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pumpkin

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Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins

September 16, 2014

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

 

It’s not often, but every once in a while I get the urge to bake something cute. I should clarify that “cute food” really isn’t my thing, but sometimes it’s pretty hard to resist the seasonal section at Target and I leave with, say, a pumpkin cookie cutter and fall-colored sprinkles that I didn’t even know I needed. Dang you, Target. Thankfully, the cookie cutter was only $1, meaning you, too, can easily get caught up in the excitement of fall, cute food and all things pumpkin.

Since everyone is posting pumpkin-flavored desserts, I decided to go with something that looked like a pumpkin rather than tasting like one. Although these cookies may look like a lot of work, they really aren’t too much of a pain to make since the decorating is on the simple side. And for a little extra time and effort, it’s worth it for the adorable end result.

This frosting is incredibly easy to work with and very versatile. The key to getting the glassy look on the cookies is to outline with a stiffer frosting, then thin the remaining frosting with a bit more milk so it spreads easily when put in the center of the cookie. The border you piped around the edge will prevent the thinner frosting from dripping out all over the cookies and give you a polished, perfect look. I could easily see this recipe be adapted for other Halloween shapes, like a bat or ghost. The sky’s the limit!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies | Espresso and Cream

Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins
Author: 
 
Recipe adapted slightly from Bon Appetit Dec. 2013.
Ingredients
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Decorator Frosting
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk, plus more for thinning
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Orange and green food coloring
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla or almond extract. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined.
  3. Place on lightly floured surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into pumpkin shape using a pumpkin cookie cutter and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter and milk until smooth and well combined. Use enough milk to create a frosting that is smooth but firm enough to pipe through a pastry bag.
  5. Place ¼ of the frosting in a small bowl and color with green food coloring. Color remaining frosting in large bowl with orange food color. Place a small amount of the orange and green frostings in pastry bags or zip top bags with the end snipped off. Use orange frosting in pastry bag to pipe a border around the edge of the pumpkin.
  6. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons milk to the remaining icing until it is slightly softer and runs a little more freely. Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each lined cookie. Tilt the cookies around so icing in center completely fills the outlined cookie.
  7. Repeat process with the green frosting on the stem. Allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.

 

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Triple Chocolate Pumpkin-Chai Muffins

January 2, 2014

Pumpkin_Chai_Chocolate_Muffins_2

Happy New Year, friends! I think that in order to be accepted in the food blogger universe, I should really be sharing a recipe for salad, or a smoothie, or green juice. But since I can’t stick to the rules, I’m breaking with convention and sharing a recipe for muffins, with lots of chocolate and pumpkin and a little bit of chai.

You see, I got a little carried away with holiday recipe testing but got behind on posting some of the recipes I meant to share before the holidays were over. So instead of saving these recipes for Feburary (after you’ve all ditched your diets and gone back to regular modes of eating) I decided to share them now.

Pumpkin_Chai_Chocolate_Muffins_1

I will, of course, be sharing some recipes that are a little on the lighter side in the next couple weeks. But today is all about muffins. These little beauties are incredibly easy to make and have a ton of flavor thanks to the chai added into the mix. It’s a quick way to add a lot of flavor without much fuss. Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Chai Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup chai concentrate
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions
Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper baking liners.

In large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the pumpkin, eggs, oil and chai concentrate. Stir until wet ingredients and dry ingredients are well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin liners. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Vegan Pumpkin Cashew Custard

November 4, 2013

Vegan_Pumpkin_Cream_1
Happy Monday, friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. I’ve got the slightest case of the Mondays today, but this week is going to be super busy on the work front, so I better snap out of it quick. Please excuse me if posting is a little slower over the next couple weeks. If nothing else, I’ll be checking in with more life updates and fewer recipes.

Maybe the reason I’ve got a case of the Mondays has something to do with the fact that our weekend was so busy/fun. We took a trip to NW Iowa to help my mom with a weekend of yard work before the snow falls, which included cleaning gutters, trimming back plants and sorting through boxes of stuff in the basement. I may have also discovered my prom dresses in the basement and had fun trying them all on Friday night.

Other weekend highlights:
-Coffee with Kayla. I’m pretty sure we could have chatted all day if we had the time.
-Tasting Victory Bars for the first time! My cousin is launching a new line of vegan and gluten-free nutrition bars and they are amazing. They’re officially launching in January, so look out for more information. And in the meantime, go like their Facebook Page. (pleeeasseee?!)
-Having coffee with our good friends, Cassie and Heath! Always a breath of fresh air to chat with people who have been friends since high school.

Switching gears a bit, I do have a recipe to share today! I made this Vegan Pumpkin Cashew Custard a few weeks ago when I was looking for something a little healthier to satisfy my sweets craving. Although cashew cream of any sort isn’t exactly low calorie, it certainly is much better than sitting down with a piece of pie or a bowl of ice cream. Plus, I love that cashew cream contains a little more protein than other desserts.

If you’re looking for a little something sweet to end your night, I would highly suggest making a batch for the week and helping yourself to a scoop each night. I’ve been topping mine with a little bit of Greek yogurt for a healthier take on whipped cream, but I could also imagine a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs or a drizzle of chocolate sauce making a nice addition.

Vegan Pumpkin Cashew Custard
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 3 hours and drained
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 packets stevia natural sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Combine all the above ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender (such as a Vitamix) and process or blend 2 to 3 minutes or until nearly smooth.
  2. If you like a little more texture, feel free to process less until you reach your desired consistency. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Spoon into dishes to serve.

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Grandma Jacobs’ Pumpkin Bread

July 29, 2013

Grandma_Jacobs_Pumpkin_Bread_1

I think I’ve mentioned before that when Joe and I got married his mom passed along to us a recipe binder full of heritage recipes from Joe’s great-grandma Jacobs’. I’m a huge fan of old recipes, since I think they have so much to teach us about cooking before it became all complicated and fussy and, most importantly, before it became the cool thing to do. It’s hard for me to remember a time when cooking wasn’t flashy and fashionable and splashed on the television as a form of entertainment. Sometimes it’s nice to think about food in simple terms, isn’t it? As a means of fuel and a way to connect with others. Plus, a lot of the recipes I’ve made that were passed from generation to generation are much better than anything you will find in a magazine today.

That said, please don’t kill me for sharing a pumpkin recipe in July. Sure, I love pumpkin during the fall as much as the next person, maybe even a little more. But I don’t intend to rush into fall flavors full time just yet. However, last weekend we had some crazy unseasonable weather with temps that were in the 50’s and 60’s, which left me craving pumpkin bread in a major way. And since Grandma Jacobs’ book had a recipe that was simple and straightforward, I couldn’t resist.

Pumpkin_Bread_2

I know a lot of people, myself included, are on the continual search for a classic banana or pumpkin bread recipe. If you’ve tried other recipes in the past and been disappointed, this is the recipe for you. I’ve been disappointed by many a pumpkin bread recipes, but this one totally delivered on the flavor and texture I was looking for. It’s not overly spiced, and has plenty of bright pumpkin flavor. And the texture is spot on. It’s moist without being soggy and the top isn’t dry like other recipes I’ve tried.

The real key to getting that semi-sticky top is to store this bread wrapped in aluminum foil on the counter. Bake it at night, wrap it up after it has cooled, and wake up to the pumpkin bread of your dreams.

Pumpkin_Bread_3

Grandma Jacobs’ Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves
The original recipe calls for 3 cups of sugar. When I first saw that, it seemed like a lot of sugar for two loaves, so I cut it back to 2 cups and the recipe turned out great. The bread was pleasantly sweet but not sweet like cake/dessert. If you are looking for a sweeter and more decadent bread, I would strongly suggest going for 2 1/2 to 3 cups of sugar.
Ingredients
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 to 3 cups sugar (see note above)
1 cup oil
4 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped nuts (optional – I left them out)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until well combined. Add in the sugar, oil, eggs, water and pumpkin and stir until just combined. Stir in the nuts, if desired.

Line two 9×5-inch baking pans with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Divide batter between two pans. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out nearly clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan on wire rack. remove from pan and remove foil. Cool completely. Store on the counter wrapped in aluminum foil.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie (aka Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie)

October 15, 2012

Today, my friends, was the ultimate relaxing Sunday. In fact, Joe and I had an entire weekend full of relaxation, which was exactly what the doctor ordered. Both of us seem to be coming down with a bit of a head cold, and it was incredibly rainy/stormy for most of the weekend, giving us an excuse to do very little other than watch football, bake (things like this Chocolate Pumpkin Pie) and run some errands that have been on the to-do list for quite a while.

Another exciting development? Grinnell got a new restaurant this week. Joe and I have eagerly been awaiting the opening of Prairie Canary in our small town, since the owner is known around Des Moines for being quite the restauranteur. We swung by for brunch on Sunday, and although there were a few kinks to be worked out in the service department (understandable for it only being the third day open) the food did not disappoint. There were a bunch of vegetarian options (I had the tofu curry scramble) as well as options to please my meat eating husband (bacon and eggs, anyone?) If you’re in the Des Moines area, I think it’s worth the trip to Grinnell for dinner some night.

And that baking I did? Well, in addition to my weekly double batch of bran muffins, I also baked this Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie. Since we’re halfway through October, I thought it was high time to make some version of my favorite pie. Last year, it was Caramel Pumpkin Pie, and this year’s twist came from chocolate.

Pumpkin and chocolate have long been one of my favorite combos, and adding a little bit of melted semi-sweet chocolate to the custard base gave the filling an extra smooth texture and sweet, creamy flavor. Joe said this was the best pumpkin pie he’s ever had and likened it to a Pumpkin Spice Latte in pie form. Sounds like a ringing endorsement if you ask me!

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients
Crust from Desserts By The Yard by Sheri Yard
*2 1/2 cups flour
*2 tablespoons sugar
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
*16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces
*1/2 cup ice water
Filling
*6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
*4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
*15 ounces (1 can) pumpkin puree
*1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
*3 large eggs
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 tablespoon corn starch
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, melted (can substitute semi-sweet if desired)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse with on-off turns until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Combine the vinegar and ice water. Slowly add the ice water to the flour-butter mixture and pulse with on-ff turns until the mixture just comes together. Divide into two portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
*Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and chocolate chips. Melt, stirring frequently, until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
*In a second bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the milk chocolate chips. Stir until well combined and smooth. Add the chocolate-butter mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until smooth and well combined.
*Remove one of the dough portions from the fridge. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface into a 1/4-inch thick circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges with your fingers. Pour the filling mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Cool for 30 minutes on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, drizzle with the melted milk chocolate. Makes 8 servings

Happy Baking!
Madison

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