Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Treats

Over Thanksgiving break, I decided to experiment in baking some yummy treats for my family to enjoy. Initially, I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to bake…cookies, cake, brownies? To help make my decision I turned to the one source that never seems to fail me and always makes me slightly less indecisive, the internet. I started googling Thanksgiving recipes, and I found two recipes that were calling my name. One was maple oat cookies, the other being spiced pumpkin mousse. Sounds intriguing right? =)

I started with the mousse first. This was actually my second attempt at making mousse. My first attempt at making this classic dessert was not entirely successful. Instead of using measuring cups, I estimated the amount of gelatin that the recipe called for, and my little concoction ended up tasting my rubber. This time around I was determined to get it right.

Overall, my attempt at this dessert was a success. I still don’t own measuring cups, so I was estimating the ingredients again (yes, I know…shame on me), and I think I might have added to much cream because it initially looked too much like a liquid instead of a mousse. However, I let it chill for about 4 hours, and after removing it from the fridge, I noticed that it had become mousse.
Here is the recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Mousse (If you like pumpkin pie, then you will probably love this)
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)1/4 cup cold water1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg1/4 teaspoon ground ginger1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups chilled heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
Garnish: ground cinnamon (optional)

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a small saucepan and let it soften for 1 minute. Bring to a simmer, stirring until gelatin has dissolved. Whisk together gelatin mixture, pumpkin, brown sugar, spices, and salt in a large bowl.
Beat 1 cup cream with vanilla until it holds soft peaks, then fold into pumpkin mixture

Spoon about 1/2 cup pumpkin mixture into bottom of each glass. Chill until set
Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream with remaining 1 tsp vanilla until it forms soft peaks.

While the mousse was chilling in the fridge, I started on the maple oat cookies. Instead of using maple syrup, I substituted it for honey. I think that affected not only the taste of the cookies, but it also hardened the cookies much faster. If you are not a big fan of sweets, then I suggest using honey in this recipe instead of maple syrup. Next time I make these cookies again, I intend to use maple syrup because I have a major sweet tooth! Despite the taste, the cookies were delicious. I also managed to take them out of the oven without burning them (Whenever I bake cookies, I either underbake them or overbake them).
Here is the recipe for maple oat cookies:
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup canola or high-heat sunflower oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place oats in a medium saucepan and toast over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until oats are slightly golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, maple syrup and vanilla until combined. Add maple mixture to oat mixture and stir to combine completely. The dough will be warm. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently flatten dough with wet fingers and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack, then store them in an airtight container.