Pumpkin Walnut Baked Brie

Pumpkin Walnut Baked Brie
original Joelen recipe

1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 large round of brie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice brie round in half, horizontally and place on a foil lined baking pan.
Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl until fully incorporated.
Spread half of the mixture on top of one half of the brie.
Top with the second half of brie.
Spread the remaining mixture over the second half of brie.
Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes until warmed through.
Serve with crackers or crostini.

Blondies Have So Much Fun!

Its afternoon and the sweet tooth is acting up. My husband has it too. So how do we satisfy the cravings? Blondies, of course!

I’m going to throw out yet another recipe from the 2005 America’s Test Kitchen Live! cookbook because as you may have guessed, this is where I got the blondie recipe from. What we wanted: Bakers like blondies because they are so simple to prepare, but many recipes are pretty flavorless. Is there a way to make a great blondie that’s still quick and easy?

What we learned: Use melted butter than creamed butter to create dense, chewy blondies. Light brown sugar (rather than dark brown sugar) and vanilla are the keys to creating a rich butterscotch flavor.

The verdict? Heaven. I used the cookbook’s Blondie recipe (pages 297-288) as the base for my Milk Chocolate Caramel Blondies and you can use pretty much any type of chocolate chip, flavored morsels and/or chopped nuts. Here’s my adapted recipe for Milk Chocolate Caramel Blondies:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate caramel morsels (Nestle brand)
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Adjust an oveen rach to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with two pieces of foil. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Whist the melted butter and brown sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber sptula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the morsels and the nuts and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing thetop with a rubber spatula.

4. Bake until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch., 22 to 25 minutes. Place the pan on a rack and cool completely. Cut into bars.

Caramel Applesauce Cupcakes

This recipe was featured in my Springtime Cupcake swap event, which you can read about HERE.

Erin’s Caramel Applesauce Cupcakes:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup finely chopped, peeled apple
(Granny Smith or Jonagold apples for baking)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce

1/2 cup melted butter

Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, butter, and applesauce. Mix for 2 minutes at slow speed. Scrape bowl. Mix at medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape bowl, and stir in chopped apples and walnuts.

Your oven should be preheated to 350 degrees. spoon cupcake batter into cupcake pans lined with paper or foil cupcake liners. You should fill each cup approximately 1/2 to 2/3 full making sure you have the same amount of batter in each cup.

Bake your cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the applesauce cupcakes from the pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.
Top with caramel topping or frosting and enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

This recipe was featured in my Springtime Cupcake swap event, which you can read about HERE.

Lara’s Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes


2 cps. all purpose flour
2 cps. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 eggs
1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin
1 cp. vegetable oil
1 cp. raisins

Frosting Ingredients
1/3 cp. butter softened
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cps. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cp. chopped walnuts (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients.

2. In another bowl, beat the eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raisins. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4’s full.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. For frosting, in a small mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar. Frost cupcakes; sprinkle with walnuts. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 20 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Brownies

This recipe was featured in my Blondie & Brownie swap event, which you can read about HERE.

Cream Cheese Brownies
from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

4 ounces German sweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. all purpose flour
½ tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking powder
pinch salt
½ cup walnuts (optional)
½ tsp. almond extract

— Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 inch baking pan
— Combine chocolate and 3 tbsp. butter in small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is just about melted, remove from heat and continue to mix until smooth.
— Cream the remaining butter with the cream cheese and ¼ cup of sugar. Beat in one of the eggs. Stir in 1 tbsp. of flour, ½ tsp. vanilla, and the lemon juice.
— In a separate bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the remaining eggs until thick; gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until quite thick (when you remove the mixer from the eggs, a ribbon of egg will fall from the beaters).
— In a separate bowl, mix together the baking powder, salt, and remaining flour. Add the chocolate mixture, nuts if using, almond extract and remaining vanilla.
— Spread half of the chocolate mixture on the bottom of the baking pan; top with the cream cheese mixture, then the remaining chocolate mixture. Swirl through all with a rubber spatula to create a marbled effect.
— Bake 25-30 minutes or until just barely set in the middle. Cool on a baking rack before cutting. Store, covered and refrigerated, for no more than one day.

Monkeying Around

I needed some culinary therapy today as a result of some very rough events. So today, I made banana chocolate chip bundt cakes. The recipe I used was inspired by my friend, Amber. I used her banana bread recipe and added 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract… which I baked in a mini bundt pan for 25-30 mins. The outcome was a wonderfully moist and flavorful cake – just the sweetness I needed for the day.

Harvest Salad & Raspberry Vinaigrette

Tonight is focused on my Traditional fare menu and some desserts. Everything is set for the most part… and I approached it as if it were just one of my cooking class events where everything is prepped and ready to assemble. Here are recipes of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes on my menu.

Harvest Salad & Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing:

½ cup oil
½ cup raspberry puree
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon italian seasoning salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients well.
This dressing will accompany my harvest salad that includes baby spinach, mache, Danish blue cheese, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and chopped apples.