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pecans Archives | A Tipsy GiraffeA Tipsy Giraffe

Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake {Gluten Free}

This Gluten Free Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake is packed full of pecans and toffee bits, with a moist and tender crumb, smothered in thick, gooey caramel, topped with butter toasted pecans! It’s a gluten free adaptation of my amazing Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Cake – and it’s perhaps even more delicious in gluten free form! 

Gluten Free Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake - This Gluten Free Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake is packed full of pecans and toffee bits, with a moist and tender crumb, smothered in thick, gooey caramel, topped with butter toasted pecans!

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This cake, y’all. You need it in your life, trust me! I first made this over two years ago and it’s still one of my all time favourite cakes, it’s just so full of flavour, so easy to make and that thick, gooey caramel topping is just heavenly. It’s really easy to make too, which means this Gluten Free Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake basically perfect! You can see the original recipe here, it’s not gluten free of course and the photos, well, they leave a lot to be desired! I was still a baby blogger back then, so you’ll have to cut me some slack. I do hope to update those photos too one day, but for now just know this is how beautiful this delicious cake can be!

Gluten Free Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake - This Gluten Free Brown Sugar and Pecan Caramel Bundt Cake is packed full of pecans and toffee bits, with a moist and tender crumb, smothered in thick, gooey caramel, topped with butter toasted pecans!

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German Cinnamon Stars (with a Georgia Twist)

German Cinnamon Stars are a classic German Christmas cookie, these delicious meringue cookies have been given a Georgia twist and are made with toasted pecans! Chewy, delicious and totally festive!

German Cinnamon Stars are a classic German Christmas cookie, these delicious meringue cookies have been given a Georgia twist and are made with toasted pecans! Chewy, delicious and totally festive!

Merry Christmas Everybody!! It’s finally almost here, Santa is coming tonight yay! I’m bringing you a gift myself today and it’s Day 10 of my Countdown to Christmas recipes, in the lead up to Christmas I have been posting a festive recipe every day – Day 1 was Spiced Caramel, Day 2 was a Chocolate Peppermint Milkshake, Day 3 was Peppermint Puppy Chow, Day 4 was Mince Pies, Day 5 was Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake, Day 6 was Frosted Shortbread Christmas Cookies, Day 7 was Spiced Chocolate Orange Puppy Chow, Day 8 was a Spiked Black Forest Milkshake and Day 9 was Christmas Spiced Pudding Cookies. My final festive recipe of the year are these ridiculously delicious German Cinnamon Stars.

German Cinnamon Stars are a classic German Christmas cookie, these delicious meringue cookies have been given a Georgia twist and are made with toasted pecans! Chewy, delicious and totally festive!

The yummy little cookies are traditionally made with almond flour and I first heard about them from Ginger and Ginger and Bread and I pretty much fell in love with them, I knew I had to make them soon. I made mine with pecans instead of almonds though because man, I just love pecans and I couldn’t pass up that opportunity! Plus, I’m spending the holidays in Georgia so it only makes sense to use pecans, right?! I swear I don’t purposefully just stomp all over baking traditions, I just can’t help but put my own stamp on them! I will make them with almond flour one day though, because these are too yummy not to make again and again, all year round!

German Cinnamon Stars are a classic German Christmas cookie, these delicious meringue cookies have been given a Georgia twist and are made with toasted pecans! Chewy, delicious and totally festive!

These are kind of like Germany’s answer to France’s macarons (I have no idea which one came first, so maybe it’s the other way around!) – they’re made basically with meringue and almond flour (or pecan flour, in my case), just like a macaron. These go much heavier on the nuts though so they’re much more robust and definitely feel way more German – none of that delicate French nonsense (disclaimer: I love French patisserie, no offense meant haha) just good ol’ fashioned deliciousness in a nice, chewy cookie that could hold it’s own in a fight!

German Cinnamon Stars are a classic German Christmas cookie, these delicious meringue cookies have been given a Georgia twist and are made with toasted pecans! Chewy, delicious and totally festive!

I read quite a few recipes for these in preparation to make them and most of them mentioned they were a pain in the butt to make, so when mine came together really easily I was sure I had messed them up somehow! I guess I was just lucky though because they came out beautifully, I really can’t say enough good things about these cookies – they’re so much flavour and such a gorgeous texture for only a few ingredients, it makes me stop and appreciate the art of baking even more than usual! It’s crazy though isn’t it? How you can put just a few ingredients together in the right way and you come back with something so delicious? 

I did have one little problem with these is and that is I rolled a few of them out a little too thin so they over baked a tad, so a couple of them don’t have that gorgeous chewy centre. But it’s okay, I have enough of the thick, chewy ones to go around and keep everybody happy! 

German Cinnamon Stars are a classic German Christmas cookie, these delicious meringue cookies have been given a Georgia twist and are made with toasted pecans! Chewy, delicious and totally festive!

I know I said these came together pretty easily for me, but they do take a bit of prep. The night before I toasted the pecans to bring out their wonderful flavour, I like to do mine on the stove top so I can keep a close eye on them. I left them to cool over night and then threw them in a food processor to blitz them into flour, I did it in two batches with a 1/2 cup of icing sugar in each to help stop it clumping together and starting to turn into butter. You can process them as fine as you dare, mine was a little coarse as it started to clump a little but I really liked that texture. Once that’s done you just have to whip up the egg whites, add the sugar and whip until you have a nice stiff and glossy meringue. Then add your nut flour and mix it all up. Once your dough has chilled in the fridge for about an hour, you roll it out and cut out stars. Then top with some meringue and bake! Even after it’s chilled the dough is pretty sticky and can be quite hard to work with, it’s best to roll it out between two sheets of parchment. I didn’t have too much trouble with mine that way. This is not a cheap cookie to make either, I used a 1lb of pecans in one batch and pecans are not cheap (lucky for me, Leah’s mum bought me a 2lb bag from Costco) – you will get about 50 amazing cookies out of it though! 

German Cinnamon Stars are a classic German Christmas cookie, these delicious meringue cookies have been given a Georgia twist and are made with toasted pecans! Chewy, delicious and totally festive!

 

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Pumpkin Pecan Pie

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Happy Hallowe’en everybody! I won’t lie to you, I’m not Hallowe’en’s biggest fan. But I do love pumpkin and spices and pecans and dressing up (I dressed up as a sickly person in her pjs this year). I have never made pumpkin pie before, I’ve never even eaten pumpkin pie before! But I love everything that goes into it so I figured why not be festive! I decided to add a pecan topping because I think I’ve spent too much time in Atlanta). The pie itself turned out great, I mean I’ve never eaten pumpkin pie so maybe I got it completely wrong, but it was scrummy so either way I’m happy. I’m a great lover of autumn spices, I associate them more with Christmas (see below re: lack of autumn holidays here) but I’m a firm believer that you should bake with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice all year round.

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I think this pumpkin pie post needs a little disclaimer before we continue – this pie doesn’t actually contain any pumpkin. I made this with butternut squash. Hallowe’en isn’t that big of a holiday in the UK and we obviously don’t have thanksgiving, with those being the two big pumpkin holidays we don’t have a plethora of choice when it comes to pumpkins. Just before halloween you can buy pumpkins for carving, but I wouldn’t recommend baking with them. But fun fact: a lot of canned pumpkin is actually butternut squash anyway (they use butternut squash as it’s less stringy, sweeter and a better colour) so I’m not really cheating here! Maybe I should have called it Butternut Squash Pie, but that just doesn’t sound as festive!

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Paul Hollywood would not be impressed with my soggy bottom (I over greased the pan, oops)

I have another small confession, I made two pies. The first pie I used a ready made pie crust because I didn’t want to bother making my own pastry (did I mention I was a sickly pj lady today?) and I don’t actually own a pie dish. However it was much shallower than I anticipated and all the pumpkin filling spilled out and I was left with an accidental (but tasty) pecan pie. My mum enjoyed the accidental pecan pie so it wasn’t a complete loss!

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Who said the pie filling actually has to be in the pie crust anyway???

I couldn’t bear to just leave it at that so I decided to suck it up and make my own pastry (admittedly this decision was after a failed attempt to buy ready made shortcrust at Tesco), after all shortcrust pastry is pretty much the easiest pastry to make. I will include the recipe for that, but don’t feel bad if you use ready made, I would have if I could have. My philosophy is life’s too short to make your own pastry!

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I know you’re jealous of my giraffe print knives

Time to get down to business then!

Ingredients

For the Sweet Shortcrust Pastry: 

  • 225g  plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 110g butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 – 1  tbsp milk
  • pinch of ground cinnamon (optional – you can substitute with other flavours, but try not to over power with flavour)

For the Pumpkin Filling: 

  • 500g butternut squash, cooked and pureed
  • 1 (397g) tin condensed milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 175g dark brown soft sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pecan Topping:

  • 220g golden syrup
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g pecan halves

Method

For the pastry:

Line the bottom of an 8inch pie dish (or sandwich cake tin if you’re improvising like me!) with greaseproof paper and very lightly grease sides of dish.

Put the flour and butter into a bowl and rub the butter into flour until you have fine crumb mixture. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon (if using). Mix in the egg and enough milk to form a soft dough. Try not to work the dough too much as you don’t want to melt the butter. Wrap in cling film and place in fridge to chill for at least 15-30 minutes.

Dust work surface with flour and roll out pastry to a 1/2cm thickness. Transfer to pie dish and lightly press into the bottom and into edges. If you tear the pastry, just fix holes with pastry cut offs. Set aside.

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Make shift pie dish

For the pie filling:

Preheat oven to 200C/ 400F/ Gas mark 6.

Line a baking tray with foil and light oil. Halve butternut squash length wise and scoop out the seeds and stringy bits and remove stem. Place squash halves cut side down on baking tray and pour 50ml water into tray. Loosely cover with foil and bake in oven for 50 minutes or until flesh is tender.

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Remove from oven and leave to cool. Scoop flesh from peel and put into food mixer, blend until you have a smooth puree. Measure out 500g and set aside (if you have any remaining squash, reserve excess for another use like yummy mash potato).

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Look at that bright orange, you’d never get that naturally with a pumpkin!

In a large bowl and hand mixer, beat the squash with condensed milk, eggs, sugar, spices and salt. Pour into the unbaked pastry case, leaving a space for the pecan topping.

For the pecan topping:

Combine the golden syrup, sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract in a bowl and stir in the pecans. Pour on top of pumpkin layer.

Bake in the oven at 200C/400F/Gas 6 for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Leave to cool in dish for 10 minutes and then and turn out onto wire rack, leave to cool completely.

Serve with freshly whipped cream, yum!

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I used a number of recipes from the internet to come up with this recipe. Those that I still have the links for are here and here

Sweet Potato & Cider Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting and Butter Toasted Salted Pecans

Inspired by bar food and just as yummy!

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I made these a while ago now and I didn’t take a lot of photos so this will be a pretty wordy post. It’ll be worth it though because these are pretty amazing cupcakes.

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The Vortex is an Atlanta institution and it serves pretty damn awesome bar food. Skipping past the burger with peanut butter and bananas that I always order, their sweet potato waffle fries that I get on the side are to die for. They serve them with marshmallow dip and the combination is awesome. When I was back home in the UK and longing for some Vortex food I thought “hey, why not make a cupcake version!” because that’s just how my brain works! And bar food is no good without a nice cold cider to go with it. And so this cupcake was born!

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The actual cupcakes taste like autumn and would be great with Thanksgiving dessert, but I would eat these any time of the year. The salty pecans offset the sweetness of the marshmallow perfectly too. They’re a great cupcake and a little on the different side too, which I always love.

They’re a bit long winded to make, but it’ll be worth the effort. I didn’t make quite enough frosting so I’d recommend adding 50% or doubling the recipe below.

Caramel Cider Sauce

  • 500ml apple cider
  • 1 vanilla pod, split length ways
  • 30g butter
  • 50g light brown sugar

Put the cider in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the vanilla bean and simmer for about twenty minutes until reduced by half. Add the butter and sugar and simmer for ten more minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

Sweet Potato & Cider Cupcakes

  • 115g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g mashed sweet potatoes, cold
  • 120ml apple cider
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbinate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F and line a muffin tin with cases

Beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.

Put the sweet potato, cider and vanilla extract in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Leave to one side.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and the potato mixture into the butter mixture, alternating between the two, and beat until combined.

Fill the cupcake cases two thirds full and bake in the oven for about 18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and they’re springy to touch.

Remove from the pan. Saving 6 tbsp, drizzle the cider sauce over the warm cupcakes. Leave to cool.

Marshmallow Frosting

  • 230g unsalted butter, room temp
  • 6 tbsp cider sauce
  • 212g jar of vanilla marshmallow fluff ((UK people can buy it here)

Beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add 6 tablespoons of the cider sauce and beat until incorporated. Add the marshmallow fluff and fold in until fully incorporated.

Butter Toasted Salted Cupcakes

  • Large handful of pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Melt the butter and stir in the pecans. Spread them out on a tray and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with salt and toss. Leave to cool. Sprinkle on top of frosted cupcakes then drizzle with any left over cider sauce.

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