Tag Archives: autumn

Roasted Pumpkin 5-Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches with Molasses Ginger Cookies

Perhaps the longest title for a recipe ever.

You didn’t think that I gave up on my ice cream obsession, did you? I know it’s been a month since my last ice-cream themed post, but I’ve been waiting for pumpkin season to feature this recipe. I knew that I wanted to make a pumpkin ice cream and that I wanted to have it as an ice-cream sandwich. Just like I knew that I needed to have wooden fenders for my bicycle. It’s a complicated thought process impossible to explain, but when you know what you want, you know what you want.

The ice cream recipe is from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. It’s roasted pumpkin puree with Chinese 5-spice and it’s a fantastic combination. The anise in the 5-spice really comes through with the pumpkin. And the structure of the molasses ginger cookies holds up well with the ice cream and freezer, to say nothing of the vibrancy of the spices.

I have a six mile bicycle commute and there have been many a night when returning home that I head straight into my freezer to grab one of these ice cream sandwiches, despite the chill in the air.

Roasted Pumpkin 5-Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches
with Molasses Ginger Cookies

makes 1 dozen sandwiches

Roasted Pumpkin 5-Spice Ice cream
(from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home)
3/4 cup roasted pumpkin puree
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon Chinese 5-spice powder
Molasses Ginger Cookies
(from Bon Appetit)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup raw sugar

For the ice cream base:

Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese and the salt in a medium batter bowl until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree and honey.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn syrup and Chinese 5-spice powder in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook until thickened, about a minute or two. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Cover and chill thoroughly.

For the cookies:

Sift flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt into medium bowl. Combine butter, shortening and brown sugar in large bowl and beat until fluffy. Add egg and molasses; beat until blended. Add dry ingredients; mix just until incorporated. Cover; chill 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place raw sugar in small bowl. Using wet hands, form dough into 24 equal pieces; shape pieces into balls. Roll in sugar to coat. Transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are pale golden and cracked on top but still soft, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Transfer to racks; cool completely.

Sandwich assembly:

Freeze ice cream in ice cream maker. While the ice cream is still soft, spoon about 1/3 cup onto a cookie, top with a second cookie. Wrap sandwiches in wax paper and store in freezer. Freeze for at least 3 hours.

Potato Leek Soup

You can call me Dr. Crankypants. I woke up this morning and the temperature was 29º. As in below freezing. I know I shouldn’t complain about it, especially because it was a fantastically beautiful autumn here in Minneapolis, but I’m going to anyway. And with the upcoming time change this weekend that will make darkness fall at 5 pm (and gradually creep earlier and earlier into the day) … it’s put me in a cranky sort of mood.

A cranky sort of mood that makes me only want to make soup. I think I’ve figured out why I love making soup so much:

1) There are generally minimal (less than 10) ingredients.

2) There’s not much technique involved – throw some things in a pot, add some liquid and simmer for a while.

3) It makes a big batch so that you don’t have to cook every night, which leaves you time to come home and curl up on the couch in the fetal position in fear of the upcoming winter and 4) It freezes beautifully, so when you come home from your frequent travels to far-off corners of the country, you can have a bowl of piping hot soup in a manner of minutes.

What’s not to love? And everybody knows that love is the only antidote for crankiness…

Potato Leek Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, chopped, white and light green parts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
4-5 yukon gold potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add carrots, potatoes and dried thyme. Add stock, reduce heat to low and simmer for ~30 minutes, or until carrots and potatoes are tender. Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Stir into remaining soup. Add heavy cream and heat until warm throughout.



Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

During my parents’ visit earlier this month, we picked up two pie pumpkins during our trip to the apple orchard. The first one I used to make this delicious soup. The second one I had reserved for something sweet. I went ahead and roasted it, pureed it and ran it through a mesh strainer to lose some of the water (and still ended up with about 3 cups of pumpkin puree). Then I thought to myself – what in the world should I make? I seriously contemplated pumpkin pie. Tis’ the season after all. But I knew I would regret making, and then eating an entire pumpkin pie by myself. (And transporting via bicycle to work just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen). And so I found myself thinking back to these cheesecake bites I had made earlier this year.

Of course! Pumpkin cheesecake bites. The perfect solution, because I love pumpkin cheesecake even more than I love pumpkin pie. Here’s why it’s a great idea 1) No pie crust involved. 2) Instead you get to use spicy gingersnaps. 3) By making them cupcake size, the resulting crust to cheesecake ratio to (in my opinion) strikes the perfect balance. Oh, and 4) you can make as few or as many as your stomach desires.

I smothered mine in this salted butter caramel sauce I had leftover in my fridge. Don’t wait for a special occasion or Thanksgiving to make these. Make them for your lunches during the week. Or as something to tide you over while you’re making dinner. Or for no reason at all…

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

makes 1 dozen

The Crust 
1 cup crushed gingersnaps
3 teaspoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
The Filling
1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon bourbon

1. Preheat oven to 325º. Line a cupcake tin with papers.

2. Pulse gingersnaps in food processor to a fine crumble. Add brown sugar and melted butter and mix together. Scoop approximately 2 tablespoons of cookie crust in each cupcake paper. Use the bottom of a small glass (my glasses from beer festivals are just about the perfect size for such a job) to pat down cookie crumbs. Refrigerate while making the cheesecake filling.

3. Cram together cream cheese and brown sugar until well combined. Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Beat in egg. Fold in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and bourbon and mix until smooth.

4. Using an ice cream scoop, distribute filling among cupcake papers, filling about 3/4 full.

5. Bake at 325º for about 20 minutes. Cool in pan and refrigerate until set.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Sometimes I don’t have words. The past week has left both my heart and my stomach full.

I love the people in my life. They do my heart and soul good. There is an ease to spending time with them, no matter how long since our last visit that is unbelievably satisfying. I just wish they all weren’t so far away. I spent the past few days in Chicago (after spending a few days with Scott in Florida) with my dear friends Jenny and Sayan.

They love food as much as I do. I was called to Chicago for very important bridesmaid duties, which just happened to include both a dinner tasting Spiaggia (and had that butternut squash pasta that I tried to replicate here) as well a dessert tasting. And Jenny threw in a 5-course tasting menu with wine pairings at Takashi, for no particular reason. Except that we both love food and needed to have a deep philosophical conversation about marriage. So perhaps its no surprise that we would end the evenings on the couch with a glass of wine watching House Hunters. (Note: six years ago, you could find us in a similar situation only we’d be watching Sex in the City. Does that mean anything?)

When I left Minneapolis, we were in the midst of an Indian summer and when I returned, the temperatures dropped and the weathermen have been talking about snowflakes in the forecast. This does not do my heart good. Before I left for my trip I made a huge pot of Curried Pumpkin Soup and tucked it away in my freezer, awaiting my return. Warm and toasty, bright and beautiful – I was glad to return home for the soup, if not for the weather.

Curried Pumpkin Soup

1 small pie pumpkin
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced ginger
3 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sweet curry powder
3 cups chicken stock
1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk

Halve pumpkin and remove seeds. Place cut side down in a casserole dish and fill with 1/2 inch of water. Roast at 350º for about an hour and a half.

Melt butter in a large stock pot. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or two. Season with cumin, coriander, cardamom, red pepper flakes, salt and curry powder. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Scoop out roasted pumpkin and add to soup. Transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to a simmer and add the coconut milk, stirring until incorporated.











Parental Visitation

I am going on record with this:

The recent weather in Minneapolis has been spectacular.

Which perfectly coincided with my parents’ visit.

I think we crammed in every possible touristy, autumn activity in three short days.

The farmers market.

The mill ruins.

Minnehaha falls.

Apple picking.

Chasing the fall colors and accidentally stumbling upon a ski “mountain.”

Walking around Lake of the Isles and finding Minnie.

And enjoying food, drink and coffee.

It was a great visit. Probably because I have great parents.


*I think I stole all of these photos from my mother …