Pumpkin Churros

Initially I was planning on making a Pumpkin Spice Latte with some leftover pumpkin puree, but, then I came across a recipe for Baked Pumpkin Churros and I decided that my puree would be put to better use making them.

The batter came together quickly – less than fifteen minutes – and it was easy to pipe it on a parchment lined baking sheet to pop in the oven. While I didn’t try it, I am sure you could fry these if you want a more traditional churro, the downfall of that of course is that frying them means they won’t keep as well as baking them.

Once baked I sprayed them with cooking spray and rolled them in a cinnamon-sugar mixture to give them the traditional churros coating.

And finally I made hot fudge for dipping… YUM!

Baked Pumpkin Churros

Ingredients:

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

6 tablespoons butter, sliced into 1 tablespoon pieces

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1/2 cup sugar

Cooking spray, to spray baked churros

Hot fudge sauce, for serving (optional)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lay 2 same-sized baking sheets on top of one another and line the top sheet with parchment paper. Using 2 baking sheets will prevent the bottom of the churros from burning.

In a medium saucepan combine the water, pumpkin, butter, brown sugar, 1 tsp. of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the mixture boils.

Remove from the heat and add in the vanilla extract and flour and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together and forms a smooth dough.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) and let it rest for 2 minutes.

On low speed add in one egg and mix until well combined, increasing the speed if necessary. Repeat with the second egg.

Transfer the dough to a large piping bag with a large star tip (I used a Wilton 6B tip).

Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. I ended up piping churros that were about 4 to 5 inches in length. You could pipe them smaller or larger.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 – 35 minutes. The length of time will depend on the tip used and the length of your churros.

In a shallow dish combine the sugar and remaining cinnamon.

Once out of the oven, spray the churros with the cooking spray (top and bottom) and roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Transfer to a wire rack. Eat them alone or with hot fudge sauce.

Recipe from Cooking Classy

 

Hot Fudge Sauce*

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 stick unsalted butter**, cut into pieces

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder.

Whisk in the cream, then turn the heat to medium and continue whisking as the mixture warms up.

Once the mixture is warm add the butter and stir to melt.

Once hot, add the vanilla and stir to combine.

Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a heat-proof container.

Store in the refrigerator. It will become solid as it cools. When using, just spoon out your desired amount and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir and then heat for an additional 10 seconds or until your desired temperature.

*This recipe can easily be halved

**The original recipe called for salted butter

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Chocolate-Pumpkin Crepe Cake

I first heard of crepe cakes because of a bakery in NYC called Lady M. While I have never tried it myself, I do know a few people who have and have given it rave reviews. I came across a recipe over the summer for a Lemon Mascarpone Crepe Cake that I really wanted to try but never got around to. I feel like those flavors are summer-like so I just decided to wait to make it. And then, I received the recent issue of Food Network Magazine and among the pages was a recipe for a Chocolate Pumpkin Crepe Cake, so I decided to give it a try. I’ll admit, the idea of making crepes was a little intimidating at first, but, once I had made a few I got the hang of it.

To start, I made the pumpkin custard. Once made, I placed a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface so the custard wouldn’t form a skin and refrigerated it for 2 hours.

Next, I made the batter for the chocolate crepes. Which I let rest, covered, for about 2 hours.

To finish the pumpkin filling, I beat heavy cream until stiff peaks formed and then folded it into the pumpkin custard and refrigerated the filling until it was firm, at least an hour.

Next, I made the crepes. Below I have some included some tips on making the crepes. Here is a pic of my crepe making assembly line. Having things laid out like this really made the crepe making a breeze. Also, I used a crepe pan as opposed to a non-stick pan to make them. I think using a crepe pan makes it easier due to the low angled rim of the pan… It makes flipping the crepes lest cumbersome.

I ended up with 18 crepes, it would have been 19, but my first crepe was a fail. The same thing happens when I make pancakes.

And once the crepes had cooled and filling was ready it was time to assemble the cake. I started and ended with a crepe, spreading about 3 tablespoons of pumpkin filling between each crepe. I then refrigerated the cake overnight.

The next day I covered the cake with chocolate ganache…

And after the ganache had set I sliced into the cake. It sounds cheesy, but, I was pretty excited when I cut into the cake and I saw how nice and perfect the layers look. There’s such a satisfaction you get when you feel intimidated by making something and in the end it comes up just as you hoped.

And it didn’t hurt that it tasted pretty good as well. Chocolate and pumpkin are definitely a winning combination.

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Crepe Cake

Ingredients:

For the Crepes:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups whole milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly. Plus more for the pan.

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For the Filling:

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree

1 cup cold heavy cream

 

For the Ganache:

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

 

Directions:

Make the filling: Whisk the sugar, eggs, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the milk and pumpkin puree in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking until steaming. Gradually whisk in the egg mixture (don’t add it all at once or you will end up with scrambled eggs) and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until very thick. Strain the filling through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl, push it through with a rubber spatula. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Make the crepes batter: Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt, milk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a blender. Blend, scraping the sides occasionally until smooth. Transfer the batter to a bowl and cover, let sit for an hour.

Finish the filling: Beat the heavy cream in a large bowl with a hand-mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Working in three batches, fold the whipped cream into the filling until combined. Refrigerate at least an hour, until firm.

Makes the crepes: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet pan or a crepe pan over medium-low heat until hot; lightly brush with melted butter. Add about 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook until the crepe is dry on the bottom and set on top, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip crepe and cook for 30 more seconds. Invert onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter to make about 20 crepes, brushing the pan with more butter and stacking the crepes as you go. (If any crepes tear, don’t worry, you can use those in the middle of the cake).

Assemble the cake: Lay a crepe on a plate or cake stand and spread with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the pumpkin filling, spreading it to the edges. Repeat this with the remaining crepes and filling, ending with a crepe. Lightly cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

Make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until steaming, then pour over the chocolate. After 5 minutes, whisk until melted and smooth. If the chocolate isn’t completed melted, microwave in 15-second intervals. Let the chocolate sit for about 5 minutes, until it has thickened but still pourable. Pour the chocolate over the cake letting the excess drip down the sides then smooth the top with an offset spatula. Let the chocolate set about 15 minutes. To slice, run a sharp knife until hot water.

Recipe from Food Network

 

Crepe Making Tips:

Let the batter rest for at least an hour, if not the crepes will tear easily.

Butter the pan after every other crepe. Also, don’t put too much butter on the pan, it will take longer for your crepe to dry out.

If the crepes fold over when you flip them don’t worry. When you invert them on the baking sheet slowly unfold them so they will lay flat again

When pouring the batter, swirl the batter as your pour to ensure it covers the entire pan.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu

I was on the fence with this dessert when I first tried it and I still am. I liked the custard part, but, I think the gingersnap cookies may have thrown off the flavor a bit, but, if you are a gingersnap cookie and pumpkin fan than this is the dessert for you. If you want more of a traditional tiramisu with a pumpkin flavor, check out the pumpkin tiramisu I posted last year.

After making the pumpkin custard I layered gingersnaps in a single layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. I then brushed them with apple brandy that I warmed with sugar and finally I spread a third of the custard over the cookie.

I repeated this layering two more times….

And on the final layer of custard I topped it with crushed gingersnap cookies.

I then covered the dish with wax and aluminum paper and refrigerated it overnight and before slicing it the next day I topped it with more crushed gingersnap cookies.

A few things I should mention. I slightly modified this recipe from the original by omitting gelatin in the custard and refrigerated my tiramisu as opposed to putting it in the freezer. I am sure that the gelatin would have resulted in cleaner slices, but, I just didn’t like the texture I was imagining that would result from the gelatin. And, the reason why I didn’t freeze it is that the directions said to let the tiramisu thaw for 6 hours before slicing. It just didn’t make sense to let it thaw for so long after freezing it to cut it.

 

Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu

Ingredients:

6 large egg yolks

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 quart whole milk

1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pound (2 cups) mascarpone

3 tablespoons apple brandy

1 1/4 pounds gingersnaps, 1/4 pound finely crushed

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks, cornstarch, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the sugar together until the sugar is moistened.

In a large saucepan, heat the milk until it just begins to steam. Whisk 1 cup of the milk into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Pour the mixture into the milk in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until boiling and thick, about 5 minutes. Then whisk in the pumpkin puree and cook, whisking for an additional minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and cinnamon and finally whisk in the mascarpone.

In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave the brandy and 1 tablespoon of sugar at high power for 10 seconds. Just until the sugar is dissolved.

Arrange one-third of the gingersnaps in a single layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Lightly brush the cookies with some of the apple brandy and then spread a third of the pumpkin custard over the cookies. Repeat this layering two more times and then top the final layer of custard with half of the crushed gingersnaps. Cover the dish with wax paper and aluminum paper and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Before slicing sprinkle with the remaining crushed gingersnaps.

Recipe modified from Food & Wine

Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread

Another week, another pumpkin recipe. I originally saw this recipe on an Instagram video, but, it was with banana bread and I immediately thought to myself that it would taste even better with pumpkin bread. A quick search on Food Network’s website and I was able to find the pumpkin version.

To create the cheesecake swirl in the bread, I reserved 1 cup of the pumpkin batter and spread the remaining batter in the bottom of a loaf pan. I then spooned the cheesecake mixture over the batter and finally poured the reserved pumpkin batter down the center of the pan.

With the tip of paring knife I then swirled the two batters together.

After baking and cooling it was time to slice and enjoy.

And it’s no surprise that since pumpkin flavored desserts and cheesecake are two of my favorite treats this was a winner in my book!

 

Cheesecake-Stuffed Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

Cheesecake Swirl:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

1 large egg

 

Pumpkin Bread:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 granulated sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 /3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F and spray a 9×5 loaf pan with baking spray.

For the cheesecake swirl: Combine the cream cheese, granulated sugar, sour cream and egg in a large bowl until well combined. Set aside.

For the pumpkin bread: Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In another bowl whisk together the granulated sugar and pumpkin puree, then whisk in the oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and egg. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Reserve 1 cup of the pumpkin batter and spread the remaining batter in the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the batter and then pour the reserved pumpkin batter in a line down the center of the pan. With the tip of a paring knife, swirl the batter together 5 to 6 times.

Bake until the top is cracked and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes then carefully invert the bread on a platter and then flip upright. Let cool completely before slicing.

Recipe from Food Network

Pumpkin Chai Latte

It’s officially fall! My favorite season… Pumpkins, apples, apple picking, foliage, scarf weather and we’re closer to my other favorite time of the year (the holiday season). I think I have covered it all. And while pumpkin flavored everything has been on store shelves for a few weeks now and I will admit that I did bake a few things that are pumpkin flavored, I have waited until now to post anything pumpkin related. And I am starting small with this Pumpkin Chai Latte. Before I get to the latte though, I just want to touch on the pumpkin flavored phenomena. It’s a bit out of control! It’s so excessive that I am not really tempted to get anything. I did pick up some Pumpkin Flavored Cheerios that remind me more of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios than anything, and some Pumpkin Fruit Butter. I used to love Pumpkin Flavored Milanos and I even enjoyed some pumpkin spice almonds I picked up a year or two ago, but now, I prefer the baked pumpkin flavored treats I make more than anything.

Now, back to the latte. I began by heating milk and steeping a bag of chai tea in the milk for about 5 minutes. And here’s something I learned and maybe some of you knew this but somehow I didn’t… By steeping the chai tea bag in milk I had a chai tea latte. It’s one of the few things I order at Starbucks but I am pretty excited to know now that I can make it at home now. It just needs a little sugar. Once the milk was read I whisked in pumpkin puree and a pinch each of pumpkin spice and honey. You can sub sugar if you prefer your latte on the sweeter side. I then strained it and enjoyed!

Pumpkin Chai Latte

Ingredients:

1 cup hot milk

1 chai tea bag

1/4 pumpkin puree

pinch of pumpkin spice

pinch of honey

Directions:

Steep the tea bag in the milk for about 5 minutes. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice & honey. Strain and enjoy.

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

I came across this brownie recipe in a recent issue of People magazine. At first it sounded great, but, then I started to make them and I began to question them due to the vast amount of ingredients.

In one bowl I sifted together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl I combined 9 eggs, 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree and 4 1/3 cups of sugar. And finally, in another bowl I melted 1 2/3 cups of unsalted butter. YIKES! I’ve made brownies from scratch before and usually they require about 4 eggs or so and definitely not that much sugar. Oh, and if you didn’t know 1 2/3 cups of butter is roughly 27 tablespoons! So, I had my doubts, but I plowed ahead.

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To combine these three, I continued to beat the pumpkin mixture on low while slowly adding in the melted butter and then gradually added in the flour until the mixture was completely blended.

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And finally I stirred in 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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Next, I spread the batter into a greased 18 x 12 – inch rimmed baking sheet.

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And baked it for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester came out clean in the center.

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And after letting them cool completely I went to slice them and problems quickly arose. While they did appear to be completely cooked for some reason when I went to slice them they seemed to be undercooked in the middle. Granted, if I had left them in the oven longer the edges would have really burned. So while it appeared that I would have been able to slice these into 20 healthy-sized brownies I really only ended up with 12. While they did taste good the verdict is out as to whether or not I will make them again. I actually brought them to a friend’s house and we jokingly coined them “The $50 Brownies” because of the amount of ingredients… LOL!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

9 large eggs

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

4 1/3 cups sugar

1 2/3 cups unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 18 x 12 inch rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and the pumpkin puree on medium speed until well combined. Add the sugar and continue beating until all ingredients are well combined.

With the mixer running, slowly add the melted butter to the pumpkin mixture. Gradually add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely and then slice.

Recipe from Buddy Valastro People Magazine

 

Día De Los Muertos Cupcakes

Happy Halloween! This year instead of a Halloween inspired treat I opted to go with a Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) one instead. So, what is Día De Los Muertos you may ask? Well, it’s a three-day Mexican holiday where one remembers and celebrates friends and family members who have died. And while pumpkins and ghosts are symbolic of Halloween, sugar skulls are the symbol associated with this holiday. These are skulls that are colorfully decorated. The biggest difference I would say between the two holidays is how one celebrates death and the other fears death. With Día De Los Muertos people set-up altars to celebrate the dead, bring food and/or beverages, among other gifts, to their loved one’s grave site. While with Halloween, children wear masks and costumes as protection and jack-o-lanterns are meant to ward off evil spirits. So, whichever you choose to celebrate, or if you are among those who did not celebrate at all, I hope you have a wonderful day filled with candy! One of the reasons I decided to go with this theme was because I was giving these cupcakes as part of a birthday gift to a friend who really likes the décor of the holiday and she’s probably a bigger pumpkin spice fan than me.

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I began these cupcakes by making the sugar skull toppers. I melted Wilton White Candy Melts and poured them into skull molds and then placed them in the refrigerator so they could set.

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The following day using an array of sparkle gel…

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I decorated the skulls to mimic sugar skulls and then placed them back in the refrigerator.

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A few days later I made the cupcakes. To make the batter I began by whisking together melted butter, oil and milk. Once that was well combined I added in brown sugar and continued whisking until it was smooth. And then finally I added in vanilla extract and eggs. In another bowl I combined the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt) and then added them to the wet ingredients. Next I folded in pumpkin puree and chocolate chips.

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I then filled Día De Los Muertos themed cupcake liners about 3/4 full and baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

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After letting them cool completely I made a cream cheese frosting to top them off.

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So the sugar skulls would pop a little I opted to stripe the inside of the decorator bag with green before adding the frosting to pipe. And there you have it… Día De Los Muertos Pumpkin Cupcakes.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup vegetable oil

5 tablespoons milk*, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

14 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree

3/4 cup chocolate chips

*I used 2%

Cupcake Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and lined a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the butter, oil and milk until smooth. Add in the brown sugar and continue mixing until smooth and finally add in the vanilla and eggs, continuing to whisk until smooth.

In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix it until smooth.

Fold in the pumpkin puree and then the chocolate chips until well combined.

Fill each cupcake liner about 3/4 full and bake for about 21-23 minutes, until a cake inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Ingredients for Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups Confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 cups vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and mix together until smooth.

Add half of the sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla extract and continue mixing. Finally add the remaining sugar and continue mixing until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes.

Recipe from The Cake Blog