White Chocolate Halloween Bark: 2 Ways

Sunday, October 31, 2010
So far it's 1:15 and I'm still at my family party. We're going around the room playing a game we created.

Celebrity Name Game

1) You must use the first letter of the last name of the previous player's answer.

2) If the first letter of the first name corresponds with the first letter of the last name, it will reverse to the previous player's turn (i.e.- Bob Barker). (Doing the Kardashian family made this pretty fun)

3) If the player is unable to come up with a name, they will receive an X. Three X's will result in expulsion from the game.

4) One name celebrities are allowed and result in skipping the next player's turn.

5) If the player needs help thinking of a name, they can ask for help and the other player will now be in possession of the game.

6) No fictional characters.

Oh man, we get wild.

This is our annual Halloween party and that means creative food for sure. I already knew my aunt was making a cheesecake and someone else was making cookies, so where do I go? Halloween is a great time of year for candy making, so I went with something I've never tried.

Of course I went with white chocolate bark as opposed to pure chocolate. It's still hard to imagine that I made a almost purely chocolate treat. A nd you know what? Bark is awesome. Just melt some chocolate and throw whatever the heck you want in it. It's classy meets sassy. It's such a ghetto dessert too. I guess bark is really anything you want it to be. Which is great. That's not to say bark easily conforms; far from it. Bark is a class all it's own. Okay, enough talk about bark and it's personality. Just go eat it.

White Chocolate Halloween Bark

Variation #1:
14 ounces white chocolate
Chopped up Oreos
Chopped up Kit Kats
Reese's Pieces

Variation #2:
14 ounces white chocolate
Chopped up Snickers
Toffee Bits
Nonpareil beads

Milk chocolate- for drizzling

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the white chocolate in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave the bowl in 30 second increments. Start with 1/4 the batch of white chocolate and add 1/4 after each 30 second "nuke". Stir until creamy.
3. Let the white chocolate cool for a minute or two. Stir to make sure it doesn’t harden. Pour the chocolate onto the baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread it with a spatula until it is about 3/8 inch thick.
4. Sprinkle your candy choices over the white chocolate.
5. Melt the milk chocolate in the microwave and drizzle over top.
6. Let the chocolate cool and harden. (Place in the refrigerator if necessary)
7. Once the chocolate is set and hard, break bark into pieces.

Which one did I like better... hmmm... It's so hard to pick! I really liked the oreo one, (because I'm OBSESSED with oreos), but the snickers toffee was soooo good too. It's a tie to be honest!

Oh, and this is me and the boyfff. Zeus and Hera anyone? I made him wear that smelly old beard and wig I found in a box in my attic. He''ll do anything to please me=) I didn't make him wear it the whole time. I'm nice like that hehe.

Pumpkin Scones

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Best for last? Maybe;) Of all the pumpkin recipes I made throughout this week, I've had this one on my mind the longest.

Scones have always been an elusive baked good for me. I've made a few varieties before, but I've only ever made one that I was truly satisfied with. It's not that I don't get the flavor across: it's that dang texture. I try and hit the happy medium between too dry or too moist, or between over cooked and undercooked. But I continue on because I love scones just that much=)Pumpkin scones are pretty high up on my favorites list in the scone area. I enjoy Starbucks pumpkin spice scone, but I knew I could recreate it, and if not, better. I had this recipe bookmarked for AGES and now I finally tried it. It did n
ot disappoint! I will say the looks of it aren't as clean cut as some, but I think that's the best part of a scone. It's rustic nature. The way a pie crust isn't supposed to look perfect, and yet that's what makes it so perfect.

The inside texture was fabulous too. I did have to keep them in
almost ten minutes longer than the recommended time, but not a big issue. My oven isn't the best calibrated. I really and truly loved the spices. It tasted just the way you would want a pumpkin scone to taste. Like Starbucks', but better. And the spice glaze to go over top? It just helped to bring out the taste even more so!

Pumpkin Scones
Brown Eyed Baker
Yield: 12 scones

For the Scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
6 Tablespoons cold butter
½ cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

For the Powdered Sugar Glaze:

(I actually skipped this. Not enough powdered sugar, and it just seemed like overkill)
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tabelspoons milk

For the Spiced Glaze:
1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in a large bowl. Use a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious; set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 3 times as long as wide. Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut each of the portions in an X pattern (four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.

4. To make the powdered sugar glaze, mix the powdered sugar and milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, use a brush to spread plain glaze over the top of each scone.

5. To make the spiced glaze, while the powdered sugar glaze is firming, combine all of the ingredients for the spiced glaze. Drizzle over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (about an hour).

Pumpkin Cornbread

Friday, October 22, 2010

Finally a more savory pumpkin item. Though, not really. I still ate this with tons of butter and maple syrup. Soooo good! The thing about cornbread is how easy it is to make. All the ingredients are pretty standard and it's really a no fuss recipe. And when you get to eat that nice and warm slice of cornbread once it's out of the oven.. yummm.

I'm so happy molasses was an ingredient in this recipe. I love molasses
. I forget I love molasses when the fall and winter seasons are over and it's onto more spring/summer seasonal baking. But every time I'm reminded of this love once again when the weather gets chill.

The crumb was great in this recipe. It wasn't very crumbly or dry at all. It was moist, but obviously not too moist and springy. I really liked this recipe. I didn't have chili or any main dish to serve this with, though. We primarily had it as a nice snack, but I think this would be good to serve along with a main dish item.

Pumpkin Cornbread
found over at


1 cup flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup cornmeal

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp molasses

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease an 8×8″ baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spic
es, brown sugar, and cornmeal.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, and then stir in the pumpkin, oil, and molasses.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined, and then pour the batter into the pan, smoothing out the top as much as possible.

Bake 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I had lady fingers about to expire in 1 day. How could I possibly let that happen!? But as I looked over the multiple tiramisu recipes I had intended to use, they all seemed very time consuming. And from even reading only a few blog posts on here I'm sure you know that is not something a have a lot of. I needed a recipe that used ladyfingers, but it had to be fairly simple. This is not an easy thing to search, mind you. And then it came to me. Pumpkin Tiramisu. And the heavens opened...

Lo and behold, I found a SUPER easy pumpkin tiramisu recipe for which I had (almost) all the ingredients. Fate much? I whipped this up (literally) and set it to cool over night. This was probably the most self-control I have ever had with a dessert. EVER! It was monumental.

I can't wait to describe this for you! It's creamy and light with the whipped pumpkin layers and soft and cake-y from the lady fingers. The pumpkin flavor is great and paired with crushed gingersnaps I think it's bomb. This dish is definitely worth letting chill in the fridge. The cool creaminess is awesome. And I loved how after it sits for a bit the lady fingers get slightly soaked, so they're never dry.

To the recipe I added crushed gingersnaps on top. I think this is a
must. It was such a great addition. I also did not have any rum=/ Soooo I made do with vanilla. I know, I'm crazy. How can I just pour around vanilla extract on those lady fingers? And you're right, the high concentration of that vanilla extract was noticeable in the taste, but this dish was delicious none the less.

Pumpkin Tiramisu
(the easy way)

from RecipeGirl

1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream
3/4 cup granulated sugar
8 oz container mascarpone cheese
(I used half cream cheese, half mascarpone)
15 oz can pure pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
two 3 oz packages of lady fingers, cut in half
4 tablespoons rum, divided
(I used vanilla extract, but I would have preferred rum)
2 oz crushed amaretti cookies
(I used ginger snaps)

1. Beat whipping cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until peaks form. Add cheese, pumpkin and spice; beat just until filling is smooth.

2. Line the bottom of a 9″ springform pan with 2¾” sides with one 3oz. package halved ladyfingers, overlapping and crowding to fit. Sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons of rum. Spread half of the filling over the ladyfingers.

3. Repeat with the other package of halved ladyfingers, rum and remaining filling. Smooth. Wrap tightly with plastic, then foil.

4. Chill overnight. To unmold, run knife around inside edge of pan. Release pan sides; sprinkle with amaretti cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I made this in less than five minutes. And it was the best cream cheese I've ever had. I had 10 minutes before my bus came in the morning, and I had bagel flats and no cream cheese. I had a piece of a block, but I wouldn't have liked plain cream cheese, yuck. But, there was some pumpkin puree lingering in my fridge. And an idea sparked. I've always eyed up this recipe over at Pinch My Salt, and I just had to make it. So at top speed I whipped this up before my bus came.

The spices were fabulous. I've had pumpkin cream cheese before at Brueggers, but this homemade version was so much better! It really is the spices because I could hardly taste it in Brueggers version. The consistency for me was pretty runny; not like water, but not a spreadable type thing either. This didn't make me love it any less though!

My only complaint: I needed more! I will definitely make this again soon. I could attribute there not being enough to the fact that a use three times the suggested serving size for a bagel. But you can you blame me?!?! Well, you won't once you try this for yourself. Get to it!

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese

Pinch My Salt

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a small bowl, beat softened cream cheese, sugar, and syrup til creamy.
2. Add pumpkin, spices and vanilla and beat til smooth.
3. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
4. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Soup

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

As much as I love endlessly searching for recipes on blogs across the internet, I always feel slightly guilty. I worry about food magazines and cookbooks feelings. Do they get jealous?
I mean I wouldn't say the are obsolete, but with the blog world out there to give instant feedback about a recipe and include pictures that show a real result, it's hard not to go there first for a recipe. It's a sad situation.

When my mom and I are at the grocery store, we don't mind getting stuck behind a line of people when checking out. Why? We get to read food magazines. Duhh. Rachael Ray, Fine Cooking, Taste of Home, Bon Appetit, and all the greats. Every once in a while, there's one magazine that really sticks out to us and we just have
to get it. This past time: Fine Cooking. There were some great desserts and main dishes and we said we would force ourselves to make them!

One recipe I knew I wanted to try was the pumpkin soup. I make so many sweet pumpkin recipes that I need to balance them out a bit with some savory ones. If I only stuck to desserts, I would be disrespecting pumpkin. I mean, pumpkin has so many diverse uses that I have to give them all a chance! Yes. I love pumpkin that much.

This recipe was super easy. Piece-o-cake. I really enjoyed the end result. Warm nummy (yummy) pumpkin soup is just perfect for a cold Fall day. It was suggested to make homemade croutons with it, and I had every intention to. But, I enjoyed the ciabatta bread as is, so I just ate it plain hehe. My mom was slightly sad since she wanted to try the croutons, but maybe another time.

Pumpkin Soup

from Fine Cooking Magazine

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

6 cups 1-inch-diced peeled, seeded pumpkin

2 medium cloves garlic, sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

8 medium fresh sage leaves

4 to 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth

1/4 cup packed grated Gruyère

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy-duty 4- to 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add the wine and the sage leaves and cook, stirring, until the wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of broth, cover, and simmer, adjusting the heat as needed, until the pumpkin is very tender, about 25 minutes.

Add 1/4 cup of the Gruyère and using a handheld or standard blender, purée the soup (in batches, if necessary). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Return to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly and adding more broth as necessary to achieve a thin soup with the consistency of heavy cream.

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake

Monday, October 18, 2010
We're on day two of Pumpkin Week, and there's no signs of slowing down! This was as indulgent as it sounds. I still had some leftover mascarpone in my fridge, and you just can't let that go to waste! Back when I made this, it had been forever since I'd baked something. I knew I had to come back with a bang, and this is what came of it.

This cheesecake was incredible! It was silky and similar to a pumpkin pie, but with the whole cheesecake component. I decided for the crust to use crushed up gingersnaps, and I really think it made a difference In a good way! The recipe gives no sugge
stion for a topping besides powdered sugar, so I made one up! I just whipped up some homemade whipped cream and then sprinkled cinnamon over top. That was just what it needed.

I also didn't use a spring-form pan like you do with most cheesecakes. I wanted to make this easy for myself, so I threw it in a regular ole pie pan. It worked great for me. I did have a bit of extra batter, though. But I had ideas for that..(see bottom). So without a water bath, I did get cracks on top. But aren't cracks endearing? I think so! At least for this type of cheesecake, I think the cracks worked out all right. And it's not like they affect the taste=P

I shared this with my neighbors during a Steeler's game party, and it was a HUGE hit! They really loved it. It surprises me how a lot of people I know don't like pumpkin. The particular group I shared this with did like pumpkin, but I've noticed a lot of my friends don't. Maybe it's because I appreciate and accept all foods and become obsessed with them at first bite that I find this peculiar. But, it saddens me to think people might miss out on all the glorious joys that pumpkin brings.

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake
from Streaming Gourmet

Serves 10 to 12


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used gingersnaps)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp egg white

Pumpkin Filling
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup + 1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mace
Pinch of salt
9 oz mascarpone cheese
2 eggs

Prepare the cake pan: Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 10-inch pie pan.

Make the crust: In a bowl, blend the graham cracker crumbs and sugar evenly with a fork. Add the melted butter and egg white and mix well. Press the graham mixture into the prepared pie pan to make an even bottom crust. Bake the crust until it is lightly toasted and set, about 8 minutes. Cool slightly.

Make the pumpkin filling: In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and brown sugar and with a hand-held mixer, mix on low speed until ingredients are very smooth. Don’t overbeat the mixture or you will incorporate too much air into the cheesecake. Add the pumpkin purée, ginger, cinnamon, mace, and salt and mix gently for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl often, until the mixture is evenly blended. Add the mascarpone and mix gently for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bowl. Add the eggs and mix for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as necessary.

Bake the cheesecake: Pour the pumpkin filling over the crust. Place the pan in the oven to bake. Bake the cake for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until the center of the cake is lightly set. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool it to room temperature. Refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours before enjoying.

Slice and serve the cake: Spread fresh whipped cream over top of the cake and garnish with sprinkled cinnamon.  To cut the cake, dip a sharp knife with a long, thin blade into very hot water. Wipe the blade dry and make a cut. For the neatest slices, repeat this process for each separate cut that is made.

With the leftover batter, I made some mini white chocolate chip pumpkin cheesecakes. I love the combination of white chocolate and pumpkin!

Pumpkin Bars

Sunday, October 17, 2010
Let Pumpkin Week officially start here at Sherry Starts Cooking!

I have already professed my love for the blog
Cassie Craves, but let me do it again! Cassie not only has some of the best and easiest dinner ideas, but some really great desserts. And when I saw the title of the recipe was "The Best Pumpkin Bars Ever", I knew she had to be telling the truth.

We have a tried and tested pumpkin bar recipe in our family, but I've honestly never liked it. They were always very gooey and too dense. I was never blown away by the cream cheese frosting either. When I saw this recipe described as "light and fluffy, but moist", I knew that's what I wanted. And that's what I got! They are the perfect ratio of li
ght and fluffy to moist. I could not stop eating these!

I made this recipe wile watching "The Shining" with my mom. Anyone ever see it? I came in near the end, like where the wife reads "All wo
rk and no play makes Jack a dull boy". A pretty good spot to jump in, I'd say. One of my favorite things about Halloween time is scary movies. I haven't watched many yet, but I'd really like to. I am a HUGE fan of the Scream movies. I What You Did Last Summer. I recommend that movie as well.

What are some of your favorite scary movies?

Cassie's Best Pumpkin Bars Ever

Cassie Craves


For the bars:

4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I didn't use these because then I knew my sister wouldn't try them, but I suggest it to you!)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large mixing bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs well, add in the sugar and butter and mix well. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix. Add the flour and spices and mix well. Spread in a 9 x 13-inch greased pan.

3. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

4. To make frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar until just mixed. Stir in pecans. When the brownies are cool, frost. Cut into squares and serve.