Scrumptious Sundays: Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie…

…with Chocolate-Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce.  Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?  It looks even more delicious too.

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie with Chocolate-Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce

This whimsical pie comes topped with crunchy chocolate-almond bark. Purchased vanilla ice cream, pumpkin, and four different spices make up the delicious pie filling.
8 servings

Ingredients

– Crust

  • 12 whole graham crackers (about 7 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

– Filling

  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts premium vanilla ice cream

– Bark, sauce, and topping

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Preparation

– Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Finely grind graham crackers in processor. Mix in sugar. Add butter; mix to blend. Press onto bottom and up sides of 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Bake until light brown around edges, about 12 minutes. Cool completely.

– Filling

  • Whisk first 9 ingredients in medium bowl. Slightly soften ice cream in microwave in 10-second intervals. Measure 1 cup ice cream; cover and freeze (reserve for another use). Spoon remaining ice cream into large bowl. Working quickly, add pumpkin mixture and fold just until swirled into ice cream (do not blend completely). If ice cream begins to melt, freeze until almost firm. Spoon ice cream filling into cooled crust, cover with plastic, and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep frozen.

– Bark, sauce, and topping

  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper; spray with nonstick spray. Stir chocolate in bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Pour onto baking sheet. Using offset spatula, spread chocolate in even layer into 12×9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with nuts. Place in freezer until hard, at least 30 minutes. Invert onto work surface. Peel off paper. Coarsely chop. Place bark in medium container, cover, and freeze. DO AHEAD Chocolate-almond bark can be made 2 days ahead. Keep frozen.
  • Bring brown sugar, corn syrup, 3 tablespoons water, and butter to boil in heavy medium saucepan, stirring until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and boil until dark brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Carefully stir in 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Boil 1 minute longer. Cool slightly. DO AHEAD Sauce can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving.
  • Using electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until peaks form. Spoon decoratively over pie. Sprinkle chocolate-almond bark over. Cut pie into wedges and serve, passing warm sauce alongside.

Scrumptious Sundays: Pomegranate

One of my new favorite things are pomegranates.  You name it…food, fragrances, bath gels, etc.  If it says pomegranate on it, I’ll probably buy it.  However, when it comes to eating pomegranates, many people are afraid to try new things because of venturing into the unknown.  So, I thought it might be good to share some tips on pomegranates, including instructions on the proper way on how to seed a pomegranate.

Here is some other great information about pomegranates:

How to Buy

Look for fruits that are hard on the outside and feel heavy for their size; pass on any that have cracks or bruises. Rind color, which ranges from bright pink to red to brick, indicates variety, rather than ripeness. Choose the largest fruits you can find—the bigger the pomegranate, the juicier it will be.

How to Store

Whole fruits can be kept at room temperature for a week, or in the fridge for two. Or remove the seeds and seal them in an airtight container; they’ll keep for five days in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer.

Health Matters

Pomegranates are a source of vitamin C and potassium, plus antioxidants known as polyphenols. Eating them may support cardiovascular health and help avoid certain kinds of cancer.

Four More to Try

  • SCATTER seeds over a mix of baby greens, mint leaves, goat cheese, and pistachios.
  • TOP a fruit salad with Greek-style yogurt and pomegranate seeds.
  • SPRINKLE seeds over orange slices; sprinkle with orange-flower water, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice. Serve with sorbet.
  • GARNISH guacamole or hummus with pomegranate seeds; they’ll give refreshing contrast to the richness.

Scrumptious Sundays: Animal Cracker Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes tonight for Holly’s Jungle-themed Baby Shower tomorrow. 

  After putting the frosting on.

  After adding the sprinkles.

  Finished product. 

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For the cupcakes, I used the directions on the “Funfetti” cake box.

To make the frosting, I used this recipe that my mom always used:

Wilton’s Buttercream Icing

Tools:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar (approximately 1 lb.) sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

Makes: Icing makes about 3 cups.


Instructions

(Medium Consistency)

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often.  When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.  Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.  For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use.  Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks.  Rewhip before using.

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

Enjoy!

Scrumptious Sundays: Chocolate Chunk Cookies

*This one’s for Holly.  :)

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients

Makes about 4 dozen

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnut or pecan pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; and set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add sour cream, and beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Fold in chocolate and nuts.
  3. Drop dough in mounds (2 level tablespoons each) at least 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets (as you work, chill any remaining dough until ready to bake).
  4. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are golden brown but still soft to the touch, 15 to 16 minutes (chilled dough will take longer). Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Scrumptious Sundays: The Flying Biscuit

While visiting Reca and Elton in Atlanta last month, they took me to a wonderful place for breakfast called The Flying Biscuit.  Being that I do not eat pork, I usually have to miss out on sausage and bacon if I go anywhere, unless I cook it myself.  Well, not here!  =)  Their sausage is chicken and their bacon is turkey.  (They had me hooked right there.)

We all had the “Egg-stravaganza,” which consisted of two large farm fresh eggs served with their signature chicken breakfast sausage, crisp turkey bacon, plus whole wheat french toast topped with raspberry sauce & honey creme anglais…and a Flying Biscuit with your choice of oven-roasted “moon dusted” potatoes, creamy dreamy grits or a side salad of field greens.

Reca & Elton opted for the oven-roasted “moon dusted” potatoes, but being a grits girl at heart, I had to go with those.  None of us were disappointed.  All of it was absolutely to die for.  Just delicious!  But there’s no way I could finish it…way too much food! 

So, now, Reca & Elton have me hooked on this place, which sucks because they are currently only located in Atlanta.  (Guess I’ll have to make another trip to visit again very soon.)  ;-)

Anyways, they even provide a few free recipes on their website.  Not to mention, they have a cookbook available for purchase.  Can I say Christmas gifts?  =)

If you’re in the Atlanta area, you must make it a point to go check one of their locations out for yourself.  In the meantime, try some of their recipes.  They won’t disappoint!

Scrumptious Sundays: Georgetown Cupcakes

For Scott’s 30th birthday, we celebrated it in Washington D.C.  Before the trip, I was on a mission to find a birthday cake for him to be delivered to the hotel.  I never thought it could be so difficult.  But thankfully, with Stephanie’s help, she was able to direct me to a place called Georgetown Cupcakes.  A cupcakery nearby, who according to the reviews, has the best cupcakes imaginable.  I was hesitant at first, being that they were so expensive, until I started looking at other places for actual cakes.  Where’s a Publix when you need one?  (Definitely NOT in D.C.)  So, I sucked it up and paid to have them delivered to the hotel to surprise Scott.

We ended up trying the following flavors:

– Key Lime (Scott’s favorite) 

– Strawberry Banana

– Double Chocolate

– Chocolate PB Swirl

– Chocolate Mint

– Red Velvet

And I have to say, if you are ever in D.C., you MUST go and try one of their cupcakes.  We were not dissapointed.  You won’t be either.  Just make sure to go early, as they sell out quite fast.

Scrumptious Sundays: Sciortino’s Harbor Lights

Last time when I went up to visit Scott, his parents brought home pizza from Sciortino’s Harbor Lights in South Amboy, NJ.  It was THE BEST cheese pizza (or they just call it plain pizza up there) I’ve ever had. 

Needless to say, when Scott mentioned we should have pizza on Friday night, there was only one place I wanted to go.  Sciortino’s.  This time, it was even better than I remembered.  I don’t know what it is about the sauce, but it’s to die for.  It has a sweetness to it and just melts in your mouth.  This article explains a lot about it.  So, if you’re ever in New Jersey, make it a point to check out their pizza.  You won’t be disappointed.

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