Brown Butter Blueberry Maple Cornbread

Brown Butter Blueberry Maple Cornbread

Brown Butter Blueberry Maple Cornbread

As much as I love making yeast breads and other good stuff that are yeast raised like sticky buns , my first love will probably always be cornbread .There is just something so homey about a good wedge of cornbread, be it plain or doctored up, as this version is. You can eat it by itself; and contrary to popular belief, you really should be able to eat it plain, without soaking it in something to relieve dryness. If it’s that dry, you did something wrong when baking it.

On the yeast bread front, I’ve put my sourdough starter out to come to room temp somewhere in the vicinity of 43 times in the last month. Then, I get involved in other things, put it away and say I’ll get to it the next day. If starters could be sentient, mine would have the worlds largest inferiority complex. “What? She doesn’t want me again? Was it something I did… said? Do I smell funny? Wait… I’m supposed to smell funny.”

With this bread, I took the recipe I have up in here for honey cornbread and played with it. I traded the plain butter for browned butter because you can never go wrong with brown butter, used maple sugar in place of the regular and added in a pint of blueberries.  This one is perfect for breakfast. Just serve it with  yogurt and a cup of coffee (or tea in my case) and you’re good to go. It’s actually almost cake like enough to be a good fit for dessert too, if you’re the nontraditional sort, as I am. One of my favorite desserts is a piece of cornbread with butter and maple syrup. Try it sometime. 🙂

You know the drill…

Brown Butter Blueberry Maple Cornbread

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal (NOT cornbread mix)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar (if you don’t have maple sugar, sub 1/4 cup regular sugar and add in 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring when you add the eggs)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey, warmed if needed to make it pourable
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Butter a 9 inch cast iron pan or a 9 inch square baking pan.
  2. Then, brown your butter- place the butter in a small pot. Melt it over medium high heat, swirling it frequently. Let it keep cooking until it turns a nice golden brown, then immediately pour it into a measuring cup or bowl to cool a bit while you work on the rest of the recipe.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another bowl, combine the maple sugar, cream, milk, honey and browned butter. Whisk well. Add in the eggs (and maple flavoring if that’s what you’re using) and whisk well.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to stir just until barely combined. gently fold in the blueberries then pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake at 400 until the top is golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20  to 25 minutes.
  7. Best served warm with plenty of butter and maple syrup. But that may be a bit of bias on my part. 😀

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.


Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan

Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan

Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan

Have I ever mentioned that I keep my husband around in spite of some near fatal flaws? Well, if I haven’t… I do. I’m a sweetheart that way. I mean, this is a man who claims to not like doesn’t like sweets and is married to a blogger who makes mainly sweets. he also doesn’t like wings, which I adore, won’t eat mushrooms… which I adore… hates Bleu Cheese…which I adore…prefers white wine whereas I prefer red… and so on. You seeing a pattern here?

But the worst sin of all? He does NOT like desserts that are creamy. Unless they are ice cream, in which case all bets are off. But desserts like this cheesecake flan or this coconut flan tend to fall completely off of his radar. Some weird justification of “I don’t like the texture”. WHAT!?! What’s not to like? Creamy, silky, smooth… did I mention creamy? When I’m not looking, he probably doesn’t enjoy sunsets, pictures of cute kittens and babies or shows like “Little House On The Prairie” either. It’s all been a lie! A lie, I say! *Sobs and goes to eat his share of the flan*

That said, his not liking the type of dessert I most frequently reach for does have its benefits. I get to eat what would have been his.

This is why I keep him.

This flan is so perfectly seasonal. Pumpkin and spices combine with a subtle hint of maple and all of that is based in a creamy, silky smooth flan.  Add in the sweet caramel topping and it’s Heavenly.

You know the drill…. 🙂

Creamy Pumpkin Maple Flan

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (they only come in one size; I believe it is 14 ounces)
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar (you can find this at any well stocked grocery store. I buy mine at Trader Joes)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Start a kettle of water to boiling.
  2. Combine the regular sugar and the water in a small pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. When the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat up to a medium high and cook, with NO stirring, until the caramel is a medium brown color, about 10 minutes. Do NOT walk away from this to tend to the kids, vacuum, take a nap, whatever. Stay near it and just work on the rest of the recipe and check it frequently.
  3. When it is ready, pour it onto the bottom of a deep 10 inch round pan that you have placed inside a larger pan. I use a cake pan.
  4. For the flan part,  in a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and maple sugar. Beat well at low speed with a hand mixer. Add in the pumpkin and spices and beat at low speed.  Add in the eggs and the yolks and beat until combined.
  5. Add in the cream and sweetened condensed milk and whisk (trust me… don’t continue to use the beater. Don’t ask how I know these things.) until it is thoroughly combined.
  6. Use a fine mesh strainer and strain this through it into the pan with the caramel. The straining isn’t absolutely necessary but it prevents you from having any fibrous parts in the custard and makes it much smoother.
  7. Carefully place the whole pan into the 300 degree oven. Carefully (again), pour the boiling water into the large pan surrounding the flan, being careful not to splash it into the flan itself. You want it to come about halfway up the side of the cake pan.
  8. Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes or until a butter knife inserted off center comes out clean. The center should still be jiggly, but not loose; rather like when you wiggle set jello.
  9. Cool for about 60 minutes, then put in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours or so.
  10. Place a large plate over the flan and invert it onto the plate.
  11. Serve. Sing my praises.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes & Maple Honey Frosting

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes & Maple Honey Frosting

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes & Maple Honey Frosting

I waited as long as I could. But it was time…. time for a pumpkin recipe. 😀 it occurred to me as I was contemplating what to make that for a blog named From Cupcakes To Caviar, I don’t have many cupcake recipes on here. Yes, yes, before someone brings it up, I am well aware that I don’t have any caviar recipes on here. Guess what? I never will. 😛 I just liked the way the name sounded when I created the blog and it was simply meant to denote that the blog will have everything from the simple to the fancy in it. Buttttt, as I was saying, I realized when mulling over pumpkiny goodness ideas that I don’t have many cupcakes on here. !!!! That had to be rectified immediately. So pumpkin cupcakes it was. But I didn’t want to do plain cupcakes; oh no, not me! So I decided on using brown butter in them. When I went to see if that had been done before, I found a bazillion variations lol. So rather than beat a dead pumpkin, I used the recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Two Peas And Their Pod because I knew if it came from there, it would be good. The only thing I did differently was in the matter of spice. I like pumpkin desserts that are heavy on the warm Autumnal spices and their recipe was a bit light for my tastes, so I used quite a bit a little bit more. I also used more vanilla and dark brown sugar rather than light because we enjoy the more caramelly flavor it lends.

These are some delicious cupcakes. The cupcakes part is just dense enough without being heavy and with the additional spices and extra vanilla I added, it tastes like Fall. When I was trying to decide what to do for frosting, I wanted to vary a bit there too. I didn’t want cinnamon or cream cheese or caramel or any of the other “normal” flavors. We all know by now that I don’t do normal well in any aspect of my life. So I chose a combo of maple and honey; both flavors I love but both flavors that can be a bit one dimensional on their own. I knew it would need a bit of tang though, what with 3 sources of sweetness, so I added some sour cream. You could probably sub a thick Greek yogurt if you wanted to. The frosting is quite lovely if I do say so myself. Sweet, but not cloying with a touch of tang from the sour cream and a nice maple and honey flavor.

This all comes together fairly quickly; the long list is mainly spices, so don’t cringe…  you know the drill 🙂

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes & Maple Honey Frosting

  •  3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • Maple Honey Frosting-
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup (preferably grade B as it has a stronger flavor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 15 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
  2. Melt your butter in a medium sauce pot over medium low heat. Stir occasionally as it cooks until it turns a lovely medium brown color and has a nutty aroma. Immediately take it off the heat and pour it into a medium sized bowl to cool.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla and eggs to the cooled brown butter. Whisk to combine. Dump the flour mixture into the butter one and stir just until it’s combined. Don’t overbeat.
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling them about 3/4 full. bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of one comes out clean.
  5. Remove the cupcakes from the pan to a rack to cool completely. While they cool, prepare your frosting- In a large bowl, on high speed, beat your butter for about 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until it is light and fluffy looking.
  6. Add in 4 cups of the powdered sugar and with the mixer OFF (unless you want to have a face full of powdered sugar), stir it around a bit to mix in the sugar a bit. Turn the mixer on low and beat until well combined. Snatch a bite of the butter/sugar mix out of the bowl and enjoy, because it’s one of Gods gifts to us hehe
  7. Add in the rest of the icing ingredients, except the last bit of powdered sugar. Beat at high speed for about 5 minutes. Yes, you read that right. When you first add the ingredients and beat it, it will look soupy. Keep beating and it will come together and thicken. If it isn’t thick enough for piping after five minutes, add the last 1/2 cup of sugar and beat on high speed for about another minute or two. Refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes.
  8. When ready to frost, stir the frosting a little to loosen it and pipe or spread the frosting on each cupcake. If you have any extra, it can be refrigerated, covered. It’s strangely appealing on bagels and would also be great all melty on top of a waffle or pancakes.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.


Butterscotch, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze

Butterscotch Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze

Butterscotch Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze

I remember the first time I read about scones. it was when I was in my early 20’s, way back before the days of the internet and 900,000 recipes about ANYTHING.  I was reading a cheap romance set in Scotland. The heroine (whom I remember as being a total spoiled pain in the arse) was whining about being hungry and the maid of the hero (whom I remember as being a total sexist pain in the arse) gave her an oat scone. Since I’ve been fascinated with food culture for most of my life, I was intrigued at the idea of a scone. So when I finally found a recipe, years later, I just had t make them.

They sucked.

The first ones I ever made were made with an oat flour (ground up oatmeal), raisins (they called for currents but those weren’t easily found here in the states back in the day), butter and other assorted ingredients I can’t recall. They were dry as dust, tough and crumbly all at the same time with a taste that was like…well… ground up oatmeal with some raisins in it.

Being me though, I didn’t give up. Just like with bread pudding, which I hated when I first tried it, I had to keep trying. Now, I absolutely love scones. You can find quite a few of them here on the blog.

These are quite yummy. They are reminiscent of the packs of instant brown sugar and maple oatmeal that we all ate as kids (and that I personally still love). But no dry as dust texture. They are soft and flaky (I slightly overcooked mine by accident and they are still good) and the cinnamon brown sugar flavor accented by the maple glaze is outstanding (am I the only one who every single time I use the word outstanding I think of the old saw {that made no sense} about “yeah, he was outstanding… outstanding in the field”. WTH does that even mean???). The butterscotch and cinnamon chips in them just gives them that “I can eat these for breakfast OR dessert” feel. All in all, a very good scone.

You know the drill…..

Butterscotch, Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones With A Maple Glaze

  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted and cooled pecans
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces,cold
  • 1 tablespoon solid shortening, chopped into small pieces, cold
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • sanding sugar for sprinkling on top of scones (optional- I like the touch of sweetness and mild crunch)
  • Glaze-
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream (may need more or less to get to drizzling consistency)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowel, mix together the pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside
  3. Mix together your buttermilk, cream and vanilla extract and set aside.
  4. Mix together your flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it is fully combined and in tiny pieces. Stir in the pecan/brown sugar mixture.
  5. Make a small well in the center. Pour in the buttermilk mixture all at once. Using a wooden spoon, stir together to make a moist cohesive dough. Make sure all the flour is combined in and you don’t have dry streaks. Gently fold in the butterscotch and cinnamon.
  6. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured board.  Pat into a rectangle of about 1/2 inch thick.
  7. Using a sharp knife dipped in flour or a pizza cutter (they work great for cutting doughs) cut the dough into either 8 large scones or 12 smaller ones. Your choice there. If you look and think that 12 is too small, remember that these will spread as they bake.
  8. Lay the scones, close together but not touching, on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar if desired.
  9. Bake at 400 for about 14 to 18 minutes for large scones or until browned and firm on top. For small ones, bake for about 10 to 13 minutes or until browned and firm on top.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
  11. For glaze, in a small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients and using a whisk, whisk well until mixture is smooth and creamy. Drizzle over cooled scones.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Maple Creme Brulee For Two

Maple Creme Brulee

There are some things in life that can only be called dangerous and dangerous with good reason. Bungee jumping? Dangerous. I understand that whole adrenaline rush idea but jumping off of a 300 mile high surface into mid air connected to only a piece of frayed yarn (yeah yeah I may be exaggerating just a bit here but not much) isn’t my idea of a woohoo good time. Though I admit to a strange hankering to sky dive, which is the exact same thing, only from a moving plane this time. holding a plastic grocery bag over your hand and hoping it expands enough to keep you from becoming part of the scenery.

Race car driving? Dangerous. Again; I can see the appeal. Hell, I see people in my own town driving like bad versions of Mario Andretti and I’ve been known to have a lead foot at times when I am sure I am *ahem* not being watched she says tactfully.  But getting into a large chunk of metal with an engine that is about 2 inches in front of you and hoping that you can drive well enough to where said engine doesn’t end up in your lap whilst only being protected by a helmet and a body suit that is NOT made of titanium or something good like that? Yeah. Dangerous.

For me personally? Having a full bag of gummy candy near me? Dangerous. A pint of Haagen Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato sitting in front of me? Dangerous. It will soon be empty and I will be smacking myself upside the head for being a glutton at the same time that I’m sticking my face down in the carton sucking up the last drips. Creme Brulee? Dangerous. Any flavor whatsoever. But this one was particularly so with my love of all things maple. Thank God that it only makes 2 servings. Because if it made more, I would have eaten more than the one I had. Creme Brulee is, contrary to what many think, an extremely easy dessert to make. It tastes like it took you all day but in reality if you can hold a whisk in your hand and separate eggs, you’re good to go. Just don’t eat this thinking it is low calorie. It’s more like enough calorie to keep you alive for say, a week. So as I always say… git to cookin’.

Maple Creme Brulee (For Two)

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (the real thing, not Mrs. Butterworth)
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (can be found with the vanilla extract in stores)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (USE the salt… it brings out flavor)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of either maple sugar or demarara sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place 2 8 ounce ramekins or custard cups into an 8 or 9 inch square pan.
  2. In a large measuring cup (makes it easier to pour later), whisk together all the ingredients except the maple sugar. That will be your crackly topping later. Pour the liquid evenly between the two ramekins.
  3. Place the pan with the ramekins into the 300 degree oven then carefully pour very hot water into the pan to where it goes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
  4. Bake at 300 for about 45 minutes or until the top has only a slight jiggle in the very middle when you gently shake it.
  5. Take the ramekins out of the hot water so they don’t keep cooking and set them aside to cool to room temp, then place in the fridge until serving time.
  6. When ready to serve, sprinkle half the sugar onto each creme brulee and either use a kitchen torch or the broiler to caramelize the sugar. if doing it under the broiler, make sure your ramekins are broiler safe. Not all of them are.


Homey? Decadent? Homey? Decadent?

Maple Buttermilk Pudding Cake

Maple Buttermilk Pudding Cake

Usually those two words don’t go together. You have your decadent foods, which can be tasty and other times can be what some restaurants consider tasty but is actuality just snobby and the only thing decadent is the price. There are the truly decadent foods however that deserve the title and the love they get. Think Creme Brulee, Lobster and drawn butter, a thick porterhouse steak (ribeye in my case… would be on the menu for my last meal along with roasted brussel sprouts and seasoned potato wedges) All of those qualify as decadent in their way.

Then you have your homey comfort foods; the casseroles made with cream of emu soup that your mother made, the mac and cheese made with 14 pounds of velveeta and not a drop of real cheese in sight, the pot roast that your family had every Sunday,  the fried chicken that gramma made that you still can’t seem to duplicate no matter how many times you try. All oh so bad for you, half the time made with more sodium and fat than you need in a week, but sooo tasty, so comforting and simply reeking of hominess.

So I’m not sure what to call the dessert I made today. The same dessert btw, that I ate an entire serving of after photographing and that has made me now have absolutely no interest in eating dinner. Ummm…oops? Moving on though… I’m not sure what heading this one qualifies for. It’s a pudding cake, which is the very definition of a homey dessert. Yet it uses a butt ton of real maple syrup, which is decadent both in taste and price. And the flavor is both homey and comforting at the same time that it is rich and decadent.

I’m so confused!!! My taste buds don’t know what to think!!

So I’m just gonna give you the recipe and let you decide.  But be warned. This is one awesome dessert. I know, I know, all us bloggers say that. But this really is. I told my husband that this is now going on my list of favorite desserts. It is very rich… I mean, the bottom of this is literally just maple syrup and butter. And pretty? No; not so much. But there is something downright decadent AND homey about it and that’s not a mix you come across often with foods. The edges get all cripsy with caramelized syrup and the bottom is almost like a pancake drenched in syrup while the top is a light cake. I will be making this again…and again…and again.

This recipe originally came from Food and Wine. I barely changed it but did make a couple of very small alterations.

Maple Buttermilk Pudding Cake

  • 1 1/3 cups maple syrup (the real stuff, not Mrs. Butterworths and preferably Grade B as it’s darker and more mapley <yes, mapley is now a word; I said so.> )
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and 8×8 pan then line it with parchment paper, then butter again.
  2. In a medium saucepan, boil the syrup until it is reduced down to about a  cup. And no, you can’t just start with a cup of syrup and skip the reducing. You get a more condensed flavor plus, when making pudding cakes, the textural differences are helped by having a hot layer mixed with a cold layer. When reduced, whisk in the 3 tablespoons butter and pour the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. In ANOTHER (I know, I know but it’s worth the dishwashing later) bowl, whisk together the egg, egg yolk, buttermilk and vanilla.
  5. In another bowl (shush… just go get a bowl) beat the 1/2 cup butter with the sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  6. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, alternating with the liquid in two batches.
  7. Dollop spoonfuls of the batter over the syrup. bake the pudding for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown with syrup all bubbly at the sides and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let stand for a few minutes before serving then scoop portions into a bowl and serve with a puddle of heavy cream or some creme fraiche.

Print Friendly and PDF

Do you Ever Have Days When…

Maple & Sausage Corn Bread

…You probably shouldn’t be allowed near anything? Yeah, me too. Today is certainly one of those days.

I have a three year old who has absolutely no interest in being toilet trained and since I’ve done this five times before with no problem, I can only wonder what I’m doing wrong this time. And I’m getting bored washing peed in (or worse) “big boy pants” lol.

I made some scones for all of you that SHOULD have been awesome. We’ll just call them “Omelet Scones” because they had all the ingredients for an omelet tucked into a scone. Continue reading

Dum Dum Suckers!? Awwww, mannnn!


This is an entry from my old non foodie journal. Just thought I’d share. Yes, still me, still insanely silly 😀

My son Zach went trick or treating last year. He was a werewolf…again. He has a fascination with them. I haven’t decided if I simply need to hide the cats during a full moon, wonder if he is Lon Chaney reincarnated or just get him therapy. Zach constantly bemoans the fact that he hasn’t yet grown enough body hair to make a Spyhnx Cat happy much less a werewolf.

I still remember when I found him and his older brother Jordan in the bathroom cutting each others hair and trying to super glue it to their faces. After I stopped laughing and wiped my eyes, I had to figure out a way to get the hair and the glue off their faces. I was tempted to just leave it there and let them go to school looking like the bastard love children of Tiny Tim and The Bearded Lady but the mental image of myself trying to explain to the Child Protection Services why my sons were covered in glued on hair made me think better of it.

Moving on. My father, who died in April of ’06, loved Halloween. Ok, so he was a diabetic who loved any excuse to eat candy but he did adore Halloween. Every year we went through the same routine. I would take him shopping and he would buy six or seven of the HUGE bags of candy. You know the kind; the ones with enough in them to feed either a small third world country or Nicole Ritchie on a binge. Most would be the mini chocolate bars with one or two bags of Smarties and Sweet-tarts. I would nag him about not needing so much because we lived in a rural area where we are lucky (or blessed depending on your viewpoint) to get ten kids coming to the door. He would say that what didn’t get eaten he could give to my kids *snorts… uh huh*.

Come Halloween, an hour after trick or treating would start, I would invariably find him sitting in his lawn chair, candy wrappers around him as he dozed in the blissful dreams of a mini diabetic coma and dreamt of Kim Novak hand feeding him Nestles Crunch bars. He would be surrounded by neighborhood cats and dogs sniffing through the wrappers trying to find some crumbs of forbidden chocolate heaven. I am fairly sure he alone was responsible for quite a few animals dying a sugar induced death. The children loved him though. Where else could they go and grab handfuls of candy without the watchful eyes of an (awake) adult telling them to not take more than one or two?

Every year, the day after Halloween, he & I would go through the kids bags. Ostensibly it was to sift through it and get rid of anything iffy. In reality though it was to take all the good stuff and then when the kids asked where it went to, to point the sticky finger at each other. Last year, the popular item seemed to be Dum Dum Suckers. Lots and lots of Dum Dum suckers. I tried for months to figure out what to do with all. There are only so many times one can serve Dum Dum Roast for dinner with a side of Mashed Dum Dums before the family refuses to eat. Now I just sneak them in like most mothers do Spinach. “Here you go honey… eat your Dum Dums first then I’ll get you some nice chicken… c’mon it looks sooo good doesn’t it? You used to love the Cream Soda flavor”.

I had to laugh when Zach got home with his goodies. He dumped the bag out, got the most disappointed look on his face, turned to me and said “dum dum suckers?! Awww man”!!! My father was surely laughing himself silly as Kim fed him Snickers bars and Three Musketeers.

Dum Dum Au Gratin anyone???? I’ll share.
Ahhh dad, Halloween just isn’t the same without you this year.

In honor of Halloween, I have made a Pumpkin Souffle. I couldn’t resist making a delicious Maple/Brown Sugar Whipped Cream to go with it because…well, because I’m me 😛

This is sooooo good! And contrary to popular belief, not hard at all. Yes, your souffle will fall. It’s supposed to. You have to be quick to serve them but even if they collapse before you get them to your family or guests, they will NOT care. I promise. They will be too busy moaning in ecstasy. So try this. because I said. And because it’s something a little different in the pumpkin arena. And because it’s insanely good.

Pumpkin Pie Souffle With Maple Brown Sugar Whipped Cream

  1. Maple Whipped Cream-
  2. 1 cup heavy cream
  3. 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (not Mrs. Butterworths… as good as she may be)
  4. 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  5. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. Pumpkin Pie Souffle-
  7. 6 egg whites, room temp
  8. 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (do NOT omit. It helps stabilize the egg whites)
  9. 6 egg yolks, room temp
  10. 1/2 cup sugar plus extra for coating souffle dishes
  11. 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
  12. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (leave Maryann, Gilligan and The Professor alone)
  14. 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  15. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Make your Maple Whipped Cream-
  • Add the maple syrup and brown sugar to the cup of heavy cream in a large bowl. Beat until the cream is stiff. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Coat 4 8 ounce lightly greased souffle dishes with sugar . I only had mini and extra large dishes so I used 2 ten ounce ones and 2 six ounce ones. Works out the same.
  • Set them into a 13×9 baking dish.
  • While preparing the souffles, heat up 2 cups of water in the microwave. Leave until ready to use.
  • Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large GLASS bowl until foamy. Gradually add in the 1/2 cup sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites are glossy and stand up in soft peaks.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add the 1/2 cup pumpkin and the spices (tip- Have all your stuff measured before you begin making this. It makes the process much easier and you don’t have to worry about your whites deflating while you are scurrying around for spices and sugar and such.).
  • GENTLY fold the egg yolk/pumpkin mixture into the egg whites until no streaks of white remain.
  • Pour mixture into prepared dishes.
  • Put in oven and carefully add the 2 cups of hot water to the baking dish (NOT into the souffle dishes :-P).
  • Bake at 375 until tops are nicely browned and the souffles have risen, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Serve with the maple whipped cream.

Whadda Ya Mean You Don’t Like Oatmeal??!!


Your mother made you oatmeal when you were a kid didn’t she? It was the consistency of school paste and the flavor was probably similar too with the school paste maybe a touch ahead in the running for flavor. She may have thrown a spoonful of white sugar on it, a pat of salty greasy margarine and maybe a bit of milk. So what you ended up with was a pile of gluey oatmeal covered in overly sweet cold milk with a strange salty greasy edge to it. Oh yeah buddy… yum city. Point being though that all of the above is why you have convinced yourself that oatmeal is evil. Right up there with cod liver oil, those chewable vitamins shaped like Fred Flintstone that tasted like you were sucking on a mud covered penny and…well… liver. On an off note (imagine that… off notes from me.) was anyone else freaked out chowing down on Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble? I always felt guilty but never as bad as when I ate Dino. That just seemed so wrong. Poor Dino…. all chewed up. I fully expected to turn on the TV for my afternoon Flintstone fix and find a Public Service Announcement saying “Janet, there is no more Flintstones. Wilma and Betty are now widows weeping into their stone pillows at night and Pebbles and Bam Bam are going to grow up to be fatherless gang members who rob old ladies at stone point and torment Velociraptors for fun. Why you ask? BECAUSE…YOU…ATE….FRED…AND BARNEY…. YOU EVIL….GIRL!!!!!!!!!

I’m weird. I love oatmeal. But the above was pretty much my childhood experience of it just as I know it was for many of you. Our mothers generations (except for those of you who are young enough to be MY kids… I make darned awesome oatmeal 😛 ) made oatmeal as a source of nutrition and warmth not for yum factor. And oatmeal IN things can be pretty awesome too. Like pie. Back in the day when people didn’t sit on their butts all day in front of computers (not that I know anything about that cough cough), food history tells us that pie for breakfast was fairly common. It was filling, a good energy source and warmed you up if eaten hot (because cold things don’t warm you up in case you were wondering that). Oatmeal pie was a good breakfast dish. Buttttt….. being the humans we are, things have to change. Including oatmeal pie. This one here isn’t just an oatmeal custard in a crust. It has dark brown sugar, maple and butterscotch chips, though if you don’t like them, feel free to omit those. I will only cry for a little while. This makes two pies so feel free to cut this in half. This is loosely adapted from a pie I saw on Taste Of Home. Feel free to eat this for breakfast. It has oatmeal after all.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Maple Pie

  • 2 9 inch pie shells (I used the frozen Marie Callander ones; they’re actually pretty good & I was too lazy to make a pie shell)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • Scant 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional. You can still try this Ann 😛 )
  • 1 3/4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon imitation maple flavoring (I used McCormick Brand)
  • 1 11 ounce bag butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line your middle oven shelf with foil just in case of drips.
  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, flour, sugars and cinnamon.
  3. Stir in the oatmeal, butter, syrups (all 3) and extracts.
  4. Stir in the butterscotch chips
  5. Divide evenly between pie shells
  6. Bake for approximately 60 to 70 minutes for two pies or until it is nicely browned and the center is just barely set. There should be a slight jiggle but no liquidy look. One pie won’t take as long to cook so if you cut the recipe in half, start checking after 40 minutes. If you are unsure of doneness, stick a butter knife in the center. if it comes out almost clean, with a little bit of filling on it, it’s done. If it comes out with drippy liquid on it, it’s …well… not.
  7. Let sit for at least an hour or two before trying to cut this. It is similar to Pecan pie in that if you cut it too soon, you’ll have a oozing mess all over. It needs to finish setting up as it cools. The texture is also similar to pecan pie but w/out the pecans. 😛
  8. Serve this with vanilla ice cream or sitting in a puddle of warmed cream. It’s very rich and quite sweet so cut small pieces. Trust me on this.

This Is Not Another Muffin Post


Ok, I lied. Yes it is. Blame the people who follow my facebook page. I had a muffin idea in mind and asked there if they would revolt were I to post another muffin recipe and they got all excited about one more. So you can see that it’s all their fault right?? Yes… you and you and you. I’m looking your way! They forced me!!! They really did!!! I could have said no and posted sayyyyy… a liver recipe but then I would have felt horribly guilty and probably would have been turned off of cooking for weeks as I sat in bed and read cheap romance novels and ate Cheetos and Twinkies. Wait, I do that anyway. Ummm… I would have eaten ho hos as a change. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Then I would have gotten queasy and felt worse for over eating and it all would have led to it being weeks… nay, MONTHS before I posted another recipe and THEN where we would all be?! So this was the lesser evil. Honest.

So all of this is why you are getting another muffin recipe. The fate of humanity hung in the balance. Society NEEDED this recipe.

Ok, I’m gonna shut up now and post the recipe.

These were me playing around. I had been craving something mapley (yes, that too is now a word) but didn’t want pancakes. So I decided on muffins. What I ended up with was a mildly sweet muffin with the flavor of maple. I topped it with an oat, raisins (or ray-rees as my two year old calls them), pecan and maple syrup praline-ish crumble. I have to say, I was pleased with how these turned out. They aren’t too sweet which makes them a good bet for breakfast (or a snack, or dessert covered in more syrup and 32 scoops of vanilla ice cream or dinner if you’re not very hungry, or dinner if you want to eat 15 of them). So basically these muffin  are the perfect all around food. Aren’t you glad you have me here to make sure your dietary requirements are met? No no don’t thank me… just throw money. Large bills please.

This makes a lot of muffins (I got 24 regular sized ones and 4 large ones so it could be cut in half if you’re not feeding the hungry mongrel hordes)

Maple Muffins With A

Pecan & Maple Crumbly Praline Topping

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans (can use more but I didn’t want a ton)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup maple syrup (use the real stuff)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 24 muffin cups (and four big ones or do another partial batch of small ones after the first ones are done). In a medium bowl, combine the topping ingredients and stir well. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar,  1/2 cup pecans, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. In another bowl (yes, you have to dirty three bowls. I’m so sorry. But if you have kids or a husband give them clean up duty.) combine the milk, eggs, syrup, sour cream & vanilla. Mix until combined, then add the melted butter.
  4. Fill the prepared muffin cups about 2/3 full with batter. Top each with a spoonful (it actually worked better when I just used my fingers and scooped it up) of the topping you set aside.
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven until a nice golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for a minute or two then put on a wire rack to finish cooling. If they don’t fit on the rack, eat them. I won’t judge.
  6. Come back here and tell me how wonderful these were. Then say something mean to deflate my ego.  Then watch me weep and feel very guilty that you caused me such pain.