It’s Pumpkin Time: Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

It’s that time again, pumpkin season!!! Things are cooling off here in Ohio and fall is quickly setting in.  I have a love/hate relationship with this time of year.  I love the fresh air, the flavors, the leaves changing colors… but I hate that winter will be here sooner than I’d like.

I tried to hold off on baking with pumpkin for as long as I could, but I just could not hold back any longer. Tomorrow night a friend is hosting a Lia Sophia jewelry party, so I used that as an excuse to bake.  These pumpkin cheesecake muffins are to. die. for.  Every bite is like a little party in your mouth, I’m not even kidding.  I got this recipe idea from the lovely Pinterest, of course.  The original recipe came from Annie’s Eats. 

If you are a pumpkin fan of any sorts, make these asap! Seriously.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.  🙂

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 8 ounces  cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoont flour
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbls vegetable oil

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Instructions: 

1. To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, egg, flour and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Set aside.

2. To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

3. To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

4. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin about 2/3 full with batter. Add a dollop of filling on top. Sprinkle with topping. Bake or 15 minutes

 

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Rolo Cupcakes

Brace yourselves for an incredible cupcake recipe.

Husband asked me to bake something for a bake sale they were having at work for breast cancer. So naturally, I decided to bake a cupcake. Everyone loves cupcakes and I love baking new, fun things inside of cupcakes.  So why not a Rolo, right?  A friend from school had never even heard of rolo’s before.  Whats that about?  If you’ve never tried one, please go buy some and try one, and then bake these cupcakes because they turned out phenomenal!

The cake recipe was from Cake Mix Doctor, so it was super easy to throw together and the cake turned out very moist! I toped each cupcake with a caramel buttercream frosting. Worth. Every. Calorie.

Enjoy 🙂

For the Cupcake: 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package Devil’s Food Cake mix
  • 1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs; lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 24 frozen Rolos (freeze for at least 2 hours)

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 2.  Line muffin pan with paper liners (24) or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, water and vanilla until well combined and smooth.

4. Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans. {I use a large cookie scoop from OXO to scoop my batter; it holds 3 tablespoons}.

5. Gently push a frozen Rolo into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy with batter.

6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch. A small divot may appear in the center of the cupcake, no worries though because you’ll cover that with frosting.

7. Cool cupcakes thoroughly on wire rack.

They balloon up! So be sure not to overfill…

For the Frosting

Ingredients: 

  • 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup caramel icing toping
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 4 cups (~1lb) confectionaries sugar
  • 2 teaspoons milk or water

Instructions:

1. Cream shortening, caramel ice cream topping, vanilla, and butter flavoring.

2. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk or water and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. (add more or less milk to get to the consistency you want.

3.  For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use.

Now all you that have left to do is frost your cupcakes!

 

 

(Every one always asks how I make my icing look so pretty, I use a pipping bag and pipping tip!  You can find them in cake decorating isle at Walmart or online at Wilton’s.  I promise it’s easy to use! 🙂 )

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

 

Eggplant Rolls

Hello friends!

I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted.  Things have been a little hectic around here. We had a rough final exams week last week, thank God that’s over.  I’m pretty sure I loose at least 5 years off my life during each finals week because of stress alone. This week I’ve been on spring break and it has been wonderful.  I went to Chicago for a few day, I love Chicago.  My mom had a work conference there so I met her there and snuck in some much needed quality mommy time.  ❤

Now, on to more important things – like Eggplant Rolls. Yummy! I served these next to some pasta, green beans, and a salad and they turned out delicious.

Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Eggplants
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 whole Egg, beaten
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ cups grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¼ cups Basil
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cups of your favorite Pasta Sauce

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut off stem of each eggplant and slice lengthwise into 6 slices. Put the slices on backing sheets, brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.  Roast eggplant for 8 – 10 minutes per side, remove from the oven, making sure they are tender.  Cover with foil and allow to steam for another 10 minutes.

3.  Combine ricotta, egg, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh basil, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Spread half of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Evenly divide the ricotta filling over the eggplant slices and spread to cover completely. Starting with the narrower end, roll up each eggplant slice tightly.

5. Place eggplant seam side down in dish and top with remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of Mozzarella and ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

‘Tis the season for pumpkin!

I’ve been searching for the “perfect” pumpkin bread recipe, and this recipe was the winner. I got the recipe from allrecipess.com but made a few changes because I was missing a couple ingredients.   This recipe is a must try, it turned out amazing!!! Delicious, delicious, delicious.

I have to admit while I was putting it all together, I was a little nervous. The recipe asks you to place half the pumpkin batter in the loaf pan, followed by a layer of cream cheese filling, and then the remainder of the pumpkin batter.  The batter was so heavy that it fell in to the cream cheese filling…but somehow, some magic must have happened in the oven and it turned out perfectly.  Did I mention that it was delicious?

Let me know how it goes if you try it! I hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Ingredients:

Cream cheese filling: 

– 1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese
– 1/2 cup white sugar
– 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
– 1 egg
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (original recipe called for  1 tbsp orange zest)

Pumpkin batter: 

– 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (original recipe called for 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ground gloves)
– 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1  cups white sugar (original recipe called for 1 1/2 cup white sugar and no brown sugar)

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease (with PAM) two 8×4 inch loaf pans. ( I apparently can’t read and only used 1 loaf pan…oops! I just made one GIANT loaf instead of two)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth. Set aside.
  3.  Sift together 1 2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin pie spice; set aside
  4. Place pumpkin, vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar in a large bowl; beat well.
  5. Stir the flour mixture in to the pumpkin mixture, just until well combined.
  6. Pour 1/2 of the pumpkin batter into the loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of this layer and then pour the remaining pumpkin batter on top.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes (mine took about 80 minutes since I made one giant one), or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Can’t wait to have a slice with my pumpkin spice coffee in the morning for breakfast, yumm!!

Happy Birthday Diesel!!!

Today is Diesel’s third birthday!! Happy birthday pumpkin!!! (My mom says I need to stop calling him that in public because all the neighbor dogs are making fun of him…. I think he likes it…)

Anyways, I love love love celebrating birthday’s.  Including his, why should he be left out??  Did you know that there are dog-friendly cake recipes?  Yes indeedy. Rachel Ray even has a page devoted to pet friendly recipes! I will proudly admit that I spoil him and bake him doggie cupcakes.

Because of final exams creeping up, I haven’t had the chance to make him his special birthday cupcakes.  But, here’s the recipe I used last year and will probably use again this year.  I think he really enjoyed himself at last years birthday party.

Let the tradition continue!

Banana Honey Dog Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 bannans
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tbs baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  In mixing bowl combine water, bananas, vanilla, egg, honey.  Add whole wheat flour and baking powder.
  2. Spray or line muffin tray.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

So, he wasn't a big fan of the birthday hat. But I promise he was having a good time.

Ps – For those of you wondering, I tasted them! They weren’t bad, just super bland.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Warning:  These are not so good for you, but they are so yummy.

Sometimes we just need to indulge a little (or sometimes a lot!) … If you love the peanut butter – chocolate combination, then these will hit the spot! The cupcakes turn out so so moist and surprisingly they’re not too overwhelmingly sweet.  There’s a nice balance between the chocolate and the peanut butter! This recipe is definitely on my top 10 favorite things to bake list!

Enjoy!

Ingredients for cupcakes:

– 1 package chocolate cake mix
– 1 1/4 cups water
– 1/3 cup canola oil
– 1/2 cup peanut butter
– 3 eggs
– 24 miniature peanut butter cups

Ingredients for frosting:

– 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (I just chopped up chocolate chips)
– 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1/3 cup peanut butter
– Additional miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, peanut butter, oil, and eggs, beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium for 2 min or until smooth.

2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 1/2 way.  Place a peanut butter cup in the center of each cupcake.  Cover each with 1 tablespoonful batter.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick is inserted near the center corners out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before remove from pan to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl.  In a small saucepan ring cream just to a boil.  Pour cream over chocolate; whisk until smooth.  Stir in peanut butter.  Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.
** (My icing turned out a bit runny, so I had to stick in it in the fridge for about 15-20 min!)

5. Spread over cupcakes, immediately sprinkle with additional peanut butter cups.  Let stand, until set!

** Best not to use reduced-fat or generic brands of peanut better