Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I mentioned yesterday, I tried two Pumpkin Cookie recipes on Sunday. This one was found on AllRecipes. I essentially followed the recipe, only skipping the walnuts and increasing the baking time.

These cookies are similar to a sugar cookie recipe that I love that uses oil instead of a solid fat, uses both baking powder and baking soda, and uses milk.

These cookies turned out a nice rich color and with the addition of the cinnamon had a nice pumpkin spice type of flavor.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 3 dozen cookies

1 cup pumpkin pureed
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Dissolve the baking soda in milk. Add the milk to the pumpkin. Add flour mixture to pumpkin and mix well. Add the chocolate chips.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Since I liked different aspects of both cookies, the next logical step was to combine the two batters. After baking the 3 dozen of each, I had some extra batter so I mixed them and baked that for 16 minutes. The result was interesting, I think I liked it. The one in the middle is the blend:


Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookies

After making our Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake this weekend, I was left with about 3 cups of fresh, pureed pumpkin that I wanted to use up before it had time to go bad. I decided that it would be used to make cookies. I found two recipes that both sounded good to me and decided I would make both recipes.

The first was a cake mix recipe. I am a fan of convenience and like that it had two ingredient - pumpkin and cake mix. Now, I will admit that at first I was a little skeptical about this recipe, it sounded very similar to a muffin recipe, so I was worried that it wouldn't hold on the pan and would run off. I did make a minor adjustment and added a bit of baking soda so that they would rise and not flatten. I also added butterscotch and white chocolate chips to this batch.

The cookies turned out very moist and cake like. My son really enjoyed the addition of the butterscotch chips.

Pumpkin Cake Mix Cookies
1 box yellow cake mix
1 3/4 c fresh pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c butterscotch chips
1/2 c white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the cake mix, pumpkin and baking soda in a bowl. Mix until combined. Stir in chips.

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake

One of my favorite fall flavors is Pumpkin. At our house, we enjoy treats like Pumpkin Pudding and Pumpkin Sherbert year round - made from canned pumpkin. In the fall though, I prefer to bake with fresh pumpkin.

After Halloween, we take our small 'pie' pumpkins and roast them up in the oven, scoop out the meat and mash it. Then, of course, we roast the seeds. This year, we roasted two pumpkins and got about 4 cups of pumpkin puree from them.

Since it was just the four of us at our Thanksgiving meal this year (we had had Thanksgiving with my extended family the weekend before), I decided to go with a pumpkin cheesecake this year, instead of the traditional pie. I tried and tweaked a new recipe. It was well received by the family. I think that the fact that it only used two packages of cream cheese was part of the secret - it gave a better texture, as it was able to cook more evenly then some of the larger, thicker recipes we have had in the past. I didn't do a water bath and it cracked, but I am okay with that - function over form, taste over appearance. This recipe is a definite keeper.

Pumpkin Marble Cheesecake

Servings 10

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup fresh pumpkin pureed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray 9" spring-form pan with cooking spray. Combine the crushed graham crackers and melted butter. Press into the bottom and up sides of the pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, and vanilla. Cream until smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reserve 1 cup of the batter, refrigerate covered. To the remaining batter, add the remaining sugar, the pumpkin and spices. Mix until blended.

Remove the plain batter from the refrigerator and spoon about half onto the crust in dollops. Cover with the pumpkin batter and then dollop the remaining plain batter on top. Using a butter knife, gently swirl the batters together.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack in pan. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Beer Chicken

Pinterest strikes again! I was checking out what my friends were pinning the other day when I came across a recipe for Crock Pot Beer Chicken. Overall, it was a simple and basic recipe, so I decided to kick it up a notch by adding gravy. I made it for dinner and the family enjoyed it. The chicken was so tender, moist and full of flavor. The kids ate all of the chicken that I gave them and the gravy really gave it that extra rich flavor. My husband compared the gravy to a Marsala sauce, without the mushrooms. We used a Yuengling Black and Tan for the beer.

Slow Cooker Beer Chicken

2lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 bottle or can of your favorite beer
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp flour or corn starch

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour or cornstarch. Stir with a whisk, once it has thickened, add about 1 cup of the broth from the slow cooker. Stir with the whisk. Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes, adding additional broth as needed to maintain the desired consistency. I strained the gravy before serving.

Serve chicken with gravy.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Brownie S'mores Cupcakes

The other evening, I was out meandering on Pinterest (I do a lot of that) and stumbled upon a post for Brownie Marshmallow Cupcakes at Striving to Be Bold. They sounded very intriguing to me, but I knew that if I made them, I would have to change them up. I wound up making several changes and in the end, I made Brownie S'mores Cupcakes.

Brownie S'mores Cupcakes
yields 12 cupcakes

1 pkg Brownie Mix Family Size (for 13x9 pan) prepared
Graham Crackers, broken (about 3 full, 4 cracker sheets)
1/2 c Milk Chocolate Chips

Prepare a cupcake pan with pan spray.

Ladle enough brownie batter into each cup to just cover the bottom.
Into each cup, place about 4-5 mini-marshmallows making sure that they are in the middle and not touching the edge.
Top with the remaining brownie batter.
On each cupcake, sprinkle some graham cracker pieces and crumbs. Add milk chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and add 6-7 mini-marshmallows to the top of each cupcake.

Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 10 minutes.

Allow to cool before removing from the pan.
These cupcakes were so nice and ooey-gooey in the middle and the toasted marshmallow on top was delicious.
We took them to a game night with friends and they were a hit.