Thanksgiving

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes the tastiest recipes are born out of a classic fridge and freezer clean-out. Last month I was trying to clear out our freezer to have space for all the freezer meals I prepped in anticipation of our little guy’s arrival. Side note: I plan to do a detailed freezer meal prep post when I’m back from my maternity leave so stay tuned!

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets  |  Lemon & Mocha

Anyways, the freezer was stuffed with all sorts of odds and ends, one of which was a package of these frozen mini fillo shells. I can’t for the life of me remember why I bought them, but it was clearly for some recipe that never came to be. While I was brainstorming what to stuff the flaky tartlet shells with I thought about how much I love baked brie, especially in the fall when it starts getting chilly outside.

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets  |  Lemon & Mocha

These bites are a take on a baked brie that’s been cooked until gooey and smothered with warm nuts and dried fruit. The first time I made them they were really good, but they needed more of that gooey brie so I adjusted the recipe to ensure you won’t be missing the cheese in your tartlets.

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets  |  Lemon & Mocha

For the topping, we’re combining crunchy toasted pecans, tart dried cranberries, dried apricots and some apricot preserves for a little sweetness. This mixture gets dolloped on top of the brie in the fillo shells before being baked for just ten minutes. These is a great mini appetizer for Thanksgiving or a Christmas party, especially because it is so incredibly quick to throw together.

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets  |  Lemon & Mocha

Now, I hope you all have enjoyed the last several savory recipes because from this Friday until Christmas Lemon & Mocha is going to be all about the sweets! I’m doing something fun and exciting this holiday season: Lemon & Mocha’s 12 Days of Cookies. I have so many must-make cookie recipes to share and I can’t wait for you to see them all!

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets  |  Lemon & Mocha

Baked Brie Fruit & Nut Tartlets
 
Yield: 15 tartlets
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 4 dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 6 ounces brie, rind removed
  • 15 frozen mini fillo shells (Athens brand)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Toast the pecans. Place the chopped pecans on a baking sheet then bake for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the toasted pecans, dried cranberries, chopped apricots and apricot preserves. Set aside.
  4. Place the tartlet shells on a baking sheet. Cut the brie so you can put a small wedge into the bottom of each tartlet shell. Cover the brie in the tartlet shell with a spoonful of the apricot mixture. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

 

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.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Are you guys peanut butter fanatics like I am? Most days I just look around the kitchen to see what would be a good vessel for my peanut butter snack. Pretzels? Check. Carrot sticks? Yup. Pancakes? Yes, please. Spoon? Sure, why not?

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Sometimes when I’m coming up with recipes I think the same way. I quickly discovered that roasted acorn squash makes an excellent peanut butter vessel. Especially when the peanut butter is combined with coconut milk, lime juice, coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and maple syrup to make a rich, tangy, salty and slightly sweet sauce. Add some chopped crunchy peanuts and savory scallions and you have absolute veggie perfection.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Have you ever used coconut aminos? I bought a bottle at Trader Joe’s and this was my first time using it. Many people use it as a substitute for soy sauce since it tastes similar, although slightly sweeter. Coconut aminos is lower in sodium and contains no soy. If you would rather use low sodium soy sauce because that’s what you already have in your fridge you might need to adjust the sauce to taste a little since it’s not a direct substitution.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I love pretty much all roasted vegetables and acorn squash is no exception. The slices get tender, a little crispy and caramelized. Plus, how fancy do they look all laid out on the platter? You definitely need a very sharp knife to cut through the squash. If you’re finding the squash too difficult to cut through, cut a few slits in the skin of the squash then microwave for three minutes to help soften the skin.

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Looking for more peanut vessel inspiration? Check out my Thai Peanut Chicken Tacos, Sesame Peanut Noodles with Chicken or Apple Nachos. Or if you want something a little sweeter, the Chocolate Drizzled Peanut Butter Crunch Chocolate Brownies and the Peanut Butter Apple Bars are both loaded with peanut butter. Yum!

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Roasted Acorn Squash with a Thai Peanut Sauce
 
Yield: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 acorn squash
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • Cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Cut the acorn squashes into ½-inch slices. Use a small round biscuit cutter or a knife to remove the center of each slice to leave you with acorn squash rings. Lay the squash slices in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray then season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. While the squash is roasting, make the peanut sauce. Whisk the peanut butter, coconut aminos, light coconut milk, maple syrup, lime juice, ground ginger and red pepper flakes in a small mixing bowl until well combined.
  4. When the squash is done, layer on a serving dish. Drizzle the peanut sauce over top then top with the chopped peanuts and scallions. Serve warm.
Notes
Substitutions: If you can’t use coconut aminos, you can try swapping in low sodium soy sauce. You might need to increase the amount of maple syrup. If you can’t use light coconut milk, substitute water.
Leave the acorn squash unpeeled. When you cut the slices you want the squash positioned so the stem end is facing your left hand and the bottom end of the squash is facing your right hand (if you are going to be cutting with your right hand).

 

Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Hello, everyone! I hope you are all having a fun-filled weekend so far! I wanted to pop in this Sunday with a quick recipe before all my family Christmas festivities got started. I saved this recipe for the last minute because it’s so easy, but I wanted to make sure I shared it because these Candied Pecans are seriously addictive.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

If they look familiar it’s because I first made them to go on top of my Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream Pie I shared before Thanksgiving. When I made them for the ice cream pie I was so excited by how tasty they were that I decided the pecans deserved their own post here on Lemon and Mocha.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Most recipes I’ve seen online for candied pecans use butter, but this recipe actually uses a single egg white instead. The egg white and vanilla extract are beaten until frothy before tossing with the pecans, which then get coated with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and ground cloves. The pecans get the best crispy and sugary spiced coating on the outside without any greasiness of butter. If you’re like me and have been baking like crazy all holiday season then you probably have all these ingredients in your pantry right now to whip up a batch.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

I just made a batch for putting on top of my browned butter pecan cheesecake for Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house and I may have sneaked one or two (or ten) for myself. They are perfect for sprinkling on cakes, cheesecakes, trifles or ice cream, but they also taste crazy delicious just by themselves. Especially warm out of the oven – drooling over here! Simply put them in a bowl for snacking alongside dessert or use as part of a sweet and salty cheese and snack board.

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends and I’ll be back here with a fun post on Wednesday!

Candied Pecans  |  Lemon & Mocha

Candied Pecans
 
Yield: A little more than 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces pecan halves
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the egg white and vanilla until frothy. Add the pecan halves then toss to completely coat. Spoon the coated pecans into the bowl with the sugars, trying to leave any excess egg white behind. Place on the prepared baking sheet and spread out the pecans. Bake for 1 hour, tossing the pecans on the pan every 15 minutes. I use a spatula to separate the pecans from the parchment paper then spread them back out in an even layer before putting back in the oven.

 

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I know I say this all the time, but you need to try these Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites! This perfect party appetizer has all your favorite flavors of antipasto packed into one creamy bite. I love making appetizers with store-bought puff pastry because they look so fancy, but are actually incredibly easy. The puff pastry does all the work resulting in a buttery and flaky vessel for all the antipasto fixings.

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m not sure if you can tell from the photos, but these bites are made in a mini muffin pan so they’re really small, like a one bite deal. Since we are working with limited space inside these little flaky cups I decided to incorporate the artichokes and roasted red peppers by turning them into a simple artichoke dip. The artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers are chopped up then mixed with some fresh grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and a secret ingredient to make the easiest and creamiest artichoke and red pepper dip ever.

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Then on top we have some salami and a mini mozzarella ball to round out our antipasto flavors. You can add in some olives if you like, but Matt and I aren’t olive fans so I left those out. Top with some fresh basil or Italian parsley and you’ve made a delicious twist on a classic antipasto!

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Make sure you read the instructions through and do not put the mozzarella on until they are out of the oven. Mozzarella melts really easily so if you put it in the oven each bite will just be covered in a pool of melted mozzarella. Since we’re using fresh mozzarella balls you really want to be able to taste them so we’re adding them after the bites are all baked.

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

My Crab Dip Puffs recipe is working overtime around here because that, along with my love for antipasto platters, inspired this recipe, too! I hope you all enjoy this one!

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites  |  Lemon & Mocha

Antipasto Puff Pastry Bites
 
Yield: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted, but still cold
  • 3 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • ⅓ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • ⅓ cup Hellman’s real mayonnaise
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 ounces hard salami
  • 6 ciliegine size mini fresh mozzarella balls
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley for serving, optional
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. On a lightly floured surface unfold the puff pastry sheet. Roll into a rectangle about 10” by 15”. Cut the rectangle of puff pastry into 24 squares. Press each square into a cup of the prepared mini muffin pan. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven.
  3. While the puffy pastry bites are in the oven, mix together the chopped artichokes, chopped roasted red peppers, mayonnaise, Parmesan and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the salami into 6 thick rounds then cut each round into quarters.
  4. When the puff pastry comes out of the oven, gently press a spoon into the middle of each bite to lightly deflate the middle and make room for the artichoke dip. Spoon the artichoke dip into the puff pastry bites, about a teaspoon per bite. Keep dividing the dip among the bites until all the dip has been used up. Add a piece of salami to the top of each bite, but off to the side to leave room for the mozzarella. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  5. While the bites are in the oven, cut each mozzarella ball into quarters. When the bites come out of the oven let them cool slightly then use a spoon to help you remove them from the pan and place on a platter. Top each bite with a quartered mozzarella ball and the fresh basil or parsley, if using. Serve hot.
Notes
If you want to roast your own red peppers, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a pan or line with nonstick aluminum foil and roast a whole red bell pepper for 20 minutes. Flip the pepper then roast for another 20 minutes. When it’s cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard along with the stem and seeds.