Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I can’t believe November is almost over! I mean seriously, where did the time go?

And with the end of November brings the end of pumpkin baking season, at least in my eyes. The only good thing about pumpkin season being over is that gingerbread and maple season starts. Boy do I love the taste of maple.

But to celebrate the end of pumpkin season I bring you these amazing pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Goodness these things are so addicting!

In all honesty these have become one of my favorite pumpkin recipes, this cake being my absolute favorite.

These little gems basically taste like a pie shoved in a cookie, especially if you under-bake it just a tad. They are soft, and kind of chewy in a very good way. And the addition of chocolate chips is just a bonus! Whoever thought of pumpkin and chocolate together was brilliant!

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 50 medium-small cookies
From My Blessed Life

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flours
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup pumpkin puree
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold the flour into the pumpkin mixture. Mix until the flour is just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use a medium-small cookie scoop to distribute the dough. Bake for about 8 minutes or until the edges are set and the center is still soft. Cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before removing the cookies onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

I am honestly starting to believe that time goes through a black hole and is never to be seen again. That is the only explanation as to why it seems like no time has passed and yet it’s already mid-November.

Today marks the 8th week of 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, a wonderful blog hop hosted by Brenda.

I absolutely love the holidays and all holiday food. But I have a strict flavor calendar. Like pumpkin in the months of October and November only and maple in late November and all of December. Gingerbread flavors are strictly for December only.

So because it is still November I’m going to post another pumpkin recipe. I hope to get a few more in before the end of the month.

Now I know I just said pumpkin is should stay within the October/November time frame, but some people are cooky and like eating pumpkin in December as well, which is why I’m including this pumpkin cheesecake for the Christmas Treats blog hop.

Now these were supposed to be bars, but I liked the idea of turning this cheesecake-pie combo into a circle because I have a spring form pan and that would make getting the cheesecake out so much easier.

I don’t have many recipes for cheesecake because it’s not really something I think about often or order when I’m at a restaurant. However, every time I do make cheesecake I wonder why I don’t make it more often. Quite frankly I can’t think of a good reason not to make cheesecake.

The filling is oh so creamy and soft and just mmmmmm. And the pumpkin shines through just enough. I have no complaints about the filling at all. If this was cooked by itself I would eat the entire thing with a fork.

The crust was a nice surprise. Most cheesecakes ask for a cookie/graham cracker crust, but this one is more of a pie crust, which I loved. I suck at making pie crusts and they never taste any good. But this one was yummy, yummy in my tummy.

The only complaint about this recipe was the cream cheese frosting. That thing liquefied so easily and I don’t understand what happened! It set up perfectly in the bowl, but as soon as I put it on the cheesecake it just became liquid. But don’t let that deter you from making this luscious dessert!

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
Adapted from Eats Well with Others
Makes one 8-inch round cheesecake

¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg yolk

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sugar
¼ cups + 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup
¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ginger
1 large egg, room temperature

2 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round spring form pan with tin foil.

For the crust: place flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub the butter in with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Mix in the egg yolk until the dough starts to come together. Pat the dough into a uniform disk and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes. Roll out dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Dock the top of the crust with a fork and cover with tin foil. Bake for about 10 minutes. Take off the tin foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Allow the crust to cool as you make the filling.

Turn oven temperature down to 300 F.

For filling: beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until completely combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, syrup, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Pour mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese and sugar. Mix everything together until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Whisk in egg.

Pour filling into the prepared crust and bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges are set and the center jiggles slightly. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

For the frosting: beat together the cream cheese and the butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth. Spread frosting over chilled cheesecake. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies

I love cookies, I really do. But if I see a tower of brownies sitting on a party plate I’m going to go check it out. If it looks fudgy and dense I’m going to be all over it! Don’t get me wrong, cookies are amazing, but sometimes they just give false hopes. I can’t tell you how many times I have bitten into a cookie, thinking the center was soft and gooey, and instead it just crumbles in my mouth. It’s a huge let down and anyone who says differently is a little liar.

So for the 7th week of Christmas Treats, hosted by Brenda of Meal Planning Magic, I’m sharing these wonderfully fudgy, chocolatey, dense, and all around fabulous brownies.

I’m pretty sure these are the best brownies I have made so far, true story. I made these back in the summer for a night out with friends and I regret only eating one because all my friends ate the rest later that night. But then again I did eat a majority of these little darlings.

I used to not like chocolate chips in the brownie, thinking their sole purpose was to distract from a mediocre chocolate taste, but the chocolate chips added to these brownies was just an added chocolate bonus.

Oh and the fudginess of these brownies is serious! I thought about buying vanilla ice cream just so I could tone down the fudge factor. But alas I found myself ice cream-less and reaching for a second third helping of brownie.

Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies
Makes one 8x8 inch pan

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup milk chocolate chunks/chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 inch pan with tin foil. Grease foil with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, only adding the second after the first has been fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl as necessary. Add the flour to the butter mixture. Mix until the flour has disappeared. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the center. Cool in the pan until room temperature. Cut brownie into squares and serve.

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