Tag: dessert

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

First, before I get to the review, let me apologize. This blog was never intended to be silent for so long, but I teach high school and for whatever reason, when I went back to school this year, things have just been SUPER busy from the moment the students came back! I haven’t had much time to cook and work on recipes, but I swear, more is coming! Keep an eye out in the next week for a review of ‘Ohana – which was a delicious meal!!!

These cupcakes are great if you are in a hurry and just need to take something to school, the office, or if you don’t like pumpkin pie. (There are those of us who don’t!)

Its super easy – you’re starting with a box mix.

Now, there are lots of ways to doctor a box mix and make it taste more homemade. replacing the oil with butter is one. But in this case, I was really strapped for time, and I forgot to soften the butter, so I just opted to use the other way – adding a tablespoon of mayonaisse. I know that sounds weird, but it really makes a difference. It will keep the cake moist and really helps the texture. You won’t taste it in the end. I promise!

Now add in your spices. I add a teaspoon of cinnamon, half a teaspoon of nutmeg and allspice, and then a fourth teaspoon (or less) of cloves. I don’t care for cloves, and I love nutmeg, so you can adjust these to your own tastes. Add ginger if you want, leave out the allspice. Whatever you like! You could also use prepared pumpkin pie spice and just put 2 to 2.5 teaspoons in there and leave it at that. I also like to add a little extra vanilla, because I think it helps. You don’t have to.

Then just spoon your mixture into muffin tins lined with baking cups. I do about 2/3 full. Don’t go more than that, or you’ll have serious oozing. Which leads to burning on the pan. Which leads to scrubbing. And no one likes that.

Bake them off according to the  mix directions, and then let them cool completelly before frosting them.

The frosting recipe is my basic buttercream recipe from an old Wilton cookbook my mother has. The only change I’ve made is that I replaced all the shortening with butter. If you’re piping frosting and its really hot, this can be a problem because the butter will melt quicker and get soft. In that case, just pop the piping bag in the freezer or fridge for a few minutes to help it firm up again.

You could easily add food coloring to the frosting to make it more festive, but I had a lot of orange sugar sprinkles left, and figured those would work just as well.

Pumpkin Pie Spice cupcakes

 

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Pumpkin Pie Spice Cupcakes
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A quick, almost homemade cupcake recipe that guests will love - and it won't take you forever to make!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp Mayo
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven according to the box mix directions. 

  2. Mix the box mix, using the directions provided on the package. 

  3. Add in one tablespoon of mayo and your spices. If you want to add the extra vanilla, here's where you do it. I like the little extra, but it is optional.

  4. Fill muffin tins lined with baking cups about 2/3 full.

  5. Bake according to the package directions, then removed and let cool. 

  6. Frost when cupcakes have completely cooled!

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Basic Buttercream Frosting


Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 1 lb confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup butter, margarine, or a mixture of both
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter until light and fluffy.

  2. Add in your confectioner's sugar and vanilla, beating for 2-3 minutes, or until mixture is getting lighter and well combined. 

  3. Add in the milk, a tablespoon at a time and whip the frosting for a minute between additions. Continue adding until it reaches the consistency you like. Be aware - adding too much liquid will make your frosting too runny, so go slow!

Pumpkin Pie Spice cupcakes

Chocolate Almond Cookies

Chocolate Almond Cookies

These cookies are not really super Disney oriented, I admit it. But they are delicious, and that’s probably even more important! I bought a container of Cocoa Almond Butter from Trader Joe’s, hoping I could use it in some recipes, including a recipe trying to recreate the AMAZING hazelnut-chocolate filled beignets I had at the Boulangerie Patisserie in France at Epcot. But when I opened the container and tried it, I realized it wasn’t going to work. Its delicious – don’t get me wrong – but its all wrong for the beignet.

Instead, I decided to make cookies. I modified an old peanut butter blossom recipe from my grandmother, and it worked out beautifully. Really, you could substitute any nut butter here and get an awesome cookie!

I also have to admit that I have no pictures of the process of baking them. I wanted cookies. It was the night before I had to go back to work at the high school. I was distracted by the thought of cookies.

Sorry.

But this is what they look like. They look yummy, right?

Chocolate Almond Cookie

The actual process is easy. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I cream the butter until it’s fluffy, about a minute or so, and then I add in the sugars. Beat it until everything is fluffy and combined. Add your egg and mix that in until it’s incorporated. Then add the cocoa almond butter. Beat it in until it’s mixed through.

This recipe is really simple. You could just do all the wet ingredients at once if you were in a hurry, but I like making sure it’s all well mixed in stages. Add in the milk and flavorings, and make sure to start the mixer on low so you don’t end up slopping liquid all over your kitchen.

Add in all the dry ingredients and start your mixer on low. Don’t accidentally bump the speed up like I did. I’m going to be cleaning flour off the Keurig for the next five months, I swear.

Once it’s all well mixed, scoop out a tablespoon at a time and roll into a ball. If it’s soft, you may need to refrigerate it for an hour or so. (Or you can cheat and use a small cookie scoop and scoop them straight into the sugar. I then rolled them around and got them on the pan. As long as they hold together in a ball-ish shape, they’ll work.)

You’re going to roll the ball in white sugar, and then place about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, and then remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet.

These are excellent with coffee or milk!

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Chocolate Almond Cookies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
27 mins
 
Course: Dessert
Servings: 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar vanilla sugar is excellent
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa almond butter
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar for rolling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg, then cream until well incorporated.

  3. Add the cocoa almond butter and mix until incorporated. Add the milk, and mix in on a low speed.

  4. Add in the remaining ingredients, beating until well mixed.

  5. Scoop into tablespoons and roll into balls, then roll in granulated sugar and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes and let cool on the pan.

Chocolate Almond Cookie

Bananas Foster Cookies

Bananas Foster Cookies

Remember how I told you we had a Moana dinner and movie party, and the food was themed around Polynesia? These cookies were our dessert. I came up with the recipe from the ground up, and I’ve been tweaking them for awhile. This recipe is easy, delicious, and you’ll never make enough! They are also great if you have someone who has an egg allergy, because there are no eggs in the cookies! I prefer these without nuts, because I’m weird and I have texture issues with food. I mean, I like nuts, and I like cookies, but they aren’t friends as far as I’m concerned. I feel the same way about chocolate and nuts, mostly, which makes some of my friends think I’m weird. If you don’t have such qualms, feel free to add nuts to these!

They taste like a sweeter version of banana bread, really. I made about three dozen, and when I came back after the party for clean up, there was only about 10 cookies left! I think they tasted okay!

They’re super simple to make. You don’t need to refrigerate them (though you could make the dough in advance and put it in the fridge overnight), and they make a ton. The biggest suggestion I can make is to make sure you set your butter out about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to make them. You want it a little soft, or it will take forever to beat smooth. In the summer, it only takes about 30 minutes to accomplish that in my kitchen. You know how warm yours will get (or doesn’t.) so you can judge accordingly.

The cookies come together pretty quickly. First thing, heat the oven to 350 degrees, and then lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray, or use parchment paper to line it. I’m all about not having to wash any more dishes than is necessary, so I opt for the parchment paper. Plus, you can use it multiple times. I use mine through a whole batch of cookies – sometimes more if I’m making several batches at a time (like at holidays).

Dump your butter and sugar into the mixer and beat it until light and fluffy. You can use all butter or all margarine if you like, but I prefer a stick of each. A bonus tip – if you have the ability, it is totally worth it to get a special container and fill it with sugar, and then drop in a whole vanilla bean or two. It doesn’t take long for the sugar to pick up the vanilla flavor, and it really adds something to baked goods. Honest! Try it! Plus, you can cut the beans open, scrape out the seeds and use them in a recipe, and put the scraped pods back in the sugar. It will taste just as good.

Anyway, once your sugar and butter are beaten, add the bananas, which you can puree or mash. I only bananas when they are super ripe (like they’re pretty much on their way to overripe. They’re good. Don’t judge.), so mashing them pretty much turns them mushy enough. If you use greener bananas, I recommend blending them. Mix themin with the rum and spices. Once that is all incorporated, add the salt, flour, and baking powder. Mix this until everything is combined and well blended. Don’t overbeat it. If you want to add nuts, just mix them in here with a wooden spoon.

Then scoop out the dough with a small cookie scoop, or a teaspoon. I can’t tell you how handy the cookie scoop is, especially if you make cookies often. Its so much easier. Of course, I am also REALLY messy when trying to use a couple teaspoons to scoop the dough.

You’re going to bake them for 10 – 12 minutes until they are set and the bottoms are golden brown. Transfer them to a linen towel and let them cool. If you can wait that long.

They are very tender, moist cookies, so if you store them together, I’d recommend a tin with a layer of wax paper or parchment between each layer. Otherwise, they’ll stick to each other. Of course, if you want a good reason why you HAVE to eat three or four cookies at a time, sticking together is a bonus.

Either way, this will make about two or three dozen cookies, and they’ll get eaten fast!

If you try them, I’d love to know what you think!

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Bananas Foster Cookies - Cooking With Character
Author: cookwcharacter
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c butter
  • 1/2 c margarine
  • 1 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp rum
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 c flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).

  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine and sugar together until fluffy. 

  3. Add the vanilla, banana, rum, salt, and spices and mix until just combined.
  4. With the mixer on low at first, add flour and baking powder. Mix until combined.
  5. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet, and bake 10-12 minutes until set and slightly golden. Remove from oven and cool on a rack or linen towel.