Friday, September 24, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes

These were good, but they tasted more like muffins than cupcakes. I liked the cream cheese icing for these much better than the cream cheese icing I made for the Kahlua cupcakes. The consistency was much thicker! I was debating between these and cream cheese swirled pumpkin muffins and I kind of wished I had tried the muffins. However, these were tasty and kicked off the fall baking season!

Adapted from:


1 3/4 cups (225 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper liners or spray each cup with a non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the sugar and melted butter and whisk until blended. Whisk or stir in the pumpkin, water, and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until the ingredients are combined. (A few streaks of flour is fine.) Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and beat until incorporated and smooth. Add the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and beat until fluffy (2-3 minutes). Pipe or spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Sprinkle with toasted and chopped nuts.

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies

Ever since I made the chocolate chip pumpkin bread last year, I've been wanting to make something else with chocolate and pumpkin - it was such a great combination! However, I wasn't crazy about these brownies. They weren't chocolatey enough! They didn't taste bad but a bit of a cakey texture (I like my brownies fudgy!) and were a bit bland for my taste. My mom liked them though. I made half of a batch in an 8x8 pan since I was just testing out this recipe on a Saturday afternoon. I think I will continue my search for a good pumpkin brownie recipe!

Adapted from:


1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

5 1/2 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 sticks (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping cup large walnut pieces (about 4 ounces), optional


PUMPKIN BATTER Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. In a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugar, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg, then add the pumpkin puree, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in the flour.

CHOCOLATE BATTER Combine the semisweet chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water and stir occasionally until melted. In a large bowl, combine the eggs with the sugar, vanilla and salt; set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water and, using an electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until the mixture is think and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate. Sift the flour over the warm batter and fold it in just until combined. Fold in the walnut pieces.
Spread the chocolate batter evenly in the prepared pan. Using a tablespoon, drop dollops of the pumpkin batter all over the top. Using the back of a butter knife, swirl the pumpkin batter into the chocolate; don't overdo it or the swirl pattern will be lost. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This bread was so good! I think it may have been because I used almond milk instead of regular milk. I've gotten in the habit of buying almond milk since I decided to try it a few months ago and it is so good! I also think I undercooked the bread since the timing provided was 40 - 50 looked done after about 40 minutes so I took it out. It probably could've stayed in another 5, but I always prefer undercooked baking to overcooked. I also misjudged splitting up the batter when adding the swirl. I put much more than half of the batter in the pan before sprinkling it with the cinnamon sugar (see my picture!). Next time I'll measure it out. :)

Adapted from:


1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted (I omitted)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1/3 cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease/flour/spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then, stir in milk and oil. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not overmix.
Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.

Cocoa Brownies with Peanut Butter Chips

Oh my God, these were intense! Not very sweet but VERY chocolatey - my kind of brownie! I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa which may have had something to do with how rich they were. The original recipe noted that the baker used 1/2 regular cocoa powder and 1/2 Special Dark. I think these would also be great with a cream cheese swirl, which I may try sometime in the near future! In fact, fall is here and I've been looking to try a pumpkin cream cheese swirl brownie....I may have to keep this brownie base for that recipe!

Adapted from:

1 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup PLUS 2 tbsp of cocoa powder (I used all Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1 cup of peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and make sure rack is in the lower third of the oven. Coat an 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper. In a large heat proof bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt. Set the bowl in a large skillet of water and simmer over medium low heat. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and mixture is hot to the touch. The mixture will look slightly grainy. Remove from heat and cool until warm.
Add vanilla and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time mixing thoroughly after each one. When the batter looks well blended, smooth and shiny, slowly add the flour and stir until it's combined thoroughly, then stir vigorously for 30 strokes. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Pour into the baking pan and place a few more peanut butter chips on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely then lift up ends of the parchment paper (if used) and transfer brownies to a cutting board where you cut into bite sized pieces.