Frosted Cream Cheese Pumpkin Cookies

It’s officially FALL!!  Time to stock up on all things pumpkin.  I have been waiting patiently to share this recipe with you.  It has easily stolen the hearts of my boys.  There is something about the soft pumpkin cookie and cream cheese frosting on top that makes FALL MAGIC.  Your house will smell amazing while you are baking.  If you play “Autumn in New York” by Billie Holiday while baking your kitchen will become a dance floor.  I promise this will become a Fall favorite.

Keep Singing and Dancing,
Amanda  

Frosted Cream Cheese Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 T pumpkin pie spice, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 t Kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin 
1 egg
1 t Mexican vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces (1 brick)cream cheese, room temperature
3 T butter, room temperature
1 t Mexican vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until combined.  Set aside.

With a mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 1 minute until light and fluffy.  Add in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture, and beat on medium-speed until just combined.  Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Using a cookie dough scoop, make a heaping tablespoon of dough.  Drop scoop on prepared cookie sheet by heaping tablespoonfuls.  

Bake for 15 or until the cookies are cooked through and bounce back slightly if you touch them.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool until they reach room temperature.  Then frost with cream cheese frosting, and sprinkle with an extra pinch of pumpkin pie spice.  

Please read: Cookies are ready to serve.  Otherwise, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.  In my family’s opinion, the cookies don’t taste the best right out of the refrigerator.  So plan ahead before your event.  Take cookies out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before your event.  

To Make Cream Cheese Frosting:
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla together on medium-high speed until smooth.  Gradually add in the powdered sugar until it is all combined and the frosting is smooth.  If frosting is too thick, add in a tablespoon or two of milk until it reaches your desired consistency.  If your frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency.

You know I LOVE Trader Joe’s. I used Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin and Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Confetti Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

I love these cupcakes.  There is something so yummy about the fluffy light cake and the classic buttercream frosting.  Filled with your favorite sprinkles, they are ready to help you celebrate your favorite people.  

Confetti Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting
(Makes 24 cupcakes)

1 cup milk
5 egg whites
2 t vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla)
3 cups cake flour
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 t baking powder
½ t kosher salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chucks, at room temperature
½ cup of favorite sprinkles (I used these from Williams Sonoma)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. 
Line 24 cupcakes cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the milk, the egg whites, and vanilla. Set aside.

Using a mixer, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until thoroughly combined.  With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, mixing until the mixture resembles coarse sand.  Gradually add the remaining ¾ cup milk and beat for 1 or 2 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the egg mixture.  Mixing well and scraping down the bowl as necessary.  Gently fold in the sprinkles.

With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about two-thirds full.  

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Let cool for 15 minutes, then remove the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Cool completely before frosting the cupcakes.  

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch chucks, at room temperature
6 to 7 cups powdered sugar
½ cup milk
2 t vanilla extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)
A few drops of liquid gel food coloring (optional)

In a mixer, cream the butter on medium for 2 or 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add 4 cups of the powdered sugar, ¼ cup of milk, and the vanilla and mix on low speed, until smooth and creamy.  Add the remaining ¼ cup of milk and mix until incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes.  Gradually add 2 cups more sugar, then add up to 1 cup more sugar if the frosting seems thin, and beat on low speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.

If you want to tint the frosting: Add a drop or two of food coloring to the frosting, mixing well, then add more coloring as necessary until you reach the desired shade. If you want multiple colors, scoop frosting into several bowls, then add food coloring. 

The frosting can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to 1 week.  If you refrigerate, bring to room temperature before you use it.  Then transfer the buttercream to a mixer.  Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.  

Amanda’s Apple Crisp

Whether you have already been apple picking or it’s on your “apple bucket” list, you will want to save some apples for this crisp recipe.  All the ingredients play together to make fall come alive. My boys believe it must be topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This Apple Crisp is the perfect fall dessert.  

Keep Sing and Dancing in the Kitchen, Amanda

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Warm Apple Crisp

Yields: 12 servings

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped (other varieties can be used)

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

1 tsp of vanilla

pinch of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Butter an 8×8 baking dish. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add chopped apples, granulated sugar, 3/4 tsp of cinnamon and lemon juice.  Stir to combine. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

In a separate mixing bowl, add crisp ingredients (brown sugar, oats, flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and diced cold butter).  Use a pastry cutter to mix the butter into the oat mixture, using a slight downward twisting motion, until mixture is in small crumbs.  If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use two forks or even your hands to cut butter into the mixture.

Spread topping over apples in baking dish, and gently pat to even it out.  Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve warm.  We like to add a scoop of vanilla ice to our Apple Crisp.  Enjoy!  

Strawberry & Blueberry Bruschetta

We are getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July.  Desserts that include strawberries and blueberries naturally give you a patriotic feeling.  This little recipe was inspired by my friend, Erin at The Speckled Palate.  Jump over to her blog to be completely inspired plus she makes meal planning fun!

This little dessert will leave your family and friends wanting more!  Prep is simple and can be done ahead of time.  Feel free to play with the ingredients and make it your own.  Have a happy and safe 4th of July! -Amanda

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2 cups strawberries, sliced

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 pint blueberries

1 pre-made Pound Cake loaf (I purchased a Vanilla Pound Cake at Whole Foods)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

8oz of Cream Cheese,  allow to sit at room temp for 15 to 20 minutes

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Wash & Dry your strawberries and blueberries.  Slice your strawberries.  Toss  strawberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Slice your pound cake into 1inch (or less) thickness. I made sure to make 12 slices to have enough for dessert.   Brush the pound cake slices with melted butter.  On a preheated grill or grilling pan, toast both sides of your pound cake.  Let the pieces set long enough to get grill lines.  Once all slices are toasted, set aside and allow to cool.  

With a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Once all combined, place in refrigerator until ready to create dessert.

When you are ready to serve dessert, place your pound cake slices on a serving platter or individual plates.  Smear the cream cheese mixture on to your cake slices.  Make sure there is enough cream cheese mixture to allow the fruit to stick to your cake slices.  Then top that with a tablespoon of strawberries and their juice. Add blueberries by giving them a little push to stay on the cake slices.  Serve immediately, or let stand in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  

Lemon Sugar Cookies

It is clear that I live in a house of cookie monsters.  My boys love to see the cookie jar filled with cookies.  This past week we created a new sugar cookie.  I love adding lemon to desserts.  Lemon makes foods taste fresh.  These cookies were easy to make.  The boys loved them and we have decided they will be part of the cookie rotation.

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1 cup Butter cold, cut into cubes

2 cups Sugar

2 Eggs

1 t  Vanilla Extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)

1 1/2 Fresh Lemon Juice

1 T Lemon Zest  (you can add more to add extra flavor)

3 cups Flour

1 1/4 Baking Powder

1/4 Baking Soda

1/2 Salt

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar for 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir to combine.
Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix just until combined.
Spoon about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.
Drop dough onto a prepared baking pan.  Sprinkle the rolled dough balls with white sugar.
Bake for 9-11 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack.

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

I recently discovered Natasha’s Kitchen. She has tons of great recipes that have awesome pictures, easy to follow directions, and a fun sense of humor. The other night I made her Pumpkin Creme Brûlée for dessert. Oh my goodness! It was a hit. Plus my hubby got to play with the torch to make the caramelized topping. He actually let Whitaker take a turn with the torch. This dessert is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert bar or any fall time meal. Enjoy and check out Natasha’s site!

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

3 large whole eggs

1/2 cup sugar (plus extra for caramelizing)

1 cup pumpkin puree (make your own or use the can stuff)

1/4 t ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 whole eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until well blended. Heat 1 and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a sauce pan, almost to a simmer; stirring frequently. You don’t want to burn the bottom. Slowly add hot cream into the egg & sugar mix. You need to pour & whisk slowly as you are combining the hot cream with egg & sugar mix. Or you will end up with scrambled mess!

Next, strain the mixture through a small mess strainer into a bowl. Whisk in 1 cup pumpkin puree and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Divide the mixture into 8 (4 oz) cups and place in a large casserole baking dish. You might need more than one baking dish. Fill the baking dish with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.

Bake at 300 degrees for 35-40 minutes. The centers of the creme brûlée should barely move when you wiggle the pan.

Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate creme brûlée until ready to serve; you can refrigerate them even a week before your event.

When you are ready to serve, you can caramelize the top. Put 1 teaspoon of sugar on top. I used Vanilla Sugar from Beautiful Briny Sea made right here in Atlanta, Georgia. Spread sugar evenly over each custard. Heat the top with your torch. (This is my husband’s favorite part. Guys just love fire.) Keep torching until you have a caramelized top.

Once you have caramelized the top, do not refrigerate. This will cause your topping to not be crisp.

Ooey Gooey Butter Leprechaun Cookies

I  wanted to created some cookies to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  We combined a few recipes to get this final result.  This recipe allows for different extract flavors to achieve the flavor you want.  Also you can use a different food coloring gel to match whatever you need.  These cookies live up to their name.  They are ooey and gooey.  If you like a crisp, crunchy cookie, keep on moving.  Add a little fun to your St. Patrick’s Day celebration!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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Ooey Gooey Butter Leprechaun Cookies

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 t baking powder

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese,  softened

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1½ cups granulated sugar

2 t  vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla)

1 t  almond extract (you can use mint extract if you want to give that edge.  A good friend of mine said she might use Key Lime extract)

Green food coloring, gel based (this is where you can change colors for other celebrations)

1 t kosher salt

1  egg plus 1  egg yolk

1 cup powdered sugar for rolling & dusting cookies

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder until well blended. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer cream together cream cheese and butter until creamy and smooth. Beat in granulated sugar, extracts, salt, and desired amount of green food coloring.   Mix until well combined. Be sure to scrape sides of the bowl to make sure all gets mixed in. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until creamy and light.

On low-speed, gradually add flour mixture and mix until just fully incorporated. Dough will be very sticky. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least 5 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Place powdered sugar in a pie plate; set aside.

Use cookie dough scoop to measure dough.  Then roll dough in hands to create 1-inch balls.  (your hand will turn a little green if you used a lot of green food coloring you can live with it or use disposable rubber gloves)

Then roll in confectioners’ sugar to lightly coat. Place dough balls on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes.  Cookies should look puffy and crackly.  The cookies will still be soft in the centers. If they start to brown around the edges, they have baked too long. The underside of the cookies should be only very lightly browned.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet.  Then move cookies to a wire rack.

Keep cookies in airtight container.  Then can stored at room temperature or in your refrigerator.  

 

Chocolate Corn Flakes Chocolate Chip Cookies (It’s a Yummy Mouthful)

It should be pretty clear by now that my boys LOVE cookies.  I am raising actual Cookie Monsters!  We have a glass cookie jar that sits on the counter.  Usually that cookie jar displays the recent cookie that have been made in our kitchen.  I love hearing the sound of the jar being opened up.  A slight clang of glass and you know someone is in the cookie jar.  I love hearing my oldest and his friends getting into the cookie jar.  There is something magical about boys gathering around for a snack after shooting hoops or a long day at school.

As the cookies start getting low, I am quickly reminded that we will need more soon. We have several recipes that are always classics in this home.  The Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie and  M&M Cookies are our usual standbys because the ingredients are simple and always on hand.

My soon-to-be four year old was eager to make cookies last week.  I told him we were going to mix it up and add one of his favorite cereal- Kellogg’s Chocolate Frosted Flakes. He was beyond thrilled to help with the process.  The cookies were super easy to make and turned out perfect.  You can always use plain corn flakes for your cookies.

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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Chocolate Corn Flakes Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs

1 1/2 t vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 cup regular oats, uncooked

1 cup chocolate corn flakes cereal (picture below)

1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and additional 1/2 cup for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat shortening and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars.  Beat until all combined.  Add eggs one at a time.  Then add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and soda.  Gradually add to butter mixture.  Mix well.  Stir in oats, chocolate corn flakes, and chocolate chips.

Using a cookie dough scoop, drop dough 2 inches apart on your baking sheet.

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I always add extra chocolate chips to the top of my cookies before baking. It adds more chocolate and makes your cookies look good too!

Add additional chocolate chips to top off cookies.  Gently press in the chocolate chips. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  You want the cookies to be lightly browned.  Remove cookies and place on a wire rack for cooling.

And yes, this is Whitaker’s current favorite cereal:

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Our Valentine’s Rice Krispie Treats- On Mission in My Kitchen

I’m always looking for ways to get my boys in the kitchen. Simple recipes like this one help get my little guy involved.

I began getting him involved at the grocery store. I showed him what ingredients were on our shopping list. He helped me find Rice Krispie cereal, large marshmallows, butter, and sprinkles. Letting your child make fun decisions like, “What sprinkles would you like to use?” allows them to have ownership in the process.

In the kitchen, we took time to count out the marshmallows. We are working on counting to ten so we counted five different times. Yes, I’m very intentional when “teaching” in the kitchen. It is natural learning and having fun at the same time.

While standing on a stool beside me, he watched while we adding heat.  We watched as the butter melted and then the marshmallows melted. He smelled the yummy vanilla. And he added the food coloring and was excited when the color began to transform the marshmallow mixture.

He scooped up the cereal using a measuring cup. You can’t mess this recipe up so it’s okay if the cup is overflowing.

I think his favorite part was using the sprinkles he picked out. Lots of sprinkles were added.

As we waited for the treats to cool, I asked him “Who should be share these treats with?”. I’m trying to working with my boys to be outward focused. It is a daily conversation. “How can we bless someone today?” “Who’s day could be brighten?” “How can we show the love of Jesus today?”

He quickly decided that some neighbor friends might like these treats. We packaged them up in disposable aluminum pan. (I try to keep these on hand. The Dollar Tree always has the best assortment and they are one dollar.)

I loved that before he even tried his treat, he was skipping out the door with his brother to deliver the goodies.

It is the simplest recipes and experiences in the kitchen that can get your child involved. Yes, it will take longer and there might be more messes. I believe the quality and intentional time together makes it so worth it.

On Mission in the Kitchen,
Amanda

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3 T butter and additional unsalted butter to grease pan

4 1/2 cups of large marshmallows (we use 50 large marsmallows)

Red food coloring or gel

1 t vanilla (I used Mexican vanilla)

6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal

Assorted Valentine’s sprinkles

 

Prepare your 13×9 pan or whatever shape and size you desire by coating the pan with butter.  Set pan aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat.

Stir in vanilla.  Then add red food coloring to achieve the desired color.

Add Kellogg’s Rice Krispie cereal.  Stir until well coated.

Using a buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into your prepared pan.

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Sprinkle the mixture with sprinkles.  Press in sprinkles.  Allow time to cool.

Using a knife, cut your treats to desired shapes.  Rice Krispie Treats are always best if served the same day.

Thanksgiving Pie– No More Choices

Every year we plan out our Thanksgiving menus.  Turkey, Sides, Appetizers, Beverages, and Desserts!  Oh the desserts!  We are traditional and make Pumpkin and Pecan Pies.  I have thrown in a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (YUM!).

When I hit the dessert table, I usually take a little bit of everything.  (It’s the right thing to do!)  But what if two of your favorites were combined.  Like Pumpkin Pie married Pecan Pie!!

Well, it happened the other night in my kitchen.  A few years ago, Southern Living introduced this little union.  And we all lived happily ever after! You need to plan to make this pie the night before serving.  It is better when it has time to completely cool and flavors will pop.  I have made a few adjustments to the recipe and it is perfection.

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Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle work surface with powdered sugar. Roll out piecrust, and place on prepared surface. Sprinkle piecrust with chopped pecans. Place wax paper over piecrust and pecans, and lightly roll pecans into crust. Fit piecrust, pecan side up, in a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp.

Mix together pumpkin  and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and well mixed; pour into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Remove and shield edges with aluminum foil or crust protector.  This will keep your crust from burning.  Then bake an additional 25 minutes.

While pie is baking, you will create your pecan streusel topping.  This will create the pecan pie element to your pie.

For Pecan Streusel:
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
Mix all the pecan toppings together until well blended.After pie has baked 45 minutes,  gently top pie with Pecan Streusel Topping. Reduce oven temperature to 325°,  and bake 10 minutes. This will allow streusel to golden a bit. Then cover pie with aluminum foil.   Cool completely on a wire rack at least 3 hours.  Once cooled, place in refrigerator over night.  This will allow all the flavors to go crazy.
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