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Give Thanks with Pumpkin Fudge

Garden Blog - Fri, 11/21/2014 - 9:08am

No Thanksgiving is complete without a pumpkin dish—and it doesn’t hurt to spice it up with a little something extra…

If you’re ready to start a new tradition (enough already with the pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cookies), consider chef Michael Kingsley’s bourbon pumpkin-pecan fudge (available now at the Garden View Café). The bourbon bakes off so it’s safe for kids, but it gives the fudge a bit of a kick (and who doesn’t need a little jump-start during the holidays?).

The recipe is simple enough to get the whole family involved. Think butter…pumpkin…toasted pecans—what’s not to like? And what better way to celebrate the season than to spend time together, break fudge together, and give thanks that you’re able to do so?

Pull out your candy thermometer, 4-quart sauce pan, wooden spoon, measuring cups and spoons, 13-by-9-inch pan, aluminum foil, nonstick cooking spray, and seasonal cookie cutters (and get the camera ready—not that anyone is going to lick the spoon…). This is going to be delicious.

Bourbon Pumpkin-Pecan Fudge

 Pumpkin fudge

1¾ cups sugar
1¼ cups brown sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk (5-ounce can)
½ cup canned pumpkin purée (no added sugar) 
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
2¼ cups white chocolate chips
7 ounces marshmallow fluff (any brand)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bourbon (optional, but worth it!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Start by covering a 13-by-9-inch pan with aluminum foil. Spray the covered pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over the bottom of the pan. (They do not have to completely cover it.) Set aside.

Combine the sugar, brown sugar, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin purée, spices, and salt in a pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil until the temperature reaches 236 degrees Fahrenheit on your candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

Working quickly, add the white chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff, and vanilla to the pan. Be careful, as this may spatter and will be very hot! Fold ingredients in until completely incorporated. Pour the hot fudge mixture over the chopped pecans and quickly spread evenly; it will immediately start to set up as it cools.

Place the pan uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Your mouth is probably watering already, but unfortunately, it will take this long to set up completely.

After cooling the pan completely for 3 hours, remove the pan from the refrigerator, and turn it upside down on a cutting board. The fudge should pop right out. Peel off the aluminum foil and discard. Want to make your treats extra special? Use cookie cutters to cut your fudge into festive autumn shapes—or maybe dinosaurs if you’re that kind of person—and enjoy!

Note: If you have it in your spice rack, you can substitute 3½ teaspoons of “pumpkin pie spice” for the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.

©2014 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Brief but Beautiful

CLM Internship Blog - Thu, 11/20/2014 - 1:47pm

Hello Friends, Family, and others,

The past three months I have been working as a botanist with the Carson City District Office (BLM). It has really opened my eyes to the importance of conservation, and the general complexity of Nevada ecosystems. Coming in, I was new to an already established crew of six who welcomed a co-worker and me with friendly smiles and helpful attitudes. At once, I felt like I belonged to the group. It has been nothing short of a great time, spending days out in the field with a large group of friends, while still being productive. I came in knowing relatively little about Botany. I had worked with plants in the field before, and understood basic cycles and cues for matured seed, however identifying plants and keying them out were novel tasks. I took them in stride and now, at the end of three months, I have learned the majority of plants we have encountered over the season, as well as successfully able to key out plants. Learning these new skills, as well as practicing old ones has been a wonderful experience. Every time I would get tired, or annoyed, it was so easy to lean back, and study the beautiful surroundings and appreciate just being there.

Two interns look at seed viability of Atriplex with a stunning view

Two interns look at seed viability of Atriplex with a stunning view

Regardless, I have seen awesome wildlife between snakes, scorpions, a tarantula, many hawks, a few eagles, a bear cub, and many other less memorable animals. This internship has been a ton of fun and I couldn’t have asked for a better time.

Signing out, and have a Thanksgiving stuffed with eating,
Ari

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