Pumpkin Spice Granola

Afternoon Parfait…yum

our kitchen table

I haven’t stopped baking! My kitchen is currently tu-tu land (getting ready for Molly’s wedding), and I haven’t had much time for blogging! I wanted to share this recipe for Pumpkin Granola…it is PUMPKIN-Y, yummy, and a healthier option for all you pumpkin lovers out there. This granola tastes great alone, on yogurt, or on oatmeal! For the weekend…I currently have a pumpkin caramel cheesecake in the oven. I’ll share that one on here if it passes the taste test! :O) Have a great rest of the week!


Pumpkin Spice Granola

Ingredients:

3 ½ cups rolled oats

2 ½ cups puffed rice cereal

2 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¾ tsp. salt

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup applesauce

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pecans and Cranberries (optional)


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats and puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until very smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until the oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. I usually leave a space in the middle, so it cooks through. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn over the granola using a large, wide spatula. Sprinkle the pecans onto the granola and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola and let the rest cook until done, 10-15 more minutes.


Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack.


Break up granola as desired and toss with cranberries. Store in an airtight container.

Oreo Cupcakes


Here is another “top requested” recipe for you! These would also make great mini cupcakes…just use the mini oreos!
Oreo Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them for big chunks!)

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. heavy cream

For garnish:
Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo cookie halves

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line the wells of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners. Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.


Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla extract. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed just until incorporated, then increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 4 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish with Oreo halves.

Sweet Southern Comfort – Pecan Praline Cookies





Lately, I have really been missing the south. Georgia, and Pecan Pralines have been on my mind. :O) Landon loves pecans, and I have been wanting to make him something special! So today, I put together a pecan praline cookie topped with caramel sauce. These cookies would also taste great with white chocolate drizzled on top. I enjoyed my cookie with a homemade pumpkin latte…I found the syrup at a coffee shop in town! This recipe will make about 40 small cookies (if you can keep your fingers out of the cookie dough). Hope y’all have a great weekend!!!



Pecan Praline Cookies


Ingredients
1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pecan Praline:

In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together constantly the sugar and water. Cook until boiling for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until the syrup is golden brown in color. It is important to remove the saucepan from the heat just as the sugar begins to darken to an amber color. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup pecans. Carefully pour the hot mixture onto a parchment lined sheet tray. Let cool until completely firm. Transfer to a plastic bag, crush with a rolling pin, and reserve for the cookie dough.

Cookies:

Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract and beat until combined

Stir in the flour and baking soda and mix until incorporated. Fold in the reserved crushed praline until combined. Drop 1 tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop of the dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges are slightly browned.

Caramel Topping (optional)

1/3 cup sugar

2 T Water

2 T Butter

Pinch of salt

If you decide to top the cookies with the caramel…don’t make the sauce until ALL your cookies are baked. It hardens very quickly, so you will have to work fast!

To make the caramel topping, whisk together the sugar and water over medium-high heat, and bring mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. When the syrup starts to boil, stop stirring. Boil syrup until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and whisk butter and a pinch of salt, until melted and well combined. Drizzle over cookies!

Apple Cream Cheese Blondies w/Brown Sugar Frosting

Our “comfort food” dinner. I just love sweet potatoes.

With or without the frosting? I loved them both ways.

Happy FALL! For some reason, I am EXTRA excited about the fall season this year. Maybe it is the fact that I have 3 sweet pumpkins here at home with me that I get to cuddle up with! To welcome the fall, (even though it is still warm in OK) we have some serious comfort food on the menu tonight! For dinner, I’m making the Pioneer Woman’s Meatloaf, loaded baked sweet potatoes and green beans! I’m not a huge meatloaf fan, but this was pretty tasty! For dessert, I made some Apple Cream Cheese Blondies. The Brown Sugar Frosting is optional…the blondies are very tasty on their own…very light and fluffy! Forget the calorie counting today….this girl needs some comfort food!

Apple Cream Cheese Blondies w/Brown Sugar Frosting

Blondies:
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 cup peeled chopped apples
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
3 oz cream cheese (frozen for about 1 hr, and cut into little cubes, also optional)
Brown Sugar Frosting:
4 oz butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup milk
2 cups icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
Blondies:
Prepare a 13 x 9 dish with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Preheat Oven to 350.
Beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture on low speed, mixing until blended. Stir in apples and nuts, mixing well. Fold in the cream cheese pieces. Spread evenly in the prepared dish and bake until set and golden, 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on rack.
Brown Sugar Frosting:
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and milk. Bring mixture just to a boil then remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Sift in the confectioner’s sugar, mixing until smooth. Spread evenly over bar. Let stand until frosting is firm enough to cut. Cut into bars or squares.

A busy september…

Brooke with her sissies…all getting so big!

Brooke & I going on our mommy date to the Pink House
Lauren & Lily at 3 months!

Things are BUSY around here this month! Brooke turned TWO and the twins hit the THREE month mark! I just can’t believe how fast time is flying by. Through all the craziness…I try to take time everyday to enjoy all of my girls. It is my favorite time of year….HAPPY FALL! Today is the first day of fall…even though i have had the Autumn candles out and have been baking with pumpkin for a month. I have a pumpkin obsession.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins topped w/Streusel

Yummy Cream Cheese Filling

The perfect recipe for fall if you love pumpkin as much as I do! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins topped with Cinnamon Streusel
Yield: 24 muffins
Ingredients:
For the muffins:
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 eggs
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
For the streusel topping:
½ cup sugar
¼ cup and 1 tsp. flour
4 tbsp. butter, cubed
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
Directions:
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth. Form into a log on plastic wrap or foil, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours.
To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.
To make the streusel topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well halfway with batter. Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices. Place a slice in each muffin well. Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.