But Sugar is Sweeter

Archive for October, 2013

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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While it may be the end of October, it’s certainly not the end of fall inspired treats.  I made these for a trip down to Lexington to see some of our best friends, and they were definitely a big hit.  I knew Samiya in particular would like them because, well, because they’re cute and little and involve pumpkin! Moving to a new place, with new people, has really made me miss the awesome friends we had in med school.   Following college, I moved to Louisiana with three crazy awesome roommates, and there was pretty much a constant source of entertainment and adventure at our house (and in Louisiana in general).  Then in medical school, our apartment complex was basically like a grown-up college dorm, where study groups, dinner parties and watching people play video games was always only a step away.  It’s a lot different now,  living in a neighborhood, with friends scattered all over, and schedules that are completely different because of residency.  But I guess that’s just part of growing up, and it’s not so bad.
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Now these pumpkin whoopie pies were described as a pumpkin cupcake in a different form, and I’d say that’s pretty close to accurate!  The batter is a bit more dense than a cupcake, but just as moist, and the filling is strikingly similar.  Truthfully, can you go wrong with cream cheese frosting?  I really liked these because they are visually appealing, and easy to eat…which turned out to be both a good and bad thing.  Just glad I had people to help me finish them off :-).
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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Makes approximately 36 sandwiches

For the pumpkin cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the maple cream cheese filling:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cold
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the pumpkin cookies, preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk sugars and oil together.  Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.

Transfer the cookie batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip.  Pipe small rounds of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1½-2 inches in diameter. If desired, smooth the top of cookies with a few drops of water and the bottom of a spoon.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining batter.

To make the filling, combine the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-heat speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Be careful not to overbeat the filling or it will lose structure, if this occurs refrigerate for 20 minutes. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip.

To assemble, pair the cookies up by size.  Pipe filling onto the flat side of one cookie of each pair, and sandwich together with the remaining cookie.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm before serving.

Adapated from Annie’s Eats

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Apple Cider Muffins with Browned Butter Glaze

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So, you know my previous obsession with California?  Well, because we’ve had the most amazing weather for the last month,  I’m starting to realize that Ohio is pretty awesome!   The leaves are starting to change, there is fog over the valleys when I drive to work, and the sun has that autumn  glow.   It’s wonderful!  Although you will surely need to remind me of this come February, when I cannot wait for winter to be over! To keep my California dream alive, my best friend from like the fourth grade just landed a coveted fellowship spot at UCLA, so  I’m quite sure my love will be rekindled when I go to visit.  But for now, I’m loving Ohio.

Now about these muffins.  Obviously, they totally go with October, but they would be equally perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast. They are actually pretty healthy – chunks of apple and apple sauce keep them very moist without much fat.  Then of course you add this browned butter glaze, which sort of ruins the healthy aspect, but  you absolutely cannot leave it off.  It is amazing. Together, these were best apple muffins I’ve ever had.

A few technical points….  First, you precook the apple with a bit of sugar and spice.  This step gives the apples a pie-like texture, instead of the dehydrated apple you find in some baked goods.  Additionally, I found out the hard way that there are so many liquid components to these, that they will seep if allowed to sit in an air tight container.  I’m quite sure this didn’t make the best presentation when John brought them into class, but apparently they were still well loved. To avoid this, go a little lighter on the amount of apple in the batter, and store with a rack underneath. These muffins are just hearty enough that you can call them breakfast without too much guilt.IMG_5512

Apple Cider Muffins with Browned Butter Glaze

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 -2 ½ honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider

For the Glaze: 

  • 4 tablespoons browned butter, melted and cooled*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Begin by melting the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally until the butter turns a deep golden brown.  Be careful not to burn. *Repeat this step for the browned butter in the glaze.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat and add diced apples with 3 tablespoons apple cider, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and caramely, about 8-10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. Line a muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar together until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in vanilla extract, butter, apple sauce and apple cider, whisking again until smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in diced apples. Do not overmix. Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full to scantly full.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops slightly golden. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Brown Butter Apple Cider Glaze
In a medium bowl,  combine browned butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Whisk until the mixture comes together then add in 1 tablespoon of apple cider, continuing to mix.  If it still doesn’t appear glaze-like, add in cider 1/2 tablespoon at a time and mix again. Don’t worry if it becomes too liquidy – just add a tiny bit of powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency. Spoon glaze on warm muffins or dip each top in the glaze, then serve.

Slightly Adapted from How Sweet It Is


Pumpkin Doughnuts

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Let me just profess how incredibly happy I am that it is October!  Not only for the amazing weather, the change of leaves, and a special someone’s birthday, but also because my work schedule is much more manageable, and  I actually have a few minutes to breathe.  Of course at the top of my weekend to do list was celebrating the season by making baked goods!  My friend Val also happens to be very found of October, seasonal festiveness and baking,  so I knew pumpkin spice doughnuts would be right up her alley.  I actually felt like a normal person, chit chatting on a Saturday afternoon, experimenting in the kitchen, and enjoying fall.  It was so much fun!

Truth be told, I had bought a doughnut cutter specifically for these doughnuts more than a year ago, and had yet to use it.  Fall passed me by, and making pumpkin doughnuts in December just seemed wrong.  We found that the doughnuts “holes” made with the cutter were much larger than expected, so we ended up cutting them into fourths and making more snack size bites.

Now, I know people “bake” doughnuts, and that is much healthier, but let’s be honest, by definition doughnuts are fried.   I’m not about to go redefining the very essentials of a doughnut by baking them, so yes, I fried these.  Healthy? No.  Guilty pleasure? Yes.  I have only fried things one other time in my life, and it was pretty much the worst disaster I’ve had yet in the kitchen.  (Picture an apartment so smoke filled you couldn’t reenter it for hours….).  Happy to say this time went much more smoothly.  The only difficult part is getting the oil to stay at the right temperature. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat to high – stick with medium – and use a heavy duty pan, like cast iron, that will keep consistent heat.  Overall, these were considerably easier than I was expecting, but just as fun and festive as I was hoping.

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Pumpkin Doughnuts

Makes 14-16 doughnuts and doughnut holes

Ingredients:
For the doughnuts:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Canola or Peanut Oil (for deep-frying)

For the cinnamon-sugar:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the spiced glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter until well blended. Add egg, then yolks and vanilla. Add the pumpkin mixture and stir.  Alternating buttermilk and flour mixture, continue to mix until all ingredients added and well blended.  Cover the mixture and freeze for 1 hour, or refrigerate for 3.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and lightly flour your work surface. Gently roll dough to about 1 – 1.5 cm thickness. Using a floured  doughnut cutter or 3-inch round cutter, cut out dough rounds. If needed, use a floured 1-inch cutter to remove the centers (or the bottom of a 1 m piping tip). Arrange the doughnuts and holes on the prepared baking sheets, and if possible chill until ready to fry.  Gather dough scraps and continue cutting until all the dough is used.

Line a cooling rack with several paper towels. Add enough oil to a skillet or Dutch oven to reach a depth of 1 – 1½  inches. Heat oil until the temperature reaches 365º to 370º. Fry doughnuts a few at a time, adjusting heat as needed to maintain temperature, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Fry doughnut holes in a couple batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Use a strainer to transfer doughnuts to paper towels.

To make the cinnamon-sugar, whisk together the cinnamon and sugar in a small, shallow bowl until combined. When doughnuts are cool enough to touch, dip in cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn to coat completely.

Make the spiced glaze by combining powdered sugar and spices in a small bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine, until a thick glaze is formed. Add more milk as needed to achieve desired consistency. Dip the remaining doughnuts in the glaze and allow to set before serving.

Source: Cook like a Champion 


Apple, Ham and White Cheddar Panini

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Every once in a while I see a recipe and immediately feel the need to make it that very same day.  This would be one of those recipes.  With an absolutely beautiful September behind us, and what I’m hoping will be an even more beautiful October ahead, I couldn’t pass up a recipe that so perfectly matched this fall weather.  It helps that there’s only about 5 ingredients and  that from start to finish this only took about 20 minutes.  Residency + a long commute + triathlons + general career/life crises have been taking up pretty much all my time, and blogging hasn’t been at the top of my list…but truth be told, I miss it!

You know this sandwich must be pretty great, considering it made me come out of blog hibernation.  In fact, it really makes me want to go apple picking and drink cider. The combination might sound a bit odd, but the apple and apple butter is really a nice balance to the saltiness from the ham and cheese.  Plus, I love adding sweetness to anything I can.  So if you’re looking for a quick an easy dinner to enjoy with fall, look no further. IMG_5484

Apple, Ham and White Cheddar Panini 

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 slices sourdough bread
  • 3 T. butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large apples, thinly sliced
  • Sliced white cheddar cheese, about 4 ounces
  • Thinly sliced maple ham, 6-8 ounces
  • 1/2 cup apple butter

Heat a grill pan or case iron skillet to medium heat. Butter the outside of each sandwich liberally.  On one piece of bread, layer apple slices, cheese and ham.  On the other slice apply a thick layer of apple butter.  Sandwich the pairs together so that the buttered sides are facing outwards.

Cook the sandwiches, turning once, until both sides are golden and the cheese is melted. Slice in half and serve immediately.

Source: Annie’s Eats