Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

‘Tis the time for seasonal fall treats! Now that I’ve checked an apple treat off the list, I’ve moved onto pumpkin! My friend Ray introduced me to pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a while back and since then, it’s been an annual tradition. I’m not someone who loves pumpkin. I actually can’t even handle real pumpkin pie. My family is all about the chiffon variety. These cookies, however, are beautifully spiced and cake like, it’s hard not to eat one or four.

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can canned pumpkin puree
3 cups AP flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugars with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix the dry ingredient into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough in heaping tablespoons onto your baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them rest until firm enough to remove from the baking sheet. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Share with your friends, but keep a few for yourself first

The King of Cupcakes

Late night cupcakin’

It has been a long time coming that I get back to making cupcakes. I bake often to relieve stress and to fuel my teams during busy season. The life of an auditor is a yummy one, for my teams anyway.

I was feeling a little stir crazy tonight and recalled a conversation I had earlier this month with Mr. E. He had only recently learned of the classic Elvis in the form of a smoothie and it had me hankering for a hunka hunka burning peanut butter and banana sandwich. I spied four bananas getting ripe on my kitchen counter, saved for a likely healthy destination. I took it upon myself to steer these babies away from healthy to a world of fat and sugar and magic.

For the cupcakes
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 large ripe bananas, roughly mashed
2 extra large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the frosting
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners. I got 14 cupcakes from the recipe.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add melted butter, bananas, eggs and vanilla. Using a hand mixer, mix until just combined. Do not over mix or you will get a tough crumb.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool completely prior to frosting.

To make the frosting, cream together peanut butter, cream cheese, and butter until fluffy using a hand mixer. Gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add vanilla extract.

To frost, I used my handy dandy 1M star tip because it makes the frosting look too pretty to eat. To complete the Elvis flavor trifecta, drizzle honey just before serving.

All is right with the world when there are cupcakes in my fridge

These were ridiculous. The frosting is light and sweet and salty. If you love peanut butter and bananas, you will love these!

Versunkener Apfelkuchen

Whisked away by the season, I took to my kitchen this morning armed with a number of apples Mr. E had bought earlier in the week. Inspired by a recent post seen on Smitten Kitchen, I dug through my fridge and pantry, happy with the results of my search.

Serves 8 in standard wedges, up to 12 in thinner ones

Apple Filling
4 small Macintosh apples, halved, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (originally should have been lemon but lime worked just fine)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1/4 cup clove honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 good pinches of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup honey
A good pinch of sea salt

Heat oven: To 350°F. Coat a 9-inch dark cake pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices cut halfway down each apple, taking care to keep its form in tact. In a bowl, toss apples with lime juice and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar.

In a separate large bowl, cream butter and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a bowl with a hand mixer. Add honey and mix until combined. Add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear. Add flour, half at a time, mixing until combined – take care not to over mix as this will result in a tougher crumb.

In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake powder in thirds. Again, do not over mix as you will lose the volume you’ve achieved in mixing your egg whites.

Spread cake batter in prepared cake pan, smoothing the top. Place apple halves face down over the cake batter. Pour any excess juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.

Bake cake on the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. After 5 minutes, remove cake from the pan and let cool completely.

Microwave 1/4 cup honey and a good pinch of sea salt for 30 seconds. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake. Serve.



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