Thursday , 26 April 2018

Kyra’s Kitchen: Thanksgiving Desserts – “Do it Now!”

By Kyra Effren, TSB Food Writer

That was one of my Mother’s favorite sayings… “Do it now”… and with Thanksgiving just two weeks away it would be a good time to heed that advice. Prepare as much as you can ahead so that you are not too exhausted to enjoy the holiday.

Here are some dessert ideas you can make and freeze now – with suggestions for short cuts or substitutions.

Chocolate Cranberry Bread Pudding
4 cups bread [or cake ] crumbs
2 cups milk [or half and half] ¼ cup sugar
4 oz dark chocolate [chopped] or 1 cup dark chocolate chips
3 eggs
½ cup craisins

Arrange the crumbs in a buttered baking dish.
Combine the milk, sugar and chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and microwave on high for two minutes.
Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted and blended in.
Add the eggs and whisk well to incorporate.
Pour the chocolate egg mixture over the crumbs and allow to soak for one hour.
Heat the oven to 350°.

Bake the bread pudding for 45 minutes or until slightly risen and set.
Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or whipped topping.
Pumpkin Ice Cream with Caramel Wine Sauce
1 can pumpkin
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
4 cups vanilla ice cream
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine the ingredients until smooth.
Pack into a container and store in the freezer until firm.
Return to the freezer until ready to serve.

Suggestion: Pile the ice cream into a graham cracker crust and turn your dessert into an Ice Cream Pie!

Caramel Wine Sauce:
½ 14 oz. bag caramels  [or 1 cup caramel ice cream syrup] ½ cup red wine

Combine the caramel and wine in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil.
If using caramels, simmer very gently, stirring constantly – until the caramels are melted.
If using syrup, simmer for two minutes then remove from the heat and stir.
(Note: Boiling the sauce will remove the alcohol.)

Apple Ginger Crisp
8 apples peeled, cored and cut into chunks*
½ cup frozen apple juice concentrate
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup oats
¼ cup brown sugar
½ stick (4 Tablespoons) soft butter
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Poach the apples in the concentrate until soft.
After cooking, if it is not sweet enough for your taste, add some sugar.
Pile apples into a baking dish. Sprinkle on the ginger.

Pre heat oven to 374°.
Using a fork, mix together the oats, brown sugar, butter and nuts.
Sprinkle mixture evenly over the apples.
Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the topping is slightly browned and crisp.
Serve at room temp or warm with ice cream.

*Note:  You can substitute canned apples if desired.  You will need two 15 oz. cans.

“Pumpkin” Cookies
1 cup butter – at room temp
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 cups flour
Grated rind of 1 orange
2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1-2 drops orange extract [optional] Orange food coloring [available at craft stores] ½ cup chocolate chips

Pre heat oven to 325°.
Beat together the butter and sugar.
Beat in the flour and flavorings and the food color if using.
Work to a soften dough – wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least four hours.
Using half the dough at a time, roll out to about ¼” thickness (I roll out between two sheets of floured baking paper which makes the process much easier.)
Cut into pumpkin shapes – place on a baking paper lined cookie sheet and bake for about 12-15 minutes or until slightly colored and dry.
Allow to cool on a rack.

Melt the chocolate chips and ‘paint’ the stems’ with melted chocolate.  Allow to dry.

About the Author
McKinney resident Kyra Effren is a contributing writer for’s “Food” section.  She is a retired food stylist and contributing writer for the “Food” section of Dallas Morning News. In 1975, Effren opened Cours de Cuisine Cooking School in Dallas and in 1978, she was awarded The Commanderie des Cordon Bleu in France for her contributions to French cooking.   She has edited multiple cookbooks and served as recipe tester for a number of cookbooks including both of the Mansion on Turtle Creek cookbooks by Dean Fearing and baking books by Nick Malgieri.

Kyra welcomes any and all reader comments and suggestions.  What would you like to have for dinner?

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