Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan and Pumpkin Seed Streusel

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Pecan and Pumpkin Seed Crumble

Are you tired of pumpkin spice yet? Not me. I’ll find any reason to come up with a new coffee cake recipe. This time of year I always have a can or two of pumpkin puree for when the mood strikes.

The house smells amazing as this bakes, and the cake is divine. That’s all you need to know.

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake with Pecan and Pumpkin Seed Streusel

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Pecan & Pumpkin Seed Streusel:

1 Cup all purpose flour

1/2 Cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 Cup), cut into small pieces and kept cold

3/4 tsp.  cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 Cup pecan pieces

1/4 Cup pumpkin seeds

In a bowl of a stand mixer place the flour, sugar, spices and salt. Stir to combine. Add the cold butter pieces and mix on low speed for about 5-6 minutes until mixture resembles coarse wet sand. Do not allow to form a dough. Mix in the pecan pieces by hand. Reserve the pumpkin seeds to sprinkle over later. Remove the streusel to a bowl and chill until ready to bake.


1 Cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground mace

3/4 Cup unsalted butter, room temp

3/4 Cup sugar

2 Lg. eggs, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 Cup pumpkin puree

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×9 square baking pan with baking spray.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add in the vanilla and pumpkin and mix until combined; don’t overbeat-note mixture will appear curdled but don’t worry. Add in the flour mixture all at once and mix gently on low until combined. Don’t overbeat. Pour the batter into prepared cake pan and smooth out top.

Remove streusel from the fridge and sprinkle over cake batter evenly (it will seem like a lot but use it all). Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the top of the streusel and bake in preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes. Cover with foil for last several minutes if seeds appear too brown.

Note: I finished my cake by placing under the broiler on lowest rack for a couple minutes to brown the streusel a bit further.

Allow to cool over a wire rack and serve warm or at room temp.

Pink Candied Popcorn for Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink Popcorn for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This simple ‘recipe’ is devoted to all the lovely ladies who are battling or have survived breast cancer. It is part of my annual posts for Breast Cancer Awareness

And a special shout out to my friend AK!



Candied Popcorn for Breast Cancer Month

Pink Candied Popcorn

2 bags popped white microwave popcorn OR 1/2 Cup (kernals) white popcorn popped in air popper or kettle* See note

1 bag pink Wilton candy melts

mixture of white, pink, and dark pink m and m’s

pastel sprinkles

kosher salt to taste

*Note: A quick and easy way to air pop in a microwave: Place popcorn kernals in a brown paper lunch sized bag and fold over the top twice- place in a microwave on high for about 3 minutes or less to pop. Stop microwave when you hear the kernals stop popping with about 3 seconds between pops. Each microwave is different, so error on the side of under popping as not to burn.


Sort through popped corn and remove any un-popped kernels. Place popcorn in a large bowl.

In a microwave safe bowl place Wilton candy melts and melt in a microwave stopping to stir, and check at 30 second intervals.

Pour melted candy over popcorn and stir with heat proof spatula until coated. Sprinkle in a hand full of m and m’s while stirring and stopping to sprinkle in pastel rainbow sprinkles. Pour coated corn onto a Silpat lined baking sheet or a parchment lined sheet. Sprinkle salt to taste. Allow corn to set; which will take 30 mins. or longer depending on how humid your weather is.


Pumpkin & Spice Glazed Scones


pumpkin spice scone

Pumpkin season is here! Have you been to Trader Joe’s?!  If you have, then you know what I’m talking about- they take it to a whole other level,  it’s  a PUMPKINpalooza. Crazy. I left there in awe of all the pumpkin things they offer- it got me inspired to make a good pumpkin scone. It had to be moist, it had to have the right amount of spice, and it had to have a great glaze. I did three variations of the recipe before I came up with the right mixture of spice. FYI, pumpkin spice mix you buy in the store did not do it. Trust me on this. Pumpkin needs a lot of spice in order to let it sing. See below also for my tips on getting moist, tall scones.

Don’t you just love Fall? A good cup of hot cider, a great scone, the Sunday paper. What more does a girl need?


pumpkin spice scones with classic glaze and spiced glaze


pumpkin spice scone with classic and spiced glazed

Pumpkin Spice Glazed Scones

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup sugar

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1  1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. mace (seek this out- it makes all the difference!)

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 stick (1/2 C) cold cubed unsalted butter

1/2 Cup canned pumpkin puree

1 lg. egg

1 tsp. vanilla

3 Tbsp. heavy cream

[Tips for making great scones:]

  • Cut the butter first into small cubes, and set back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to keep cold while you measure out the rest of the ingredients.
  • Using a food processor helps to avoid overworking the dough AND keeping the butter cold while mixing.
  • Do NOT overwork the dough. Overworking/overmixing the dough results in a drier less moist scone.
  • Chill the formed scones to help retain their shape when baking (results in a taller scone).
  • Always use an oven thermometer to make sure the oven is calibrated to the exact temp called for in the recipe.
  • Place the rack in the mid high portion of the oven rather than the lower portion (prevents bottoms getting too brown)


In a food processor place the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Pulse 4-5 times to combine well. Add the cubed cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal with the butter resembling size of peas.

Dump the flour/butter mixture into a large bowl and form a well in the center. In a glass measuring cup whisk together the puree, egg, vanilla, and cream. Add puree mix to the flour mixture and with a rubber spatula fold in the dry ingredients until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX! Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat into a 7 inch circle. Cut like a pie into 8 equal wedges and place scones on  prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches space between scones. Chill the scones in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425° F and prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat liner.

Bake the chilled scones at 425° F for 15-16 minutes. Avoid overbaking to ensure a moist scone.

Let the scones cool before glazing.

To glaze: Prepare the classic glaze and dip the top of each scone into the glaze (some will run down the sides) and set on a wire rack over a piece of parchment. Once set- mix the spiced glaze and drizzle over each scone. FYI: I think they taste better a bit warm, so I nuke mine in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.

Classic Glaze:

3/4 Cup confectioners sugar + more if needed

2  1/2 Tbsp. milk

In a small bowl whisk together the glaze until smooth. Add a Tbsp. or more confectioners sugar as needed if glaze not thick enough. You don’t want it too thin.

Spiced Drizzle Glaze:

Once the scones are dipped in the classic glaze, use the leftover Classic Glaze in the same bowl and whisk in these spices: 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, pinch of ginger, pinch of cloves.

Note: to turn the glaze a more pumpkin color- I add a bit of chocolate brown gel paste food coloring along with electric yellow gel paste to achieve the perfect pumpkin color; using a toothpick of each at a time until desired color. Wait until the classic glaze is set until you drizzle the spice glaze over.

Hatch Green Chili & Cheese Quiche

Green Chili Mexican Cheese Quiche

You can see  how flaky this crust is…it’s divine.

chilis roasting

Are you a spice girl? Or spice dude? I am. I love spice, and I love green chili.  I was fortunate to live in New Mexico for 4 months-years ago- during the [Hot Damn!] part of Summer. The silver lining of triple digit summer heat? being able to buy fresh roasted Hatch green chili’s.  The goal of the chili’s destiny is to be roasted- blackened (literally) to blister the skin to impart flavor and to ensure that you can also peel the skin off.

If you live in New Mexico or the Southwest during chili harvest time you will know- because you will start smelling the aroma of roasting chili’s wafting in the air around town. Dare I say it- it’s kind of a sexy thing.  It’s like food porn, but for the nose. In New Mexico especially,  during harvest time- you’ll see large,  horizontal spinning roasters/vessels right in the parking lots of major markets that do the roasting for you. Imagine some dude in a cowboy hat in faded well fitting Wranglers, hand cranking the drum roaster of vibrant green chili’s while they tumble over the hot flame. Yeah…double sexy.

It’s not unheard of to buy several plastic bags of the roasted & peeled chili’s and squirrel them away in the freezer. You’re gonna need several bags, because after one bite, you will become a green chili addict. You can of course roast & peel them yourself-roast them right over an open flame on a gas stove, under the broiler, or on the grill.  The smell of a fresh roasted Hatch green chili  is something you never forget; intoxicating and earthy. New Mexican’s put roasted green chili’s in anything, and everything-and I DO MEAN everything. It’s a beautiful thing. A green chili cheeseburger is something you NEED to try at least once in your lifetime, but today- I’m making a green chili and cheese quiche.

Sitting down to eat it with a sexy, Wrangler wearing cowboy- optional.


green chili cheese quiche

This chili in the picture was not quite dark green as the others, but you’ll see varying colors of green chili’s (they’re all good)

hatch chili

roasting hatch chilis




Green Chili & Cheese Quiche

Quiche Filling

1  1/4 Cup Heavy cream

1/4  Cup  Milk

3 large eggs

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 Cup grated “Mexican 4 Cheese Blend”

5-6  large fresh roasted & peeled green chili’s, diced fine (see how to below for roasting and peeling)


To Assemble Quiche:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Prepare and blind bake the crust as per instructions below. Whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Fold in the cheese and diced chili’s. Pour into the baked and slightly cooled crust(s) and bake at 375° F until center of filling is set; about 18 minutes for the minis and about 25-30 minutes for a 9-10 inch quiche. Note: depending on how deep your tart or quiche pan is, you will have some filling leftover. I used a 10 inch pan and had a bit leftover to make a few extra mini’s. Give the extra’s away as a gift or wrap the baked and cooled quiche well in plastic wrap and freeze.


How to roast and peel green chili’s:

Wash and pat dry the chili’s. Place chili’s over a hot grill, medium flame, or broiler until they become blistered and totally blackened, turning with tongs frequently while roasting. Once they are totally black, place in a heat proof deep bowl and cover with plastic wrap for about 5 minutes to allow them to steam. Remove plastic wrap and carefully peel of the blackened skin. Discard stems and seeds. It’s helpful to use a damp paper towel (if too hot) as to not burn your fingers while peeling. Note: I DO NOT RUN THEM UNDER WATER- using water (IMO) washes away the flavor, so I just use the damp paper towel to remove the skins. Once cooled, dice the chili’s and set aside. You can do this a day or two ahead also and store in the fridge covered in plastic wrap to save time.


Easy Flaky Cream Cheese Crust

yield: enough for 2 nine-10 inch crusts or several mini quiche. (leftover dough freezes well)


8 oz. cream cheese, room temp, cut into cubes

2 sticks (1 Cup) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and kept cold

2 Cups flour

1 tsp. salt

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, place the flour and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter and room temp cream cheese cubes and pulse until mixture just comes together. Gather dough together and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes to let rest. To roll out crust, sprinkle flour onto bench, roll out crust and place in tart pan. Note: if making mini quiche I simply flatten a piece of dough and press it into the tart pan. Chill the crust again for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes. Blind bake crust at 375° F until lightly golden.


Lavender Macarons

lavender macarons filled with lavender ganache

Lavender macarons with white chocolate lavender ganache

There is a sad fact about macarons- and I’m sure you’ve already figured it out. Sometimes these cute, delightful, little suckers just don’t come out right. You scratch  your head and wonder, “What in the heck did I do wrong?” Well, you are not alone. Even though I have made thousands of them, Lord knows, I  have a bad macaron day every now and then. As a result I’m constantly searching out new ideas and ways to master these little gems. I recently spent a good part of a day playing with different techniques and recipes and played around by adding in some dried egg white powder. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome- they came out delightfully chewy and had the perfect texture. Now that I live in Arizona and the climate is dry I am playing around with different (French method technique) recipes as the humidity here is not as much a factor, although it is still monsoon season here so lately the humidity has been high. Adding in some dried egg white powder can help with humid weather conditions.

I highly recommend the book “Les Petit Macrons” which includes several recipe methods for macarons that includes great photos and trouble shooting tips as well. Plan ahead and make the lavender ganache the day before if you have time, as you will need the extra time to allow the lavender to steep to develop flavor.

Lavender Macarons

recipe adapted from “Les Petits Macarons” by Kathryn Gordon & Anne McBride

165 g ( 1  1/4 C) almond flour

165 g  (3/4 C) confectioners sugar

1 tsp dried culinary (food safe) lavender

115 g  (1/2 C) egg whites (from about 4 egg whites)

150 g  (3/4 C) granulated sugar

1 Tbsp (5 g) powdered egg white

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

purple gel food coloring

1. In a food processor bowl place the almond flour, confectioners sugar and dried lavender, and pulse about 4-5 times to combine. Sift through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl and set aside. Note; you can pick out any pieces of the lavender left in the strainer and add back into the almond four mixture. Prepare a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a Silpat. I prefer parchment. Note- try to pick very flat and not warped pans. If your pans appear a little warped sometimes lining with both Silpat on the bottom and then laying parchment paper on top can help.

2. In a stand mixer bowl place the powdered egg whites and granulated sugar and whisk with a hand whisk. Add in the egg whites and cream of tartar and whisk again. Fit the mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed for about 10-11 minutes until a stiff peak stage. Stop the mixer when the white are about 90 % mixed and add in the gel food coloring and continue to mix gently until desired color. Note: to test if whites are at the correct stage- you can turn the bowl upside down and check; if the meringue does not shift or slide in the bowl then they are perfect!

3. Using a spatula quickly add the whites to the almond flour mixture and fold until mixture falls off  in sheets, when the spatula is lifted. To test a shell- place a small amount in a piping bag fitted with a round 1/2 inch circular tip and pipe out a round onto the parchment paper. If a peak forms but does not collapse after a minute or so, then the batter is too thick. Squeeze the batter back into the bowl (do not mix batter) but rather refill the piping bag and repipe the shells. Pipe about 1 inch size shells leaving an inch and a half in between each shell to allow for spreading. Lift the pan about 6 inches off the counter and let the pan slam onto the counter about 4 times to remove any trapped air bubbles. Set the pans on a flat surface and allow to sit for 30 minutes or until the top of the shells are no longer tacky when touched.

4. Preheat the oven to 300° F and bake for about 17-18 minutes turning pan hallway through front to back until shells appear firm at the foot if wiggled. Allow to cool completely over a wire rack. When cooled lift off carefully and pipe with ganache filling.

Lavender White Chocolate Ganache

1/2 Cup heavy cream

1 heaping tsp. dried (culinary) lavender

10 oz. good quality white chocolate (NOT white chocolate chips), chopped fine

Heat the heavy cream to just a boil and place in a small bowl with the lavender and let it steep for several hours (5-8 hours is ideal) stored in the refrigerator. Place the chopped chocolate in a food processor bowl fitted with the metal blade and pulse to chop the chocolate fine. Reheat the cream to a boil and strain out and discard the lavender. Add the hot cream to the chocolate in the  food processor and allow to sit for one minute, then turn on the processor and mix until combined and smooth. Store in bowl in the refrigerator until firm. Once firm, stir vigorously until smooth and place in a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe filling between two macarons to sandwich.

Chocolate and Sweet Cherry Mini Cheesecakes

chocolate dark cherry mini cheesecakes

Cheesecake. Decadent, chocolaty with a burst of sweet cherries in every bite.  Even the person who normally would shy away from eating dessert will usually go for a mini cheesecake as they are not much of a diet breaker being so small. They are literally like 4 bites of sweet nirvana. My child-who is not really much of a dessert person, devoured them.  To be precise-imagine him taking one bite and then shoving the rest into his mouth. They are that good. You could dress these up even more by serving them with some roasted cherry sauce or ganache topping, but I kept them simple and topped with whipped cream and a fresh cherry.

Choc Cherry Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Chocolate Bing Cherry Cheesecakes

Chocolate & Dark Sweet Cherry Cheesecake

yield: 12 mini cheesecakes

Cooked Sweet Cherries

Pitted fresh dark sweet cherries (cut into quarters to equal 1  1/2 Cups)

1 T  water

1 T  sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. water

In a small saucepan place the cut cherries, sugar, and 1 tablespoon of water. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until become softened. In a small bowl make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water. Add to the cherries and continue to cook while constantly stirring for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, place in a small bowl and set aside while  you make the crust and cheesecake batter.

Chocolate Crust

3/4 Cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs 3  T melted butter In a bowl mix together the crumbs with the melted butter.

Chocolate Cheesecake Batter

16 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 Cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1  T Kirsch liqueur (optional)

2 eggs

1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s)

1/2 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1. Prepare a mini cheesecake pan by rubbing the bottom and sides of each well with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Note: I’ve tried both spraying with non stick spray, and this preparation, and this works better. Firmly press a heaping tablespoon of the chocolate crumb mixture (recipe above) into the bottom of each well. If you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan, you can use a muffin pan and line each well with a foil type of cupcake liner.

2. Preheat oven to 325° F.  In the bowl of a stand mixer place the softened cream cheese and sugar and cream on low speed until combined (I mix the entire batter on low speed to ensure no extra bubbles form).  Add the vanilla, optional Kirsch, and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the cocoa powder and mix to combine. Add the melted chocolate and mix to combine. Fold in the cherries- you will see some red marbling at first but it will come together okay.

3. Fill each well to the top with batter-(takes about 1/4 cup) note you might have about 1/4 Cup batter left over depending on the size of your cheesecake wells. Place the cheesecake pan on a sheet pan and bake in preheated 325° oven for about 30 minutes, stopping after 15 minutes to turn the pan from front to back to ensure even heating. Note: the cheesecakes will rise quite a bit and appear to separate into a “cap” like appearance but don’t worry-they will shrink back down level once cooled. Allow cheesecakes to cool over a wire rack, then move to the refrigerator to chill completely. Top with sweetened whipped cream and garnish with a cherry.

Coffee & Cream Panna Cotta with Warm Chocolate Sauce

coffee and cream panna cotta with choc sauce

coffee and cream panna cotta with chocolate sauce and chocolate covered coffee beans

Who doesn’t like coffee. Yes, there are those who don’t. What is wrong with you people? Seriously. Please. Maybe I’m joking. Maybe not…To each his own. Coffee with cream, first thing in the morning- that first sip is like nirvana to me. I stumble over anything in my way, to make it to the coffee pot. I live for coffee. Right now in Arizona we are experiencing monsoon season and it’s a bit more humid than normal. You can’t really use that phrase- “It’s a DRY heat” right now, but that just means I have to find other ways to come up with treats without using the oven. Enter stage left- panna cotta. It’s the perfect summer dessert because it requires only turning on the burner for a few minutes. It’s cool, it’s creamy, and hits the spot.

Panna Cotta

yield: 6-8 servings depending on size of ramekins

1 package (1/4 oz.) unflavored gelatin (such as Knox)

2 Tbsp. cool water

2 Cups heavy cream

1 Cup whole milk

3/4 Cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (1 tsp. vanilla may be substituted also)

2 Tbsp. instant espresso powder

For Serving: chocolate sauce (recipe below) and purchased chocolate covered coffee beans (optional)

1. In a small custard cup or microwave safe bowl place 2 Tbsp. cool water and sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let sit about 5 minutes to bloom. Place 4.5 oz. – 6 oz. clean ramekins on a sheet pan or in a shallow pan that will fit in your fridge level.

Tip: If you don’t have or don’t want to purchase ramekins- save your (small) shallow yogurt containers and wash out and use in place of ramekins.

2. In a small saucepan place the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and espresso powder and whisk to combine. Heat GENTLY over medium heat until very hot but not boiling, whisking frequently. While mixture is heating microwave the gelatin mixture for about 10 seconds until liquid. Once cream mixture is hot (but not boiling) stir in the liquid gelatin mixture and whisk to combine. Pour mixture into each ramekin and place in fridge for several hours or overnight to firm up. Serve cold or cool panna cotta with warm chocolate sauce and chocolate espresso beans.

To turn out panna cotta’s: Fill a shallow pan or bowl with 1 inch of boiling water. Run a sharp thin knife around the edge of each panna cotta to loosen, then set each ramekin in the bowl of hot water for about 10 seconds. Place a small serving plate on top of each ramekin and flip over to unmold. Spoon a bit of warm chocolate sauce around the panna cotta and sprinkle with 2-3 chocolate covered espresso beans.

Chocolate Sauce

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (about scant 3/4 Cup)

1/4 Cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. light corn syrup

In a heat proof bowl (such as pyrex) place the chocolate. In a glass measuring cup place the cream, butter, and corn syrup and heat on high in microwave for about 1 minute until mixture is very hot- stopping half way to stir. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute then stir until smooth. If necessary you can return the bowl to the microwave and heat in 10 second intervals until mixture is smooth, stirring as you go along.


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