Homemade Granola

2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Steel Cut Oats
2 cups your choice nuts (we prefer salted cashews, macadamia nuts, and almonds for a crunchy but smooth texture)
1 cup coconut

 Mix together in a large bowl.

 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
 2 T. Honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt

 Mix together in small bowl or large measuring cup. Toss oats mixture with sugar mixture until coated. Transfer to large baking sheet lined in parchment. Bake at 250 degrees for 90 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. Stir every 20 minutes for first hour and 15 minutes for last 30. When cool, toss with your choice of dried fruits or candies. Store in large ziplock bags or plastic container.

Oatmeal Cake with Toasted Coconut Frosting

1/2 cup old fashioned or quick oats
3/4 cup boiling water
2 oz butter, softened almost melted (microwave for 30 seconds at 50%)
3.5 oz sugar
3.5 oz dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3.3 oz flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Mix oats and boiling water in heatproof container, cover and let sit.  Cream butter and sugars together until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Stir in sour cream.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt, stir into egg mixture until just combined.  Stir in cooked oatmeal until combined, place in parchment lined loaf pans or cupcakes.  This is a great use for mini loaf pans, too.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 min.  Use toothpick test.  

2 oz butter, melted
2.4 oz dark brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl milk
Mix ingredients for topping, spoon over cake, place under broiler for about 3 minutes, until bubbly and beginning to brown.

Oatmeal Cookies

2 cup butter (I microwave 30-60 sec on 1/2 power)
18.5 oz brown sugar
2 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
15 oz flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon, I use fresh ground from huge cinnamon sticks found at the Asian food store
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp clove
pinch salt
3 cups steel cut oats
3 cups old fashioned oats
2 cup raisins
1 cup coconut, I use unsweetened fine from the bulk section

Sift or whisk dry ingredients together.
Mix on medium sugar and soft-but-not-melted butter until light and fluffy- about 90 seconds, scrape edges and bottom, then 90 more seconds.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing about 30 seconds after each.  Scrape down sides and bottom.
Add sour cream and extracts, mix 30 seconds.  Scrape sides and bottom.
Place flour mixture in a huge bowl.  Add butter mixture and stir gently until combined.  Stir in oats, coconut, and raisins.
Drop by 3 tablespoon cookie scoop on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake at 325 in preheated oven for 12-14 min.

Spiced Pumpkin Ravioli w/Browned Butter & Sage

I first tried this combo as a butternut squash with browned butter for about $25 a plate at a chain Italian restaurant.  I love making pumpkin desserts, but wanted to try a spin off for a favorite fall dinner.

Spiced Pumpkin Ravioli's with Browned Butter & Sage 
6 oz Pumpkin Puree
2 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper
Up to 2 Tablespoons flour if needed

Mix pumpkin filling
Prepare ravioli dough.

Browned Butter w/ Sage
4 oz butter
Fresh Sage to taste (I like 2-3 sprigs)
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Toasted Pecans (for topping)

Melt butter in skillet with sage over medium heat and cook until just browned (about 4-5 minutes.)  It will continue to cook after removed.  Remove from heat and discard Sage.  Whisk in vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes.  It will foam up when you add the vinegar and it may separate a bit from the oil, but it will taste great when it is all served.

Add ravioli over sauce and spoon until it is covered.  Top with toasted pecans.

Homemade Ravioli

A lot of people use ravioli makers and special tools and presses.  It would be nice to have a pasta attachment on my Kitchen Aid, BUT I'm not there yet.  We prefer taste to appearance anyway, right?

I have been trying to make more things from scratch.  Challenging myself, actually.  Each day, find something I've taken for granted in a can, box, or mix, and prepare it from scratch.

6.25 oz flour mixed with 1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, room temperature, whisked with 1/4 cup hot water

Put flour mixture in bowl of stand mixer.  Add egg mixture and work with dough hook until smooth and firm.  (About 5-6 minutes.)  Add a little flour if you need to, it should be smooth to look at, and not stick to your fingers, but still be pretty soft to the touch.
Wrap in plastic wrap to protect and leave out for an hour before working.

Repeat with the same ratio if you want a double batch.  I find it works better than mixing larger quantities at once.

After an hour, separate each dough batch in two.  Cover one half with dry, clean towel.  Roll out the other half until thin and almost transparent, with no holes or tears.  There are several ways to do this. I like to use two pieces of saran wrap, one under the dough, one on the top.  This allows me to use the rectangle shape to shape a sheet of dough, then lift the ends of the saran wrap to transport to table or other side of counter.

Roll out second half of dough to as close the same shape and size as the first.

Place filling by Tablespoons about two inches apart or a little more.  Run a wet pastry brush between and around the dollops of filling to seal the dough sheets together.  Top the dough and filling with second sheet of dough and press lightly between and around each filling dollop to make a seal.  I use a plastic cup with a firm ridge to press and twist slightly to seal each ravioli.  You can use a knife and press with a fork if you want.

Boil raviolis a few at a time for 5 minutes per batch.

Toss ravioli in your prepared sauce.

Some of my favorite combinations are
Chicken Artichoke with Pesto
Spicy Pumpkin with Browned Butter
Mushroom Ricotta with Alfredo
Chorizo & Roasted Red Pepper with Marinara

Spiced Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love roasted pumpkin seeds, they are a great snack or topping for salads in the fall.  I like them spicy and salty, but you could do a little brown sugar and cayenne for a spicy/sweet combo.

Pumpkin Seeds (rinsed well, laid flat on parchment paper, and dried overnight)
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Seasonings (I used Cayenne, Red Pepper Flakes, and Lawry's Seasoning Salt)

Toss dried seeds in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and preferred seasonings.  Lay out on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 250 degrees for 60-90 minutes, tossing a couple times throughout.

Maple Cayenne Butter

Maple Cayenne Butter
8 oz butter, very soft, but not melted
Honey or Pure Maple Syrup to taste (about 2 tsp)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Stir together or use an immersion blender.  Wrap in saran wrap and roll into a log.

This is really great on Pumpkin Bread or Skillet Cornbread.

Cheesecake Filling

Cheesecake Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg, room temperature, slightly beaten
2.3 oz (1/3 cup) sugar
1/8 tsp salt
8 oz (1 cup) mini chocolate chips (or chopped up regular size chips)
*I like dark chocolate with the pumpkin, or you can omit the chocolate if you prefer. Chopped caramel, toffee, or butterscotch chips may be good too.

Mix everything together until smooth.   For filled cupcakes, fill 2/3 with batter, then top with 2 tablespoons filling until cups are almost full.
Bake at 350 20-25 minutes, but use toothpick test.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

Caramel Buttercream Frosting
    • 7 oz sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 2 egg yolks, room temperature
    • 4 oz butter, room temperature
    • sprinkle sea salt
    • 4.5 oz confectioners sugar, sifted
    1.  Beat butter and salt in a stand mixer until smooth.
  • 2.  Combine sugar and water in saucepan with thick bottom over med-low heat.  Dissolve sugar, increase heat to med-high.  Boil water and sugar until syrup turns deep amber.  Swirl pan around smoothly and vigorously as needed, don't stir.  About 6-7 minutes it should take.  Take off heat when it is the right color.  Add cream and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. The mixture will foam up then reside.  Continue to stir until it is dissolved and incorporated.  Whisk egg yolks in bowl.  Add the caramel to the yolks gradually then allow to cool.   
  • 3.  Add the cooled caramel mixture to the butter mixture until fluffy.  On slow speed, mix in powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.  It will thicken as it stands.  About an hour and you should be able to spread it on Pumpkin Cupcakes.

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins/Cupcakes

This pumpkin bread/muffin/cupcake batter is very versatile. They can be made into loaves for fall favorite Pumpkin Bread, topped with Caramel Buttercream, or left with no frosting for great muffins topped with Maple Cayenne Butter. You can add nuts or chocolate chips for even fill them with cream cheese filling for a fall spin on my hubby's favorite Black Bottom Cupcakes. There are several recipes attached, but they should be mixed and matched for your favorite combo. 
Pumpkin Cupcakes 
10 oz sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I like large cinnamon from the asian market, and then grate it)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (use whole, please!)
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I use whole, ground with mortar & pestle, then sifted)
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
7.5 oz dark brown sugar
7 oz sugar
8 oz butter, melted and cooled (microwave for 30 seconds on 50% power, then stir to melt remaining) 4 eggs, separated, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz pumpkin puree (see recipe here)

1. Whisk dry ingredients including spices in a pretty large bowl, make a well in the middle, and set aside
2. In stand mixer, mix together sugars, then add cooled butter. Cream together.
3. Beat eggs yolks together slightly and pour vanilla in. No need to mix together. Add to creamed butter mixture.
4. Once the mixture is well incorporated into the creamed butter, pour into dry ingredients. Incorporate the wet and dry carefully, with a wooden spoon, until mixed well. Don't beat it to hell.
5. Put egg whites in the bowl the batter just came out of and attach whisk attachment. Whisk whites until stiff.
6. Stir pumpkin puree into cupcake mixture while the whites are stiffening. Stir until well incorporated. Don't beat to hell.
7. Gently fold in stiff whites.
 Now you have cupcake/muffin/bread batter. YUM