Monday, September 30, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Week day 6 and I believe this is the best recipe I made all week. Seriously though, stop reading and copy the recipe and get in the kitchen. I have made quite a few cinnamon rolls in my life and these are near the top of the best. The recipe came together easily and the finished cinnamon roll was too good for words. You couldn't even taste the pumpkin in it; or rather, you can tell there was something different in this recipe, but you couldn't pinpoint exactly what that something was. I wish I could bake rolls like this all the time for the smell alone it brought into my house. The only regret I have with this recipe is not having enough powdered sugar to make the frosting so what I made instead was a glaze. Next time!

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Source: une gamine dans la cuisine
Yields: 16 rolls

for the pumpkin dough
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 of a stick unsalted butter, room temperature butter and cut into bits
2/3 cup whole milk
1 room temperature egg
2/3 cup pumpkin purée

for the spiced filling

3/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted and divided

for the cream cheese icing

2 ounces of cream cheese
3 Tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Butter a 10-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Dust the pan with flour, and gently tap out any excess flour.

Lightly butter a large bowl; Set aside.

Prepare the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, both sugars, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice on low speed. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. 
(Note: I mixed the butter in by hand) Add the milk and egg and beat on low speed until incorporated. Add the pumpkin purée and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. You should be left with a dough that's soft and sticky.

Remove the dough and gently form it into a large ball. Place the ball of dough into the buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. 

Prepare the filling: In a medium-size bowl, whisk together both sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until you're left with a wet "sandy" mixture.

Assemble the rolls: Flour a large working surface. Remove the dough from the bowl and and roll it out into a 20 by 10-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter and sprinkle the filling over the butter, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Use your hands to gently press the filling into the dough.

Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll the dough into a tight log and place it seam side down. Remove the ends if they're awkward and scraggly. Slice the log into about ten 2-inch rolls. Place one roll in the center of the cake pan, then fill in the rest of the pan with the remaining rolls. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside until the rolls have almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes. 

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Smoothie

Two posts tonight because this weekend turned out to be busier than I expected so Pumpkin Week day 5 is a little late in the series. Almost all of the recipes I made involved baking so I wanted to try my hand at a smoothie since I have a smoothie each morning for breakfast. I wasn't too sure if I was going to like this recipe because it involved pumpkin puree in pure form and I wasn't sure if I would like the taste or consistency of the smoothie. The smoothie was, however, pretty good. My only complaint is that I wish I had added more spices to it to make it feel more fall-ish. You can still taste the pumpkin but it wasn't overwhelming and it gave the smoothie a very creamy and smooth taste.

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Smoothie
Source: Adapted from Low Fat Cooking
Serves 1

1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp Greek vanilla yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup crushed ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, making sure the ice is completely crushed.

Sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve and enjoy!

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Friday, September 27, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Muffins

Day four of pumpkin week and the baking continues. The fact that I have a week's worth of pumpkin recipes is very telling of how things have been in my life lately. I am a stress baker and I bake a lot when I am stressed and need to relax. Last week was one of the most stressful weeks for me; I had cranky children, a bad attitude about school, and was driving all around Miami for my internship. Baking gave me about 30 minutes of peace each day. This week has been better so my baking has toned down a bit but I have still managed to bake twice this week.

Now, these muffins. I wanted a pumpkin muffin, but I wanted a healthy pumpkin muffin. I also wanted something that combined banana and pumpkin. I came across this recipe and tweaked it a bit. The muffins could have been a little sweeter, but topped it with some honey butter made them taste much better. This was a good muffin, but it wasn't the type of muffin you eat when you want a sweet fix. Good thing I have six cans of pumpkin puree so I can keep tweaking the recipe until I get it just right.

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Muffins
Source: Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
Makes 8 muffins


3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp coriander
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar 
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 egg white, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp canola oil
Extra oatmeal, for sprinkling on muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 8 muffin cups with paper cups or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl mix flour, oatmeal, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. In a separate bowl combine pumpkin, mashed banana, brown sugar, almond milk, egg white and oil. Add the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine. Gently fold in chocolate chips.

Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full so that each is even. Sprinkle a tiny bit of oatmeal over each top of the muffins. Place into the oven and bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Healthy Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes

Day three of Pumpkin Week and we're tacking breakfast. I woke up one morning wanting to make pancakes, but I wanted to make something more seasonal than my regular go-to pancakes. I chose this recipe because I liked the added boost of goodness with the oats, flaxseed, and protein powder. Meal time is sometimes a struggle in my house, so I try to pack as much healthiness I can into the things I know everyone will enjoy.

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Healthy Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes
Source: Tales of an Overtime Cook

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (old fashioned)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch salt
1/2 cup sweetener or sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin purée
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup milk

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oatmeal, baking power, spices and Splenda or sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Spray the pan well with Pam, or use a small amount of oil. When the pan is hot enough, spoon some of the batter onto the frying pan and spread it slightly into a circle.

When the pancakes are set on top, flip it and fry for a couple of minutes until both sides are golden brown.

Serve hot with maple syrup, agave syrup or sugar free maple syrup and a sprinkling of chopped toasted pecans.

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day two of Pumpkin Week and this just might be my favorite pumpkin recipe of the week. I'm a cookie lover, especially a chocolate chip cookie lover, so this recipe was a no brainer for me. The cookies were super soft cookies and subtle in their pumpkin flavor. I think me eating about six cookies right out of the oven is proof enough of how great the cookies were. The kids loved them too!

Day 1: Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: The Sweet Life
Makes 18 cookies

1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a medium bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder and soda, spices, and salt. Mix together and set aside.
In a large bowl, with a handheld mixer or stand up mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla. Stir to combine.  Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing together until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop cookies onto baking sheet, about 2 tbsp each. Press down lightly and bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges golden.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

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Pumpkin Week: Pumpkin Bread

Last week I was wishing for fall. I was wishing for it so much that I spent the whole week baking with pumpkin. I went from being the girl who thought she didn't like pumpkin to the girl who loves pumpkin. I still don't like pumpkin pie but I think it's more a texture thing at this point. I started off the week with a Pumpkin Bread that looked more like a cake because of the pans I had on hand. I also I added chocolate chips to the batter because everything is better with chocolate. What I loved the most of this recipe was how simple it was and how quickly it came together. Also, this was my first time baking with olive oil. I have always avoided recipes with olive oil because I thought it would give the dessert a weird taste, but it didn't. Lesson learned!

Pumpkin Bread
Source: Simply Recipes
Yields two small loaves

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup  pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray two small pans with cooking oil. 

Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
Mix the pumpkin, oil, egg, 2 Tbsp water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly.
Bake about 30 minutes or until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Remove from over and let cool. 
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Monday, September 16, 2013

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First Day of School

My lovelies are in school! I can't believe I have two kids in school now. It's been quite an adjustment for everyone, especially Elina, but things have been getting better and better each day. I didn't realize how attached Elina was to Cati until school started so we've used that attachment to help Elina transition better to being in school. This involves waking up extra early to get the girls to school when the toddlers and preschoolers are in the same room, but the earlier wake up has been worth it because it means less tears for Elina. I'm already looking forward to the end of the school year just so I can go back and compare how much my girls have grown in nine months.

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

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Protein Cupcakes with Chobani Frosting

Remember how I said I hadn't really baked anything in a while? That was kind of a lie and these protein cupcakes are the reason why. Because I am eating healthier and trying to get the family to eat healthier, I have been on the search for healthy or semi-healthy desserts. I came across this recipe for protein cupcakes and really liked the simplicity of ingredients. The picture on Clean Food Creative Fitness looked so good that I didn't change a thing about the recipe and even tripled the ingredients to make more cupcakes. Tripling the recipe wasn't the greatest idea because it created a batter that was very eggy. Don't get me wrong, the baked cupcake was good (the girls really like them), but it reminded me more of a vanilla souffle. Next time I know to tweak the recipe a bit by reducing the eggs and increasing the amount of ground flaxseed.

In an attempt to get the whole family on board with these cupcakes (I'm talking about Alex here) I made a protein Chobani frosting. The frosting had the tartness of the Greek yogurt and none of the aftertaste you sometimes get with protein powder. I actually liked the cupcakes better with the frosting than the girls did. Again, more tweaking in the future so I can come up with a healthy cupcake that will fool even the pickiest of eaters in my house.

Protein Cupcakes
Source: Clean Food Creative Fitness
Yields: 18 mini cupcakes

6 Tbsp protein
3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
3 egg
6 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill the cavities of the baking pan with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until puffed up and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

Frost, serve, and enjoy!

Chobani Frosting

1/2 cup vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1-2 Tbsp milk

In a small bowl, using a hand blender, combine the yogurt and protein powder.

Slowly add milk until the frosting is creamy and smooth.

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Easy Peasy Fudge

I have been so dedicated to exercising and eating healthy that it feels as if it has been a very long time since I used granulated sugar and white flour in my kitchen. I remember the days when it felt weird not to have butter, eggs, sugar, or flour always in stock. When they say that "being healthy is a lifestyle" they aren't lying. I guess I was able to get away with that in the summer because I was just taking classes and staying home with the girls and going on our daily adventures. But once school started again two weeks ago, along with also starting my internship and getting ready for both girls to start school, I have been feeling that need to get back into the kitchen to bake. It's not even about eating what I bake; it's about getting in touch with that relaxed and happy feeling I get when I do bake.

So this weekend we stocked up on all the baking essential and I asked Cati what she wanted me to bake her and she, surprisingly, said "brownies." We have a song for cookies and cupcakes so I was expecting one of those two, but I was more than happy to make her some brownies. I made my go-to brownies and really kicked it up a notch by also make a fudge sauce. This sauce is truly amazing and could you really doubt a recipe that came from Smitten Kitchen? It was so easy to make and everyone in the house was eating it like it was their job. Because this was a dessert Cati requested, no dessert is complete without sprinkles.

Hot Fudge Sauce
Source: Smitten Kitchen
Yields 2 1/2 cups

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons corn syrup
Pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate and butter very slowly in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently until combined.

Meanwhile, heat the water to boiling in the small, heavy saucepan.

When the butter and chocolate have melted, stir the mixture into the boiling water. Add the sugar, corn syrup and salt and mix until smooth.

Turn the heat up and stir until mixture starts to boil; adjust heat so that sauce is just maintained at the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Allow sauce to boil for nine minutes (mine was good to go after about 5-6 minutes).

Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.

PS although the blog is quiet, there's lots of pictures on Instagram (@confessionscityeater)!