Holiday

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once October hits I am all about the pumpkins. Not just pumpkin flavors, like Friday’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies, but actual pumpkins. My house is usually covered in them during this time of year, from actual pumpkins on our doorstep, pumpkin wreath on our door, indoor ceramic pumpkins, fabric pumpkins, wood signs with pumpkins… you get the idea!

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

One other form of pumpkin I look forward to this time of year are mellowcreme pumpkins. Yes! Those corn syrup, sugary pumpkin candies that look like candy corn, but taste way better. The little sugar bombs are creamy on the inside and look so adorable right before you snarf them down. I have tasted plenty that taste waxy so the brand you buy is key in them actually tasting delicious or not. My go-to is Zachary’s, which can be difficult to find, but I can usually find them at the Christmas Tree Shop. I normally hate Brach’s, however, I believe they may have changed their recipe, including adding honey, and I bought a bag this year that was actually pretty good.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

The reason we’re buying these cute sugary pumpkin candies is so we can make cute nostalgic haystack treats! Did you have these when you were a kid? I haven’t had them for years and years, but I was dying to make some.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

Butterscotch flavored chips are melted down and then mixed together with creamy peanut butter, mini marshmallows and crunchy chow mein noodles. You drop them onto a baking sheet to make little haystacks; don’t forget to plop a little mellowcreme pumpkin onto each one! The combination may sound a bit strange, but they are buttery, sweet, crunchy and crazy addictive. I couldn’t stop eating them!

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s a good thing I made only a half batch, which you can easily do. The recipe below will make about seventy haystacks so you will probably want to halve it as well unless you are making them for a party or a large group of people. Some recipes substitute peanuts for the mini marshmallows, but I love the soft and gooey texture they add. Have you ever had these fun and tasty treats before?

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks  |  Lemon & Mocha

Butterscotch Pumpkin Haystacks
 
Yield: about 70 haystacks
Ingredients
  • 11-ounce bag of butterscotch flavored morsels (about 1⅔ cups)
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3½ cups miniature marshmallows
  • 2 5-ounce cans chow mein noodles
  • 1-2 bags pumpkin mellowcremes
Directions
  1. Line 2 baking sheets that will fit in your fridge with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt the butterscotch morsels using either a double boiler or a microwave. If you’re using a double boiler, melt the morsels over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then skip to the next step. If you’re using a microwave, heat the morsels in a large microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir then continue to microwave and stir in 15 second increments until they’re melted.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter and the mini marshmallows. Stir in both cans of the chow mein noodles until completely coated. Spoon little stacks onto the prepared baking sheets, adding a pumpkin mellowcreme to each stack. Put in the fridge to set completely.
  4. Once set, you can either store at room temperature or in the fridge.

Recipe from Nestle.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy October! I know it’s been October since Tuesday and I’ve already posted since then, but now that I’m sharing a pumpkin recipe with you all it feels more official. I’m super unique and love pumpkin recipes in the fall. Especially baked goods because the smell that fills up the kitchen is amazing.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & MochaFood Network Magazine stayed true to the season and made their October cookies these Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies. I’ve made whoopie pies in the past, but they turned out a little dense so I was curious to see how their pumpkin spice version would stack up.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

First of all, I love that the cookies for these whoopie pies are so cute and little! Especially because once you sandwich two together with some filling it ends up being quite a lot so they really are the perfect size.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Second, they are moist, definitely not dense and packed with pumpkin spice goodness! I ate one on its own while it was still warm and it was so good. Kind of like a little pumpkin cake in a cookie shape.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

The filling is a coffee buttercream, which is a delicious combination with the pumpkin flavoring. Don’t forget the fun fall sprinkles to roll them in!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pumpkin Spice Latte Whoopie Pies
 
Yield: 15-16 2" whoopie pies
Ingredients
for the cookies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
for the filling
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Fall sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating
Directions
for the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, making sure to position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in the large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, beat until combined. Add the pumpkin puree and beat on low speed until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined.
  4. Scoop 1½ tablespoon mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Use damp fingers to shape them into rounds. Alternatively, use a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip to pipe 1½-inch rounds of batter. Bake for 14-16 minutes, switching the pans halfway through baking. They are done when they’re golden and the tops spring back with lightly pressed. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool slightly then repeat with the remaining batter.
for the filling
  1. Combine the milk and instant coffee in a small bowl until the coffee dissolves.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes, or until smooth. Add the milk mixture then beat on medium-low until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until slightly firm.
  3. When the cookies are cool and the filling is slightly firm, sandwich about 1 tablespoon of filling between 2 cookies. Roll the edges in sprinkles. If the filling is too soft, refrigerate the whoopie pies for 30 minutes, but let sit at room temperature before serving.

 Recipe adapted from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

How fun is this Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter? As I’ve mentioned in past posts, Babu and I used to make a classic flag sheet cake every Fourth of July. Now my new tradition seems to be coming up with a tasty new alternative every year instead! I really enjoyed putting together last year’s Flag Fruit and Dessert Platter and I wanted to do something similar this year.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Just like mini appetizer food, dessert boards encourage informal snacking and eating, which is especially welcome during lazy summer barbecue parties. When it’s hot out and all the yummy fruits are in season during the summertime I find myself craving fruity desserts. Even better if they’re light and refreshing. This red, white and blue platter essentially turns an already simple dessert into a top your own angel food cake bar.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

The white stripes consist of chunks of fluffy angel food cake. Buy it at the store, bake it from scratch or use a box mix; totally up to you! I went basic with the red stripes and just layered juicy strawberries. Strawberries, raspberries and pitted fresh cherries are all great choices that would pair well with the angel food cake.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

For the blue section of the flag I have a quick sauce made with blueberries. It was my first time making this easy four-ingredient sauce from Barefoot Contessa and it will definitely not be my last. Striking the perfect balance of sweet and tart, the blueberry sauce tastes so good drizzled all over the angel food cake and fresh berries.

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, in a bowl nearby since it doesn’t really fit into the flag is some homemade whipped cream because you can’t have summer cake and berries without whipped cream! If you’re going for all simple this holiday then just break out some Cool Whip. I promise no one will complain. However, if you do take the extra few minutes to make the fresh whipped cream then I also promise you will have some extra rave reviews of your top your own angel food cake bar. Enjoy and have a great holiday!

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter  |  Lemon & Mocha

Red, White and Blue Angel Food Cake Platter
 
Yield: 1 platter; 2 cups blueberry sauce
Ingredients
for the platter
  • 1 angel food cake, cut into cubes
  • 24 ounces strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 cup heavy cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
for the blueberry sauce
  • 1½ pints blueberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Directions
for the platter
  1. Arrange the cake cubes on the platter in stripes, leaving room for the strawberries and a bowl filled with blueberry sauce in the upper left corner. Place the strawberries on the platter right before serving.
  2. In a cold metal bowl of a stand mixer or in a large cold metal mixing bowl with a hand mixer, use cold beaters to beat the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it. You can make the whipped cream a day ahead, just store it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve then lightly beat with a whisk.
for the blueberry sauce
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the blueberries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and ¼ cup water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should be thickened. Remove from the heat and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender. Alternatively you could strain in a mesh strainer to remove the blueberry chunks. If you prefer the chunks of blueberries in the sauce then you can just leave it as is. Cool to room temperature then store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
I used a box mix and baked it in two square baking pans. I lined the baking pans with parchment paper then made the angel food cake according to the package instructions, baking at 325 degrees (my pans were nonstick) for 35 minutes, or until the tops were dark golden. When they came out of the oven I leaned the pans on their sides and when they were mostly cool I took them out of the pans and cut them into cubes.

Blueberry sauce recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though it’s still June I’m here sharing the Food Network Magazine July cookies because they are perfect for the Fourth of July. Like the May macarons I skipped, these cookies were slightly involved, but there’s also ice cream so of course I stuck it out.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever made homemade ice cream sandwiches? I have a handful of times, but they can be difficult to get right because the texture of the cookies is so important. The cookies needs to be soft enough that they don’t get too hard in the freezer so you can actually bite through the ice cream treat. They also can’t be too soft that the cookie falls apart when you try to put the ice cream sandwich together.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

One thing the Food Network Magazine got right was definitely the texture of the cookies for these Ice Cream Sandwich Stars. I thought they were too soft and underdone when I baked them, but they ended up being just the right texture for ice cream sandwiches. The cookies have a malted milk vanilla flavor that isn’t too sweet, which is another reason they work well for making into ice cream sandwiches. I would not recommend baking and eating these cookies on their own; they seem specifically designed for consuming with creamy vanilla ice cream.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you get the Food Network Magazine then you know their version of these cookies are bright cherry red. I did run out of red gel food coloring so mine shown here only have half the amount the recipe below calls for, but even with the full amount I’m not sure how the cookies would ever be that color since the cookies get fairly browned by being baked in the top 1/3 of the oven. I’m curious to see if anyone else is able to get the ice cream sandwiches that bright red color or if it was all food styling and editing tricks.

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Either way, they still looked cute with all the Fourth of July red, white and blue sprinkles. I have an easy red, white and blue dessert I’ll be sharing next week right before the holiday so stay tuned!

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars  |  Lemon & Mocha

Ice Cream Sandwich Stars
 
Yield: 9 ice cream sandwiches
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons red gel food coloring
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup malted milk powder (such as Carnation original)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • Red, white and blue nonpareils or 4th of July sprinkles, for decorating
  • 3 pints vanilla ice cream
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 with the rack positioned in the upper third of the oven. Line a rimmed 13x18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, buttering the pan so the parchment paper stays put. Butter and four the parchment, tapping out the excess flour.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the vanilla, food coloring and milk. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, malted milk powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, shortening, sugar and brown sugar on low speed until combined. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, beating after each addition, until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the flour mixture then beat on low until just combined. Add the milk mixture and beat on medium until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then spread until even. Sprinkle the nonpareils or sprinkles over top then bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is just set. Cool completely in the pan set on a wire cooling rack. Once cool, use a 3¼-inch star cookie cutter to cut out 18 stars. Let the cookie stars sit in the fridge to firm up until you are ready to sandwich then with the ice cream.
  4. While the cake is baking and cooling, cut out the ice cream stars. Line a baking sheet (that will fit in your freezer) with parchment paper. Take 1 pint of ice cream out of the freezer. Turn it on its side and cut into ½-inch thick slices, right through the cardboard and ice cream, starting with the wide end. You will get 3 to 4 slices out of the pint. Place the pint slices on the parchment and remove then cardboard wrapping then place the baking sheet in the fridge to firm up. Once the slices have firmed up, use a 3¼-inch star cookie cutter to cut the slices into stars, placing the ice cream scraps in a container for another use. Put back in the freezer then repeat with the remaining two pints.
  5. Once the ice cream stars are firm enough to handle, working with a few at a time sandwich the ice cream stars between 2 of the cookie stars. Return to the freezer until ready to eat. If not eating right away, wrap them in plastic wrap after they’ve had a chance to firm up.

 Recipe from January/February 2019 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad

Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy Friday! We’re only two weeks away from 4th of July, which is like the king of barbecue holidays, so I figured it was only fitting to share a backyard barbecue side dish. My pasta obsession I wrote about the other week also extends to pasta salad and it is an essentially part of a barbecue in my opinion. I have quite a few other pasta salad recipes posted on Lemon & Mocha and I will link to those at the bottom of the post.

Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

I don’t know if I’ve discussed it here on the blog before, but I also love mayonnaise. Those of you who know me are probably nodding and rolling your eyes at that understatement since I actually more than love mayonnaise, but I won’t get into that right now. The important thing to know is that Matt doesn’t like mayonnaise so I’m always looking for ways to make dishes that are traditionally made with all mayo taste less mayo-y.

Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

One of my favorite substitutions is to use nonfat plain Greek yogurt. It’s still creamy and rich without the mayo flavor. For this Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad, I have a 50/50 combination of mayonnaise and plain Greek yogurt. It keeps the pasta salad from tasting too heavy, which means you will want to go in for seconds! This pasta salad variation with crisp broccoli, sweet grapes, toasted pecans and salty bacon is actually a very popular one, but if you’ve never had it before I could definitely see how it could seem like an odd pairing. However, it all just works!

Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

There’s a great balance of creamy, salty, sweetness and acidity, also due to the red wine vinegar and agave in the recipe. Most recipes call for sugar, but I used agave instead, mostly because I like the taste and how the liquid form blends well with the other ingredients in the pasta salad.

Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you like broccoli salads I would recommend reducing the amount of farfalle pasta and increasing the amount of broccoli florets. That is how I’m going to make it next time; there’s something about those tender-crisp broccoli florets covered in bacon crumbles and pecans that I can’t get enough of! Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & MochaSummer Roasted Veggie Pesto Pasta Salad with Burrata  |  Lemon & MochaDiane's Orzo Pasta Salad  |  Lemon & MochaPasta Tuna Salad  |  Lemon & Mocha

Broccoli, Grape and Pecan Pasta Salad
 
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli florets
  • 8 ounces farfalle pasta
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup agave (or sugar), see note
  • ⅓ cup diced red onion
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the pecans by baking for 5 minutes, shaking the pan once while baking. Set aside to cool.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and ice. Blanche the broccoli florets by boiling them for 30 seconds, removing the florets with a slotted spoon to the ice bath, then drain until completely dry. After removing the broccoli florets from the boiling water, add the farfalle pasta and cook until al dente. Drain until completely dry.
  3. In a large mixing bowl or serving dish, combine the blanched and dry broccoli florets, the cooked and dry farfalle pasta, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, sugar, red onion, red wine vinegar and salt. Let chill for at least 3 hours. When ready to serve, toss with the toasted pecans, grapes and crumbled bacon.
Notes
Start with ¼ cup then increase up to ⅓ cup depending on taste preference.