There’s something so wonderful about fall baking, and it all seems to kick off with pumpkin season! So here are three of my favorite cookies and bars with pumpkin as the star! Whether it’s for your Thanksgiving dessert table or Christmas cookie exchange, these treats will get you in the holiday spirit in the most delightful way!
Let’s make fall official! If you’re crazy for an ultra-moist, rich-tasting cake with a mouthwatering frosting, the Arkansas Pumpkin Cake will help kick off this pumpkin harvest season in a big way! This is a dessert that I absolutely love, and I think you will too! The recipe was sent to me by Mary Koeplin of Glendale, Arizona whose husband John was making the cake for her birthday that day. Little did Mary know that her email actually came on my birthday, and it turned out to be a wonderful gift for me, too!
“Dear Jan, I’m having this cake for my birthday and I think you would love it. I got the recipe in 1973 from my cousin Vivian Hanson who lives in Marietta, Georgia. She gave it to me when I was first married 40 years ago. It’s a very unusual cake in that it stays moist forever! Fall seems to be the best time of the year for this spice cake. We’ve only made it as a Bundt cake and it always turns out well.”
I’ve made Mary’s Arkansas Pumpkin Cake in a large Bundt pan and in a 9X13 inch baking dish. I’ve also made the recipe and divided it into two smaller, 8×8 cake pans and froze one for later. The icing is fabulous with this over-the-top moist dessert, and it’s just as delicious refrigerated as it is room temperature. Thank you, Mary! Yet another reason to be thankful as we kick off the holiday season!
I love hearing about the origin of Italian dishes from my Momma, who grew up in Venice, Italy, and who became a gourmet chef when she arrived in America. One of my favorite stories is about a gourmet dessert that America has fallen in love with called Tiramisu. It is believed to have originated at a fabulous restaurant in Treviso, my Momma’s hometown, called Le Beccherie. It was the first place she took me to when I was 18 years old when visiting her town for the first time. Since then, Tiramisu has turned up in most Italian restaurant menus but few people actually know what Tiramisu means. It means “pick me up.” As Momma explained to me, during WW2, rationing was mandatory in Italy, and many people were under-nourished. That was a particular concern for pregnant women who needed to keep up the nutrients and calories to produce healthy babies. Tiramisu was the perfect solution. It’s loaded with protein-rich eggs, and calorie-rich heavy cream and Mascarpone cheese. The espresso would give one a boost of energy, and together the ingredients provided the perfect “pick me up.” The beauty of Tiramisu is that it is so easy to make. The only challenge is, you have to wait 8 hours for it to set up. But it’s worth the wait. Give yourself a delicious pick me up this week with melt-in-your-mouth Tiramisu!
Watch my How To Video for Tiramisu here!
It’s one of America’s favorite take-out meals. Visit the state of Washington, and you’ll quickly discover that Chicken Teriyaki Seattle style has become iconic. I’m not sure how it became so popular in that region, or maybe I do. His name is Toshi Kasahara and he’s known as the godfather of Seattle style Teriyaki. What I love about Kasahara’s recipe is that it’s simple. Very, very simple. So that’s where I began with what I think is a fabulous recipe for Chicken Teriyaki. There is one additional ingredient added to Seattle style teriyaki, toasted sesame oil. It seems to smooth out the flavor and bring in a touch more of the Asian influence. Although Chicken Teriyaki’s predominant flavor is soy sauce, there’s another ingredient that I think is the rock star in the sauce. Mirin is a sweetened rice wine similar to sake, and it’s the perfect companion for the salty soy sauce. The Teriyaki comes together pretty easily. The liquid gets heated on the stovetop, cooled and then blended with garlic cloves, fresh ginger and the sesame oil. Now for the chicken. Sorry white meat lovers, but it’s gotta be skinless, boneless chicken thighs. There are three reasons for that; flavor, flavor and flavor. Having said that, if you must have chicken breast instead of thighs, I think the teriyaki sauce will save the day. It’s just that tasty! So, if you routinely order Chicken Teriyaki for take-out, give this recipe a try. I think it may stack up nicely to your favorite Japanese grab and go!