Saturday, November 6, 2010

Baby it's cold outside!

Cold weather has finally hit Florida and I'm not happy. I love my flip flops and sundresses. I don't want to wear shoes and jackets but on the bright side I do love cold weather food! Not sure if that's a good thing though. There is just something comforting about cold weather foods. So I've kinda been on a pumpkin "thang" even though I haven't been crazy about it in the past. Usually I have my Thanksgiving piece of pumpkin pie and I'm pretty much content until next year but something has happened this year and I'm digging my new found love for the little orange guy! Doesn't hurt that the little girl in the house loves her some pumpkin too!

Today is our first real cold morning so I wanted to make something warm and yummy for the kiddo's. The boy just became an official "brace face" so his mouth has been pretty sore the last few days and only soft food will do. Gotta love oatmeal! Add a little brown sugar and cinnamon and you've got something yummy for your tummy. Then the girl found a recipe for Pumpkin Hot Chocolate in her American Girl magazine. It sounded good but was made with instant hot chocolate and the recipe called for even more added sugar so I decided to make up my own recipe compiled from a few that I had found online. This is what I came up with and it even taste great in some coffee for us grown ups!!!

Spiced Pumpkin Hot Chocolate

3 cups of reduced fat milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
2 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff, not Aunt Jemima even though there is nothing wrong with her)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a saucepan whisk together all the above ingredients over medium low heat. You don't want to scald the milk. Just heat until it starts to steam and then drink up! If you want an adult version add some coffee and you've got yourself a Pumpkin Latte. Add some rum and you've got a really good drink! Want to make it a Spiced Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate? Just replace the cocoa with 4 ounces of chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips.

Notes; my kids are spoiled rotten so they also got a dollop of homemade whipping cream on top that was sprinkled with cinnamon. You could also make some maple whipped cream if you want to make it really special. Shaved chocolate wouldn't hurt either. Also the 1/2 cup of pumpkin was pretty subtle in my opinion. If you would like more of a pumpkin flavor I would add 3/4 to 1 cup pumpkin and you'll have a stronger pumpkin flavor.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Put a little pumpkin in your life!

This time of year is pumpkin overload! I'm not a huge pumpkin fan but there are a few baked pumpkin goodies out there that rock my world. Here's one of them.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Ingredients: Pumpkin Cookies

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil ( I used a mix of vegetable & canola)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extact
  • 1 can of pumpkin (15-ounce) or the fresh stuff
  • 3 cups of flour (I always use a mixture of white and whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice ( I never have this so I mix cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. You can also add ginger if you'd like but I don't.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened ( I use the real stuff here, it makes a difference)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 to 5 cups of powdered sugar (I didn't use anything near this amount! Talk about sugar high. I used about 3/4 to 1 cup. I added the sugar in small amounts until I got the consistency I wanted. I personally think that 4 cups of sugar is way too much but go for it if you like it super duper sweet.
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat the eggs, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add pumpkin and stir until combined. In a separate bowl combine the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture a 1/2 cup at a time. Blending each time until mixture is smooth.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Using your finger or the back of a spoon, slightly flatten each cookie mound. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. While cookies are baking make frosting. Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in powdered sugar a half cup at a time until frosting is the consistency and sweetness you like. You want the frosting to be spreadable but not too runny.
  4. **To assemble pies turn half of the cookies bottom side up and spread a generous amount of cream cheese filling on each one. Top with remaining cookies and enjoy!
**NOTE: Make sure cookies are completely cooled so the filling does not melt when you assemble them.