Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

sparkling pomegranate punch cocktails

We are almost halfway through December – are you holiday partied out yet?

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I have been to a few parties and gatherings, and have a few more on the docket before Christmas, but I’m feeling good about the pace so far. Some years my introverted self gets overwhelmed with all of the holiday get-togethers. I have found that, while it can be more work to host a party, I sometimes prefer being the host to being a guest. When I host a party, I’m guaranteed to know everyone I invite, which takes away the stress of making small talk with strangers, and even if I have to go back and forth to the kitchen, I often feel more relaxed in my own home than I do somewhere else.

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

As a hostess, I love serving a pretty, delicious, hands-off punch during the holiday season so I spend less time refilling drinks, and have more time to visit with friends and family. This sparkling pomegranate punch satisfies all of those categories.

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

The pomegranate juice and orange slices create a beautiful, jewel-toned punch, while the delicious orange ginger simple syrup gives it a little tang and just the right amount of sweetness. With a splash of rum, the pomegranate punch is party ready!

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Sparkling Pomegranate Punch Cocktails | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Another perk: this recipe easily multiplies, so you can make enough for a crowd of any size!

To grab the recipe, head over to Lexi’s blogIf you make your own sparkling pomegranate punch, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopehwoodhouse) on Instagram so I can follow along on your culinary adventures!

baked brie with mulled wine-soaked fruit

Remember that delicious mulled wine we made last week? We’re repurposing it today for a stunning, but amazingly easy holiday appetizer: baked Brie with mulled wine-soaked fruit.

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Around the holidays, I find myself running around like crazy, trying to do everything I possibly can with every group under the sun. Next Saturday alone I am meeting up with five groups of people for five different events from 9am-11pm. I know it is a crazy schedule, but I love all of the people I get to see and have fun at every event, which makes it difficult to cut back. But doing everything and being everywhere can be exhausting, and leaves me with no time to prepare. That is one reason I love this baked Brie so much – while it looks fancy, you can have this app ready in 15 minutes!

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

The short timeline, but impressive display makes it perfect for holiday parties and potlucks. Since the baked Brie steals the show, I often don’t even pair it with other cheeses, which makes this fancy cheese board so much more affordable than other elaborate hors d’oeuvre spreads. Fast, fancy, easy, and affordable? We’re winning the holiday party game this year.

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I love a good melty baked Brie, and it is an added bonus when the accouterments are soaked in spiced wine and absolutely delicious too. Each bite of warm, creamy Brie pairs so well with the spices from the wine-soaked fruit. It is like a holiday match made in heaven. I don’t know why I never did this before, but you can bet I’ll be doing it again before the season is over.

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopehwoodhouse) on Instagram so I can follow along on your culinary adventures!

Baked Brie with Mulled Wine-Soaked Fruit
1 wheel of Brie
1 cup mulled wine, homemade or store-bought (I found some at Aldi!)
1 apple or pear, peeled and diced
1/8 cup whole cranberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the mulled wine until just simmering. Add the apple or pear and cranberries and let them cook for 10-15 minutes, until they are wine-colored. The apple or pear will be tender when you poke the pieces with a fork, but shouldn’t fall apart. Remove from the heat and set aside while you prepare the Brie.

Spray a baking dish or small pie plate with nonstick spray. If possible, use the dish you will serve the Brie in, to prevent having to transfer hot cheese. Place the Brie in your prepared dish and bake for 10-15 minutes. The Brie should be close to bursting, but should still be in tact when you take it out of the oven. Use a slotted spoon to gently place the mulled wine-soaked fruit on top and to the sides of the baked Brie. Top with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a sprig of rosemary, if desired. Pair with crackers or bread and serve immediately.

If you have leftover fruit, or extra that doesn’t fit on your spread, you can store it in the fridge for a week to use for other delicious meals, appetizers, and drinks.

mulled wine (glühwein)

With the last Thanksgiving dish washed and the slow start back to work and school today, the holiday season has officially begun! This is my favorite time of the year. Lights twinkle on houses and trees, holiday parties begin, and there is so much festivity all around.

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)| Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Recently, I was looking back at some photos from my study abroad semester in college (which I can’t believe was five years ago!) and remembered that some of the best memories I made on my trip were during this time of year. The town I lived in in the Netherlands was only an hour from the German border, and only a few hours away by a direct bus to the German town of Bremen, which was known for it’s Christmas market. As one of our last excursions of the semester, my travel buddy, Hannah and I decided to take a day trip to the Bremen to explore the small, historic town and see the vast Christmas market.

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)| Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)| Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

We wanted to make the most of our day, so we took the first bus out and had return tickets for one of the last busses of the day. At the time, we thought it was a great plan. It wasn’t until we got off the bus in Bremen and realized we would have to stay outside in the frigid northern Germany December weather all day that we regretted our decision. We popped into shops and coffee shops throughout the day, waiting for the market to open and trying to break up our time outside with some warmth. By the time nightfall came, we were freezing cold, but the beautiful market stands stretching on and on, and the lights hanging overhead in all of the streets made the cold wait worth it. As we walked around the stalls, Hannah had been to Christmas markets back home near Chicago and exclaimed that we needed to find some glühwein to warm up our cold hands and bodies. As a naïve young American southerner, I had never been to a Christmas market, and definitely didn’t know what glühwein was, but was intrigued and willing to try anything that would warm my fingers. She explained that glühwein is a typical German version of mulled wine, or red wine heated with cinnamon sticks, anise, cloves, oranges, and sugar.

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)| Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

At the Christmas market, there were stands all over selling glühwein with signs saying “mit schuss,” meaning the mug of warm spiced wine was served with a shot of rum. We chose a stand that served the drink in clay souvenir mugs and watched as the vendor prepared a large basin of what we later found out was feuerzangenbowle, another form of glühwein where a rum soaked sugar loaf is set on fire and drips down from a metal grate balanced across the pot that contains the warm mulled wine. The rum and melted sugar drip down into the hot, spiced wine, and provide a show along with an amazing drink. With just one sip we were both in a better mood. The wine was warm, sweet, and spiced – perfect to sip on under the Christmas lights after a long day in the cold.

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)| Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)| Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

 

Ever since that trip I have wanted to recreate the delicious glühwein we had that cold, festive night. Tasting this homemade version brought me right back to that beautiful German Christmas market.

Mulled wine is a wonderful drink to have throughout the season for gatherings with small groups of friends, or parties with lots of people gathered around. It is so simple (just throw everything in the pot and heat!) and is easily multiplied for whatever size crowd you expect. Heating the wine gets rid of some of the alcohol, so add a shot of rum to each glass if you want this to be more of a cocktail.

Mulled Wine (Glühwein)
1 bottle dry red wine
2 cups apple cider
¼ cup brown sugar
1 orange, quartered and juiced
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
2 ½ teaspoons whole cloves
Rum, one shot per serving, optional

Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until hot, but not quite simmering. You don’t want to let it simmer, otherwise the alcohol will burn off. Serve immediately in glasses filled with cinnamon sticks and orange slices.

 

p.s. can you spy me in the top photo? ;)

thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese

What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers?

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

In my opinion, the only lunch option on the day after Thanksgiving should be some form of leftovers. For the traditionalists, there is the leftover plate – simply the same plate of food they made the day before, reheated. For those looking for a slight twist on the traditional leftover plate, there is the classic leftover sandwich, or bread topped with everything from the day before. I’ll admit, I like one traditional plate of Thanksgiving food after the big day, but after that it gets a bit boring. This year, we’re taking it a step further than the turkey sandwich with a Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese. Turkey, cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon mustard, melty gruyere cheese, and golden butter toasted bread come together for a sandwich that rises high above other family members’ boring leftover plates.

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

We’ve done Thanksgiving leftovers in breakfast form with sweet potato biscuit sandwiches, in case you are looking for a whole day worth of leftover recipes, but gooey, melted cheese on warm toasted bread with all of the Thanksgiving toppings is hard to resist for Friday lunch. Granny Smith apples get slightly softened by the heat, but still add a little crunch and balance out the cranberry sauce perfectly and the Dijon provides a flavor you may not have tasted the day before.

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Maybe you plan on shopping all day for Black Friday? This is a great welcome home sandwich that those non-shoppers can make for you. It is quick, easy, and delicious, and uses up tasty leftovers too! The best combination.

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Filled with turkey, sweet cranberry sauce, tart apple slices, dijon, and gruyere, this Thanksgiving leftovers grilled cheese is easy, delicious and perfect for your day-after lunch. | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Repurposed leftovers forever!

Thanksgiving Leftover Grilled Cheese
Makes one sandwich, but is easily multiplied

½ tablespoon butter
2 slices hearty bread
2-3 slices of leftover turkey
5 thin slices of granny smith apple (about ¼ of the apple)
4 ounces gruyere cheese, grated (can also use sharp white cheddar cheese)
2 ½ tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce
swipe of dijon mustard, to taste

I’m giving you exact measurements here, but feel free to adjust the measurements and make this how you like it!

Spread butter on the outside of one slice of bread. Spread cranberry sauce on the inside of one slice of bread and mustard on the inside of the other slice. Top both slices of bread with grated cheese (putting cheese on both sides will hold the sandwich together), then top one side with the turkey and apple slices. Put the two halves together.

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Once the butter is melted and bubbling, place your sandwich in the skillet, with the buttered bread facing up (so the bread that was not buttered is now in the hot buttered skillet). Toast until golden, then flip and toast until golden on the second side and the cheese is melty. Serve immediately.

maple caramel apple pie

We’re back with our second pie of the week – maple caramel apple pie! Pies can be very divisive. Some people love pies, some people can’t get into them; some people could eat fruit pies all day, and some will eat any pie except the fruit-filled ones (see yesterday’s chocolate chess bourbon pecan pie if that is you). There is the perception that pies are impossible to make. I don’t know if this stems from the process of making pie dough, decorating pies, or the different steps that go into the humble dessert, but it seems like a lot of people shy away from making pies because of this perception. This maple caramel apple pie is worth putting your pie insecurities aside. Break it down with me: buttery pie crust, cinnamon and apple filling, and maple caramel sauce. Worth. It.

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

I admit, I have long been a Pillsbury pie crust enthusiast, and still keep a box in the freezer to use in a pinch. But, when I was testing homemade dough for this pie I did a blind taste test between homemade dough and store-bought dough and was amazed at how much better the homemade pie crust looked and tasted. There was no comparison! Though it is more of a process to make, the taste is so much richer and more complex. I am now a homemade pie dough convert through and through.

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

Where the store-bought dough was pale and lackluster in flavor, the homemade pie crust on this pie is golden, flaky, and perfectly buttery. It was so good that I baked up the scraps from the pie and ate them like cookies for the rest of the afternoon. Follow my lead – they were delicious.

Maple Caramel Sauce | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

The pie filling itself is so easy to make. Grab a bag of tart apples and peel away before chop, chop, chopping them up. A quick toss in lemon juice and cinnamon brings bright, but cozy scents to the pie. We pour a nice hearty serving of our maple caramel sauce (I told you we would use it soon ;) ) all over the filling before topping with the rest of the pie dough. The apples slowly cook down in the pie, giving off such a quintessential fall scent that drifts throughout the house and creates the perfect escape from the chill in the air outside. I can’t decide if the maple caramel sauce, the buttery pie crust, or the mounds of apples are my favorite part of this recipe – it is so hard to pick just one.

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

Find the recipe for this delicious twist on the classic American apple pie over on Lexi’s blog today. If you make maple caramel apple pie, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopehwoodhouse) on Instagram so I can follow your adventures with these recipes!

Salted Maple Caramel Apple Pie | www.passthecookies.com

chocolate chess bourbon pecan pie

It’s the week before Thanksgiving, aka Thanksgiving menu prep week! Start rolling your pie dough, because you won’t want to miss the two pies I’m sharing this week, starting with a chocolate chess bourbon pecan pie!

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Like most people, our family’s Thanksgiving meal is pretty much the same every year. Though we stick to a traditional dinner menu, the desserts can change. Some years we have a fall cake (this one, this one, and this one are in the running this year), but no matter what, there is always a pie of some sort. Pumpkin pie and apple pie are the usual culprits, but my mom’s chocolate chess pie and a bourbon pecan pie we have made for years are my two favorites. Earlier this month I thought, if chocolate chess and bourbon pecan pie are my favorites, why not combine them for the best of both pies?! The mash up that resulted is amazing!

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Growing up, chocolate chess pie was a staple in our house when guests would come. It is rich and delicious and always receives complements. The first year I spent Thanksgiving with Will’s family while we were still dating, I brought two of my mom’s chocolate chess pies to share. They were quickly demolished and I was instructed that whether or not I could make it to the next family gathering, those pies were welcome. I now bring them whenever I visit and it is so fun to see the pie that has so many memories in my family creating new holiday traditions and memories in Will’s family.

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Our other go-to pie is chocolate chip bourbon pecan pie, which was actually one of the first recipes on the blog (you can find it in the recipe archives, but don’t judge the photos from those early days). Filled with chopped pecans, and topped with pecan halves, the pie has a great texture. You can truly taste the bourbon in the pie (another reason it is so tasty), but if that’s not your thing, just cut back on the amount you add.

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate chess bourbon pecan pie is an amazing combination of two already wonderful pies. The rich chocolaty goodness from the chocolate chess pie pairs beautifully with the toasted pecans. The gooey pecan pie filling meets the thick, custard-like filling of the chess pie, resulting in a beautiful marriage of the two textures – a pie that is not too thick, but still holds its chocolaty shape when cut. A large dollop of freshly made whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream are the only garnishes you need for the picture perfect plate of Thanksgiving pie.

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pecan pies are a showstopper on any dessert table, and with a chocolate chess pie base and a hint of bourbon, this chocolate chess bourbon pecan pie is sure to be a hit.

Chocolate Chess Bourbon Pecan Pie
Makes 2-3 pies, depending on the size/depth of your pie dishes
3 pie crusts (one is optional for decorating)
1 chocolate chess pie recipe (recipe follows)
1 bourbon pecan pie recipe (recipe follows)

Chocolate Chess Pie
10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) butter
3 ¼ ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
2 tablespoons flour
2 ¼ tablespoons dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bourbon Pecan Pie
4 cups pecan halves, toasted
6 eggs
1 ½ cups dark corn syrup
6 tablespoons sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3-6 tablespoons bourbon, based on your preference (I like closer to 6)

Pie Crust*
2 ½ cups flour
pinch of salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), cut into ½-inch cubes
½ cup ice water, or more as needed

*This pie crust recipe makes one crust. If you want to make all three, triple the recipe and split it into 3 equal-sized balls, or make three recipes separately. This pie crust is delicious, but no shame if you use the convenient frozen pie crusts – it’s a busy season after all!

My pie dishes are pretty deep, so this recipe only makes two pies. If you are using shallow pie dishes it might make three, in which case make sure you make three pie crusts, and add one more for decorating, if you wish.

Make the pie crust
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter and toss in the flour mixture to coat. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is the size of walnut halves.

Make a well in the middle of the butter-flour mixture and add the ice water, one tablespoon at a time. Mix after each addition just until the dough comes together.

Separate the dough into two equal balls. Roll out the dough balls into small rounds, wrap them in plastic wrap, and chill well before rolling to their full size (about 12 inches) for baking.
When you are ready to make the pies, transfer your rolled-out pie dough to a pie dish and carefully work it into the edges. Fold under any dough that hangs over the edge of the pie dish and crimp the edges as you go around the pan. Wrap the prepared pie plates in plastic wrap and freeze while you prepare the pie fillings.

Make the chocolate chess pie
In a large saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over very low heat.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in the sugar. Stir the egg and sugar mixture into the melted chocolate and butter. Mix in flour, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla. Pour the pie batter into the prepared pie dishes.

Make the bourbon pecan pie and assemble pies
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coarsely chop 1½ cups of pecan halves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Stir in the corn syrup, sugars, butter, salt, vanilla, and bourbon. Mix in the chopped pecans. Slowly pour the pecan pie filling on top of the chocolate chess pie filling. Top the pies with the reserved pecan halves.

Bake about 50-60 minutes, until the pies are set and no clumps come out on a toothpick inserted into the center. If the crust starts to get too brown, cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil. Cool the pies on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. Store the pies at room temperature or in the refrigerator, tightly covered in plastic wrap.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopewoodhouse) on Instagram or leave a comment below so I can follow your baking adventures this holiday season!

brown butter sweet potato cake with chocolate ganache and molasses buttercream

Are you ready to shine at your Thanksgiving or friendsgiving dinner? Make this brown butter sweet potato cake with chocolate ganache and molasses buttercream and you’re sure to be the hit of the party.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

While cookies are my favorite baked good to make (no surprise there), beautiful towering layer cakes always impress me. I’m not typically a cake lover (yet another reason I’m #teamcookie), but the other day when someone asked me for some of my favorite blog recipes, the amazing pumpkin pie cake from last year and the popular chocolate cake with whiskey caramel buttercream and dark chocolate ganache frosting from earlier this year were both at the top of the list. I take this to mean two things. First, because I’m not a big cake person, I only post cakes I love, which makes them rise to the top of the list. Second, thought they take longer to make, cakes feel fancy and exciting. After all, I keep cookie dough to bake at a moments notice for everyday occasions, but layer cakes are reserved for special occasions. Today, I’m bringing you a cake that fits in both of those categories. Sweet potato cake with chocolate ganache and molasses buttercream is both a cake I really love and is perfect for special occasions like a big Thanksgiving or friendsgiving meal.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

This sweet potato cake with chocolate ganache and molasses buttercream is like a big Thanksgiving hug in cake form. The sweet potato and molasses flavors bring back memories of scooping sweet potato casserole onto my plate at my grandmother’s house every year, and the brown butter flavor comes through just enough to enhance the flavor of the cake without taking over.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

One bite of that thick slice of cake garners the nostalgia of a full stomach and full heart as loved ones sit around the table after a big Thanksgiving meal, too stuffed to eat anything else, but still eager to fit in one more bite of dessert before the tryptophan kicks in for the evening.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Standing tall with three layers and two types of filling, this cake is sure to impress. Go the extra mile and pipe leftover frosting or marshmallow cream on top, sprinkle it with cocoa powder and cinnamon, and you have a cake that is sure to wow guests not only with it’s looks, but also with it’s delicious taste. It is those little details that don’t take long (you already have the frosting whipped up and would otherwise throw it away, right?), but make the cake special occasion-ready.

Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cake with Bourbon Molasses Frosting and Chocolate Ganache Filling

Sweet Potato Cake
22 oz baked sweet potatoes (almost 2 pounds of unbaked sweet potatoes, or about 4-6 medium sweet potatoes)*
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups (4 sticks) butter
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs

*The first time I tried to make this cake I measured my sweet potatoes before baking them, then when I measured after they were baked the amount wasn’t nearly the same. I used about 4-5 medium sweet potatoes (almost 2 pounds of unbaked sweet potatoes), which turned out to be just about 22 ounces, with a little extra for tasting. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can go measure almost 2 pounds of unbaked sweet potatoes at the grocery store before you buy them and use that measurement.

Sweet Potato Cake
Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place on your baking sheet. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are soft and begin to caramelize. Let them rest until they are cool enough to touch. If you are not baking the cake right away, these can be kept in fridge for up to three days. Peel the cooled sweet potatoes and mash the orange potato.

Brown the butter: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns brown and has a nutty smell. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. The butter is ready when it feels like a room temperature stick of butter. To speed up this process you can place the browned butter in a bowl in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8″ round pans and line with parchment paper circles, then butter again and coat with flour.

In large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2 to 4 minutes.

With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Add the vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture in two batches. Do not over mix. I mixed too much the first time I made this cake and it came out extremely dense. Learn from my mistakes and mix just until no streaks of flour remain, then stop. Scrape down the bowl again.

Gently fold the mashed sweet potatoes into the batter with a rubber spatula.

Divide batter evenly between the three 8″ round pans and bake for 30-32 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Bourbon Molasses Buttercream
10 large egg whites
3 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons molasses, divided
4 cups (8 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons bourbon

Boil a small saucepan (or double boiler) of water. In a heatproof bowl, lightly whisk egg whites, sugar, and 2 tablespoons molasses in over, but not touching, the boiling water. You want to gently heat the eggs so they get warm but not cooked. Whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (it should reach 155 to 160 degrees F on a candy thermometer). Transfer the egg white-sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed for about 8-10 minutes, until the meringue is shiny, holds stiff peaks, and has cooled to room temperature. The outside of the mixing bowl should be room temperature when you touch it.

Swap the whisk attachment for the paddle attachment and begin to add the butter, a couple of tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Adding the butter too quickly can cause your buttercream to curdle. After all of the butter has been added, increase speed to high and beat until thick and very fluffy. Stop the mixer and add the bourbon. Mix on medium speed and stream in the additional 4 to 6 tablespoons of molasses, depending on your preference (I like to use 6). Beat again until molasses is thoroughly mixed and frosting is still fluffy. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use. If you refrigerate the buttercream, let it warm to room temperature before using and beat it again until it becomes fluffy again. If your buttercream is too liquidy to use, place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes, then beat it again.

loaded peanut butter cookie bars

One of my favorite things to do around Halloween is to figure out a way to incorporate leftover candy in a baked good. I worry that I’ll run out of ideas for such a specific task, but so far, I love every variation. Last year I made M&M Reese’s sea salt chocolate chip cookies, the year before that we had brown butter blondie dark chocolate brownie candy swirled bars, and this year I’m excited to share these loaded peanut butter cookie bars.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic, and always delicious, combination, but looking back at the recipe archives I’m surprised that I haven’t included many peanut butter-chocolate recipes here. I loaded these bars with peanut butter M&Ms, Reese’s cups, and Snicker’s bars, but you can make them your own and add whatever leftover candy you have! Though I stuck with the peanut butter-based chocolates, basically any leftover chocolate candy would work well.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

When I was developing this recipe I looked high and low for other peanut butter cookie bars, with little success. Maybe I was using the wrong search terms, but it just didn’t seem like the bars I was envisioning were out there or easy to find. I came across lots of no-bake peanut butter bars that tried to emulate the filling in a Reese’s cup, but I knew that I wanted a thick, delicious cookie bar to be the base for chopped up candy, rather than a gooey, powdered sugar-filled filling. These loaded peanut butter cookie bars turned out exactly as I hoped they would. They are soft and chewy and with peanut butter and chocolate in every single bite. They are completely addicting.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I’m tempted to buy extra Halloween candy just so I know I will have enough to make these again on November 1st.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter M&M’s
3/4 cup chopped Snickers bars
3/4 cup chopped Reese’s

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg (make sure the butter isn’t still so hot it will cook the egg). Mix until combined.

Add the peanut butter and mix again until there are no streaks of peanut butter in the batter. Add the flour and mix just until it is combined. Try not to overmix.

Pour all of the candy into the bowl (I save a few M&M’s to add to the top) and gently fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Again, you don’t want to mix it too much at this stage or your bars will become less tender.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and even out the top with your spatula. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you test it with a toothpick make sure you aren’t just pulling out peanut butter from the candy, which can look like uncooked batter. Let the bars cool in the pans for about 20 minutes, then lift the parchment paper out of the pan and place the bars on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before cutting them into squares or triangles to serve. If you aren’t serving right away, don’t cut them into pieces (the edges will get dry if they are left out too long). You can store the bars in an airtight container for about 1 week.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopewoodhouse) on Instagram or leave a comment below so I can follow your baking adventures!

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

pumpkin ginger bourbon punch

I have the perfect fall cocktail for you today: pumpkin ginger bourbon punch. Don’t tell me you are tired of pumpkin yet. Hang with me just a little longer. Pumpkin ginger simple syrup combines with bourbon and ginger beer for a cocktail that basically tastes like fall in a cup.

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Yes, I put pumpkin in our cocktails, and I’m not sorry about it. You know my thoughts on pumpkin-flavored items, so this punch should come as no shock. The pumpkin ginger simple syrup that makes this drink so tasty is full of fall spices. The pumpkin flavor is present, but not too strong. You could add this syrup to any cocktail for a great fall flavor.

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I love adding ginger beer to any drink, especially in the colder months. It adds a bit of warmth and spice and makes the punch cozy and comforting. The combination of the pumpkin ginger simple syrup, bourbon, and ginger beer tastes like a Kentucky mule with an autumn twist. It is cinnamony and warm with a touch of pumpkin, a bit of spice, and a little heat from the bourbon. The cinnamon sugar rim is such a fun touch that makes the glasses look like they are sparkling.

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin ginger bourbon punch is perfect for your Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinner, or your friendsgiving cocktail hour. Make a big batch and serve it in a punch bowl or pitcher for a group, or rim individual glasses with cinnamon sugar for a smaller group. It is like a hug in a glass – so cozy and delicious.

To get the recipe for this pumpkin ginger bourbon punch, head over to Lexi’s blog post. If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopewoodhouse) on Instagram or leave a comment below so I can follow your adventures with these recipes!

slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats

I don’t know if I would consider myself a morning person (getting up super early is still a struggle, and I stay up late every night), but I have really started to love the quiet morning hours before the busyness of the day begins. To be honest, “hours” is a bit of an exaggeration, as I usually have 20 minutes to a single hour to myself in the morning before I leave for work, but that is all the more reason to make the most of this brief, peaceful time.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Some people can skip breakfast and wait until lunch for their first meal of the day. I am not that type of person; I wake up hungry and ready for breakfast the minute I hop out of bed. However, making breakfast is a chore that cuts into the calm morning we all crave, and sometimes it is easier to grab a granola bar or an apple and run out the door than fill up with a nutritional meal. This fall, we are combatting that and bringing back the calm mornings with slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Steel cut oats typically require soaking and lengthy cooking times when you prepare them on the stove, which make them perfect for a slow cooker. I love this recipe because I can throw all of the ingredients into one bowl, set the cook time on the slow cooker, go to sleep, and wake up to a healthy, hearty, delicious breakfast. My breakfast is literally being prepared for me while I sleep and I feel like an efficiency queen when I come downstairs in the morning to scoop my bowl of apple cinnamon steel cut oats. Easy breakfasts make easy mornings, and some mornings I need all the easy I can get.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats are filled with cinnamony goodness, but I love adding toppings for an extra crunch in each bite. Apples, toasted nuts, pepitas, maple syrup, all of the fall things! It’s hard to go wrong with oatmeal toppings.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

To find this easy recipe, head over to Lexi’s blog. If you make your own slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats, tag me on Instagram (@hopehwoodhouse) or leave a comment below! I’d love to see!

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Do you have any tricks for making your morning calmer?

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