my favorite pecan bar

I have been holding off making these pecan bars, because when I bake them, I cannot stop eating them. Seriously. A pound of butter, a perfect ratio of nut to caramel filling to shortbread base— these are off-the-charts delicious.  The Older Brother eats them by the row.  The Brother #2 and Wife fight over them (I believe I once heard an accusation of hiding and hoarding.)  Even The Husband, decidedly a savory guy, devours them. You, I think, will love them.


applesauce spice bars {bwd} ~ a comedy of errors

With quite a few baked goods on my to-do list this week, I was going to skip today's baking assignment. Quite a few bakers, however, commented on how simple it was to make.  I couldn't resist Spice and Easy, so I tried it out.  The recipe is basically a cake recipe, certainly not a cookie, and it really is a cinch to put together.  I like the buttery, cinnamony flavor, the fluffy texture, and the glaze is a definite winner.  BUT... I neglected to read the crucial word "SIMMER" and so my glaze, cooked at a rolling boil, turned into a decidedly crunchy toffee topping.


brown butter maple pecan pie {sms}

First of all, don't laugh at my miniscule slice of pie.  I had to steal the piece from the now-not-so-whole pie, which was part of a music meeting's refreshments.

I was excited to bake the pecan pie, though I was initially suspicious of Melissa Murphy's addition of maple and honey— why mess with something that is great?  The variation was subtle and not cloying, in fact, the filling was less sweet (a good thing) than what I am used to.  I love the idea of browning the butter, which adds a depth of flavor to the filling. (I learned that step from The Pastor's Wife two years ago.)  

You can find the recipe on Jennifer's blog, Oh, Sweet Day.  Thanks, Jennifer, for picking such a great recipe! (The original recipe calls for chocolate chips- I omitted the chocolate.)


marshmallow turkey cupcakes {martha stewart cupcakes club}

The most pressing question of the day: what do you call that red thing that hangs off of the turkey's beak?

Thank goodness for the internet.  At first I thought it was a wattle, but now I know it's a snood.  (The wattle hangs down the neck.)

The second most pressing question of the day: how long will it take me to make these cupcakes?  I spent the better part of an uncharacteristically glorious 60º November day cutting up sticky fruit slices (I subbed those for swedish fish, which I could find only in red,)  toasting coconut (you have to keep a watchful eye over it- I've burnt more pans than I care to admit) and

assembling turkeys.
(I used chocolate jimmies for eyes, candy corn for beaks,
and fruit slices for feathers and snoods.)

Toasted coconut marshmallows proved to be a problem to find (we looked in five different stores.)  With a little simple sugar syrup and a lot of busy work, The Daughter made the eighteen turkey heads.

The resulting flock of turkeys: time-consuming but worth it.

Thank you, Rachel at Simple Girl, for picking a great cupcake. It's the perfect Thanksgiving treat for The Daughter to share with her soccer team.  


pumpkin bread with pecan streusel topping

The Daughter wanted me to make "something quick and easy" as a thank-you gift for her english teacher. I had an extra cup of pumpkin purée that needed to be used up, and this recipe fit the bill perfectly.  The Illinois BFF inspired the topping, as she usually tops her bread with some pecan pralines, which are particularly handy if you are in a time crunch.


pumpkin ginger custard {sms}

I cannot tell you when I last ate homemade pumpkin pie.  I believe pies eaten were by Mrs. Smith, Entenmann's, or ShopRite, which, while wonderfully spiced and smooth, still fall short of the real thing.

And that is why I fell in love with this custard.  I need the real deal.  It is silky.  It is smooth.  It is decadent, but only in the best possible way.  AND it is simple and fast to make.


chocolate cake

The BFF's birthday was coming up.  She is a confirmed chocoholic, and naturally, a chocolate cake was a must for her birthday cake.

The recipe I like using is delightfully fast and decadent.  It comes from a NY Times article, which I copied down a few years ago.  The beaten egg whites add a fluffiness to the cake, yet at the same time, there is a soft, fudgy interior.


pumpkin love ~ pumpkin whoopie pies

I was delighted to be invited, by Carmen of Baking is My Zen, to participate in a Pumpkin Love Blogfest. We chose favorite pumpkin recipes and are sharing them with each other and our readers.

For my Pumpkin Love post, I couldn't resist making BAKED's Pumpkin Whoopie Pie. Not quite a cookie, not a quite a cake, they are moist, flavorful, spicy, soft and unbelievably delicious.  The cream cheese filling adds a lovely tangy counterpoint.  To add a little texture, I topped it with some smashed almond brittle.

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