A Lebanese Christmas Tradition: Mamouls

One of the things I’m most proud of is my family heritage — and we celebrate my Lebanese side every Christmas. My father is half Lebanese, and my family and I can trace his heritage back to a very specific place, that has a very specific culture, with an ancient language, and I’m very lucky to have gotten to grow up with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a dad that’s really embraced that connection, mainly through food.

Mamouls recipe
My grandmother’s mamoul recipe.

One of a few things that my dad has made a couple times a year for my entire life, and always around Christmas, was a Lebanese cookie that we call mamouls. It brings me back to holidays when I was really little with my aunts and uncles, particularly when I was eight or nine to my grandparents house in Olean, New York during Christmas. I remember all of the Lebanese food with mamouls and baklava being the star of the show.


Mamouls are a filled cookie with a sweet dough and inside: pecans, walnuts, and sugar. The filling varies from person to person and in Lebanon even from region to region.


To make the shape of the cookie, we use molds called mamouls, which is where the name of the cookie comes from. Traditionally, the different molds are used to designate different kinds of fillings in the cookies. In our family, the molds obviously are used to make the cookies but are mainly for decoration since we use the same filling in all of them.

Mamouls Filling
Stuffing the dough with the nuts inside the mamouls.

While the molds are helpful, these would be entirely feasible to make without – they would be more similar to handpies and could be sealed with a little bit of egg wash, they just wouldn’t have the design on top.

Mamouls George
My parent’s dog, George, waiting for his cookie.

Overall, I would highly recommend giving these a shot. They have a soft exterior of sweet and crumbly dough that’s  sweet and crunchy on the inside and can’t be beat. It’s our family tradition that I hope inspires others as much as my family and me.

Mamouls cooked


5 cups flour
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 package of yeast
Water, as needed

2 cups walnuts
2 cups pecans
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

To make the dough, in a food processor, combine flour, butter, nutmeg, salt and water. Blend until fully combined. Add last 1/2 package of yeast.

To make the filling, in a good processor, combine walnuts, pecans, sugar, and vanilla.

Roll the dough into ping-pong sized balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball into discs. Using the mamoul, press in the dough disc, fill with a spoon full of the nut and sugar filling, and then pull the dough across to seal the cookie. Using a towel on the counter, firmly smack the top of the mold onto the towel until the cookie pops out. Repeat until all of the dough balls are gone.

Place the mamouls on a parchment-lined tray. Using a toothpick, prick the top of each cookie twice to allow the steam to come out. Bake 10-12 minutes and let cool for five minutes. Enjoy.

Yield: 55 cookies

“Better than Apple Pie” Apple Bars

My fiancé and I were getting ready to leave Cape Cod for North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with my parents so we were running through whatever produce we had left in the house and voila: apple bars!

The great thing about these is that I already had everything in the fridge and pantry which I LOVE in a recipe (if you haven’t noticed, I’m not big on fussy) so these were perfect!


Apple Bars Raw
Pressed streusel-dough topping before baking


The night that we were leaving town, we had a town meeting to stop by so it was a perfect place to drop these babies off. Now, my fiancé thinks that the best part of an apple pie is the bottom crust for its thickness, softness, and decadent warm fall spices like cinnamon and nutmeg from the filling. I’m going to be bold and say that this beats most apple pie recipes, because structurally the buttery streusel -dough top crust mirrors the bottom crust of an apple pie and it’s easily more transportable than your — you can bring these on the go and munch on them wherever you are.


2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Apple Filling
3 apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and sliced 1/8 inch thick (preferably granny smith)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the crust, mix butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and creamy. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter-sugar mixture, beating until combined. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a greased 9×9 pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, put the mixing bowl with the remaining dough back on the mixer, add the walnuts and cinnamon, and mix on low speed to combine. Set aside.

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.

For the apple filling, combine the apples and lemon juice in a very large bowl. Add the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, add the apples, and simmer over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Spread the apples evenly over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border.

Pinch off medium pieces of the remaining dough and press with your fingers to flatten.  Place them evenly on top of the apples (they will not be completely covered). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Yield: 12 apple bars


An Italian Favorite: Grape and Olive Oil Cake

I’ve actually never made anything with grapes before, nor have I really seen a dessert with grapes in it, so when I found myself with a bunch of red, seedless grapes, my initial thought was to make a frosted white cake cake with grape decorations. Then I thought, no I can do better.

Grape Olive Oil Cake Mix

My next thought was how about a galette (kind of a flat, free form pie), but then I knew I wanted to share it so maybe not. So I continued to think about what would go well with grapes and was inspired by a friend of ours who’s Italian – so voila: olive oil cake with grapes roasted inside with a honey sauce!

Large Grape Olive Oil Cake

As you’ll see, I actually made mine into bars but this would be super easy and festive holiday dessert to make in a round, or even bundt, cake pan for your gathering! It’s a very moist cake because of the olive oil and the grapes provide a great pop of sweet juicy flavor as you bit into it. The honey with the ginger on top just makes the flavor sing a lovely Italian holiday tune.

Box Grape Olive Oil Cake Close Up


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the pan
3/4 cup sugar 
2 large eggs 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 
1/4 cup whole milk 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup small red seedless grapes

3 tablespoons honey 
2 teaspoons ground  ginger
1/2 cup small red seedless grapes
Juice from half a lemon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan.

To make the batter, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on high speed until they lighten in color, 5 to 8 minutes. Slowly beat in the eggs one at a time, then pour in the olive oil and milk and mix to combine.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the lemon zest over the flour mixture.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture. Fold in about 1 cup of the grapes. Stir only enough to blend and gently so as not to bruise or break too many grapes.

Pour the batter into the buttered pan and place it in the center of the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes in the pan.

Meanwhile, combine the honey and ginger in a small saute pan. Bring to a light simmer over low heat. When it bubbles, thickens and turns light brown, 2 to 3 minutes, add the remaining 1/2 cup grapes and the juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Serve slices of the cake with some of the grape-ginger sauce spooned over it.

Yield: 12 cake bars

Spice it up with Spice Cake and Brown Sugar Frosting

Last weekend, I had the urge to bake AND use these adorable fall baking accessories Amazon so kindly delivered to me. Luckily my future nephews were coming with their parents to close up their seasonal house for the winter so it was the perfect opportunity.

Spice Cake decorations
Cute Fall baking accessories!

Later, after delivering said cupcakes, my future sister-in-law texted to say that the boys told her that “Ashley is so good at cooking! I definitely want HER for an auntie!” Which, as said future auntie, was such an amazing thing to hear.

Spice Cake Mixer
Creaming together the sugar, brown sugar, and butter.

I too felt like these cupcakes and the frosting turned out really well. The cake is the perfect light and fluffy consistency with the warm Fall spices from the nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and the brown sugar frosting couldn’t pair any better (or be more simple to make) than it does.


1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with baking liners.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir together and set aside.

Add butter, brown sugar, and sugar to an electric mixer to mix together until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla extract and stir until combined.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the electric mixer until incorporated. Last, add the sour cream and mix until just folded in.

Scoop batter into the cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes and cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, mix together the butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar on a low until combined, then continue at a higher speed until creamy. Add the milk one teaspoon at a time until you have the desired consistency for piping or slathering.

Yield: 12 frosted cupcakes

Turn that Frown Upside-Down Apple Cake

My fiancé and I were headed to have dinner with some friends of his from college (I won’t say what years that may have been) and their two boys. I was extra excited because my Food and Wine Baking Bucket Bucket List Challenge Apple Upside-Down Cake (month 8, whooo) was going to be the perfect, caramel-apply dessert to bring — and it’s easy to make!

Apple Cake Sugar
Bringing the sugar to 360 degrees or until amber colored

My favorite thing about the whole night (besides the cake) was when our friends’ two-year-old son told the same knock-knock joke to us over literally thirty times. It went something like this:

Ben: knock-knock
Me: Who’s there?
Me: Ghost who?

Over and over again until I was actually crying because I was laughing so hard – it was pizza, apple cake, lobster tail pastries, and adorable Ben’s leftover Halloween joke that ended up making the night great.

Apple Cake with Sugar

Back to the cake though, I have to admit: I was not a fan of the Food and Wine recipe I linked to above. It seemed too complicated and cumbersome for my taste so after looking looking over about a dozen similar recipes, I came up with the below that I hope you’ll enjoy. If you’re familiar with an apple tatin, it’s similar, except instead of puff pastry, it’s made with cake. And it’s best served warm so the touch of spice cake acts like a warm pillow while the apples and caramel melt together in your mouth.

Apple Cake Close Up

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the dish
1 1/2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Generously butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and arrange the apples in concentric circles, packing them tightly.

Combine 1 cup of the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until 360 degrees on a candy thermometer or until it turns a warm amber color swirling the pan but not stirring. Pour evenly over the apple slices.

Meanwhile, combine the 6 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the sour cream, zest, and vanilla and mix. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and add it to the electric mixer, just until everything is wet.

Pour the cake batter evenly over the apple slices and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes in the dish and then invert the cake onto a flat plate. If an apple slice sticks, just peel it off and replace it on the cake. When completely cooled, dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: 6 decently sized slices

Breaking Bread (Pumpkin Bread)

As I’ve been very candid about saying: I have a strong dislike of pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cereal, pumpkin pop-tarts, pumpkin popcorn, pumpkin anything you can imagine really doesn’t ring my bell.

Pumpkin Bread Mixer
After adding the pumpkin, the mixture will look a little grainy but that’s ok!

HOWEVER, the one thing I will admit about pumpkin is that is is a crowd pleaser. Therefore, when my fiancé and I were going to a town meeting and I wanted to make something that was festively Fall, I decided to make pumpkin bread (now if you haven’t noticed, bread IS something I can get behind, but more on that in another post). So I did some googling and found this recipe that I adapted to make the one below.

Pumpkin Bread Slice

This recipe is great because it makes two, so it really can feed a crowd. I will also admit that I did try a small bite of it and I found it to be incredibly moist and all the wonderful Fall spices were shining through.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 325°.

Prepare two loaf pans by greasing with butter and dusting with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until combined.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until light and fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin until well-mixed and then add the flour until combined.

Evenly divide the batter into the loaf pans and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans.

Yield: 2 loaves

Monster Oreo Truffles

One of my fiancé’s favorite foods, after pasta, seafood, and cheese, are Oreo’s. When I ask him what kind of trifle I should make for when his family comes over, the answer is ‘Oreo’. When I ask him what kind of birthday cupcakes he wants, the answer is ‘Oreo’. When we go to breakfast at Good Friends Cafe, and he could choose between ten kinds of french toast, the answer is always ‘Oreo’ (but seriously, you’ve got to try this stuff). So when I make these Oreo truffles, it’s more than a battle to get him to not eat them all before I can even start decorating!

Dennis, MA Good Friend’s Cafe Oreo French Toast

These truffles, just like my Halloween cupcakes and chocolate bark, are a great staple to easily diversify between holidays with some simple decorations. You could make them into ornaments for Christmas, you could pipe green shamrocks on them for St. Patrick’s Day, or you could roll them in red, white, and blue sprinkles for the Independence Day – the possibilities truly are endless.

Halloween Oreo Truffle White

For Halloween, I decided to get different color Candy Melts (see my handling note on Candy Melts in my chocolate bark post) to make brown bats, white mummies, black monsters with purple and green sprinkle hair, and a little blue scarer family. You can of course go any direction you’d like, with as many colors and decorations as you can imagine.

Halloween Oreo Truffle Monster

1 package Oreo cookies
1-8 ounce package cream cheese
3 cups Candy Melts*, melted (I used brown, white, black, and blue**)
Options decorations (I used candy eyes, Oreo pieces and sprinkles)

*If you’ve never worked with candy melts please see my note in this post
**Colors can be different but it will take about 3 cups of melted Candy Melts to cover all the truffles

In a blender, pulverize the package of Oreo’s, cream and cookie together. Then in a mixer, combine crushed Oreo’s and package of cream cheese mixing until it forms a paste.

With your hands, roll the mixture into small balls, about the size of a peach pit, and place on parchment paper. Chill them in the fridge for at least an hour.

Once the truffles are chilled, place a ball on a fork over the bowl of melted Candy Melts. Using a spoon, cover the ball with the melted chocolate. After coating each one, work quickly to decorate as the melted chocolate will dry very fast and you need those decorations to stick!

Note: if your Candy Melts are still too thick, after microwaving according to my instructions, you can use a small amount of vegetable oil to loosen them up. In the end, I liked mine a tad thicker so the truffles looked more like monsters when coated.

Yield: 18 Oreo Truffles (I like making them larger so they’re easier to decorate, but you could make them smaller to feed more people)

EmBARK-ing on Halloween

Trust me when I say that it doesn’t get much easier than this. Chocolate bark is an easy treat or gift to make in big batches with festive colors and (maybe leftover?) candy.

Halloween Candy Bark Tray

Last year, I found these candy eyes and I bought four packs, which I pretty much insist on using for all of my Halloween recipes. Similar to the cupcakes and Oreo truffles, this candy is super versatile and once you have the first layer of chocolate down, it can be made for any holiday you can find decorations for (and if you shop at CVS, that means…all of them).

Halloween Candy Bark Close up

Now, for this particular batch I chose to use black and yellow candy melts to weave through the base layer of almond bark (don’t ask me why it’s called almond bark – it tastes like plain white chocolate), but you could also use orange and black candy melts with the white. I just happened to pick up lots of orange Halloween candy and really wanted to make sure it wasn’t too much of one color.

The candy turns out creamy because of the white chocolate then with pops of the different candies you bite into.

Candy Melts
Melted white chocolate almond bark, yellow melted Candy Melts, black melted Candy Melts

A note on candy melts: candy melts can be slightly intimidating. They’re small chocolate wafers that are used for candy making and candy coating (think chocolate-covered strawberries) and are the best way to get color into a dish. When melting the chocolate, start in a microwave-safe bowl first on 30-seconds, then give it a stir, then if it’s not melted, follow with an additional 15-seconds, then stir, repeating until the chocolate is melted. If you do it for any longer or not incrementally at all, the chocolate will seize and turn hard and unworkable (I learned this the hard way when I wasted a whole bag of purple candy melts I was so excited to use).


1 package white chocolate almond bark, melted
1/4 cup black candy melts, melted (or color of your choice)
1/4 cup yellow candy melts, melted (or color of your choice)
Optional candy of your choice! For this bark, I used Reese’s Pieces, candy corn, Junior Mints (my fave), candy eyeballs, and lots of Halloween-themed sprinkles


Lay out all of the candy toppings you’ll use because the chocolate will dry very, very quickly.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie tray, just to steady everything and have a place for it.

Once the chocolate is all melted, pour the white chocolate onto the parchment paper and with a spatula, spread it towards the four corners, in a rectangle shape, creating a thin layer, which will be the canvas. Then take the black and yellow candy melts and, with a spoon, spoon small dollops around the layer of white chocolate. Take a butter knife and drag it through the black and yellow chocolate to create a swirl affect.

Very quickly, sprinkle your candy toppings over the top and gently press in to so it holds as it hardens.

Once hard (it should take less than five minutes), gently use your hands to break off bite-size pieces of the chocolate.

Yield: The chocolate bark will easily feed 10 people

Trick or Sweet Halloween (or anytime!) Cupcakes

This is a strong statement so prepare yourself: I *think* I love Halloween baking more than Christmas baking. It’s so fun, there’s a great theme that can go a number of ways, lots of awesome colors to use (hence the colors of this frosting), an amazing array of decorations, and there’s so much less pressure!

Halloween Cupcakes Unfrosted

As you’ll see, I don’t go the scary, grotesque route of Halloween, but instead I’m more kitchy with bright colors and all the accessories (i.e. sprinkles) that I can get my hands on.

Halloween Cupcakes Overview

When I was planning what to make for this week (everyone does that, right?…right?), I really wanted a stellar cupcake. So I googled “best cupcakes” and New York City’s Magnolia Bakery recipe popped up. Instantly I was taken back to the first time I went there (when Barack Obama was a twinkle in America’s eye) to get some celebratory cupcakes for a work conference we had just finished. As soon as I walked in, I bee-lined to the display cases to ooo and ahh over the little puffy cakes in so many flavors and colors (reminder that this is before the cupcake fad really caught on).

Halloween Cupcakes with Beer
These cupcakes also pair excellently with Shipyard Pumpkinhead

So when I made this recipe, I found it to be nothing short of perfect and undoubtedly the “best cupcakes” I’ve ever made. It’s easy and you probably have all the ingredients on hand. I also found the cupcakes to be light and airy, but still moist and cakey. The frosting is the kind that coats your mouth in deliciousness, but is easy to work with and not overly sweet. Together it’s an incredibly balanced Halloween or anytime treat!


For the Cupcakes
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pans
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups self-rising flour (I used only all-purpose flour and added baking powder and salt)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring (optional)


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers. Mix the flours together in a bowl. In a glass measure, mix the milk and vanilla.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk and the vanilla, beating well after each addition. Spoon the batter into muffin cups about 3/4 full.

Bake until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, 20 to 22 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pans and cool on a rack before frosting.

To make the frosting, place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the icing is thick enough to spread. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired. Frost cupcakes. Eat in excess.

Yield: 24 cupcakes (and frosting for 24 cupcakes)

Squash Hunger with My Butternut Squash Soup!

I have a love-hate relationship with butternut squash. I LOVE the way it tastes. I HATE peeling it.

But when I see the heavy Fall squashes at the farmers market, I just can’t resist. Home they come and on the counter they sit until I work up enough will to peel those suckers. But in the meantime, I can imagine all the cinnamony soup I’ll make and how I’ll coat the seeds with sea salt and toast them until they’re crunchy.

Butternut Squash Soup Pan

So how to prepare the squash for soup? Here’s some tips:

  • Trim the tops and bottoms off and separate the necks from the rounder bottom part.
  • Take the rounder bottom part and cut it in half. Scoop the seeds and pulp out (you can save the seeds for soup garnish or just to snack on like pumpkin seeds!)
  • Poke each piece with a fork (like you mean it!) and microwave for 8 minutes. Cool enough to handle.
  • Either with your peeler or knife, peel the skin off.
  • Dice into pieces.


Butternut Squash Soup Pot

I’ve made this soup several times and have perfected this recipe to exactly how I like it: it’s a little thicker than an average soup (if you like thinner, just add more stock), it has a creamy texture, and the cinnamon flavor screams Fall. I like adding a little sour cream on top which cools down the hot soup, as well as some of the roasted, salted squash seeds to add some another layer of texture.

2 peeled butternut squash, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 granny smith apple, chopped
4 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the butternut squash, onion, apple and cinnamon between two sheet pans, spray thoroughly with non-stick spray (I like coconut oil spray), and sprinkle with the cinnamon and salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until fork-soft.

Transfer the roasted fruit and vegetables into a large heavy bottom soup pan for with the chicken stock and black pepper and simmer on low-medium heat for one hour (this can also be done in the crock pot).

Using an immersion blender, blend together the contents of the pan. Simmer on low for an additional hour.

Yield: 6 servings