Recipes full of pumpkin, apples and bacon

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Over the entire Christmas holiday I was given several recipes at different events I attended or friends passed recipes along to me. I would like to share those with you today in hopes that you can use them and they will find a comfortable place in your "favorites" file. The pumpkin muffins are very good, as well as the apple cookies. My husband thinks everything is better with bacon, so the last two recipes today include bacon. I hope you enjoy.

Caramel Apple Pie Toll House Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestle Toll House semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1 1/2 cups (about 5 ounces) coarsely chopped dried apples

18 caramels, unwrapped

1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and apple pieces. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Microwave caramels and milk in small, microwave-safe bowl on high (100 percent) power for 30 seconds; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals; stir until smooth. Place sheets of wax or parchment paper under wire racks. Drizzle melted caramels over cookies. Allow drizzle to set. Store in single layers in tightly covered containers.

Yields: 60 cookies

Pumpkin Muffins filled with Spiced Marshmallow Cream

Muffins:

1 package spice cake mix

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie mix)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Marshmallow Cream:

2 teaspoons hot water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow cream

1/2 cup shortening

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spices

2 tablespoons canned pumpkin, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, add the nuts, coconut and raisins. Cut off the top of cake mix and add 2 tablespoons of cake mix to your ingredients. Stir thoroughly to make sure all ingredients are coated. This will ensure even distribution to the muffins.

In a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer and a bowl, add the cake mix. Add the rest of ingredients. Mix for 2to 3 minutes. Fold in the nut mixture. Spray muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray. Using a 1/4 cup measure scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes. Meanwhile, as muffins are baking, you can start on the spiced marshmallow cream.

In a small bowl, combine hot water and salt. Microwave for 30 seconds until all salt is dissolved. Using the mixer, beat the marshmallow cream, shortening, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the salt mixture and beat for 1 more minute. Using a pastry bag or plastic bag, insert star pastry tip, add cream and chill till ready to use.

Remove muffins from oven. Let rest on cookie rack for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from tins and let them cool thoroughly.

Using a citrus corer or whatever you prefer, insert citrus corer into top of muffins. Make a hole through the muffin, but ensuring you don't go all the way through to the bottom. Continue with rest of muffins. Fill with marshmallow cream. Note: if you don't have a pastry bag, a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped works just fine. You can make the marshmallow cream without the canned pumpkin as well. The cream is good either way. Without the pumpkin, they have a more striking appearance.

Onion and Bacon Tart

The custard-like batter for this dish, a cousin of Yorkshire pudding, puffs like an enormous popover in the oven.

6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 1/4 cups milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fat renders and bacon is crisp, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; pour bacon fat into a 9-by-11-inch baking dish and set aside. Return skillet to medium-high heat, and add butter; add onions, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, mustard and pepper; add milk and eggs, and stir until smooth. Let batter rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place baking dish with bacon fat in oven and let heat for 10 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven, pour in batter, and sprinkle with rendered bacon and caramelized onions; return to oven and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.

Individual Potato- Bacon Frittatas

To make the breakfast preparation even faster and easier, you can sauté the onion, red bell pepper and garlic the night before.

3/4 pound small red potatoes, about 6

Cooking spray

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese

4 bacon slices, drained, cooked and crumbled

1 3/4 cups egg substitute

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook 25 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Cut potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in potato, cheese and bacon. Combine egg substitute, salt and black pepper. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly into 12 muffin cups or 6-ounce ramekins coated with cooking spray. Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetable mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes or until set. Remove from muffin cups, and cool slightly.

Have a great week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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