Turtle Bark II


It's almost Thanksgiving?!?! What is happening?!?! Where did October go? What day is it? Where are we? Did we slip into a coma and lose the last three weeks? Did someone maybe "borrow" our gold sparkly shoes while we were out? It's ok. You can tell us.

To get into the Thanksgiving mindset, we would like to list few things for which we are thankful (note this list is not complete); gold sparkly shoes, obvy, chocolate, the VP, bakeries, Bobbi Brown, our amazing readers, electricity (not to be taken for granted these days), chocolate, Chris Hemsworth in Snow White & The Huntsman (though, we would like to be clear, we are NOT thankful for the actual movie which was terrible), um, pie, little brothers, parents, Soul Cycle, teachers, doctors, peace, peanut butter and the internet. Thank you. 

We are also thankful to turtles. Not the actual turtles, though they are pretty awesome too and we are thankful for them (seriously, Swiss Family Robinson wouldn't be the same without the giant turtle scene), but the chocolate-caramel-pecan turtles. Or, just the chocolate-caramel-pecan flavor combo in general.

Because really, this bark is genius and crazy-easy. Another thing for which we are thankful.

Turtle Bark II
Serves 12-15
Adapted from the supercool Eat.Drink.Smile 

Print Recipe

1 heaping cup whole pecans, lightly chopped
10-12 whole graham crackers (large rectangle sheet)
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Toast pecans for 10 minutes until fragrant. Leave oven on.

Line a 9 x 13" brownie pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper and sides of the pan. Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in prepared pan, filling in any holes with smaller graham cracker rectangles.

Combine sugar, butter, and cream in a medium-sized heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla (the mixture will bubble up) and the toasted pecans. Pour butter mixture over crackers, spreading to evenly coat.

Bake the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly all over.

While cooling, melt the chocolate chips on the stove in a glass bowl over a pot of water at medium heat. Stir constantly until completely melted. Pour the chocolate over the caramel-pecan layer and tip the pan back and forth until evenly coated (it may not cover the entire thing evenly but we like that...hey, some people may not want a chocolate piece...crazies). Sprinkle immediately with sea salt and put in the fridge until cooled and firm.

Remove bark from the pan using the parchment over-hang and cut into bars/bark using a sharp knife. Store in the fridge, covered, to ensure the chocolate doesn't get too soft. 


Homemade Butterfingers

Whoa.  Team.  Let us first apologize for our rather extended absence. 

It would seem blogging without power, internet, cell service, mass transit, readily available homemade ice cream & on demand CW teen dramas can actually prove a bit of a challenge.

Throw in a 1 year old who is apparently pounding Red Bulls while our backs are turned and a city wide shortage of butter and it’s darn near impossible.

So this recipe was probably a bit more appropriate last week when we planned on posting it.  Before the vast majority of the world had overdosed on fun size Snickers and Halloween Peeps. 

But hey, we figured no one would object to an amazing, easy & downright delicious recipe for homemade butterfingers, even if you never want to see a candy corn pumpkin again. 

Homemade Butterfingers
Makes 12-16 bars
Adapted from Recipe Circus

Print Recipe

3 cups candy corn
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 cups milk chocolate chips or chocolate candy melts, for dipping

Line an 8 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the candy corn in a glass bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between until candy is completely melted.  Add in the peanut butter and continue to stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth.

Spread the mixture into pan and let sit at room temperature until cool, about an hour.  Using a sharp knife, cut candy into 1 x 2 inch bars. 

Melt chocolate chips or candy melts in the microwave, checking every 15 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Dip each bar into chocolate to coat completely.  Place on wax paper lined baking sheet to firm.  Store covered in the fridge.


Buche d'Halloween (aka Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream)

By now, you know our style, muffins; more is more. So it will be no surprise that this philosophy also applies to the Halloween season. 

Lunch? We will order the pumpkin ravioli in pumpkin sauce with a side of arugula-cranberry-pumpkin salad. 

Candy for trick-or-treaters? Let's buy 100 pounds (and then maybe eat half of it ourselves). And those little pumpkin candy corn things? We can't even look at them without eating every single one and then dancing to Halloween fav 'Thriller' (on repeat, obvy) to burn off the sugar rush. 

Face getting you down? We recommend the pumpkin scrub.

Starbucks order? We will take a slice of pumpkin loaf with a giganta pumpkin latte with pumpkin whipped cream and pumpkin sprinkles and, do you make pumpkin sparkles because we will also have those on top. Extra pumpkin, thanks.  

We are very excitable, what can we say?

So it was a no-brainer to make a Halloween version of the old Christmas standby, Buche de Noel, but with pumpkin, of course.

More is more.

Buche d'Halloween (aka Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream)
Serves 8-10
Adapted from Ina Garten

Print Recipe

For the Cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not the pie filling stuff)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar, plus extra for dusting

For the Filling:
12 ounces mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 cups sifted powdered (confectioners') sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup minced dried crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
Pinch kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 12 x 17 x 1-inch baking sheet pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and heavily grease and flour the paper.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and stir to combine. Place the eggs and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. With the mixer on low, add the pumpkin and vanilla extract, then slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Finish mixing the batter by hand with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched.

While the cake is baking, lay out a clean, thin cotton dish towel on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of powdered sugar evenly over it. (This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.) As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, loosen it around the edges and invert it squarely onto the prepared towel. Gently peel away the parchment paper. With a light touch, roll the warm cake and the towel together (don't press it) starting at the short end of the cake. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack wrapped in the towel.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, powdered sugar, and cream together for about a minute, until light and fluffy. Stir in the crystallized ginger, and salt.

To assemble, carefully unroll the cake onto a board with the towel underneath. Spread the cake evenly with the filling. Re-roll the cake in a spiral using the towel as a guide. Remove the towel and trim the ends to make a clean edge. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve sliced.

Cake can be kept in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 3-days. 


Bon Appétit Feature! And Cherry Coconut Breakfast Cookies!

Pumpkins!  Exciting news from the Blue-Eyed kitchen!  If you aren't like us and visit the amazing fabulous Bon Appétit website daily, then let us give you a reason to check it out...US!  Hey we're shameless self promoters.  These Blue-Eyed's have two delectable recipes featured in bon appétit's article on HOMEMADE HALLOWEEN CANDY

If that's not enough to see you then we don't know what is.  Make some candy and enjoy yourself.  Turn off the porch lights and pretend you're not home as you dig into homemade Peppermint Patties and Almond Joys.  No judgement.

And now - onto the breakfast cookies.  Uh yeah, so we were kinda sold at the mere utterance of breakfast and cookie in the same breath.

Disclaimer: We may or may not (cough may cough) have eaten actual cookies for breakfast at one point in our lives.  As in Pepperidge Farm Sausalito's.  But it was a long time ago.  Like years.  Like in college.  Or last week.

So this is what happens most mornings. 

You wake up, you're mad you had to wake up, then you have to get ready, then you have to go to work, battle your way through the subway, stand in line forever at Starbucks (seriously WHAT coffee drink takes that long to make!?), and then, THEN, you have to be all adult and start your day off right with like oatmeal or Greek yogurt or a piece of corrugated cardboard with sugar free jelly.

But what if you got to have a cookie instead?  Uh yeah, like a cookie cookie. 

Ok maybe more like a dried fruit, nuts and coconut cookie, but hey, it's shaped like a cookie.  And there is absolutely nothing stopping you from adding some chocolate chips to these bad boys.

We totally thought about it.

Don't you think that would help you start your day off right?  Be in a lovelier mood, help an old lady across the street, spend the day volunteering and solving world peace?

We know.  We think so too.

Cherry Coconut Breakfast Cookies
Makes 8 large cookies
Adapted from Kumquat Blog

Print Recipe

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried coconut flakes
1 tablespoon flaxmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed*
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*You want the coconut oil to be liquid, so just warm it in the microwave for 20 seconds if it's solid.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine oats, coconut, flaxmeal, salt, pecans, cherries & pumpkin seeds. Stir in bananas, coconut oil, honey and vanilla until well combined.

Press 1/3 cup of mixture into a large round cookie or biscuit cutter (we used a 3 inch biscuit cutter) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue making cookies until all of the mixture has been used.

Bake cookies for 25 minutes until edges are golden. Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Pumpkin Spice Bread with Chocolate Cream Cheese Spread

It's Fall, muffins!!!

Like, it's really Fall. It's not just kinda Fall and there is going to be a whole Indian Summer thing happening (side note: AMAZING movie) and you can keep some sparkly flip-flops around and maybe some shorts and maybe you don't have to put all the patio furniture away just yet.

Move on. Summer is over and Autumn is here to stay and it has us feeling very poetic, living in the Northeast and all. Leaves are changing, warty gourds are everywhere (we love you ugly gourds), pumpkins are appearing on doorsteps, apple cider is filling grocery store carts, chilly mornings make dew twinkle, um, people wear puffy vests...uh, pumpkins, er, mums, and...gourds and... it's Fall! YAY! That's basically where we are going with this.

(We never said we were good at being poetic.)

So it was only fitting with the season that we spend a day buying Halloween candy (we gotta taste test this stuff before we give it to the children, duh) and potted mums, planning our Thanksgiving menu (Indian food), receiving Christmas catalogs in the mail and baking Pumpkin Bread. Because what says Fall better than all that, better than Pumpkin Bread?!?!

Nothing. Except maybe Pumpkin Bread smothered in Chocolate Cream Cheese "Spread" (aka frosting, let's be honest). 

Pumpkin Spice Bread with Chocolate Cream Cheese Spread
Makes 2 large loaves or 6 small loaves

Print Recipe

For the Pumpkin Bread:
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Spread: 
1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped or in chips
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 8.5 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans (or 6 mini-loaf pans...we did 1 large loaf and 3 mini-loaves).

Mix the sour cream and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in the eggs and canned pumpkin and then blend in the sour cream mixture. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and baking powder. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. PS- At this point you could add chocolate chips or dried cranberries or some other delicious thought.

Divide the batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes for the large loaf and about 40-45 minutes for the mini-loaves. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

Then, in a small bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave for 1 1/2 minutes on high, stirring after every 30 seconds until almost smooth. Keep stirring so the residual heat melts any remaining chunks and you don't burn the chocolate. Stir in the soft cream cheese until smooth. Serve with the sliced pumpkin bread and store in the fridge. 

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