Eggless Pumpkin Caramel Cookies

I get many requests for recipe that accommodate different allergies. My father in law has an egg allergy and has been unable to eat the yummy treats I create, so I made it a priority during this visit to create an egg-free dessert. I also wanted to continue creating with the flavors of fall.

 

A few notes on this recipe. This is not a traditional cookie, but is very delicious. It is very important to not over mix the cookie dough. The dough itself is sticky. To make it easier to stuff with the caramels, dip your fingertips into cold water. If you have young ones that want to help in the kitchen, have them unwrap the caramels. This is a great way for young children to be involved and work on fine motor skills :D.

 

Here is my recipe:

Makes 4 dozen

 

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 bag Kraft Caramels, unwrapped

caramels

Pumpkin caramel cookie ingredients

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar using mixer on low speed. Add in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt.

2. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Using large spatula, mix flour into wet ingredients. DO NOT OVER MIX. Batter will be a looser than a typical cookie dough.

cookie batter

3. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop 1 tablespoon cookie dough into the palm of your hand. To keep the dough from sticking to your hand, coat with cold water. Gently press 1 caramel into the center of the cookie dough. Cover caramel with the dough.

pumpkin caramel

4. Place the caramel stuffed cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges of cookie are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

5. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

 

*The caramel centers will harden as the cookie comes to room temperature. Simply pop in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to warm up and have a gooey caramel center ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Caramel Stuffed Pumpkin Cookies

 

 

 


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Salted Caramel Brownies

Looking for a fudgey, rich, chocolatey and salty dessert? Well, look no further. My salted caramel brownies are the perfect treat! The brownies are so rich and decadent. I have made them alone several times but decided it was time to jazz them up. For a reason I am not entirely sure about, I got into a conversation about salted caramels with a nurse I work with. Having salted caramel on my brain, I knew the smooth buttery and slightly salty caramel sauce would pair perfectly with these brownies. A beautiful marriage of classic flavor profiles.

I had to make a conscious effort not to eat spoonfuls of this caramel sauce.. it is that good.

Don’t like nuts or salted caramel (this is a judgement free zone, so I will withhold my opinion) feel free to omit them! The brownies alone are enough to satisfy any sweet tooth ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Here is my recipe

Ingredients:

For the brownies

4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) melted butter, unsalted

1 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

brownie ingredients

For the salted caramel

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

3/4 tablespoon kosher salt

brownies12

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.ย  Grease a 9×9 inch pan or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Cream together eggs and sugar using mixer on medium speed. Add in vanilla and salt. Sift flour and cocoa. Combined with wet ingredients. Stir in pecans.

brownies9brownies11

3. Pour half batter into pan and bake for 10 minutes.

4. To make the caramel, melt butter over medium-low heat in a pot. Stir in sugar and heavy cream. Continuously whisk and allow to come to a boil (a low boil with small bubbles). Stir in vanilla and kosher salt. Remove from heat.

caramelcaramel sauce

5. Remove brownies from oven and pour 1 cup of salted caramel sauce over the top. Pour remaining batter and return to oven for 30 minutes to complete baking.

caramel

6. Allow to cool. To cut throw brownies easily, use a plastic knife (it glides thru and does not crumble to brownie).

7. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

ย Salted Caramel Brownies

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Lavender Lemon Cupcakes

I work in an urban hospital, with some pretty awesome landscaping. Seriously, our hospital won national awards for the green landscaping around the different campuses. There are cabbages, all sorts of flowers I can not identify and shrubs of all shapes and sizes.

Each week, we receive “memos” detailing all the fun things happening throughout the system. I am told that I am probably one of few who actually read these, but I am always glad I do. Last week, my workplace held a lavender festival and I was able to pick my own lavender. I was inspired to create something delicious using the lavender I had picked.

I decided to pair the floral notes of the lavender with the acidity of lemon to balance it out. Here is what I came up with ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Here is my recipe:

Makes 12 cupcakes

 

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup butter,at room temperature

2 teaspoons fresh lavender

cupcake

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

3 tablespoons milk (plus more if needed)

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine salt (I ran table salt thru a food processor)

1 teaspoon lemon extract, if desired

a drop of wilton violet colored food dye

ย cupcake8

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time. Mix in milk, lemon juice and lemon extract.

cupcake1cupcake2

2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Incorporate into wet ingredients. Add in lavender. DO NOT OVER MIX. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Line cupcake pan and pour batter into cups. I use an icecream scoop. Each cup was filled with approximately 1/3 cup batter.

cupcake34. Bake cupcakes at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until golden and tooth pick comes out clean. Allow to cool on rack.

cupcake75. To make the butter-cream frosting, cream together butter, vegetable shortening, sugar and fine salt using mixer. Add in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting comes together.

cupcake106. Add in food coloring (a little goes a long way).

7. Using Wiltons 2D tip, ice cupcake. I topped the icing with violet sprinkles and some fresh lavender.

cupcake 12

7. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

cupcake6

 

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Year after year, one of the top ice cream flavors in the United States is mint chocolate chip. And frankly, this is rarely my choice for ice cream. I much prefer chocolate chip cookie dough, good ole plain vanilla or something fruity like mango or strawberry. I do however, love those mint chocolate Girl Scout cookies and Andes mints. I was at Target when I came across a section devoted to M&M’s. They had more flavors than I could remember. I gravitated towards the mint flavored ones and decided they would make for a great cookie ingredient!

 

Here is my recipe:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup softened butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 sugar brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 11.4 oz bag Mint M&Ms

1 cup dark chocolate chips

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together butter and sugars. Add in egg, one at a time. Mix until smooth. Mix in mint extract and vanilla extract.

2. Sift flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Combine with wet ingredients, until well incorporated. Stir in Mint M&Ms and chocolate chips. mint 1

3. On lined baking sheet, spoon 1 tablespoon batter a few inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until done.

mint 2

4. Cool on baking rack.

5. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Very berry blueberry cheesecake

One of my favorite days in elementary school, was always book fair day. We would receive a thin paper catalog of the Scholastic books that would be available, a few weeks prior to the day of the fair. I would hurry home to tell my parents which books I wanted to get. There were a lot of extra chores done in the weeks and days leading up to the book fair. I wanted to be sure to have enough money to get all the books, pencils and stickers I wanted.

During the fourth grade book fair, I decided to buy a cook book. This was the first time that I had selected a cook book to purchase. My mom had many cook books at home and being the book worm I was, I would always select a chapter book when we went to the library or book store.

One recipe in particular has stuck with me since that time and that is the cheesecake recipe. That cookbook is long gone, but my first cheesecake remains.

The recipe has evolved a ton through the years, especially after The Cheesecake Factory displayed their rich, decadent desserts, using far more cream cheese then anyone used back in the day.

 

Here is my recipe:

4, 8oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla

pinch of salt

 

2 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers

4 tablespoons butter, melted

cheesecake

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup blueberriescheesecake 9

 

Procedure:

 

1. Wrap 9 inch spring form pan with heavy aluminum foil. Be sure that the entire pan is covered in the foil and that there are no openings to the pan.

2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and meltedย  butter. Using back of measuring cup, press crumbs onto sides of your pan.

cheesecake 1

3. Bake crust in 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. This will help the crust set, so it remains firm when the cheesecake bakes. Place spring form pan onto a large cookie sheet and surround with 3 cups of water. This is called a water bath and will help contain moisture in your oven so the cheesecake does not crack.

4. Mix cream cheese on low setting until smooth. Add in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix in flour.

ย cheesecake 3

5. Pour batter into pan and bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until top is firm and slightly golden.

6. Allow cheesecake to come to room temperature and then rest in the fridge for a minimum of 4-6 hours.

7. For cream topping, whisk together heavy cream, sour cream and powdered sugar. Spread onto top of cheesecake and arrange your favorite fruit.

8. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Birthday Cake Recipe

We recently celebrated my husband, Hussein’s birthday. The day of his birth fell on a weekday, so we decided to wait for the weekend to celebrate. We went out to an Italian restaurant, Rione XII, an Ethan Stowell Restaurant in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle. After a wonderful dinner, we headed home and enjoyed the delicious birthday cake I made. Hussein requested a vanilla cake topped with fruit and a light whipped frosting for the second year in a row (I am guessing this is his favorite). It is super fun to layer on the colorful, ripe summer fruit.

 

There are many steps to this recipe, but the end result is totally worth it. What better way to show someone you love them, then with something home made and delicious?

 

Here is my recipe:

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups flour

pinch of salt

cake prep

For frosting:

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

cake 22

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon corn starch

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup sugar

 

Assortment of fruits and 1/2 cup sliced almonds.

fruit toppings

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together sugar and oil. Add eggs in one at a time. Add in milk and vanilla extract; mix well.

2. Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Add to egg mixture. Mix until incorporated.

*It is very important that you do not over mix the batter.

3. Pour batter into two greased and parchment lined 8 inch cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

4. Allow cakes to cool. While the cakes are cooling, begin to make the icing

5. Using a mixer, whip together powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream until stiff (this takes 10 minutes or so). Scoop a generous scoop of icing on first tier of cake. Add 1 cup sliced strawberries, or other fruit of your liking. Be sure to cut the fruit evenly so you have a smooth leveled surface. cake

6. Place second cake on top of first cake and filling. Add the remaining icing and smooth (this does not have to be perfect as it will be covered with fruit and almonds).

cake 9

There is a new trend of “naked cakes” that look similar to the picture above. Feel free to stop here if you’re all trendy and such ๐Ÿ™‚

7. Press sliced almond onto the sides of the cake, so they stick.

cake 12

8. Find the center of the cake (I used my bench scarper to do this) and begin arranging fruit in a design that you like.

cake 14

cake 13

9. Time to make the glaze. Combine the lime juice concentrate, sugar, corn starch and fresh lime juice. Whisk until smooth. Simmer until thickens.

10. Using pastry brush, brush on glaze.

cake 19

11. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

cake 20

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Blueberry mango muffins

After our fun, blueberry picking adventure, I was left with a ton of blueberries. Using many of the berries in my mini blueberry pies (http://amandaskitchen.co/2014/07/05/blueberry-pie/), we still had an overwhelming about of berries. I love a good blueberry muffin, but those get boring. I found some beautiful mangoes at the local grocer and decided to pair them with the blueberries in a muffin inspired by the flavors of the tropics. The streusel topping is the icing on this cake! These muffins are so large and delectable, they remind me of something from a bakery.

Don’t like mangoes or blueberries? Feel free to substitute for your favorite summer fruits.

 

Here is my recipe:

Makes 1 dozen large muffins

 

Ingredients:

For the muffin

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup mango, diced into small cubes

3 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes

blueberry mango muffins

For the streusel topping

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature, cubed

3 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes

muffin

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Mix together 1 3/4 cup flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix in oil, milk, egg and vanilla. DO NOT OVER MIX, unless you want tough flat muffins.

2. Toss blueberries in 1 tablespoon flour. This will help them to be evenly dispersed throughout the muffin and not sink to the bottom. bb muffin 3

3. Gently fold in blueberries, mangoes and coconut.

4. Line muffin tin or spray with non-stick cooking spray. I found these fun liners at Target. paper liner5. Using an ice cream scoop, distributed batter into the muffin tin.

6. Time to make the yummy topping! Using a fork, mix together the flour, sugar, butter and coconut flakes, until it crumbles. Sprinkle on top of the muffins.

7. Bake on the middle rack, in the preheated 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

8. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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Chocolate Macaroons

Once you have the basic macaroon recipe mastered, it is time to venture into the depths of the macaroon flavor chest. I have a few original ideas for flavors, but we will save those for later.

This weekend, I decided to take a try at chocolate macaroons. I mean chocolate macaroons. Chocolate. Macaroons. LOL.

Here is my recipe:

 

Makes 36 cookies, 18 sandwiched macaroons

Ingredients:

ingredients

1 3/4 powdered sugar

1 cup almond flour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

 

Chocolate Filling:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter, cubed at room temperature

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with silicon mats or parchment paper.

2. Mix almond flour, cocoa powder and confectionersโ€™ sugar in small bowl . Sift mixture thru a fine-mesh sieve. Use a spatula to add in this process. (Yes, it takes a while). Discard whatever does not go thru the sieve.macaroon process

3. Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Gradually spoon in the sugar and increase mixer speed to medium high. Continue beating until the mixture is stiff and shiny. (Took me 10 minutes total)

choco macaroon 8

4. Carefully fold in the almond flour and sugar mixture into the stiff egg whites. DO NOT STIR. Fold gently together; you want as much air as possible to remain in the egg.

macaroon process

5. Continue to fold until the mixture is smooth and falls off the spatula in a thin, flat ribbon.macaroon process

6. Prepare a pastry bag with a 1/4 inch round tip (Wilton #12) and fill with batter. Pipe out the cookies on the baking sheet.

macaroon process

7. Let the cookies set for 15 to 60 minutes. The cookies should no longer be stickyโ€ฆ this means they are ready! It is imperative to wait until the cookie is ready… or else you will get cracked macaroons!

macaroon process

8. Bake at 275 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest.

9. Heat cream in saucepan and then add chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Allow to cool completely in refrigerator.

10. Pipe chocolate filling into macaroon centers and sandwich cookies together.

11. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚ chocolate macaroons

 

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Peanut Butter Nutella Cups

peanut buter nutella cups, peanut butter and nutella, nutella, chocolate

From cookies, to crepes, cheesecake and pies, Nutella can be found on almost every dessert menu.

The delicious hazelnut spread pairs perfectly with peanut butter, top it off with toasted pecans and chocolate and you have the most delectable treat! *Best eaten with a cold glass of milk!

When I was searching around my kitchen, for something to use to make an indentation into the cups, I came across a water bottle and to my delight, it fit perfectly into the peanut butter cup!

peanut butter cupsAnother tip for this recipe is to use a sandwich bag to drizzle on the chocolate.

peanut butter nutella cups

Here is my recipe:

Peanut Butter Nutella Cups
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 36 mini cups
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup smooth peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or peanuts
  • ¼ chocolate for melting
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using mixer at medium speed, cream together butter, peanut butter, brown and white sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs one at at time, mixing well.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in to wet ingredients.
  5. Line a mini cupcake tin. Scoop cookie batter into each cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookie will be loose. It will set as it cools.
  6. Using the top of a water bottle (wash it first), make an indentation into the center of each cookie cup.
  7. Spoon 1 teaspoon Nutella into each of the cavities.
  8. Melt ¼ cup chocolate with 2 teaspoons vegetable oil (this makes it smooth and gives the chocolate nice shine).
  9. Spoon chocolate into a sandwich bag.
  10. Make a small hole at the end of a sandwich bag and drizzle on the chocolate.
  11. Toast pecans, and sprinkle on top of the chocolate.
  12. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

ย 

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Blueberry Pie

Today was a beautiful day in the Puget Sound, meaning it could only be spentย  outdoors. Wish such lush land and all the rain, there are many farms, even in the cities. We decided to go to a local blueberry farm! blueberries

 

With the pulp berries we picked, I decided to make mini blueberry pies ๐Ÿ™‚

blueberries

 

Makes two individual pies

Ingredients:

For pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

1 beaten egg

 

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups blueberries

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar in the raw (optional; to top pastry)

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. To make the pastry mix the flour and salt in a bowl. cut in the shortening, using a pastry blender or criss-crossing two knives, until mixture look like a bowl of small particles. It should look something like this:

pie

3. Sprinkle cold water over mixture until pastry leaves the side of the bowl.

4. Gather the pastry into a ball. Turn over onto floured surface and shape into a flattened a round. Place in refrigerator to firm up (this will also help make an extra flaky pastry).

5. While the pastry is in the refrigerator, make the filling. Combine all ingredients.

6. Roll chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface. Use a large cutter, to cut out 4 piece. On two of the pieces, using a small cookie cutter, cut out a small shape, in order to release steam (these will be the tops).

7. Spoon filling onto the two bottom pastry pieces. Top with second pasty and use a fork to crimp the edges together.

8. Brush pastry with beaten egg. Sprinkle Sugar in the Raw on top of pastry. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Enjoy!

I had mine with vanilla ice cream! blueberry pie with icecream

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