Thursday, November 29, 2012

Browned-butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spice Latte Frosting

Ok, so I'm just going to come out and say it. These cupcakes have got to be one of the best I have ever made, and I think EWeage would have to agree. Reasons you may ask?

1. Its pumpkin. I mean, come on. 
2. Browned butter, need I say more?
3. Oodles of delicious spices.
4. They were so moist!
5. The frosting was pretty fantastic too. Subtle hint of coffee and pumpkin was the perfect accent to an already amazing cupcake.

Pumpkin Brown Butter Cupcakes 
with Cinnamon Frosting 
(From SprinkleBakes)
Yield:  About 24 cupcakes                                                        

¾ cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. allspice
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
½ cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with papers.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, swirling the pan occasionally until the butter turns golden brown. Pour the browned butter into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not solidified.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and allspice.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk 1 ½ cups of pumpkin puree with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and sour cream until well combined.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.  Whisk in the browned butter until well blended.  
Divide batter between cupcake liners.  Fill them about half full.
Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back when pressed in the middle.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Buttercream

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
2 tablespoons milk (Or use some coffee instead)
~4 teaspoons instant pumpkin spice latte mix
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
dash of cinnamon and allspice

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add mix, coffee, and spices. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

Here's another one of those recipes that I knew must be made as soon as I saw it!  Last year my roommate introduced me to the chocolate and pumpkin combination.  The furthest I was willing to go was throwing in a few handfuls of chocolate chips in my pumpkin bread.  But this year, I was ready to dive head first into chocolately pumpkin goodness!  Especially when Bridget of Bake at 350 reports reviews like this: "If my girlfriend made these, I might have to buy an engagement ring."

We enjoyed these on Wednesday before Thanksgiving because we already had planned the menu for Thursday, but they still needed to be made.  There was a little too much pumpkin to the amount of brownie for my taste, so the recipe is altered here for more perfect ratio.  Wednesday night we warmed them in the microwave and served a la mode.  Thursday morning we had them straight out of the fridge.  Chilled had the vote of all.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (adapted from Bake at 350)
Serves 16

Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup greek yogurt
2 eggs

In in a mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and the spices.
Once well mixed, add the yogurt and eggs.
Set aside.

Brownie Layer
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Over medium heat, melt butter in a sauce pan.
Once melted, add sugar.
Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder, baking powder, and vanilla.
After sufficiently cool, beat in eggs.
Mix in flour just until well combined.
Pour into greased 9x13 pan, reserving 1/2 to 3/4 cup for top.
Spread cheesecake mixture evenly over top.
Add spoonfuls of reserved brownie batter to top.  Swirl with butter knife.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans on top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 until cheesecake is set.
Cool on wire rack, cover and chill in refrigerator before serving.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grass-fed beef Meatballs and Marinara-- Paleo style

This post will be more of a photo tour than a real recipe given that I made these like 6 months ago and have never gotten around to posting them, so sorry for the lack of precise amounts. 

Grass-fed ground beef
minced onion
(if you aren't paleo, feel free to throw in some breadcrumbs)
garlic powder

Mix all together in a bowl and form into balls. 

can of diced tomatos (or dice your own)
bell pepper
brown sugar or balsamic vinegar (for either a sweet or tangy sauce)

Mix together the ingredients and simmer on stove on low for how ever long you have. The longer you simmer the better :)

Add the meatballs and simmer until they are cooked through.

In the mean time, slice up some zucchini and saute them and/or some green beans until just al dente.

Serve the sauce and meatballs over the zucchini and green beans. Garnish with some freshly grated parm and some fresh basil.