Pumpkin Cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh, Pumpkin. The best time of the year.
Well, until Peppermint season comes around.
So, let's enjoy pumpkin season with these "Pumpkin Snack Cake baked in Cupcake cups and topped with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting." Kinda a long name, but that's what this is. It's not a true cupcake (which I feel should be lighter) - it's has a denser consistency. Not that that's bad! I love snack cakes...thus, with the muffin/snack cake texture, this is perfect 24 hours/day - including breakfast!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
This cake uses a whole can of pumpkin - very pumpkin-y flavor. I've made it as a snack cake, but the cupcakes are easy to bake and serve. And they look all pretty!

The recipe is adapted from Everyday Food from the Martha Stewart empire (I really miss this cooking magazine) and it was baked on the PBS Everyday Food show back in the day.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
The consistency is more snack cake/muffin. I like that in a pumpkin cake - you should taste and feel the pumpkin!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
I made a Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Frosting. The original recipe had honey but I used maple syrup instead and added some powdered sugar to stiffen it so it was "pipeable" (that's totally a word, right?)

A lot of non-bakers don't believe me, but it is so much faster to pipe frosting with a big tip than spread it with a butter knife or offset spatula. I use disposable plastic piping bags and that makes it super easier.

My happy Trader Joe's #pumpkin haul: O's, pita chips, mochi, butter, brittle, canned, pop tarts
As you can see, I'm kinda crazy about pumpkin and Trader Joe's is too! Have you tried the Pumpkin O's? I'm addicted. And that Pumpkin Brittle? OMG. So good. To tell the you truth, I was going to break off pieces of the brittle and put it on the frosting...but I didn't want to use all the brittle! (sorry co-workers). I love the Pop-Tarts and Pumpkin Butter every year. Oh, and the Pumpkin Mochi Ice Cream? YUM. The Pita Crisps aren't life changing - I'm going to skip them next time. I haven't tried the soup yet.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Celebrate Pumpkin Season by making these pumpkin treats!

Pumpkin Cupcake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from: Everyday Food Pumpkin Spice Cake with Honey Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice (I used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Pie Spice). The original recipe says you can also use: 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon each allspice and cloves)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin puree (I used Trader Joe's organic pumpkin puree)

1 stick (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep muffin tin with liners. I got 17 muffins from this recipe. (Original recipe bakes in a 9-inch square pan).
2. In a large, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. In a medium, whisk together eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin puree until combined.
4. Fold together the wet and dry ingredients until combined. Don't overmix.
5. Fill muffin cups. I use an ice cream scoop.
6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together until well blended.
2. Add maple syrup and powdered sugar and blend until smooth.
3. Pipe or spread on the cupcakes.
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Make your own Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Steel Cut Oatmeal
Steel Cut Oatmeal

Everyone knows that eating oatmeal is a great, healthy way to start your day. I really like steel cut oatmeal but it takes a long time to make (about 20-30 minutes I don't have in the morning). So, when I saw Trader Joe's frozen steel cut oatmeal package in the freezer section, I had to give it a try. It's very convenient but the portion size is a little too much for me. The package is under $2 for two, but I knew I could make it for a lot less money - oatmeal is one of the most inexpensive (but good for you) foods!

So, off to make the frozen oatmeal!
And I did make it. (And make it regularly)
And I planned to blog about it.

That was over 2 years ago.

I forgot I took these pictures of the process and never posted it! So, here is a blog post two years in the making. I recently took more photos of the process so this is a combo of two sessions.

Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
Trader Joe's sells these two packs of frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal for under $2.00 Not bad, but I knew I could make them cheaper and smaller (I can't eat this much oatmeal as I also eat fruit and yogurt in the morning). It's lightly sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar. By making it yourself, you can control the sweetness and add other stuff like agave syrup or whatever else you want.

Trader Joe's also has one that combines oatmeal with quinoa...you can always make that too!
Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
The process is simple - just make more oatmeal than you would normally eat in one sitting and freeze the rest in portions.

I used Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats. (As you can see, I've had this photo for a long time...don't worry, the oats weren't expired). The ratio is 1 cup of oats to 3 cups of water. Cook to taste and preferred consistency: 10 - 20 minutes. You need to make sure you are stirring the simmering bowl frequently. I add some maple syrup at the end of the cooking process. You can also add brown sugar, agave or honey too - or leave out all sweeteners and add it when you eat it later.

Lately, I've been purchasing the Steel Cut Oats from the bulk bin at Sprouts market - only 99 cents per pound (gives you over a cup of oats). Can't beat that price!

When the oatmeal is ready, I ladle it into a greased muffin tin. The photo above has a jumbo muffin tin, but I also use a regular muffin tin. Depends on your appetite! If I'm super hungry, I'll nuke two of the "regular muffin tin" pucks. Again, you know what portion you like. Whether you use the jumbo or regular, it WILL have a smaller volume than the Trader Joe's frozen oatmeal. You definitely get enough fiber with the Trader Joe's size oatmeal!

Steel Cut Oatmeal - Making & Freezing
After a chill in the refrig, scoop out the solid masses of oatmeal and individually wrap in plastic wrap. (This is a regular muffin tin batch).

Steel Cut Oatmeal - Making & Freezing
Once they are wrapped, I put them in the freezer. After they are frozen solid (overnight), I take the pucks and put them in a freezer bag. Grab one in the morning, nuke it and boom! Breakfast!

Steel Cut Oatmeal - Making & Freezing
In the first photo, the Steel Cut Oatmeal is topped with Pumpkin Butter and nuts. This one has a bit of maple syrup and diced apple.

Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
On the left: Homemade frozen oatmeal. (Smaller portions, nuke one or two in the morning)
On the right: Trader Joe's vacuumed packed steel cut oatmeal "puck".

Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
I love, love these toppings for the oatmeal. Trader Joe's cinnamon sugar grinder, Mango butter and the best...Pumpkin Butter!

I hope you give making homemade Steel Cut Oatmeal a try! It's super delicious on cold mornings.


Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal

1. Cook steel cut oatmeal according to the directions on the package. Or bring 3 cups of water to boil, add 1 cup uncooked oats and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally. Cook for 10-20 minutes - until desired texture. Add sweeteners if you want.
2. Scoop hot oatmeal into greased muffin tin and allow to cool. Refrigerate until cold.
3. Remove pucks from tin and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze solid in freezer.
4. When you are ready for oatmeal, unwrap one or two pucks and microwave (time depends on how many packets you are heating - I usually start with 1 minute, then stir and nuke again until hot). Depending on how water you cooked out of the oatmeal, you may need to add a few drops of water to the puck when microwaving.
5. Top with fruit, fruit butters, maple syrup, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg or anything else you fancy!
6. Get dressed, grab your lunch and head off to work or school! :)

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Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan - Coming Soon!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

baking chez moi

I'm so excited!

You can pre-order Dorie Greenspan's book: Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere.

OMG! I can't wait!

Dorie Greenspan pretty much changed my life...got me into baking, blogging and I met great people on these interwebs because of Dorie.

On September 7, 2008, I opened my email and read this...
My name is Mary and I am in the TWD [Tuesdays with Dorie] baking group with you. I saw that you commented on my blog (thanks, I just started blogging a few weeks ago and it is fun to get feedback) so I checked on your profile. I saw that you live in Los Angeles. I am coming to LA this weekend with my husband to attend a good friend's wedding. I always like to check out local food places.  Do you have any favorites you could email to me so I can check them out?

I can't believe that was 2008. Six years ago. This email started a correspondence and friendship with Mary (we call each other "East Coast Mary" and "West Coast Mary" since we are both blessed with the best name ever :)

(By the way, East Coast Mary went to Father's Office, Pinkberry (hey, it was 2008 and Yogurtland wasn't around yet), and Loteria in the Farmer's Market on Fairfax based on my food recommendations)

Anyway, since that email in 2008, we've been friends. I stayed with her family when I went to the East Coast and when Mary visited Los Angeles last year, her family came to my family's mochi making day!

And this was all thanks to Dorie and the awesome folks who put together Tuesdays with Dorie! Not only did Dorie bless us with delicious recipes (and so many good Bundt recipes!), but friendships were made. Many twitter and Instagram friends came via Dorie as well. Back in 2008, food blogging was a bit different. Less photo staging and more "I can't believe I made a pie with homemade pie crust - yay me!" (Not that there is anything wrong with food blogging today...it was just different with our little Tuesday with Dorie group of bakers).

Speaking of Tuesdays with Dorie, they are at it again! If you wish to bake your way through Dorie's new book, sign up today! I haven't been blogging as much the past couple of years, but I'm tempted to try my hand at baking my way through Dorie's book again...

Tuesdays with Dorie Collage
I made all this and more when Tuesdays with Dorie baked through Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours book! If you don't have this one, you really need to add it to your collection as well.

Whenever I bake from Dorie's books, I know I'm in good hands. The recipes are tested and tweaked until they are perfected for the home cook. It's more than a cookbook - the headnotes read like a biography, travel diary, and letter from a best friend. And there are so many recipes! You are getting an encyclopedia's worth of recipe in each book.

Did I mention? BUY HER NEW BOOK! It's 496 pages of goodness. Pre-order it today! Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere

And Dorie? Love you! Thanks so much for filling my life with deliciousness and friendship! Can't wait to see the new book!

West Coast Mary

P.S. Here are some of my Tuesdays with Dorie blog posts.
P.S.S. Full disclosure: If you click the Amazon link and buy something, I'm in the Amazon Affiliate program so I get a few cents (so I can buy more cookbooks...ahhh, the cycle of life).

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Brownie Batter Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe

Monday, October 6, 2014

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe
Brownie Batter Cookies

Every Sunday, I go to my parent's house so I can hang out with my dad while my mom goes to church. I make Dad breakfast, push him in his wheelchair around the block with Cidney the Girl Dog and currently, watch some football or baseball.

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe
Since the games don't begin til 10 am, we watch the Food Network in the morning. 9 am is The Pioneer Woman and 9:30 am is Trisha Yearwood. On a recent show, she made these Brownie Batter Cookies along with her college girlfriends. It was a sweet show and reminds me of my longtime college friends. Note to self: Need to get together with them and make them cookies!

Whether you are getting together with college friends or hanging out with the family, you can make these brownie cookies! They bake faster than brownies and everyone can have a few.

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe
I made half the recipe and scooped smaller cookies (because I got 2 dozen cookies when it should have only made 1 dozen). Here are my measurements and instructions; you can find the original recipe from The Food Network here.

Brownie Batter Cookies
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood's recipe

Makes 24 small cookies (I mostly halved Trisha Yearwood's recipe)

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons (125 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (75 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
2. Melt the unsweetened baking chocolate bar in the microwave and let cool slightly. Or melt over a double boiler (it isn't much so the microwave is easier).
3. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl or piece of parchment and set aside.
4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and melted chocolate until smooth.
5. Add egg and mix until fully combined.
6. Add the flour mixture slowly until just mixed. Then add the vanilla extract.
7. Use a spatula and fold in the chocolate chips to the batter. Batter will be thick.
8. Drop cookies onto sheet and bake for 13-16 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your cookies.
See the original recipe on the Food Network's website here.
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