Oh yes, another pumpkin recipe! This time, it’s for Cupcake Hero. As soon as I saw that this month’s ingredient was pumpkin I knew I had to participate and came up with this idea really quickly. Honestly, I had a candied pecan craving and was just looking for an excuse to make them.

The cake part of the cupcake is a soft, spicy pumpkin cake. The frosting, oh the frosting, I sent out an “OMG, I need help!” email to Pam because I wanted a light frosting that would still hold it’s shape and she came through as usual. It’s a whipped cream cheese frosting that’s made the same way as regular cream cheese frosting but then has whipped cream folded in. It’s heavenly, ya’ll. The caramel sauce is just your basic sauce. And the nuts! I made them awhile back with my bourbon banana pudding and they are seriously delicious and so easy! I doubled the batch so I could snack on some. ;)

Forgive me for all these recipes, but trust me, they’re worth it.

Pumpkin Turtle Cupcakes
cupcakes from Martha Stewart
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
For the whipped cream cheese frosting:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
For the caramel sauce:
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
For the candied pecans:
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 cupcake cups 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 cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
To make the whipped cream cheese frosting:
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar salt and vanilla until smooth. In a small bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese mixture.
To make the caramel sauce:
  1. Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You can swirl the pan a bit if you want, from this point on.
  2. As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color), immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.
  3. Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat. Count to three, then slowly add the cream to the pan and continue to whisk to incorporate. Note than when you add the butter and the cream, the mixture will foam up considerably.
  4. Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature.
To make the candied pecans:
  1. Warm brown sugar with honey and water in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir in pecans, tossing to coat, then transfer to a lightly oiled 4-sided sheet pan.
  2. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and shiny, about 15 minutes. Transfer pecans with a metal spatula to a rack to cool.

If you are on a search for a quick, inexpensive, crowd pleasing recipe, this is it. For about $1.50 I got 8 delicious black bean burger patties! I also think this would be a great recipe to freeze and reheat for those of us that aren’t huge fans of veggie burgers or meat burgers.

The only problem I encountered was that the burgers tried falling apart on me after being cooked. They just need a gentle hand and some patience though.

My husband, who scoffs at anything meatless that dares call itself a burger, really enjoyed these! He said on day 2 they weren’t as good but since we only had 1 patty left, I consider that a success.

Black Bean Burgers
adapted from Food Network
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-low heat.
  2. In a food processor, pulse garlic, 1 can of beans, egg, cumin, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the remaining can of black beans and the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and mix until well combined.
  4. Divide mixture into patties (6 to 8 depending on preference). Place on hot oiled grill over medium-low heat and cook about 6 minutes a side or until heated through.

With 2 months left in this pregnancy I’ve become increasingly dependent on my slow cooker. Yesterday I no lie had 2 slow cookers going. Sure, I could have roasted that chicken in the oven but that would involve getting up and checking on it. Or you know, pulling it out before it burned. It’s much easier to just throw something in the slow cooker and know that even if I don’t get around to pulling it out until 8 hours later, it won’t be burnt!

Anyway, that has nothing to do with this dish. This dish was good. I live in the land of no Panda Express so I’ve never had the orange chicken that everyone raves about. Awful, isn’t it? I’ve saved many a orange chicken recipes to my bookmarks but never got around to making them because they usually call for an ingredient that I’d use once and then throw the rest of the jar away. This recipe calls for very few ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your house!

My husband said it was too orangey so I’d probably cut back on the orange concentrate next time or even use regular orange juice. I thought it was good as written and even had leftovers the next day which I rarely do.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless chicken cut in 2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces 1/2 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  1. Put the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.

Are you guys having trouble finding canned pumpkin this season? I do a lot of cooking with pumpkin year round and have never had so much trouble! It’s almost October, shouldn’t there be stacks upon stacks of canned pumpkin in every store? Apparently there’s a real shortage of the stuff. :(

Anyway, this recipe showed up in my google reader last week and I knew I needed to make them immediately. Luckily I still had half a can of pumpkin leftover from my pumpkin mousse. I literally made these guys the day after I saw the recipe. They were that tempting.

And oh my gosh, they are good. Pumpkin and white chocolate is my new favorite combination and I’m already trying to come up with new ways to combine the 2. I think I’ll start with a pumpkin white mocha from Starbucks. Mmm.

They were a little cakey to be considered a blondie but hey, pumpkin cake is okay in my book too! My friend Pam did some experimenting and said that replacing the white sugar with brown and decreasing the flour by 1/4 cup helped with the chewiness. I think she’s planning on healthifying the recipe too so check her blog for that.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Blondies
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package 12 ounces white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray foil and sides of pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  6. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into squares.

In a book of yeast breads, this cornbread sticks out like a sore thumb, but after trying it I see why it’s there. It’s just that good.

It was a bit complicated for cornbread. It involved soaking cornmeal in buttermilk overnight which I thought was a bit much. In fact, I didn’t do it. Why? Because it didn’t occur to me to check the recipe the night before because cornbread shouldn’t take 2 days. I did let it sit for maybe 4 hours or so and that was only because I had accidentally pulled turkey bacon out of the freezer and had to wait for the real stuff to defrost.

It was so good though. The bread itself was pretty sweet as far as cornbread goes and then the salty bacon on top – oh lord, it was good. We had it for dinner one night. That’s it, just bacon topped cornbread. And we were all fine with that.

Visit the BBA page to see what the other bakers have been doing!