"Listen! The winds are rising and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves. " - Humbert Wolfe
The wind is most definitely rising here where I live, the leaves are flying off the trees, and the night-time temps are about to plummet. I am afraid the splendor of fall is quickly becoming a distant memory. Sigh....
In honor of this most beautiful time of year and what seems to be a collective love for all things pumpkin spice, I created this delicious milk shake. My son, who loves pumpkin pie, was my inspiration. He'll be home from college in a few weeks for Thanksgiving and I can't wait for him to taste these!
Just a safety warning, you will need to caramelize sugar. It is easy, but it can also be dangerous. Be very careful and pay attention to the safety tips below.
PS I never said a splash of rum would be a bad thing if you want to make them a bit more grow up! ; )
Praline-Pecan Pumpkin Spice Milkshakes
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 1/2 cups premium vanilla ice cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
small pinch freshly grated nutmeg
For Praline Pecans:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. put pecans on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in hot oven for 8 minutes to lightly toast. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Brush down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to help prevent crystallization.
3. Bring to a boil. At this point STOP stirring immediately or you will get a grainy result and have to start all over again. Also DO NOT leave the stove as it can go from good to burnt in the blink of an eye.
4. Continue cooking caramel, swirling pan occasionally to prevent uneven cooking. Once the sugar has taken on a medium-deep amber color (this will take several minutes) , remove from heat and immediately stir in pecans with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula.
5. Stir pecans quickly until pecans are evenly coated with all that caramel goodness. Immediately dump pecan mixture back onto-foil lined tray. NOTE: caramel is hotter than Hades! Exercise extreme caution handling this molten sugar as it can burn severely.
6. Set pan aside and with wooden spoon or spatula...or 2 (DO NOT USE YOUR FINGERS!), un-clump the pecans quickly, trying to flatten into a single layer as much as possible. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
7. Once pecans have cooled, coarsely chop and set aside.
1. In your blender jar, place all remaining ingredients along with 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped praline pecans.. Cover tightly and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into two glasses, top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a few reserved chopped praline pecans, if desired.
Leftover pecans can be stored air-tight in a dry location. Use to make additional shakes or toss with a mixed leaf baby lettuces , chopped apples, diced celery and dried cranberries for a nice fall salad. Cheers!
"If life gives you limes, makes margaritas." - Jimmy Buffet
What if life gives you blackberries AND limes? Definitely make margaritas!
Fall officially started this week, which delights me to no end. Like many others, fall is the season that speaks to me the most. However, here in Northern Colorado, mother Nature hasn't quite gotten the memo as we are experiencing pretty hot, dry weather. Truthfully, that is pretty par for the course around here. It's a (soon to be not) well kept secret that Colorado actually has pretty fabulous weather almost always.
It's also been kind of a challenging week. I am growing weary of life on crutches.Trying to keep a house clean that is for sale while on crutches is not nearly as much fun as it sounds. Everything is taking me twice as long, if not longer, to do. My shoulders are starting to bear the brunt of life on crutches. So just hoping a healed stress fracture doesn't lead to a torn rotator cuff. LOL! My hubby was also experiencing a pretty rough work week and so the gorgeous weather and the fact that a potential buyer looked at our house today, seemed like cause for celebration! Love to hear what you think if you try them!
Blackberry Margaritas- Makes 4
1 cup simple syrup, cooled or chilled*
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup Cointreau or Triple Sec PLUS enough fresh-squeezed orange juice to equal 2/3 cup
1 cup Tequila, your favorite (I like Patron Gold)
2 - 6 ounce packages fresh blackberries
Place all ingredients into blender jar. Mix on high speed until smooth. Strain through a not too fine strainer just to remove the seeds (if you have a BlendTec or Vita Mix Blender, you may be able to skip this part), if desired. If making ahead, cover and chill. To serve, pour into ice-filled , salt rimmed glasses and garnish with a wedge of lime and fresh blackberries.
Combine equal parts granulated sugar and water (e.g. 1 cup each) in a saucepan. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, gently swirling pan to mix. DO NOT stir. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. Keep leftovers refrigerated for up to 10 days.