Friday, October 8, 2010

Pumpkin Blondies

Perfect for fall baking! These Pumpkin Blondies were so good...I have to make them again (maybe for Thanksgiving or the Christmas Party?). I divided the batter in half and used butterscotch chips in one half and white chocolate chips in the other. My vote is for butterscotch, or a combination of the two. (1 cup of each mixed into the entire batter would be great!) The recipe also noted that you could use brown sugar or regular white sugar - I opted for brown sugar since white sugar tends to make recipes more crisp and I thought a blondie should be chewy. I'd be curious as to how they taste with regular white sugar though...maybe next time!

Adapted from:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cups brown sugar (original recipe calls for regular sugar)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped, toasted nuts (optional - I omitted)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate and butterscotch chips (and nuts, if using) with a rubber spatula.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.
To serve, lift the cake from the pan using the foil and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off the foil and using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies

Here we go! These were much better than my previous attempt at chocolate pumpkin brownies. I found two versions of this recipe - the original on Cara's Cravings blog and the second altered version at Beantown Baker's blog. I used the altered version since it made more pumpkin cheesecake batter, making it less of a "brownie". I'm sure they would be great either way though!

Adapted from:

INGREDIENTS (makes 16 bars)

1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder - I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

6oz cream cheese, softened - I used 8oz
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar - I used 1/2 cup
2 tbsp flour - I used 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp
1/2 cup pumpkin puree - I used 2/3 cup
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract - I used 1/3 tsp
1/2 tsp cinnamon - I used 2/3 tsp
1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves - I used 1/3 tsp


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" square metal baking pan. Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. In separate bowl, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients. Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan.Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving.

Pear & Cranberry Gingersnap Crisp

I was looking for a new fall recipe and this looked perfect! It was very good, however, I felt there was a flavor that was overpowering and I think it was the ground cloves. The recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon and if I make this again, I would reduce that to 1/4 teaspoon. This crisp was easy and quick to make and very suitable for getting into fall baking!

Adapted from:

3 large pears, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove (I would reduce this to 1/4 next time)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped gingersnaps
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray.In a large bowl, stir together pear, orange juice, vanilla, cinnamon, clove, ginger and cranberries until combined; place into cake pan.In a medium bowl, stir together gingersnaps, oats, brown sugar, flour, walnuts and salt until well combined; knead in butter, using fingertips, until mixture starts to clump together. Evenly sprinkle over pears.Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 10-15 minutes (covering with foil if it browns too quickly), or until pears are tender. Cool on a wire rack.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Snickers Cupcakes

Yum!!! Snickers Cupcakes...I saw this recipe and had to make it. My only problem with it was the chocolate cake itself. I thought it was a little dry. I was surprised about this because the batter was amazing! However, filled with Snickers and topped with caramel icing I thought they were great! Maybe next time I would try a different chocolate cake recipe though. I hate to admit it, but I didn't make the caramel sauce...I used Smucker's Caramel Sauce. I know, I'm horrible. I was pressed for time and had an incident with making a caramel sauce in the past. We'll leave it at that. ;)

Adapted from:
INGREDIENTS (yields 20 cupcakes)
½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
½ cup hot water
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. coarse salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs plus
1 egg yolk1
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
24 fun-size Snickers bars, chopped (I used less...probably about 18)

16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup caramel sauce
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish: 8 fun-size Snickers bars, chopped

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled. Mix in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.
Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar begins to foam a bit. It will look and smell like it’s on the verge of burning. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream. Stir until the sauce is smooth (you may need to return it to the heat to smooth it out), then mix in the vanilla and salt. Let cool. (This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
To fill the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a paring knife.
To make the filling, combine the chopped Snickers bars in a bowl with 1/3-½ cup of the caramel sauce, and mix to coat.
Drop a spoonful of the filling mixture into each cupcake.

To make the frosting, add the butter to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium-high speed 1 minute until smooth. Blend in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Mix in the vanilla, caramel sauce and salt until incorporated. (Note: the caramel sauce should be just warm enough that it is workable, but not warm enough to melt the butter in the frosting...or room temperature if you're taking the Smucker's Caramel Sauce out of the fridge like I did!) Add the heavy cream and whip on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. Drizzle the frosted cupcakes with additional caramel sauce and garnish with chopped Snickers bars.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Down Home Baked Beans

Yes, I took a stab at baked beans...and they turned out really well! This recipe was really easy and a great side dish when we had my family over for my dad's birthday. We had a lot left over as well. The recipe says it is 12 servings, but we had about 12 people over and had plenty for ourselves for the rest of the week!

Adapted from:

1 pound bacon
2 (28 ounce) cans baked beans
1 (12 ounce) bottle chili sauce (I used Tabasco's brand)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 cups packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
In a large bowl combine beans, chili sauce, onion, brown sugar and bacon. Pour into a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.