Fall Favorite – Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Shhh…. don’t tell anyone but this post is a day off. I usually post Fall Favorites on Wednesday and Friday and the whole not having power for over 3 days through me off. Living in the dark is no fun at all!

Today Heidi Jo from Simplee Thrifty is here today with a super simple cookie recipe. It’s a twist on your favorite chocolate chip cookie because it’s made with a cake mix and pumpkin! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies will be one that you add to your recipe box for sure.

Heidi Jo has a great deal blog with tons of information on couponing, reviews, giveaways, and great deals in Michigan. Make sure that you check her out on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for all the deals.

Yummy just in time for the Holidays! These would make a good treat for school, social gatherings, church, PTA or just for fun with the kids 🙂

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
1 Spice Cake Mix
1/2 Can of Pumpkin
2 Cups of Chocolate Chips
1 Egg
1/2 Stick of softened butter

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix your cake mix, egg, pumpkin and butter in a mixing mowl until blended together
3. Add Chocolate Chips carefully blend
4. Bake for 15-20 mins
5. Allow to cool

See! Didn’t I tell you that they were simple cookies?

Fall Favorite – Mini Cinnamon Applesauce Muffin Recipe

Yay! It’s Fall Favorite time! Today is exciting because first it’s a recipe that doesn’t have pumpkin in it AND I have the super fun Tottums (Stephanie Totty) from The Froggy & The Mouse.

She really is a riot to hang out with and I know this because we spent some time together while at BlogHer this past summer. At home she spends her time wrangling two cute little boys, writing her tell it like it is blog, and working outside the home at a pretty cool job. 

Of course you can find her hanging out at all the usual spaces & places online like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Go ahead… stalk her… she likes it.

I woke up this morning and seriously considered turning on our heat – it got down into the low 40s last night here in the DFW area. It’s Fall, y’all. Therefore, it’s definitely time to break out the mini cinnamon applesauce muffins. NOM.

cinnamon_applesauce_muffin_recipe
You can blame my mother for this recipe. I have no idea where she found it, but it’s pretty much the most amazing thing ever. These little dudes are bite-sized and perfect when heated up and paired with coffee … which also means they’re terribly addictive. The recipe makes a TON of them – but the good news? You can freeze them and they do great. I’ve got mini muffins for miles in my freezer right about now.

Mini Cinnamon Applesauce Muffins

Ingredients
1 cup of butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of applesauce
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbs ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 350*
Grease mini-muffin pans.
Cream butter, gradually add 2 cups of sugar – beating well at medium speed
Add eggs, one at a time.
Add applesauce, mixing well.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves & nuts – add to creamed mixture, mixing well.
Fill muffin pans about 3/4 full.

Bake at 350* for 14 minutes.
Transfer to wire racks to cool.

mini_cinnamon_applesauce_muffins

It’s easiest if you have at least 2 muffin pans, although when I make it, I usually tend to have three and a half pans worth of mix. Enjoy your muffins, and don’t say I didn’t warn you about them being addictive!

Fall Favorite- Pumpkin Pie Bars

Welcome to Wednesday! Today’s Fall Favorite is another sweet treat that is full of pumpkin flavor… you know what? I think that after all these delicious sweets we’re going to need a a diet plan to fight all the weight we’ll gain trying these. But then again it is the beginning of the holiday season and if I remember correctly all sweets during this time are calorie free.

Today’s Fall Favorite is pumpkin pie bars and they come to you from a great friend and blogger, Natalie!

Natalie is a wife, mom of a six year old son and four year old twin girls, wannabe foodie, lover of wine and of all things social media. She blogs at Mommy of a Monster and Twins and also works as a freelance writer and virtual assistant. You can find her tweeting as @NatalieHoage, Facebooking all day long, and pinning more recipes than she can ever possibly try.

One of my favorite things to bake during the fall season is this recipe for Pumpkin Pie Bars. The reason I love them so much is because they are so versatile – you can add nuts, cranberries, chocolate chips (or a combination of the three!)

Pumpkin Pie Bars

These Pumpkin Pie Bars can be made in just one bowl, which makes them both easy to make and to clean up. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but I bet you already have most of them in your pantry. Enjoy!

Ingredients

8 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 light brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1-1/3 cups pumpkin puree

1-2/3 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 cup of chocolate chips, cranberries, or nuts, if desired.

Preheat the oven to 375. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir first 4 ingredients until combined. Whisk in the eggs and oil, then stir in the pumpkin. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Spoon mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 20-23 minutes, until the top is springy. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before cutting into bars. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I hope that you’re enjoying this little series that I have put together for all of you and I would LOVE it if you’d guest post too! Just drop me an email, or tweet, or message on Facebook and I’ll get you added to the list of amazing bloggers.

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Fall Favorite – Brown Butter Pumpkin Blondies

How could I let another week go by without another pumpkin recipe? Hopefully, you’re not getting tired of them. I mean there has been a pretty decent variety of pumpkin recipes and this week it’s a little unique. It’s a brown butter pumpkin blondie recipe topped with a rich & creamy cream cheese frosting. I dare you to try and eat more than one of these and not get a stomach ache!

Brown Butter Pumpkin Blondies

I made mine very simply and left out all of the various extras that you could put in them like nuts, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Besides I really wanted to add the cream cheese frosting and I didn’t have any of the extras.

So are you wondering about brown butter? Brown butter is butter that has been slowly warmed until it is a light brown color and has a nutty flavor to it. The butter is cooked long enough to turn the milk solids and salt particles brown while cooking out any water present. It has a more complex flavor than melted or clarified butter. Brown butter can replace the butter in just about any dish and gives it an extra layer of depth. Honestly, in this recipe you can use regular butter if you want.

Brown Butter

This was my first attempt at making brown butter even though I’ve known about it forever. I was always to chicken to try it and didn’t want to ruin it. It was so easy and I’m glad that I added it to the blondies.

Brown Butter Pumpkin Blondies

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup brown butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar - dark or light
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)

Instructions

    Brown Butter
  1. In a heavy bottom pan heat, whisk sliced butter occasionally while it warms over medium heat. As it heats it will foam a little bit... just remember to keep whisking and don't let it burn.
  2. Cook, stirring constantly, until the butter becomes a light tan color. Remove the pan from the heat. The butter will continue cooking even after you remove it from the burner. I poured mine into a small bowl to cool.
  3. Blondies
  4. Sift the flour and pumpkin pie spice together and set aside.
  5. Whisk the brown butter and sugar together until smooth and then add in the egg and vanilla. Mix well.
  6. Whisk in the pumpkin.
  7. Stir in the flour. At this point you can stir in some of the extras I mentioned before if you want.
  8. Pour into a prepared 13x9 pan and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the middle.
  9. Let cool before frosting if you're want them frosted.
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/brown-butter-pumpkin-blondies

Now grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

Don’t forget… if you have a favorite fall recipe that you’d like to share here I would love to have you guest post here. 

Fall Favorites – Ooey Gooey Pumpkin and Chocolate Cake

It’s Friday and we’re rounding out this week with an awesome Fall Favorite! Ooey gooey pumpkin and chocolate cake from Amber of Amber Page Writes. This cake sounds sinfully rich, delicious, and full of flavor and I’m sure that it’s something that I’d want to eat all of in one sitting if I could.  I’ve been waiting all week to share this with you… and now you have something to do on Saturday!

So who’s Amber? She is the mommy of one sweet, sassy toddler. Wife of a handsome, kind and very, very patient man. Copywriter for an ad agency. And blogger, of course. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Some foods beg to be made in front of an audience. Delicious-smelling, yeasty breads, perfectly-charred steaks, fancy cocktails… the list goes on. And then there are those that should be made in private. Not because they’re not delicious, but because you don’t want anyone to see what goes into them. The recipe I’m about to share you is one of the latter. ooey gooey pumpkin and chocolate cake How do I know? Because this was the conversation I had with my husband this evening.

“Is that a whole stick of butter?”

“Yep.”

“And a whole cake mix?”

“Uh huh.”

“And that’s just the crust?”

“Yep. Now go away.” (He didn’t)

“Oh my god. A whole package of cream cheese?”

“You better believe it.”

“And another stick of butter?”

“Didn’t I tell you to go away?”

“Tell me you didn’t just put that whole package of powdered sugar in there.” (I did)

“Are you trying to kill me?”

“…”

In other words, this cake, it’s not good for you. At all. Although it does have pumpkin it. So you know. There’s fiber. And vitamin A. And beta carotene. Oh, and calcium from the cream cheese.

Hey, it’s a regular health bonanza!

Healthy or no, it is 100 percent delicious.

This is the conversation we had after he took a bite.

“Wow.”

“Wow good, or wow bad?”

“Wow, you should take this to work so I don’t eat it all in two days.”

So there you go. Bake it in private. Share it with everyone you love (or don’t. It’s up to you).

Ingredients

ooey gooey pumpkin and chocolate cake ingredients Crust:

1 chocolate cake mix

1 stick of butter (melted)

1 egg

Filling:

1 15 oz. can of pumpkin (plain, not the pie mix)

1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (room temperature)

1 stick of butter (melted)

3 eggs

1 tbsp. vanilla

Pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

1 16 oz. package of powdered sugar (about 4 cups or so)

.5 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Crust:

  1. Dump cake mix, melted butter and egg in a bowl
  2. Mix until well combined
  3. Empty into 9 X 13 pan and press down until it forms a smooth crust along the bottom and sides of pan
  4. Set aside

Filling:

  1. Cream together the pumpkin and cream cheese
  2. Add butter, eggs, vanilla and spice, then mix until well-combined
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar (while you continue to mix) until it’s all combined
  4. Pour on top of crust and smooth it out
  5. Top with chocolate chips (optional)

Bake for 45-50 minutes. The sides should be set, but the middle will look more like pudding (it is a gooey cake, after all).

Enjoy!

Monday Menu ~ Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Over the weekend I got this craving for some peanut butter cookies. But not just regular ones… they had to be a little thick, soft, and chewy and that meant making them myself and experimenting a little bit to get them exactly the way I wanted.

Usually, experimenting means that I have to try it a couple times before I get things right (like with the black bean brownies but that’s another story). This time it all worked out the first time! I was impressed and everyone loved them…. but who doesn’t love cookies?

There is just something about cookies that I love so much. They’re so fast and easy to make, you can eat them right away, you don’t need a plate or silverware, and you can pop one in your mouth quickly after you’ve told the kids that they can’t have anymore. See… perfect.

peanut butter cookies

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 C cream peanut butter - I used Jiff
  • 1/2 stick or Crisco Butter flavored baking stick (or 1/2 C out of the container)
  • 1 1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed until it's well blended and then add in egg. Blend until just mixed in.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients and then add to the peanut butter mixture at low speed until blended together.
  4. Scrap down the edges of the bowl and then cover with plastic wrap and chill for an hour.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoons on to a cookie sheet (I used a scoop for this). Flatten slightly with a fork dipped in sugar to make a crisscross pattern.
  6. Bake for 7 - 9 minutes, or just until set and the edge is beginning to brown. Cool for 2 minutes before removing the cookies from the sheet. Cool completely (if you can wait that long) on a rack.
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/soft-chewy-peanut-butter-cookies

These are probably not the most healthy cookies but that’s fine as long as you don’t eat all of them at once. Now that I think about it what cookie is really healthy?

I think that what really gives them that softness and extra flavor is the butter flavored Crisco and the full tablespoon of vanilla. You can use real butter if you want to and I don’t think that it’ll change to much but I knew that the Crisco would keep them soft and chewy like I wanted.

When I was younger I remember my grandma and mom using Crisco to bake with… cookies, pie crusts, and to even make the most creamy, delicious frosting ever. I make that frosting to this very day on occasion. I suppose that it’s little things that bring back memories… like cookies.

Give these peanut butter cookies a try and I think that you’ll like them.

Summer fun with Betty

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Summer is upon us and that means all sorts of parties, family gatherings, and everyday fun with our families in our own backyards. But one of the things that gets me is the amount of time that is spent in the kitchen prepping for these parties and when it’s really hot out I’m not a big fan of being in the kitchen all day… even if I do have A/C.

But there are a few ways to cut corners and make things a little easier for everyone. For me it’s making a delicious cake (probably chocolate because it’s my favorite) using Betty Crocker cake mixes and one of the really fun cake recipes & designs that they have on their site.

I absolutely love the ice cream cone cupcakes but the ones on the site are a little boring… I think that they could be jazzed up a little bit. The white frosting is little lackluster so here’s what I’m thinking.

Frosting. All these need is a bit of color and some brightly colored sugar crystals and then they’d be perfectly set for any summer party! Pretty swirls of pink, yellow, and blue will brighten up the cupcakes up and made them ready for summer parties.

betty crocker

See… look how easy it is to make these cupcakes. I bet that cute cupcakes like these would be great for kids to help decorate too!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts & opinions are my own… and I do love Betty Crocker and cake.

Monday Menu – A few of my favorite things

Almost more than cooking and baking I love finding some kitchen tools, gadgets, pans, and bakeware to use or not use if it’s too pretty. I decided that there is more to tasty recipes than just the recipes and pictures of the delicious food.

You see without some of the tools & cookware I wouldn’t be able to make stuff… right? So, I thought that I’d share a few of my favorite things with all of you. The options out there are endless really and you can get any number of gadgets and cookware from really rock bottom cheap stuff  (like what we all got when we first were out on our own) all the way up to elite lines of products that we all drool over and dream of one day owning.

One of the gadgets that I absolutely love and can not live without anymore is the mix & chop tool from The Pampered Chef. This thing is awesome! Seriously, I have no idea how I ever managed breaking up ground beef as it cooked or stirring up frozen orange juice before!

mixchop

It can be used in so many ways, but honestly I use it mostly when I’m cooking ground beef or ground turkey for spaghetti sauce or something like that. It breaks the meat up perfectly every time and I love that because I hate huge chunks in my sauce. Funny thing… I only got this because a friend of mine was having a Pampered Chef party and I always feel obligated to buy something at those home parties. I thought that it was kinda cool and that it might be useful… oh, little did I know how I’d love it.

When I first started blogging I entered a giveaway and won it! It was the first giveaway that I had ever won and was so excited because it was a $150 gift card… I can’t remember to where but I used it for some Rachael Ray cookware. I got a few things because 1) I needed the pan and 2) because the others looked really cool.

RRbubble RR Pan

Okay, so on the left we have the the bubble and brown stoneware bake set and over there on the right we have 6qt non-stick saute pan. Of course, I have them both in the blue but I couldn’t find a picture of the pan in blue. That pan is a staple and I use it almost every single time I cook. It’s perfect when you have a large family like I do and you’re cooking dinner… I can fit 5 -6 small chicken breasts in there and still have room leftover.

The stoneware baking pans are great for casseroles or using them as serving dishes. Those two I rarely use for some reason… maybe because  I’m lazy and don’t want to wash another dish. The only thing that I don’t like about them is the handles and that’s because I tend to overfill them and the food oozes out over the edge when I bake it.

What are some of your favorite gadgets or cookware?

Is there something that is your go to kitchen accessory that you can’t live without?

Monday Menu – Challah Bread

One of these days I’ll share a recipe that is healthy, full of fresh veggies, and oh so delicious. But until that day comes I guess you’ll have to live with the tasty baked treats that I come up with and truth be told … my family likes the baked goodies a lot better than the veggie dishes.

This week I had a great idea after seeing a picture of homemade ricotta that my brother posted on Instagram and immediately made my list and started planning out what I was going to do with it. But I got stuck. I couldn’t decide if I wanted sweet or savory and didn’t make it even though I have the majority of the ingredients waiting in the fridge.

So instead of the ricotta I made bread. I may have mentioned a time or two that I love baking and I’ve been wanting to try my hand at Challah. It always looks so pretty sitting on the shelves at the store and I’ve heard such wonderful things about it that I knew that I had to make it.

challah bread

I won’t lie… it took a while to make the bread. It wasn’t a quick bread by any means but it was definitely worth all the hard work and there is something about actually working with the dough. Kneading it, working it from something soft and mushy into something smooth and pliable and I just love the smell of the yeasty dough.

Challah Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg, beaten

Instructions

  1. Place the yeast, honey and warm water in a mixing bowl. Stir and let stand for about 10 minutes, until creamy and foamy.
  2. Add the melted butter and eggs and mix well.
  3. If you're using a stand mixer make sure you have the dough hook attached and add the flour one cup at a time until it forms a soft dough.
  4. Place the dough on a well-floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. I tried to let my mixer do the kneading but it didn't seem to like it all that much so I pulled it out and did it by hand.
  5. Place the dough in a large, well-greased bowl, then flip the dough over to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and then with a clean towel and let it stand in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for about 30 minutes or so.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  8. At this point you can place to dough in to greased loaf pans or you can divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and braid.
  9. Brush the braid with the beaten egg and bake for 30 - 40 minutes. About half way through baking brush the bread with the egg again to get into all of the creases and spaces that opened up more from baking.
http://www.withjustabitofmagic.com/monday-menu-challah-bread

I will say that when I braided the dough it looked amazing and then once it was done rising it didn’t look so good anymore. I’m not sure what happened but it looked like it was pulling apart in places. I pinched some of it back together the best that I could and just went with it because it looked good enough for my first try.

making Challah bread

Andrew had to get in on the kneading action too. It never fails that he’ll show up every single time I’m doing something in the kitchen because he wants to help. Sometimes he’s helpful… but only sometimes.

The bread turned out amazingly well and everyone loved it. I’m planning different things that I can do with the bread… french toast & bread pudding came to mind first.

So, do you have any suggestions for what I can do with leftover Challah bread?

Monday Menu ~ Oreo Surprise Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I entered to win the Oreo Play Up Dessert challenge set forth by A Nut in a Nutshell (I didn’t win by the way) and put together a very tasty dessert.

So here’s a riddle for you… what do you get when you put together a tasty cookie and a moist delicious cupcake and then top it with creamy vanilla frosting?

Awesomeness! Pure bliss… Oreo Surprise Cupcakes.

My family wasn’t sure what to think since I haven’t been making a whole lot of desserts lately but that didn’t stop them from enjoying every last cupcake that we had in the house. I was surprised that they lasted more than two days!

oreo surprise cupcakes

Such a delicious dessert is beyond easy to make and is really only one more step than regular cupcakes!

Ingredients

1 cake mix – any flavor made according to the directions
1 box of instant pudding – vanilla for a yellow cake and chocolate for chocolate
Oreos – your choice of flavor
Frosting – your choice

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and put cupcake papers in a regular sized cupcake pan.

Make the cake according to the package and then stir the dry pudding into the cake batter…. trust me, this is delicious and adds a lot of moisture to your cake or cupcakes.

oreo surprise cupcakes

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of batter into the cupcake liner, place a Oreo on top, and then top with more batter making sure that the cookie is fully covered.

Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes. When you can handle the cupcakes (about 5 minutes or so) take them out of the pan and let them cool on a rack.

Frost & top with crushed Oreo’s if you like.

To crush the Oreo’s throw some into the food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs or put them in a ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin. The latter is a great way to take out some stress too!

I should let you know that there is nothing low calorie… low fat… or healthy about these at all! But I didn’t have to tell you that though… so that means that just one Oreo surprise cupcake won’t hurt your New Year’s resolution.