October 9, 2010

October Recipes

This month we have a variety of things to choose from. One is an old favorite, and one was suggested by Elisa. The other seemed easy and festive for the month of October. 

I love fall because it means pumpkins are in season! What better dessert to make than something pumpkin? Well, if you think otherwise, the brown sugar cupcakes are for you. Elisa thought these cupcakes looked tasty, and cupcakes are quite the craze these days. 

Please feel free to make any of the recipes for your entry this month. Try to post within the last week of the month with a few words and a picture if you can. 

For the next few months, I'd like all of you to share a recipe you would like to make. I'm thinking we are a group who likes options, so if we have a couple of recipes to try each month, everyone might be able to participate more. I'll try and combine them into November and December - and if you send me a lot of recipes, we will be set for the new year.

Pumpkin Cookies 
(I like to call them Pumpkin Puffs)
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 C butter softened
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting Optional (I don't think it needs frosting)
2 C confectioners sugar
3 T milk
1 T melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Mix together the dry ingredients including spices. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in egg and mix until incorporated. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough onto a cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes. Cool and drizzle frosting over the top if using. 

Cookies are cake-like in texture and get better with age. I think they are best the next day. Store up to one week in an airtight container. The cookies will be puffy - hence the name "puffs" and should not spread out on the pan. If you want them to be less puffy, press the dropped dough down with your fingers before baking. 

Pumpkin Truffles
2 1/2 C white chocolate chunks divided
1/3 C gingersnap cookie crumbs (more for garnish)
1/4 C canned pumpkin puree
1/4 C graham cracker crumbs (more for garnish)
1 T confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch of fine salt
2 oz cream cheese softened

Melt 1/2 C of chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat. Remove from heat and add all of the ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until solid enough to roll (about two hours). 

Line a baking tray with parchment. Melt remaining two cups chocolate and transfer to a small deep bowl. Working quickly, roll heaping teaspoons of the pumpkin mix by hand. Dip each ball into the melted chocolate making sure to cover each side fully. Let excess chocolate drip off the sides and set on parchment to dry. Sprinkle gingersnap or graham crackers over the top. Complete all balls and chill for one hour until chocolate is set. Keep refrigerated until serving. Makes about 30.  

Nigella's Burnt-Butter Brown Sugar Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 C plus 2 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 C self-rising cake flour
3 T sugar
5 T light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 T milk
12-cup muffin pan lined with 2 paper baking cups
For the icing:
1/2 C plus 2 T unsalted butter
1 2/3 to 2 C confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 T milk
Preheat the oven to 400˚F and then get on with burning your butter. Put it in a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring all the time until it turns a dark golden color. Take the pan off the heat and strain the butter into a bowl or cup, as it will have made a sediment. In other words, this is like clarified butter, but with a smoky note. Let the butter solidify again but don't put it in the refrigerator; you need it to remain soft for the cupcakes. This shouldn't take long, except in hot weather, in which case leave the preheating of the oven till after the butter's been burnt.
When the butter is solid but still soft, put all the cake ingredients except the milk in a food processor and blitz to a smooth batter. As normal, add the milk down the funnel, pulsing sparingly to form a soft, dropping mixture.
Divide among the paper cups, and cook for 15-20 minutes. While the cupcakes are baking, get on with the icing. It's the same procedure for the butter--burn, strain, solidify--then beat it with half the sugar or enough to make it stiff. Add 1T of milk and the remaining sugar alternately to reach a good consistency, and finally the vanilla.
While the icing's still soft, smear messily over the cooled and waiting cupcakes. Makes 12.

Last Year's Recipe

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