Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
(Adapted from Sugarcrafter)

Don't Judge Me.
It just so happens the grocery store stocked their shelves with A COUPLE cans of pumpkin. It also just so happens I bought all of them. Okay, so I felt bad and left one can behind (is this cruel?). This means that after going through pumpkin withdrawal for approximately 24 hours (so what if I had pumpkin cream cheese on half of a whole wheat bagel-- which was to die for I might add) I was desperate for more pumpkin! This constant pumpkin desire is seasonal you know, so take advantage of these wonderful pumpkin recipes, because in a couple weeks I'll be over it and on to cutout cookies or fruitcake.. or something like that haha. But I am NOT making any promises;)

My taste buds desire pumpkin more than anything right now. And when I saw this recipe, I decided I must try it. I should also add that I haven't had the privilege of tasting it yet, but man does the house smell good! The crumbs that fell off when I transferred the cake to the cake carrier from the cooling rack were moist and soft. I might add that I will update this at the bottom once I actually taste the cake. If it was a total failure in taste it will be removed haha. So leave a 12 hour time period before you make this cake or until you get the okay that it passed the test. Just kidding, I'm sure it's splendid. And if it was a failure, it at least made my house smell scrumptious!

This recipe included a buttercream frosting, but I felt it would be even better with a cream cheese glaze. So I found a basic recipe and then I modified it a bit. And I did already do a taste test on the glaze-- I couldn't resist. It definitely passed the test and I feel that it will top this cake off.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom (I didn't have any so I omitted this)
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups pumpkin
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In another medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin, milk, and vanilla.
Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add in the eggs one at a time.

Alternately add in the wet and dry ingredients, beating until the batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the bundt pan, spreading evenly.

Bake 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes before inverting and removing the cake.  

Cream Cheese Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons of milk

Mix first four ingredients with blender then add milk and beat until smooth.

This was possibly one of the best bundt cakes I have ever eaten. It seriously melted in your mouth and had such wonderful flavor. It was less dense and more fluffy. Usually I'd go for a dense cake but this one 'takes the cake'!
I highly recommend this cake.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pumpkin Walnut Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

Pumpkin Walnut Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting

I realize that:
1. This is my third post involving cookies
2. This is my second post out of the three involving pumpkin cookies

I am allll about pumpkin right now!! I'm sure it has to do with the WONDERFUL cool autumn-like weather we've been having the past few days.. goodbye tank tops, helllllllo sweaters! I promise that this is the last pumpkin cookie recipe I will be posting for awhile (probably). We just bombarded our house with pumpkin hand soaps in both of our bathrooms and at the kitchen sink. We also added a pumpkin 'wallflower' plug in, some pumpkin oil for the oil burner, and of course a pumpkin air freshener for my car. All compliments of Bath and Body Works. Yeah I sound pumpkin obsessed and pathetic right now. But mmm does it smell good here! So this is partly my excuse as to why I made more pumpkin cookies. Another reason was the last recipe only used up half of the can of pumpkin, which meant I had a cup of pumpkin left that I wouldn't even THINK about wasting.. especially considering canned pumpkin is extinct in this area!

These cookies are a bit more dense and a bit spicier than the other ones, and the brown butter frosting is absolutely to DIE for. I added walnuts to some, but omitted them in most of the cookies because most of the people I feed aren't fans of walnuts in cookies. You can't go wrong with these cookies. Not to mention they are from Magnolia's cookbook. That says enough right there. Enjoy these, I sure enjoyed my half.. and once again will enjoy my other half later this evening, haha.

Pumpkin Walnut Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these)

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Walnut Halves (I garnished about a 1/4 of the cookies)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To make the cookies:
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until evenly combined. Add the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla, and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. The batter will seem extremely soft compared with most cookie doughs, but it will firm up during baking. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 10-12 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting:
Place the sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the butter until lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add to the other ingredients, and beat until smooth and creamy. Cover until ready to use.
When cookies are completely cool, spread a generous amount of frosting on each cookie, and top with a walnut half. Let the icing set before stacking the cookies or they will stick together.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Carrot Cake Cookies

Carrot Cake Cookies
(Adapted from browneyedbaker)

I've had my eye on these the second that browneyedbaker posted these babies last week. I couldn't resist to make them during my day off for Labor Day. We have a picnic to go to tonight at my parents and I figured these would be the perfect ending on a nice cool evening. Obviously I couldn't wait to try these out the second I took them out of the oven (you'll see this is a common theme with me) and boy am I ever glad I did. Warm, delicate cookies with an intense texture. These will be just as good at room temperature with a cup of tea, (I plan on having a cookie later with my favorite coconut cream tea-- yum!) coffee or all by themselves for that matter. These are definitely worthy enough to add to my recipe box!

I might add that I do eat all these goodies in moderation. We all know how much I do LOVE sweets (and salty stuff too for that matter haha) but that doesn't mean I go overboard. I had a half of one of these now and will have the other half later. For all of you who do know me, you know that I have a large family (4 younger sisters and a younger brother plus my parents, my husband, sister's boyfriends, and the various friends that come to hang out on a daily basis) which means that I bake and I share. I usually make just enough for everyone to have a taste, but not go overboard. I enjoy full fat desserts but also enjoy using whole wheat flours and healthier ingredients in my recipes when I feel it won't change the flavor of a food. Moderation and exercise is the key, along with substitution on occasion.

Enough talking. Let's get to this noteworthy, keeper of a recipe!

Carrot Cake Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of grated nutmeg
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots (about 3, peeled and trimmed)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup raisins
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans

Position oven racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger and nutmeg.

With a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, then add the egg and beat for another minute. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the vanilla. Continuing on low speed, add the flour mixture in 2 or 3 batches and beat only until they just disappear into the mix. The dough will be very thick, but don’t overbeat to incorporate the flour. Using a rubber spatula, mix in the carrots, coconut, raisins and pecans.

Spoon about three heaping tablespoonfuls of dough (or use a large cookie scoop, which is what I did) onto the prepared baking sheets at a time, leaving about an inch of space between them. Using your fingers, every so slightly flatted the tops of the cookies.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cookies should be light brown and only just firm on top. Carefully transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies
(adapted from Joy the Baker)

The second that the cool air hit and I had to put on a pair of pants and a cardigan I decided I was craving something pumpkin. Not just anything pumpkin.. It had to be something moist and cake like. Something that would temporarily satisfy this craving (because I know the craving for pumpkin will be back again and again-- especially once the cool weather is a common thing).. So I searched and searched some of my favorite blogs and came across these delectable cookies from Joy the Baker. And I must add-- these are amazing. I mean like melt in your mouth amazing. Pretty much the second I took the first batch out of the oven I tore one in half for a small sample.. I was planning on taking them to our family reunion in just a couple of hours and wanted to make sure they tasted alright.. at least that's what I told myself haha. I was immediately in pumpkin heaven. I took a piece out to my husband and headed back to the kitchen. A couple of seconds later I heard my husband get up off of the couch and the first thing he said was "That was so good it was necessary to get up off the couch for another piece!" And his next question was.. I hope they don't all get eaten at the reunion today! Well he was out of luck! They were a hit and I came home with nothing but a bunch of compliments on these amazing sweet little wonders-- including two recipe requests!

I don't know if everyone is aware of the pumpkin shortage we've been experiencing but after making these today we stopped at various grocery stores for more pumpkin in order to satisfy our cravings for another small batch. But we had absolutely no luck on canned pumpkin. I hope this isn't a lasting problem because I may just end up crying myself to sleep on a regular basis. Okay not really but this is a problem that must be fixed-- PRONTO! Enough talking for one day-- although those of you who know me know that I could go on for hours.
Here's the recipe you pumpkin lovers have been looking for:
(Good luck finding the pumpkin.. if anyone finds any locally please let me know!)

Pumpkin Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips (or chocolate chips, or even white chocolate chips.. be creative!)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper (I sprayed my pan with Pam baking spray instead of using the parchment paper).

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.