apple preserves from the orchard. I loved the Ginger Pear preserves. I found myself recently reminiscing about those ginger pear preserves, and decided to make my own batch.
I used some fall spices in these pear preserves. I started this recipe by boiling some nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves in one cup of water. I allowed the spiced water to reduce by half and added about 1/2 cup more. Next, I added diced pears, some sugar, crystallized ginger, and grated about 1 inch of ginger into the pot. I allowed the pears to boil, then I reduced the heat and let the pears to simmer for about 2 hours until the preserves thickened a bit.
Lobster Ma & Cheese is rich and decadent as Mac and Cheese except there are tender bits of buttery lobster mixed in. This recipe is the perfect combination of cheesy, creamy, and gooey goodness. When I decided to create this recipe I instantly thought about the delicious creamy lobster sauce from my Shrimp and Grits recipe (side note, if you haven’t tried it its definitely a must try 😉 ). This Lobster Mac and Cheese essentially is a combination of my Shrimp and Grits recipe with my Mac and Cheese recipe. I started this recipe by broiling 1 pound of lobster tails. I simply seasoned the lobster with Old Bay and butter. If you don’t want to buy lobster tails, you can for sure buy lobster meat. If you buy the lobster meat, it will be cooked already so it will save you the step of broiling the lobster. However if you are broiling the lobster tails, it’s important to watch them so they don’t over cook. The last thing you want is dry tough lobster. Once the lobster tails are finished cooking allow them to cool to room temperature, so you can chop it. While the lobster is in the broiler grate and dice the cheddar cheese. It’s very important to grate the cheese by hand instead of using shredded cheese from a bag, it is not the same, Trust Me!! Shredded cheese that comes in a bag is actually coated in an anti-caking agent so the cheese won’t stick together in the bag, which is the reason why it won’t melt that great in a sauce.
Next I created a cheese sauce. While you’re making your cheese sauce, boil your pasta. The creamy cheese sauce is made with milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and lobster base. I start the cheese sauce with butter and flour, to create a roux. (Read more about what a roux is from The Best Mac and Cheese post. Add Old Bay seasoning and lobster base to your roux. Once the roux has cooked, you will add your milk. Continue to mix the milk mixture until smooth, add shredded cheese, and whisk until the cheese has melted completely.
When the macaroni is cooked, I drain the macaroni and dump it into a big bowl. I mix in the lobster cheese sauce, and season to taste with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. Next, I mix in the chopped lobster, and the diced cheddar cheese. I pour the mac and cheese into a baking pan and bake on 350 degrees for about 30 – 35 minutes. When I take the mac and cheese out of the oven, I like to add another handful or two of shredded cheese on top, and put the pan back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt.
What is more comforting than a warm bowl of chicken soup. The weather in Charlotte is finally transitioning from summer to fall, and we are getting some cool weather. Soup is just the perfect thing to eat when the weather is chilly.
When it comes to chicken soup, my recipe is pretty simple. I simply put carrots, celery, caramelized onions, and of course, chicken. I allow the chicken to cook in the soup. I usually remove the chicken skin before adding the chicken to the soup. I personally don’t like the texture of the chicken skin after it’s been boiled in the soup, plus it makes the soup oily. If you leave the skin on the chicken when cooking it in the soup, there is more fat to skim off the top of the soup when the soup has cooled.
I usually make my soup on the stove, but for the first time, I decided to make the soup in the slow cooker. It was nice to just “set it and forget it.” To make this chicken soup, I caramelized onions, sauteed carrots, and celery, and added the vegetables to the slow cooker. Cooking the vegetables isn’t necessary because they will cook in the soup, but I just love 😍 the flavor of caramelized onions. The next step is adding a whole chicken to the slow cooker, and adding enough water to cover the chicken, about 8 – 10 cups of water. I also add 2 bay leaves, about 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and season my soup with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and granulated onion. The soup cooks on high for about 4-6 hours in the slow cooker. However, if you want to put the soup while you’re at work, you can sautee your vegetables the day before and refrigerate them overnight. Before you go to work, you can put your vegetables in the pot and add your chicken. You can set your slow cooker to low, and it will be ready in about 6-8 hours.
After about 5 hours (on high temperature), I turned the slow cooker off. Next, I removed the chicken from the slow cooker. I placed the chicken on a cutting board and allowed it to cool a bit. Once the chicken was cool to touch, I removed the meat from the bones, cut the chicken, and added it back to the pot.
When I was younger, my family went apple picking every year. One of the best things about the apple orchard is the fresh apple cider donuts. The smell of the doughnuts just stops you in your tracks, and you feel like you MUST have one. Well, that’s how I feel anyway. The apple orchard I used to go to would always have a line wrapped around the building for the amazing apple cider donuts. As I stood in line I would always contemplate should I buy a half dozen or a buy a dozen doughnuts? I mean a dozen doesn’t even seem like enough because I only get them once a year when I go apple picking.
After years of visiting the apple orchard, I finally decided to try to make these apple cider donuts on my own. I tried the Cider Spiced Doughnuts recipe from the 2018 October/ November Fine Cooking Magazine. I followed the recipe precisely since it was my first time making doughnuts like these. They were delicious, especially warm.
This recipe was relatively easy to make. The first thing I did was bring apple cider to a boil until it reduced to a half cup. Once the apple cider reduced, I cooled it down in the refrigerator. Cooling down the apple cider is vital because if you put the hot cider in the bowl with the butter and eggs, it will just melt your butter, and cook your eggs. While the apple cider was cooling, I measured my dry ingredients to get them ready for mixing. Next, I creamed the butter with the sugar, and I added eggs one at a time. The next thing I did was pour in the buttermilk, vanilla, and reduced apple cider. I slowly added my dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The dough was thick and a bit sticky. I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkled it with flour. Next, I pressed the dough evenly into the pan, covered the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight, (however the recipe says you can refrigerate it for 2 hours at minimum)
I used a 3 inch circle cutter to make the doughnuts, and a 1 inch circle cutter to make doughnut holes. Using the 3 inch circle, I was able to get about 9 doughnuts out of the dough. I filled a pot about 2/3 of the way with oil to fry the doughnuts. I used a candy thermometer to heat the oil to 350 degrees. It is important to measure the temperature of the oil because if your oil isn’t hot enough your doughnuts will be too oily, and if your oil is too hot your doughnuts the outside of your doughnuts may cook too fast and the inside my be raw. I cooked the doughnuts about 2-3 minutes per side. When I took the doughnuts out of the oil, I tossed them in a cinnamon sugar mixture.
These doughnuts are definitely a must try. There is absolutely nothing better than biting into a warm, fresh doughnut that’s been tossed in cinnamon sugar.
Pumpkin Pie is a custard pie made with pumpkin puree. It is a Thanksgiving staple for most. I shared a post about how to puree a pumpkin, so I figured what better to make with pumpkin puree than pumpkin pie.
I decided to switch it up from a normal 9 inch pie to mini 3 inch pies. When I have company over I like to have “easy” dessert options. I think individual desserts are no fuss dessert options lol. I don’t have to be concerned with cutting slices for guests, They can just choose their mini dessert and hold it.
For this recipe I used the 3 inch frozen pie shells. However if you want to make your own pie crust I’ve ordered 3 inch tart pans from this site many times.
I started these pies by putting 2 cups of homemade pumpkin puree in a bowl. Don’t worry if you don’t want to make your own pumpkin puree, you can absolutely use pumpkin puree from a can. Next I add brown sugar to the pumpkin puree. I add melted butter, evaporated milk, and beat 3 eggs and poured that into the pumpkin mixture. I finished the pie batter with vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice. I baked the pie in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. If you decided you don’t want to bake mini pies, a 9 inch pie will bake for about 45- 50 minutes, when the pie is done the center should jiggle slightly. The pie will look a little puffed up when it comes out of the oven, however as the pie cools the pie begins to settle.
Pumpkin season is among us, and that means pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin brownies 🤔, pumpkin blondies 🤯… Pumpkin everything. The one ingredient that you need for all of these recipes is pumpkin puree. Of course, it’s easy enough to go to the sore to buy a can of pumpkin puree, but homemade pumpkin puree is 1,000% times better.
The number one reason why you should puree your own pumpkin is you know exactly what your getting. Canned pumpkin may not just be pumpkin, some canned pumpkin is a mixture of pumpkin and a variety of winter squash. Reason number two to puree your own pumpkin is to get the exact flavor your looking for. And the number three reason to puree your own pumpkin is that its super easy.
First, you need to find a pumpkin to puree. Pumpkin on the small to medium size is best to use. The bigger pumpkins that are often used to make Jack – O- Lanterns may not taste as good as a smaller pumpkin. Of course, they could still be used, but a smaller one would taste better.
Cut the top of the pumpkin off, near the stem. Next, turn the pumpkin over to its flat side and cut the pumpkin in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp from the pumpkin. Set the pumpkin seeds aside so they could be roasted if you choose. Slice the pumpkin into wedged pieces, and place on a baking sheet face up, spray with cooking oil (I used canola oil). Roast the pumpkin on 400 degrees for 35-45 minutes until the pumpkin is fork-tender. When you remove the pumpkin from the oven, allow the pumpkin to cool. Once cooled, use a knife to remove the meat of the pumpkin from the skin. Next puree your pumpkin in a blender or food processor until smooth. Depending on the amount of natural water in your pumpkin, you may or may not need to add a little bit of water to smooth out your pumpkin puree. If you find that your puree is too watery, you can strain it in cheesecloth to squeeze out some of that extra liquid.
At this point, your pumpkin puree is ready to use. If you are not going to use your puree right away, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container. Or it can be frozen until you are ready to use it.
Apple Pie… To me, apple pie just screams fall. Apple pie is just the warmth of fall in a bowl. Apple pie is like the perfect dessert, the crispness of the apples, paired with a buttery, flaky pie crust, what could be better? Well, one thing!! A scoop of ice cream alongside it would definitely make it better.
When making apple pie, it is essential to choose the right apples, not all apples are great for baking. Some apples are way to sweet, soft, mealy or just too tart. Some apples have a lot of water in them, so when baking a pie, you end up with mushy apples and mushy pie crust. When making apple pie, you want to choose an apple that has the right balance of firmness, sweetness, and a little tart. If you use a super sweet apple and add sugar to your pie, your pie will be really sweet.
In my apple pies, I like to use an equal amount of granny smith apples and gala apples. These two apples are firm, the granny smith are on the tarter side, and the gala are on the sweeter side, and I think they complement each other very well in a pie.
The first step to making this pie is to roll out your pie dough on a floured surface to a 1/8 of an inch thick. Carefully place your dough in your pie dish, and trim the excess dough.
I think it is. Usually, pie dough is blind baked when you’re making a no-bake pie. You would normally blind bake the crust and then fill your pie with a custard filling. However, I think blind baking is also necessary when you’re making a pie that tends to have a lot of liquid. Blind baking will help the bottom crust crisp up nicely while the natural juices are extracted from the apples. For this recipe, I partially bake the crust, and it’s a pretty simple process. However, there are a few steps to take before you put the pie dough in the oven. The first step is to dock the dough. Docking the dough means prickling holes in the pie crust with a fork. Docking the dough is important because it allows air to escape, so the pie dough doesn’t rise up. The next step is weighing the pie dough down. Because of the butter in the dough, the pie dough will shrink in the oven if the pie dough is not weighed down. To blind bake the pie dough place a piece of parchment paper (some people like to use aluminum foil) on top of the pie dough and use pie weights to weigh it down (dry beans or uncooked rice could also be used if you don’t have pie weights). The final part of blind baking is baking the pie dough. I blind baked the pie dough for 12 minutes on 350 degrees and raise the temperature of the oven to 400 degrees.
Finally, the fun part. When the pie crust comes out of the oven its time to fill the pie to get it ready for baking. I prefer to slice my apples rather than dicing them for apple pie. Its easier to fit more apples in your pie dish when your apples are sliced thin. Once the apples are all sliced, I put all of the apples in a bowl with cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, lemon juice, corn starch, a little flour and mix it all together until the apples are completely coated in the seasoning. Next, I pour the pie filling into the pie dish, and pour a prepared caramel sauce on top of the apples. At this point, you can decide if you want to drape your pie crust over your pie, or if you want a lattice pie crust. I whisk an egg with some milk to make an egg wash and brush it on the top of the pie and sprinkle some turbinado sugar. I bake the pie for 20 minutes on 400 degrees and lower the temperature to 375 and allow the pie to continue to bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes.
While the pie is baking the flour and the corn starch will help the natural juices from the apple create a sauce. It will be challenging, but when your pie comes out of the oven, allow it to rest, and cool at least three hours. If you cut into your pie too soon, your pie will be very liquidly. As the pie cools the sauce in your pie thickens up.
Apple pie is one of those classic desserts that could be a lot of work to prepare, but its oh so worth it.
“Good pastry is flaky, tender, delicate, and evenly browned. It is not crumbly, but when broken shows layers of flat flakes, piled one about the other with air spaces between. To achieve this result, the cook must be quick and “lighthanded,” since pastry cannot be good if handled roughly or slowly. – The Victory Binding of the American Woman’s Cook Book, Wartime Edition 1942.
In my opinion, this is the description of a perfect pie crust. Store bought pie crust is great, and of course, its easier to roll out some store bought pie crust, or fill a frozen pie shell. But its sooo much better when you make it yourself. Besides, when you make your own pie crust, you can use whatever flour you’d like, and make it taste like whatever you want it to taste like. For example, my piecrust recipe I use for my delicious Apple Dumplings I use a combination of All Purpose Flour and Almond Flour.
I prefer to use my hands when making the pie dough because I can feel the consistency of the dough. When using a food processor, I feel that in an instant your butter can go from cold to slightly melted and there is nothing you can do about it. The machine spins so fast and adds heat to your dough.
When making pie dough from scratch, I like to use shortening and butter. Usually, the rule of thumb for baking is to use room temperature butter. Not in the case of pie dough. The shortening and the butter must be chilled otherwise the butter, and the shortening will melt in your dough. Chilled butter and shortening allow for a flakier crust; however, if your butter melts while mixing your dough, it will result in a less flaky and a tougher crust.
Water is another crucial ingredient when making pie dough. Again the water must be cold. In fact, many recipes would say to use ice water, and this recipe is no different. The ice water binds the butter and the flour together while helping the butter remain solid.
The first thing I do when making the dough it to put the shortening in the freezer until its thoroughly chilled. Next, I measure the flour, sugar, and salt cut the butter and shortening in small cubes and drop them into the flour. I use a pastry blender to coat the butter with flour. The pastry blender cuts the butter into the flour. Once the dough resembles a crumbly mealy consistency, I pour the ice water into the flour mixture and begin mixing by hand. If after adding the water and the dough still feels very dry, add a little more water. Do not knead the dough; you want to gently toss the dough until you feel the texture of the dough change from a dry to a tacky texture. Once the dough comes together, gently press it into a ball, and flatten to a disk shape. If the dough keeps its shape, it is done. If the dough feels too wet, you’ve added too much water.
Once the dough has been shaped into a disk, you’ll use a bench scraper to cut your dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. You’ll need to chill the dough for at least an hour or two after its wrapped. The dough should be chilled because its easier to handle when chilled. After working the dough, your at risk of melting the butter if you go straight to rolling out your dough, so don’t skip the step of chilling the dough. Before rolling out the pie dough, you want it to feel cold like a stick of butter. The dough could be refrigerated for up to three days, any longer and the dough begins to dry out. The pie dough could also be frozen. If you think you want to freeze your dough, you would still need to refrigerate it for at least an hour first, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and seal it in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to make a pie, be sure to defrost your dough in the refrigerator before rolling it out.
Mac and cheese is pretty much the universal comfort food of the world. I don’t think there is anything more comforting than a warm bowl of Mac and Cheese. It could be enjoyed any time of the year.
This Mac and Cheese recipe is the greatest. It is the perfect combination of cheesy, creamy, and gooey goodness. Its definitely a must try. This recipe starts with a creamy cheese sauce. Quick side note about cheese. For my recipe, I use equal amounts of shredded cheese and cubed cheese. It’s very important to grate the cheese by hand instead of using shredded cheese from a bag, it is not the same, Trust Me!! Shredded cheese that comes in a bag is actually coated in an anti-caking agent so the cheese won’t stick together in the bag, which is the reason why it won’t melt that great in a sauce.
Back to the sauce. This sauce is made by making a roux (pronounced /ro͞o/). A roux is made with equal parts of fat and flour. The fat could be oil or butter, or any other preferred fat such as meat drippings. For this recipe, I use butter, or sometimes bacon fat. If I know, I’ll be mixing pork into the mac and cheese.
To start the roux you will melt butter or your fat of choice in a saucepan, and then whisk in flour until smooth. This should cook for about a minute. Once the roux has cooked, you will add your liquid; in this case, milk is added. At this point, I like to add a chicken bouillon cube for more flavor. Continue to mix the milk mixture until smooth, add shredded cheese, and whisk until the cheese has melted completely.
Once the macaroni is cooked, I like to take a cup of pasta water and keep it in case I need it. If the cheese sauce cools a bit, the pasta water may be needed to help thin the sauce to a stirrable consistency. In the event that you need to add the pasta water, do not add it all at once, add it a little at a time, as needed. Next, I drain the macaroni and dump it into a big bowl. I mix in the cheese sauce, and season to taste. I mix in the cubed cheese, pour the macaroni into a baking pan and bake on 350 degrees for about 30 – 35 minutes. I’m not the biggest fan of adding bread crumb to my mac and cheese, but if you love a bread crumb topping on your mac and cheese, you would add breadcrumb before you bake the mac and cheese. When I take the mac and cheese out of the oven, I like to add another handful or two of shredded cheese on top, and put the pan back in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt.
A few days ago, I mentioned how well sweet tea and BBQ go together. While testing my amazing Sweet Tea & Apple BBQ sauce recipe, I decided to use some of the sweet tea to make a brine. I used the brine for chicken wings, but it could be used for any meat.
Essentially a brine is a heavily salted water, which meat gets submerged into. In the brining process, the meat absorbs extra liquid and salt. Which makes the meat very flavorful and extra juicy.
To make this brine I used 1 quart of Milos unsweetened Iced Tea, 1/4 cup salt, brown sugar, black pepper, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 small onion, and 2 large apples. I dissolved salt and brown sugar in two cups of unsweetened iced tea. I cut the apple, the onion and peeled the garlic and put It in the iced tea mixture. I added two cups of cold sweet tea, and placed the chicken in the brine, and refrigerated it for 24 hours.
The next day I removed the brine from the refrigerator and rinsed off the chicken wings. If you don’t rinse off the brine, the meat with be too salty. The chicken wings went in a 400 degree oven for about 50 minutes. These chicken wings were so flavorful and very moist. To top all of this off a tossed the wings in my sweet tea and apple BBQ sauce.