Sweetcakes: Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

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A surplus of overripe bananas is never a bad thing in our house. For one thing, my husband actually eats them. And when he forgets—or when I’ve really bought too many bananas, as I did this week—I make banana bread.

Here’s the thing: I rarely make banana bread the same way twice. Sometimes I feel virtuous and make it with whole wheat flour and flaxseed meal. Other times I’ll brown the butter in a saucepan before mixing the batter, which gives it a nutty flavor. Occasionally I’m inspired to throw in some chopped dark chocolate, or when I really want a treat, I make my banana bread with peanut butter.

Today I decided to modify my approach. My thought process went something like this: I wanna make banana bread, but I can’t keep it in the house because we’ll eat it all. I’ll give it to Paul to take to work. But bringing a bread to work is kind of awkward, the cutting and all. Okay, so! Muffins it is. Let’s add some chocolate chips. I have the end of a jar of peanut butter, so maybe i can scrape away about a quarter cup… now to Google recipes. Nothing for banana peanut butter chocolate chip muffins? Internet, you disappoint me.

I found a recipe for banana chip muffins, took it apart, then put it back together my way. What I’ve created here is a super-easy, incredibly decadent-feeling, flavor-packed breakfast, dessert, or snack.

Here you go, America.

RECIPE: BANANA PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

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Time: 12 minute to prep / 20 minutes to bake

Serves: 15 (12 muffins, plus a mini-loaf for 3)

Ingredients:

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. coarse salt

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

3 very ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)

3/4 c. dark brown sugar (not packed)

1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled slightly (4 tbsp. or a half stick)

1/4 c. creamy peanut butter

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Spray a mini-loaf pan with Pam, or rub some vegetable oil along sides and bottom to coat.

Combine the first four ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk. Next, combine the banana and sugar in a larger bowl, mixing quickly with a whisk to break up any lumps in the sugar. Next add the rest of the wet ingredients, the butter through the vanilla, and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture is uniform.

Fold the flour mixture into the the wet mixture until just combined. Then stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Divide batter first among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Put the remainder of the batter in the loaf pan, and using a spatula try to even out the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The mini-loaf may take a few minutes longer than the muffins. Cool everything in-pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn out carefully onto a plate and allow to cool completely.

Serving suggestions:

These muffins go equally well with coffee or tea. If you think that’s a really tame suggestion—well, fine. Do it. Get the vanilla ice cream or the fro-yo. Mash it all together in a bowl and have yourself a banana peanut butter chocolate chip muffin sundae. BOOM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Market to Table: Homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

You really need smell-o-vision for this.

At around midnight last night, when I finally had a chance to catch up on The New York Times Dining & Wine section, I watched a video of Melissa Clark making fresh rhubarb compote. It looked so pretty. And easy. And more importantly—delicious.

I woke up with rhubarb on the brain.

After I picked up my morning coffee I ambled over to the Grand Army Plaza farmers market to check out spring’s latest local offerings. It was about 40 degrees this morning here in Brooklyn, and the air didn’t feel so springy. But upon entering the market, I caught sight of a crate of rhubarb stalks priced at $3.50/pound.

If you live in New York, you understand what a bargain this is. Even in season, most supermarkets sell rhubarb for about $7 per pound, which makes it cost-prohibitive for a cook like me who relies more on trial & error than published & tested recipes.

Bag of rhubarb in hand, I stopped at the grocery store to get strawberries (still too early in the season to get local ones here). Once home, I re-reviewed Clark’s video and got to work.

RECIPE:

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Inspired by Melissa Clark’s Rhubarb Compote, from The New York Times

Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 3-4 cups

Ingredients:

  • One pound rhubarb stalks
  • One pound strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Juice from half a large lemon

Method:

Begin by giving the rhubarb a good rinse and trimming the ends. FYI – The leaves on the rhubarb plant are poisonous.  Next, wash and hull the strawberries. Cut the rhubarb into 1″ pieces. Leave the strawberries whole if they’re small, or cut them into quarters if they are larger.

Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir to coat the fruit with the sugar. The mixture will come to what looks like a boil, and the fruits will start releasing their juices.  When you start to see a fair amount of liquid build, reduce the heat so that the mixture cooks at a steady simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

You’re done when the fruit is fork-tender and the liquid is at a syrupy consistency. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Then you can store it away in a jar (it’ll keep for at least a week in the fridge), or serve heaping spoonfuls of this red goodness on any of the following:

  • toast
  • yogurt
  • pancakes
  • french toast
  • pound cake
  • sponge cake
  • granola
  • ice cream
  • corn bread or muffins

 

Happy Weekend, all!

Lip-Smacking Lemon Curd

Picture this:

You’ve been wanting to make lemon curd for weeks. After a lengthy search for just the right recipe, you find one that calls for the following:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest

The recipe yields 1 and 1/3 cups curd, which would be enough for you—but you’ve been invited to a dinner party tonight.  And the irrepressible overachiever within you thinks it would be a fabulous idea to surprise your host with sponge cupcakes, strawberries macerated in Grand Marnier and agave syrup, and some of that lemon curd.

Solution: double the ingredients, double the curd.  Easy enough.

But as you’re gathering all the elements, you realize you have only 3 eggs. And just under a cup of sugar. You find 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (exactly!) wrapped in the fridge, but that’s all the butter you find.

You have laundry at various stages of washing and drying in the basement. You have not showered, and the bed hair you woke up with isn’t the sexy kind you can get away with outside the home. Four pots, each containing lunches and dinners for the week, are at various stages of cooking on the stove. The dinner party is less than 3 hours away, and it’s pouring outside.  You’re not particularly anxious to run to the grocery store, nor do you have time.

You could stop here, just bring the bottle of wine you told the host you’d bring to the party.  But you’ve been wanting to make lemon curd all week. And because the cake batter has been mixed—and you can’t very well serve a naked cupcake—there’s no turning back.

New plan: Make the curd, but just increase the ingredients by a third.

Again, easy enough. But you’ve forgotten how to add fractions. And you’re running out of time. Did I mention you really need a shower? The pot filled with black bean soup is bubbling over. The phone is ringing. It’s Mom. Those phone calls never last 5 minutes.  What do you do?

Stop thinking and cook.  And somewhere in between, just breathe.

RECIPE:

Tart Lemon Curd,

A Very Happy Accident by Yours Truly

bastardized from Cooking Light’s Lemon Curd (May 2000)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • a scant cup of sugar
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 medium-large lemons’ worth)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Method:

Combine eggs, zest and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves.  It’ll take about 3 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and the butter. Continue stirring, and cook until the mixture loosely coats the back of a spoon. It’ll thicken as it cools.

Transfer the curd to a bowl to cool for about 10 minutes. Then, get a piece of plastic wrap big enough to cover the bowl. Poke a few holes in it, and then place the plastic wrap directly on top of the curd. This prevents condensation from forming, but more importantly it prevents a thick, rubbery skin from forming on the curd (note: this applies to any hot/warm pudding or custard).  Refrigerate.

Once the curd is [mostly] chilled, you can transfer it to a glass jar. It keeps for about a week—if it lasts that long. You’ll get about 16-20 servings from this recipe, assuming each serving is about 2 tablespoons. (In which case, it’s 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving.)

A couple of notes on taste…

This curd is ideal for spooning over a sponge cake, a croissant, sweet bread or macerated berries; or, mixing it with yogurt and granola.  You could call it “tart”, but I like to think the limited sugar helps to preserve the integrity of the lemon’s punch and zing. Tracie, who hosted the dinner party, loved the stuff, as did our friend Liz. My boyfriend found the curd a bit too tart. If your sweet tooth needs a little more sweet, add more sugar. Or, you could just follow the original recipe.

Sweet Tooth: Two Desserts Made With Fresh Ricotta (Caution: Wine and Salted Caramel are involved…)

When last we met yesterday, I was telling you about my experiment making fresh ricotta cheese.  There are lots of desserts made with ricotta—cheesecakes, pies, cakes, cannoli cream, pudding—and when they’re done right, all of those desserts are wonderful. Creamy and dreamy.

But those desserts can take a lot of time to prepare. If you have fresh ricotta on hand and want to satisfy your sweet tooth—okay, need to satisfy it—I’ve got two desserts that do the job. Each recipe takes 30 minutes or less to prepare, and showcases the soft & creamy texture of ricotta alongside simply cooked and incredibly flavorful fruit.

Exhibit A: Broiled Pineapple with Salted Caramel, Fresh Ricotta, and Chopped Pecans

Serves: 4

Time: 25 minutes

Hi there.

What you will need:

  • 1 golden ripe pineapple
  • 2 tbsp. dark rum (I am a fan of Black Seal)
  • 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts)
  • Access to a broiler (and if you don’t have that, a stove-top grill pan will work just fine)

How To Make It:

Set your broiler to high and let it pre-heat for ten minutes.  Peel and core the pineapple, and cut it into 8 stalks. Line up the pineapple stalks down the center of a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Place the pineapple about 2 inches from the broiler flame. Grab a small sauce pan and add the brown sugar, rum, and butter. Set the pan over medium-low heat and stir with a whisk to break up the sugar. Continue stirring until all the sugar dissolves, then add the salt. Allow mixture to boil for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

Check on the pineapple. Ideally, you’ll want a little char on the edges of the stalks, but be careful not to burn them. Remove from the broiler once the stalks are ready. Drizzle half of the caramel sauce on each of four plates and place two stalks on each plate. Place about a 1/4 cup of ricotta on top of each pair of stalks, then drizzle the remaining caramel over the cheese. Top each dessert with about a tablespoon of chopped pecans and serve.

Voi-la!

Exhibit B: Red Wine-Poached Pears with Fresh Ricotta and Chopped Walnuts

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

Hello, gorgeous.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 pears (I used D’Anjou, but Bartlett or Bosc pears work just as well)
  • 1.5 cups red wine
  • 1.75 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (pecans or almonds work here too)

How to Make It:

Combine wine, water, cinnamon stick and lemon in a medium saucepan and set over medium high heat. While you’re waiting for the mixture to boil, peel the pears.

Add the pears to the boiling liquid and reduce to a simmer.  The pears should be completely submerged in the liquid. Poach pears for 8-10 minutes, until they’re tender enough to pierce with a knife. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pears to a plate to cool. Continue simmer the poaching liquid, allowing it to reduce by about a quarter.

Remove the pan from heat, and use the same slotted spoon to lift out 4 of the lemon slices, placing each on a dessert plate. The lemon slice will anchor the pear so it doesn’t roll around. Next, spoon some of the reduced poaching liquid over each pear, letting it pool on the plate.

Set about 1/4 cup of ricotta on each plate, right in the pool of liquid, and sprinkle the top of each dish with the chopped nuts.

Boom! Done.

Happy eating!

Need to use Leftover Buttermilk? Try Blueberry Muffins with Crunchy Cinnamon Topping

Have you ever bought a quart of buttermilk, only to use a half-cup for a recipe and then completely forget that said buttermilk is in your fridge?  Then one day, you find the buttermilk, open the carton and gag, only to throw the aged lumpy mess away?

Yep, I’ve been there. And the last time I found myself with leftover buttermilk in the fridge, I was determined not to let it go to waste.

So, the experiments began.

I used the buttermilk in place of butter & cream in cheesy mashed potatoes (success), as a soaking liquid for chicken that I ultimately breaded and oven-fried (success again), and mixed some into my parsnip & apple smash (a delightful success). But because a little buttermilk goes a long way, I still had some left. What to do?

I remembered a buttermilk berry cake recipe I read last summer on Creamed Butter, a blog written by my friend Andrew’s fiancé, Adrienne.  The cake looked delicious and the recipe was so simple I dubbed it “Lazy Summer Cake”—it requires so little effort, and though it’s not fancy, it’s incredibly satisfying and a great way to showcase the marvelous berries of summer.

I didn’t really feel like making a cake, but revisiting the recipe gave me an idea: muffins. The great thing about muffins is that they’re perfectly portioned, not to mention portable, which makes a muffin an ideal breakfast on a busy morning. As you’ll see from the pictures on Creamed Butter, the cake is pretty light, but it’s not high-rising, so I had to do a little tinkering to make the cake recipe muffin-friendly.

For starters, I substituted the all-purpose flour with cake flour (an easy sub is included below).  I made sure to sift the cake flour a few times until I had a pile of snowy, feathery light powder—ideal for a delicate crumb and a generously puffed muffin top. I kept the rest of the proportions in the recipe the same, except for the berries—I used a pint of blueberries—then folded them into the batter instead of placing them on top. You could use less berries, but I like muffins with a lot of fruit.  Finally, I prepared a crunchy topping of oats, cinnamon, sugar and crushed sliced almonds.

The result is a portable, pretty and satisfying treat perfect for breakfast or to kill the mid-afternoon slump—and unlike most coffee shop muffins that are lead-weight and huge, you a muffin that won’t give you carb coma. At first bite, you’re greeted by the warmth of the cinnamon sugar and the crunch of the oats & almonds, followed by the pop of juicy blueberries & the hint of lemon in this gently sweet cake. Bliss.

Now go make some.

RECIPE:

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Creamed Butter, Summer Buttermilk Berry Cake

Time: 40 minutes

Tools:

  • Electric mixer
  • Fine mesh strainer (for sifting flour)
  • Mortar & pestle (for topping)
  • 12-muffin pan
  • 12 muffin cups

Ingredients

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup cake flour*
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3-cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

For the Topping (all measurements are approximate):

  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sliced almonds

* One cup cake flour = 1/8 cup cornstarch and 7/8 cup all-purpose flour. The easiest way to do this is to put 2 tablespoons cornstarch into a dry measuring cup, spoon flour in to fill the rest and level off. Mix with a fork or whisk before sifting.

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place paper cups in muffin pan, and spray the cups lightly with non-stick cooking spray if you have it. (If not, no big loss.)

Combine the ingredients of the topping into a small bowl, then use your mortar & pestle to grind the oats and almonds down a bit as they mix with the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.

Sift the cake flour once into a medium bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift two more times and set aside.  In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Then beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla and lemon zest, until all are fully incorporated.

Alternating the flour and the buttermilk, mix with the butter/sugar/egg mixture until just combined, beginning and ending with the flour.  Gently fold in the blueberries with a wooden spoon or a spatula.

Use a spoon to fill each cup about 2/3 full, then spread the tops until they’re even.  Use a clean spoon to sprinkle the topping on each cup of batter. You’ll have enough to coat the surface of each one.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the middle muffins comes out mostly clean (if it’s got blueberry juice on it, that’s a good thing.)

Eat warm or at room temperature, with a cup of tea or mug of coffee.  If you’re prepping breakfast for the week, allow the muffins to cool completely before wrapping each individually with plastic wrap, placing into a zip-top bag and then putting them into the freezer.

Voi-la!

PS – Weight Watchers Points Plus per muffin: 4!

PPS – This is my 50th post!

The Weekend In Food: Culinary Experiments, Momofuku Noodle Bar, and Death by Doughnut Plant

Oh, for the love of doughnuts! Wanna get one of these? Keep reading...

It’s been a busy weekend—working from home, running errands & catching up on some housework. I’m gearing up for an even busier week ahead, so I took a little time yesterday to prep some meals for the week…

It started as black bean soup...

I’ve never made black bean soup the same way twice. Basic semi-pureed black bean soup is a little boring to me, so I usually vary it with different vegetables & spices, leaning on chunky rather than smooth texture.  The only consistency of the mix-ins is that they depend entirely on what I have in the house. Yesterday, it was yellow bell pepper, shallots, chopped tomato, and a late edition of chopped zucchini (which is best added in the last 15 minutes of cooking since it can get mushy if cooked longer). I added unmeasured shakes, sprinkles and dashes of cumin, coriander, garlic powder, black pepper, smoked paprika and chipotle pepper, plus a whole dried chili for more heat.  The result is a smoky, hearty & nutrient packed hot mess of deliciousness.  Plus, it’s Boyfriend-approved.

For tips on cooking black beans, check out this post from EmmyCooks.  Check out her other posts, too – it’s a fantastic blog.

Gotta keep 'em separated...

While the soup was cooking, I made a few other things—roasted beets, jasmine rice, and roasted cauliflower.  I am nothing if not a multi-tasker.

For the rice…Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Measure out a cup of rice and put it in a casserole dish (ceramic or glass).  Add a tablespoon of oil or butter, plus 2 cups boiling water and a dash of salt.  If your baking dish comes with an oven-safe cover, awesome, but if not, cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place in the oven, set your timer for 45 minutes, and find something to do. When the timer goes off, you have a dish of perfectly cooked rice. Fluff with a fork and serve immediately, or allow it to cool before refrigerating in the same container. Mess-free!

For the cauliflower…If you saw my post on pasta recipes the other day, take another look at the Roasted Cauliflower Pasta recipe.  Cauliflower is one of those veggies that gets much better with company—it’s very friendly with parmesan and panko, a real treat when it’s battered and fried, and it’s really special when paired with something briny, like Spanish olives in this recipe.  First tossed in a hot pan with olive oil, butter and shallots, the cauliflower then roasts for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.  Next, we invite salt, red pepper flakes, crushes garlic cloves and the olives to the party, toss again, and continue roasting for another 8 minutes. The pan comes out of the oven, the cauliflower are browned and tender, and everyone is looking beautiful and shiny in the sizzling pan. This mixture is a great topper or mix-in with rice or pasta. I will definitely make this again.

Here’s a close-up:

Cauliflower and friends

So Saturday was Cooking Day. Today I got a few hours reprieve from work and made my first trip to Momofuku Noodle Bar with friends.  I’m not really caught up in the ramen trend, but I appreciate good noodles and I love pork buns. And I have been told Noodle Bar has some of the best pork buns in the city. Now, while I normally report on my own cooking exclusively, I feel it is my duty to share my experience of this inspiring and incredible meal, and to tell you that if you are a resident of this great city or just visiting for a day, a weekend or longer, YOU MUST EAT AT MOMOFUKU NOODLE BAR. Yes! It’s so important I have to put it in caps. Don’t believe me?  Get a look at some of the great stuff they’re serving…

That is a Spicy Chicken Ramen noodle bowl. And it’s what my boyfriend and our friends Nat and Mike ordered. I tried some, and it was incredible: the chicken is crispy-spicy-smoky-tender-awesome, the egg is perfectly poached, the bok choy is pickled and sweet, and the nori (seaweed) adds a whole other dimension—salty, a touch fishy, a little earthy. The noodles strike a perfect balance between tender and chewy, and the broth brings all the elements together into a cohesive, incredibly flavorful and beautiful soup.

But wait! Here’s what I had…

This is Kimchi Stew.  Under the bubbling red-orange I discovered delicious pulled pork and the most tender rice cakes I’ve ever had the pleasure to try.  No ramen here, but I didn’t miss it. I love kimchi, and were it not for the fact that it’s really stinky and time-consuming to make, I’d have it for dinner every day. And since I don’t, I welcome the opportunity to have the homemade stuff at restaurants whenever I can.

We also ordered pork buns (made with delicious fatty pork belly and a ridiculously amazing hoisin sauce), shrimp buns (equally awesome), and Nat and Mike ordered the winter special, ham buns (flavored with apple cider and cabbage). Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of these because we were too busy inhaling them.

I kicked off my meal with this ginger beer, which I’m determined to find and buy by the case:

You would think after such an incredible meal at Noodle Bar that we’d be done eating, but somehow the four of us managed to walk (very slowly at first) through the East Village and south to the Lower East Side. Destination: Doughnut Plant, a magical place I’ve been reading about for a couple years and purposely avoiding. I am not a Doughnut Person, mostly because the alternative to a warm, fresh doughnut is gross, dry, and thoroughly unsatisfactory. But when faced with high-quality fresh doughnuts, like the kind you can get at The Vanderbilt and Doughnut Plant, I can’t stop myself.

After waiting on a long but quickly-moving line, I ordered not one but two doughnuts: Coconut Creme, and Peanut Butter Jam.  I have no other word to describe these doughnuts than Perfect. Perfect with a capital P!  Perfect texture (crisp and sticky on the outside, light and chewy on the inside, Perfectly balanced (just sweet enough so that all the flavors shine through, and Perfectly fresh.  And because these doughnuts are so amazing and addictive, I am going to actively avoid them as long as humanly possible.

Peanut Butter Jelly Time! Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Finally, I am full, after eating a pork bun, a shrimp bun, a bowl of kimchi stew, and two ginormous doughnuts. I’m skipping dinner and going back to work.

Have a great week!

Sweet Tooth: Pumpkin Pie Pudding (Yes, in February. Just because.)

Hi. I am delicious. What's your name?

Pumpkin may be in season in the fall, but any time I’ve cooked with pumpkin I used the canned stuff.  This is unusual for me—given the option I almost always go with fresh ingredients.  But cutting, peeling and cooking a fresh pumpkin is a job—and when you’re pressed for time, as most of us are, going with the canned stuff is a great option. You end up with better consistency, and so long as you’re using a canned pumpkin without any additives, it’s easy to feel like you’re eating it fresh.

Another excellent benefit of canned pumpkin? It’s available year round. And with the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been enjoying (and been baffled by), it seemed entirely appropriate to make Pumpkin Pie Pudding for dessert on Saturday.  I was hosting a dinner party and serving an accidentally autumnal menu: pomegranate pork tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes & apple, and sautéed Tuscan kale.  When I considered dessert options, I remembered a favorite I had originally found in Cooking Light a couple years ago.

The recipe yields 4 perfectly creamy (yet cream-free) puddings that have all the flavor of  pumpkin pie filling but ultimately a much lighter texture.  I like to add a little crunch (and admittedly I missed the pie crust), so I topped each pudding with crumbled gingersnaps.  Spoon on a dollop of whipped cream—flavored with nothing more than a touch of vanilla—and you’ve got an aromatic and fancy-looking dessert.  It’s also ridiculously simple and surprisingly low in fat.

Needless to say, my dinner guests (the boyfriend, my friend Bujan and his fiancé Anne) weren’t really concerned with any of that stuff.  They were too busy eating and smiling.

RECIPE

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Adapted from Cooking Light (October 2010)

Yummy!

Time:

  • 15 minutes active time / 2-3 hours inactive time

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cup Skim Plus milk (or 1% milk, but do not use regular skim milk)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (unsweetened, 100% pure)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or use 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, plus a dash each of ground allspice, clove, nutmeg and ginger)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For topping:

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup gingersnaps, smashed and crumbled

Method:

  1. Combine 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine milk and egg, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  2. Combine pumpkin, vanilla, spice and salt in a bowl, stirring well. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place pan over low heat, and cook for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly (do not boil). Divide pudding evenly among 4 dessert bowls and cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. (Tip: poke holes in wrap before covering surface to let hot air escape). Chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. Place gingersnap cookies in a zip-top bag, seal, and then smash the cookies into coarse crumbs using a mug or some heavy object you have laying around.  Best to place the bag on a dish towel so you don’t ruin your counter top when smashing.  This is the most fun part of this recipe.
  4. Just before you are ready to serve, place the cream in a glass or stainless steel bowl and beat on high with a mixer until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Top each serving with a sprinkle of cookie crumbs, followed by a dollop of whipped cream, and then a second sprinkling of crumbs.  Ta-daa: dessert.

Weight Watchers Points Plus Information:

  • Minus the gingersnap crumbs and whipped cream, each serving has a Points Plus value of 4