I’m honored to have been selected by Darden Restaurants to create a recipe inspired by the seasonal desserts at Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse.
You guys! I am SO excited to share my first giveaway on the blog with you today!
When I was asked to try the seasonal pumpkin desserts at Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse, I couldn’t wait! I absolutely LOVE trying desserts and comparing them. And getting to create a recipe inspired by one of the desserts is totally up my alley! Plus, I get to give one of my awesome readers (maybe you!) a gift card too! Does it get any better?
Though I’m sure you can guess from the pictures and title of the post which dessert I chose to recreate, let’s start by taking a look at the line up of desserts, shall we?
The hubs went with me to try everything and first up was Olive Garden’s Pumpkin Cheesecake topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce and ginger cookie crumbles. So good! I am a big cheesecake and pumpkin lover so it was no surprise to me that I loved this cheesecake. It had the perfect pumpkin flavor! And I don’t know what they did to that whipped cream, but dang. Delish! I totally thought this one would be my winner.
But then we went to Longhorn Steakhouse. Their Pumpkin Spice Lava Cake is filled with a cream cheese icing and drizzled with Maker’s Mark® bourbon-caramel sauce and candied pecans. Again, yum! Delicious cake and magically awesome cream cheese filling. It gave Olive Garden a run for it’s cheesecake money.
Then we headed to Red Lobster. Of course I couldn’t go to Red Lobster and not have some of their cheesy biscuits. Those things must literally be made in heaven.
After the biscuits we dug into the Pumpkin Pie in a jar which was layered with pumpkin, cream cheese mousse and a graham-cracker crust, then topped with sugared pecans.
Shut the front door, you guys, this thing was the JAM! I would have licked that jar clean if I hadn’t been in public. As it was, I used my spoon to get every bit I could out of that jar.
The desserts were all delicious and I’d definitely get them all again, but of course I chose the pumpkin pie in a jar to recreate. You and I both need this in our lives.
This Pumpkin Pie in a Jar recipe is where it’s at. It’s no bake, easy to make and super stinkin’ cute in a jar. I used the 8 oz/half pint size mason jars.
I did change it up a bit from the one we tasted at Red Lobster. To start, instead of an all graham-cracker crust, I decided to mix chopped graham cracker and gingersnaps for a little extra flavor. But of course, you could go with all chopped graham cracker or all gingersnap, if you prefer.
Then I made a delicious pumpkin pie filling. One of the things I loved about the Red Lobster dessert was the texture of the pumpkin pie filling. It was smooth and yet maintained some of the texture of the pumpkin puree. I love textures in my food, so I really wanted to keep that. Well, I did and it’s a delicious blend of pumpkin puree and spices. The filling is so good I literally ate some of it on its own with a spoon.
Next was the cream cheese mousse. I knew this would be the toughest part for me, since I’d never made a mousse before.
And yet again the texture (and flavor) of this was rockin’ and I wanted to try and keep that in my recipe. It actually reminded me a lot of marshmallows in taste and even in texture. I actually spent the most time tasting and analyzing this part in the restaurant. It was almost like smooth, melted marshmallows. To die for!
Surprisingly, making the mousse was A LOT like making homemade whipped cream! Just replace the whipping cream with egg whites and add a few ingredients. Just like it amazed me the first time I made homemade whipped cream, this totally amazed me. So, so easy.
The rest is just layering! Depending on how crunchy you want your graham cracker and gingersnap layer to be, you may or may not want to make these in advance. After just a couple hours in the fridge, the cookies begin to soften. Personally, I like them a little soft but it’s up to you.
I topped mine with whipped cream and few more graham cracker and gingersnap crumbs in lou of sugared pecans. Then I drizzled will some caramel sauce. Yum! Caramel makes everything better.
These are seriously delicious! The hubs couldn’t wait to eat them and neither could I.
Can you tell?
I had so much fun trying these desserts and I’m super excited because one of you lucky party people will win a gift card so you can try them all too! Just use the rafflecopter below to enter!
About the giveaway:
* Use the rafflecopter below to enter. You do not have to complete all entries. Only the first one (blog comment) is required for entry. Each additional step completed counts as an additional entry.
* The giveaway ends Tuesday, October 29th at 12:00 a.m.
* Giveaway open to US residents only.
* Must 18 years or older.
* Winner will be notified with the email used in rafflecopter (which could be your Facebook account depending on how you enter) and will have 48 hours to respond or else a new winner will be selected.
The Rafflecopter box can be a little slow to load sometimes – you may have to wait a few seconds for it to appear.
I wrote this post in partnership with Darden Restaurants, but all opinions are my own.
This post linked to Six Sisters Stuff, I Heart Naptime, Lady Behind The Curtain, Simply Gloria, Inside BruCrew Life, Chef in Training, The Inspiration Network, Mandy’s Recipe Box, Pint Sized Baker, Love Bakes Good Cakes, Table for Seven, Tidy Mom, Wine and Glue, Shaken Together, This Gal Cooks, Buns in my Oven, Lamberts Lately, What’s Cooking Love?, The Mandatory Mooch, Skip To My Lou, Flour Me With Love, Recipes For My Boys, I Should Be Mopping The Floor, Say Not Sweet Anne, Simply Sweet Home, Ginger Snap Crafts, Simple Living and Eating, Keeping It Simple Crafts, Walking on Sunshine, Ashley’s Dandelion Wishes, Hungry Little Girl and A Peek Into My Paradise.