Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Oh, hi! Nice to see you again! So, um, I guess I haven’t posted much recently. I blinked and 11 months just disappeared! Isn’t it funny how that happens?

You know what else is funny? All of the plans I had for life after baby. One of my plans was to continue blogging regularly, maybe even more! After all, now I had a new way to relate to readers. I was going to blog all about the meals I was making, the homemade baby food my baby was going to love to eat, the DIY projects I was going to start, maybe I would even write about the cloth diapers I obsessed over my entire pregnancy, and the way I reorganized my life to fit both new mommy me and old me. Some of my favorite blogs are written by moms! They seem to be able to do it all!

But the truth is… I haven’t quite found the way to reorganize my life to seamlessly fit new mommy me and old me. It’s a work in progress.

The truth is, I make dinner, but not every night. Sometimes the recipes are new but a lot of the time they’re old standbys. And my baby didn’t like homemade baby food (or really any baby food, she preferred baby led weaning). And DIY projects? Ain’t nobody got time for that. And I love cloth diapers. I really, really do. But I went back to work in January and now only use them part time. And blogging? Yikes!

The truth is, I WANT to blog. I do. I just haven’t found that magical place where motivation meets time and energy.

But recently I got a little nudge. The cooking board I am on decided to bring back recipe swaps and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to see if I can manage to fit in a little old me. I’m happy to say that other than a minor hiccup (where I wrote an entire post and WordPress randomly decided to eat it), I managed!

My assigned blog was Dough See Dough, run by Jenni. To say that I spent a LOT of time scouring her pages for the perfect “back to blogging” recipe is an understatement. So many things caught my eye. These Chinese BBQ Pork Buns. This Turkey & Rice Taco Skillet. These Snickerdoodles… So what would I choose?

Clearly these delicious Iced Pumpkin Cookies won. After all, ’tis the season! And what better way to get back to blogging than with pumpkin?

I think these cookies were really a great choice. I made very few changes, only adding dairy (Jenni’s version was dairy free!) and substituting some white whole wheat flour for all purpose flour. Because doing that makes me feel like I’m making a healthy cookie (just humor me) that I can eat for breakfast (and I have). Hopefully you enjoy them just as much as I have!

 

Just because, here is my sweet, energetic, fun, wild, beautiful little TODDLER!! Rocking her pumpkin wear.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

I know, I just posted a pumpkin recipe last week. But can you really have too many pumpkin recipes? I think not. Especially in the world of food blogging, there is always room for more pumpkin recipes.

Actually, I’m kind of surprised I’ve never posted a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes before. It’s well known on my dad’s side of the family that every year I will bring pumpkin cupcakes and/or cookies to the family meal. This year I am not able to make it in person, but I’m there in spirit and sending virtual pumpkin love.

This particular pumpkin cupcake recipe is actually different than the one I’ve used in the past. Once I tried it, I knew my old recipe was old news. This recipe creates a perfectly domed cupcake, with a moist interior, and the perfect cupcake crumb. I made this particular batch for a work party at Jesse’s office and I heard that they were a huge hit. He certainly didn’t bring home any leftover cupcakes for me…. Good thing I got my taste tests in before he took them! :)

 

 

Butterscotch and Pecan Pumpkin Cookies

As I promised on Monday, today I have a pumpkin recipe to share! These cookies have been a work in progress in my mind since the summer (when baking with pumpkin felt like wearing white after labor day). I envisioned a soft, cakey cookie with a punch of butterscotch and the warmth of spiced rum soaked pecans. Now that fall is in full swing, the cookie of my dreams has finally come to life!

Every year my mom and her sister make a sweet treat called Bourbon Balls to give away for Christmas. Bourbon Balls are basically nuts that have been soaked in liquor and dipped in chocolate. Inevitably, there is always at least one jar of soaked nuts left after all of the Bourbon Balls have been made. One year I decided to throw the leftover soaked nuts into my favorite pumpkin blondie recipe and I could not believe how amazing they tasted. You couldn’t really distinguish the bourbon, but there was this added warmth that was incredible. That’s what I had in mind when I thought of these cookies.

In order for the flavor to really shine through, I would recommend soaking the pecans at least 24 hours ahead of time. Of course you don’t have to soak your pecans in spiced rum, it’s not like you can go wrong with the pumpkin, butterscotch, pecan combo on it’s own. You could probably even get away with a shorter soak. But if you do take the time to do it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Pumpkin Praline Cake

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Originally I was thinking that if Jesse wasn’t going to be home for Thanksgiving I would just fly back to Ohio. Unfortunately we found out too late and the cost of airlines tickets was outrageous. How annoying is it that the airlines can get away with charging so much more for tickets during the holidays? So I had to stay in San Diego for Thanksgiving.

Since a few friends were also staying in town, I decided to host a not-Thanksgiving dinner. Going in a completely different direction I planned a Mexican feast, complete with chicken enchiladas, shrimp enchiladas, black beans, and rice.The friends I had over were also at our turkey dinner 2 weeks earlier, so I don’t think they missed the traditional meal too much. And I have to say, I forgot how much I love enchiladas at home.

But when it came to dessert I couldn’t get the traditional pumpkin out of my head. I found this recipe and even though it didn’t really “go” with my theme, it was still awesome. Pumpkin cakes are always super moist, and the crunch from the pecans and the flavor of the caramel was perfect. And don’t even get me started on the cream cheese, whipped cream frosting fusion. Last minute I felt like the frosting needed a little kick so I sprinkled in some cinnamon and it was like heaven on a spoon when I tasted it.

Quick blog announcement: If you follow me on Facebook, then you already know this, but if you don’t (maybe you should :)) then I just want to share that starting Monday I am doing a week long feature on Christmas cookies! Stop by all next week for some Santa- friendly treats!


Pumpkin Praline Cake

Ingredients

Caramel Praline

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 Tbsp whipping cream
1 cup pecans chopped, and toasted

Cake
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Frosting 4 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 – 1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter the parchment paper.

In a small sauce pan over low heat, stir together the brown sugar, butter and heavy whipping. Keep stirring occasionally until it has all melted together, about 5 minutes. Then divide the mixture between the two cake pans. Sprinkle the pecans into the cake pans, over the brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

In another bowl, with a hand held mixer (or standing mixer), beat together the eggs, vegetable oil and sugar until well blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients, and with the mixer on low speed, combine. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top of the cake is spongy and the edges start to pull away from the sides. Let the cakes cool in the pan or 5 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks*. Allow to cool until no longer warm to the touch, at least 1 1/2 hours, before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until light and creamy. Add the whipping cream 1/4 cup at a time, beating on high speed until smooth, and scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. After the last addition beat until it has the consistency of whipped cream. Finally stir in the cinnamon.

Frost the top of each cake then stack one on top of the other. Garnish with whole pecans.

Adapted from Beantown Baker