Cookie Palooza: Spicy Chocolate Cookies

Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a warm mug of hot chocolate. I am partial to peppermint hot chocolate myself. Today’s Cookie Palooza cookie, Spicy Chocolate Cookies, has all the decadence of hot chocolate in one bite, but, with the addition of cinnamon and cayenne pepper they are reminiscent of a Mexican Hot Chocolate. Don’t fear though, the cayenne doesn’t make these super spicy or anything. It’s actually a nice complement to the chocolate. And the chocolate chunks added to the cookies melt perfectly while baking to create a nice smooth texture within them. To top them off, they are rolled in turbinado sugar before baking… Yum!

Spicy Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, cayenne pepper and baking soda.

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and dark brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

Place the turbinado sugar in a small bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll into a ball and gently roll in the turbinado sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies begin to crack slightly. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection

Cookie Palooza: Apricot Walnut Triangles

Welcome to day two of Cookie Palooza 2020. Today I am bringing you a cookie bar that I would say is like shortbread cookie topped with the filling of a rugelach cookie. If you like either one of those cookies or even better both, you will love these cookie bars. Best of all, they are super easy to make and lot quicker than rugelach.

To begin I made the dough for the crust. After making it I pressed it into an 8×8 baking dish I greased with butter.

Next, I spread a few tablespoons of apricot preserves over the dough.

And finally, I combined melted butter, sugar, water and chopped walnuts in a small bowl and then spread it over the apricot preserves.

I baked it in a 350 F preheated oven until the edges began to brown and the center was set, about 35 minutes. After letting it cool in the dish for about a half hour on a wire rack, I cut the cookies into 4 equal parts and then removed it from the dish and cut each square into 4 2-inch squares and then cut those squares into triangles. I then placed them back on the wire rack to cool completely.

And to finish the cookie bars, once they were completely cooled, I melted a cup of dark chocolate chips in the microwave and dipped the corner of each cookie in the chocolate.

I placed them in the fridge for a few minutes so the chocolate could set and then it was time to enjoy. As I mentioned, the crust is reminiscent of a shortbread cookie and the topping that of the filling for rugelach. With a combination like that you can’t go wrong! What’s also nice about these cookie bars is that the flavors can be switched around just by using a different jams/preserves and/or nut. To make these extra festive for the holidays you could swap out the apricot preserves with raspberry jam and use white chocolate in lieu of the dark chocolate.

Apricot Walnut Triangles

  • Servings: 32 Triangles
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Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar, divided

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons apricot preserves

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with baking spray, or, grease with butter. Set aside.

In a bowl, using a handheld mixer, cream together the room temperature butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. In another bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder and gradually beat it into the butter mixture. Once the dough has formed, press it into the prepared 8-inch square pan.

Spread the preserves over the dough. In a small bowl mix the melted butter with the water and remaining sugar. Stir in the walnuts and then spread the mixture over the preserves.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center is set.

Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack and then cut into sixteen 2-inch square and then cut each square in half to create triangles. Remove from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring between each. Once melted dip the corner of each triangle into the chocolate and then place on the prepared baking to set. If you find that the chocolate is not setting place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Palooza: Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies

While many aspects of the holidays will be different this year due to COVID, one thing can remain the same… the baking. While cookie swaps may have to take a back seat this year that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday goodies yourself and with those in your quarantine circle. With that being said welcome to Cookie Palooza 2020. Each day this week I will bring you a new cookie recipe that will hopefully make it on your holiday baking list. Up first a loaded oatmeal cookie. While the recipe called these a White Chocolate Chunk Cookie, I decided to refer to them as a Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookie for the title of this blog post thanks to the walnuts, coconut, golden raisins, white chocolate chips and of course oatmeal added to the dough. That’s quite a mouthful. And while the recipe for these cookies makes 4 dozen, you could easily halve the recipe to suit your needs.

Here’s a look of all of the add-ins together before I added them to the dough…

And what the dough looked like after stirring them all in.

And while these cookies do have a lot going on, not one thing overpowers the other. And don’t worry, if you are not a fan of coconut, you won’t even notice the coconut in the cookies. Or, you could just leave them out to be on the safe side.

White Chocolate-Chunk Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 cups old-fashioned oats

12oz. bag white chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl cream the butter and both sugars together with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time until combined and then stir in the vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, coconut, raisins and walnuts.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten the dough slightly. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

Living Room Remodel

A few years ago I posted about the new sofa I purchased for my living room. In that post I talked about how I wanted to completely remodel the living room and change-up the paneling in the room. I don’t know if it was because I was spending so much time at home that I just got tired of the paneling or because I saw how nice paneling looked painted after watching a home improvement show on HGTV, but, I finally decided it was time to do something about it.

I did some research to find out what the best primer and roller was to use and then primed and painted a small section of the paneling behind the curtains. It came out nice and I quickly decided that I wanted to paint the entire living room.

First though I had to paint the ceiling. So, I taped up around the mirror, covered some furniture with old sheets, removed some items off a shelving unit and pictures off the wall and got to painting.

The following week I started in on the walls. Before priming and painting I washed the paneling with a mild soap (Dawn dish soap) to remove any dirt and dust build-up. Once the paneling was clean and dry, I applied the first coat of primer. I used a multi-surface primer and a thick roller (3/4-inch nap) meant for rough surfaces so I would be able to get into the grooves of the paneling. Applying the first coat of primer took me a lot longer than I anticipated… like 5 hours! But, taking my time was worth it as I was able to get the primer into all the grooves, although, the brown of the paneling was still peeking through considerably so I began to have some concerns that it wasn’t going to look nice, but, there was no turning back. It’s one thing when you paint a small sample section but another thing when you paint all the walls.

The following day I applied a second coat of primer and I felt better about what the final outcome would look like. I could hardly see the brown peeking through.

And a few days later I painted the walls with the first coat of color I had chosen… Whisper White.

The following day I applied another coat of the color and since the paint was a paint and primer in one I basically applied 4 coats of primer and two coats of paint to the wall so I am happy to say that the brown paneling was a distant memory by the time I was done painting.

Once the walls were done it was time to refinish some of the furniture. Initially I was only planning on painting the base of the coffee and side table but then decided to spruce up the shelving unit as well. The three pieces were made by my Dad, who passed away about five years ago, so it was important to me to keep them.

I started with the shelves. I didn’t want to strip the wood completely so I bought a wood stain that was slightly darker than the original color and could be applied to wood that is already stained. All I needed to do was lightly sand the wood. After lightly sanding the shelves I used an oil-based black paint to repaint the metal portion of the unit and then re-stained the shelves.

Before…

After…

Then it was on to the side table and coffee table. Initially I was going to spray paint both of them black. I even bought the spray paint, but I had reservations about it. I was concerned that the color would be uneven or worse that it would be streaky. Since I had so much of the black paint left from painting the metal on the shelving unit, I decided to paint them instead. To prep them I lightly sanded them to get off any loose paint and rust.

Before…

 

 

After…

Once I was done with the walls and the furniture there was one thing left that was bugging me. The rug. I knew eventually I wanted to rip out the carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. But, seeing how good the walls looked and the newly painted furniture I knew I had to get rid of the rug ASAP.

I was able to get a reasonable quote for the floors, so I went for it. To save money I ripped out the carpet myself with the help of a friend’s husband. Ripping the carpet out was the easy part, the tedious part was removing all of the nails and staples. Ripping the carpet out led to another expense… the need for new baseboards. The original baseboards weren’t flush to the floor but instead were about an inch from the floor and the carpet filled that inch.

The floors before (they were in pretty bad shape) …

Right after the sanding…

In the process of being stained…

The finished floors…

Once all these big things were done it was time for the finishing touches.

The curtains… I purchased paisley patterned pinch pleat curtains that I was initially planning on hanging on traverse rods. Finding curtains for traverse rods is not an easy feat and I fell in love with these but, they were only available in 108” and I needed 96″, so I ended up hemming all of the curtains with heat bond.

I installed the traverse rods I purchased and after hemming all of the curtains I hung them and then when I went to pull the cord to open and close the curtains it didn’t work. They worked fine without the curtains on them but not with. So, after trying to fix them I determined that the rods must be defective.

So, I painstakingly removed the curtains from the rods and all of the hooks that I had inserted to hang them. After going back and forth as to what to do I decided to forgo the traverse rod idea and purchased a curtain rod that hangs from the ceiling as opposed to attaching to the wall. Thankfully the curtains I purchased had loops behind them that enabled me to use a “regular” curtain rod to hang them. I must say I am much happier with this rod and I am able to open and close the curtains a lot easier than I am sure I would have ever been able to with the traverse rods.

Since I had so much blue in the living room – sofa, curtains and my new tv stand – I decided to add a pop of color with this blue and orange rug.

I even found an ottoman in the same shade of orange.

And here are some pics of the final look of my living room. I still have to hang pictures on the wall, but, so far so good. I am very happy with the outcome.

What to tackle next??? I am thinking of painting an old bedroom set to breathe new life into it.

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

With the holiday’s just around the corner I have been going through some cookbooks and a few old magazines looking for cookie recipes to share with you during my Cookiepalooza week right after Thanksgiving. I was really hoping to create a few cookie recipes myself, but time is getting away from me and I am much better at creating cake recipes than cookie ones. In my search for recipes I flipped through an old Martha Stewart cookie cookbook and I came across a recipe for some interesting Madeleines… Orange Cardamom Madeleines. And I’ll admit cardamom is not the spice that everyone has in their pantry. It can be a bit pricey, but, it’s worth the money if you like the taste and a little goes a long way. The first time I bought it was to make Kheer, Indian Rice Pudding, and I have had it in my pantry ever since. Not the same bottle of course.

Initially when I made these I wasn’t planning on adding the orange glaze to them. I am not a big fan of glazes. Ultimately, I decided to glaze half of them and I learned that orange and cardamom go together very well. The unglazed cookies had a stronger cardamom flavor, which was fine with me, but the hint of orange from the glaze took them up a notch. My only complaint though was that the glaze was absorbed by the Madeleines as opposed to coating them. So, when you look at them you couldn’t really tell that they had a glaze, whereas the picture accompanying the recipe showed the Madeleines which a thick glaze similar to an iced cookie. Oh well… the important thing is that they were delicious!

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

Ingredients:

For the Madeleines:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pans

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

 

For the Glaze:

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

 

Directions:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and vanilla extract. Let cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. In a large bowl stir together the eggs and sugar. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and continue folding until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Brush molds of Madeleine pan with the additional butter.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag and fill each crevice of the pan about halfway. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and the edges are golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, and orange juice in a medium bowl and stir together until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, coat the ridged sides of the Madeleines with the glaze. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook

Apple Crumble

While pumpkin and pumpkin spice does dominate as the flavor of the Fall, there’s another fruit that is just as delicious… Apples. One of my favorite things to do in the Fall is to go apple picking. And while I have had to forgo many activities due to the pandemic, thankfully apple picking wasn’t one of them. I’ll admit though that this year I haven’t been snacking on my apples as much as I have in the past. I think that’s partly due to the fact that I am working from home. I have been snacking on other things instead, whereas an apple was my snack for my drive home. It’s all good though, it just means I can bake with them instead. Last year I made an Apple Crumb Pie that was a hit! I actually ended up making two of them for Thanksgiving. And this year I am bringing you a recipe for an Apple Crumble that’s just as good. You get all the flavors of apple pie without the fuss of making a crust and with the added deliciousness of a crumble topping.

After peeling, coring and chopping the apples I tossed them with sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. I then transferred them to a baking dish that I greased with unsalted butter.

To make the crumble topping, using a handheld mixer, I beat together a stick of softened unsalted butter with brown sugar until fluffy and then added in flour and salt and continued beating the mixture until large pieces began to form.

I then sprinkled the crumble topping over the apples.

And then baked it in a 375 F preheated oven for about an hour, until the mixture was bubbling.  After the first 20 minutes, I tented the dish with aluminum foil to prevent the topping from burning.

After letting it cool, I enjoyed some with vanilla ice cream.

 

Apple Crumble

Ingredients:

For the Apples:

1 tablespoon butter to grease dish

3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored & chopped

6 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

 

For the Crumble Topping:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Vanilla Ice Cream, for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish the tablespoon of butter.

Toss the apples, sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and set aside.

Make the crumble topping: In a medium bowl beat the butter and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the flour and salt and continue beating until large pieces form.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the apples and bake in the oven. After the first 20 minutes tent the dish with aluminum foil and continue baking until the mixture begins to bubble, about an hour.

Let cool for 20 minutes and then serve.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

While I was hoping to bring you pumpkin recipes right up until Thanksgiving, sadly I think this may be my last pumpkin recipe for the season. I’ve unfortunately tired out all of the people in quarantine circle with pumpkin treats. Today’s cookies and the Butterscotch Pumpkin Fudge from last week I actually sent to a friend out of state for her birthday and my friends near me didn’t want any part in trying some of the extras. Oh well! It was a good run and who knows maybe I’ll sneak in one more. So, for my possible last pumpkin recipe of 2020 I bring you Pumpkin Sugar Cookies. A nice twist on the traditional sugar cookie.

I was a bit skeptical about these cookies when I saw the recipe. Mainly because they seemed to easy to be good, but I was wrong. They came together super quick and only required a short time in the refrigerator to chill the dough before scooping it and rolling it in sugar before baking. And yes, they are slightly orange thanks to the addition of pumpkin puree in the dough, but you know you are getting authentic pumpkin flavor here and not just pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for rolling

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the yolk, then vanilla extract and finally pumpkin. Continue mixing until the ingredients are well combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the butter mixture and continue mixing until the two mixtures are well combined. Refrigerate the dough for 20* minutes.

While the dough is in the refrigerator preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add sugar to a small bowl.

Once the dough has chilled, use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough. Roll into a smooth ball and then roll in the sugar before placing on the prepared cookies sheets. Place the cookies 2-inches apart and flatten slightly before placing in the oven for 15 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Wine and Glue

Knitted Tube Socks

Before the pandemic started and everything shut down, I was taking crocheting/knitting classes at my local library to learn new patterns and get together with other yarn crafters. Before the pandemic ended the classes I learned how to make crocheted market bags and had just started a class to make a Knitted Keyhole Scarf. What I was excited about though was that I was finally going to learn how to knit socks. It’s something I have been wanting to learn for a while but whenever I read the patterns, they made absolutely no sense to me. I had unfortunately missed the class to learn how to make socks, but the teacher was willing to show me during one of the classes and gave me a pretty easy pattern to follow. A tube sock pattern that didn’t require me to knit a heel, which apparently is the hardest part of making socks. So, I bought the knitting needles I would need (size 3 9-inch circular) and already had the yarn and then classes ended, but I was still determined to learn how to make them.

Thanks to YouTube, I was able to figure out how to start the socks. Using the short-cabled knitting needles I casted on 64 stitches and then divided those stitches among three double-pointed knitting needles. I then worked in a K2, P2 ribbed pattern for five inches to make the cuff of the socks.

Next, it was time to work on the body of the sock. And it couldn’t have been easier, I knit every row until the sock measured 13 inches from the beginning.

To finish the sock, I had to shape the toe. The directions on the pattern I had weren’t that easy to follow, but after a few Google searches I was able to find a toe shaping pattern that would work for the tube sock I made and was easy enough for me to follow.

And once I finished, I had a cozy tube sock that will be perfect for the upcoming cold weather. And since I had worked out some of the kinks in the first sock, my second sock was a lot easier to work up.

My new pair of socks…

Knitted Tube Socks

Materials:

100 grams / 3.75 oz Sock Yarn*

Set of 4 US 3 Double Pointed Knitting Needles

Size 3 9-inch circular needles

*I used Patons Kroy Socks Yarn

 

Directions:

Using the circular needles cast on 64 stitches loosely.

Divide the stitches among three double-pointed needles: 24 stitches on the first needle, 24 on the second needle and 16 on the third needle. Join in round.

Using the 4th needle begin working in K2,P2 rib. Work the ribbing for 5 inches. You can make the ribbing shorter or longer based on your preference.

Knit every round until the sock measures 13 inches from the beginning.

Shape the toe as follows:

Round 1: K6, K2 Tog

Round 2-4: Knit 3 rows

Round 5: K5, K2 Tog

Round 6-8: Knit 3 rows

Round 9: K4, K2 Tog

Round 10-12: Knit 3 rows

Round 13: K3, K2 Tog

Round 14-16: Knit 3 rows

Round 17: K2, K2 Tog

Round 18-19: Knit 2 rows

Round 20: K1, K2 Tog

Round 21: Knit 1 row

Draw the yarn through the remaining stitches and fasten to secure. Weave in ends.

Wash and block to shape.

 

Butterscotch Pumpkin Fudge

I attempted make fudge once before and while it tasted good, the consistency was a bit off. It never hardened and was a bit of a soft mess. That was probably due to the fact that it was a quick fudge that didn’t involve boiling the mixture to the soft ball stage of candy-making. For this Butterscotch Pumpkin Fudge though the consistency was spot on and it was delicious.

I began by lining a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil leaving a large enough overhang to make it easy to remove the fudge once it was done. I coasted the foil with softened butter and then got to make the fudge. In a medium saucepan I combined additional butter with sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice and heated it over medium heat until it reached a temperature of 240 F, stirring it constantly. This took about 10 minutes. Once the mixture was at the right temperature, I removed it from the heat and stirred in butterscotch chips, marshmallow crème and vanilla extract. Once the mixture was smooth, I then stirred in chopped pecans. If you are not a fan of butterscotch chips you could swap it out for cinnamon chips. Once everything has been well incorporated, I poured it into my prepared pan and let it sit overnight so it could cool and set.

Once the fudge was set, I removed it from the dish and sliced it into 1-inch squares.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Fudge

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup unsalted butter (cube the 3/4 cup)

3 cups sugar

1 5 oz. can evaporated milk

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 11oz. package butterscotch chips

1 7 oz. jar marshmallow crème

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

 

Directions:

Line a 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil leaving an overhang. Butter the aluminum foil with the tablespoon of butter and set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, milk, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and the remaining butter. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads between 238 F and 240 F (soft ball stage), stirring constantly.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butterscotch chips, marshmallow crème and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in the nuts. Pour into the prepared dish. Cool completely.

Once cool, remove the fudge from the pan by lifting it by the overhang foil. Discard the foil and cut the fudge into 1-inch square. Store in an airtight container lined with waxed paper.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Pumpkin S’mores Layer Cake

I was planning on bringing you another savory pumpkin dessert this week, but I just didn’t like the recipe I made last week for a Pumpkin Black Bean Burger. While the burger wasn’t bad, it was just overpowered with cumin, which isn’t a bad thing, but I just felt that it shouldn’t be the only thing you taste especially after topping the burger with other things. All is well though as I am bringing you a cake that has a lot going on, but it adds up to one thing… Deliciousness! It’s a Pumpkin S’mores Layer Cake.

I made a few adjustments to the original recipe that I got from an issue of Food Network Magazine about two years ago. I came across it in my dessert binder while looking for another recipe. The original recipe called for the cake to be a four-layer cake. Baking two 9-inch cakes and then cutting them in half. I opted to bake the cake in three 9-inch pans to make it a three-layer cake and since I am not keen on meringue frosting, I whipped up the Marshmallow Whipped Cream Frosting I used for the S’mores Cupcakes I posted back in August.

So, you have a three-layer pumpkin cake that had graham crackers crumbs added to the batter separated by a chocolate filling that is made with chocolate and marshmallows and it’s all topped with a light and not overly sweet marshmallow whipped cream frosting… YUM!

 

Pumpkin S’mores Layer Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 whole graham crackers

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

1/2 cup buttermilk*

 

For the Filling:

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

12 large marshmallows or 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 cup cold heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For the Frosting:

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 7oz. jars marshmallow cream

 

*Make your own by combining 1/2 cup whole milk with three teaspoons of white vinegar and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it thickens and appears to curdle

 

Directions:

Begin by making the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray three 9-inch round baking pans with baking spray.

In a food processor pulse the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and pulse to combine.

In a large bowl beat the butter and both sugars with handheld mixer until medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and add in the pumpkin puree. The batter will appear curdled. Beat in half of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk and finally the remaining flour mixture. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and tap the bottom of the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles.

Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and then invert the cakes on the racks to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling make the filling. In microwave safe bowl combine the chocolate, marshmallows, cocoa powder and 1/3 cup of the heavy cream and microwave in 30 second intervals. Stirring between each interval. Continue microwaving until everything is melted. Continue stirring the mixture until smooth and then stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature.

While the chocolate mixture is cooling, whisk the remaining 2/3 cup heavy cream in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Whisk a third of this cream into the cooled chocolate mixture and then gently fold in the rest with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

To make the frosting, add the heavy cream and vanilla extract to a large bowl and beat with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Add in the marshmallow cream and continue beating until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cake layers on a cake board or cake stand. Transfer some of the frosting to a piping bag and pipe around the perimeter of the cake and then spread half of the chocolate filling in the center. Repeat with another cake layer and then top with the final cake layer and then frost the cake with remaining frosting.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe modified from Food Network