Monday, November 25, 2013

pumpkin cream cheese muffins

the goods:
8 ounce cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 and 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons sold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Prepare the filling: combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1.5-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic tightly around the log and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until slightly firm, 2 hours.
Make the muffins: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
Make the topping: combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter pieces and pinch with your fingers until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assemble the muffins: fill each muffin cup with a small amount of batter (I used my 1-tablespoon cookie scooper), just enough to cover the bottom. Slice the log of cream cheese into 24 equal pieces. Place a piece of cream cheese into each muffin cup. Divide the remaining muffin batter among the cups to completely cover the cream cheese.. Sprinkle a small amount of crumb topping over each.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, November 18, 2013

pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles

the goods:
3 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cinnamon-sugar coating:
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Set aside. In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy. Blend in pumpkin puree, beat in egg and then add vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients on low speed just until combined. Cover and chill dough for an hour.
Make the cream cheese filling by blending the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla until combined. Chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl combine the sugar and spices for the coating and set aside.
To make the cookies, take a tablespoon of batter, flatten it like a pancake between your palms. Place a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center. Form another tablespoon of batter into a little pancake and place on top of the cream cheese. Pinch the edges together sealing in the cream cheese and roll into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon-sugar coating and place on prepared baking sheets 2-inches apart. Repeat until all the dough is gone.

Flatten cookies with the bottom of a heavy glass and bake for 10 minutes or until the tops start to crack. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, November 11, 2013

chocolate oatmeal sandwich cookies with pumpkin buttercream

the goods:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
orange food coloring

Beat 1/2 cup butter along with granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until blended. Reduce speed to low; add milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. In a small bowl, combine oats with flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate morsels. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop dough evenly in 2 tablespoon mounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Beat remaining 1/2 cup butter and confectioners' sugar at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add pumpkin; beat until blended. Add remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and orange food coloring, as desired; beat well.
Arrange half the cookies upside down on a work surface. Spoon frosting over center of cookies. Top with remaining cookies pressing gently to distribute frosting.

Monday, November 4, 2013

ultimate caramel apples

the goods:
10 Granny Smith apples
12 ounces white chocolate chips
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
assorted toppings for coating (I used snickers, butterfingers, and oreos)
10 craft sticks, popsicle sticks, or twigs
homemade caramel:
1 cup butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 and 1/2 cups corn syrup
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Insert 1 craft stick vertically through the center of each apple, set apples aside. Butter a rimmed baking sheet and clear enough room in the refrigerator for it to sit evenly.

Prepare homemade caramel: In a large saucepan (or small pot), combine butter, sugar, corn syrup, and 1 cup heavy cream. Heat mixture to a boil just over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once mixture has reached a boil, stir in remaining 1 cup heavy cream. Then without stirring, bring mixture to exactly 239 degrees on a candy thermometer, then immediately remove from heat. This should take 20-25 minutes. You can reduce heat if it's about to bubble over, but ideally, keep it on medium. Carefully pour caramel to a medium saucepan to allow to cool and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool 10 minutes before dipping apples.

Immediately, and quickly (the caramel does not reheat well, so you really get one shot), dip the apples in the caramel. Swirl the apple to coat all of the edges, allow excess to drip off, run the bottom of the apple along the inside edge of the pan. Tilt the apple upside down and swirl just until the caramel is about to run off, then immediately turn upright and transfer to buttered baking dish in the fridge. Repeat with remaining apples and allow caramel to set in the fridge.

Prepare toppings, by chopping or crushing them. Heat chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Using a small rubber spatula or butter knife, coat edges with melted chocolate and immediately sprinkle or roll in desired toppings. Return to refrigerator to set completely.

Pass out to your favorite people!