Browsing Tag


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

March 19, 2012

Happy Sunday, friends! How have your weekends gone thus far? Besides watching my March Madness bracket get torn to shreds, our weekend has been pretty relaxing and blissful.

I’m gearing up for a pretty crazy week, which I’ll fill you in about later. So before things get busy, let’s finish the weekend up with cupcakes, shall we? Most of the time I avoid doing any serious baking unless I know that I’ll have a place to bring the baked goods I make. I mean, do two people really need an entire cake sitting around, begging to be eaten? I would argue no.

Thankfully Christina over at Dessert For Two has those of us baking for two covered. Christina has made a wonderful blog based on scaled-back desserts that taste just as delicious as their larger counterparts, so when a craving for cupcakes hit a while back, I knew where to go. Of course, I couldn’t help but tweak the recipe to make it a little healthier – swapping out whole wheat flour for all-purpose and cutting back a bit on the sugar. Since I made the ‘cream cheese’ frosting vegan, I also included an option to make the cupcakes vegan as well. Though in my version (pictured above) real eggs were used.

And while I know that pumpkin desserts don’t exactly go hand in hand with the month of March, I’m guessing a few of you out there have some leftover canned pumpkin that could stand to be used before summer hits. Not that I’m saying you need a reason to eat canned pumpkin. Personally, I could eat it all year round.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cupcakes
Adapted slightly from Dessert for Two
*7 tablespoons whole wheat flour
*1/2 teaspoon baking powder
*1/8 teaspoon baking soda
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ginger
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1 large egg (make this recipe vegan by substituting a flax egg: 1 Tbsp. ground flax and 3 Tbsp. water mixed together)
*1/2 cup pumpkin puree
*2 tablespoons brown sugar
*2 packets stevia
*3 tablespoons vegetable oil

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with four paper liners. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
*In a second bowl, combined the egg, brown sugar, stevia and oil. Stir to combine.
*Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost completely clean (small crumbs are okay). Cool completely. Frost with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. Makes 4 servings

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
*2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (I use Trader Joe’s Non-Dairy Spread)
*1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
*2/3 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar

*In a small bowl, combine all the above ingredients. Stir until well combined and smooth. Add additional powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency (if you aren’t using vegan cream cheese, you may need to add a splash or two of milk). Spread atop cupcakes.

Happy Baking!

Healthier Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

November 17, 2011

I promise that once Thanksgiving has come and gone, I will return to posting things that aren’t filled with pumpkin. But my love for the stuff is still going strong, and I intend to keep baking with pumpkin until Turkey day arrives.

Last weekend I spent a little time scouring magazines looking for recipes for our family Thanksgiving. I don’t know about you all, but on Thanksgiving I prefer to indulge responsibly. There is nothing I hate more than the “oh my gosh I feel so full I want to die” feeling. It’s really less about calorie consumption and more about how I feel after eating a huge meal and the days following. Also known as Thanksgiving hangover.

When I spotted a recipe for Pumpkin-Almond Cheesecake in Cooking Light’s November issue, I knew I had to give it a try. Instead of making the almond cake that was intended as the bottom layer, I used a crispy graham cracker crust and poured the lightened up cheesecake mixture atop.

I was expecting to be a bit underwhelmed by the dessert when I threw in a block of low-fat cream cheese, Greek yogurt and very little sugar. But to my surprise and delight it was awesome. Smooth, rich-tasting and lightly sweet, Joey and I both ate a piece without feeling stuffed afterward. Things only got better when I calculated the nutrition information for the bars and found that when you make it into 12 servings, each serving only has around 190 calories. Not an ultra low-calorie dessert, but hardly a gut-busting indulgence, either.

Healthier Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light magazine
For Crust:
*1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
*2 tablespoons sugar
*3 tablespoons butter, melted

For Filling:
*8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
*1/2 cup sugar
*3 large eggs
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
*1/3 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small bowl, combine the crust ingredients until well combined. Press the crust mixture evenly into an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just combined. Add in the vanilla, pumpkin, Greek yogurt and cinnamon and beat until smooth and incorporated.
*Pour filling mixture into prepared crust pan. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the cheesecake center barely moves when pan is touched. Cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 8 hours. Makes 12 servings

Approximate Calories per serving: 190

Happy Baking!


Caramel Pumpkin Pie

November 7, 2011

This weekend Joey and I got together with a group of young couples at our church on Saturday night to share what we are thankful for, what God is doing in our lives and eat pie. Pretty awesome, right?

Since we are still pretty new to our town and church, I knew I couldn’t bring just any old pie. I needed a pie that pulled out all the stops. And when I want a recipe that is sure to impress and go above and beyond without being complicated or overly fussy, I go to Gourmet Today. It a monster of a cookbook, coming in at just over 1,000 pages, and one that I’m realizing I don’t use nearly enough.

But before you think that this pie is just like a hundred other pumpkin pies, let me assure you it isn’t. The sugar and water are cooked until the mixture caramelizes, then gets infused with a hefty dose of heavy cream and spices that are substantial but not overpowering.

Edited on Monday to Add: The pie was a hit! There was only one slice left, and Joey took that problem off my hands on the way home from church.

Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Adapted slightly from Gourmet Today

*1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
*4 tablespoons butter, melted
*3 tablespoons sugar
*1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*2/3 cup sugar
*1/4 cup water
*1 1/2 cups heavy cream
*1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
*1 teaspoon ground ginger
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*3 large eggs, lightly beaten

*Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and ground cinnamon until well combine. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch pie plate and press into the plate and up the sides to form a shell. Set aside.
*In a large heavy saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring, washing down sides of pan occasionally with a pastry brush dipped in cold water and gently swirling pan for even cooking until mixture is a deep golden carmel, about 10 minutes.
*Reduce heat to moderate and carefully add half of the cream (mixture will bubble vigorously), stirring until caramel is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining crema and bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat.
*Whisk together pumpkin, spices and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in hot cream mixutre, then eggs, whisking until well combined and smooth.
*Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Bake until filling is firm and just slightly wiggles in the center when the pie plate is touched, about 40 minutes.
*Cool pie compltely on a rack, about 2 hours.

Happy Baking!

Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cups

October 17, 2011

Good news! I baked you cinnamon rolls, pumpkin ones in fact. I couldn’t imagine a better way to start your weekend, or any day of the week for that matter, than with a warm ramekin oozing with dough and pumpkin and spices.

But let me fill you in on a little secret. I hate cooking with yeast. I mean I wish I was a master of all things dough-based, but yeast and I have a bit of a tortured relationship. So I went all Sandra Lee on you and did a little semi-homemade job on a can of Pillsbury Grands Biscuits.

Although I typically discourage the buying and using of things like pre-made biscuits, these things get me every time. They have the flaky layers deal down, that’s for sure. So on those mornings when you just want a fruit smoothie and your hubby is sick of eating cereal or oatmeal for breakfast, these are the perfect solution. They’re super easy to put together and reheat really well.

Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Cups

*1 can refrigerated Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Biscuits (8 count)
*1 cup brown sugar
*1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
*1/3 cup pumpkin butter (I used purchased but you could also use my Healthy Pumpkin Butter recipe)
*1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
*1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
*3 to 4 tablespoons milk
*1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease five oven-going small ramekins (mine are 4-inches in diameter) with nonstick cooking spray or five jumbo muffin cups. Set aside.
*Roll each biscuit into a five-inch long rope between your hands. Flatten each rope so it forms a rectangle (roughly 5 inches long by 2 or 3 inches wide).
*In a shallow dish, combine the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Dip both sides of each biscuit rectangle into the sugar mixture to coat.
*Spread a small spoonful of pumpkin butter into the center of each biscuit rectangle and spread, making sure to leave a border around the edges. Roll up the biscuits lengthwise and pinch the ends to seal. Cut each rectangle into two slices. Repeat with remaining rectangles.
*Place three cut pieces into each of the ramekins or muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cinnamon rolls and browned and puffy.
*Cool slightly. Meanwhile, combine the powdered sugar, orange juice, milk and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls and serve immediately. Or, cover and reheat in the microwave when ready to eat.

Happy Baking!


Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

September 22, 2011

We might as well christen this pumpkin week over in the Espresso and Cream kitchen. In addition to eating it non-stop in Healthy Pumpkin Butter form, I’ve also been baking with canned pumpkin.

Joey grew up with a mom who frequently had a pan of bars in some shape and form sitting around the house for hungry boys to eat. And every now and again, I like to recreate this in our home, too. Last month it was Banana Sheet Cake and this month’s version is Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Of course, anything with cream cheese frosting is a hit in my book, but these bars are especially tasty and moist thanks to the canned pumpkin. As the days went by, the bars actually started to taste better, similar to the banana bread phenomenon. I would say that if you’re thinking of making them to bring somewhere, a day or two ahead of time would yield fantastic results.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted slightly from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Cake Batter
*4 eggs
*1 2/3 cups sugar
*1 cup vegetable oil
*1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking soda

*8 ounce cream cheese, softened
*1/2 cup butter, softened
*2 cups sifted powdered sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
*In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin puree. Beat on medium heat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
*In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients for the cake batter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat until just combined. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
*Meanwhile, with an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Spread atop the bars and cut into squares.

Happy Baking!


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