Double-Shot Dare

For some inexplicable reason I think that caffeine will inspire me. I think that as a free-lancer it’s my “right” to fritter hours away in the local coffee shop, utilizing free band width and “working.” Because it’s inspiring (note tone of sarcasm).

Like earlier this afternoon…. I was having a little trouble coming up with something interesting to say about pumpkin, sitting and staring at my usual vista. Pumpkin gets kind of over played this time of year yet for some reason it never loses it’s appeal to me. So in typical fashion and in hopes that my muse Caffeine will come through and make pumpkin interesting to the masses (ok, “masses” might be a bit of a stretch) I trekked to the local coffee shop and ordered a double tall, non-fat, iced latte (my internal thermostat has not quite reached hot drink levels yet). I was reaching into my wallet to grab some cash when a quite-young girl behind me said “I would like to get this for you. You look like you could use a little cheer today. Pass it on next time you see someone who needs it.”

I was truly humbled. And inspired.

So now I double-shot dare you: next time you’re in line for coffee pay for the person behind you, or in front of you. You’ll bond, even if just for an instant. You will most definitely make someone smile. And, you’ll make your world a little brighter.

Mini Pumpkin Puddings with Pecan Brittle and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Source: adapted from Canadian House & Home

Serves 8

Pecan Brittle:

  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 3/4 C pecan halves roughly broken
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • Melt half the sugar in a small sauce pan over medium to medium low heat. Once the sugar starts to melt around the edges of the pan stir until the sugar has melted completely. Add the remaining sugar and stir until it turns a caramel color. This could take up to 15 minutes, but once it starts to happen it happens very quickly. If you have a candy thermometer it should read 250 degrees f, just below a hard boil.
  • Stir in the pecans and salt and QUICKLY pour the mixture onto a lightly greased baking sheet (I highly recommend doing this prior to starting!). Use a lightly greased spatula to smooth the brittle into a 1/4″ thick layer. Work as fast as you can. Allow the brittle to cool then break into pieces. Store in an air tight container.

Pumpkin Puddings

  • 14 oz. pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3/4 C lightly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 C evaporated milk (not condensed milk)
  • 2 Tbsp dark rum
  • 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Mix until combined.
  • Whisk together the eggs, milk, rum and orange zest then stir into the pumpkin mixture.
  • Divide the custard between 8 ovenproof ramekins (or any ovenproof dishes). Place into a roasting pan then pour warm water into the pan until it comes about half way up the sides of the ramekins. Place a large piece of foil over the top of the roasting pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until the puddings are just slightly jiggly in the middle.
  • Cool on a wire rack. Once the little puddings are room temperature, refrigerate, covered until serving.

Cinnamon Whip Cream

  • 1/2 C whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Combine everything and whip until soft peaks form.
  • Garnish each mini pudding with whipped cream and a piece of pecan brittle. Serve either at room temperature or slightly cool, however you prefer.


  • The servings are pretty large if you’ve just eaten a turkey dinner. Plan on sharing. Also, I’d only make half the brittle next time. Unless you like brittle. It does keep for a couple of days.
  • The reason this recipe came to be is that my brother and I hate pumpkin pie crust. It never fails to be soggy and we usually leave it behind and eat the filling. This was the perfect solution!
  • These little puddings are not that bad for you compared to traditional pie. Each pudding alone has 185 calories and about 5 grams of fat. I have, since making these found fat-free evaporated milk which would defat and decalorize things even more. Leaving you more room for stuffing. Or whatever….

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