Cranberry, Gingerbread, Pumpkin, oh my!

Thanksgiving may be gone, but the leftovers remain…and will probably for at least a week or so. This is by no means a bad thing, in my book, especially where dessert is concerned. I was particularly busy this Thanksgiving, as I had not one, but three Thanksgiving celebrations to make desserts for! And I couldn’t have been more thankful for the opportunity to do so. Not only did it give me a chance to try out some recipes, but as I mentioned in the past, the flavors of fall are by far my favorite and really do make the best desserts. So this year, I spread my little baking wings, and tried three distinct dessert varieties:

1. Pumpkin.

I wound up making two pumpkin desserts, both from one cake recipe. A pumpkin cake with pumpkin buttercream:

pumpkin inside and outside.

 And out of  the leftover cake and icing, came pumpkin cake balls:

great balls of pumpkin.

 2. Cranberry.

Last year, I made a cranberry fudge pie for the first time. It turned out pretty good, but after a year of schooling, I thought I’d try again, and see if I’ve improved at all in a year.

a year's worth of pastry school was worth it.

 3. Gingerbread.

I’ve been on a gingerbread kick since I made it in class two weeks ago, so I decided to make a gingerbread cake to take over to my parents. Well, in a true act of serendipity, the cake went from good to heavenly by the mere mistake of melting too much butter. I realized it immediately after I had melted it, and didn’t add any extra butter to the recipe, but had this bowl of melted butter just sitting there, with nothing to do. “Hmmm…I bet I could make some sort of glaze with that,” I thought. So I grabbed some cinnamon and confectioners’ sugar, and next thing I knew, I had created an easy, yet amazing buttery glaze which fit the cake like a glove.


 I also added something else to this gingerbread cake which was entirely intentional – mashed pears. I had all these leftover little pears that were starting to turn brown and I really wanted to use them. So, I cut them up, mashed them in a bowl, added some cinnamon and brown sugar, and threw it into the batter. The result? An even moister and flavorful cake!

Now, I should be happy that I wound up with no leftover desserts – it means that everyone really liked them and that’s the goal, right?  Next year, I’ll just have to make them bigger. 😉

No scones about it.

When I was a sugar-crazed youth, I had no interest in scones. I remember some relative of mine coming over with a much coveted bakery box in tow. Upon opening the box, I found it was full of scones. What are these ‘things’ that are where my pink frosted donut should be?!! Being the eternal sugarfreak (she’s sugar freaky), I had to have one, even though it obviously wasn’t what I was expecting. This relative (who shall remain nameless) claimed that these “scones” were quite tasty, and I would enjoy them as much as any other confection that could have been in the box in their stead. I trusted the opinions of adults at the time, so – I dug in.

Sadly, I had been duped.

These “scones” which were supposedly spawned from the same bakery which had provided me with so much sugary joy in the past had failed me. These things were no good – not sweet, not soft, not moist –  nor did they have any icing! An icing-less confection was unheard of in my 7 year-old mind! I spit it out, and walked out of the kitchen, sugar-less and dejected.

everyone deserves a second chance.

Unfortunately, this incident scarred me for many years, and I turned up my nose at scones time and time again, reliving that fateful day every time I came within 10 feet of the unconfectionery confection. I don’t regret many things, but  I regret not trying scones again sooner. I have definitely been missing out. That rogue scone I had in my youth was by no means a good example of how a scone should be!  Scones should be soft, buttery, fluffy…and if you want them to be sweet, they can be that too! The scone is a wonderful Small Indulgence, as it can be pretty much be any shape or size you like, and any flavor. 

 I owe the scone an apology, and in order to make good, I’m offering my scone making services to anyone who’s interested, for a small fee ($16 dozen).

This post is making my hungry, so I’m going to stop now, and go enjoy one of the cranberry scones I baked yesterday. Just think, you could be too…

these cranberry scones could be yours.