Cranberry Orange Walnut Muffins

Not sure why, but, I had two bags of dried cranberries in my pantry that were quickly approaching their expiration date. They were probably on sale or I was planning on eating more salads than I have been. Either way, I decided it was time to start using them before they did expire. Cranberries are always a good add in for baked goods since they offer a pop of sweetness and do have health benefits. I like to think they are still healthy even after they are baked into something sweet. I was debating between cookies or muffins, but, I opted to go with the muffins… A Cranberry-Orange Walnut Muffin.

The recipe for these is pretty straight forward. Next time I make them though I will cut the sugar in half (1/2 cup as opposed to a 1 cup). They were delicious, but, I just found them to be a tad bit sweet and since I normally eat muffins for breakfast and I am not big into sweets for breakfast I think I would enjoy them more with less sugar. Also, since you are using freshly squeezed orange juice and if your orange is sweet and then you add sugar and dried cranberries on top of that you are getting sugar from all sides so it’s best to cut back on the actual sugar you are adding in. They will still be delicious and even a bit better for you. And while the original recipe called to make these in a 12-cup cupcake tin, I opted to bake them in 6-cup muffin tin instead. I prefer bakery sized muffins than cupcake sized ones. To accommodate the extra batter, I placed my muffin liners in ramekins on a baking sheet and baked them as normal.

Cranberry Orange Walnut Muffins

  • Servings: 8 Large Muffins / 12 Small Muffins
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Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice*

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

*I used 3 large navel oranges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners.

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

In a small bowl stir together the orange juice & zest. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a handheld mixer on medium speed. Add the egg and continue beating until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the orange juice mixture. Stir in the cranberries and walnuts.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-25 minutes for smaller muffins and 30-35 minutes for larger muffins. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing muffins from pans and cooling completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from Fisher Nuts

Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake

The idea for this cheesecake came to me after making the Almond Tiramisu I posted about last month. I had another package of Amaretti cookies and while the Almond Tiramisu was delicious I didn’t want to make another one so soon and while I could have just eaten the cookies I thought to myself that there had to be something yummy I could make with them. Initially I was thinking raspberries instead of cherries for this cheesecake, but, I thought cherries would be a better complement to the almond flavors in the cheesecake. And I was right! Since cherries aren’t currently in season I opted to use frozen ones, but, with summer just around the corner you could make this with a fresh batch of cherries that are sure to be hitting the produce department of your local supermarkets in no time.

I started off by making the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I processed 7oz. of Amaretti cookies into fine crumbs. I then added in melted butter and pulsed everything together a few times. Finally, I pressed the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

I set the crust aside and made the filling for the cheesecake. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, I beat together cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, almond & vanilla extract and Amaretto liqueur until it was well combined. I then added in 2 eggs and continued to beat the mixture until it was smooth. Once the cheesecake mixture was ready I poured it into the prepared crust and placed it in a 325 F preheated oven for about 45 minutes. I knew the cheesecake was done once the center was just about set. I let the cheesecake cool on a wire rack before refrigerating it overnight.

While the cheesecake was cooling on the wire rack I made the cherry topping. In a medium saucepan I whisked together water, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar (a slurry). I then heated the mixture over medium heat and stirred it until it started to thicken. Once it did, I added in the cherries. I stirred the mixture occasionally. You may think that your cornstarch mixture isn’t enough for the cherries, but, as the cherries cook they will let out their own juices. If you opt to use frozen cherries as I did, do not defrost them beforehand. Once the sauce begins to boil and thickens remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature. Make sure to taste the mixture. If your cherries aren’t very sweet you may need to add more sugar to bring out their flavor. Once the mixture was cool, I transferred it to a resealable container and refrigerated it overnight.

The following day, before serving the cheesecake I spooned the cherry mixture over it. This was a hit with everyone who tried it.

And I must say, that it tasted even better a day or two afterwards. I think the almond flavor from the cheesecake seeped into the cherry topping and it really brought all the flavors together!

Cherry Amaretto Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust:

7oz. package Amaretti cookies

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Amaretto liqueur

2 large eggs, at room temperature

Cherry Topping:

3 cups frozen (or fresh) cherries

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar*

*You may need to add additional sugar if your cherries aren’t sweet

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F.

For the crust: In the bowl of a food processor process the cookies into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times to combine. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish sprayed with non-stick spray.

For the cheesecake: In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, almond & vanilla extracts and the Amaretto and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue beating until the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the cheesecake batter to the prepared pie crust and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

For the cherry topping: While the cheesecake is cooling, whisk together the water, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the cherries and stir occasionally until the sauce begins to boil and has thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.

To serve, spoon the cherry mixture over the cheesecake and slice. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Spice Market Carrot Cake

I’ve been using the same recipe for carrot cake for years. It’s a basic recipe with the only add-in being walnuts. No pineapple, coconut and/or raisins that you find in some recipes, but it’s delicious and moist nonetheless. I did try a different recipe a year or two ago and it just wasn’t that good. One of the reasons it never made it on here. I recently came across a recipe though that was completely different from any one I had seen before, a Spice Market Carrot Cake, that I instantly knew I wanted to try. I decided to make it for Easter this year. Which led me to wonder why is carrot cake so popular for Easter? Does it have anything to do with rabbits and their affinity to carrots? While I couldn’t find a definitive answer, I did learn this tidbit…  Carrot cake became popular in the 1970’s during the dieting craze. People apparently thought that by using carrots in a cake it would make the dessert seem healthier. I can get behind that. It’s like the theory that chocolate is a vegetable (some say fruit) since it’s a product of the cacao bean.

So, what makes the Spice Market Carrot Cake so special? It has a Moroccan-inspired flair thanks to the addition of ras el hanout – a Moroccan spice blend – and dried fruit (for the cake I made I went with apricots, but, you could use pitted dates instead).  Thankfully I didn’t need to go in search of ras el hanout and was able to make the blend myself using allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric and nutmeg. And to top the cake off, a twist on the traditional cream cheese frosting that I personally think is the best frosting for carrot cake, a Ginger-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting that includes ground ginger and the zest and juice of an orange.

This cake was a hit! All the flavors worked well together, and while I normally love nuts in my desserts, especially walnuts, I didn’t miss them one bit in this cake!

Spice Market Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon ras el hanout*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten

3 cups (1 lb.) finely shredded carrots

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup honey

1 cup chopped dried apricots

For the Frosting:

1 orange – remove 2 teaspoons of zest and squeeze for 2 tablespoons of juice

1 8oz package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 – 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

*To make the ras el hanout stir together 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon & turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, coriander, nutmeg and allspice.  

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 3 8-inch round baking pans with baking spray.

To make the cake: In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, ras el hanout, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl stir together the eggs, carrots, oil and honey.

Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined and then stir in the chopped apricots. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and then bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

I like to wrap my cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before frosting, but, you can frost them once they are completely cooled.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the orange juice and ground ginger and continue beating until both are incorporate. Switch the speed to low and gradually add in 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Continue beating until well incorporated. Gradually add in an additional 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is spreadable. Stir in zest.

Frost and stack the cakes and then decorate as desired. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Cookie Palooza: Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza. I’m closing it out with a cookie that is inspired by my favorite holiday beverage. While I’m not a coffee drinker, around this time of the year I make frequent visits to Starbucks to get a Peppermint Hot Chocolate. And while you can order one any time of the year, there’s just something extra special about it during the holidays. I love having one while I am running holiday errands or doing some Christmas shopping.

To get the flavors of a peppermint hot chocolate, I added peppermint extract to chocolate cookie dough. I baked the cookies for 10 minutes and then removed them from the oven and pressed a large marshmallow cut in half in the center. I then returned the cookies to the oven to bake for an additional 2 minutes. I opted to use one large marshmallow as opposed to the traditional mini ones used in hot chocolate so that I could press them in and get the cookies back in the oven quickly. When you remove them from the oven after the 2 minutes the marshmallows will be soft, but they will still be puffy, they will flatten a bit as the cookies cool though so don’t be tempted to press them down. I let them cool on the pan for about a minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies were cool it was time to decorate them and amp up the peppermint hot chocolate flavor. I crushed peppermint candy (I used starlight mints, only because I couldn’t find candy canes) and melted semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave. I transferred the melted chocolate to a piping bag and snipped a small piece off the end. I drizzled each cookie with the melted chocolate and then sprinkled them with the crushed peppermint candy. I let the chocolate set for a few minutes and then popped the cookies in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes so it could set completely.

And I must say, these tasted spot on to my favorite holiday beverage!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

15 large marshmallows, cut in half

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (either candy canes or starlight mints)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, beat both sugars and butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in both extracts.

With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press half of a marshmallow in the center of each cookie. Return to the oven for an additional 2 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Microwave for :30 second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is smooth.

Transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag or a resealable bag and snip off the end and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies and then sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy. Let the chocolate set before enjoying or storing. You can place them in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to speed up the process.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Cookie Palooza: Gingersnaps

There are quite a few flavors that are synonymous with the holidays… Peppermint, Eggnog, Cranberry, Pumpkin, and so forth. A few flavors – molasses, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – combine to create one of the most popular, gingerbread. For today’s Cookie Palooza recipe I am bringing you a variation on gingerbread cookies… Gingersnaps. So, what’s the difference between the two? Gingersnaps are dropped cookies that are crispy around the edges and chewy in the center whereas Gingerbread cookies are almost always shaped with cookie cutters after the dough is rolled out.

For these Gingersnaps, the dough needed to be refrigerated prior to baking. Refrigerating the dough helps to prevent the cookies from spreading too much while baking. I always find though that cookie dough is too hard to scoop once it has been refrigerated. So, I opted to shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet prior to refrigerating. I let the dough chill for about 4 hours.

I then rolled the dough balls in sugar and placed them back on parchment lined baking sheets 2-inches apart…

And then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 10 minutes. After letting the cookies cool on the pan for 2 minutes so they could set I then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The texture of these Gingersnaps was spot on. Crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle. And since the recipe is for a small batch (just shy of 2 dozen) you may want to double it to make sure you have enough to share or maybe some extra to make ice cream sandwiches.  

Love the flavor of gingerbread? Check out the recipes below for a Gingerbread Cake and your traditional Gingerbread Men. You could also use the cookie recipe to make your own Gingerbread House.

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Men

Gingersnaps

  • Servings: About 2 Dozen
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Ingredients:

1/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

2 tablespoons molasses

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar to roll the cookie dough

Directions:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the shortening and sugar together using a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the molasses.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt.

With the mixer speed on low, gradually beat the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until incorporated.

Shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets 2-inches apart. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Scoop 1/4 cup of sugar into a small bowl. Roll each of the dough balls in the sugar and return to the baking sheets. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Palooza: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

It’s the first week of December and around here that means Cookie Palooza! A week dedicated to cookies that would make a great addition to your holiday cookie platters. And we are kicking it off with a cookie that combines two favorites, peanut butter and oatmeal. I personally love a good peanut butter cookie and a good oatmeal cookie. And I like both just plain, no peanuts in my peanut butter cookies and no raisins in my oatmeal ones. I got to thinking one day what about combining the two. Hence, the resulting Peanut Butter Oatmeal cookie. A cookie that is soft like a peanut butter one, but has the texture and heartiness of an oatmeal one. So, you get the best of both worlds.

And while these cookies are delicious just the way they are you could make them extra special by adding in a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can never go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate together!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 3 Dozen Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups quick cooking oats

Directions:

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

In a medium bowl beat the butter, both sugar and peanut butter using hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat the eggs in 1 at a time. Stir in the vanilla extract.

In another medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour mixture into the peanut butter mixture and beat until just blended. Stir in the oats.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared cookies sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven 12-14 minutes, or until the cookies are set and beginning to brown.

Allow to cool on the cookies sheets for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe first published on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Brookies – Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Brownies are probably among the top desserts that people eat. Both can have a slew of variations and add-ins but when it comes down to it they are comforting and familiar. So, what happens when you combine the two? Well you get the best of both worlds in what is perfectly termed a “Brookie.” A brownie layer with a chocolate chip cookie topping.

I came across this recipe in Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection cookbook. I made a few slight changes though. I opted to use dark chocolate chips instead of bittersweet chocolate and since unbleached and all-purpose flour are interchangeable I went with all-purpose flour. I bought a bag of unbleached flour for a few recipes last year and ended up never finishing it so I didn’t want to buy another one.  And, I opted to make my brownie batter a bit differently. The original recipe called for melting the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler, but, I decided to melt the two together in the microwave in :30 intervals, stirring between each. I figured I had done before with success so why wouldn’t it be okay this time as well.

I started by making the chocolate chip cookie dough and then set it aside while I made the brownie batter. As I mentioned, I melted the chocolate and butter together in the microwave. I then whisked in the remaining ingredients and then spread the batter in a 9×13-inch pan I lined with parchment paper. I then crumbled the cookie dough over the batter making sure it was evenly spread out. After baking it, I let the Brookies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. I ended up baking this in the evening so I let them cool overnight on my counter. In case you are wondering, when I leave things to cool on my counter overnight I normally lightly cover them with a paper towel or piece of aluminum foil.

I waited until the following afternoon to slice them. Thanks to the parchment paper they easily came out of my pan and I then sliced them into 16 squares. I ended up with a lot of crumbs and some of the brownie layer didn’t really stick to the cookie dough. I think I should have pressed the cookie dough into the batter as well. And, I also forgot to heat my knife in hot water between each slice.

But, it was all the good. The main thing, they were delicious! Next time though I might slice them into smaller pieces, maybe 24 or 32. They are a bit decadent.

Now, if you want to make your own Brookies but don’t want to go through all the work of making the separate dough and batter, you could always use a brownie box mix and pre-made cookie dough found in most refrigerated sections of the supermarket.  With the holidays coming up these would be a nice addition to your dessert table.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

Ingredients:

For the Cookie Dough:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips

For the Brownie Batter:  

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the long sides of the pan, and spray with additional non-stick spray.

For the Cookie Dough: In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a larger bow, using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. With the mixer on low, beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Then beat in the flour mixture until just incorporate. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

For the Brownie Batter: In a microwave-safe bowl add the butter and chocolate chips and microwave on :30 second intervals, stirring between each. Continue to do this until the mixture is smooth. Whisk in the sugar. Then whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Whisk in the cocoa powder and salt. Finally, fold in the flour until combined.

Spread the brownie batter evenly in the prepared pan and then crumble the cookie dough on top. Lightly press the cookie dough into the batter.

Cover the pan with a parchment paper and then aluminum foil and then bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes remove the parchment paper and foil and continue baking for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out moist with a few crumbs.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Lift the Brookies from the pan using the parchment paper and slice into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Cookie Perfection

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins

I recently posted saying I finally found the perfect pumpkin muffin recipe for me and here I am posting another one. So, what’s the difference? Well, I consider these Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins to be more like donut holes and I find them to be more dessert-like than for breakfast. But most importantly, they are delicious nonetheless!

A definite plus about this recipe… You don’t need a stand mixer or a hand mixer to make the batter. You whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and then whisk both together to make the batter. Next, using a cookie scoop (or a small spoon) drop the batter into a mini muffin pan sprayed with baking spray (no cupcake liners needed either!).

Bake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12 minutes and let them cool slightly in the pan…

Before rolling in melted butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture for the topping. YUM! And, while I normally don’t like glazes and coatings (they can be a tad bit too sweet for me) I will say that while these mini muffins are delicious without the coating, they are amazing with it so don’t skip it.

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 24 Mini Muffins
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Ingredients:

For the Muffins:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup whole milk

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a mini-muffin pan (24 count) with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled melted butter and brown sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and milk and continue whisking until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk everything together until just combined and no streaks of the flour mixture remain. The batter will be thick.

Using a cookie scoop, drop scoops of the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the muffins to cool slightly.

While the muffins are cooling combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating in a small bowl.

Once the muffins are cool enough to handle dip them in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Pumpkin Blondies

I wasn’t planning on making so many pumpkin recipes this year, but, inevitably I come across a recipe here and there and it sounds too good not to make it. Besides its Fall Y’all… it’s all about the apples and the pumpkins! Now, I haven’t attempted to make a pumpkin brownie since the Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies from 5 years ago. Those brownies required 9 eggs, more than 1 can of pumpkin puree, turned into a debacle when I went to slice them and I was on the fence as to whether or not I liked them. Considering that I never thought to make them again, that should be my answer. But this year when I was thinking of something to bake for a friend’s birthday (she’s a pumpkin fan like me) I thought about attempting a pumpkin brownie again, definitely not that recipe though. But that idea quickly turned into a Pumpkin Blondie instead. In case you are wondering, the biggest difference between a blondie and a brownie is that a blondie does not have cocoa powder.

I knew right off the bat that these blondies would be much better than those brownies. The batter wasn’t as dense so I knew that when they were done baking there wouldn’t be any undercooked sections. I baked them until the edges were beginning to brown and pulled away from the sides of the pan. And when I inserted a cake tester in the center it came out clean.

And when I sliced them, I was right. They were completely baked through. And more importantly they were delish. I’ll go out on a limb and say that these blondies may be good for you. Along with the pumpkin, they also have dark chocolate and pecans, all three of which have health benefits.

Pumpkin Blondies

  • Servings: 24 Blondies
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Ingredients:

2 1/3 cup flour

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 15oz. can pure pumpkin puree

2 cups dark chocolate chips*

3/4 cup chopped pecans

*I used a 10oz. bag of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on all sides, and spray with baking spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until everything is combined. Add in the pumpkin puree and beat until combined.

With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients. Mixing until everything is just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped pecans with a rubber spatula.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and using an offset spatula spread the batter out evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and when a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place pan on a wire rack and let blondies cool completely in the pan before removing and slicing.

Recipe from My Baking Addiction

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

I must say I have been on the search for a good pumpkin muffin recipe for a while now. Two years ago, I shared two that were quite good and very different from each other. A Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffin, that reminded me of this Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread and a Pumpkin Cranberry one, that I got the idea for from a Chobani pumpkin yogurt. And while both of those pumpkin muffins were delicious, I think I finally found the perfect pumpkin muffin for me. It stayed moist for a couple of days in an airtight container at room temperature, it doesn’t involve a lot of crazy ingredients and it has chocolate chips. Which means it works just as well as a breakfast treat as it does for a midday snack or even dessert.  I enjoyed one for each of those occasions. It’s simply called a Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffin.

One more thing that’s great about this recipe… You can halve it easy enough and still end up with a decent amount of delicious muffins. I halved it and ended up with enough batter for 14 muffins. One last thing, make sure to sprinkle your muffins with a few extra chocolate chips prior to baking. It makes them prettier and a little extra sweeter!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 24 Muffins
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Ingredients:

3 cups flour

3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2/3 cup water

1 teaspoon ground clove

1 teaspoon all spice

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus additional for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cupcake pans with liners.

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

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices on medium speed until combined. With the mixer on low gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. And finally, fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Transfer the batter to the prepared cupcake tins, filling each crevice about 2/3 full. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a few chocolate chips. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

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