Condiments

Homemade Pecan Pumpkin Butter

by Shawnda on September 19, 2012

in Condiments,DIY,Pumpkin

Updated from the archives.
Homemade Pecan Pumpkin Butter

No trip to the mall is complete without a 20-minute detour into the shiny, overpriced gourmet kitchen store. We like to slowly creep along the aisles, ooohing over fancy salts, aaahing over delicious oils and gourmet chocolates, and shaking our head disapprovingly at $100 pairing knives.

Six (!) years ago, we bought our first few jars of Muirhead Pecan Pumpkin Butter at that shiny store and used it for holiday baking. If you’ve never had it, you’re missing out. It. Is. Terrific. It’s good in pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls (stay tuned!) as pumpkin pie filling, and on brie. Oh my goodness, the brie (slather it on a wheel of baked brie, add walnuts or pecans, wrap it in puff pastry and devour).

And I’m not the only fan! But at $12 for less than 2 cups, it’s a wee bit cost-prohibitive to load up on it for a marathon baking session or to just stand there and eat it with a spoon (a serving suggestion that I highly recommend).

Homemade Pecan Pumpkin Butter

The ingredients which make up the store-bought pumpkin butter couldn’t be easier to obtain: pumpkin, pecans, sugar, lemon juice, and spices.

5 years ago, I whipped up my first batch of homemade pecan pumpkin butter based (mostly) on those ingredients and took a pretty unattractive picture (photographing brown food sucks) and posted it to the internet. Because every year around this time it becomes one of the top recipes on the blog, I decided that bowl of brown stuff needed a new photo. So here’s a new picture. Of a jar of brown stuff :)

Pecan Pumpkin Butter

A homemade version of the gourmet kitchen store favorite, fragrant and flavorful pecan pumpkin butter.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest of 1/2 orange
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
  • 1/4 tsp allspice*
  • 1/8 tsp cloves*
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Can replace with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 7 minutes, until browned and fragrant.
  3. Run the pecans through the food processor until finely ground - they'll start to take on a pasty consistency (pecan butter!).
  4. In a 2-qt sauce pan over medium heat, combine the citrus zests and juices and dark brown sugar. Stir until warmed. Add pumpkin, nuts, and spices and reduce heat to low, simmering for 20
  5. Turn heat down to low, simmering for 20-30 minutes, until thickened and the color darkens.
  6. Stir and taste for seasoning and sweetness occasionally, adding additional spices as necessary.
  7. The pumpkin butter will keep 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Notes

Yields: ~2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 40 minutes

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Homemade Honey Roasted Peanuts

To me, the appeal of any recipe has always been that it was created with a good, solid base, allowing me to easily swap out a few ingredients and transform the dish into something completely new. Adaptability. Variability. Riffability.

(I’ll concede that one of those might not be a real word.)

One recipe I’ve been playing around with lately is honey-roasted peanuts. They’re sweet, salty, and addictively crunchy “plain.” But add crushed red pepper flakes (like the nuclear hot stuff we made from our serrano explosion) and you’ve got a sweet & spicy treat. It’s pretty much legal crack.

Add the warm flavors of pumpkin pie spices (stay tuned) and you get a crunchy snack perfect for fall snacking. Substitute almonds for peanuts? You’ve got a whole ‘nother ball game (and a healthier one, too).

But perhaps best of all, there are fewer (4! Maybe 5) and less-processed ingredients than its store bought counterpart and the names of all of those ingredients? They can be probably pronounced by your average 2nd grader or your incredibly gifted 1st grader.

Homemade Roasted Peanuts

The honey roasting process is simple. Peanuts are coated with honey before being tossed with sugar and salt and roasted in the oven. I changed the method just a bit to produce a crunchier, coarser texture on the peanuts – the coating on the peanuts accounts for 56.3% of the fun!

The trickiest thing about making the peanuts in my oven is preventing them from burning before the sugar and honey caramelize enough to produce a beautiful golden brown crunchy coating. Enter the Silpat.

Homemade Honey-Roasted Peanuts

My favorite rinse-it-off-and-wipe-it-clean baking mat keeps the temperature even and makes honey-roasting clean-up a breeze. If you’ve been around here long enough, you know that I’m a huge Silpat fan. I’ve used them for years – cookies, scones, macarons, salmon roulade, bread! – and have given a few of them away along the way.

Congratulations to commenter #352 – Ashley P! Please check your email for instructions on how to claim your prize.

And we have another one to giveaway today! Silpat has provided a “half” sized baking mat for a lucky reader, just in time for fall and holiday baking. The half size is made to fit the large jelly-roll style baking pans.

To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments below: What are you looking forward to baking most this fall?

You can earn up to 5 bonus entries by:
– Leaving a separate comment that you’ve tweeted about the giveaway. It’s simple – just click here!
– Leaving a separate comment that you like Silpat on Facebook.
– Leaving a separate comment that you follow Silpat on Twitter.
– Leaving a separate comment that you follow Silpat on Pinterest.
– Leaving a separate comment that you subscribe to Silpat’s YouTube channel.

Good luck!

The fine print:
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm (Texas time!) 9/24.
– Winner will be selected by one of those cold, soulless, unfeeling random number generator thingies and announced on this post after selected.
– Winners will receive a Silpat Half Size baking mat (maximum retail value of prize = $30).
– Prize must be claimed within 7 days or it will be forfeited.
– Prize can only be shipped to a US address.
– Prize is being provided directly to the winner by Silpat.
– Official giveaway rules can be found here.

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanuts

Homemade honey roasted peanuts couldn't be easier to make with only 4 ingredients. Adding crushed red pepper makes a sweet and spicy (and addictive) snack.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz cocktail peanuts
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silpat.
  3. Place peanuts in a medium bowl (large enough to stir the peanuts).
  4. Microwave honey and crushed red pepper in a bowl for 30 seconds and pour over the peanuts.
  5. Add half of the sugar and the salt, stirring well.
  6. Spread onto the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, making sure to stir the peanuts on the edges in to prevent burning.
  7. Let cool for 2-3 minutes and then stir the peanuts, scraping the honey from the silpat to coat the peanuts.
  8. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp sugar and stir again.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and let cool completely.
  10. Break up the peanuts into single/smaller pieces and store in an airtight container.

Notes

Yields: ~3 cups

Adapted from The Kitchn

Estimated time: 35 minutes

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DIY: Crushed Red Pepper

by Shawnda on September 3, 2012

in Condiments,DIY,Garden

Homemade Crushed Red Pepper

One of the biggest pains in the garden this year, besides fire ants and weeds, has been the Serrano plant. It’s a hold over from last year’s garden and the only reason it got a reprieve was because I got it mixed up with the jalapeno plant.

Serrano peppers are hot. Really hot. Too hot to eat as casually as we eat jalapenos and they’re not really meaty enough to candy. So what do you do when you’ve got over 100 peppers, screaming to be picked?

You ignore them.

Homemade Crushed Red Pepper

More than once this summer, we decided that we were just going to rip out the serrano plant but I’m really glad that I was too lazy to pull the trigger. Because we found the perfect use for the 71 red serrano peppers that I picked last week: homemade red pepper flakes. (The other 40-ish will meet the same fate as soon as they turn red.)

Crushed red pepper is one of those things that, once you make at home, you’ll never want to buy again. And it takes no real special equipment although some modern conveniences will make the crushing go faster. And with less eyeball-stinging and therefore probably much less cursing.

Your jar of homemade red pepper flakes will be a vibrant shade of red, hinting at the life in each bite. But even more than the heat, which of course I loved, was the texture – crisp and crunchy.

A coarser grind (done by hand, blender, or food processor) will give you a crispy, crunchy bite when sprinkled on top of a bowl of honey sesame chicken and couscous. A finer grind (done with a spice grinder) will give you a powerful powder for seasoning a mean pot of chile.

Homemade Crushed Red Pepper

There’s no real recipe here – after all, there’s only 1 ingredient: Fresh red peppers (I used serrano). I don’t have a food dehydrator so I simply used the “Keep Warm” setting on the oven – it’s 170 degrees. One day, I’m going to try Alton Brown’s DIY dehydrator method (2 AC filters, a bungie cord, and a box fan) but for now, the oven is about as unmessy as it gets.

We cut the stems off the peppers and cut them in half down the length of the pepper. I put them on on an ungreased baking sheet in the oven at 170F (the “keep warm” setting) for 6 hours and then I shut the oven off and let them sit overnight. By morning, they were perfectly crispy and will crumble when squeezed. And shatter into a million pieces when dropped on the floor and stepped on.

Homemade Crushed Red Pepper

Peppers can be crumbled by hand – but only if you have gloves; crushed in a plastic bag, run through a food processor, or coarsely ground and then transferred to a spice grinder.

71 peppers yielded over 1 cup of coarse red pepper flakes. And I’m a little disturbed at how fast we’re tearing through it.

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Balsamic Pickled Cherries

by Shawnda on August 1, 2012

in Cherries,Condiments,Fruit,Pork

Balsamic Pickled Cherries

If we are what we eat, my stellar eating habits over the last two months would produce some sort of cherry-Sauza-Cool Ranch Doritos hybrid. But mostly cherries.

We took advantage of cherries being so plentiful and affordable this summer. Was it like that everywhere else? I swear that this was the first summer they virtually begged us to buy them.

With the end of cherry season approaching, I hoarded a few pounds for the freezer and then spotted a terrific idea in Food & Wine for the very last pound of cherries I had on hand: pickling in balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic Pickled Cherries

The balsamic vinegar takes on the sweet cherry flavor and made a tasty vinaigrette to drizzle over grilled pork tenderloin. And the sweet & sour cherries are perfect for snacking, eating in a salad, over toasted baguette slices topped with goat cheese (my favorite!), and piled on top of brined & grilled pork chops.

Balsamic Pickled Cherries

The original recipe (for Pickled Figs) noted that the figs would be good on the shelf for 6 months. Cherries are more delicate than the slightly under-ripe figs recommended and I wanted them to retain as much of their texture as possible. I was certain that they wouldn’t survive a 15-minute canning bath so I chose to skip the “official” canning procedures and stored them in the fridge instead.

Pickled Cherries

Stretch out the cherry season with these balsamic pickled cherries.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 1/2-pint canning jars with lids and rings
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/4 pounds cherries, stems and pits removed

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and balsamic vinegar until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Bring to a boil and then add the cherries, simmering over low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Spoon the cherries equally between the jars (I ended up with 4 full jars of cherries and a 5th jar that was just over half full of cherry-balsamic vinegar).
  4. Turn up the heat to high and cook the balsamic mixture for another 5 minutes.
  5. Ladle the syrup over the cherries, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top.
  6. Screw the lids and rings on top and try to wait a few days before opening the first jar.
  7. The cherries will keep a couple of months in the fridge.
  8. If you wish to store the cherries at room temperature, you'll need to follow appropriate canning procedures: sterilizing the jar components first and then boiling the closed jars for 15 minutes in a hot water bath.

Notes

Yields: 4-5 1/2 pint jars

Adapted from Food & Wine

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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