Pumpkin Cream Cheese Thanksgiving Truffles

Approximately 12 years ago, I made pretty much the best dessert ever for my parent’s Thanksgiving dinner party: Mini turkeys. That’s right. Painstakingly hand-made mini turkeys consisting of a Hershey’s kiss and Oreo cookie body, candy corn feathers, and cut up Twizzlers for the wattle. Finishing those turkeys constituted basically the proudest moment of my life up to that point. Someone (besides my parents) even complimented me on them!

But then . . . no one ate them. Correction: I ate two. One brave adult ate one. And two of my friends, also around the age of 10, each ate one. Sad life. I’ve tried to block out that particular dessert experience from my mind for many years. Now, though, as I reflect back upon my first dessert rejection, I guess I (sorta kinda) get it.

I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily want to eat a mashup of store-bought candy masquerading as a dessert that had been touched and molded into shape with the possibly dirty (but I always washed my hands with soap – even under my fingernails!!!) fingers of a ten-year-old. I’m going on record now, though, to say that if I come across those lovely mini turkeys in my Thanksgiving festivities this year, I promise to eat one. Scratch that. I’m getting five of those suckers. Props to little kids who believe in their dessert craft!

In an effort to avoid the pain of rejection, though, I decided to create a more adult palate friendly dessert this year. And it’s still shaped like a turkey. Hah! Though it can be traditionally truffle shaped for those who so desire. As I considered different food combinations in my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about pumpkin and cream cheese. So, I didn’t. Instead, I used them, along with some powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and pumpkin pie spice as the filling for my truffles. Ermahgawd. I would most definitely eat this filling by itself. In a bowl – no melted chocolate covering or decoration needed. Continue reading

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Pumpkin Spiderweb Cheesecake

Since Halloween is an occasion traditionally associated with food (and yes, candy totally qualifies!), I – for once – don’t feel totally crazy about my food rants today. Such as the fact that I most definitely went trick-or-treating senior year of high school…after I told my parents I was going to study for the SAT IIs. Whoops? And then things seriously went south after my mom found a huge bag of candy in my closet. I really need to improve my hiding skills. And lying skills (maybe not?).

Or, the fact that Chipotle used to give out free burritos if you dressed up like a burrito on Halloween! I am convinced that if Chipotle had reserved the free burritos for those completely wrapped in tinfoil (like me – with green tissue paper for lettuce!), the free burrito deal would still be alive. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Thankfully, there are many more ways to get your food fix in on Halloween. And since amazing Halloween recipes (like this…or this!) have been popping up on all over the place, I decided it was time to give it a try. Unfortunately, my dessert decorating skills (as opposed to my dessert eating skills) are a bit below par. I generally try to dress up my desserts with sprinkles, cover mistakes with frosting, or, in severely desperate cases, drizzle melted chocolate on top as a distraction.

Um yeah sorry about all those finger marks…

When I came upon this picture of spiderweb cheesecake, however, I thought it looked pretty doable. What I didn’t factor into the picture was my running out of chocolate chips! Like, completely out. Which, considering the amount of chocolate chips I buy and the number of chocolate chip bags in the pantry only two weeks ago, is absolutely ridiculous.

So, I used a glaze…to initially good, and later abysmal (like when it started running all over my cheesecake) effects. That is why, though I used a glaze, I recommend using ganache, like Martha Stewart (the best) did.

I used my Mom’s recipe for cheesecake, which is a long-time family favorite that pops up every Thanksgiving! She actually got the recipe from her friend Anita (if you’re reading this, thank you for introducing this cheesecake into my life!). Trust me, it’s absolutely delicious. Continue reading

Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes with Pumpkin Glaze or Cinnamon Sugar

My love of fried dough started with a church and a box of Dunkin’ Donuts. When I was younger, I would always drop by my parent’s Sunday school class before heading to my own. Of course, as a dutiful daughter, I wanted to say goodbye to my parents. As a bonus, I also managed to nab a donut out of the boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts virtually guaranteed to be sitting on the back table.

I don’t know why we never had Dunkin’ in my second grade Sunday school (perhaps something about children and massive amounts of sugar?). I guess it doesn’t matter, because I was lucky enough to find another pathway to donut bliss.

But although I had access to plenty of donut flavors, none enticed me so much as the Chocolate Kreme Filled Donut: A powdered sugar donut filled to the brim with delicious chocolate creme (actually, filled past the brim – look at the little rosettes on each donut due to too much filling ahhhhhh). Hang on, let me wipe the drool from my keyboard.  Sorry. But I have not eaten one for years.

Unfortunately, the Dunkin’ in my town closed down, which I despair over to this day (A little courtesy notice, please? I would’ve pitched in my allowance!). The years between the closing of Dunkin’ and my leaving for college were filled with the opening of Krispy Kreme (fine, their glazed donuts are friggin’ delicious just out of the fryer, but do people really need to line up at 3am for the opening?!) and LaMar’s (chocolate glazed is pretty dec).

When I got to college in Houston, though, I found Shipley’s. Ohhhh Shipley’s. Did you know that the one on Kirby used to open at like…5am (before they closed down…like all the great donut shops of my life)?? And that the one on Richmond is open until 10pm? I did.

Unfortunately, upon being tossed from that great blanket of security and fun known as college, I have yet to find a donut love in Dallas. Probably because I am still too traumatized from the Dunkin’ Debacle of 1999. So when I started seeing a plethora of donut recipes pop up (check out this ridiculous milkshake), I knew it was time to make some of my own. And, I found this amazing baked recipe! Plus I replaced almost half the oil with applesauce. So. healthy. Also, I tried out two different topping options. Because when is one (donut) ever enough? Enjoy! Continue reading