Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin: Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes

Pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate-chips and cinnamon icing

Pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate-chips
1 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini-chocolate-chips

Set the oven for 35o degrees F. and get your cupcake pan ready, greasing it or using liners.
- In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla. 
- Next, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to the wet ingredients.
- Stir gently with a fork. Too much mixing will make the batter gummy instead of fluffy. 
- Finally, fold the mini-chocolate-chips into the batter and pour into pan (cups 2/3 full).

- 22 to 24 minutes bake time, cool on wire rack.

I chose to make this recipe non-vegan, but the original is, in fact, vegan. Substitute granulated sugar for normal white sugar and use soy milk instead of regular milk. I also was out of vanilla, so I used almond extract. I do not suggest this, although it is tasty, because the almond completely over-powered the pumpkin. I also used mini instead of normal chocolate-chips because I have found that minis have less of a disruptive effect on the consistency of the cupcakes. Feel free to try your own variations!

Cinnamon icing
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Begin with your sugar and cinnamon in a bowl together.
- Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Stir until smooth.
- Keep at room-temperature until cupcakes are cool, then decorate as you please.

I chose to use 1/4 of a cup more confectioners' sugar than the original recipe called for because I wanted a more stable icing for decorating (as opposed to more of a glaze). The original recipe, as with the cupcakes, is vegan. If that is your desire, use margarine instead of butter and soy milk instead of milk. For decorating, I used an icing gun with a rope nozzle. I enjoy trying new icing designs, so I encourage you to be creative with your cupcakes.

Both recipes adapted from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World" 

More pumpkiney goodness to come this week. I'm thinking casserole?

Tata for now,
L. Mousse

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin: Pumpkin Bread with Whiskey

Well, Hello!
It is that wonderful time of year when the leaves change to yellow, red, and orange, and the night air becomes crisp. It is also the season of pumpkins, and oh, how I love pumpkins. There is a charming little church that sells pumpkins in my town (as they have done for as long as I can remember). The baking pumpkins at the church are cheap and the selection is plentiful, which is the perfect excuse to bake all things pumpkiney. Either use fresh pumpkin (as I did), frozen pumpkin from last season, or canned pumpkin. In this entry I will share the recipe for Pumpkin bread with whiskey sauce. Enjoy~

Cooking a Pumpkin 
- Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds and goo (technical term).
- Place the pumpkin inside-down on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F until soft. By "soft" I mean a fork should be easily poked into the pumpkin. 
- Once cooled slightly, scoop the delicious pumpkin meat out of its now-squishy shell and use in whatever way you desire.

Pumpkin bread with whiskey sauce

Pumpkin Bread
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons ground flax
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pureed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter whatever pan you choose to use. I used one medium loaf and two small ones, but this recipe would also work for muffins (cooking time 25 min.) or one large loaf (cooking time 45 min.). 
- Combine eggs, oil, honey, and vanilla in a bowl, set aside. 
- Use a large bowl and mix flour, flax, spices, and baking powder and soda.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stir until jut mixed. Stir in pumpkin.
- Pour batter into desired pan.

Whiskey Sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup bourbon

Begin this process with a saucepan.
- Over medium heat, bring cream to a boil.
- In a separate bowl whisk water and cornstarch together, then add to cream while whisking continuously.
- Allow to simmer for a few minutes, whisking all the while to avoid burning. 
- Remove from heat and stir in sugar and bourbon.
- Cool to room temperature before use.

 Bread recipe adapted from a recipe in "Rodale's Basic Natural Foods Cookbook"
Sauce recipe found online, credit given to "Commander's Palace Restaurant"

I will continue the pumpkin journey with the Pumpkin cupcakes with chocolate-chips and cinnamon icing recipe in my next post.

Tata for now,
L. Mousse