Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Halloween sort of snuck up on my this year, but me and Virginia pulled together some last minute costumes, and as promised, I have baked something pumpkin! This recipe I used is adapted from a Martha Stewart pumpkin cupcake recipe that starts with browned butter.
I had never browned butter before, but it's really simple. Just melt the butter (3/4 cup) in a sauce pan...
It will start to foam up for awhile, but eventually settle back down and simmer until it turns a light amber color. Keep stirring, or it will burn!
Then strain out any burned bits (there will be some no matter how obsessively you stir)
Then you have beautiful nutty browned butter! Its time to get to work on the dry ingredients.
1 2/3 cup AP flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Set aside the dry and in another bowl start mixing the wet. 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree (not pie filling!)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Mix all the wet ingredients together then add the cooled brown butter and mix completely. Add the dry mix to the wet, and stir by hand until just mixed together (don't over mix)

Make sure the oven is pre-heated to 350 degrees, and divide the batter into pans. Originally the recipe was for cupcakes, so if you wish, pour into lined cupcake pans!
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
This cake bakes up so nicely, with the best combination of flavors I have had in a long time. The nutty brown butter with the pumpkin and spices is perfection. If I knew how good this cake was going to turn out, I would have just left it as a cake and called it a day, but I had bigger plans.

Starting with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. You know this is going somewhere good.
6oz cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice again)

Crumble the cooled cake and get ready to mix.
Cake, meet frosting. Something tells me you're going to have a fabulous relationship together.
Mix together completely, then roll into 1in balls and stick in the fridge overnight. (or the freezer for an hour or so)
After the truffles are chilled, melt up some chocolate or candy melts to cover. I wanted to dress these up for Halloween, and swore I had orange candy melts, but alas I didn't. I did however resort back to my elementary art class knowledge and mixed my red and yellow candy melts to make the perfect pumpkin shade.
Then I needed some black (or very dark chocolaty brown) to complete this Halloween treat.

So I dipped the other half in dark chocolate.

and drizzled the rest over the white chocolate guys.
I had picked up some orange and yellow sanding sugar on sale at Target awhile back and thought it be the perfect addition to these Halloween cake truffles.

Then I found these tiny little pumpkin (looks more like a peach) liners that are perfect for nestling the truffles in.

Delicious moist brown butter pumpkin spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting dipped in chocolate. I highly suggest you bake these this fall, and then immediately find people to give them to, because they are addicting! Hope you had a great Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finally Fall

Nothing says fall like a basket of apples. This past weekend was beautiful fall weather. The leaves are finally starting to change and the sun is still out but the air is getting crisper. So I thought it would be a perfect time to bake some apple cupcakes!The recipe I used can be found here. Apple meet grater. These three apples I used produced a ton of grated apple. Not sure if this is because I used McIntosh instead of Honeycrisp like the recipe calls for or if it really is supposed to be 4 cups! Then mix together the dry ingredients, look at all the beautiful spices! I used 2 teaspoons of apple pie spice mix instead of just cinnamon and nutmeg.Then set dry aside and work on the wet. I love the way brown eggs look, so rustic.Another star of this cupcake, maple syrup. Dark, grade A, pure maple syrup. Mix together with the brown sugar and eggs. Then toss in all the grated apple!Finally fold in all the dry ingredients.And you have a thick apple filled batterI forgot about these perfect fall liners I got on sale last year after Thanksgiving!The cupcakes baked up a little denser than I had imagined, but I think that made them even better. More like a mix between apple pie and a cupcake. Then I went to work on the frosting. The original recipe I used called for a maple cream cheese frosting, but I didn't have any cream cheese on hand so I just went with a maple buttercream. I also threw in some more apple pie spice for color and flavor. Perfect fall cupcake!But I thought it needed something else. I omitted the caramel filling from the original recipe because I didn't have the time or patience to make caramel Saturday morning, but I did want to have something pretty on top. So I decided to make a brown sugar and butter reduction to drizzle on top. It turned out great!
The inside is moist and dense with apples and the airy maple buttercream balances the textures out nicely! Perfect to start fall out. Now I need to bake with some pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finally getting around to...

October always seems to be an extremely busy and exhausting month. School gets crazy with midterms, rehearsals for fall shows get longer and more intense, the sun no longer greets you when you wake up for work at 6:30am (actually, some days its still dark when you get to work at 7:30) and it becomes harder and harder to find a little time for yourself to do fun things like bake (or even make dinner!)
Finally this past week I found a couple free hours and decided to try out some recipes I found on a some of my favorite blogs. It's a well known fact that all I do at work is read blogs and dream of the day I will have enough time and money to do all the cute things people write about.

This first recipe I saw featured on CupcakesTaketheCake and thought they were too adorable to pass up. Savory broccoli cupcakes!I'm not even going to talk about how much butter is in this batter, but there is broccoli so it must be healthy right? I cut the recipe in half because I knew I would have no self control in this situation, and who needs 12 buttery cheesy adorable broccoli cupcakes lying around when you have to be in a leo and tights for ballet the next day? Just spoon in a tablespoon of the batter, then stick a broccoli floret in and top with the remainder of the batter. This recipe makes just enough batter to BARELY cover the broccoli, but it worked out fine.Look at that brown butter bubbling up around the edges...And when you cut them in half, there is a little tree in the middle! Definitely worth trying for a treat!

This next amazing recipe I found awhile back on Lovin' From the Oven and couldn't wait to try out the salty sweet treat. Pretzel chocolate chip cookies! This recipe I actually doubled instead of halving this time so I could take them to our homecoming tailgate. Tons of chocolate chips and broken pretzel pieces! They baked up pretty soft and almost cake like, I would have liked them a bit chewier, but that's just personal preference. They were gone within 15 minutes at the tailgate I brought them to, so I guess they were a hit!

Glad I finally had time to get some baking done. Hopefully things will slow down a bit soon and I will have more time to try out new recipes!