Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

My first Thanksgiving out of the country was really nice.  I felt a little twinge of homesickness on Thursday morning, but skyping with my friend Gina quickly cured me.  Thanks, Gina, for lifting my spirits.  Then, I was lucky enough to go to three dinners over two days and enjoyed visiting and eating with lots of lovely people.  And, I'm really happy to have a few leftovers in the fridge to look forward to.  Leftovers are, in my opinion, better than the actual meal.  

There are always lots of pumpkin recipes floating around this time of year.  Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of most things pumpkin.  I want to like pumpkin because it's festive and I like the idea of it, but, I mostly like pumpkin pie for the whipped cream and sometimes pumpkin cookies and other baked goods are too spongy for my liking.

This is the one pumpkin baked good that I've made over and over.  They have a nice texture and the cream cheese frosting is my fave that I've ever made.  There are substitutions you can make as well to keep the recipe a little more healthy.  Also, you could leave the frosting off and call these muffins.  But, really, why would you do that?



  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar (can be reduced to 1 cup)
  • 1 cup oil (substitution: 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 apple sauce)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin
  • 2 cups flour (substitution: 1 cup flour and 1 cup almond meal)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (be generous)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin until well mixed. 

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg.  

Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix thoroughly.  

Transfer mixture to lined mini muffin pans.  

Bake for 15 minutes or until they bounce back when you press lightly in the middle.  

Cream together cream cheese and butter. 

Add vanilla.  

Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, and beat well until frosting is smooth and a little fluffy.  

Frost cupcakes with a generous portion of frosting on each.  

Source:  modified slightly from Portland's Palate cookbook  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sugar Cookie Bars

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love a good sugar cookie.  In fact, I think I make a pretty darn good one.  So, I had my doubts about whether or not I would really be into these sugar cookie bars.  Verdict: they were yum-o.  Be very careful not to overcook them.  Sugar cookies, in  my opinion, should be soft in a melt-in-your-mouth kind of way.    



  • 3/4 cup butter, softened to cool room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.  

Add the eggs and vanilla and mix for 1-2 minutes.  

Add lemon zest, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Mix until combined.  

Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray. 

Press sugar cookie mixture gently into an even layer.  (I used a tart tamper to get it nice and even.)

Bake for 10-13 minutes.  Don't overbake!  The bars shouldn't have any color around the edges and barely be set in the middle.  

Let the bars cool completely before frosting. 

NOTE ON FROSTING:  I'm a frosting girl and wanted to make sure these bars were amply frosted so I doubled it.  It was plenty!  

For the frosting, cream together the butter and powdered sugar.  (Whenever I'm adding powdered sugar, I add a little bit at a time and beat well after each addition.  This should keep the lumps out.)

Add the vanilla and milk.  

Mix until frosting is light and fluffy. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Peanut Butter Frosting

First off, thought I should mention that this is my 100th post!  Kind of fun to think about the fact that I've documented 100 of my very favorite recipes.  Here's to the next 100!

With that being said, this is not a totally new recipe.  I've shared it before as a possible filling for these homemade Oreos, but it's tasty enough that I think it deserves its own post.  I especially love this fluffy goodness on top of brownies.  I made these brownie bites for my friend Patty's birthday today and she may or may not have been seen just licking the frosting off the top.  No judgment here.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk or cream 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Mix butter and peanut butter in mixer.  

Gradually mix in the powdered sugar, a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition.

When the frosting thickens, add needed milk, a little at a time.  

Beat for at least 3 minutes or until it is a little fluffy.

NOTE:  I would suggest using something other than natural peanut butter for this recipe.  The separate oil in natural peanut butter makes it difficult to get the right texture for the frosting.  Stick with hydrogenated oils on this one.


And, in other news, check out one of my newest and most favorite additions to my kitchen.  I sold mine before I left and felt lost without it.