October 29, 2011

The Goodness of Fall

Hey everyone!

First off, GO DAWGS. Such a great win against the Gators today. Now onto the food.

Because I have such limited time to bake, I take FULL advantage of it when I come home. That's why I have about four recipes to post within the next couple of days. For this post, I'll give you two REALLY good pumpkin recipes.

The first is for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Bars. These were SO delicious. I'm serious. I'm not just saying that. One of the best pumpkin recipes I've had. MAKE THEM. Soon. It'll be Christmas before you know it. The second is for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies. These weren't quite as good as the bars, but delicious and worth making. They're really easy, too. I definitely recommend giving them a shot.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Bars

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Bars 

1 3/4 cups unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 cup canola or vegetable oil

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 cup mini- chocolate chips
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar, measured then sifted

1/2 cup mini- chocolate chips (for topping)

1. Prepare batter: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 10x15-inch baking pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugars until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves. Toss in mini chocolate chips and stir to combine. Add dry ingredients to the wet and stir until moistened.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan coated with nonstick spray. Bake until the center springs back when lightly pressed in the center- about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and place on wire rack to cool completely.
5. Prepare frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix until smooth. Frost bars and sprinkle with additional mini chocolate chips.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
Yield: 24 small brownies 

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 T vegetable or canola oil
1 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground allspice
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground nutmeg 
2/3 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 11" x 7" pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs, and oil until smooth. Set aside.
3. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt, and brown sugar. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
4. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until passes toothpick test. Cool completely before cutting.

October 11, 2011

19 Years Young

Hey everyone!

As a lot of you probably know, my birthday was on Saturday. I was able to spend it at home, celebrating with family and friends, which was wonderful. Anyway, while my mom was willing to make me any cake I wanted, I chose my favorite vanilla cake. If you've never had it, it really is SO good. She made the actual cake, so I can't take all the credit for it this time, but I did ice and decorate it. It's not birthday themed in any way, but I wanted a reason to decorate a cake for fall, and my birthday cake was the perfect excuse!

October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

It's beginning to look a lot like.....FALL! I am loving the cool weather and the changing leaves. I'm also loving the fact that I'm home for my birthday weekend. I'm so excited to be able to spend this time with my wonderful friends and family. The treat of the day today is some Pumpkin Cream Cheese bread that I just made. This bread is REALLY good. Like, really. You have to like pumpkin though, because they don't call this pumpkin bread for nothing. Some pumpkin foods just have a sort of spice to them and not much pumpkin flavor, but this bread really has that flavor. So, anyway, warning: this is true pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

For those of you who love pumpkin as much as I do, YOU WANT TO MAKE THIS! Here's the recipe...enjoy!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
1 package (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want the filling to be)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 to 1 1/4 cup(s) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1  1/2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Cinnamon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons half & half
1/2  to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pans. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside. In a large bowl, blend 1  2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside. In another medium bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, canola oil, eggs and sugar; beat well. Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. Fold in the chopped pecans or walnuts.

Pour half of the pumpkin bread batter evenly into the two prepared loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter layers in each loaf pan and then spoon or pour  on the remaining pumpkin batter (if you don’t have enough pumpkin batter to cover the cream cheese layer entirely, that’s okay, because you’ll be swirling them together anyway). Take a knife and stick straight down into the top pumpkin batter layer and middle cream cheese layer; swirl the knife around in these two layers, creating a marble effect; this will give the cream cheese filling a nice swirly shape as it bakes.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes; remove to a rack to cool completely. While waiting for the bread to cool, mix your cinnamon glaze: combine powdered sugar and half & half, blending well; then add cinnamon and mix until smooth and creamy. Note: the cinnamon makes this glaze darker in color, so if you want a lighter, creamy color glaze, just add a dash of cinnamon to the mixture. Drizzle over completely cooled bread loaves and then sprinkle on nuts for garnish.

This recipe makes two 8 x 4-inch loaves, so you can make one to eat now and one to save in the freezer for later.