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Posts Tagged ‘fall baking’

I had some downtime last Wednesday afternoon and decided to bake cookies for my evening yoga class. Well, and let’s be honest…for my own personal enjoyment too! I tend to always use the same cookie recipes and wanted to try something new with a fall twist. I found a recipe for pumpkin oatmeal cookies that sounded perfect. I decided to divide the batter in half and mix chocolate chips into one batch and white chocolate chips and dried cranberries into the other.

The cookies were a huge hit with my yogis and I cannot even count how many I have eaten over the past few days. Addictive. The texture is definitely more on the soft side and the cookies have to bake a little longer than normal. I am a fan of soft cookies anyway and I think the texture totally fits with the pumpkin flavor. The cookie dough includes a heavy dose of pumpkin pie spice that really give these their fall flavor. These cookies will become a seasonal favorite in our house!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
(Recipe heavily adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Ingredients: 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2  cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

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

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add in pumpkin puree and mix until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and add in dry ingredients. Finally, add in oats until just combined.

Divide batter in two and add chocolate chips into one half and white chocolate and cranberries into the other.

Using a spoon, drop about 2 tablespoon rounds onto prepared baking sheets, about 2-3 inches apart. Bake 12-14 minutes or until slightly browned. You may need to rotate the baking sheets halfway through depending on the temperature of your oven. Allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack.

Yield: around 4 dozen

 

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I wanted to bake a fall-inspired dessert the evening that I made homemade Chicken and Dumplings. I know I’ve mentioned this in several of my recent posts but I have just had a strong desire lately to spend time in my kitchen. I browsed through a fall dessert gallery on Food Network and this Pumpkin Tart with Gingersnap Crust caught my eye. First, one of my favorite fall desserts is this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust and second, I love any excuse to use my tart pan. I much prefer making tarts over pies.

I was shocked to review the ingredient list and find that the tart only had six ingredients. Needless to say, it was extremely quick and easy to put together. I did add some of the traditional pumpkin pie spices to the filling – I just couldn’t stop myself but many of the recipe reviews said that it was perfect just the way the recipe was written. I served the tart with homemade bourbon whipped cream and both Brandon and I agreed that it was a winner!

The tart is very reminiscent of pumpkin pie and would be a nice addition to Thanksgiving or holiday dessert spreads.

One Year Ago: Apple Cinnamon Cake

Pumpkin Tart with Gingersnap Crust
(Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups gingersnaps, crushed (about 55-60 cookies)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (be sure you are not buying pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet.

Prepare crust by combining gingersnap crumbs and melted butter in a bowl and mix until crumbs are moistened. Place crumbs in tart pan and press evenly over the bottom and sides with your fingers or a measuring cup. Bake in preheated oven until set and lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, condensed milk, egg yolks, spices and salt until well combined. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and return to oven. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Remove tart from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour or until ready to serve.

To serve, remove tart from outer ring and slice. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. I made bourbon whipped cream by beating together 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of bourbon and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Yield: 8 servings

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Recently, I’ve had the baking bug. I attribute it to our staying in town on the weekends. We went through a four-week stint where we traveled every weekend. All of that traveling made my weeks crazy trying to cram everything in and prepare for the next weekend’s travel. I have loved being home on the weekends and back in the kitchen. Over the last couple weeks I’ve baked pumpkin chocolate chip bars, homemade crackers, peanut butter chocolate chip bars, pita bread (twice!) and these muffins.

The inspiration from these muffins came from a can of Libby’s pumpkin puree in my pantry that was calling my name. I came home one night and it was rainy and cool. I immediately headed to the kitchen and started paging through my favorite cookbooks for pumpkin muffin recipes. I found a Pumpkin Apple Bread recipe in The Gourmet Cookbook and decided to adapt it to be a bit healthier and muffin form.

The modifications I made included halving the recipe, subbing some of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat, reducing the sugar, cutting back on some of the oil in favor of applesauce and omitting the streusel-like topping in favor of a small sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon. The muffins turned out great, even with the modifications! Usually Brandon can immediately tell when I’ve “healthified” things but he was totally on board with these and ate them every morning for breakfast.

I think my favorite thing about these muffins is the addition of  diced apple. How perfect is it that this recipe includes two of the best Fall baking ingredients!? These are a great change from my normal banana muffins and I will be baking them again this season!

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Apple Muffins
(Recipe heavily adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Very small pinch of cloves (1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 (of a 15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
Extra brown sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle over the muffins before baking

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin with liners (or cooking spray).

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a separate medium bowl, mix together pumpkin, oil, applesauce, sugar and eggs. Add wet mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined. Fold in apples.

Divide batter between muffin tins, filling about 3/4 (or a tad more) full. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the tops of muffins. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Muffins will keep for 3-5 days out or freeze well for a couple of months.

Yield: 12 muffins

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applecake1

One of my all-time favorite cakes is Apple Spice Cake. I loved when my mom baked them growing up. My favorite two desserts that she made were apple cake and banana pudding. I always requested them and my chances that she’d make them got a lot better when I moved away from home :).

Now that the weather is getting cooler and apples are coming into season I found myself craving an apple cake. The recipe my mom uses calls for a lot of vegetable oil and I decided to try a new recipe that featured butter instead. I researched recipes for a while and found this recipe from Cooking Light that sounded great and had received awesome reviews since it was originally printed in 1997. Now, I kind of disagree that this is a light recipe but if they say so…I guess I’ll let myself feel better about it. But how can a cake be light when the recipe includes a stick of butter and cream cheese?

All that matters is that this cake is so good I ended up baking it three times last week. Once for us, once for my sister-in-law (who is expecting her second soon!) and once for my mom. The cake received outstanding reviews from everyone. My sister-in-law texted me the day after it was dropped off and said she’d already had two pieces for dessert and one for breakfast. And she used it as a bargaining tool to get our niece to eat her meals. She said that Emerson loved it so much she would tell her she could have one bite of cake if she ate a bite of her dinner. And I’m very happy to report that my mom approved of the new recipe and even asked for it. So it was a success all around.

The directions call for baking this cake in a springform pan and it gives it a great height that you can’t get from a standard cake pan. I changed the recipe up a bit by changing the mixing method and adding extra cream cheese, nutmeg and chopped pecans. I think the pecans are a must in this cake.

This Apple Cinnamon Cake stays moist for days and is definitely a fall crowd pleaser.I admit that I ate it for breakfast and dessert! It’s delicious served warm with ice cream!

Apple Cinnamon Cake
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

1 1/2  cups  sugar, plus extra for cinnamon sugar mixture for pan
8 ounces (1 block) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/2  cup  butter (1 stick), softened
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
2  large eggs
1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus extra for cinnamon sugar mixture for pan
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
3  cups chopped peeled Fuji apples (about 2 large)
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together a little bit of cinnamon and sugar (about 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar). Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter wrapper or cooking spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture and tap sides to evenly distribute. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Whisk together well to incorporate. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Mix on medium high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to cream cheese mixture a little at a time, beating at low speed until well blended.

Mix in apples and pecans. Pour batter prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 servings

applecake

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pumpkincupcakes

Happy October everyone! It’s breast cancer awareness month!

Some of you know that Brandon and I recently moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. I accepted a temporary position with the American Cancer Society working on their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. For the last four months I’ve been recruiting teams for Making Strides and raising awareness about the event in our community.

Despite being event staff, our office still wanted to raise money for the event. We organized a bake sale the week before the walk and it was a huge hit in our building. Everyone was very excited about the goodies and about raising funds for breast cancer. We were so amazed by the generosity that was shown.

bakesaleteam

I decided to make pumpkin cupcakes to give everyone a little taste of fall. While researching recipes these Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting from Smitten Kitchen sounded awesome. They were delicious and received great feedback. I even had a co-worker ask for the recipe to make for Thanksgiving dessert.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer was held on September 26 in Charlotte and I’m happy to report that we had over 4,000 walkers and raised over $265,000 for the fight against breast cancer! Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is held in communities nationwide. Check out the Web site here.

And here is the recipe for the pumpkin cupcakes…

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
(Recipe source Smitten Kitchen, who adapted the recipe from David Leite)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk mixed with 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (100% pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling)
Cupcake liners

FOR THE FROSTING
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Directions:

FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pan with 18 liners.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy and lightened in color, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt salt in a medium bowl.

Reduce mixer speed to medium low and add eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Alternate adding the flour and milk mixtures, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in the pumpkin until mixture is smooth. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Rap the filled pans once on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on racks completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING
Beat all ingredients in a stand mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Frost cupcakes.

Yield: 18 cupcakes

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pumpkinchocchipbar2

Every year at about this time the food blogging world goes crazy for pumpkin. Seriously…it’s everywhere, all everyone can talk about. I’m not quite in the fall mindset yet because a) I just love summer so much and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that come with it and b) it’s still 85 degrees here!

The big news this year is the canned pumpkin shortage in some parts of the country. I’ll admit that when I was at the grocery last weekend I couldn’t help but look to see if they had pumpkin in stock. Don’t worry – we’re fine here in Charlotte! No pumpkin shortage for us. I picked up a can and caved and decided to bake these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars that I spotted from Martha Stewart.

I’ll admit, begrudgingly, that these were awesome – especially fresh out of the oven. They have a cake like texture and are very moist. They were great served warm with ice cream on top!

And I’ll also admit…you’ll be seeing another pumpkin post from me soon!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars
(Recipe heavily adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (make sure you’re using 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie mix)
1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish by lining it with aluminum foil, shiny side down, leaving about a 1-inch overhang on the edges. Grease foil (I like to use the wrapper from the butter).

In a bowl, mix together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium-high for about 3 minutes, until lightened in color and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. Beat in pumpkin puree. Reduce speed to low and slowly mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread to ensure it’s even. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the foil and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. About 35-40 minutes.

Let cool in pan. Once cool, lift foil from pan and cut squares.

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