Wednesday, November 7, 2012


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   This recipe was found at www.erinsfoodfiles.com  .   Ice cream goes with everything.   Add a little pumpkin to it and it's a dessert fit for a cool fall night in front of the t.v. watching a favorite movie.

White Chocolate Ice Cream with Spiced Pumpkin Swirl

And now… the recipe I’ve been dying to share! As I’ve mentioned many many times, J’adore pumpkin. (I’m trying to learn French. J’adore = I love) One item in particular I look forward to every year, is Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Butter. I literally can’t get enough of this stuff. If you’re familiar with apple butter or pear butter, then just imagine it with pumpkin. If you’re not familiar with other fruit butters, first just get the word “butter” out of your head. It’s not fattening! In fact, it’s pretty low in calories, with just 40 calories per Tablespoon. It was probably given that name because it’s spreadable like butter. It’s just highly concentrated, think of applesauce cooked down until it’s thick & spreadable. You can use apple, pear, or pumpkin butter for many purposes. I’ve been known to spread it on toast, spread it on a sandwich, add it to oatmeal, use it as a waffle topping, but my favorite use for pumpkin butter is to mix it together with plain greek yogurt. I swear, I always feel like I’m eating pumpkin cheesecake!
As soon as I got my hands on my first jar this season, I knew I wanted to do some kind of delicious dessert with it. Different options ran through my mind, but I ended up deciding to make an ice cream with it. Even after I knew I wanted to make ice cream, I didn’t know what flavor combo to do. I’ve already paired Maple Ice Cream with Pumpkin Pie Fudge, which yielded outstanding results. It didn’t take me long to realize that I already love the combo of white chocolate + pumpkin (Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies, and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles), so a white chocolate ice cream with TJ’s Pumpkin Butter Swirled in it was!
This was my very first time swirling something into ice cream. I think I did an okay swirling job, but I might need a bit more practice. The way to do this is to make the ice cream base, churn it, and then when you transfer it to your container, dollop the pumpkin butter in and with a butter knife or thin spatula do a couple quick swirls. You obviously don’t want to do too much, or you’d lose the ripple.
Now, I’m sure you want to know how this tastes? INCREDIBLE. The white chocolate is just the perfect subtle sweetness, and doesn’t overshadow the pumpkin flavor. The Trader Joe’s brand pumpkin butter is perfectly spiced, and I think the smooth flavor of the white chocolate ice cream brings out the cinnamon & other spices in the pumpkin butter. Plus it was really interesting to try a pumpkin dessert where pumpkin is the accent flavor, and not the main focus. This would be the perfect addition to a Thanksgiving dessert table, or just be greedy and make it to eat all by yourself!
**If you’re worried about not having a Trader Joe’s nearby, don’t worry, you can probably still find pumpkin butter in various stores. I’ve seen it at Williams Sonoma & World Market. Or, try making it yourself, like Maris of In Good Taste did! I’ve made pear butter once in the slow cooker, and it was incredibly easy & delicious.**

White Chocolate Ice Cream with Spiced Pumpkin Swirl


2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2 cups heavy cream (500 ml, total)
8 ounces (230 g) white chocolate, finely chopped
5 large egg yolks
1/2 - 2/3 cup pumpkin butter (amount various depending on your tastes, add as much or as little as you'd like!)


Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and and set a mesh strainer over the top.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the white chocolate. Stir until white chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then stir in the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator overnight for flavors to meld.
Pour the chilled mixture into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. After the ice cream has churned, alternately place the ice cream and a couple tablespoons of the pumpkin butter into your freezer container, carefully swirl a few times with a butter knife or thin spatula. Freeze overnight or at least 3-4 hours before enjoying.


   The Thanksgiving proclamations are the declarations made by the various authorities in regard of the Thanksgiving Day celebrations. It is believed that first Thanksgiving Day celebrations were held in 1621. But later it seemed to be a difficult task for the authorities to decide a perfect day for the Thanksgiving Day celebrations. So in different years the presidents of the United States issued Thanksgiving proclamations and came up with new dates for the Thanksgiving Day.

The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (1676)

   "The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against  his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many  Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

   The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of  Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1863)

   The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

   No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

   It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. 

By The President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

John Hanson 

Continental Congress Thanksgiving Proclamation (1782)
   IT being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his providence in their behalf: Therefore the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these States, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war, in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their Allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them; the success of the arms of the United States, and those of their Allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States:----- Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the twenty-eight day of NOVEMBER next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.

   Done in Congress, at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, AD 1782.
JOHN HANSON, President

Charles Thomson, Secretary

George Washington

George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation (1789)
   Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"

   Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

   And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great  Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

   Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789. 


It's Christmas!!
So what are you doing online?
No, no, I understand; I need little breaks from all that family time, too.
I mean...[eying family]...uh, I like to check Sunday Sweets with my family, too! Yeah. Ahem.

[pointing] Look, over there! Pretty!
 I'm one of those people who goes a little nuts with my wrapping - you know, wrapping the box lids separately and getting all Martha Stewart on the sprigs and sparkly coordinated tags and whatnot - so this is right up my alley. Can you believe that bow? And the ornaments are edible, too!

This giant nutcracker looks like he should be the doorman at FAO Schwarz:
By valscustomcakes under the instruction of Mike's Amazing Cakes.
I'd never guess there was soft squishy cake under there: he looks solid enough to crack walnuts!

Of all the tree cakes I've seen, I think this one is my favorite:
It's so bright and cheery - like the Misfit Toys will come bouncing over any second now.

In fact...
Yep, there they are!

More edible ornaments - this time with an edible box!
Could this BE any more realistic? Seriously. At this point I think I'm going to start gnawing on random Christmas decorations around the house, just to be sure.

Thank you.
(At least, I *think* that's a figgy pudding. To be honest, I've never seen an actual figgy pudding, and have long suspected it's some kind of holiday euphemism.)

When you see so many gravity-defying and technically advanced cakes, it's easy to take things for granted. For example, how do you think they got these edible reindeer to match the exact curve of the cake?
Submitted by Janina M. and made by Sugar Sweet Cakes & Treats

I know that silicone molds were involved, but beyond that, I'm stumped. And very impressed.

Here's another brilliant technique:
Submitted by Julie K. and made by i am baker
It's like pleated ribbons of icing! Gorgeous, and fondant-free to boot.

Ah, but this one gets even better: like a beautifully wrapped package, the best surprise is inside:

Is that a blue figgy pudding I see?
More importantly: LOOK AT THAT ADORABLE POLAR BEAR. [squee!]

Everyone has a favorite Christmas show, it seems. I love all the classics, of course, but the one I make sure to watch every year is the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I know, I know: you think less of me now. I'm sorry. But I love it.

Which brings me to...

This was modeled after the original, too, so you purists can feel free to ooh and ahh. ;)

 And finally: