29 November 2008

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

The plan was to get this post written and up first thing this morning. I had a glorious day planned, too: big coffee and blog writing, then decorate the house, watch the KU/MU game on TV, veg out, call the family. Instead I was awakened at 7am to a soft snowfall outside my bedroom window and the pitter-patter of. . . water dripping from our living room ceiling, splattering all over our beautiful dark hardwood floor. Lovely, just lovely.

Anyway, so I'm up and have done *quite a bit* already this morning but wanted to get this post done and over with, before I got wrapped up in all that other garbage I'll be dealing with all day.

I made mini cakes (from ramekins). I also thirded the recipe. I had read from other Daring Bakers that this cake was sweet sweet sweet, so I knew there was no way we would ever polish off more than a slice apiece. And yes, that is absolutely true. I won't be recreating the frosting anytime soon, that's where most of the sickeningly sweet flavor came from. The cake itself, though, was one of the best cakes I have ever made - incredibly soft crumb, like the kind you find in fancy wedding cakes and the like. With just a lightly sweet flavor of caramel. Oh, yes, the cake was very, very good.

We were also given the option to make caramels, but I've decided to tackle and blog that recipe another time. It got rave reviews from my fellow Daring Baker foodies. Thanks to Dolores, Alex (Brownie), and Jenny for hosting this month! And as always: check out those other Daring Bakers' creations this month.

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 c. Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 eggs, at room temperature
Splash vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

Caramel Syrup
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 c. water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Caramelized Butter Frosting

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp. caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope all you readers are much too busy stuffing yourself with turkey et al. to be checking blogs today :) I just wanted to wish a Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving to each and every one of you! Will be back first thing Saturday morning.

And now: Sous Chef Mahni would like to show the many ways she would make a lovely new (Peep) mascot for the blog:

1. Well, she's cuter in the get up. Obviously. And great for photo ops. People just gravitate to that little charmer, Peep Mahni.

2. She can run. Really really fast. While still in character.

3. That said, she's got a killer profile. And when necessary, she can hold just as still as any marshmallow Peep.

4. She's great with kids, absolutely a requirement for my child-friendly blog.

5. Her bravey and love of adventure knows no bounds. And also she's really bendy (not evidenced in the photo).

6. Last but not least, she is much more soft and cuddly than those dried-up sugar Peeps that Aunt Nemmie carries around with her.

26 November 2008

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Did you know that Dean & DeLuca are selling these puppies for $55 a dozen? I could make a killing! Because they are so easy to make, seriously. And fun to assemble too.

The flavor is out of this world - Hubs took them to his office "Thanksgiving Potluck", and there were several requests for the recipe. They are sweet, spicy, deeply pumkin, and full of a soft, creamy cinnamon filling. Mmmmm. Take it from Peabody, who said she couldn't stop eating them (and she's one to give all her treats away) - these are well worth making.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground fresh nutmeg
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 c. canola oil
3 c. chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.In a separate bowl, whisk to sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop healing TBSP of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. They will look more like mini cakes then cookies, so don’t panic about that.

For the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese an beat until combined.Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful no to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.

To assemble: Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe filling (about a TBSP) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoppie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

23 November 2008

Lean N' Green Chili

Sorry lovelies! I was out of town on business and then had... well, baking issues when I returned, so I'm a bit behind on posting. But! Plenty will be posted in the coming weeks, promise. After all, there is much holiday baking to be done :)

Another goodie from my last Cooking Club - this time we're giving Stacey's recipe a whirl. Check out her blog: it is sweet treat after yummy sweet treat after another, and yet the girl maybe weighs as much as one of my thighs. So I can only imagine that her actual meals are a bit more on the healthy side...

Not only healthy, my friends, but YUMMY. Just what I want in this kinda chili - thick, spicy, and filling. And only about 250 calories per serving, wahoo! Now I can have extra pie later in the week!!

Lean N' Green Chili
(from Stacey)

8 6-in. corn tortillas, divided
2 tsp. vegetable oil, dived
1 c. chopped Poblano Chile peppers (or green bell peppers)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-in. pieces
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 cans (14.5 oz.) 99% fat free chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/4 c. salsa verde (or 1 can green Chile enchilada sauce)
3-4 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut four of the tortillas in half and stack them one on top of another. Cut the tortillas into ½ inch strips. Place in bowl and toss with 1 tsp of the oil. Spread in a single layer in a baking pan. Bake 10 – 12 min or until crisp, stirring once. Remove from oven.

Chop Chile peppers and onion. Cut chicken into ¾ inch pieces; toss with cumin in small bowl. Fold one tortilla to fit into a food processor coarsely grate. Repeat with remaining 3 tortillas. Set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tsp oil in large pot over medium heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 min. Remove chicken from casserole; and Chile peppers, onion, and garlic. Cook and stir 3 min. Stir in chicken, broth, beans, salsa and grated tortillas. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 min.

Stir cilantro into chili. Ladle soup into bowls; top with baked tortilla strips.

17 November 2008

Dimply Plum Cake

I have seen the dimply plum cake being made all over the Interwebs, and just based on how adorable it is I decided to dive in and make it myself. I had a coworker's birthday to bake for anyway. Only it didn't photograph too well for me, I had a slight issue...

One giant thing to note: this recipe doesn't double especially well. At least, it doesn't look as beautiful when you double it... The cooking time is much longer, so those poor plums sank into my cake rather than sit pretty on top. No worries though - still tasted like a dream! Like a deep brown sugar coffee cake, with juicy halves of fruit inside. Mmmm. This one went over quite well at the office, ugly appearance aside :)

Dimply Plum Cake
(shocker: another one from Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours, 2006)

1 1/2 c. all purpose four
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 c. canola oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
8 purple or red plums, halved and pitted

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8x8 baking dish or a glass pie plate and set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and ground cardamom.
In a stand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the oil, lemon zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture. Pour the batter in the prepared dish, smooth the top and arrange the plums on top, cut side up.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

15 November 2008

Potato Soup

As you know by now if you make the rounds of my happy little group of Realie food bloggers, our November Cooking Club was all about Soups. Soups! I love love love a good soup or stew, so I was so excited for this one. It didn’t disappoint either – I loved every one of them, and plan to recreate every one we had.

First up was Audrey’s potato soup (she of Kentiga Blog fame). I think because it reminded me of my mom’s potato soup, with big chunks of potatoes, lots of other veggies, and a nice broth (not super-thick like so many other potato soups out there). So I made a giant pot, and have been eating that for lunch for a week now. Still super yummy! I think I’ll probably be making this many more times in the future.

Potato Soup
(adapted a small bit from Audrey’s recipe)

4 Tbsp. butter
1 onion diced
1/2 lb of carrots sliced4 stalks of celery sliced
5 lbs. potatoes diced
10 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/2 lb. bacon
1/2 lb. Velveeta diced into chunks
1 c. sour cream
Salt and pepper

Melt butter over medium heat in a deep soup pot. Add onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the broth and potatoes to the pot and simmer. Add water if necessary to cover completely. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until completely cooked.

While mixture is simmering - cook, chop, and add bacon to soup. About 25-35 minutes into simmering add Velveeta and sour cream. Stir constantly until completely melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

12 November 2008

Supernatural Brownies

The other day I was asked to make brownies for work. Usually not an issue, and people know to come to me anyway, because I am more than happy to bake for our office. One problem: I had Cooking Club that evening, so only had 60-90 minutes between work and driving to KC to make those suckers. I polled some friends and had many good recipes sent my way; I picked my way through them (hard to do, I mean hello they are BROWNIE recipes) and finally found one where I was certain I had all the ingredients at home.

I got home, congratulating myself for saving a trip to the grocery store. Then, I realized I was completely out of cocoa powder. &%*$#!! How in the world does that even happen?? That meant a quick search online to find something else to make, something that was fairly easy and quick but with good reviews. And so I found the Supernatural Brownies recipe.

I made the brownies with 10 minutes to spare even, and was super surprised when I took them to work the next day: these were a hit. I mean, they were a major hit. I got at least 6 requests for the recipe, people were stopping by my desk all day to talk about “those amazing brownies”. Even the ladies on diets went for a 2nd brownie before the day was over. Huh! I thought they were good myself, although not Great (then again, I only like my brownies dense and super chewy). These were fudgy, rich, definitely your classic brownie. I think it’s the bittersweet chocolate that got everybody excited… I am curious if anyone tries these brownies themselves, leave a comment and let me know if you also think they are the Best Brownies Ever Made.

Supernatural Brownies
(adapted from Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers, 1998)

2 sticks (16 Tbsp.) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
1 c. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Butter a 9 X 13-inch baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 F.

In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour and chocolate just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top (note: mine took more like 45-50 minutes to cook, so keep an eye on them). Cool in pan on rack.

Yield: 15 large or 24 small brownies. Note: For best flavor, bake 1 day before serving, let cool and store, tightly wrapped.

10 November 2008

Cinnamon Pecan Pancakes

First thing: I want to thank Stacey of Simply Tasty for presenting me with the Kreativ Blogger award! You gotta check out her blog, people. That girl doesn't mess around, it is mouthwatering Treats Treats Treats all the time over there.

And I'm passing it along too, to my favorite KC photography girls:

Audrey @ Kentiga Blog
Sarah @ Jagged Diary

Now, about those pancakes...

A few weekends ago, I was lucky enough to have a day all to myself (Hubs was out entertaining friends all day, and I punked out on him). Not like the man is a time hog, but when he happens to be at home I tend to put off certain tasks. So this day was a nice one to have. I wrote blog posts (that’s another problem, I love the man but HE HOGS THE COMPUTER ON THE WEEKENDS). I baked and fiddled around with some of my little projects, watched Lifetime movies in peace while I munched on fresh baked goods, called people I hadn’t talked to in awhile…

Most importantly, I did a lot of shopping. I rarely do that “spend a day bumming around shopping” without friends or family, so it was kinda nice to just go out and do on my own. Anyway, long story short: while at Target, I spied some dried pancake mix called “Cinnamon Roll Pancakes”. Yummy! Sounds fantastic, right? I wanted to make them but am kinda anti-boxed food (plus, it was pricey for pancake mix). So I read the box verrry carefully, and did my best to reproduce the pancakes from scratch the next morning. I think I did a fairly good job, if I do say so myself…

These pancakes are so so good – the cinnamon and pecans are a great flavor combo. The “strudel topping” is a smart call to sprinkle on the baking pancakes – yummy little crispy sugared chunks really add a lot to regular old pancakes. Give this recipe a try when you’re looking for something different to do with those morning pancakes.

Cinnamon Pecan Pancakes
(adapted from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

1/2 to 3/4 c. buttermilk
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. pecan pieces

For strudel topping:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Beat the buttermilk, butter, vanilla, and egg lightly in a mixing bowl (start with 1/2 c. buttermilk, and add more as you’d like to get desired thickness. I like my batter on the thin side, the pancakes seem to puff better that way). Mix the flour, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, and salt and add them all at once to the first mixture, stirring just enough to moisten the flour. Stir in pecan pieces.

In a separate bowl: combine the butter, sugar, flour, and cinnamon with a fork (to form crumbles). Set aside.

Lightly butter or grease a griddle or frying pan and set over moderate heat until a few drops of cold water sprinkled on the pan form skittering globules. Pour about 1/4 cup per pancake on the griddle; bake until the cakes are very bubbly on top and the undersides are lightly browned. Sprinkle a few tablespoons of the “strudel” topping over pancake, and flip.

Turn with a spatula and brown the other side. Place finished cakes on a heated plate in a very slow (200 F) oven until ready to serve. Serve with butter, syrup, and a generous sprinkling of pecans.

06 November 2008

Laugen Brotchen

Yum! I love a good pretzel roll - salty, chewy, and that distinctively pretzel-y taste (kinda sweet yeah, and a bit doughy and Something Else that just can't be described). And yet, only with a pretzel roll you can eat alone with a nice spicy mustard OR you can use it for sandwiches. Brilliant!

This takes me back to when my parents always used to make pretzels at home, although they went the more "traditional" route and boiled the dough in a lye bath. I used baking soda, because I'm a wimp (and a klutz, so someone would have lost an eye if I'd done the traditional thing). They were still very good! If you haven't made homemade pretzels (or pretzel rolls) before, you are truly missing out. Quite the treat.

Laugen Brotchen (Pretzel Rolls)
(from RecipeZaar)

1 1/3 c. warm water
2 Tbsp. warm milk
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 c. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 c. all-purpose flour
Kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 qt. cold water
1/2 c. baking soda

In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix 1/3 cup of the warm (105-115 F) water with the yeast and let stand until foamy. Add the remaining cup of warm water, the warm milk, melted butter, and brown sugar and mix to dissolve the sugar.

Attach your dough hook to your stand mixer, and slowly add the 4 cups of flour until combined. Continue using your dough hook to mix the dough until it forms a nice, firm dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a damp cloth and let sit for 30 minutes.

Pat dough into rolls, or form pretzel knows and arrange on a lightly floured surface, about an inch apart, and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets.

In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add the baking soda. Drop the rolls -- one or two at a time -- into the boiling water and boil for no more than 30 seconds, turning them over once. Carefully remove with tongs, spatula, or slotted spoon and hold above the pot to let drain.

Deposit boiled rolls into the greased baking sheet (6 per sheet) and sprinkle lightly with pretzel or kosher salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

Bake the rolls on the upper and middle racks of the oven for 8-10 minutes until brown all over -- if necessary, shift pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through, for even baking.

Let the rolls cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

03 November 2008

Dorie's Snickery Squares

Every single food blogger on the planet with a copy of Dorie Greenspan's beloved Baking book has made these bars, so it was only appropriate that I caught up and made them myself....

Dorie likens these bars to Snickers candy bars, but they actually don't taste like Snickers bars. They are decidedly better - the shortbread crust is fantastic, in fact I'll probably use it as a base for other desserts in the future. The center is sweet, dense, with candied peanuts that are to die for. And the chocolate crust, of course, is much better than the cheap milk-crud they dip those candy bars in! I can now see why these are so popular in the Dorie-obsessed blogosphere.

They are also terribly rich, so keep in mind that a batch of these will last you a long time (or will feed many, at least).

Snickery Squares
(from Dorie's Baking: From My Home To Yours, 2006)


For the Crust:
1 c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
½ c. sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1 ½ c. salted peanuts
About 1 ½ c. store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:
7 oz. bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 8-inch square pan and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:
Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling.

To Make the Filling:
Have a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet at the ready, as well as a long-handled wooden spoon and a medium heavy bottomed saucepan.

Put the sugar and water in the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Keeping the heat fairly high, continue to cook the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to color. Toss the peanuts and immediately start stirring. Keep stirring, to coat the peanuts with sugar. Within a few minutes, they will be covered with sugar and turn white—keep stirring until the sugar turns back into caramel. When the peanuts are coated with a nice deep amber caramel, remove the pan from the heat and turn the nuts out onto the baking sheet, using the wooden spoon to spread them out as best you can. Cool the nuts to room temperature.

When they are cool enough to handle, separate the nuts or break them into small pieces. Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.

Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole candied nuts.
To Make the Topping:
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.

Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Cut into 16 bars.

01 November 2008

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Yeah, Halloween is done and over. I am aware. But - still wanted to share this little gem with my readers. Best way to prepare those delicious little pumpkin seeds, in my opinion. They are slightly spicy, definitely sweet, and chockful of flavor. Awesome!

I doubled the batch, these two guys yielded more than enough seeds for that :) Hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween!

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
(compliments of Martha)

1 medium pumpkin
5 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp.salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp. peanut oil

Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pumpkin open from the bottom, removing seeds with a long-handled spoon. Separate flesh from seeds, and reserve the flesh for another use (that over-achiever Martha would like for you to save it to make pie filling). Pumpkin should yield 1 cup seeds. Spread seeds on parchment in an even layer. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.

In a medium bowl combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne. Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize, about 45 to 60 seconds. Transfer to bowl with spices, and stir well to coat. Let cool. These may be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.