Sunday, October 23, 2011

#40: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

I can't believe this is the first time I am baking with pumpkin this fall, and it's already the fourth weekend of October- crazy! Although I have a plethora of pumpkin recipes to use, I really wanted my first foray to be these particular cookies- not only have I had it stored away to use since this last June, but I realized I hadn't made cookies in quite awhile, and they are so easy to make and share. Plus, I had to make a stop at the Baird's house and do a little... negotiating about some details for the wedding, so what better way than to butter them up with EXTREMEY buttery, pumpkin-ey cookies?

Be forewarned: these bad boys are LETHAL. So stinkin' moist, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, they taste just like Starbucks' pumpkin scones... and they probably have just as many calories. Seriously... take a look at the ingredients list *gulp*

#40: Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies (as found on Better Homes and Gardens online...

cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
teaspoons vanilla
15 ounce can pumpkin
cups all-purpose flour

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Ground cinnamon (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. 

In case you EVER wanted to know what two cups of butter looks like... eww... 

2. Add eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.
     - With this step, I added in 2 cups of flour at a time. You're going to want to use a MASSIVE bowl, because this recipe makes A LOT of batter. By the time I got to the final 2 cups of flour, I was mostly just adding it in my stirring- the electric mixer was causing a lot of it to fly right out of the top of the bowl!

See? Tons of batter... and this was even AFTER I had scooped out enough for 16 cookies.

3. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until tops are set. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
     - I used a cereal spoon to scoop out my cookies. And I left mine in for about 13 minutes to get brown, although I doubt these cookies would ever get crunchy. They puff up beautifully and are almost the consistency of those red velvet whoopie pies I made way back in May or June. 

4. In a small saucepan, heat 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting on cookies. If desired, sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Makes about 60 cookies.
     - This recipe makes WAY more cookies than called for, and not enough frosting, so adjust accordingly. I think after all was said and done, I made six batches of 16 cookies, which, if my fourth grade teacher math is correct, is 96 COOKIES. Holy guacamole. My the time I got to the final batch, I think I had ten cookies or so that didn't get any frosting, and I had to ration it to get THAT many frosted. Plus, I didn't add the cinnamon on top because we were running low... and I didn't want to get in trouble for using it all up.

There you have it. As my dad said when I told him I had done a very bad thing creating these monsters (since they are SO addicting)- "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? These cookies are great!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

#39: Cake Batter Blondies

Oh my goodness. Does this dessert have a story, or what...

Every story has a beginning, and this one starts with me pouring over recipes I found on Pinterest, naturally. Following my birthday last month, I came across this particular dessert recipe, and I knew I needed to try it out. My birthday had already come and gone, so I needed an excuse to make a birthday treat... and who better to try this out on but Midge Baird? She had been such a WILLING and POSITIVE participant in my baking forays earlier this month, plus her birthday fell on October 17th, so I thought what better person to make this for?

So here is where the story gets interesting. Several weeks ago, Stephen had mentioned that his sisters were planning on having a SURPRISE birthday dinner for their mother this last weekend. I knew this dinner would be a great time to spring the blondies on Mothers Baird, so I showed up on Saturday night with a bag full of birthday presents on one arm, and a pan of these cake batter blondies on the other. Little did I know the surprise would be on me that night...

Long story short, I ended up getting engaged to my most wonderful boyfriend... errr... fiance on this night, and... I DIDN'T EVEN GET TO TASTE THESE BARS. They were eaten up before I could even finish dancing around and screaming about my ring... so they must've been good! I'll have to try these again for myself sometime, but the Bairds insist they were delicious. Here's the recipe that APPARENTLY will get you engaged:

#39: Cake Batter Blondies (as found on another FABULOUS Blog... she's pretty funny)


  • 1 box vanilla cake mix (I used Funfetti)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chip
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

  • For the marshmallow buttercream icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Prepare a 9×9 pan with baking spray.

3. In a large bowl combine cake mix, vegetable oil, egg and milk. Mix on medium low speed until the ingredients are just combined. Batter will be dense.
    - And very hard to resist eating at this stage. Be forewarned.

4. Stir in your chips and marshmallows until distributed evenly.

5. Spread in your prepared pan

6. Bake for 25 minutes until center is just set.
     - Again, I had to keep this pan in the oven just a little longer, but I think I might have gotten a little over zealous. I kept it in for an additional 20 minutes, or about 45 all together. I should've taken it out after about 40 minutes, the top was a little to browned for my taste.

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting directions:

1. Mix butter and Fluff until smooth on medium speed until smooth.

2. Slowly add in powdered sugar with mixer on low.
     - Or it'll end up all over the counter and apron... not that I have ANY personal experience with this...

3. Add in milk and turn speed up to medium and mix until all combined and smooth.

4. Color frosting if desired.
     - I tried teal, it turned out 'dishwater green,' apparently no one noticed.

5. Spread over cooled blondies.

There you have it. Super simple, and luckily still crowd-pleasing...

The blog's photographer captured them much better than I did...

And here's my ring... in case you haven't seen it. Engagement? MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

#38: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I love food. And people. And impressing people with food. I also love my boyfriend's family. So much so, I made them these AWESOME pancakes. Seriously, these things are a gift. Full of crunchy cinnamon sugar, cream cheesy goodness, my scale took a beating this morning when I stood on it to figure out the damage all of this weekend's delicious goodies caused (I don't wanna talk about it), but it was worth it. This one is a DEFINITE future family tradition. NOW, the real question is... how am I going to impress them after THIS recipe? Oye.

#38: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes (as found on


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, oil and egg, just until batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
    - P.S. This is amazing batter on it's own. I'm going to have to try this plain sometime to see how it tastes with just syrup on top.
2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie and set aside. You don't want this to remain super-liquidy. It's best if it becomes a consistency similar to toothpaste.
     - True story. I nuked the mixture for a little while in the microwave, and it ended up being too runny. When it came down to swirling the mixture in the pancake and cooking it on the griddle, the cinnamon sugar essentially just rolled off the pancake, making a mess on the skillet. Luckily it still TASTED
3. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract; set aside.
4. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Snip the corner of your baggie of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
     - Okay, so we didn't end up using any nonstick spray because there was already oil in the batter. I wouldn't pour 3/4 a cup on the griddle... the batter spread out pretty far, and then adding the cinnamon sugar only caused the pancake to spread out even more. I think our pancakes only ended up being like 4 inches across when we poured them on the griddle, and they turned out A LOT larger after cooking.
5. When ready to serve, spoon warmed glaze onto the top of each pancake.

YUMMY. And so stinkin' impressive. It just LOOKED gourmet. I am spoiling my friends and family... I seriously have no idea how I am going to continually top myself. Maybe they'll forgive me if I make it a tradition of making these bad boys...

That first pancake was shamefully gigantic.

Uh, yeah, you WILL keep giving me kisses if you want me to keep baking!

It's not often I get to say this, but the boyfriend looks A LOT better than I do. Ha ha, don't mind my crazy eyes... it was the sugar high...

My kind of heaven

Monday, October 3, 2011

#37: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Yeah... read that title again. CARAMEL APPLE CHEESECAKE BARS. Over the summer, combing Pinterest for new fall recipes to give a go, this JEWEL popped out at me. I love all four of those words- combine them, and I am happier than a kid in a candy store. I needed an excuse to make such a RIDICULOUSLY decadent dessert- seriously, read the ingredients list, and you might gain ten pounds on that alone- what better one than a Baird family get together? My boyfriend, being the wonderful love bug he is, decided to come home for the weekend, and for that, he deserves TREATS! ... and I always deliver!

#37: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars (as found at


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel Topping:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 

1/2 cup caramel topping


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
     - 15 minutes, my foot. It took about 30 minutes. I'm not sure if that's because my parent's oven is AWFUL, but needless to say, I was getting SUPER impatient. I was able to finish all the other steps before this crust was even close to being done.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.
     - SO. MUCH. CREAM CHEESE. I am a happy girl.

4. In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy!
     - Again, the time was WAY off. I think all together, I had it in for an additional 40 minutes. Unbelievable, right?

There you have it. It was good. And gone in under four hours. Probably a new record, but so worth it. MAKE THIS. 

... and yes, the bars were gone so quickly, I couldn't get a shot of them. My apologies.