Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Muffins

Somehow it’s less than a week until Thanksgiving and I’ve only made 2 successful pumpkin recipes! Yikes. I’m sad for the severe lack of pumpkin in my life. Sigh.

If you’re looking for a pumpkin muffin recipe to try, this one is it! Full of pumpkin, cream cheese and streusel-y goodness, it should be at the top of your “to try” recipes this Fall.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Muffins (recipe from Warm Vanilla Sugar)

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c confectioner’s sugar
3 c flour
1 tbsp + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
2 c sugar
2 c pumpkin puree
1 1/4 c vegetable oil

For the topping:
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c flour
1/2 c rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp butter, melted

  1. To prepare the filling, combine the softened cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl and mix until blended and smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a log. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log and transfer it to the freezer. Freeze for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease or line your muffin tin.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and vegetable oil until well blended.
  6. Add flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  7. To make the topping, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix with a fork until combined. Set aside.
  8. Fill each muffin with about 2 tbsp of the pumpkin batter.
  9. Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place 1 slice into each muffin cup.
  10. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups. Make sure the cream cheese is covered completely.
  11. Sprinkle the streusel on top of each muffin.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
  13. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.

See that? Easy. As. Pie.

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

My first pumpkin baking of the season! Life has gotten suuuuper crazy lately, so I was really excited when I actually wanted to bake one day after work. AND it’s pumpkin season!!! Hello, Fall, how I missed you.

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (recipe from With Sprinkles on Top by way of Sally’s Baking Addicition)

1/2 c butter
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 c white chocolate chips

  1. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar and 1/2 c sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla and pumpkin puree until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and the pumpkin pie spice.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together.
  5. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  6. Cover the dough and chill for 30 minutes or up to 3 days. Do not skip this step!
  7. Preheat your oven to 350º. Spray baking sheet(s) with nonstick baking spray or line with parchment paper.
  8. Mix remaining 1/2 c of sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon in a small bowl.
  9. Roll the dough into balls, about 1 1/2 tbsp of dough per ball.
  10. Roll each of the dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place on baking sheet. The balls will not spread that much in the oven, so flatten them slightly after placing them on the baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

While a little sweet for my taste, Tall Guy loved these cookies so much that he insisted on taking them home instead of letting me bring them to work for my coworkers! For someone who isn’t a super pumpkin lover, that was a huge compliment!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Milkshake

I’ve had a few pumpkin spice lattes thus far this season and they all lived up to the hype, so I decided to try my hand at one! In milkshake form. Yes, I said milkshake.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Milkshake (recipe originally from Elle’s New England Kitchen)

1 1/2 c cold black coffee
1 1/4 c pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 c coffee ice cream
1 c ice cube
honey or another sweetener of your choice

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend to desired thickness. Add honey to taste. Garnish with cinnamon or whipped cream!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Bars

Pumpkin baking- round 2!

I wanted something relatively easy to throw together last Sunday night and, since I still only have the one small baking sheet, this was the perfect recipe. And the batter was so good that I couldn’t resist licking the spoon!

Not the prettiest bar (or picture), but so delicious!

Not the prettiest bar (or picture), but so delicious!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake Bars (recipe originally from Two Peas & Their Pod)

2 c flour
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
1 c butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c pumpkin puree
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda. Set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth.
4. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
5. Add pumpkin puree. Mixture will look curdled. (That’s normal!)
6. On low speed, mix in dry ingredients until just combined.
7. Fold in chocolate chips.
8. Spread batter in prepared pan. (Try to make it as even as you can.)
9. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until edges pull away from sides of pan and it passes the toothpick test.
10. When cooled completely, cut into squares and serve.

These were so yummy! They’re moist, which was not quite what I expected (something about calling them “bars” makes me think they’ll be more like a cookie), and the reason I added “cake” to the name. They’re perfectly pumpkin-y, and just sweet enough with the chocolate chips being a perfect compliment to the pumpkin flavor. Ok, I’m a little pumpkin crazy right now, I know… But please don’t let that stop you from making these bars!

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Soft Pretzels with Cream Cheese Icing

It took me a little longer than I would have liked to get started with the pumpkin baking, but it has finally arrived in full force. I’ve seen a ton of soft pretzel recipes on food blogs over the years, but I’ve never attempted to make any. Until I saw this recipe for pumpkin soft pretzels, that is. It might have been my pumpkin addiction, but I could not resist making this recipe!

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Soft Pretzels with Cream Cheese Icing (recipe originally from creme de la crumb)

pretzels

the pretzels
1 1/3 c warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp honey
4 c flour
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

the boil
water
1/3 c baking soda

the coating
1/4 c butter, melted
1/4 c sugar + 1 tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400º. Grease baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Whisk together warm water, honey and yeast in a large bowl. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
3. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree to yeast mixture and mix until dough comes together.
4. Transfer dough to well-floured surface and knead a few times. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
5. Roll dough into long log and divide into 12 equal pieces.
6. Roll each piece into a long log (about 16-18 inches).
7. Twist each log into a pretzel shape. (See an example here.)
8. Fill the pot with about 2-3 inches of water. Once it comes to a boil, slowly sprinkle baking soda into water. (Careful- it will bubble and foam!)
9. Drop a pretzel in the water and boil for 30 seconds. Remove from the water (with a large slotted spoon or spatula) and transfer to a paper towel. Repeat with remaining pretzels. I started out using a small slotted spoon, but found that a slotted spatula worked better.
10. Place pretzels on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes or until pretzels are lightly browned.

to coat
1. Whisk cinnamon and sugar together and spread it in an even layer on plate.
2. Melt butter.
3. Brush baked pretzel with melted butter and then dip in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining pretzels.

the icing (optional)
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
2-3 tbsp milk

1. Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and cream cheese until smooth.
2. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time. 2 tbsp for thicker icing (best for dipping), 3 tbsp for thinner icing (best for drizzling).
3. Serve icing on the side, or drizzle on the top of the pretzels.

The recipe was pretty involved, but the steps were easy enough, even for a pretzel novice like me. The dough was a little sticky and hard to work with (especially for the second log-rolling step), but I was able to make it work. I ended up with only 10 pretzels because I didn’t roll my initial log long enough. I also somehow ended up with one very tiny pretzel, and I wish I had made them all that size, because smaller was definitely easier to work with.

The pumpkin flavor was very subtle, but it worked well with the cinnamon sugar coating. And the icing, although sweeter than it was tangy (due to the small amount of cream cheese), complimented the flavor nicely.

I have to admit, I wasn’t super in love with these. I’m not a huge soft pretzel fan as it is (don’t tell anyone, my fellow Philadelphians might disown me!), and the pumpkin aspect wasn’t enough to change my mind. They did look pretty impressive, however, and everyone at my office said they were very tasty. A very timely recipe, what with it being national pretzel month and all, but not one I would make again.

If you love soft pretzels, though, these ones will not disappoint!

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Pumpkin Cream Pie

The second pie I made for Thanksgiving was a spin on a classic. I love pumpkin everything, as you know, but I’m honestly not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie. Yeah, I’ll have a slice if it’s offered, but I could really take it or leave it. Enter: the pumpkin cream pie. This recipe is light and delicious, and gives you pumpkin pie without the pumpkin pie, if you know what I mean. I’ve made this for the past 2 Thanksgivings and I think I’ll just make it a tradition to do it every year- it’s that good.

3 pies

There’s the pumpkin cream pie at the bottom of the picture!

Pumpkin Cream Pie (recipe originally by the Pioneer Woman)
Note: I was using a regular-sized foil pie pan and ended up having enough of both the crust and filling to make 2 whole pies. (I left about an inch of crust showing on each pie so that there would be a good amount of filling for each.) If you only want to make 1 pie, I recommend using a glass pie plate or  an aluminum pie tin, as they seem to be bigger than the foil kinds. Or you could try a deep dish foil pie pan.

Crust
1 package graham crackers
1 1/2 handfuls of gingersnaps *I used the ones from Trader Joe’s
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Note: The original recipe does not use gingersnaps in the crust. If you want to make a plain graham cracker crust, use 1 1/2 packages of graham crackers and omit the gingersnaps.

Filling
1 3 oz. box vanilla pudding (cook and serve kind)
1 c half and half1/2 c heavy cream
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsps whiskey (optional)
1/2 c + 3 tbsps pumpkin puree
1/2 c (additional) heavy cream
2 tbsps brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Grind graham crackers and gingersnaps in a food processor. Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined. I used a food processor for the first part, but then used an electric mixer to combine all ingredients, as my food processor is really tiny!
3. Press mixture into the bottom and sides of a pie pan until even and firm. Repeat for second pie pan, if necessary.
4. Bake crust(s) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm and “set.” Remove from oven and let cool completely.
5. In a medium saucepan, mix pudding mix with the half and half and cream. Add spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.
6. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey and pumpkin.
7. Cove the pot and set it aside to cool. When it’s cool enough, put the pot in the fridge to cool completely. Start step 8 when you remove the cooled mixture from the fridge.
8. In a mixing bowl, beat 1/2 c heavy cream with brown sugar until very light and fluffy.
9. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined.
10. Pour filling into cooled crust.
11. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
Serving suggestion: When ready to serve, sprinkle with leftover graham cracker and/or gingersnap crumbs.

This is one of my favorite pie recipes, and it’s so easy to make! Plus, I made it ahead of time, so it was one less thing I had to think about on the big day. Win-win!

A Thanksgiving Success

My first time hosting Thanksgiving was a success! It was a lot of work, but I’m really happy with the way everything turned out! My boyfriend and I were absolutely exhausted the next day, but it was totally worth it. See for yourself below!

A HUGE thanks to my friend Abe El, who took a good majority of the pictures in the gallery! You can check out more of his work here.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles

Last Fall I got all the ingredients to make these and then, much to my dismay, never ended up making them. So to say this recipe was a long time coming is a bit of an understatement… Don’t worry, I didn’t use those same ingredients…

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles (recipe from Gimme Some Oven)
makes about 20 medium-sized truffles

1/3 c pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c gingersnap crumbs, plus a few extra tbsps for topping *I put Trader Joe’s gingersnap cookies in a food processor
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
4 oz. cream cheese
1 c white chocolate chips, melted

For the coating:
14 oz. white chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable oil *can also use shortening

1. Combine ingredients (except the coating) in a food processor. Pulse until well-blended. I have a very tiny food processor, so I used an electric mixer to combine ingredients.
2. Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and freeze for 30-60 minutes, or until the mixture is fairly hardened.
3. Once hardened, shape filling mixture into small balls using a spoon and your hands.
4. Set filling balls on a plate or baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.
5. Place plate back into the freezer and freeze for 2 hours, or until filling balls are solid.

Coating:
1. Once the filling balls are frozen, stir together white chocolate and vegetable oil and melt either in the microwave or double boiler, stir constantly. *I used a makeshift double boiler.
2. Use a small fork or a spoon to dunk filling ball into coating mixture, then transfer ball to a new plate lined with fresh wax or parchment paper. Sprinkle top with extra gingersnap crumbs. Repeat for all filling balls. Gimme Some Oven tip: Remove the ball from the fork with a spoon, and then use the spoon to swoop the chocolate over the top if a spot of filling is showing. I tried using both a fork and a spoon to dunk the filling balls in the chocolate. I couldn’t get the technique down, but I think I did okay for my first time!

Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

These are pretty sweet, so you can’t eat a lot in one sitting, but that just means that there’s a better chance you’ll be able to enjoy them for longer!

Pumpkin Fudge

It’s been a while since I made a recipe! Luckily, it’s still Fall and that means that it’s still pumpkin baking season, so of course I couldn’t resist (yet another) pumpkin recipe.

This was super easy and pretty quick, too! Prep time is about 20 minutes, but then it has to set in the fridge for a while. Mine was in there for about 2 hours and still wasn’t totally set (it’s quite possible that my fridge is inadequate), so I left it in another full day (mostly just because I didn’t have time to test it before work!) and the fudge was still on the softer side, so if you want it to be a little more clean cut, I recommend sticking it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before you cut it.

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Pumpkin Fudge (recipe originally from Taste and Tell)
makes about 40 pieces of fudge

1 1/2 c sugar2/3 c evaporated milk
1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
12 oz white chocolate chips
2 c mini marshmallows *I chopped up whole marshmallows because we had leftover s’mores ingredients from the Summer
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Line an 8×8 brownie pan with tinfoil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. I used PAM for baking.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and pumpkin pie spice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let boil for 12 minutes, stirring often.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in white chocolate chips and marshmallows. Add in vanilla once marshmallows and chocolate are mostly melted.
4. Pour into prepared pan and chill in the refrigerator until set.
5. Cut into sizes as desired.

The fudge is so delicious! The pumpkin flavor is subtle and the fudge is a great texture. I will definitely be making this again before the pumpkin season is over!

Pumpkin Fluff Dip

I had a pretty low-key Halloween. The original plan was that a friend and I were going to have a scary movie marathon. That then morphed into us going to Terror Behind the Walls (which was AWESOME! More on that later…) and then watching Trick ‘r Treat and eating snacks. Speaking of snacks…

My friend made a delicious pomegranate margarita concoction (tequila, pomegranate juice, sugar, lime juice and orange bitters) and I made pumpkin fluff dip and also had (store-bought) guacamole.

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Pumpkin dip on the left!

I liked the pumpkin fluff dip, but it was very sweet and one of those things that you can’t really eat a lot of. With that said, I would definitely recommend making it for a party or some large gathering of people, as the recipe makes a lot (like, a lot a lot).

Pumpkin Fluff Dip (recipe originally from allrecipes)

1 (16 oz.) container cool whip, thawed1 (5 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 can pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

In a large bowl, mix together pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in cool whip. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Dip goes well with gingersnaps, apple slices and graham crackers. I served gingersnaps with mine.

Did you make any Halloween-themed recipes?