Posts Tagged 'cinnamon'

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is the Sweet Potato Casserole that I grew up eating at the Holidays.  Baked sweet potatoes mixed with a generous amount of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and topped with a gooey layer of marshmallows. Yum!

The marshmallows on top make the dish.  When baked until golden brown, the marshmallows create a delicious topping – crispy on top with a sinfully melty interior. Super sweet and super good. We don’t add marshmallows to the sweet potatoes though … we find it gets too sweet if its in the potatoes and on top.

My good friend Allison Lemm makes a delicious Bourbon Pecan version of this recipe. She stirs 2 tablespoons of bourbon into the sweet potato mixture and add a 1/4 cup of toasted chopped pecans to the marshmallow topping. I am tempted to try it that way this year.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
8 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the skins. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the potato flesh until smooth. Add the butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon and level the mixture into the prepared dish. Evenly top with a single layer of marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden and the potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Do-Ahead: This can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before baking. 

Time-Saving Tip: I prefer the flavor of freshly baked sweet potatoes. But if you are short on time, you can boil peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain well. Precooked sweet potatoes, which can be found in the grocery freezer section, are another short cut.

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I should call this recipe Sarah’s Disappearing Banana Bread!

My youngest daughter can’t not get enough of banana bread.  It is one of her favorite treats to eat … and to make with her momma!

Sarah has the unfortunate curse of being allergic to nuts, and unfortunately most versions of this quick bread are made with walnuts.  She had a wonderful nut-less banana bread last summer we found at the Malibu Farmers Market. Since then, we have been on a quest to re-create a similar version.

Many of the recipes we tried were delicious … but none had the moistness of the one we had enjoyed last summer.  Then one day a friend told me to try adding sour cream to the mix. It was a brilliant suggestion! The sour cream gave the bread that delicious moistness we were lacking with other recipes we tried.

The chocolate chips were Sarah’s idea …  my little sous-chef always knows how to make a sweet over the top!

Enjoy! (But be forewarned … it will disappear very quickly!)

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 -inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Add the reserved flour mixture and mix until well blended. Add the bananas, sour cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon and stir to blend. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about for 60 to 70 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack just until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and place onto a wire rack to cool.

Serves 8.

Cooking Tip:  It happens to all of us.  Some days bananas ripen faster than we can eat them.  If I have bananas that are overly ripe, I throw them in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. That way, I always have ripe bananas on hand to make this bread and I am not wasting food.

Variation: If you are not allergic to nuts like Sarah, add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the batter for what I’d call a “Chunky Monkey” version!

Freezes well.

Sweet Potato Casserole

People either love the idea … or hate it.  But in my opinion, sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving must be topped with marshmallows!

This is the recipe that I have been enjoying at our family’s table since I was a little girl.  Without a doubt it will be on our Thanksgiving table this year.

My good friend Allison Lemm makes a delicious Bourbon Pecan version of this recipe worth trying. Stir 2 tablespoons of bourbon into the sweet potato mixture and add a 1/4 cup of toasted chopped pecans to the marshmallow topping.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
8 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups baby marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the skins. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the potato flesh until smooth. Add the butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon and level the mixture into the prepared dish. Evenly top with a single layer of marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden and the potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.

Serves 6 to 8.

Do-Ahead: This can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before baking.

Time-Saving Tip: I prefer the flavor of freshly baked sweet potatoes. But if you are short on time, you can boil peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain well. Precooked sweet potatoes, which can be found in the grocery freezer section, are another short cut.

Rustic Peach Tart


I love summer peaches! You know the ones that are so ripe and juicy you have to eat them over the kitchen sink?!

Here’s an easy dessert you can make with this late summer treat.  Don’t fuss over the perfect crust. Instead whip up a rustic version that is meant to look a little rough around the edges.

Depending on what’s in season, you can substitute apples, pears and even blueberries for this peaches.

Rustic Peach Tart 

1 unbaked pie crust (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
4 peaches (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the dough into a 10-inch round about 1/8-inch thick.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the peaches, 1/2 cup of the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt and toss to coat. Fill the center of the pie crust with the peach mixture in an even layer, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border up and over the apples, overlapping every 2 to 3 inches, to make a rim. Brush the rim with the egg wash and evenly sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the rim.

Bake until the crust is nicely browned and the peaches are bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Serves 8.

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

I have to admit … as un-American as it may be … I do not like Pumpkin Pie.  Never have …. never will.  I have tried everyone’s Grandmother’s “famous” recipe, had it at fancy restaurants … I just don’t like a traditional pumpkin pie.

So my dislike of pumpkin pie has nothing to do with pumpkin.  I actually really like the flavor of this winter squash. I like it in soups, risottos, slow roasted, and in other baked goods like pumpkin spice muffins and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I think it’s the texture of a traditional pumpkin pie that gets me.  Especially since I have the same sentiments about sweet potato pie – another veggie I’ll eat any other way.

So I went on a quest to find an alternative for my Holiday table.

I remembered a delicious cheesecake version that I had at a restaurant, so I tried to duplicate it at home.  And luckily … it was a home run!

Most cheesecakes use graham crackers for their crusts. Which to be honest I find kinda boring.  I usually add nuts to the mixture or find another cookie to crumble. In this case, I found that sharp flavor of Ginger Snaps to be the perfect contrast to the sweetness of the cheesecake.  You can make homemade Ginger Snaps but my attitude is why bother since the store bought ones work just as fine.

Another time saver is to use canned pumpkin versus fresh.  To be honest, I actually prefer it not just for the ease but also because canned pumpkin has a smoother, less stringy consistency that is perfect for this cake filling.

Enjoy!

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

For the crust:
2 cups ginger snaps
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
1 lb. 14 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (15-ounce) pumpkin (or 1 3/4 cups fresh pumpkin puree)
8 oz. mascarpone, at room temperature
1/4 cup caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

To make the crust:

Finely grind the ginger snaps in a food processor. Slowly add the butter and blend until it forms moist clumps. Press the crust into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.  Bake until set, about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.

To make the cheesecake:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix well.   Add the ginger, cinnamon, and pumpkin puree.  Decrease to low speed and stir in the mascarpone until well combined.  Evenly spoon the filling into the crust.

Put the cheesecake in the oven.  Put a pan of hot water on another rack below the cake.  (The steam prevents a crust from forming on top of the cake.)  Bake the cheesecake until almost set, about 55 to 65 minutes,   (The center of the cake will not be completely firm.)

When the cake is done, loosen it from the edges of the pan by running a knife around the inside edge.  Let the cake cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.  (Both these steps help prevent the top from cracking.) Refrigerate, in the spring form pan, for at least 4 hours.

Unmold the cheesecake by running a knife around the inside edge of the pan.

Drizzle the top of the cheesecake with the caramel sauce.

Serves 8 to 10.

 

 

Halloween Monster Bash

My motto for Halloween … “Don’t let the little werewolves go home hungry!”

At our annual Halloween party, I serve up treats like “Spider” PB and J sandwiches, “Skeleton” rib bones, and “Mummy” hot dogs.  Not sure who enjoys the menu more, the kids or the adults! To wash it all down, we make “Worm” Punch or serve apple cider with cinnamon “twigs.

It’s all about fun foods for the whole family. My kids love to get in on the action and help prepare our ghoulishly good feast!

Devilishly Good Halloween Menu
Spider Sandwiches
Rib Bones
Mummy Dogs
Worm Punch

Go all out this All Hallows’ Eve and fill your table with these frighteningly fun party foods.

Happy Halloween!!!

Spider Sandwiches

Serves 12

24 slices wheat sandwich bread
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups grape or strawberry jelly
24 raisins
2 cups Cheetos

Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut a circle from each bread slice.  Discard the edges. Spread about 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 tablespoon jelly on half of the bread rounds. Lay three Cheeto “legs” on each side of the bread rounds. Top with the remaining bread slices.  Make 2 small indentions on the top of each sandwich for the “eyes.”  Press a raisin into each. 

Mummy Dogs

Serves 10

1 can (11 oz.) refrigerated bread sticks
10 hot dogs
20 capers
French’s Yellow Mustard

Heat oven to 375°F.

Unroll the dough. Using 1 dough strip for each, wrap hot dogs to look like mummies. Place on ungreased baking sheet.  Press 2 capers on each for “eyes.”

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature with French’s Yellow Mustard on the side.

Worm Punch

Serves 12

1 0.13-oz. package lemon-lime Kool-Aid
1 cup sugar
8 cups water
1 6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
4 cups ginger ale
Worm cubes (ice cubes with gummy worms frozen inside)

Empty the Kool-Aid package into a punch bowl. Add the sugar, then the water and stir until dissolved. Stir in the orange juice. Just before serving, add the ginger ale and worm cubes.  Garnish each cup with a gummy worm.

Adult variation: Add vodka to taste to turn this worm infested beverage into a “grown-up” libation.

***Photos by the talented Jay Adkins.  Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

Double-Decker Peach Cobbler

When my friend Laurie Major told me about her grandmother’s peach cobbler I just had to give it a try. 

Mrs. Mohler made it with 3 layers of crust!  I am all about the crust, but am a little lazy at times. I have made this into a double-decker cobbler. But if you have an extra 10 or 15 minutes, you can add that third layer of pastry.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I thought it was so good I included it in my new cookbook Simply Suppers!

Enjoy!

Double-Decker Peach Cobbler
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
2 bags (16-ounce) frozen peaches, thawed, or 12 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (about 5 to 6 cups)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons bourbon
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 unbaked pie crusts (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 pint vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a large saucepot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and water and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peaches, lemon juice, bourbon, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, stir to coat, and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Evenly spoon 1/2 of the filling into the prepared dish. Top with a layer of pie crust. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and spoon the remaining 1/2 of the filling evenly over the crust. Top with the second pie crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon over the top. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Serve warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Serves  8.

Cooking Tip: To make the third layer, place a pie crust on the bottom of the pan. Par-bake the bottom crust for 10 minutes. Then layer as directed in the recipe above.

Time-Saving Tip: I love fresh peaches, but they can be a hassle to peel. Frozen peaches are in-season year-round and work just as well in this dish…without the extra work!

Freezes well.

Praline Bread Pudding

Known as “poor man’s pudding,” bread pudding was originally created as a means of salvaging stale bread.  In my opinion, there is nothing poor about this rich-ly decadent dessert. In fact, it may be one of my favorite treats.

Every ooey gooey bite reminds me of my Grandmother’s New Orleans kitchen.  She used to make a pretty straight forward version from stale French bread, eggs, milk, sugar, and a little orange zest.  What made hers divine though was the whiskey hard sauce she whipped up to garnish it.  

Bread pudding is a pretty versatile dish. It can be made with pretty much whatever bread you have on hand…some of the popular choices being brioche, challah, croissant, panettone, French, and Italian. You can also add whatever flavorings you prefer. Some folks even make savory bread puddings. (Oyster bread pudding is one savory Louisianan version that I find irresistible.) Bread puddings are even more insanely richer with the addition of a decadent sauce like my Grandmother’s, chocolate fudge or the Praline sauce in this recipe.

One of my new favorite flavors is Praline Bread Pudding. When I was writing Simply Suppers (release date Sept 2010), it was one comfort food that I knew had to be included in my dessert chapter.  Remembering a dessert I once enjoyed at a restaurant, I turned to the talented pastry chef Heather Bugg Ries (owner of the Lady Bugg Bakery) for some inspiration. This is my simplified rendition of her to-die-for bread pudding.

Enjoy!

Praline Bread Pudding

For the bread pudding:
Unsalted butter, to grease the baking dish
6 day old large croissants, cut in 1-inch cubes and set aside in a large mixing bowl (about 8 cups)
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups coarsely chopped praline pecans 

For the praline sauce:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
Pinch of salt

To make the bread pudding: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- X 13-inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the milk, cream, brown sugar, eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until combined. Pour the custard over the croissants and to coat evenly. Let stand until the croissants have soaked up the custard, about 5 minutes. Stir in the praline pecan pieces.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. 

Place the dish in a roasting pan with at least 2-inch sides. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Very carefully pour enough hot water around the dish to come half way up the sides of the baking dish. Slide the rack into the oven, being careful not to slosh water onto the bread pudding. Bake until set, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the bread pudding is puffed and golden brown on top, about 15 to 20 minutes.

 To make the praline sauce: In a medium saucepot with tall sides, place the brown sugar, baking soda, vanilla, corn syrup, buttermilk, butter, and salt. (This mixture tends to boil over if not watched).  Whisk to combine. Place over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until the sugar starts to bubble, about 3 minutes. Whisk until well combined. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking occasionally, until it starts to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve warm.

Serve the bread pudding warm with the sauce on the side. 

Serves 8.

Cooking Tips:

Praline pecans are pecan halves that have been candy-coated. They are sometimes also called candied pecans or bourbon pecans.

Dark brown sugar and dark corn syrup lend a rich molasses flavor to this dessert. It is fine to substitute light brown sugar and light corn syrup if that is what you have on hand.

Variation: Ideally you should use day-old bread for this dish. It is ok to use fresh bread in a pinch. Day-old brioche or French bread can be substituted for the croissants.

Do-Ahead: The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Reheat in a double boiler or a microwave.

Time-Saving Tip: It’s not as rich in flavor, but you can use store-bought caramel sauce in place praline sauce.


Jennifer Chandler

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