Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with a Pumpkin Streusel Swirl

Recipes with long ingredient lists scare me.

Like, really scare me. I feel like I can't even enjoy baking when it calls for 7,000 ingredients followed by another 7 gazillion steps.

However, when I stumbled upon this recipe at, I felt like I didn't have a choice BUT to make it. C'mon, when is anything with 3 cups of sugar and a cup and a half of butter a BAD thing!?

P.S: Anyone attempting to leave a comment on this post saying "ya but it's bad for your diet" just stop it, stop it now.

Maybe after this pumpkin post I'll take a full week long hiatus from anything pumpkin because, 1. Nothing following will live up to this recipe and 2. Hello, September on my blog, meet pumpkin... BOOM!

Plus I'm ooober excited about Halloween right around the corner (does my blog give you a hint of my obsessive tendencies yet?)

So, I'm sure my blog for the next month will be spewing out green goo, blood, spiders and everything Haunted! Is anyone else but me excited about Halloween Wars on Food Network!? Scratch that, the word spew isn't necessarily a bench-marker for delicious on a food blog huh?

Anyways, my rant is finished... This recipe is about to go on for a minute, but please stick with me. It's worth it people!

For the Pumpkin Pie Filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup overflowing with pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the Pecan Streusel:
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons cold butter
1 cup chopped pecans, roasted

For the Cream Cheese Pound Cake:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

Toast Pecans: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans out on a baking sheet and bake for 4-6 minutes until fragrant and toasty. Spread on a plate to cool. Keep the oven on for the cake.

Make the filling: In your stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth. Add in the pumpkin puree, egg, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and pumpkin pie spice. Mix until combined. Set in the fridge while you make everything else.

Make the Streusel: Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Using fairy like hands, or a pastry cutter will do, cut in the butter until pea sized and crumbly. Add 1/2 cup of the toasted pecans.

Make the pound cake: Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed in your stand mixer (make sure to rinse out if you used this for the filling). Gradually add in the sugar and beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at time, just until no yellow is showing. Stir in the vanilla. Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl and add into the batter in multiple additions, scraping down the sides as necessary until fully mixed.

Grease a Bundt pan with cooking spray and flour.
Dollop 1/3 of the batter into the greased pan and use a spatula to smooth out evenly and up against the sides to make level.
Dump the Streusel mixture into the pumpkin filling and gently mix, you do not need it to be fully combined. Dollop big spoonfuls of the pumpkin mixture onto the batter in your Bundt pan and swirl with a wooden skewer. Top this layer with another third of cream cheese batter, then follow again with the remaining pumpkin filling. Using large spoonfuls and swirling with the skewer. Top with the final third of batter and smooth out evenly.
Fill an oven proof pot with 2 cups of water and place in the warm oven. Place the cake beside it and bake for an hour and a half. Start checking the cake early, if the top starts to get too browned cover with aluminum foil.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before running the edges with a knife and inverting on a serving dish.
I chose to eat mine with caramel topping and sprinkled it with the toasted pecans, but feel free to make an icing for this!

Doesn't this picture make you feel like you're in a tunnel of cake?? MMMMM.... 
This cake is everything right in the world. If a dense, moist, cream cheese cake made out with pumpkin pie... Their spit would be this cake...ok, gross. Enjoy everyone!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Rag Wreath

I have been on a crafting roll lately, which for me means crafting about 4 things in the last month! I'm actually looking for my next project and am SO excited the Holidays are on their way. So excuse me while my blog is bombarded with crafts and delicious recipes, I know you wont mind!

These rag wreaths are SUPER popular so I had to jump on the bandwagon. Just keep in mind its the most tedious thing you will ever do... Like more than filling out long applications, or peeling potatoes or EVEN shredding cheese! ( and I reeaallly dislike all of those things)

So lets get started... You can make these any way you like. Here's what I did:

  • 2 yards of fabric (burlap or clothing fabric is a great option, I used fleece. The wreath feels amazing but shreds almost the same as burlap) cut into 7" long, 1" wide strips.
  • 1- 18" wire wreath form
  • Ribbon, letters and accessories
So... Take your wire form, like this:

and, starting at the beginning of a section, begin to tie double knot pieces of fabric. I varied the way I tied and looped to give the fabric ends various directions. Push them together as you go. I suggest starting with the inner circle and working your way out. Continue doing this until the inner and outercircle of the wreath are full. If you choose multiple fabrics you can intermix the two or do the inside one color and the outside another.
Tie a ribbon on the side, bottom or top, hot glue gun letters or anything else you like. Really let your creativity flow here!

Sorry about the ugly photography, I shot at different times of the day.

P.S: Santa... I need a new camera!!

Thanks for stopping by everyone and Happy Fall!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Did you miss me? Did you miss pumpkin? Well, luckily I'm here with a fantastic pumpkin recipe to share.

Little individual pumpkin pie cookies, who can beat that? Its pumpkin filling meets buttery flaky cookie dough.... yep, heaven! Plus they are portable!

I'll keep this short and sweet but just promise you will make this fantastic recipe!

These cookies are adapted de Betty Crocker and make about 18 cookies.

Lets get the party started....

For the Dough:

1 package (1 lb 1.5 ounce) Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
4 ounces cold cream cheese

For the Filling:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened well
4 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a regular muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place cookie mix in a large bowl along with the butter and cream cheese. Cut in the butter and cream cheese using a fork or pastry blender until pea sized and crumbly (do not over-mix!) Reserve 3/4 cup into another bowl. Firmly press 2 heaping tablespoons of the remaining cookie mixture into the bottom of each tin. Press together to form the bottom crust.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the filling ingredients. Place a rounded tablespoon of filling into the center of each bottom crust. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the reserved crumb topping. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan then run a knife around the edges and lift. 

ENJOY!! It's finally Fall!!

P.S: Be sure to come back in late fall to see what ELSE I make with Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix.... Finally giving out my secret!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Halloween Boo Sign

Yes, I craft sometimes too. Don't look so shocked!

It's not really anything I do every weekend, I don't have a craft room, and definitely don't expect me to pull out my bedazzler! I do love, however, browsing Michael's for hours and I most certainly love making my own holiday decorations.

I'm sure you have all seen these signs (or something similar) floating around the internets so I couldn't help but share my own. The best part is that you can make them any way you like by picking whatever letters and paper you fancy. Thus making this a multi-holiday craft!

And, it whips up in less than an hour. If I can do it with two toddlers pulling at everything, so can you!!!

You Will Need:

  1. Wooden letters
  2. Scrapbook paper
  3. Mod Podge
  4. Ribbon
  5. Any extras you like 

I found everything at Michaels, the letters run about $2 a piece depending on the size you get. I ended up getting a whole pack of 4" by 6" scrapbook paper because our Michaels had an awful selection of Halloween themed paper in the individual sheets, the entire book was only $3.99.

Start by tracing the the letters (back side facing up) onto the back of your scrapbook paper.
Cut out the letters using scissors, I also used a pairing knife for the centers, just make sure you have your paper on a flat/hard surface.
Coat the front side of the wooden letters with a layer of Mod Podge and stick the paper to it. Smooth lightly as you go but do not worry about air bubbles. Let dry completely.
Once dry, brush a top coat over the letters and let this dry. The Mod Podge creates a nice finish on the letters.

Tie the letters with pieces of ribbon (I did wish I had purchased a solid black ribbon) and then Mod Podge on your accessories.
I ended up not using the Happy Halloween accessory so I am saving it for another project.
This whole project ended up costing around $12, but this also left me with extra paper, ribbon the Happy Halloween sign.

Have fun everyone!! Life is too short not to be creative!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

This bread is delicious and addicting. It's moist, sweet, crunchy and indulgent. Luckily, this recipe makes 2 loaves. Unlucky for me, they're both gone :(

(And no I didn't eat them both myself!)

This bread also reminds me of a certain coffee chain, that sells a shmumpkin shmice latte, and the pumpkin cream cheese muffins they have... You feel me!?

Would you believe me if I told you I made this at 3 am?

Better yet, would you believe me if I told you I found a bloody hand-print on my wall?

Well, please believe both because they are BOTH true. Some real C.S.I. stuff going on in my household. Hence the reason I'm up at 3 am (because, psycho paths cant kill you if you are baking delicious bread!).

The hand print is still on my wall because if there is an ax-murderer in my home, I need evidence (you know, if they can't locate my body or something).

So if this is my last blog post, just promise me you will at least remember me by this recipe...

For the Filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the Bread:
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line two 8x4" loaf pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, blend the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Mix on low for a few seconds to combine. Add in the pumpkin puree, oil, eggs and sugar. Mix just until combined. Add in the walnuts and fold by hand.
Pour a quarter of the pumpkin batter into each prepared loaf pan. Spoon on (half into each pan) the cream cheese mixture and then pour on the remaining pumpkin batter, splitting between both pans. Do not worry if you do not have enough pumpkin batter to completely cover the cream cheese. Using a knife or chopstick, stick straight into the top two layers (pumpkin and cream cheese) and swirl to create a marbling effect. This gives the cream cheese filling a nice swirl effect when it bakes.

Bake loaves in the preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool bread in the pans for 20 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Best enjoyed slightly warm with a cup of coffee.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, tomorrow the fam and I are headed to Apple Hill!

Monday, September 10, 2012

French Bread (Oui Oui)

I'm fairly certain a great bread is my weakness...

Don't even ask for the bread basket at restaurants because I'll pretend like I only want one piece, then slowly devour 2-3 more.

Then I'll most likely be too full to eat my meal, but that means leftovers. So it's honestly a win-win.

Nothing beats a warm piece of bread with a crunchy exterior and a chewy-moist inside. Slather with some sweet cream butter...Game. Over.

Now that I know how easy it is to make at home I haven't quite decided if it's a good thing or bad thing.

Shout out to the people on no-carb diets right now! Word.

French Bread:
(makes 2 GIANT loaves or 3 medium sized loaves)

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 packet) yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3/4 Tablespoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
7 cups bread flour

cornmeal for dusting
1 egg for wash

In a large bowl, whisk together the water, yeast, sugar and vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes until bubbles start to form (this means your yeast is doing a happy dance!).
Add in the salt and vegetable oil and whisk. One cup at a time, mix in your bread flour until a dough starts to form. You will want to knead your dough for 2-5 minutes until it has reached a soft/sticky consistency (IT WILL BE STICKY!!!!)
Set a small pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and place the pot of boiled water and your bowl of dough into your oven. The water will keep the dough moist. Close your oven door and check on the dough after 45 minutes, if the dough has risen to the top of the bowl punch down. Continue this process, punching down the dough every time it reaches the top of the bowl. Depending on your time constraints, do this 3-5 times.
After your final rise, using floured hands and a floured surface, form the dough into a ball and portion into 2 large, or 3 medium sized equal pieces. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lightly dust with cornmeal. Roll the dough balls into oblong pieces and transfer to your cookie sheet (s). Slash the tops of the bread 5 or 6 times diagonally. Whisk the egg and brush over the tops of the loaves.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Place loaves into the oven and let rise for 20-30 minutes (varies depending on your desired loaf side) Without opening the oven, turn it up to 375 degrees and bake loaves for 25-30 minutes or until cooked thoroughly and golden brown.

Enjoy! Just try not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pumpkin Churros

Are you sick of pumpkin yet?

Because I'm not. My goal is to blog one pumpkin recipe per week until the beginning of November... THEN you might be sick of pumpkin!!

Or if you are anything like me, probably not!

And not only is pumpkin delicious, but mix it with melted butter, fry it and coat with cinnamon sugar and you have the REAL DEAL.

I introduce, pumpkin churros...

You're welcome.

Churro Dough:
(give or take 5,00 churros... jk! but it makes a lot)
adapted from bakergirl

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
4 eggs

vegetable oil for frying

On a small plate, combine the sugar and one teaspoon cinnamon and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Set aside.

Heat the water, pumpkin, vanilla and butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Cook until everything is combined, smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and quickly stir in your flour mixture. Place this back over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
Remove from heat and working quickly, incorporate one egg at a time.Mixture will be smooth and sticky.
Spoon into a piping bag with a large star tip. I used a 1 inch tip, bigger would always be better!
In a pot, add in your oil to measure 2 inches up the sides. Heat the oil to 350 degrees.
Gently pipe dough into the hot oil, snipping the ends.
Or if you like the circle shape, pipe a wreath shaped churro onto a spoon and gently drop into the hot oil. Turn the heat down and fry the churros at 325 degrees, adjusting when need be to keep the oil at this temp.Fry about 2-3 minutes per side until golden and cooked through. (You might want to test a couple first.)
Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, gently pat dry and place warm churros into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Let cool slightly ( I advise not shoving the hot churros into your mouth right away. It's hot inside of those puppy's and you might burn the roof of your mouth. Not that I would know...)

Best enjoyed warm and the day you make them!!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Creamer

"Hi my name is Veronica and I'm addicted to Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. I've been an addict since Tuesday."

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem... well, I have a problem. It's all I talk about, all I think about and all I want. And I'm almost glad the pumpkin cream cheese muffins have been sold out in our area or I'd be admitting another problem. I obviously have issues...

I decided to fumble around with making my own, because not only is the addiction a problem, but the fact that it's almost $5 for a latte!! Good grief.

So, with an empty wallet and pumpkin latte jitters I introduce my recipe...

(P.S: this only costs about 30 cents a serving, that's like 1/17th of one from Starbucks. Or something like that, because I'm not a math major.)

(about 10 servings, give or take how much you like in your coffee)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
4 Tablespoons pancake/maple syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, milk, pumpkin, syrup and spice. Whisk gently until the edges are bubbly and the milk begins to steam. Take off of the heat and stir in your vanilla extract.

Place a strainer over your container* (this is important to catch the pumpkin and majority of spices). Let cool on the counter before transferring to your fridge.
*old Starbucks Frappe bottles, Mason jars, or milk bottles are great containers for this!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Homemade Nillas + Homemade Vanilla Pudding=....

This will be kind of a long post, but bear with me.

Silly me for thinking "lets make EVERYTHING for the banana pudding" instead of like a sane person with two kids, who buys a box of Jell-O and Nilla Wafers....

Trust me though, the taste of this banana pudding (compared to the boxed version) is far, far better.

So I'll break this post down into three parts for you, all of them combined make an amazing banana pudding and each individual recipe makes a great snack/dessert on their own!

Enjoy and Happy Labor Day!

For the Vanilla Wafers:
(makes about 4 dozen cookies)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Dump flour mixture into the butter mixture and beat until just combined. 
  4. Roll small balls, about the diameter of a nickel and place onto prepared baking sheet. Spacing about an inch in between the cookies. 
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, checking on them the last minute or so. You want a golden brown cookies. Baking time will vary depending on how small or big you want your cookies (the nickel size mimics the store bought ones).
  6. Cool on baking sheet then transfer to wire rack.
  7. Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Vanilla Pudding:
(2 cups)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk. While constantly whisking, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of the milk until smooth. Once smooth, mix in the egg yolks and remaining milk.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking often, until the pudding begins to thicken and bubble, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and switch to a rubber spatula. Stir constantly, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan, until the pudding makes ribbons when dropped on itself.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Immediately transfer to a resealable container. Lightly press a piece of plastic wrap on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

For the Banana Pudding:
2 bananas, sliced
Vanilla Wafers
Vanilla Pudding
Whipped cream for topping

In the container of your choice, layer Vanilla Wafers, then banana slicers. Lightly spread a layer of vanilla pudding over the 2. Continue this pattern again. I found for the size dish I used, that more vanilla pudding would have been nice.
Cover with plastic wrap and let set up in the fridge.

Portion out individual servings (if you haven't already set it up this way) and top with whipped cream.

The Vanilla Wafers hold up wonderfully to the pudding and the taste is sublime.

Make this tonight!!