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Monday, November 10, 2008

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Mm..fall. More pumpkin recipes! I had half a can of Pure Pumpkin left from the Pumpkin Cupcakes, so I decided to use it! Turns out to have been a good decision, because these cookies are delicious.

The recipe came from's Iced Pumpkin Cookies but I chose not to do the accompanying icing, but rather a different one which I will post below. I scaled the recipe down to use half of the pumpkin puree I had left (I have glorious things planned for the remaining portion).

Pumpkin Cookies adapted from
1 stick butter, soft
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C Pure Pumpkin
1/2 an egg (I know, I'm so annoying)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1 C A.P. Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat to 350. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir this in to the butter mixture.
Drop by tablespoons on to a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Icing for Pumpkin Cookies
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter (does not have to be softened)
2 Tablespoons of milk
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
5/8 Tsp pure vanilla (one quarter + one eighth)
1/2 C of confectioner's sugar

In a small saucepan, melt the butter together with the brown sugar and milk on medium heat. Stir until it is thoroughly combined and dissolved. Remove from heat and let sit for about 5 minutes to let it cool. Add the confectioner's sugar and milk and stir until combined. Fill a small bowl with the icing, and take cooled Pumpkin Cookies, and dip them up side down into the icing. Set on to parchment and allow to set (though it is just as delicious while the icing is still wet!! :)

Happy delicious Pumpkinny Autumn, everyone!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ahh, Blogging

Hello kind readers,
If you are like me, and if you are reading this you probably are, you enjoy blogging. You get joy out of updating, seeing people comment, and reading and commenting on other blogs. You do it for fun. For the joy of doing it. If there is one thing for sure, you don't do it for the money. But what if you COULD?

Well... I can't. And most people cannot either. But my sister has the opportunity to be able to do so. She has been deemed a finalist in a student blogging contest worth $10,000! If you enjoy medieval things, funny things, and sisterly things, then please, visit my sister's blog: Per Omnia Saecula. She is a PhD student in Medieval things, and blogs for the pure joy of it. If you think her blog is worth 10,000 please click here to vote for her.

Thank you! And happy weekend. :)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Honey-Caramel Buttercream Frosting

It's Fall! Though it doesn't feel like it so much here in Florida, judging from all the Thanksgiving (and Christmas) decorations that adorn the stores, it must be fall. Oh and plus, it's my birthday on Sunday, so its gotta be that time of year :) I am still enjoying the lull in my thesis work, so I had time to make a batch of Cupcake-of-the-Weeks. And this week.. mmboy. These are the best I've made in a while. Even Daniel was quite taken aback by these absolutely delicious fall-ish Pumpkin Cupcakes with Honey-Caramel Frosting. The pumpkin cupcakes were very moist, with subtle spices, and the frosting was abbbbsolutely gorgeous. Sweet, slightly caramelly & honey-y, with flecks of caramel streaked throughout. I know, you're jealous.

Pumpkin Cupcakes adapted from Makes 12 cupcakes.
1 stick butter
1 cup Cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground gingers
Heaping pinch (if that even exists) of Nutmeg
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 C light brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
about 7 - 7.5 ounces canned Pure Pumpkin
1/2 tsp maple syrup

Preheat to 350. Put paper liners in 12 wells of a cupcake pan.

In a small pot, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once it has all melted, slowly raise the temperature up to medium, stirring occasionally. Cook until it turns brown (for more instructions on that, see this site and this site). Make sure to keep an eye on it, because it takes a little bit of time... but it goes from yellowy to brown real quick! I followed that second instructional site on how to brown butter... and when it reached the desired color, I took my pot off the store and shoved it in to cold water to stop the cooking immediately:

Set melted brown butter aside and let it cool.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices together. Whisk to combine.
In another bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Whisk in the two sugars and the cooled butter. Add the dry ingredients and whisk/fold it in...Do not overmix! Whisk in pumpkin and maple syrup.

Bake about 20 minutes, when a toothpick inserted into the cakes should come out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in pan on wire rack, then remove cakes and set directly on wire rack to cool.

Honey-Caramel Buttercream Frosting enough to frost 12 cupcakes nicely.
1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 Tblspn honey
2 Tblspn melted Kraft Caramel bits, or whatever caramel you have on hand
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer slowly at first to incorporate all ingredients. Then, increase speed to high to get light and fluffy. Beat for 3 - 5 minutes.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Day Brooklyn Brownies

I BAKED! Its been a while, but I got back in the kitchen. At least once. The first complete draft of my thesis has been sent off to my committee professors. All I can do now is wait until they respond with suggestions for revisions, or until my defense on Nov. 17th - whichever happens first. ...and do the rest of my school work (an italian paper, italian articles, prepare my defense presentation...). But on Tuesday after a full day of school, interning, and voting, and having dinner at Dan's parents, Daniel requested I make a small batch of brownies to go with our peanut butter ice cream. A delicious dessert to enjoy while watching the states on the map fill in red and blue!


For the brownies, I went with a new recipe I've been wanting to try out. I saw these brownies from Brooklyn's "Baked" Bakery on a favorite blog, Cookie Madness and wanted to give them a go.
This page has the recipe in full but I halved it and changed the chocolate proportion a teeny bit. Below is mine:

"Baked" Brownies, modified from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
.625 C (1/2 C + 1/8 C) flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tblspn cocoa powder
3.5 oz dark chocolate (I used Dove 71% cacao)
1.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1 stick buter
1/2 tsp espresso powder
3/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C packed light brown sugar
2.5 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat to 350. Non-stick spray a glass pyrex dish approx 10 x 8 (it doesn't have the dimensions on it.. it is 10 x 8 if you measure the top, or 6.5 x 8 if you measure at the bottom of the dish... its about half the size of a 9 x 13)

Whisk flour, salt, and cocoa powder together in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the chocolates, butter and espresso powder in a dish set on top of a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until it is completely melted. Turn off the heat, but keep the dish over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Let the mixture cool a bit before going to the next step.
Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, and whisk to combine, but to not overmix. Add vanilla and stir until incorporated.
Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour into the chocolate until it is mostly incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake in the center of the oven for 22 - 27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

These came out quite good. Less sweet than my other brownies, but absolutely delicious. In between fudgy and cakey. Would make again! I hope these goodies last until my most-chaotic-stressful-semester-ever is over! 40 Days left until graduation (not that i'm counting).

Isn't this the most dramatic picture of a brownie you've ever seen?


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