Pumpkin Gingerbread with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

My favorite time of year to bake is almost here and not soon enough!  I love the smell of cinnamon and ginger, pumpkin, cloves and all the fall spices.  I love fall baking ….period!  lol  So, I was looking for a new recipe for gingerbread when I stumbled upon this recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread.  This bread had so many things I love that are in it. I also loved how easy this bread is to make.  Most bakers already have most of the ingredients in their cabinet already!  If you love pumpkin like I do and fall spices like I do, you will love this bread.  This bread is great with or without frosting. Ohhhh, the frosting on this bread is a copy-cat version of Starbuck’s frosting they use on “their” gingerbread recipe, and, it’s delicious..  I hope you enjoy this bread as much as I do.

 

 

Happy Bread Baking!

 

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Ingredients:

3 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup Un-sweetened applesauce

4 eggs

2/3 cup water

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

2 Tablespoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

3 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

 

Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf Icing Ingredients:

 

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste

1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1/8 teaspoon orange oil

2 and 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

 

Directions

 

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease two 9 x 5 baking pans or 4 mini loaf pans; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, oil, applesauce and eggs.  Beat until smooth.  Add water and beat until well blended.

3. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice and cinnamon.

4. In  medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt and baking powder.  Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed.  Do not over-mix.

5. Divide batter between two baking loaf pans.  Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick comes out clean., about one hour for 9 x 5 inch pans.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes (begin checking around 25 minutes for mini pans).

 

Directions for Orange Frosting

 

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy.  Add vanilla and orange extract.  Slowly beat in confectioner’s sugar.  Once the bread has cooled, evenly spread the frosting on top.  Garnish with chopped candied ginger or orange peel if desired.

 

Gingerbread recipe from:

Good Thymes and Good Food blog:  http://www.goodthymesandgoodfood.com

 

Orange Frosting from: Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Frosting

 

Bits o’ Everything Bars

Here’s another great recipe if you like sweet and salty treats.  This recipe is easy to make, no baking required! You do have to melt the caramels, but that’s about the hardest part.  These are like eating a really nutty salty chocolaty candy bar! I will definitely make these again.  These are from the magazine “Better Homes and Garden’s – Brownies and Bars  2014.”  These really captured my attention because in the picture (magazine photo) they look so ooey and gooey…and ohhhhh so yummy!  Peanuts, chocolate, caramel and then…..oatmeal! How can you go wrong with all these delicious ingredients?  So, I did.  What happened is that I did not crush my pretzels small enough.  The topping wanted to come off from the bottom pretzel part, and that my friend is how they did not seem to adhere to the bottom of the crushed pretzels.  I know know it’s because I didn’t crush them well enough.  Next time making these I’ll be sure to crush the bottom layers so they will absorb the caramel better. I hope you enjoy the dessert/candy bar/brownie!

 

 

Happy Bits o’ Everything Bars! 

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Ingredients:

3 cups crushed pretzels (crush finely)

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup butter (for later)

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 (11-ounce) package caramel baking buts or one 14-ounce package vanilla caramels, unwrapped

2 cups cocktail peanuts

1 cup dark or semisweet chocolate pieces (6-ounces)

1/2 cup milk chocolate pieces

1/2 cup peanut butter flavor pieces

1 cup almond toffee bits

Assorted multi- color chocolate baking bits (optional) (can use mini-m & m’s)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pain with foil.  Grease foil; set pan aside.  For crust, in a medium bowl stir together crushed pretzels and granulated sugar.  Stir in the 1 cup melted butter until combined.  Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup butter, the whipping cream and brown sugar.  Cook and stir over medium-low heat until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved.  Stir in caramel bits.  Cook and stir until caramel is melted and mixture is smooth.  Stir in peanuts.

3. Quickly pour caramel mixture over rust, spreading evenly.  Sprinkle with dark chocolate pieces, mil chocolate pieces, peanut butter-flavor pieces and toffee bits.

4. Bake about 25 minutes or until edges are bubbly and light brown.  Cool in pan on a wire rack.  Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut bars out of pan.  Cut into bars.

Makes 36 bars.

To Store:  Layer bars between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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Easy Skillet Apple Pie

I love the opportunity to bake in my iron skillet, so when I saws this recipe in “Southern Living Cakes & Pies” I had to make it, besides, I love apple pie! This magazine was a “special collector’s edition”  I know this magazine is on book stands until August 15, 2014.

When I made this pie, I didn’t have Braeburn apples, so I used Granny Smith and other apples I had, not sure what kind they were but they still worked out great.  I’m sure you could use any apples you have.  I do prefer Granny Smith when making apple pie.  I use my iron skillet most when making pineapple upside down cake, but have often made apple pies in it also.   I made my own pie crust, but the recipe used refrigerated pie crust….your choice.  Enjoy!

 

Happy Apple Pie Baking!!

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Ingredients:

 

2 pounds Granny Smith apples

2 pounds Braeburn apples

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 (14-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

1 egg white

 

 

Directions:

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Peel apples; cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges. Toss apples with cinnamon and ¾ cup granulated sugar.
  2. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat; add brown sugar and cook stirring constantly 1 to 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and place 1 pie crust in skillet over brown sugar mixture. Spoon apple mixture over pie crust and top with remaining pie crust. Whisk egg white until foamy. Brush top of pie crust with egg white; sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar. Cut 4 or 5 slits in top for steam to escape.
  3. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly, shielding with aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning if necessary. Cool on a wire rack 30 minutes before serving.

 

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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Curd Filled Cupcakes

This is a cupcake that’s moist, a bit tart and sweet at the same time.  When all three layers go into your mouth at the same time, the combination of cake, curd and icing will amaze you.  Ohhhhhh, did I not say it’s got coffee in it?  There is something about the taste of chocolate with coffee!

I’m not, nor will I ever be a fan of drinking a cup a java.  I really don’t know why I’m not a fan of coffee, but I love love love love it in recipes!!  I love smelling coffee, the look of hot coffee in a cup all rich and dark and full of flavor, but when I take that sip of coffee, it is nothing like the appearance or smell of coffee.  Now, I never added sugar or cream to coffee for years thinking that would not help something that tasted that bad….so, years and years went by before trying coffee again.

One day someone asked me if I had ever tasted coffee with sugar and cream and I confessed that I had not.  That day this co-worker went to the coffee shop and brought me back a cup of coffee “all fixed up”! lol  Anyway, I tasted it and it actually tasted great!!  After work I proudly bought myself coffee, the kind you brew.  The next morning I made a pot of coffee and fixed it all up with sugar and creamer and went to work.  I began announcing to my co-workers that I now love coffee!!  I mean, it took me almost 60 years after-all!! lol

That day I got so sick at work I could barely make it to the bathroom to unload what my stomach contents could not longer hold.  In fact I got so sick that day I had to leave work.  I was sick the entire day making many trips tot he bathroom, again to expel the contents of my stomach.

Now, whenever I think of trying coffee again, I think of that day and how sick I was and I’ve not been able to try it again.  I know the sickness must have been a stomach virus, but because I had coffee only a few hours before, I associate coffee with how sick I was that day and it takes any desire for coffee away………………….BUT, I can have it all I want in thins I bake!  I know, strange, but fact!

Anyway, back to the cupcake recipe………..AMAZING, NEED I SAY MORE!

 

 

Happy Cupcake Baking!

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See the little specks of vanilla bean in the icing

Ingredients:

Dark Chocolate Cupcake

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup 100% Edel-Kakao extra brut chocolate cocoa powder (or the darkest cocoa powder you can find)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (real, not imitation)

2 cups flour (all-purpose)  (I use King Arthur Flour)

2 cups sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs (room temperature)

2/3 cup sour cream (room temperature)

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

1 cup unsalted butter  (room temperature)

4 Tablespoons cream cheese (room temperature)

2 pounds confectioner sugar (sifted)

1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream infused with steeped vanilla beans

1/8 teaspoon salt

Raspberry Curd

8 Tablespoons (1-stick) unsalted butter (softened)

1 and 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

6 medium egg yolks, lightly beaten

3/4 cups sugar

1/8 teaspoons salt

2 Tablespoons Lemoncino liquor (or fresh-lemon juice)

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Line cupcake pans with liners (cupcake papers)

2. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth.  Add the heavy cream, brewed coffee and vanilla.  Heat until just barely simmering.  Remove from heat and allow to cool as you prep the other ingredients.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

4. In another medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream and eggs.

5. Slowly pour the slightly cooled chocolate mixture into the egg/sour cream mixture and whisk until smooth.  Note: DO THIS SLOWLY! You don’t want to cook the egg mixture.  DO NOT DUMP IT ALL AT ONCE.

6. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.  In three parts, add the chocolate mixture to the flour.  Whisk until just combined and smooth after each addition.  Scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.  Finally, whisk batter for about 20 strokes.

7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter.  Bake 17 to 19 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8. Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Buttercream Instructions:

1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese.

2. While that is creaming, steep your heavy cream with 1 vanilla bean.  To steep: Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds and add to cream. Whisk.  Bring the bean/cream to a simmer, remove from heat and cool slightly.  Remove vanilla bean pod.

3. Add the sugar, one cup at a time into the buttercream cheese.  Mix on high until smooth.

4. Add the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

5. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup vanilla cream until you get the desired consistency you desire.  Beat on high for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy.

6. Mix in a pinch of salt.

Raspberry Curd Instructions:

1. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.

2. Add the sugar, berries, egg and salt.  Heat until the sugar has dissolved and all the berries have broken down.  Stirring Consistency.

3. Cook at low simmer (medium high) for 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.

4. Stir in the Lemoncino (or lemon juice).

5. Press the mixture through a coarse strainer sitting over a bowl.  Try to press out as much of the juice you can from the pulp and seeds of the berries.

6. Pour mixture into a jar or container with a lid.  Allow to cool on the counter for a few hours before covering and storing in refrigerator.  Curd will thicken as it cools.

7. Keeps for about a month if kept cool.

Recipe from:  javacupcake.com 

http://javacupcake.com/2012/07/raspberry-curd/

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Recipe from:  javacupcake.com  (Thank you for such a great recipe java)!

http://javacupcake.com/2012/07/raspberry-curd/

Lemon Angel Food Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Mascarpone Frosting

The summer months bring on the heat, high humidity and the need for things that cool us off!  I’m a fan of winter and baking most, but I also love the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in the summer, especially watermelon.  When it comes to baking, I’m looking for things that are lighter and not as heavy as some of the recipes in the fall and winter.  I love lime and lemon and berry recipes most when it comes to summer baking. With all the roadside stands selling fruit and vegetable produce, they have made it so easy to pick them upon our way home from work.

 

This recipe has got to be less in fat and calories right?  Ok, so it still has calories and fat, but it is more refreshing and lighter, right?  This is a recipe that Giada made on her show on the Food Network channel.  She used a boxed  Angel Food cake mix for cupcake part of this recipe, but adds a couple of things to make it a bit homemade.  I have an Angel Food cake recipe posted that you can use for cupcakes id you want to make them homemade, just click the link Angel Food Cake .  The icing uses Mascarpone cheese, but if you don’t have this kind of cheese, or you can substitute cream cheese in place of the M  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did and as much as the corpsman did at the hospital.

 

Happy Cupcake Baking!

 

Angel Food Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Icing_3

 

 

 

Lemon Curd:

 

3 egg yolks, at room temperature

Zest of 2 lemons

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 large lemons

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon fine salt

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

 

Cupcakes:

1 (1-pound) box angel food cake mix

1 cup water

Zest of 2 lemons

1/4 cup lemon juice

 

Mascarpone Frosting:

 

2 cups powdered sugar

6 tablespoons mascarpone, at room temperature

2 tablespoons milk, chilled

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Silver or pastel dragees (sprinkles)  Jordon almonds or yellow sanding sugar to decorate

 

For the cupcakes:

 

Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.

Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cake mix, water, lemon zest and juice. Beat the mixture on low speed for 30 seconds to incorporate the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium for 1 minute until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Use a scoop or spoon to fill the liners 3/4 full with the batter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden brown and the cracks on top feel dry.

Cool the cupcakes completely before filling and frosting, about 30 minutes.

To fill the cupcakes, use a small spoon to push a shallow hole in the center of each cupcake. Fill the center with 1 teaspoon of the lemon curd.

Drizzle the cupcake with some of the frosting to cover the top.

Sprinkle with the decoration of your choice. Allow the cupcakes to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

For the frosting:

 

Whisk together the powdered sugar, mascarpone, milk, and vanilla until smooth and shiny.

 

For the curd:

 

Whisk together the yolks, lemon zest, juice, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.

Place the saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan.

Cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon or spatula, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring until the consistency of the curd is smooth.

Transfer the curd to a heat-proof bowl and cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate the curd until firm and chilled, about 1 hour.

 

For the cupcakes:

 

Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.

Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cake mix, water, lemon zest and juice. Beat the mixture on low speed for 30 seconds to incorporate the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium for 1 minute until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Use a scoop or spoon to fill the liners 3/4 full with the batter.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cupcakes are golden brown and the cracks on top feel dry.

Cool the cupcakes completely before filling and frosting, about 30 minutes.

 

For the frosting:

 

Whisk together the powdered sugar, mascarpone, milk, and vanilla until smooth and shiny.

To fill the cupcakes, use a small spoon to push a shallow hole in the center of each cupcake.

Fill the center with 1 teaspoon of the lemon curd. Drizzle the cupcake with some of the frosting to cover the top.

Sprinkle with the decoration of your choice. Allow the cupcakes to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

 

 

Yield: 24 cupcakes

 

Angel Food Cupcake with Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Icing_2