Vanilla Spearmint Sparkling Snowflake Macarons

This spearmint/vanilla combo is a great idea for your holiday dessert table or to make as gifts. 

I Happen to love spearmint flavor and dumped poor peppermint for sexy spearmint years ago. It’s become one of my favorite flavors so it was only a matter of time before it made it into a macaron on this blog.

These fun and festive macs are perfect for spreading holiday maccheer.

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Spicy Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Whenever I make gingerbread cookies, no matter what recipe I am using, I double the spices, add cardamon powder and sometimes even chili or cayenne powder. I like my gingerbread cookies to bite me back when I bite into them.

When I created this ice cream, I tried to mix together a sassy spice blend to add  gingerbread flavor that wouldn’t distract from the ice cream itself.

I used the mellower milk chocolate chips instead of semi sweet not to pile more on the palate. I think it came out great. However,  next time I would reach for the chili and cayenne to push the spice bar even higher. Because that’s how I do things.
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Brandied Plum Mold

This dessert, called “Cognac Pflaumenpudding” in German is more like a boozy jello mold. However, the flavor is much bolder than a traditional jello dessert.

Pulverized canned plums provide intense flavor. I substituted fresh ones, simmering them in water and sugar first, creating a plum syrup to add to the recipe.

To spike the dessert, I used Sliwowitz brand plum brandy (popular in central and Eastern Europe) which is made from Damson plums. You can also substitute cherry brandy. The spices can be swapped out as well. I added ground cinnamon to this version but you can try allspice or a combination of clove or nutmeg powder.

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Pink Banana Squash Chocolate Ginger Tart

A while back I Instagramed this picture of a HUGE pink banana squash I bought at the Farmer’s Market in Milford PA.

Imagine my disappointment when breaking open this bigger than a baby vegetable to roast it, the flesh was sooo not pink, but pumpkin color.

The seeds, however, surpassed expectations. They were plump and easy to pick out. I sprinkled them with adobo flavored salt and roasted them. Too late, I realized I should have candied them with brown sugar and ginger and sprinkled them on top of the finished tart, instead I cut up some crystalized ginger and sprinkled it on top. But boy were those adobe seasoned seeds good.
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Pumpkpin Marzipan Ice Cream

I know everyone is beyond over pumpkin ANYTHING. So the absolute nerve of me to post two pumpkin recipes in a row. However, I’m pushing the proverbial pumpkin envelope today and posting this amazing, delicious ice cream.

If you have time, the ingredients and the inclination, make this for your holiday  guests. They will love you forever.

I happened to have roasted pumpkin puree on hand as well as a big ball of homemade marzipan in the freezer. Also there were various cartons of milk, cream, half and half in my fridge that desperately needed to be used up.

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Brown Sugar Sour Cream Cakelets with Maple Glaze

These fall inspired caklets were an audition for a Thanksgiving dessert. They passed the test with flying colors.  At Thanksgiving, I like to provide an array of homemade desserts in small individual portions. 

People appreciate this after a huge meal because most want to participate in the dessert feast but are too stuffed from dinner. Instead of yet again piling up their plates with slices of pie and cake, I find it’ve better to serve several options in small pieces so people can taste a bit of everything on their own digestive timetable.

Which brings me to these cakelets. I fell in love with this lovely Wilton pan, purchased it  a few years ago and never used it. This past weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to test drive both the pan and the recipe.
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Plum Strudel with Cinnamon Glaze

This is a beautiful seasonal strudel for your Thanksgiving table for for Fall coffee and cake time.

The addition of the vanilla to both the preserves and the strudel dough added another layer of flavor to this rich, delicious autumn dessert. 

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Gingerbread Persimmon Curd Trifle with Star Anise Whipped Cream

This might be the most perfect Thanksgiving dessert I have ever made and I have made a lot of Thanksgiving dessert in my life. Very sweet and tangy persimmon curd plays beautifully off spicy gingerbread. The secret to this treat is to not sweeten the whipped cream layer. Just flavor it with ground star anise powder.

The cream adds a luxurious texture to the whole thing with a pop of added flavor but no additional sweetness. This trifle tastes like fall and Thanksgiving and home and hearth wrapped in a fancy package.

What I also love about this dessert is the persimmon curd and gingerbread can be made several days before the big day. You can whip up the cream and put the dessert together the morning of, adding the last layer of whipped cream for just before serving. Also Instead of individual servings you can make one big trifle to make prep even easier.

You will have gingerbread left over unless you halve the recipe. I made the whole thing and plan to smother it with lemon icing then cut it into pieces to take to another Thanksgiving party.

The persimmon curd recipe is from the San Francisco Examiner and found HERE

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Fall Rainbow Sherbet: Cranberry, Butternut Squash and Quince

While sitting on a train recently returning to the barrier island town where I grew up, my mind was wandering backwards. One random memory was the rainbow sherbet of my childhood and how incredible it tasted on those hot long lazy beach days. I remembered standing barefoot in a wet bathing suit, hair full of sea water, legs and feet caked with sand clutching that paper cone of cold rainbow sweetness in my hand. I would diligently slurp as the sherbet melted, the sticky streaks of color running down my wrist. It was heaven. 

Back in the autumn food blogging obsessed present, the idea popped into my head to make an “adult” rainbow sherbet version in fall flavors. 

Quinces and a butternut squash were sitting on the counter from a jaunt to the farmer’s market. Very reasonably priced fresh cranberries from Trader Joe’s rounded out this trifecta of fall rainbow flavors.

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Colorful Falling Leaves Sugar Cookies

These are a quick, easy and fun cookie to make. Something you can easily make with kids or a colorful addition to a school bake sale.

This idea can easily be adapted for Christmas using red and green food coloring and holiday cookie cutters or for  Valentine’s Day using red and pink color and different sized heart cutters.

In my pantry, there were so many pretty pretty leaf shaped cutters waiting their turn. These were the result.

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    Lora Wiley-Lennartz

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