Archive for the 'Pumpkin' Category

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies

I’ve baked these cookies twice in the last two weeks because they are just so good. I only have a crappy photo of them though, and have been hesitant to show it to anyone because the picture doesn’t do the cookies justice. Thank you to Gina, for reminding me that I need to post them because everyone needs to try making them. Gina, you’ve got yourself a special appreciation coming your way!

These pumpkin toffee cookies were on my Halloween table, and they’d make a great dessert for any Thanksgiving meal. In this picture, they don’t look as delicious as they really are. They melt in your mouth. They are pumpkin, my favorite flavor. There are little chunks of gooey, sticky toffee in every bite. And, if you under-bake them, these cookies are even softer and gooeyer and more delicate. If that description doesn’t make you want to try them, here’s one more hint about how good they are: My girlfriend said she wanted to marry them. Thank goodness she now has to be gluten-free and egg-free, or else I’d never have a chance!

The recipe came from this blog, but instead of allspice I used cloves and my toffee was chocolate-almond-covered. I also couldn’t resist adding extra toffee to the batter.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

‘Tis the season for pumpkins and warm spices, even if it is beautiful, sunny, and hot outside here in Northern California. I know it is not so in the East Coast – my friends out there, please bundle up and find a nice cozy spot with a big blanket and a mug of hot cocoa or tea because it seems like this storm will be a big one! If you have all these tasty ingredients in your home, you should get right to baking this delicious treat, it will warm your soul and keep you happy through the storm. Happy soon-to-be Halloween!

The recipe is based on an old favorite banana bread recipe, which can be found here.

Banana Bread
Makes 1 full-sized loaf or 2 small loaves

Preheat the oven to 350.

In one bowl or an electric mixer, combine:

1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup sugar

Use your electric mixer to mix the ingredients – If you are not using an electric mixer, use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.

In another bowl, combine:

1 1/3 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.

If you like, stir in additional ingredients here, such as chopped walnuts or pecans, dried cherries or apricots, or chocolate chips. A handful (about a half a cup) is about right. I used only chocolate chips in my bread.

Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.

After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool. Once they are cool they can be individually wrapped and frozen.

Enjoy!

Mini Gingerbread Loaves for a Sweet New Year

I haven’t updated my blog in forever. I’m so sorry dear readers! Teaching has consumed so much of my time/life/energy/thoughts/dreams/being. When I do leave school, I may still have inspiration for baking but I have few daylight hours to take pictures and sometimes I just can’t bare to be on the computer any longer than I have to, as I crave adult contact and outside adventures! Over winter vacation though, I have had ample time to relax and recuperate, and be outside to my heart’s content. I have baked up a storm, although it wouldn’t seem like it from the small number of pictures I’ve taken. I did capture these delicious Orange Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaves, and I’m happy to share them with you. My lovely housemate gave me these mini loaf pans for the holidays, but the recipe is versatile and you can bake the batter into a larger loaf pan or a cake pan if you want. The orange juice gives a nice spicy flavor, and really highlights the ginger.

Bake these delicious treats to ring in a sweet new year! Have a happy holiday, everyone!

Gingerbread Ingredients and Recipe:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup dark molasses
1 cup orange juice
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use plain white flour, or do as I did: Easily make it gluten-free by using Bob’s Red Mill brand Gluten-Free Baking Mix)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger (optional)
1 Tbsp. orange zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix pumpkin and molasses. Add orange juice.
Sift together the dry ingredients and combine everything together.

Pour into a non-stick 8×8 inch baking pan, or a loaf pan.  Bake 60 minutes. Bake the mini loaves for only about 18 minutes. If you stick a knife into the middle, it should come out nearly clean but not quite – you want it to be a little sticky.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Whipped Coconut Topping

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday yesterday, filled with family and friends, and of course lots of delicious food. Based on my own experience, I suspect that you stuffed yourselves, although hopefully not as much as I did! But, however full I felt last night (and still this morning!), I always enjoy looking at more food, so here is a sample of what I made and ate last night.

For our feast, I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake and topped it with a rich Whipped Coconut Creme. It tasted quite delicious, although definitely more like a pumpkin pie than a cheesecake. I think if I had used a Vitamix or a more powerful food processor, I could have gotten the filling to have a more even consistency (like the one in the original recipe’s picture, here), but nonetheless it tasted great. It had a wonderful pumpkin taste, and the pecans in the crust complemented the fall flavors very nicely. We had a little bit of extra crust dough that I baked separately, and it ended up thick and tasty as a simple shortbread-like cookie on it’s own. The coconut creme was from a recipe in Sweet Freedom, for a sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free vegan whipped cream. Dolloped on top of the pie, it was rich, sweet, and certainly very creamy, but not as light and fluffy as whipped cream should be. Our consensus was that it would have been very good as a fruit tart filling, and next time I make one I will definitely use this recipe!

Gluten-Free, Refined-Sugar-Free, Vegan and Delicious Pumpkin Scones

Yes, believe what the title says. It is definitely possible to make delicious vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free desserts. I’m slowly converting everyone I know, and I hope to convert you too, at least to the idea that this is a possible baking feat. I’m so used to adapting regular recipes, and have figured out good proportions of animal-friendly (as well as gluten-free and sugar-free) ingredients to make yummy veganized versions, but this time I found a recipe online that was already perfect and fit all my dietary requirements. Plus, it was already tested and blogged about, and even photographed so I could see evidence that this recipe actually worked. You can find all of that proof, plus the recipe, right here. I followed the recipe to a T, with a tiny addition of half a cup of chopped pecans mixed into the batter and sprinkled on the top before baking. I have to admit – these scones are a little bit muffin-like in consistency (they had a fluffier and a little more cake-like texture than most scones do), but they are so delicious you won’t care at all. You’ll eat tons of them. Especially because they are pumpkin (my favorite flavor), have no gluten, no refined sugar, no dairy and no eggs. So they practically don’t exist or have calories or anything, right?

Pumpkin Mummy-Cakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Halloween is quickly approaching – and if you weren’t aware of it, I can help you out. I can tell it’s Halloween time for a few reasons:

1. The weather has gotten crisper and windier, and the red and gold leaves are blowing off the trees into huge piles in my backyard.

2. There are pumpkins everywhere; carved and whole. There are ghosts hanging from trees, and goblins and spiderwebs peeking from behind windows and creeping out on front lawns.

3. I am student teaching in a Kindergarten classroom and the students are excited about Halloween, to say the least. In preparation, we’ve made black paper bats that hang from the windows and pumpkin-shaped paper-chain calendars to countdown till the very day, we’ve measured pumpkins up and down and weighed them and even got to make predictions about what might be inside a pumpkin — and then the kids got to stand on the picnic tables outside and smash them onto the ground to find out! We’ve also been reading Halloween books for weeks. Books about counting and math, about the alphabet, about helping friends, about trick-or-treating, about being kind to each other, about making mistakes, and about making good choices. Besides these good-community-oriented and academic themes, the books involve witches and scarecrows and ghosts and bats and monsters, which captures every student’s attention. We even read a book about a witch who baked her grumpy day into a cake! It went right along with my lesson plan theme, which was to cook pumpkin pancakes! I’ve been teaching small groups of four, five, and six year olds how to make these delicious pancakes all week, and finally the cinnamon smells got the best of me.

The Fall weather, the Halloween spirit, and the pumpkin pancake cooking ingredients all came together to form these cute little cupcake critters. As soon as I saw Lindsay’s post about her creations, I knew I had to decorate some cupcakes just like she did! I used her recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, and added a ton of cinnamon to a basic vanilla buttercream frosting to top mine off. Aren’t they perfect?

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Pumpkin Seed Oil Cake

IMG_9463#2Tara’s mom lives in Vienna, and a popular item there is Pumpkin Seed Oil! They eat it on salads as a dressing, and there is a pound cake that is made with it as well. Pumpkin Seed Oil has an intense and exquisite nutty taste, and is rich in essential fatty acids, so it’s very good for you, as well as producing a great green color to anything it touches!

Tara was so excited about the oil that her mom very generously gave us some, and today we baked the cake! We had to pretty radically adjust the recipe to make it vegan, because it used a lot of butter and eggs. But we came up with something good and it worked very well. Our cake was a deep green and a good heavy consistency. As it wasn’t too sweet, it would be great as a brunch item (with green eggs and ham?), but we got a little creative and added a few different sauces and icings to sweeten it up. You can see from the photo above, that we made a cashew icing that I’ve used before, from Hannah Kaminsky’s blog. This time I wanted it thicker, so I simply doubled the amount of cashews. As usual, it was delightfully creamy and rich. It was perfect paired with the cake!

Continue reading ‘Pumpkin Seed Oil Cake’


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Photos, Original Recipes & Text ©cookiesandcandids 2008-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved. If you repost any material from this blog, please give credit by including a link back to me. Thank you!