Pumpkin Mac’N Cheese with Roasted Bacon-Brussel Sprouts

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“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

What can be better than a bowl of home made Mac’N Cheese on a cool fall day?  A heaping topping of crispy bacon-brussel sprouts with caramelized onion on top of that bad boy is what.  Adding pumpkin to the cheese sauce makes it almost virtuous to have your Mac guilt free. The sauce gets a onctuous velvety texture with no cream, no thickening agents and less cheese.  And pumpkin is so good for us!   This Mac’N Cheese is  easy to make and has fall in every delicious bite.  It can even be served to company, it’s that good.   Use strong flavored cheeses with good melting properties to balance the sweetness of the pumpkin in the sauce.  I used smoked gouda and asiago in mine.  For ease of execution, roast the brussel sprouts while the pasta is cooking so you can serve the Mac’N Cheese as soon as it is ready.  An autumnal twist on a favorite classic.

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Brown Butter Nutella Cookies

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“You can be miserable before eating a cookie.  You can be miserable after eating a cookie.  But you cannot be miserable while eating a cookie.  Ina Garten

These cookies should be outlawed.  As if they weren’t decadent enough with the inclusion of triple chocolate chips,  they are stuffed with Nutella!  Swoon.  My first introduction to them came from my Canadian friend Christine who brought them to a bookclub meeting.  One bite and everyone was moaning with pleasure and asking what was in those cookies.  Christine revealed the secret ingredient, Nutella in the center, making these cookies soft and fudgy.  We made joining the bookclub conditional on Christine sharing the recipe.  Upon making them myself, I noted a second secret ingredient that really elevates these cookies into a stratosphere of their own:  brown butter.  I think melting the butter first until it foams and gets good and brown adds another distinctive layor of flavor.  I think these might be the best cookies on the entire planet.  Guess who the newest member of our bookclub is?

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