Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Perfect Taste of Fall

A couple of weeks ago, after making the pumpkin spice cupcakes for my grandpa's birthday, I had some leftover pumpkin that I didn't want to go to waste, and since we were actually having some real fall weather here in Southern California, I figured it was a good time to try my hand at making some seasonally appropriate pumpkin spice cookies.

When I was student teaching last fall, the mom of one of the student's in my 3rd grade class brought in these amazingly delicious pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies, and I had her email me the recipe because I had to make some for myself. Well, turns out I was way too busy with student teaching and then trying out a bunch of new Christmas cookie recipes to ever get around to making those pumpkin cookies, but here we are, a year later, and I have some time on my hands.

I decided to hunt down a different pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookie recipe to try out; one that was similar to the one the student's mom had given me, but with a few different aspects to it. Here's the link to the site where I got the recipe from:
Recipe from Deelish Dish
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to
325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter
the paper.
2. Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the
eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix
the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix the flour mixture to
incorporate it. Stir in the chips by hand.
4. Scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets,
spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. About 1/4-cup per
5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and
a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 15 minutes. Let
them cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to
cool completely.

These cookies turned out great; my mom, my sister, and I all loved them. They are definitely a cakier cookie, more like a muffin top than a normal cookie, and honestly would probably be great for breakfast with a nice cup of strong, black coffee :-) And, as always, I doctored up the recipe to make it my own.

A Birthday Celebration

A few weeks ago we celebrated my grandpa’s 70th birthday and I baked both red velvet and pumpkin spice cupcakes for the occasion. Red velvet cupcakes always seem to be a hit no matter what, and pumpkin spice cupcakes are a particular favorite of our family. The red velvet cupcakes were topped with a traditional cream cheese frosting, while the pumpkin spice cupcakes were topped with a pretty amazing cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

And Some More Peanut Butter..

Ok, these cookies have been a HUGE hit every time I've made them. I first made them to take up to Oregon when I went on a whitewater rafting trip with the Young Adults group at my church and made them again a couple weeks later to take up to Hume Lake with the high school group...both times these cookies were DEVOURED. I think the 8 of us girls who were up at Hume ate 2 full batches ourselves in a matter of days!

I stumbled across this recipe about 2 months ago when I was on a hunt for a peanut butter cookie recipe that would yield soft, chewy cookies. I've never been a huge fan of peanut butter cookies, unless they have chocolate in them, mainly because I think peanut butter cookies tend to be more on the crunchy side and I am a fan of soft cookies. Don't get me wrong, I'll never turn down a peanut butter cookie if that's my only option, but if I'm given choices, I'm likely not going to go with the plain PB cookie.

Before I made this recipe I couldn't tell you the last time that I actually made regular peanut butter cookies, but I was on a mission to find a good recipe. I went to my favorite food website,, and searched for 'peanut butter cookies.' The thing that caught my eye about this amazing recipe is the fact that it was labeled as 'Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies.' I clicked on the site and found that honey was the secret ingredient that was used to make these cookies so soft. The first cookies I ever remember making, when I was around 7 or 8, were peanut butter and honey cookies, so when I saw that this recipe was similar, I had to make these cookies, if only for nostalgic reasons.

I can't say that I followed the recipe exactly..afterall, I am on a quest to create my own recipes, so I will post the original recipe, but do know that I did change up a few things when I made these cookies myself.

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup vegetable shortening
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 large eggs
Sugar, for rolling the cookies in

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt; whisk together and set aside. With a mixer cream together the shortening, butter, peanut butter and honey. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture and beat until incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Roll the dough into 1½-inch balls, and roll each dough ball in sugar. Place the dough balls on an ungreased baking sheet, a couple inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until slightly puffed and golden. Let cool.

Adapted from recipe found here:

Chocolate + Peanut Butter= Pure Goodness

I'm waaay behind on my blog posts..I've done lots of baking lately, but just haven't gotten around to posting anything. A couple of weeks ago I decided to make some chocolate peanut butter cupcakes because honestly, when does something chocolate and peanut butter not sound good? Chocolate + peanut butter is one of the best food combinations out there, so I figured that by making a cupcake with those two foods, I really couldn't go wrong.

For the actual cupcake I mixed up a dark chocolate cake batter. When I filled the cupcake pans, I inserted a mini Reese's peanut butter cup into the batter before baking, just to add some more chocolate peanut buttery goodness to the cupcake. I then topped the cupcakes off with a creamy peanut butter cream cheese frosting and another Reese's cup half on top. Talk about a rich cupcake! These cupcakes were great, but a couple of bites was definitely more than enough..I think if I make these again I will probably make them as mini cupcakes just because they are super rich.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)

Sift powdered sugar into large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth.

Here's the site where I got the frosting recipe from: