Monday, September 15, 2008

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cheesecake Topping

Oh sad! Autumn is nearly here and I'm already missing my summer fruit. Luckily, there are plenty of winter goodies to substitute - apple turnovers, pecan pie, .... pumpkin cupcakes? Now, see, I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin anything, but you wouldn't have guessed it from my cupboard. I had six cans of the stuff sitting around with no plans to use them and no memory of how I had acquired them. They're breeding I tellsya!

It seemed fortuitous then that I stumbled across this recipe by Peabody. Don't let the title (or her story) fool you - she's a right sweetie, and a hell of a good cook!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cheesecake Topping (adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody):
Maple Cheesecake Layer:
* 9 oz cream cheese, room temperature
* 1/4 c granulated sugar
* 1/4 c brown sugar
* 6 tbsp real maple syrup
* 1 tsp maple extract
* 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
* 1 large egg

Pumpkin Spice Bread:
* 2 c all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp ground ginger
* 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
* 1/4 tsp ground gloves
* 1 c pumpkin puree (plain, not the already made pumpkin pie kind)
* 1/2 c canola oil
* 2 large eggs
* 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
* 1 c chopped pecans, plus extra for garnish

Preheat oven to 325F.
Line the holes of a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the maple cheesecake ingredients; beat until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices; set aside.
Place pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat for about 1 minute, until fully combined

Add flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and mix just until combined. Fold in the pecans. Spoon ~1/4 cups of the pumpkin batter into the liners, and indent so the batter is shaped like a cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture into the cupcake hole until one cm from the top of the liner. Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.

Bake in preheated 325° oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Variants on Old Favorites

These were fun - I got invited to a party (Rock Band parties ROCK!) and was asked if I wouldn't mind bringing a dessert. Hee. Me? Mind? Good grief no. I wanted to spend more time decorating though, so I took a couple of favorites from the past (my blondies and brownies) and dressed them up for the occasion. Raspberries for the white chocolate, boyo's favorite, and I'd been dying to try out the chocolate-apricot combo I'd had on the cruise.

Because I was more decoration-oriented this time, I bought a couple jars of raspberry and apricot jam and strained out the seeds from the raspberry. After the blondies and brownies and cooled, I injected the jams into the middle, then covered the hole with a base of chocolate and bits of fruit, almonds, and chocolate designs. The overall appearance was nifty, and very, very tasty. My only objection is, at the time of making these I didn't have my mini cheesecake pan yet, so I had to use a muffin pan. The bulk of each goodie rather set off-balance the delicate decoration, but now I have my wonderful cheesecake pan I can fix this next time around. On the other hand, who's going to complain of too much brownie?