Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I know I've been bossy lately..."you must make this," "you have to make that."
(My sister tells me I'm really good at bossy.)

OK, but y'all...YOU.MUST.MAKE.THESE.  Like this instant.  Throw a trench over your pj's, pull your hair back into a ponytail, swipe on some lipstick and mascara, and RUN to the grocery store for these ingredients.
{That running will make you feel less guilty when you eat 3 of these in one sitting.}

I apologize for the lack of pictures.  You know how I love 27 pictures of every recipe.  I made these while it was still dark outside so Mr. E could take them to work.  I intended to send the entire tray, but Mr. E in all of his wisdom said, "let me take half, so we'll have some to eat at home."  I love that guy.

{I managed to snap this with my phone before cutting and sending them on their way.}

The brownies are rich.  They are luscious.  They are decadent.  I'd be willing to bet that people who say they don't like pumpkin would love these...they're more cheesecake than pumpkin.
Let's get to it...

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

for the cheesecake layer:
2 (8 oz.) packages (full-fat, people) cream cheese, at room temp.
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup (regular, not light) sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

for the brownies:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa (such as Hershey's Special Dark)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 TBSP vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (such as Hershey's Special Dark)

Preheat oven to 325.  Lightly grease a 9x13" pan.  Set aside.

make the cheesecake mixture:
With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until no lumps remain.  Add in the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla and spices, beat until smooth.

On low speed, add in the sour cream and eggs until well combined.  Set aside.

make the brownies:
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.  Add the sugar and stir over low heat until combined and hot, not bubbly.  You'll only need to heat it for a couple of minutes, until the mixture looks shiny.

Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla.  Whisk in the eggs until smooth.  Stir in the flour.

Pour about 3/4 of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan.  Spread with an offset spatula.  Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie layer and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Drop the remaining brownie batter on top of the cheesecake layer.  Use the offset spatula to swirl the brownie dollops into the cheesecake making a pretty, abstract pattern.

Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

Bake for 35 minutes or so, until the cheesecake layer is set.  Let cool completely on a wire rack, then chill and store in the refrigerator.  A bench scraper makes a great tool for cutting them.

{Brownie layer adapted from King Arthur Cookie Companion}

Here's a comment from one of the guys Mr. E works with:
"If my girlfriend made these, I might have to buy an engagement ring."  
Single ladies...let me know if it works.

Also, if you love the idea pumpkin and brownies, please check out these recipes from Picky Palate & Cookies and Cups!
♥Pumpkin + Brownies forever!!!♥

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut-out Cookies...and a very special birthday!

I've talked before about how my very favorite part of blogging is something that I never, ever expected.  I always thought the sugar would be the highlight of blogging, but's the people I've had the pleasure to meet.

That leads me to Jessica from the blog, How Sweet It Is
Jessica is having a milestone birthday today...

{Ahhh, I remember 30.  Kinda.}

Now, Jessica has been one of my favorite bloggers for a long time.  I love this girl.  I admire Jessica for her amazingly creative and delicious recipes...her stunning photography...her hilarious sense of humor and writing...her impeccable style...her blogging and social media smarts...and her beautiful, fun spirit.

{Jessica...this hot pink was as close as I could get to neon. ;)}

In August, I met Jessica and I can tell you, she's even more lovely in person.  (I won't hold it against her that she was BORN just about the same time I was going to see Grease 2 (2!) with my fellow 13-year-old girlfriends.)  I wanted to make a little something to celebrate her big day.

I just had this inkling that Jessica likes peanut butter and chocolate.  Maybe it was Jessica's Peanut Butter Stuffed Hot Fudge Cupcakes, or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Peanut Butter Cups, or Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Trifle, or maybe Peanut Butter S'mores Squares...I sensed a trend.

So, I made cookies.  I made Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut-out Cookies.  And, y' need to make them, too.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut-out Cookies for Jessica
{makes 12-18, depending on size}

2 & 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa (such as Hershey's Special Dark)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not all-natural)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a paddle attachment to beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the peanut butter until smooth.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In three additions, add in the flour mixture beating on low until just combined.  Scrape the bowl to incorporate any dry bits on the bottom of the bowl.

Divide the dough in half, form into two discs, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Mix flour and cocoa powder together to coat the rolling pin and rolling surface.  Roll the dough to about 1/4"-3/8" thickness.  Freeze the cut-outs on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before baking.

Bake for 9-12 minutes.  Cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Decorate as desired with royal icing.

OH!  And, Jessica?  I ate them for you, too. ;)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, sweet girl!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Just Blogged to Say I Love You (Vol. 3)

Here we are...November.  I hear there's some sort of election thing going down on Tuesday.

1. In keeping with election week, I'm about to go all political on you.  Ben Franklin.  I like him.  Judging from this, I'd say he'd have been one awesome blogger.

2. My friend Rebecca from Foodie with Family made a Chocolate Nutter Butter cake.  Tell me you won't be dreaming about that tonight.

3. Speaking of Rebecca, she also introduced me to a little website called SnorgTees.  I think we all need this shirt.  Pluto Forever!!!

4. Have you started your fall comfort baking, yet?  I think these Applesauce Bars from Kristan are the epitome of fall comfort food.  Plus...Carmel Cinnamon frosting!  Make them...feel free to ship them to me.

5. Pumpkin Gruyere Gougeres.  I have always, always wanted to make gougeres.  I'm not sure what the heck has been stopping me, but these beauties from Heidi have just pushed me over the edge from wanting to make them to GOING to make them!

6. YOU! That's right...I love you.  About two weeks ago, there was a little book signing in my town.  And people came!!!  Seriously!  And not just any people...the *nicest* people EVER...with the cutest and most polite kiddos EVER.  You guys made the day so incredibly fun...I can't even tell you how much I enjoyed meeting of you.  My sweet sister who flew in for the sweet friends who stopped by...I love you guys, too. Y'all ROCK!  Thank YOU!!!
{{PS...if you're one of the ones who stopped by after the book sold out, the next shipment should be to H&H soon!}}

Let's hear it.  What's on your "love list" with week?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Beer Bread

Happy November!!!
{I can't believe I just said that.}

You know what November needs?  More pumpkin.  Kinda like more cowbell.  I mean, really...can you have too much?

If you've never made beer bread, now is the time.  It's about the easiest thing you'll ever make.  Click here for my mom's recipe and a few variations.
This bread is not a sweet bread, so don't expect it to taste like the pumpkin bread at Starbucks.  It's pretty much a classic beer bread with some warm spices...delicious slathered with butter, warm from the oven...delicious toasted with butter alone or with a sprinkle cinnamon sugar.

You'll need these...
...kitty to check your ingredients is totally optional.

Pumpkin Beer Bread

3 cups unbleached, self-rising flour
3 TBSP light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 cup pumpkin
12 ounces room temperature pumpkin beer

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9x 5" loaf pan with shortening.

Whisk together the flour, sugar and spices.

Add the pumpkin and the beer and stir until combined.

Spoon into prepared loaf pan,  and bake about 1 hour.  Let cool in the pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack.

Pour melted butter on top of the bread or, just rub a stick of butter over the top, letting it drip down the sides.  Enjoy while still warm, or toasted and oodles of butter.