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Filtering by Category: thanksgiving

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Parmesan

Patricia Reitz

I'm so glad the old standard boiling method of cooking Brussels sprouts has fallen out of fashion - the results were limp, soggy, gray sprouts that surely had little to no nutritional value.  These days, roasting and sauteing are more common cooking techniques, resulting in creamy, caramelized, vibrant colored sprouts that haven't had all their nutritional value sucked away in a sea ofboiling water. 

Today I've taken my usual oven roasted sprouts and dressed them up with a really tasty mixture of sauteed onions and pancetta, and just before serving, I added shavings of really good parmesan.  This recipe is really delicious and worthy of being served at any holiday meal.  

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Start by sauteing diced onions and pancetta in a really large skillet over medium high heat, stirring frequently.

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Continue sauteing until the onions and pancetta begin to caramelize.  


Turn off the heat and add a little water to deglaze the pan, then add a touch of red wine vinegar - the flavor combination is pure magic!

Pour the mixture over roasted Brussels sprouts and top with shavings of the good stuff, Parmigiano Reggiano.  Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:

Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Parmesan

makes 4-6 servings


  • 1 pound roasted Brussels sprouts (recipe here)

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 8 ounces diced pancetta

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

  • shaved parmesan


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute onions and pancetta, stirring frequently, until caramelized.

  2. Add water to deglaze pan; remove from heat and stir in red wine vinegar.

  3. Pour contents of pan over roasted sprouts and top with shaved parmesan.

Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail

Patricia Reitz

Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail - ButterYum

Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail - ButterYum

Here's a festive mocktail that everyone will enjoy.

Pomegranate Fizz Mocktail

makes 4 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/3 cups pomegranate juice, chilled 
  • 1 liter lemon-lime soda (or ginger ale), chilled 
  • optional garnish - fresh pomegranate arils (seeds)


  1. Combine one part pomegranate juice to three parts lemon-lime soda per glass.
  2. Garnish with fresh pomegranate seeds if desired.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk

Patricia Reitz

Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk - ButterYum

Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk - ButterYum

We love Brussels sprouts in this house and it's so nice to see them gaining in popularity.  Gone are the days of boiled, soggy, overcooked sprouts.  Roasting is the key to making flavorful sprouts.  This time of year you can often find whole stalks available.  I grab them every time I see them.  I mean, just look at how fun they are!  The sprouts pop right off the stalk, but I thought it might be fun to roast them on the stalk this time.  Here's how I did it.

I placed the stalk of sprouts on a sheet pan that I use for roasting vegetables.  

I spritzed the entire stalk with olive oil spray and sprinkled all sides with kosher salt and pepper. Then I popped the pan into the center of a 400F oven. 

How to roast Brussels sprouts on the stalk

And here they are after 30 minutes.

I cut the individual sprouts off the stalk with a sharp knife (a small trimming knife that has a thin, sharp blade like this one is perfect for the job).

How to cook brussels sprouts on the stalk

It's hard not to eat them as fast as they're cut off the stalk.

What did I do with the leftover stalk?  I chopped it up in the food processor and will feed it to my neighbor's chickens.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk

makes 4 servings

Printable Recipe


  • 18-inch stalk of brussels sprouts
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Spray brussels sprout stalk all over with olive oil spray, then sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over entire stalk.
  3. Place on half sheet pan and roast on center rack for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before cutting sprouts off stalk.


  • Stalks that have sprouts that aren't touching one another work best.  Sprouts that are packed close together are best removed from the stalk and cooked separately.  

Roasted Acorn Squash Bread

Patricia Reitz

Acorn Squash Bread - ButterYum

Acorn Squash Bread - ButterYum

Oh how my family loves sweet, delicious quick breads.  This time of year I usually make pumpkin bread, but just about any sweet winter squash can be substituted.  Today I'm using pureed acorn squash, but think about using other tasty varieties like butternut, buttercup, cushaw, delicata, hubbard, kabocha, and so on. 

I like to freeze the roasted, pureed squash in 1-cup portions so I can bake a fresh loaf whenever the mood strikes.  Also, baked loaves freeze beautifully when wrapped well in plastic followed by heavy-duty foil, being sure to seal very well.  Thaw, wrapped, in the fridge overnight.

To begin, we'll need to roast some squash.  For the bread shown in the photo, I used acorn squash, but just about any sweet winter squash variety can be used.

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds (this tool works really well).  

We won't be needing the seeds today's recipe, but you can certainly roast them separately (click here).

Preheat the oven to 400F and place the squash cut side down on a half sheet pan.  Pierce the squash with the point of a sharp knife a few times so they don't explode in the oven.  

Roast uncovered for about 30 minutes until they look like this.  They'll be soft to the touch and the flesh will scoop out easily when they're cool enough to handle. 

They should be soft enough to give under pressure.  Don't be alarmed if the squash halves start to caramelize during the roasting process.  Extra flavor.  Cool and scoop the squash from the skins and puree it.  If I have a lot of squash to puree, I use this wonderful piece of equipment.  For a smaller amount, a hand-held immersion blender works well - I use this one).

Time to mix the dry ingredients for the bread.  Flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

Whisk to combine.  Have you tried a flat whisk yet?  I have this one - changed my life. 

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients.  Pureed squash, applesauce, sugar, and eggs.

Whisk to combine.

Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly.  I usually start out whisking, then switch to a silicone spatula - this one is my all-time favorite. 

Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with Baker's Joy.... unless you want the corners of your bread to stick in the pan.  Another life changing product.  Just saying.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about an hour.  Remove from oven and rest for about 10-15 minutes before unmolding.  Cool completely on a rack before slicing with a serrated knife (my favorite brand).

Be sure to use a really good quality pan, like this one, for best results.  Your bread won't burn and your pan won't rust.  Commercial quality pays.  

acorn squash quick bread recipe with step-by-step photos.

Roasted Acorn Squash Bread

makes one 9x5-inch loaf

Printable Recipe


  • 1 cup roasted acorn squash puree (see note below)

  • 4 ounces applesauce

  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (or double if using dried)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350F, coat a 9x5-inch metal loaf pan with baking spray, and place oven rack in lower center position.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pureed squash, applesauce, sugar, and eggs; set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves, and cinnamon.

  4. Pour squash mixture into flour mixture and whisk until no dry lumps remain.

  5. Spread batter evenly in prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center (and all the way down to the bottom of the pan) comes out clean.

  6. Remove bread from oven and rest for 10- 15 minutes before unmolding.

  7. Allow bread to cool completely on a rack before slicing.


  • To roast squash, preheat oven to 400F. Cut squash in half, scoop out and remove seeds. Place halves, cut side down, on half sheet pan. Pierce skin with knife in several places. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the outer skin softens and gives under pressure. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from skins and use a food processor to puree (you can skip this step if your squash doesn't have a stringy texture).

  • Freeze the roasted, pureed squash in 1-cup portions so you can bake a fresh loaf whenever the mood strikes.

  • Baked loaves freeze beautifully when vacuum sealed or wrapped well in plastic followed by heavy-duty foil, being sure to seal very well. Thaw overnight in the fridge before unwrapping.

Maple Leaf Cookies

Patricia Reitz

Maple Leaf Cookies - ButterYum

Maple Leaf Cookies - ButterYum

Here's a recipe for extremely delicious maple cookies that are very easy to make. Of course, they're perfect served in the fall, but honestly, you can't go wrong serving them any time of year.  If you love pure maple syrup, you must try these cookies.  You won't believe how good they are. 

Roll cookies to 1/4-inch thickness.  I like to use rolling guides like  theses or these to ensure all my cookies are the same thickness.  

I also like to roll my cookie dough between two layers of wax paper.  This eliminates the need to dust extra flour all over the counter and cookie dough.  It's a much less messy operation and the dough scraps can easily be rerolled. 

maple leaf cookie recipe and tutorial - lots of how-to photos - thanksgiving cookies - thanksgiving desserts

The cookie dough for this recipe is frozen for 15 minutes before cutting.  You can make any shape cutout, but I love this maple leaf cutter.  Press the cutter into the dough, then push the plunger to leave an impression of the design.  Work quickly because the dough will soften in a short time.

I love the way these look.  

Transfer the frozen cutouts to two Silpat lined half sheet pans.  If the cutouts soften before you've had a chance to transfer them to the pan, pop them back in the freezer to firm up.  Be sure to freeze the cutouts for at least 15 minutes before baking too.  That will help them retain their shape as they bake. 

Look how cute they turned out.  And just wait until you taste them - they're amazing.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

If you don't have a maple leaf cutter, feel free to use any shape you like.  I sometimes cut them with a 2 1/2-inch cutter from this round scalloped cutter set - they look very elegant stacked on a footed cake stand.  This recipe makes about thirty 2 1/2-inch round cookies.

Maple Leaf Cookies

Printable Recipes


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or BeaterBlade attachment, beat butter and both sugars together on medium speed for 3 minutes.  
  3. Reduce speed a little and add egg yolk and pure maple syrup; mix until combined.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined.  
  5. Wrap cookie dough well in plastic and chill for a minimum of 2 hours (or up to several days).
  6. Preheat oven to 325F and line 2 half sheet pans with Silpat liners.
  7. Roll chilled cookie dough 1/4-inch thick between two layers of wax paper.
  8. Freeze rolled cookie dough for 15 minutes before cutting shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters (imprint design if using plunge cutters).
  9. Transfer cutouts to prepared pans and return to freezer for 15 minutes.
  10. Bake one pan at a time in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes or until the cookies just begin to turn golden around the edges.  Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

adapted from Martha Stewart


Thanksgiving Turkey Cake Pops

Patricia Reitz

How cute would these turkey cake pops be on your holiday table?  I posted a lot of photos so I could show you every step, but don't be alarmed - these cake pops are really pretty easy to make.  Set up an assembly line and before you know it you'll have a rafter of cute little turkeys.

Did you know a flock of turkeys was called a rafter?

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Start by baking a single layer cake in a 9x13-inch pan.   Sometimes I make vanilla and other times I make chocolate.  You can never go wrong with vanilla, but chocolate is best used for cake pops that will be coated in dark colors (for example, you wouldn't want to cover a chocolate cake ball with white candy melts because the chocolate would be visible through the candy coating).  

I've included recipes for both vanilla and chocolate cake at the end of this post if you'd like to bake from scratch, but you can certainly use boxed cake mixes if you like.  Just follow the instructions on the box. 

The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean (a few crumbs is okay).  Cool the cake for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan to finish cooling completely. 

In addition to cake, you'll need a binding agent of some sort.  I like to use real buttercream, cream cheese, or chocolate ganache (for chocolate cake) because they firm up when chilled, which helps a lot when dipping the cake balls.

I also like to use my BeaterBlade attachment when mixing the cake pop dough.  It mixes the dough better than anything.  

Here's what vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream look like after mixing for a minute or so.  If you don't have a BeaterBlade attachment, use a paddle attachment and be sure to mix until the dough looks smooth and feels like PlayDoh.


To ensure all my cake pops are the same size, I use a #50 scoop to portion the dough.  This size will give you about 45 cake pops from one 9x13 cake (or one box of cake mix).  They'll end up being about 1 1/2-inch in diameter.

Roll the portions of cake dough into balls or other shapes.

For chocolate cake pop dough, I prefer the flavor of chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream, but I only had cream cheese on this day so that's what I used.  

Hmmm.  I wonder what kind of cake pops those cone shapes are going to be....

I'll save that design for another day.  Let's get back to our Thanksgiving Turkeys.


Time to turn cake balls into cake pops.  We're going to insert 6-inch lollipop sticks into the cake balls, using a little melted candy coating (candy melts) as glue.  Dip the lollipop stick about 1/2-inch into the melted candy, ten push into a cake ball.     

Push the sticks in about 1/2 inch.  Do it carefully and you'll notice a little chocolate plug being formed.  Note - if you push the stick in too far, the cake pop will break so go slow until you get the hang of it.

To retain their shape, place the cake pop sticks upright in a heavy-bottomed glass, styrofoam, or a cake pop holder.  Chill for at least 10 minutes or up to a couple of hours.  If you want to make them even further in advance, be sure to cover them will to prevent them from drying out.

Alright then, now that the cake pops have chilled, we're ready to start decorating!!!  

To make turkeys, I'm going to start with chocolate-filled sandwich cookies.  If you can't find them, regular sandwich cookies will work - more on that later. 

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Scrape the filling out of the cookies, divide in half, roll into two balls, and chill for a few minutes until firm.  If you can't find chocolate sandwich cookies, substitute brown fondant or some other chocolate candy that can be squished into a flat round disk (you'll see that later).

Time to melt some candy melts - I've used many brands and they all seem to be basically the same. 

By the way, I LOVE these containers - I can melt, dip, and store leftovers all in one.  

For our turkeys, we need chocolate candy melts (don't be tempted to use pure chocolate unless you plan to temper it - a time consuming process that most of us don't care to mess around with).  

Some candy melt brands melt smoother than others.  Alternate heating the candy melts for 15-30 seconds and stirring until completely melted.  Some brands melt smoother than others, but the final consistency should be smooth enough to fall off a spoon in a continuous ribbon rather than falling off the spoon in dollops.  If your candy melts fall off in dollops, add vegetable shortening (heat to melt and stir in well).  Start with about 1/2-teaspoon per 4 ounces of candy melts.

Place a dollop of chocolate on each cookie half. 

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Place a dollop of chocolate on each cookie half. 

Now we'll squish those chocolate cookie filling balls into round disks to make the turkey faces.  Again, if you can't find chocolate filled cookies, use fondant or other candy that you can roll and flatten into a disk.  Or use an unmelted candy melt in tan, off white, or light brown.

For the face we need some little candies.  I like to use mini m&m for the eyes and chocolate covered sunflower seeds for the beak and wattle. 

Using a toothpick, I place a small dot of chocolate candy melts to glue the candies in place.

Use a food-safe marker to draw dots on the M&M eyes.  Chill until needed. 

Remove chilled cake pop from fridge and dip to coat.  Place on wax paper and allow chocolate coating to set.  Then use a little melted chocolate coating to glue the tail and face in place. 

That's all there is to it.

Howto make Thanksgiving cake pops - how to make turkey cake pops - PHOTOS

Happy Thanksgiving!

Items used to make this recipe:

White Cake

Printable Recipe



  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Prepare a high quality, light colored metal 9x13-inch cake pan with oil/flour baking spray.

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade attachment (or hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, shortening, and salt until the shortening is completely incorporated.

  4. Add the milk, egg whites, and pure vanilla extract; mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

  6. Cool for 10 minutes before turning out of pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

To Make White Cake Pop Dough:  Crumble cooled white cake and place in bowl of stand mixer with about 1/2 cup vanilla buttercream (or 8 ounces room temperature cream cheese); combine until smooth and paste-like using flat paddle or BeaterBlade attachment.  Roll dough into balls or other shapes.  If the dough balls crack or seem a little dry, add a little more buttercream.     

Chocolate Cake

Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/2 cup shortening

  • 1 1/3 cup water

  • 1/2 cup canola oil

  • 3 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Prepare a high quality, light colored metal 9x13-inch cake pan with oil/flour baking spray.

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade attachment (or hand mixer), combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and shortening until the shortening is completely incorporated.

  4. Add the water, oil, and eggs; mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

  6. Cool for 10 minutes before turning out of pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

To Make Chocolate Cake Pop Dough:  Crumble cooled chocolate cake and place in bowl of stand mixer with about 1/2 cup chocolate frosting or vanilla buttercream (or 8 ounces room temperature cream cheese); combine until smooth and PlayDoh-like using flat paddle or BeaterBlade attachment.   Roll dough into balls or other shapes.  If the dough balls crack or seem a little dry, add a little more frosting or buttercream.

Additional items needed:

Candied Pecans

Patricia Reitz

Hi Everyone.  It's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club, where each month, a group of bloggers are assigned a blog, and we get to choose a recipe from that blog to feature on our own blogs, then we all reveal our assigned blogs on the same day.

This month I was assigned the blog:  Smells Like Brownies by Melissa.  Melissa is a stay-at-home wife and mother of two, and her favorite thing to do is share delicious food with her family and friends.  

Melissa's blog is only 4 years old, but she has an impressive catalog of recipes to choose from.  I had a particularly busy week so I needed to find a simple and fast recipe to prepare for this month's reveal.  The Black Bean Hummus sounded really good, so did the Salmon Mousse (definitely going to make that one), and if I had had time, the Maple Coconut Granola has my name written all over it, and I would have tried the Homemade Mozzarella, but in the end, time was a huge factor so I chose Candied Pecans which I plan to share with family during the upcoming holidays.  These nuts are addictive - the only thing I'd do differently next time is make more!  

Thanks Melissa - these candied pecans are the bomb!

Start by lightly toasting the pecans in the oven.

Make a sugar praline-like syrup syrup.

Add pure vanilla extract (only the best!).

Add the toasted pecans to the caramelized sugar syrup.

Toss well to coat.

Pour coated pecans onto a silicone lined sheet pan; spreading them out into a single layer.

Bake in oven, tossing every 10 minutes until the sugar crystallizes. 

Totally addictive Candied Pecan Recipe w/PHOTOS

Totally addictive - sorry I didn't make a double batch!  

Items used to make this recipe:

Candied Pecans

makes 1 1/2 cups

Printable Recipe



  1. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat liner and preheat the oven to 250F (yes, 250F).

  2. Spread pecan halves on prepared sheet pan and toast in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

  3. In a small saucepan (preferably nonstick, like this caramel pot) over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, water, salt, and cinnamon (use a silicone coated whisk if you have a hard time breaking up the clumps of cinnamon).

  4. As soon as the sugar is completely dissolved, stop stirring and insert a candy thermometer.

  5. Continue cooking, without stirring, until the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 246F (soft ball stage).

  6. Remove sugar syrup from heat and stir in vanilla, followed by the toasted pecans; toss until pecans are completely coated.

  7. Pour coated pecans onto prepared sheet pan, spreading into a single layer.

  8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

  9. Remove from oven and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.


  • To check if your candy thermometer is properly calibrated, use this online calculator to see what the boiling point of water is based on the elevation of your zip code (US residents). Simply plug in your zip code to get your elevation. Once you have your elevation, use the same calculator to see what temperature water will boil at that elevation. For example, according to my zip code, my elevation is about 900 feet above sea level. That means my thermometer should indicate 210F at the point water boils. If my candy thermometer indicates a difference, I would have to add or subtract that difference from my target temperature.

Mini Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze

Patricia Reitz

Mini Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze - ButterYum

Mini Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze - ButterYum

Happy first day of Fall.  Here in Virginia, the weather has begun to turn chilly and I can't wait to start making all my favorite cold weather foods, beginning with these delicious Mini Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze.  They're such a fun way to celebrate the change of season.  

I've baked mini donuts in pans like this, but I find I get much better results using this mini donut maker.  

There really isn't anything wrong with donut pans, but they produce donuts that take longer to bake, and they don't dome evenly on the top and bottom.  But this nifty donut maker produces the most perfectly shaped, evenly domed mini donuts - and each batch is ready in less than 5 minutes.  That means I can crank out more than 100 mini donuts in less than an hour.  Great for church gatherings, picnics, and parties.   

To prepare the donut maker, I use a silicone pastry brush to coat the indentations with a little vegetable oil or shortening.  The donut maker has a non-stick finish, but brushing with a little oil helps make donut removal a little easier.

The ingredients are mixed together easily.  No special techniques here, but I love using my BeaterBlade attachment so I don't have to stop to scrape down the sides of my mixer bowl.  If you don't have a BeaterBlade, you can use a standard flat beater, or feel free to mix everything together using a hand mixer if you don't own a stand mixer

To neatly dispense the batter into the donut indentations, I like to use a large disposable pastry bag.  It helps me fill the indentations quickly and easily.  Really cuts down on the mess too.  

No piping tip necessary, I just cut a small opening at the end of the bag.

I evenly pipe the batter, filling the indentations to the rim.  

Then I close the donut maker and wait 4-5 minutes until the mini donuts spring back when pressed slightly.   

Open the donut maker up and suddenly I have one dozen of the most perfectly shaped, evenly domed mini donuts.  Aren't they adorable? 

DSC_5248 (2).JPG

The mini donuts are removed from the donut maker and placed on a cooling rack to cool completely before glazing. 

Time to make the vanilla bean glaze.  Vanilla bean paste is full of those tiny little black vanilla bean seeds that look so nice on baked goods.  If you don't have vanilla bean paste, you can substitute pure vanilla extract.  Be sure to use the good stuff! 

Whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth - it should be about this thick to coat the donuts nicely.  If needed, add more confectioners sugar or half & half to adjust the consistency.  As soon as the glaze is ready, start dipping the donuts.

Dip the top half of the cooled donuts in the glaze and place them back onto the rack to rest for about 30 minutes so the glaze can set up. 

Mini Pumpkin Spice Donut w/Vanilla Bean Glaze Recipe w/PHOTOS

That's all there is to it.  Hope you give these tasty mini donuts a try.  Happy fall! 

Mini Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Vanilla Bean Glaze

makes 24 mini donuts

Printable Recipe





To make the donuts:

  1. Preheat electric donut maker and brush indentations with vegetable oil or shortening.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

  3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined using BeaterBlade attachment (or mix with a hand mixer).

  4. Using a large pastry bag, fill bottom half of the prepared donut maker, filling each indentation to the rim.

  5. Close donut maker and bake for 4-5 minutes (use a toothpick to check for doneness - the should spring back when pressed lightly).

  6. Carefully remove mini donuts from maker and cool completely on wire rack before glazing.

To make the glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, half and half, and vanilla bean paste until smooth.

  2. Dip tops of cooled mini donuts in glaze immediately; allow glaze to dry for 30 minutes.


  • To use mini donut pan, preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 8-12 minutes until done.

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Dry Brined Turkey

Patricia Reitz

I usually brine my turkeys in a liquid solution that includes sugar, salt, and a variety of herbs and spices; then I rinse and dry it, loosen the skin, and schmear the whole thing, inside and out, with an herb-infused compound butter.  It produces a moist and flavorful bird, but It's a very messy and time consuming process.  This year I wanted to try a more simple technique, a dry brine made of nothing more than kosher salt.  I'm glad I tried it because we were pleasantly surprised with the results.  

If you're intimidated by the thought of brining in a liquid solution, this might be the technique for you.  Plan to begin the process about 24 hours before you place your turkey in the oven.  Here's what you should do. 

Rinse and dry a 12-14 pound turkey well and place on a rimmed sheet pan. If there’s a pop-up timer in the turkey, remove it (they’re notoriously inaccurate).

Sprinkle the entire bird, inside and out, with 6 tablespoons of kosher salt.

Place the turkey in the fridge, uncovered, for 24 hours.

Be careful about accidental cross contamination - here I placed a barrier of homemade chicken stock in front of my turkey to reduce the risk that someone might accidentally touch it.

After 24 hours, remove the turkey from the fridge and rinse it very, very, very well (inside and out), then dry it thoroughly.

Next, tuck the wings, tied the legs smear butter all over the skin, and insert an oven-safe probe thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh (without touching any bone). Sprinkle the turkey lightly with salt and pepper. Not too much, the salt brine will have flavored the meat already so we’re just adding a little flavor to the skin.

Roast in a 325F oven for 15-18 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165F. I check both legs in a couple of places, just to be on the safe side.

Allow the turkey to rest for 30-40 minutes before carving. That should leave you with plenty of time to make gravy with all the yummy pan juices. Happy Roasting!

Items used to make this recipe:

Dry Brined Turkey

Printable Recipe


  • 12-14 pound turkey (thawed if applicable)

  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • kosher salt and pepper for sprinkling

  • 1 large onion, sliced

  • 1 large carrot, sliced

  • 1 large stalk celery, sliced

  • 2 cups water


  1. Remove neck, giblets, etc from inside turkey; reserve for gravy.

  2. Rinse turkey well and dry thoroughly with paper towels; place on half sheet pan.

  3. Sprinkle turkey inside and out with salt, refrigerate uncovered for 24 hours.

  4. Preheat oven to 325F and place oven rack in the lower third position.

  5. Rinse turkey well of all salt and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

  6. Place a roasting rack into a large roasting pan; add sliced onion, carrot, celery and water.

  7. Smear softened butter all over turkey and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and pepper; place on roasting rack.

  8. Place turkey in oven, uncovered, and roast for 15-18 minutes per pound or until the meat in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165F.

  9. Remove from oven and rest for 30-40 minutes. Strain pan drippings and use to make gravy.

Mini Pecan Tarts with Mascarpone Frosting and Glazed Pecans

Patricia Reitz

This is a killer recipe!  Some of you know that I'm a little OCD in the kitchen (wish that would seep into other areas of my life!!).  I researched and tweaked and fussed and retweaked for what seemed like an eternity before I was satisfied with these, but they were definitely worth the effort (and let me say this, I have a whole new appreciation for cookbook authors after this project!).  The masses absolutely devoured these little treasures, so I hope you'll give them a try sometime.

To begin the recipe, let's make this very easy crust. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine room temperature butter and cream cheese; blend using the flat beater attachment (or better yet, use the fabulous BeaterBlade!). When butter and cream cheese are combined, add salt, cocoa, and flour; combine. Dough will be soft, but easy to handle.

Spray a mini muffin pan with an oil/flour baking spray. Roll dough into 24 balls and place into muffin pan. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, or until it firms up enough to not be too sticky to work with.

Press dough into muffin indentations using your fingers or a pastry tool dipped in flour. Pop the dough back into the fridge if it starts getting too soft, and also while making the filling.

Because these mini tarts are so tiny, be sure to chop your pecans into very small pieces.

Combine butter, cane syrup (or corn syrup), salt, and confectioner's sugar in heavy bottomed sauce pan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for one full minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer hot sugar mixture to a glass measure and pour or spoon mix into prepared pan, being very careful to not fill them more than 3/4 full (so you don't have a hot, bubbly mess on your hands).

No matter how hard you try, you'll probably have some filling bubble over the sides of the tarts during baking. If this happens, you can easily trim away any excess caramel with a pair of kitchen scissors. Allow the tarts tarts to finish cooling while we make the glazed pecans and Mascarpone frosting.

Okay, let's do the glazed pecans first (incidentally, you can do this with just about any kind of nut). Have you ever tasted Lyle's Golden Syrup? It's a sugar cane syrup that has the most wonderful caramel flavor and color. Look for it in your baking aisle. If you can't find it... you can substitute corn syrup or honey.

In a heat proof bowl, mix the granulated sugar and sugar cane syrup together. Microwave on high for 10-20 seconds until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is very liquidy. Quickly pour over nuts and toss to coat.

Place the nuts in a single layer on a silicone baking mat and toss them into the oven for 15 minutes; tossing once half way through the baking.

Use a fork to separate glazed nuts after removing them from the oven. Allow to cool completely before using. Can be made a day or two ahead and stored in an airtight container.  Don't place on the mascarpone frosting until just before they are served (the moisture in the frosting will liquefy the glaze).

For the Mascarpone frosting, combine room temperature Mascarpone cheese, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla extract by hand. Pipe swirls of the frosting on tarts that have been allowed to cool completely; refrigerate. Just before serving, top with glazed nut and serve immediately.

Mini Pecan Tarts Topped with Mascarpone Frosting and Glazed Pecans

makes 24 mini tarts

Printable Recipe


Pastry Crust:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

  • pinch of fine sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder for color (optional)


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup (or corn syrup)

  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mascarpone Frosting:

  • 8 ounces Mascarpone cheese, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (or to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glazed Pecans:

  • 1/2 cup pecans

  • 1 tablespoon Lyle's Golden Syrup (can sub corn syrup or honey)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • pinch of fine sea salt


To Make the Pastry Crust:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the flat beater, combine the butter and cream cheese.

  2. Slowly add the salt, confectioner's sugar, flour, and optional cocoa powder; combine.

  3. Divide into 24 equal portions, roll into ball shape; place in a greased mini muffin pan.

  4. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes before pressing dough into the mini muffin cups using fingers or a pastry tool dipped in flour; chill until ready to bake.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine everything but the vanilla extract; bring to a boil for one full minute.

  3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla; pour mixture into prepared pastry, filling no more than 3/4 full.

  4. Place mini muffin pan on a half sheet pan to catch any drips that might spill over.

  5. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes; remove from oven and cool for 25 minutes before removing from pan.

  6. When cool enough to handle, trim excess caramel with kitchen scissors if needed (while the caramel is still pliable).

To Make the Mascarpone Topping:

  1. Mix ingredients together by hand.

  2. Pipe or spoon onto completely cool tarts.

  3. Refrigerate.

To Make the Glazed Pecans:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.

  2. Combine sugar cane syrup, salt, and granulated sugar in a heat safe bowl and microwave on high for 10-20 seconds until sugar dissolves and mixture is very liquidy.

  3. Immediately pour over pecans and stir to combine.

  4. Place pecans in a single layer on a silicone lined half sheet pan (greased foil or non-stick foil will also work).

  5. Bake for 15 minutes, tossing half way through baking.

  6. Remove from oven and use a fork to separate the pecans; cool completely.

    Note: The pecans can be glazed up to 2 days in advance. Store in an airtight container. Top mini tarts with glazed pecans just before serving (DO NOT place the glazed pecans on early or the glaze will absorb moisture from the mascarpone topping, causing it to melt and turn goopy.