It’s got pumpkin. It’s got caramel—salted at that. And it’s got pecans. Y’all, there is one huge mouthful of fall in every bite of this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel and Praline Pecan Glaze!
When I first began preparing desserts for the dessert auction at the CASA of Saline County Chili Beans and Blue Jeans fundraiser, I knew I wanted to create some that would be showstoppers. No doubt. This yummy mouthful of goodness wins the crown.
This is an easy dessert to make ahead and freeze if you so desire. Why not go ahead and get one made this weekend? You can put it in your freezer til Thanksgiving then whip it out, glaze it and have a stunning dessert on the table in no time. Find out HERE.
A couple of years ago, my mom went gluten free. She isn’t allergic to gluten, but she found that gluten aggravated some of her pre-existing medical conditions, so she cut it out. Gluten is typically found in most baked goods, as flour contains gluten. While there are gluten free flours, they behave differently when cooking. So for the first year or so, we had difficulty replacing some of mom’s favorite foods with gluten free alternatives. We struggled to adjust to the gluten free lifestyle, especially when it came to holiday cooking.
Thankfully, over the years we have discovered some delicious gluten free dishes to add to our holiday table. We have found a cornbread mix that makes great cornbread stuffing. And our local health food carries a wonderful gluten free baguette that pairs wonderfully with our cranberry cheese dip. And we’ve adjusted our chicken and wild rice casserole recipe to be gluten free. But one dish was the thorn in my holiday baking side: pie.
My mom loves pecan pie, and we hadn’t found a gluten free pie crust either ready-made or homemade that was perfect for pecan pie. Either the crust turned out too fluffy like a puffed pastry, or it was more of a graham cracker crust. Nothing seemed right for the pecan pie. I wanted so badly to recreate the pecan pie flavor for mom.
I ditched the pie idea and went for something that hit the right flavor notes instead. These gluten free pecan pie bites hit the spot! They are sweet, have the traditional flavors of pecan pie, and are actually pretty healthy! You won’t feel guilty indulging in them all holiday season long!
In my recipe, I used corn syrup to bump up the traditional pecan pie taste. Every pecan pie I’ve ever made used corn syrup, so that’s what I used here. If you want an alternative, you could try another liquid sweetener like maple syrup, molasses, or honey. The point here is for the liquid to be a sweetener and binder. The mixture needs to be sticky enough to hold together in a ball.
Even if you aren’t gluten free, these are an easy treat to make that your family and friends will love. They make great snacks or party food! For a twist, you could drizzle them with chocolate to mimic the flavors in a chocolate pecan pie. They are beautiful stacked in a bowl or spread them out on a platter with fun party picks. Or eat them right off the pan. That’s what I do!
My mom’s porcupine meatballs. Mom didn’t home cook a lot (and these DO have rice-a-roni and jarred gravy in them, so it’s not exactly home cooking) but it always felt like a meal she put a lot of love into. And it was delish! http://www.razorbackbritt.com/favorite-meal-moms-porcupine-meatballs/
What is your favorite international cuisine?
Mexican! I could eat salsa by the jar. I like the spicy, creamy, smoky flavors together. I also like that I can lighten up the restaurant versions at home with lighter ingredients.
What is always in your refrigerator at home?
Liquid egg whites. Easy and healthy to whip up for any meal. I usually do mine with cheese and a little green onion.
What is your go-to ingredients that you use time and time again? The Cafe 1217 Cookbook from Cafe 1217 in Hot Springs. I cook the gingerbread muffins several times a year.
Do you have a favorite food indulgence? Queso with chorizo. As if queso isn’t indulgent enough, let’s add some sausage and dip it with fried tortillas.
What is your most used cookbook?
The Cafe 1217 Cookbook from Cafe 1217 in Hot Springs. I cook the gingerbread muffins several times a year.
What is your favorite kitchen gadget?
My slow cooker! I use it at least twice a week. I make soups, stews, roasts, and just about anything in the crock pot. What is your favorite food meal to cook at home?
I love to cook steaks and potatoes. A nice steak with some garlic, and top it with blue cheese at the very end of the broil. A side of potatoes roasted with some garlic, herbs, and Parmesan cheese.
What is your favorite go-to ingredients you use time and time again?
Canned fire-roasted tomatoes. An easy way to add to the depth of flavor in my crock pot recipes.
What is a cooking tip that you would like to share with beginning cooks?
Learn what you don’t know! Don’t be too scared. We all start somewhere. Watch the Food Network, watch Youtube videos, read blogs. Learn about common flavor combinations and kitchen skills. My mom wasn’t a cook, but I learned by watching the Food Network a lot as a teen. I would watch, print out the recipe, and play with it. I would add this, take out that (especially for spices or ingredients we didn’t have or I’d never heard of)…and figure it out. Don’t know how to cook an artichoke? Watch a Youtube video and buy an artichoke. Give it a try!
When you’re not cooking, what are your favorite pastimes?
I enjoy Zumba, walking my dogs, and reading. I try to stay active so I can enjoy treats in moderation.
What else would you like us to know about you?
I’m a foodie who loves to try new things. If it’s funky and on the menu, I’m ordering it. Hamburger with peanut butter? Delish. Pizza with pears. Awesome. I’m not afraid to try most anything once. Except rocky mountain oysters. I have no interest in trying those!
Brittney is a native Arkansan with a love for bright lights and big city. She often escapes her 20-acre home in a small town to shop, eat and catch a concert in the big city nearby. She blogs about her life, her faith, her adventures, her dogs and her country home at Razorback Britt.
When I think of campfire cooking, I automatically think of three things:
1.) Old Westerns
2.) Hot Dogs
These things are all dandy. But the truth is, campfire cooking is just like regular cooking! There are no limits to what you can cook. And contrary to popular belief, Cowboys are not the only ones who do it.
All it takes is a little extra prep and you can cook anything outdoors that you would cook at home.
Here are some handy tips to keep in mind:
Plan meals ahead of time. Any ingredients that you can peel, chop or marinate beforehand, should be done at home. Pack and store ingredients in ziplock bags and coolers.
Bring the right equipment. There are tons of camping cookware options out there, such as stovetops, campfire grills and Dutch Ovens. However, you can also use an old set of regular pots and pans. You also need to think about utensils, mixing bowls, TONGS and items to use for clean up. Will you use firewood or charcoal? Bring the appropriate fire building materials.
Figure out your fire. Depending on what you are cooking, you will need to adjust your firewood/coals accordingly. You don’t want to cook over an open flame so you will need to let your wood/coals burn down to embers or white hot coals. You also should be aware of the amount and how it is distributed to ensure heat consistency. Turning your food every 15 minutes will also help with heat distribution and help avoid hot spots.
Keeping these tips in mind, you should be well on your way to roughing it in the woods!
I enlisted the help of the River Valley Black Pot Cookers, who travel the nation participating in Dutch Oven Gatherings (also known as DOGS), to bring you this easy Dutch Oven recipe for Pecan Praline French Toast.
Whisk eggs, half and half, brown sugar and vanilla in bowl until mix is smooth and sugar is dissolved. Pour 1 cup of egg mixture into a size 12 Dutch Oven (or 9x13 casserole if you want to replicate at home).
Arrange slices of bread on top of the mixture and pour the rest of the egg mixture on top.
Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Mix ¾ brown sugar and maple syrup into butter, stirring until smooth
Bring syrup to a boil, and then bring to simmer for 1 minute. Stir pecans into syrup.
Spoon syrup over bread mixture and cook at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
To achieve this temperature in the Dutch Oven, you will need 9 coals on the bottom and 15 on the top
Be sure to rotate the lid clockwise every 15 minutes, and the bottom counter-clockwise every 15 minutes.
By Misty Willbanks
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/
To learn more about the River Valley Black Pot Cookers, head to their facebook page for more recipes and information on their Cookin’ for Kids project, purchasing school supplies for kids in need.
Misty is a full-time working wife and mom. She lives in Central Arkansas with her husband and three boys. Aside from her real-job pushing bacon, she struggles to keep up with her blog about the projects in her daily life. Follow her attempts at www.burlapandbeestings.com