Pumpkin Muffins With Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin MuffinsI recently learned that the pumpkin is considered to be part of the fruit family.  While I don’t really understand why or how it is categorized that way, I can tell you, with confidence, that the pumpkin is a great way to enhance your baking. Why do you think everything turns pumpkin flavored when the leaves start to change colors? Because it is awesome. The best part is that you can use it all year around. Pumpkin puree keeps very well, and can be found canned at the grocery store any time.

Whether you are celebrating fall flavors or just feel like a delicious pumpkin snack – this recipe is for you. These muffins are great for a grab-n-go breakfast, or an after dinner treat when smothered with the cream cheese frosting. Ok let’s be real- any time of day treat. Who just saves the good stuff for after dinner anymore.
Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Muffins

  • 2 cups pumpkin (530 g)
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar (335 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (223 g)
  • 2 cups flour (256 g)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder (8 g)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (4 g)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (5 g)
  • 1 tsp. salt (6 g)
  • 3/4 cups pecans (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, firm but not cold (113 g)
  • 6 oz cream cheese, cold (170 g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (2 g)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (700 g)

 

Pumpkin Muffins

Directions

Muffins

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line 24  cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin puree, eggs, and sugar until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients (and pecans if adding) to wet mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Divide the batter evenly so each liner is 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix cream cheese and butter on a medium speed until combined.
  2. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  3. On a low speed, add powdered sugar gradually. Once the powdered sugar is fully combined, increase the speed to high for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Once muffins are cooled, frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with pecans.

 

Pumpkin Muffins

 

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DIY Halloween Cupcakes

DIY Halloween CupcakesOctober is my favorite month of the year. I love when the leaves start to change colors, I love all things pumpkin, and most importantly, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Halloween. It’s  my family’s favorite holiday. Since I can remember, we have been celebrating Halloween the right way. No half-ass costumes, or bite sized candy bars – we follow the go big or go home mentality. And yes, the dogs get in on the action. There are wigs, masks, face paint, and a big party with tons of delicious food. So this year I decided I would contribute to the party with these adorable monster and jack-o-lantern cupcakes. They were a lot of fun and easy to make. So even if you are not as obsessed with Halloween as I am, you can still give these cupcakes a try.MONSTERS

Chocolate Cupcakes

(makes 24 cupcakes)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar (402 g)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (224 g)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (89 g)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda (10 g)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder (4 g)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (6 g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (245 g)
  • 1 cup coffee (8 fluid oz.)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (112 g)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (9 g)

Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F,  grease the cupcake tins and  place the cupcake liners.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment,  combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • On low speed, add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
  • Once everything is combined, beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
    1. Pour batter into cupcake liners 2/3 full.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool completely.

Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 cup or two sticks unsalted butter (226 g)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (438 g)
  • 1 tbs. whole milk (2 g)
  • 1tsp. vanilla extract (4 g)
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt (1g)

Directions

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  1.  On low speed add confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla.
  2. Once all the ingredients are combined,  mix on high speed for 3 minutes.

 

Decorating

  1.  While your cupcakes are cooling, and your frosting is made, prep everything else you need.
    • Food coloring
    • Fondant
    • Rolling Pin
    • Ateco tips #5, #30, #133, #805
    • Exacto Knife
    • Pipping BagsDIY Halloween Cupcakes
  2. Divide your frosting into separate bowls and add food coloring until you reach desired color.
  3. Roll out fondant and make the faces. I used a combo of an exacto knife and Ateco tips #5 and #805 – you can really get creative here!DIY Halloween Cupcakes
  4. Once your faces are complete, frost your cupcakes. As you can see, I used a different frosting technique for each color.
  5. Once you are done frosting place on your faces!

DIY Halloween CupcakesDIY Halloween CupcakesDIY Halloween Cupcakes

 

You can really create any kind of spooky Halloween character – a ghost, a witch, a black cat. Let your imagination run wild!DIY Halloween Cupcakes

Happy Baking!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering how good I am at Halloween…Trees

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Box Brownie Hack – Cookies and Cream Brownies

Hack BrowniesI recently made the move from NYC to CA. And let me tell you something…it is not that easy to move all of your belongings across the country. Some things got cut – and by some things, I mean all the furniture. When I finally got to CA, I was excited to start from scratch and create this awesome shabby chic beach cottage. I had so many ideas and so many things I wanted to buy. And then I realized I couldn’t afford any of them. Literally – any of them. So Ikea became my new best friend. I spent a lot of time there, the ice cream man actually began to call me by my name. (It’s a $1 cone – don’t judge me) But, the most important thing I learned during this whole process was the beauty of the “Ikea Hack”. There is a whole community out there who are dedicated to taking basic Ikea furniture and taking it to the next level. It is amazing. And all this hack talk got me thinking…you could probably take some pretty basic recipes and hack them too. I went straight to the kitchen and the result turned out way better than expected. In this recipe, we are taking a basic box brownie recipe and adding a little something to take it to the next level.

Cookies and Cream BrowniesBrownie Hack

  • 1 box brownie mix
  • eggs  (as directed on back of box)
  • oil (as directed on back of box)
  • water (as directed on back of box)
  • 16-20 Oreo cookies

*I highly recommend Betty Crocker’s Supreme Triple Chunk with Hershey Syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Coat the bottom of a 9 x 9 pan with butter or PAM and line with parchment.
  3. Prepare the box brownies as directed on the back of the box.
  4. Roughly crush Oreo cookies in a plastic bag
  5. Mix crushed Oreo cookies to batter and mix thoroughly.
  6. Scrape batter into pan and bake for roughly 40 minutes (Or as directed on the pack of box).
  7. Allow them to cool before cutting. Brownies

These brownies are awesome just like this. But if you want to make them even better add some cookie and cream frosting.

Cookies and Cream ButtercreamCookies and Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • water
  • candy thermometer
  • 16 Oreo cookies

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan put 1/2 cup (MINUS TWO TABLESPOONS) of sugar and cover the sugar with a little bit of water until the sugar looks like wet sand. Cook on a stove top over high heat until it reaches 248 degrees Fahrenheit (you need a candy thermometer here).
  2. While the sugar is cooking, whip eggs whites in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at a high speed until you reach soft peaks.
  3. Once the egg whites reach soft peaks add two tablespoons of sugar and mix on a high speed until the egg whites reach stiff peaks. You can keep mixing the egg whites at a high speed until the sugar is done cooking.
  4. Once the sugar reaches 248 degrees, immediately add it to the egg white mixture. Mix on a high speed for 30 minutes.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the room temperature butter and mix on a high speed for 5-10 minutes until the butter is fully combined and the mixture resembles buttercream.
  6. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
  7. Roughly crush Oreo cookies in a plastic bag.
  8. Add Oreo cookies to frosting mixture and mix until combined.
  9. Apply a nice layer of frosting on top of the cooled brownies. Brownie Hacktake me home