Pumpkin Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze

Y'all, I don't wait for the leaves to fall and the air to turn crisp before I start making pumpkin goodies.  In fact, I started making pumpkin whoopie pies weeks ago.  Because you know what?  People are like me and they eat the stuff up no matter what the thermometer says.  It's delicious, so why wait?  I mean, unless you're waiting for your pumpkins to grow and ripen on the vine of course.  Otherwise grab a giant can of Libby's Pumpkin Purée and join me!

*These muffins are super moist, taste like pumpkin pie, and are great with or without glaze.  You can store them for a few days in a container (if they last that long!) and are perfect heated up in the microwave for just a few seconds.

Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from King Arthur Flour
makes approx. 24 large standard muffins

-1 c. canola oil
-6 eggs
-3 c. granulated sugar
-3 c. pumpkin purée
-1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
-2 1/2 tsp. salt
-1 Tbsp. baking powder
-3 3/4 c. all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350º.  Line muffin tins with tulip parchment cups if you have them, I ordered mine on Amazon, but I've also found them at Krogers.  Otherwise, use standard cupcake liners.  If you do, the recipe will make more than 24-feel free to cut the recipe in half!

Beat together oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, salt, & baking powder until smooth.  Slowly add flour and mix until flour is just blended in and no flour streaks remain.

For standard muffin liner, fill 3/4 full.  If you're using tulip cups like mine, fill to the top of muffin pan-the tulip cups support the extra rise.

Bake standard muffins for 20-25 minutes; ones in tulip cups 25-30 minutes.  Toothpick should come out clean.

As muffins cool slightly make your glaze...

Brown Butter Cinnamon Glaze
adapted from Martha Stewart

-1 stick unsalted butter
-2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
-1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp. cinnamon
-2-4 Tbsp. heavy cream (can use whole milk or such)

Over medium heat, melt butter in a light colored pan on stove.  Butter will melt, bubble and foam.  Stir as sediment collects at bottom to prevent scorching.  After 5-10 minutes, sediment and butter will start to darken and give off a nutty aroma.  Remove from heat once medium-light in color.

Transfer butter and brown butter sediment to mixing bowl.  Add sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and whisk.  Slowly pour in heavy cream and whisk until you've reached your desired consistency.

Pour, scoop, or drizzle over warm muffins.  These would also be great brushed with butter and topped with cinnamon sugar.

Enjoy and join the rest of us pumpkin eating/drinking maniacs...

Found on a friend's Facebook.  Can't tell if he was poking fun at over zealous pumpkin lovers like myself.  Hmm.

Peach Cobbler

One of the biggest complaints about my baking amongst my family is that I never bake for them.  This accusation makes me feel somewhat guilty, but only because it is 100% true.  I can't remember the last time I made something solely for them to enjoy and not just some scraps or duds from something I whipped up for customers.  Maybe the last time was for one of the kids birthdays?  Surely?

Well, the spirit must have caught me today as I gazed at the peaches sitting on my counter.  I could almost hear them say, "We're going to go bad by tomorrow if you don't do something with us now.  Right NOW!"  Again, totally true.  I'm the worst when it comes to consuming fruit that isn't already washed and ready to eat.  However, I dragged these damn peaches all the way back home from Tennessee and I wasn't going to waste them because a.) they were very juicy and delicious and b.) being wasteful seems like bad karma.

I asked the husband if he wanted Peach Crisp or Peach Cobbler.  He said Crisp.  So here it is, Peach Cobbler! (Oh I'm an evil wife, but at least I made him something)

Fresh peaches!

Peach Cobbler
adapted from Slow Roasted Italian

-7 fresh peaches; peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1/8ths
-1/4 c. sugar
-1/4 c. dark brown sugar
-1/2 tsp. apple pie spice (or blend of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, mace)
-1 tsp. lemon zest
-1/2 tsp. almond extract
-1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Glazed with brown syrupy goodness and ready to bake!

Preheat oven to 400º (425º if using dark pan or glass).  In a large bowl, stir to combine all the ingredients.  Pour evenly into a 2 quart baking dish.  Bake for 10 minutes.  While peaches bake, make the topping:

-2 c. all-purpose flour
-1/2 c. sugar
-1/2 c. dark brown sugar
-2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. salt
-12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
-1/2 c. boiling water

-Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) for sprinkling

Cutting butter into small cubes makes it easier to work with.

 In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients with a fork.  Break up any large pieces of brown sugar.  Using a pastry blender or hands, cut butter into dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly (like wet sand).  Sprinkle the water over the mixture and stir until just combined-no more flour streaks.  Using a ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop batter over the warm peaches.  Sprinkle generously with raw sugar and place in the oven.  Bake for an additional 30-35 minutes.

Using a cookie scoop creates an even layer on top.

*For ease of cleaning, put a foil lined baking sheet on the oven rack under the crisp to catch any juices that might boil over during baking.

Serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream.  Or enjoy as is!

The darker topping is due in part to the dark brown sugar.  Feel free to use light brown sugar.

Mexican Mocha Biscotti

I recently found out that I'm allergic to a lot of things.  Pretty much all of the great outdoors are now trying to kill me, and when I seek shelter in my house, I now have dogs and dust to contend with.  Needless to say since the weather has broken, I've been miserable.  Getting through the day and doing the things I have to do is an accomplishment.  That is why dear reader, I'm finally posting this recipe today because look what Mother Nature has brought:

Sweet, sweet relief!  I'm going to get a million things done today!  You are on my priority list.

These Mexican Mocha Biscotti are the perfect accompaniment with tea and coffee of course, but the flavor combinations in them make these cookies irresistable and you'll keep nibbling long after you've finished your tea.

Mexican Mocha Biscotti

-1 1/2 c. A.P. flour
-1 Tbsp. espresso powder
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
-1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temp.
-1 c. sugar
-2 large eggs
-2/3 c. chopped pecans, toasted
-2/3 c. mini chocolate chips
-2/3 c. cinnamon chips

Toast pecans in a skillet on the stove top over medium-low heat.  Tossing occasionally to prevent scorching.  Toast until nuts darken some and give off a warm, nutty aroma.  Remove from heat and place in a separate bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking powder, cinnamon, & salt.  Add the cornmeal and whisk again.  Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes-until smooth.  Add the eggs one at a time, and continue to beat.  Stop occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl down.  Beat for 2 minutes.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add dry ingredients.  Mix only until just incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl, then toss in nuts, cinnamon, and chocolate chips.  Mix on low until just blended into dough.

Separate dough in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheet.  Using your hands, mold into logs that are 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide.  Bake dough for 30 minutes.

Transfer dough to a cooling rack and cool logs for 20-25 minutes (you may turn off your oven, just don't forget to turn it back on!).  Transfer cooled logs to a cutting board and cut 3/4 inch thick slices.  Place slices cut side up onto baking sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack.  Cool to room temperature.  Then, enjoy!

Guinness Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

Oh, and pretzel brittle and Guinness ganache.  Beer and pretzels and chocolate.  That sounds about right.  Not to mention, this cheesecake is a great addition to your St. Patrick's Day feast.

Sidenote: If you follow Cookie Crazed Mama on Facebook, then you may have noticed a side project that I'm doing which includes bringing baked goods to a local coffee shop.  It's a great opportunity to do what I enjoy, and become a part of this "new" town my family moved to recently.  However, I understand that if you are not a local, you probably don't care about what I'm bringing in to a coffee shop on a given day.  If you're still with me while being irrelevant to your interests, then you're the BEST!  Here's some cheesecake...Forgive me?

Now, I can't promise that I'll start blogging very regularly, but I will make an effort to bring you dessert recipes that I think you'll enjoy.  And this one is a great one for game day and celebrations.  It's also perfect if you need an excuse to drink while you bake and use booze in your treats.  Hello!

If you are a true beer drinker, then feel free to replace the Guinness with a stout of your choosing.  A chocolate stout?  Hmmm.  I'm not a beer expert, at all, so if you are, and you make this cheesecake, let me know what you think!  I thought that the cheesecake alone was not very sweet.  I did think that all the components together-pretzel crust, filling, ganache, pretzel brittle-were a winning combination.  Creamy, slightly sweet, crunchy, salty, malty (is that a word?) but definitely not your average cheesecake!

Guinness Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust
adapted from Closet Cooking

Pretzel Crust:
-1 1/2 c. ground pretzels
-1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
-1/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
-1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir together dry ingredients.  Add melted butter.  Stir until mixture is moist and resembles wet sand.

In a 9-inch springform cheesecake pan, press the crumbs evenly along the bottom and about an inch up the sides.  Set aside.

Cheesecake Filling:
-12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli
-4 Tbsp. heavy cream
-3, 8 oz. packages regular cream cheese, room temp
-1 c. granulated sugar
-1/2 c. sour cream
-3 eggs
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-3/4 c. Guinness Extra Stout, room temp.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium speed for several minutes-meanwhile, start melting chocolate...

In a glass bowl over simmering water (or double broiler), melt chocolate with heavy cream.  Stir all the while, removing from heat once chocolate is mostly melted.  Keep stirring until no hard chocolate pieces remain.  The chocolate will be thick.

Add chocolate to cream cheese and mix until combined.  On low speed, add remaining ingredients: sugar, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and Guinness.  Increase speed to medium, and beat for couple minutes.  Filling should be smooth and fluffy.

Pour filling into prepared crust.  Bake for 55-60 minutes.  Center may still appear slightly jiggly.  It will firm as it cools.

Do not remove from oven, instead, after baking time is completed, turn the oven off, leave door ajar and keep it in the cooling oven for another 60 minutes.

Remove and cool cheesecake completely.

Guinness Ganache
-4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
-1/2 c. heavy cream
-2 Tbsp. Guinness Extra Stout, room temp

In a saucepan, heat cream until bubbly.  In a medium size bowl, pour hot cream over chocolate.  Let stand for a couple minutes and then whisk until smooth and shiny.  Continue whisking and add Guinness.

Pour and spread ganache over cooled cheesecake.  Place cheesecake in fridge for a couple house, until ganache is set.

At this point you may use a large warm knife (warm knife by running over hot water, then drying) to cut the cheesecake.  This will make serving easier once you add the pretzel brittle.

Seriously, make this stuff just to eat by itself.  Sweet and salty perfection.

Pretzel Brittle
adapted from Milk Bar by Christina Tossi

-2 c. mini pretels, about 1/4 of 16 oz. bag-broken up
-1/4 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
-2 T. granulated sugar
-1/4. powdered milk
-1 T. malted powder (often found next to Ovaltine/Nesquik in stores)
-7 T. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment.

In medium bowl, add dry ingredients to crushed pretzels.  Stir around to combine.  Add melted butter, stirring to bind the dry ingredients.

Spread onto parchment and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool on wire rack.  Break up pieces once cool.

Add as much or as little as you like to the top of your cheesecake.

Now, enjoy that boozy cheesecake!  You earned it after all that effort!

P.S.  If I were going to make this again.  I'd bake the crust for 15 minutes first, before adding the filling.  Then I'd do a water bath to prevent the top from cracking.  If you want to take a little extra time, I recommend this.  If you need tips on how to do a water bath, then feel free to message me at cookiecrzdmama@gmail.com