Pumpkin Season!!

I’m so behind on my blogging! I’ve been crazy busy with school, dance, job interviews, blah blah blah that I haven’t had time to write up any of my new recipes! But it’s quickly becoming fall, meaning I’m quickly becoming more and more obsessed with the very best part of this season: pumpkin.

Like my collection? I like pumpkin everything. Pumpkin pie, Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts, pumpkin spice Eggo waffles, and of course… pumpkin.

Everything tastes good with a little pumpkin in it. Especially desserts. Which brings me to this new recipe…

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 18 cupcakes.

Ingredients
for the cupcakes
2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
dash salt
6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1/3 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C milk
2 eggs
1 1/4 C pumpkin puree
for the frosting
8 oz light cream cheese
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp maple syrup
2-4 C powdered sugar

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, sift flour, powder, soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Mix in vanilla, milk, and eggs. Slowly add pumpkin and mix until smooth.
4. Gradually add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture until a batter is formed.
5. Fill pans about 2/3 full and bake for 22-28 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.
6. For the frosting, with an electric mixer combine cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup. Slowly sift in powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

These cupcakes were light and fluffy, just the way cupcakes should be. They lasted about a day in my house before my friends had eaten them all.

So I know what you’re thinking… Pumpkin comes in a huge can, but these cupcakes didn’t sure nearly that much! So what do you do? Well, you could just make tons of cupcakes, which would certainly be fine, or you could make the easiest and most delicious brownies known to mankind.

Pumpkin Brownies

Ingredients
one box of your favorite brownie mix
15oz pumpkin (I used half the 29oz can)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
chocolate chips, walnuts – optional

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13 pan.
2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until a batter forms. Do NOT use the ingredients called for on the brownie box (eggs, oil, etc).
3. Bake 25-30 min until a knife comes out clean. Let cool, cut, and eat!

Enjoy the rest of pumpkin season!

Stress Baking part 3

I made these for my BFFL’s birthday when I could have been studying for a Chinese exam and preparing for a presentation. But it’s okay because I got an A on the exam and did great on the presentation. And they made his birthday super awesome (obviously, since my cookies make everything awesome).

I gave half to the birthday boy and took half to rehearsal to give to my dancers. Not to brag or anything, but people were fighting over them. And someone asked me for the recipe. That always makes you feel great.

There are so many different things going on in this cookie but I think all the flavors complement each other really well. I hate when you put too many things and the cookie just gets really heavy – these are actually really light. They’re sort of cake-y, not a dense cookie at all, but not so cake-y that they’re not cookies anymore.

Again, they all got eaten very quickly so I’m not sure how well they keep.

Everything Cookies
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Adapted from here.

Ingredients
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1 ripe banana
1 stick butter
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/4 C applesauce
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C quick oats
~3oz chocolate chips (adjust the amount to your taste – I think less is more)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375. Toast walnuts for a few minutes (watch them – they burn easily!) and mash banana. Set both aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg, vanilla, applesauce, and banana.
3. Mix in flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
4. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake 12-13 minutes until set.

Yum yum yum. I want to make eat these again. You should make them and give me some.

Breakfasting Alone

This semester is going by so quickly – I can’t believe it. Only five weeks left in the semester, including this one, and then it’s finals and then my internship. I’m starting to feel like I haven’t done nearly as much cooking as I wanted to. Well, let me rephrase that. I cook everyday, but usually it’s lazy cooking. Pasta, sandwiches, whatever. I haven’t done as much fun and exciting cooking as I wanted.

I’ve been experimenting with tempeh quite a bit, actually. I like the taste and texture better than tofu, and it’s more versatile too. I have a hard time putting tofu in anything that isn’t Asian. I know how to put it with noodles or rice, but anything else and I just feel like it doesn’t belong! The other day I made fake Spam musubi with tempeh, which was pretty good (and super Asian), but you can definitely do more with it than that. For example, my bbq tempeh, or the really great sandwich I made the other day. I cut the tempeh really small and grilled it with some baby bella mushrooms, then stirred it up with some pesto I picked up at Trader Joe’s. Put that with some spinach and wheat bread, and you’ve got yourself a really great meal.

I have this bizarre obsession with vegan baked goods. I’m not a vegan, of course, but I love baking things and then saying GUESS WHAT THAT’S VEGAN! What I hate, though, is “vegan” recipes that call for “vegan butter” or “vegan cream cheese” or whatever. Taking a regular recipe and subbing in vegan versions of the ingredients doesn’t make a real vegan recipe.

This past weekend my Weekend Breakfast partner in crime was busy, so I decided to go vegan just for fun.

Blueberry Walnut Muffins 
Vegan. Original recipe here. Makes 12 muffins.

Ingredients
1 C quick or rolled oats
1 C soy milk
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal mixed with 2 tbsp water)
1 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp flax meal
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C chopped walnuts
1 1/3 C fresh or frozen blueberries

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 400F.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together oats, milk, agave, and almond extract.
3. While the oats are soaking, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, chia, flax, salt, and sugar.
4. Stir in the flax egg, walnuts, and oats. Last, add blueberries.
5. Spoon into muffin cups and bake 20-25 minutes.

I used frozen blueberries, which was fine I think. As soon as I stirred in the berries, the batter turned a crazy greenish color. They looked like zombie muffins but they tasted great! Not too sweet – perfect for breakfast. Although I will say you have to eat them fast. Since there’s no oil in the batter, by the second day they’re already pretty dried out. I wrapped them in a damp paper towel and zapped them in the microwave for 15 seconds, which helped, but these are definitely meant to be eaten the day of.