Cinnamon Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting

I think everyone loves to eat at work.  Ok, at least we all love to eat where I work.  I think we make any excuse to buy and eat cake.  Or cookies.  Or anything, really.  Especially for birthdays.

Recently, we unanimously decided to bring in our own goodies for our birthdays.  That way, if we wanted to celebrate, we could.  But it wasn’t mandatory if it doesn’t fit in the monthly budget.  So, of course I took the opportunity to try out a new recipe on those poor unsuspecting fools…I mean my beloved coworkers.

Original Recipe Is Here: http://www.thekurtzcorner.com/2012/09/cinnamon-cupcakes-with-pumpkin-pie.html

What You Need:

For the cupcakes
1 box vanilla cake mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon

For the frosting
1 16oz container buttercream frosting
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (don’t get the pumpkin pie filling!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch (I used a lot more)

And Here’s What You Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Prepare a standard cupcake tin using your favorite meathod (I’m a fan of the little paper liners)
  3. Mix the cake mix, water, oil, eggs, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  4. Fill each cupcake well about 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until done.
  5. While the cupcakes are baking, mix together the frosting, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch. I used my hand mixer on low, and added more cornstarch as my frosting was a bit on the thin side.
  6. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. Garnish with a bit of nutmeg.  (Oops, I forgot to do this)

I know I’m not normally a cupcake maker.  But these had so much appeal that I couldn’t help myself.  And we don’t have much room to store a whole mess of cupcakes in the house.  However, these caught my attention during a recent Pinterest session.  They weren’t terribly complicated to make, and I loved the idea of mixing the pumpkin with the buttercream frosting.  I really cut down on the sweetness and gave the frosting a nice tone of all the lovely pumpkin spice flavorings.

If you are looking for something slightly different from your-rum-of-the-mill chocolate or vanilla cupcakes, these will work perfectly.  I used one of my two frosting tips to pipe the frosting on these cupcakes.  And now I know why I’m a baker and not a decorator…

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Pumpkin Bread

Few things are as warm and comforting as a loaf of quick bread.  In very little time (and mostly with ingredients that you have on hand) you can have a loaf of bread that fills your kitchen with it’s delightful aroma.

I truly have been on a bit of a pumpkin kick lately.  When I lived in cooler weather, I never craved the spices and flavors of fall.  Now that I live where the weather is pretty mild throughout the year, I find that I look forward to the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger flavors more as the years pass.

Original recipe is here: http://www.carpoolcoutureandcocktails.com/2013/09/22/an-autumn-tradition-pumpkin-bread/

What You Need

1 15 oz can pumpkin

4 eggs

1 c veggie oil

2/3 c water

3 cups sugar

3 ½ c all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp ground ginger

 

And Here’s What You Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then grease and flour three loaf pans.
  2. Mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, and sugar in a large bowl until well blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.  Pour into the pans
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.

What I Did

Three loaves of bread?  How about three different versions of the bread?  I made one plain, on topped with mini chocolate chips (cause you know I’ve got a bag in the cupboard), and one with chocolate chips throughout.

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Reaction

If you like banana bread, then I’m pretty sure that you will love this bread!  The one thing that I don’t like about banana bread is that it easily falls apart.  The pumpkin kept these loaves  together almost in a cake-like way.

I took the loaves to work to help celebrate the beginning of our new fiscal year.  It may sound odd, but I get such joy out of watching others enjoy what I have made.

I think this might replace banana bread at any time of the year…

 

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Muffins

So, yes.  I’m still on the pumpkin.  But these were a special request from one of my sisters-from-another-mother.  I had the privilege of throwing her a baby shower this past weekend, and I knew that these would be the perfect addition to the party.

Original recipe is here: http://www.lemontreedwelling.com/2013/09/salted-caramel-pumpkin-muffins.html

 

What You Need

2 cups sugar

1 cups brown sugar

¾ cups veggie oil

1 ½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp ginger

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

2 eggs

3 ½ cups flour

1/3 cup water

  1. Beat together the sugars and oil in a large mixing bowl until well blended.
  2. Mix in the baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices until well combined.
  3. Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix thoroughly
  4. Stir in the flour and water
  5. Divide batter evenly among 24 regular sized muffin tins, greased or lined with paper liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Cool muffins and top with salted caramel glaze

 

Salted Caramel Glaze

4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, cut into chunks

½ cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup fat free half and half

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

Salt

  1. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, half & half and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan.
  2. Over medium heat, stir until mixture comes to a full boil.  Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. Let stand 2-3 minutes and cool slightly.  Gradually add powdered sugar and stir until mixture is thickened, but still pourable.
  4. Pour over muffins to glaze.  Top with sea salt.

 

What I Did

I had all the ingredients for the muffins, but I was short on half and half.  I looked up good substitutions on the good old interwebs, and improvised.  Light soymilk and a little extra butter work just fine in place of the half and half, thank you very much!  I don’t know that anyone would have been able to tell the difference.

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Pumpkin and salted caramel combined are the makings of something truly wonderful!  They truly are all the wonderful parts of fall wrapped up into one tasty little package.  These taste exactly like you think they would taste, no lie!

If you ignore all other pumpkin recipes this fall, this is definitely one that you need to try!

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Lightened Up Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

I’m pretty sure that I have a problem this fall with my obsession with pumpkin.  I bought three cans of the puree last weekend, and I bought another two cans this weekend.  True, I’ve used two and a half cans so far, but I think this might quickly escalate into a problem.  A very tasty problem, but a problem nonetheless.

When this recipe appeared on my Pinterest board, I knew that I had to make it. Not only does it combine two of my favorite things (pumpkin and cream cheese), but it also allowed me to use angel food cake for the first time.  Not that I have an aversion to it, but I’ve never made one before!

I also found Greek cream cheese.  I knew that I would have to try it with this recipe!  It has much less fat and fewer calories than the non-Greek version, and I think it tastes better than the fat free cream cheese.

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So, here’s the original recipe: http://cookiesandcups.com/lightened-up-pumpkin-cream-cheese-swirl-bars/#_a5y_p=861720

 

Here’s What You Need:

1 8oz package of cream cheese (non-fat, low-fat, or Greek)

¾ cups powdered sugar

1 Tbsp water

1 16 oz package angel food cake mix

1 15 oz can pumpkin

¾ cup water

½ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

½ tsp Cinnamon

 

And Here’s What You Do

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp water until it is smooth and creamy; Set aside
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry cake mix, pumpkin, ¾ cup water, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix until smooth.
  4. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, and then spread your pumpkin mixture into the pan.
  5. Drizzle the cream cheese onto the top of the pumpkin mixture, and then swirl the two together.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely, then cut into square

What I Did

So, the directions say to mix the cream cheese, sugar and water until it is smooth and creamy.  Smooth I got, but creamy never really happened.  It pretty much stayed the consistency of cream cheese frosting, when I needed it to be a little more yogurt-y.  Oh well, you make it work!  I also didn’t drizzly as much as stick it all into a plastic bag, cut off the tip and squirted it on like frosting. Still, it worked!

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Reaction

The people at work are eating up the pumpkin recipes!  We’re also in a very busy time right now, so snacks are always welcome.  One coworker stood in front of me while eating one of the bars.  I told him, “You really don’t have to feel bad about eating one!”, to which he replied, “I’ve eaten three.”  Ummm…ok.  I won’t stop you!  I had people come by, eat one, then sneak another back to their desk to enjoy in solitude.  Hey, whatever floats your boat!

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I think these little babies were a big hit.

Until Next Time,

 

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ahhh…September.  Back to school, sunny days and brisk nights.  Yeah, I live in Florida.  Brisk nights happen in January.  Sometimes.  But that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy our fall flavors as much as the next state! With the surge of pumpkin-flavored everything appearing in a cookbook near you, I admit that I too fall prey to the rotund orange gourd and everything that goes along with it.  This does include Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks (which don’t actually include anything pumpkin).  I think that I could have it running in my veins if I could.

Anyway, this week’s trip to the grocery store saw me stocking up on cans of pureed pumpkin. The closer you get to Thanksgiving, the more likely the stores will be sold out.  And that just can’t happen when you are on a pumpkin baking urge.  And since we vacationed in Alaska last week and got used to the lovely cool fall weather, I think it’s high time that we start the fall baking!

Original Recipe is here: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/820638/Pumpkin-white-chocolate-chip-cookies

 

Here’s What You Need

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup butter

15-ounce can of pumpkin purée

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 cups white chocolate chips

 

And Here’s What You Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the butter and the sugar until it is light and fluffy. My stand mixer takes about 4-5 minutes to do this.
  3. Mix in the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla.  The mixture will appear to be a little grainy.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice.  Gradually add the dry mix to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Carefully fold in the white chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until edges are firm.

What I Did

It may surprise some, but this is the first time I’ve used pumpkin pie spice. I know, you’ve retreated hissing in a corner.  But I’ve never made a recipe that called for it.  Most of the ingredients you can find in a well-stocked pantry anyway.  Okay, you can find most of them in my cupboard, along with my newly acquired container of pumpkin pie spice. *sheepish smile*

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pumpkin white chocolate

I was surprised to see that the dough had pushed the white chocolate chips out of the dough balls during baking.  I’m not sure if that was a reaction between the pumpkin and the white chocolate or what.  Thankfully, it didn’t affect the taste at all, and made them have a little more character.  I was expecting them to be incorporated like other chocolate chips in other cookie recipes.  My coworkers seemed to enjoy them (I’ve never seen my one of my bosses run that fast), and I found it very hard to keep my hands off of them when the container was open at my desk.

This is definitely going in the arsenal of recipes, especially for early fall!

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Pumpkin Muffins – Fall is Here!

Okay, so fall is sorta here.  In Florida, fall means the evenings are mostly nice, and you won’t feel like you need a shower the minute you step outside.  I sometimes miss the week of fall weather that I used to have in Alaska…

Maybe I just need to move.

Anyway, the arrival of fall kicks off the season of my favorite flavors – pumpkin, spice, caramel, peppermint, cranberry etc.  I love pumpkin in pretty much anything, and I’ve seen this recipe kicked around a few times in Weight Watchers cookbooks, in Hungry Girl emails, and I decided it was time to give them a try.

Here’s What You Need:

1 18.25 oz yellow cake mix

1 15 oz can of pumpkin

And Here’s What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ingredients together (hand mixer will do, or a spoon and elbow grease).  Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.  Divide the batter equally amongst the 12 liners.  Bake 20-25 minutes.
What I Did:

Not one to just stick with one idea, I decided to make three (yes, three) different versions of this recipe.  I bought yellow, chocolate, and spice cake mixes (Oh, and for those of you who read my post about the chocolate toffee cookies a few weeks ago, yes, they do make cake mixes that big.  But Walmart does not carry them.  Publix does.)  and three cans of pumpkin.

Mix, mix, mix…

I also bought myself a cookie scoop.  It looks like a small ice cream scoop, but it’s bigger than a melon baller.  It’s awesome. As you can see by the picture, It makes lovely round balls of batter.

It also makes for more uniform portions.  It’s my new best friend!

Anyway, these little beauties came out of the oven and filled our humble abode with the delightful smells of fall.  We dug into them (because we have to test for quality!) and immediately fell in love!  I think the best part is that they are pretty much GUILT FREE!!!  No eggs, no oil, and you can make them gluten free because I saw gluten free cake mixes (how seriously cool is that?)

Scott allowed me to take some to work.  I think I took 24 to work with me.   They were gone in 30 minutes.
Reaction:

Three people at work told me today that they too had made the muffins over the weekend, and marveled at how easy they are to make.  Yayy!!!  I love hearing people trying out recipes that I’ve shared with them!!!

I will definitely hang on to this recipe.  It’s crazy easy, and you can’t really mess it up, unless you burn them, and that’s not great.  Burned pumpkin is not a fantastic smell.

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes