Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

shared-sugar-pumpkin-muffins-2 I can’t get enough pumpkin this season. Everywhere I turn, there it is and I want it. Maybe it’s the spice. Maybe it is the season. Maybe it is just all around too delicious to pass up. This is a case of the same.

shared-sugar-pumpkin-muffins-4 I first had these muffins at a friend’s bridal shower. I found the recipe online and made them once as a dessert after a soup dinner this fall and then again for breakfast at our fall festivities at the office. I’ve tweaked the recipe along the way but have heard nothing but love for these little pumpkin delights. They look too big to enjoy alone, but after you start eating, the problem usually takes care of itself.

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    Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

    Makes 10 large muffins

  • Ingredients

  • cheesecake filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • streusel
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • batter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Directions

  • make the filling

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour two 6-cup large muffin tins. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, stir the softened cream cheese until it is smooth. Add the sugar and cinnamon and mix until combined well. Then add the egg and mix until combined well.

    make the streusel

    In a small bowl, mix sugar, flour, pecans and cinnamon. Then drizzle on the melted butter. Toss together until it is evenly mixed and set aside.

    make the batter

    In a large, shallow bowl. Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, all spice, sea salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the pumpkin mixture into the well. Mix the ingredients together using a fork, just until combined.

    build the muffins

    Using a tablespoon, place two tablespoons of the batter in each muffin cup. Then place one tablespoon of cream cheese mixture in each muffin cup on top of the batter. Then top with two tablespoons of the batter. Top each muffin cup with the streusel, covering most of the batter. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted in the muffins and comes out clean. Then cool on wire racks.

Posted in Breakfast, Muffins | Tagged , , , | 44 Comments

Peach (or Apple) Sour Cream Puff

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I know that it’s almost over, those last days of peaches are upon us. I will be quite sad to see them go, so I’ve made this dessert a few times to savor their goodness.

This dessert is pretty great for a dinner with friends because it’s a less expected choice with all the fall crisps and crumbles approaching. If you’re out of peaches already in your area, make it with apples. That’s actually what the original recipe calls for so you can get bonus points for following the rules.

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Make it on one condition though. Eat it all up on the first day. Pass it out to friends if you have to. It’s egg-based, and the texture really changes when refrigerated and reheated. It’s best eaten warm.

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P.S. Sorry for the unintended hiatus. Summer had it’s way with us and kept out out of the kitchen and (somewhat) off the interwebs. And yes, we’re still sore from the lake intertubing and Vegas romping. Turns out our bodies don’t heal as quickly as when we were 15 and 21. Anywho, thanks to all of you loyal friends that stuck around. We give you an internet gold star.

    Peach Sour Cream Puff

    Recipe torn from my mom’s files, source unknown
    serves 6-8

  • Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced (about 8 medium peaches, OR 4 medium apples if you’re going that route)
  • 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup pure cane sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a 10-inch oven-proof skillet, melt the butter. Add the peaches, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes until thickened slightly. If your peaches are quite juicy (mine were), depending on their juiciness, pour between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the liquid into a small bowl and reserve for later. Then, pour 1/2 of the remaining peach mixture into another bowl.

    In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and pale yellow. Beat in sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla.

    In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks, with tips curling over. Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat until it forms stiff peaks, with tips standing up straight. Fold in the egg yolk mixture. Pour over peach mixture in skillet. Pour remaining peach mixture on top.

    Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until puffed up and top is golden brown. Sift powdered sugar on top. If you have reserved the extra liquid, now drizzle that over the top. Serve immediately.

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

Spiced Bundt Cake with Orange Butter

shared-sugar-spiced-bundt-cake-3Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. I received this recipe from a friend of my mom’s. The word on the street was that this bundt cake was devoured within hours of it being prepared but when I read the recipe I was not convinced. It seemed so basic.

shared-sugar-spiced-bundt-cake-2 By request of my mom, I made it for a family gathering. I was nervous about the outcome but didn’t taste it before sharing it with my family as to not ruin the beautiful shape of the cake. Little did I know, I had nothing to worry about.

shared-sugar-spiced-bundt-cake-1 I served it warm so the Orange Butter would melt into the cake. It was love at first bite. Unbelievable. It was so delicious. I wanted to have it for every meal. This is a great example of how the right combination of ingredients can still steal the show. This recipe will be in my baking archive for decades. Can’t beat simple pleasures like this.

    Spiced Bundt Cake with Orange Butter

    adapted from Kim’s recipe, friend of my mom
    serves 12-15

  • Ingredients

  • bundt cake
  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (16 ounces)
  • 1-1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • powdered sugar, for dusting
  • orange butter
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate, at room temperature
  • 1-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • Directions

  • make the bundt cake

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the bundt pan. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and fill the well with the remaining ingredients. Using a whisk, mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if the cake is done. Try and remove the cake from the oven right before the toothpick comes out clean. The top of the cake should be golden brown. Let the cake cool slightly. Then turn the cake out onto a serving plate and dust with powdered sugar.

    make the orange butter

    Using a mixer, beat the butter and orange zest until smooth. Then add the orange juice concentrate and beat until combined. Add the powdered sugar in increments and beat until smooth. Add more or less powdered sugar to taste. Serve in a bowl to spread on warm bundt cake.

Posted in Cakes | Tagged , , | 37 Comments

Chocolate Mint Pixies

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There are only two things that I find necessary to bake (and/or consume) each holiday season: 1. Mexican wedding cake cookies and 2. some sort of combination of chocolate and peppermint.

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This year, I took one of my mom’s classic recipes for chocolate pixies and added a little peppermint in order to get my fix. I think the only other thing needed to get in full holiday spirit is Bing Crosby crooning away on vinyl.

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    Chocolate Mint Pixies

    makes approx. 3 dozen cookies

  • Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-2/3 cup pure cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint flavor
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Directions

  • Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a small saucepan over low heat, or in a double boiler, melt together chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

    In a medium bowl, mix together flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

    In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in peppermint flavoring and cooled chocolate mixture. On low speed, add half of flour mixture. Slowly pour in milk. Finish with remaining flour mixture. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you don’t have time for the chilling step, the cookies will spread and be flatter.

    Pour powdered sugar into a small bowl. Remove batter from refrigerator. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, portion and roll dough into 1-1/2 inch diameter balls. Roll dough balls in powdered sugar to coat. Place on cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes. Cookies should still look a little moist in the center so that they retain their softness. Place cookies on a rack to cool.

Posted in Cookies | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments

Pumpkin bars with maple cream cheese frosting

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There was one delightful fall day a few years ago when I came to work and discovered a tray of pumpkin bars, baked by the wife of my former boss. I’d never experienced anything quite like them before, and they instantly became one of my favorite baked goods. Ever. This is big people. As you’ve probably noticed, we’re not really strangers to dessert around here.

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Last fall I tried to replicate them without a recipe. Sad times. These were not anything like Tami’s pumpkin bars. So finally, I swallowed my pride and asked my former boss, John for the recipe. They kindly provided it. And, an entire tray of bars from her. Yum. This year I’ve fared much better with the original recipe. Of course, I couldn’t quite leave it alone and made a few adjustments including applesauce, wheat, a few more spices, nuts and an adapted maple cream cheese frosting I’ve made before.

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I’m not quite sure how to categorize these things? Bar, apparently. However, they’re almost more like a shorty sheet cake. Whatever they are, they work. And, they are perfect for fall. Especially if you can’t take making another pumpkin pie over Thanksgiving this year.

    PUMPKIN BARS WITH MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

    adapted from Tami
    makes approx. 24 bars

  • Ingredients

  • pumpkin bars
  • 1-3/4 cups pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 15 oz. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie puree)
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • maple cream cheese frosting
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (use 2-1/4 cups for a thicker frosting)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • Directions

  • make the pumpkin bars

    Lightly grease a 10-inch x 15-inch jelly roll pan. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and pumpkin puree. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Pour batter in jelly roll pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place pan on a cooling rack and cool bars completely.

    make the maple cream cheese frosting

    In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the cream cheese and butter. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix in maple syrup. Refrigerate frosting for at least 30 minutes. This step is important. From experience, if you don’t refrigerate the frosting, it’ll slide right off the bars. After frosting is chilled, ice the bars. Sprinkle pecans on top of the frosted bars.

Posted in Brownies and Bars | Tagged , , , , , | 53 Comments

Caramel Apple Nut Rolls

SharedSugar_CaramelAppleNutRolls1 Every time I start writing a post, I find myself expressing a deep love for the food I am writing about, almost like every food is my favorite. I love ice cream. I love cookies. I love blackberries. And I am especially fond of cinnamon rolls. On Saturdays, when I am up early and out for a long run, I fill my mind with thoughts of warm, gooey cinnamon rolls. Once I finish my run, I stop by the farmer’s market or my favorite breakfast place and indulge in my reward.

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In the spirit of the changing leaves and cool days, this twist on cinnamon rolls includes the treasure of juicy, fall apples. There are so many choices when it comes to apples. I used two types, Gala and Cameo apples. They are both tasty for eating and baking with the Cameo being a bit more tart than the Gala. The Cameos also have a beautiful red and yellow stripe pattern, which, of course, is no matter to the taste. Just choose your favorite apple.

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These rolls are made with apple butter and cinnamon in the middle and then baked with apple pieces and pecan halves. Then they are topped with sweet caramel icing. The icing puts these over the edge, so I always drizzle on a little extra for good measure. No bobbing for apples this fall, they are more fun baked into breakfast!

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    Caramel Apple Nut Rolls

    makes at least 18 medium rolls

  • Ingredients

  • rolls
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 tablespoon salt
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, sliced and chopped thin
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 16 tablespoons apple butter
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • caramel icing
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 6-7 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • *may replace with olive oil

  • Directions

  • make the rolls

    Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Heat until just before boiling. Remove from heat. Transfer to a new bowl to bring the temperature down quicker and let cool for 1 hour until the mixture is just warm. Add the active dry yeast and let it sit for a few minutes. In increments, mix in 8 cups of flour. Cover and let the dough rise for 1 hour.

    Mix 1 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to risen dough. If desired, cover dough and refrigerate until you are ready to make the rolls. The dough will last for up to one week.

    Butter two 9-inch pans. You can also use 5-inch wide, 2-inch deep, heat safe ramekins for single servings. Or you can use a combination of pans and ramekins. Cover the bottom of the pan with pecans. Then top the pecans with the apple pieces. Combine 1/4 cup of melted butter with two teaspoons of cinnamon. Brush the mixture evenly on the apples in each pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Divide the dough in two and form rectangles. On a large, floured surface, begin to roll out half the dough in a long rectangle. Dough should be rolled out about 1/4 inch thick. Then, leaving about 1/2 inch on the edge, spread half of the apple butter on the dough. Using a brush, add half the butter. Then sprinkle the dough with half the brown sugar and one tablespoon of cinnamon.

    Then begin to roll the dough in a long cylinder shape. Roll tightly, tucking the dough as you go. Once the dough is rolled, cut it in rolls about 1-inch thick. If using ramekins, cut the rolls slightly thicker to account for the deeper dish. Place the rolls in the pans on top of the apples, leaving room for the rolls to expand. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Bake the rolls for 19-22 minutes until they are golden. Remove them from the oven and within 5 minutes, turn the rolls over onto a plate so the pecans and apples are on top.

    make the caramel icing

    In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the cream and brown sugar and bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat and whisk in half of the powdered sugar. Let it cool slightly, then add the remaining powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously until the powdered sugar is well combined. If you prefer it a little thinner, mix in 1 tablespoon of cream. Then drizzle the icing over the rolls.

Posted in Breakfast | Tagged , , | 61 Comments
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