Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

We signed up to receive a weekly bushel of veggies from a local farmer from June - October. We loved having fresh veggies every week, and it forced me to cook things that I normally don't - like pie pumpkin. These little pumpkins are meant for eating and they look just like normal pumpkins, but smaller and found in the grocery section. I decided to cook one in the oven, puree it and use as I would a can of pumpkin. I must say, the pumpkin I had didn't produce that strong of a pumpkin taste compared to the can version, but it felt good knowing it was completely homemade and fresh. And yes, you can freeze the pumpkin puree and thaw when ready to use.

All that being said, these cupcakes are DELICIOUS, especially with a lightly-spread cream cheese frosting. They are from Martha Stewart.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes (Martha Stewart - makes 18)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17 - 23 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon milk (whole is better)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

  1. Beat softened cream cheese, milk and vanilla in large bowl on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until smooth and of spreading consistency.
  2. Frost cupcakes with a thin layer of frosting (I tried to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes and it seemed to be too much frosting and I couldn't taste the actual cupcake). Refrigerate any remaining frosting. Frosts a 13x9" cake or fills and frosts two 8 or 9" cake layers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sweet & Tangy Apple-Cabbage Coleslaw

My love for coleslaw has grown over the years. Perhaps it's because slaw is always served with BBQ, and being from Kansas City, we would eat BBQ all the time. Some slaws are too creamy, some are just too acidic, but this recipe from America's Test Kitchen is a winner for us. The sweet apple balances out the acidity of the vinegar for a perfect combination. It's super easy if you have a food processor to slice everything thinly.

Serve With: slow cooked ribs and cheesy potatoes

Apple-Cabbage Slaw (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)
1 medium head green cabbage, cored
2 medium sized apples (Granny Smith or any variety - I like the sweeter kinds personally)
2 medium carrots
1 small onion
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I prefer the seedy kind)

  1. Thinly slice cabbage, apples, carrots and onion in food processor, or by hand, cut into thin matchsticks.
  2. Toss all vegetables together in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together oil, cider vinegar, sugar, Dijon mustard and salt. Pour over slaw mix. You may not need the entire dressing if your cabbage was small, so add about half, toss and test. Add more if needed. (America's Test Kitchen suggests bringing oil, vinegar, sugar and mustard to a boil over medium heat and then pouring over the slaw, and allowing to cool before serving. I've found heating the dressing is not needed, but they say it helps the veggies soak the flavor up better.)