Pumpkin time!

263.365: the first pumpkin

As soon as Christmas is over, pumpkin leaves my life until Autumn. On this first weekend of said season, you can bet I’ll be roasting a pumpkin or two. I LOVE baking with pumpkin, so I am way familiar with roasting my own to get that amazing puree.

If you’ve never done it, you’re missing out! It’s so easy and so delicious. This is my method–

1. Chop off the top, then cut pumpkin in half from top to bottom & scoop out innards (save the seeds!)
2. Put face down in a baking dish with a bit of water to steam up & place in 350F oven for 45 minutes to an hour OR until you can pierce the skin easily with a fork.
3. Let it cool a bit, then peel off the outside skin and place in food processor or blender to puree.
4. Place in a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. This dries it up a bit–it can be super watery!
5. Use immediately, or place in storage bags to put in your freezer for later use. I suggest storing in 1 cup increments, as that’s usually how much you need in recipes.

Here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes and some that I plan on trying this Fall.

The BEST Pumpkin Cupcake, posted here last year.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Gluten Free Pumpkin Whoppie Pies
Pumpkin Pie

Do you have any favorite pumpkin recipes? Sweet or savory, I’m interested!

Ganache love

ganache cookie 1

There’s a family cookie exchange on Saturday, so I’m doing some testing. I have made thumbprint cookies almost every year since 2003. That’s 2 years before my motherhood. I’ve always been more of a baker than a cook. If I could provide cupcakes for breakfast and cookies for dinner, I would.

ganache cookie 2
I also made some with raspberry jam, per my mother’s request.

Anyway, this year, I wanted something a little different. I decided to try my hand at ganache. Delicous, velvety, ganache heaven. I went with a bittersweet chocolate, so the flavor is very dark. I think it complements the cookie very well! I’ve always loved the flavor of dark chocolate, however, I am wondering if I could make the ganache with white chocolate, so that I could tint it red and make these more festive. Any thoughts on that?

ganache cookie 3


Are you baking any cookies for the holidays? I would love to browse recipes and/or baking blog posts!

coconut + pecans = bliss

This is probably the least-Halloweenish cupcake ever (minus the awesome Martha Stewart cupcake liners I got on sale the day before)! However, it’s the only part of the day my husband requested. And not even directly. That guy can’t make a food decision to save his life! But he did say it was one of his favorites and I really wanted to try it, so I made them.

I originally planned to turn them into cute owls or scary werewolves, with candy and piped frosting and blah blah blah. I’m pretty gnarly at planning and ended up making the frosting while cooking dinner, so needless to say, I ran out of time. They still looked pretty sweet–

cupcake of the month.7: German Chocolate

I got this recipe from my aunt. It’s the one she uses when she makes this enormous german chocolate bunny cake every Easter. It.is.scruuuuumptious!

1 egg
5 1/3 oz can of evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
dash of salt
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In a saucepan, beat egg lightly. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat for 12 minutes, or until thick and bubbly. Stir in coconut and pecans. Cool thoroughly, then spread on cake (or cupcakes!)

I would double for layer cakes. I was only able to frost about 12-13 cupcakes.

If you try the recipe, I hope you like it! October had 2 cupcakes because I accidentally skipped a month somewhere! I’m all caught up and brainstorming ideas for November’s cupcake recipe. Any suggestions??

p.s.! don’t forget to enter my giveaway, lovelies!

the BEST pumpkin cupcake

cupcake of the month.6: pumpkin!

or muffin.
or bake it in a loaf pan and make bread.
No matter your preferred method of baking, this is by far the BEST pumpkin recipe I’ve come across. The cake is just so moist and spicy and delicious! I took these photos, this morning. Then, I ate two. I still suck at frosting, but WHO THE HECK CARES when the pumpkin is that good? Not I!

I strongly suggest making your own pumpkin puree for this. To be honest, I had never made it before I came across this recipe, a whole 5 years ago. My oldest was just 5 months old, so I couldn’t share them with him, but I totally did a little dance, with a muffin in hand, that made him smile. This morning, I’m happy to report, he approved of these muffins and even took one to school for his teacher! Amazing.

I’m posting this recipe with permission from the author. This is the original link.

Pumpkin Bread

1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 7×3 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans. (I almost forgot, I had about half a cup of raisins leftover from something else, so I tossed them in as well, along with the wet ingredients.)

Bake for about an hour in the preheated oven. Bread is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. //I baked the cupcakes for about 23-24 minutes.

If you click on the original link, there are some simple directions for roasting a pie pumpkin and making your own puree. It’s so easy!

How about a closer photo?


from the top?


You’re welcome.

Now, go make some cupcakes!

muffins of the month

cupcake of the month.5: mini-muffins

I know, I know! I’m late with the cupcake of the month. I’m sure you were all sitting there, holding your breath, so….here it is! You can breathe, now!

Technically, it isn’t a cupcake. It’s a muffin. And not just a muffin, a mini-muffin! These little guys are perfect in a household with kids. I can toss them to my kiddos after breakfast and it makes them happy. “Cake for breakfast?? K!” I can hand one or two to my kindergartener to snack on during his walk to school with daddy. I can hide one in my mouth, in its entirety when someone catches me in the kitchen at midnight. *ahem*

So, yeah. They’re pretty darn nifty.

Have you done any baking lately? What recipes are you MOST excited about, now that the weather may finally be cooling down?! I know I can’t wait to roast my first pumpkin of the season. Oh goooooodness, I’m just waiting for the scent of nutmeg and cloves to fill my house! I LOVE fall-baking!