Crispy Ginger Cookies with Pumpkin Dip

Crispy Ginger Cookies with Pumpkin Dip

Crispy, thin ginger cookies compliment this whipped pumpkin dip. Perfect as a dessert for your Halloween party, the simple-to-make dip is filled with pumpkin and spices then whipping cream beaten to a light and airy texture. If you don’t have time to bake cookies, store purchased thin and crispy ginger cookies will do the “trick.”

Ginger Cookies
¾  cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
¼  cup molasses
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼  teaspoon cardamom
½  teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Using a stand or hand mixer, in a large bowl on medium speed cream the butter and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved into the butter and the mixture is light and fluffy. Add a large egg and mix until combined. Add the molasses and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture a little at a time until a dough forms. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8” thick and cut out cookies with cookie cutters. Transfer to the prepared cookie sheets, place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Makes 36 cookies.

Pumpkin Dip
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½  teaspoon ginger
½  teaspoon cinnamon
¼  teaspoon allspice
  teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
½  teaspoon vanilla
¾  cup heavy cream
  teaspoon xathan gum (optional)

In a food processor combine the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, cream cheese, ginger, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, cloves, and salt; process until very smooth. Add the heavy cream, vanilla, and xanthan and continue to process until very thick. Transfer to a dip bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve with the ginger cookies.

Baked Cheese-Stuffed Whole Pumpkin

Baked Cheese-Stuffed Whole Pumpkin

Start your Halloween party with this easy, cheesy, stuffed pumpkin appetizer. The pumpkin is filled with Gruyere, Parmesan, toasted bread, and a creamy mixture with garlic, fresh sage, and cognac. Then baked in the oven, the pumpkin serves as a serving dish as well as the walls get scraped into the delicious baked dip served on toasted baguette.

1 baguette, cut into ⅜“ slices
2 tablespoons melted butter
Kosher salt
3-lb. Pie pumpkin
Olive oil
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons cognac
¾ cup salt-free chicken stock
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup  grated Gruyere

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.

Brush one side of the baguette slices with melted butter and top with a pinch of salt. Toast baguette slices in one layer on a baking sheet in oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside. When cooled, cut 6-7 slices into cubes. Set aside and save the remaining slices to serve with the pumpkin.

Using a knife, cut around pumpkin stem to make a lid and remove the top. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers from inside the pumpkin. Lightly salt the inside of the pumpkin. Place pumpkin on a foil-lined sheet pan. Brush outside of pumpkin and lid all over with olive oil.

Whisk together the cream, cognac, stock, pepper, sage, garlic cloves and ½ teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Combine the cheeses together in another medium bowl.

Start with a layer of the toasted and cubed baguette by adding ⅓ to the bottom of pumpkin, cover with ⅓ of the cheese. Continue layering the bread and cheese two more times. Whisk the cream mixture one more time, then pour into the pumpkin, stopping frequently to allow the cream mixture to soak in, until pumpkin is filled to within about ½” to the top. You may not use all the cream mixture, discard any remaining cream mixture.

Cover pumpkin with its top. Place in the oven and bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffy, 55-60 minutes. To serve, scoop out some of the flesh with the cheesy filling on to the remaining baguette slices.

Pumpkin Risotto with Fried Sage & Toasted Parmesan

Pumpkin Risotto with Fried Sage & Toasted Parmesan

To create a deliciously creamy and luscious fall risotto, we finish the dish with pumpkin, butter, and parmesan cheese. Then we topped it with contrasting crunchy parmesan crumbs and fried baby sage leaves.

Toasted Parmesan
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the bread crumbs, toss, and cook until the crumbs are toasted. Add the parmesan, remove from the heat and set aside.

Fried Sage
12-18 small sage leaves
Olive oil

Wash and dry the sage leaves thoroughly. In a sauté pan, add 1/4” olive oil, and heat until simmering. Add the sage leaves and cook for about 1-2 minutes until just starting to turn brown. Remove and set on paper towels until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Risotto
4 cups no-salt-added chicken stock
2 teaspoon olive oil
½ large onion finely chopped
2 large clove garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup white wine
1 cup solid-pack canned pumpkin puree
½ cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tablespoon butter
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the stock in a large saucepan, heat the stock to a simmer, and continue lightly simmering while you make the risotto.

In another large saucepan over medium heat, add oil onion and garlic. Cook until onion begins to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in rice and sauté for about a minute longer. Add wine, and cook until wine has evaporated.

Add 2 cups of the stock to the rice and stir until almost absorbed. Repeat with another cup of stock, and continue stirring and adding stock until the rice is almost tender but still has some bite to it, about 20 minutes. When you have reached this stage, add the pumpkin and stir until the pumpkin is absorbed and the liquid has evaporated slightly. Stir in the cheese, butter, nutmeg, and add the salt and pepper to taste.

Add the risotto to six bowls and top with the Parmesan crumbs and fried sage.

Apple Slab Pie

Apple Slab Pie

Celebrate National Apple Month with a delicious Apple Slab Pie. Perfect for a crowd, this easy treat is baked on a sheet tray instead of in a pie pan.  Roll out the dough and fill with apples and cinnamon, add a top crust, bake, and finish it with a drizzle of vanilla glaze. We like to serve it with a side of cinnamon swirl gelato.

For the pie crust:
4 cups all-purpose flour, we recommend White Lily
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons sugar
3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
7 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes
6-8 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:
4 pounds Granny Smith, and Honey crisp apples
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup cornstarch
3 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

1 tablespoon milk
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Gelato or ice cream for serving

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade; pulse to combine the ingredients. Add the butter and shortening and pulse only until the butter and shortening are cut into the flour, and the butter is the size of peas. Run the machine while adding the ice water, then pulse until the dough gathers together. Scrape all the dough onto a floured work surface and gather it into a large ball with your hands. Cut it in half and pat each half into a thick rectangle shape. Sprinkle each rectangle with a little flour, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.

Peel and core the apples; cut them into 16 thin slices per apple. In a large mixing bowl, combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

When ready to bake:  Roll out one of the rectangles of dough into a thin rectangle about 12×18”. Gently transfer the dough to a parchment lined sheet tray. Spread the apples evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving a 2” edge. Discard any remaining liquid in the bowl.

Remove the remaining rectangle of dough from the fridge and roll it into a large rectangle roughly the size of the other crust. Place over the other crust and crimp the edges.

Place the pie in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

Brush the top of the pie with the milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place in the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden and the center of the pie is bubbling. Remove and cool the pie completely before glazing, about one hour. 

To Make the Glaze:

Add to the confections sugar two tablespoons of milk and the vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. Add only enough additional milk until you get a thick glaze. Drizzle over the cooled pie. Let the glaze set, then cut and serve warm with vanilla gelato or ice cream. Makes 12 servings.