halloween cookies 'n cream cheesecakes

 ♫♪♫ Do you know exactly how to eat an Oreo? ♬ Well, to do it, you unscrew it ♪♫...

OR, you slap chop it (very fast),


halloween whoopie pies

"WHOOPIE!" Don't you just want to holler it when you see that word?

The Amish have a thing for the whoopie pie, as do New Englanders. Maine legend states that a baker had extra cake batter, poured it into molds, slapped some frosting in between, and there was born the whoopie pie.  I like the Amish version of the beginnings, where the Amish women placed these cake treats into school children's lunch pails. Upon opening up their meal, the kids would yell, "Whoopie!"

You should bake up a batch (or maybe pumpkin ones!) and see if kids will exclaim the same.


pumpkin brown butter cupcakes

If you're a baker, you've probably already tried a pumpkin recipe this fall. Maybe a loaf or two of bread? Whoopie pies with cream cheese filling? Perhaps a pie?

May I suggest to you another baked good to add to your arsenal of autumn sweets? These cupcakes, I admit, have the texture more akin to bread or a muffin, but there is an ingredient that makes this oh-so-special and worth a try.

Browned butter. You use it not just in the cake, but also in the icing. Lick the bowl, good to the last drop, positively, delectably delicious. And oh, the aroma! The nutty, rich smell of the butter...

The flecks of milk solids are turning golden at the bottom of the skillet.

You can see some of the flecks in the batter.

Vanilla is used in the frosting, along with browned butter,
confectioner's sugar, and a smidgen of milk.

Even without the icing, the cupcake/muffin is pretty darn good.

With the icing, however, the cupcake is divine.

Thanks to Monica of My Cupcake Journey for choosing the wonderful recipe. I baked this with a bunch of bloggers who are baking through Martha Stewart's Cupcakes- you can join in on the fun too if you'd like!

Tastewise, I felt it was little flat. I would add at least a quarter teaspoon each of ground ginger and cardamom to the spices. Also, I didn't use sage in the recipe. I didn't want that herbal note with my pumpkin cake.

Pumpkin-Brown Butter Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for tins
1⅔ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Brown-Butter Icing (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Brush standard muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage, if desired, and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, dip top of each cupcake in icing, then turn over quickly and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Brown Butter Icing

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until nut brown in color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.

Add confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to brown butter; stir until smooth. If necessary, add more milk (up to 2 tablespoons) a little at a time, just until icing is spreadable. Use immediately.

This post is linked to Chic and Crafty


brioche au chocolat

This is The Little Girl's latest project:

Hello people of the Earth and beyond! The Daughter has returned (trumpets play victoriously in the background). 

Today, I've made Brioche Au Chocolat. While labor intensive and difficult to make (well, at least for me), this little pastry is absolutely, positively delicious. The rich pastry cream and smooth chocolate filling make me feel as if I have gone to Heaven and come back down. As it says in Flour, "...you've got an out-of-this-world indulgence."

This uses only ½ of the dough, and you wonder what to do with other half? You can bake it up into a loaf, freeze it for later use, or make the coming-soon-to-blog chocolate marzipan coffeecake. YUM!


pumpkin streusel coffee cake

Today is THE PERFECT fall day. Loads of sun. Breezy cool air. Auburn leaves. Invigorating and refreshing, all the day needs now is a little cinnamon and spice.

Enter this pumpkin cake. I mixed it up in about 20 minutes, and it baked for about 40, just enough time for me to de-clutter the kitchen and get the bathroom cleaned. All in time for my music meeting.

The Committee Members enjoyed it, with two of them saying that they're not huge pumpkin fans and that this was the perfect amount of pumpkin. (They don't like pumpkin pie, so if you do, you might want a recipe with more pumpkin in it.) I personally like pumpkin any which way, a little more, a little less, it's all good.


"k" cream puff

The Baking With Dorie baking assignment was Peppermint Cream Puff Ring. I wasn't quite in the peppermint cream mood (come back in December and I'll be singing a different tune,) so I went with plain whipped cream. I piped the dough into a "k" rather than a round for a celebratory cream puff birthday dessert for The Daughter.

Ideally, I would have made some chocolate to top it off, but I ran out of time and drizzled some Fat Toad Caramel Sauce.

Their caramel sauce is made from goat's milk and is extremely creamy, silky, and delicious! Everyone liked this choice of topping, I think, even better than the would-be chocolate. (Apparently, I'm the only chocoholic in the family.)

Thanks to Tina at My Inner Domestic Bliss for picking this fab recipe. I love any excuse to make cream puffs! She's got the recipe on her site, and you'll want to check out her pretty creation. All the other bakers have their results posted here.
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