halloween

Pumpkin Bread

pumpkin-bread2

When I think of Fall potlucks, I think of anything with pumpkin and spices.  This Pumpkin Bread recipe has been in my family for years and it’s a great choice for your fall potlucks. Pumpkin and applesauce make it extra moist on the inside with a crunchy crust on the outside!

I prefer it with the raisins and walnuts, but it’s equally as good without.   It is a vegan recipe and can also easily be converted to gluten-free using a gluten-free flour (I highly recommend Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour).

Ingredients:

3 cups canned pumpkin

1 cup applesauce

4 cups white sugar

1 cup oil

5 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves

4 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 cups raisins, optional

2 cups nuts, optional

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, applesauce, white sugar, and oil.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Add in the optional raisins and nuts.

Pour into greased loaf pans.  This recipe makes 3 to 4 regular-sized loaves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes.  Start checking them at one hour.  If you’re using mini loaf pans, start checking them at 30 minutes.

Bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  It will get extra brown and crunchy around the edges, which is what you want!  Let cool completely and wrap in foil until potluck time.  Serve with a side of butter or other spread (like pumpkin spice cream cheese!).

 

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Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

This pumpkin soup is great for any Fall potluck!  The combination of pumpkin and cream cheese give it a rich, creamy texture and the cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar provide just the right amount of sweetness.  The original inspiration for this soup came from The Joy of Cooking cookbook.  I omitted the ham and added a bar of cream cheese.

Ingredients:

1 T. butter or olive oil

1 cup minced onion

1/2 cup minced celery

3 cups canned pumpkin

3 cups scalded milk

1 bar of cream cheese

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Heat the butter or olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and celery and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.  Stir in the pumpkin, milk, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.

Heat through, but do not boil.  Use an immersion blender, or a regular blender, to puree the soup.

You can make this soup the day before your potluck.  Reheat the soup on low and then transfer to a crockpot for potluck time.  You can also serve it with a side of toasted pumpkin seeds or croutons for toppings!

Candy Bucket Cookies

Candy Bucket Cookies 2

Put your leftover Halloween candy to great use in these fun, delicious cookies!  Jeff Mauro made these on Food Network’s “The Kitchen” Halloween show last week and I knew that I had to make them.  Had a few friends over last night for a potluck and everyone loved them!

You can use any combination of chocolate candies.  I used Butterfingers, Reese’s Pieces, Peanut Butter M&M’s, Peanut M&M’s, Kit Kats, and Snicker Bars.  Would have loved to put in some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and regular M & M’s, but there weren’t any left in my son’s Halloween bag.  The more variation, the better as it makes every bite a surprise.  I avoided anything with too much soft caramel because I didn’t think they would hold up well during the baking process.

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp.) salted butter, melted then cooled slightly

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large whole egg

1 large egg yolk

2 cups chopped leftover Halloween candy

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, whole egg, and egg yolk.  Blend until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Fold in the candy pieces.

Using a 4-ounce ice cream scoop (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup), put mounds of cookies on cookie sheet (give them lots of space as they will be big cookies).  Bake until slightly golden and puffy, about 14 to 17 minutes.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Then store in an airtight container until potluck time!

Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn 2

I love caramel corn and this is one of the best caramel corns I have ever tried!  The recipe is very easy and this caramel corn is extremely addicting.  So, you should make at least two or three batches (made separately; don’t double or triple the recipe) for a larger crowd.  Thank you, Brandy G., for sharing her recipe!

Ingredients:

8 cups popped corn

1 cup pecans, optional

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Remove ALL kernels from the popcorn and place the popped corn and optional nuts in a large bowl.

Cook brown sugar, butter, and light corn syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it boils.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5 minutes, without stirring.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda.  Stir until combined.  Pour caramel over the popcorn and stir to coat.

Bake for 30 minutes on a cookie sheet, stirring after 15 minutes.

Pour onto wax paper until cooled completely.  Store in an airtight container, and hide it from yourself, until potluck time!

 

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Bars

These pumpkin bars are insanely delicious!  The combination of pumpkin and cinnamon, topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting make these bars a perfect dessert for any Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Fall potluck.  Thank you to Joyce, who got the recipe from Debbie, for sharing these!

Ingredients:

Bars:

4 eggs

1 cup oil

2 1/4 cup sugar

16 oz. can pumpkin

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts, optional

 

Frosting:

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

6 T. butter or margarine, softened

1 T. half and half or orange juice (which ever you have)

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Beat eggs, oil, and sugar.  Mix in pumpkin, then flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir in nuts.  Pour into a greased 12 x 11 inch baking pan (you can also use a 9 x 13 inch pan).  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Beat cream cheese with butter or margarine until creamy.  Add half and half or orange juice, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.

Spread the top with cream cheese frosting.  Cut into bars*.  Makes 40.  Refrigerate until potluck time.

*Alternate serving idea:  Use a 9 x 13 inch pan and serve it as a pumpkin cake instead!