Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Am finally back in the lovely city after spending some quality Thanksgiving time in New Mexico. Why was I New Mexico you might ask? Well, my mom has some really good friends out there who she hadn’t seen in ages, so she decided that was where we had to go. Don’t get me wrong, Santa Fe was beautiful – old pueblo houses, lots of open space, and it even snowed! – but I was still the slightest bit bored. I spent a lot of time reading, which was really nice, since I never get to do that anymore. Other than reading and eating an obnoxious amount, I did just about nothing. In retrospect, I guess that’s what having a break is all about, so I can’t really complain. The food we had for our Thanksgiving meal was classic – turkey, gravy, stuffing, veggies, mashed potatoes, and a lovely apple spice pie. A learned a new trick from the pie maker – freeze the butter or shortening and then grate it into the flour to incorperate. I will have to try it next time I make a pie, since testing out different types of dough is one of my favorite things to do. 🙂

Last Sunday, before we all parted our separate ways, my suite-mates and I all decided to have our own Thanksgiving dinner. We all signed up for the classics – turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, green beans, etc. I of course, had to make a dessert. Sadly enough, on the Sunday of our meal, I was required to stay at work for a horrible little meeting to go over holiday sales. It was one of the worst two hours of my life. By the time I got back to the room, everyone was finished eating, but as amazing as they always are, all my suite-mates saved me a bit of everything. And let me just that it was all AMAZING! There was so much food – delicious apple yams, filo dough balls, mixed veggies and more! I gullped everything down in a matter of minutes.

I made pumpkin pie cupcakes, which were exactly as the title puts it – mini pumpkin pies. Thankfully, knowing I was going to be late getting home from work, I made them the night before so they were ready when everyone sat down to eat. They were quite simple to make – just like real pumpkin pie but with a bit of flour and cupcake liners instead of a pie tin. They definitely sink a little bit once they have cooled off, which is why adding a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top is a must. These will definitely go down in my holiday recipe cache for next year.

PUMPKIN PIE CUPCAKES

(Adapted form bakingbites.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice

3) In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk until well combined.

4) Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.

5) Fill each muffin cup with approximately 1/3 cup of batter.

6) Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.

7) Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

“According to food historians, Amish women would bake these and put them in farmers’ lunchboxes. When farmers would find these treats in their lunch, they would shout “Whoopie.” (History of Whoopie Pie)

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Interesting story, wouldn’t you say? In my continued obsession with pumpkin, as I think I’ve said ten thousand times already,  I came across a recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies and knew that I had to make them. I’ve made many oreo type cookies before, put never whoopie pies. It was a very big event – Charlotte had never had a whoopie pie before and I planned my entire Friday afternoon around making them. The cakes themselves are very easy to make. I didn’t even need to take out the mix master. I didn’t have all the right spices, so I supplemented what I had for what the recipe called for. Added a bit more cinammon then needed and then used two tablespoons pumpkin pie spice instead of ginger and nutmeg. This has been one of my favorite pumpkin recipes so far because it has so many spice in it, you taste that spicy/pumpkin taste much more, as least in my opinion.

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The icing for the center was super easy and adding a bit of cinnamon adds to the whole idea of pumpkin pies. I love cream cheese frosting. Butter frosting is great and all, but cream cheese is just a bit more refreshing in my opinion and lighter as well. Of course, being impatient as always, I only refidgerated them for about 20 minutes before taking them out. They were good, but when I ate one after it had been in the fridge for a few hours, it was heavenly. Something about the icing hardening up a bit and the cakes being more firm made it amazing. The recipe said it would only make 12, but I got closer to 20. I didn’t think that the cakes were too small, but I guess I could have made them bigger and then had fewer total whoopie pies. Oh well. As usual, the smell that the cakes sent out from the oven were delightful. I really don’t think that there are many things in the world that smell better than pumpkin baking.

PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES

(Adapted form MarthaStewart.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger (As I said, I used pumpkin spice instead of ginger and cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1) Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

2)In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.

3) Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

4)Make the filling: Sift confectioner’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.

5) Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

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Pumpkin Bread

As I think I’ve said before, I love love love pumpkin. When my dad came up a few weeks ago, we bought about 5 cans of it, and I have slowly but surely using them. In my pursuit to continue making pumpkin things, I decided to make pumpkin bread yesterday. As I’ve complained countless times before, I was worried about make a bread in our very shady oven, but continued anyway. It was actually an incredibly simple recipe to make. I almost cracked open the mix-master, but decided to do it by hand because it’s less of a hassle and there is less to clean up. Don’t get me wrong – I love my mix-master – but sometimes, since I have to drag the table closer to the outlet, and have to clean the big bowl and wisk, it’s just a little easier to do it by hand.

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The batter looked amazing. A very rich orange color that in some ways does not seem very natural, but still looked beautiful. From the moment I put it in the oven, the aroma that filled the house was amazing. I honestly think its worth making anything with some pumpkin just to get the smell. So after leaving it in for about 45 minutes, I checked it and of course it was not done yet. I let it stay in the oven for another 10 minutes and even though it could have lasted maybe another 5, I took it out because I was worried it would get to dry.

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Needless to say, it was not to dry at all, in fact the bottom was completely cooked, but I blame this all on our oven. When I took it out of the oven it smelled so so good and I almost didn’t let it cool. Against my desire to eat it right away, I did let it cool, which turned out to be a very good idea because it popped right out of the tin after I let it cool for about half an hour. I went out for the evening and by the time I got back, only about 1/4 of the bread was left. I think it was a hit 🙂 I will definitely be making it again and many other pumpkin baked goods too.

PUMPKIN BREAD

(Adapted from My Kitchen Snippets)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degree F and grease a loaf pan.

2)  Mix pumpkin, oil, whole eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla together. Mix well.

3) In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix thoroughly.

4) Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until well combined.

5) Pour into the loaf pan and sprinkle the top with some brown sugar and pumpkin seeds.

6) Bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until golden brown.

Bake Off

This past week in my dorm was “Tower Wars.” I live in a dorm with 3 different towers and 900 kids. It’s HUGE!! Anyway, they had competitions all throughout the week between the towers and one of the last events was a bake off. The moment I saw it advertised, I knew I had to sign up. I quickly realized that the date it was – Thursday night – happened to be the same night I attend a Jewish Learning class and I was going to see a comedy show that same evening. (Aziz Ansari – funniest person ever, check him out.) Anyway, I devised a plan in which I would bake and Charlotte, the best roommate ever, would present them for me. This all checked out and I went about devising a plan for what I would make.

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I was pretty set on making coconut macaroons, something I have made many time before and know to be a reliably good cookie. Little did I know though, on Wednesday around 11 PM they informed us that there would a secret ingredient – raspberry. I went into a tizzy. I had a huge paper to write that evening and had no time to think about how to incorporate raspberry into my macaroons. Of course, this was far more important than my paper and I therefore pow-wowed with my suite mates to come up with a plan. Charlotte had the marvel idea of making a coulis – a type of syrup – to drizzle over the macaroons. I was hesitant, but given how little time I was going to have to make them the following day, I decided this was the only option.

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The macaroons themselves turned out great. Of course, I always fail at melting chocolate correctly – ironic since my job at Godiva consists of me dipping about 100 chocolate covered strawberries a day – so I had to smear it on more then really dip them, but I wasn’t too worried about how they looked. With all the elements made – macaroons, chocolate, raspberry coulis – I was very concerned that they were not all going to go together, but I left everything on the table, went to class, and let Charlotte decide how she wanted to present it.

When I came home, I was very nervous, but when I opened the door, they had written “YOU WON” on the huge whiteboard we have. Honestly, I was shocked because I didn’t think I had used the raspberry very well as a secret ingredient, but that’s all a thing of the past now. Supposedly because I won, they are going to make the macaroons for anyone in the dining hall to eat, although I have no idea when. I hope I didn’t miss it. It was all very exciting and I can’t wait to enter another bake off soon 🙂