Tag Archives: pumpkin

Essentially, carrot cake without carrots (pumpkin bars)

4 Nov

Carrot cake is my favorite kind of cake almost everyday (if you catch me on a nostalgic day I’ll say funfetti).  I love the moist sweetness and spice of carrot cake plus the surprise of raisins, and cream cheese frosting makes everything better.  But it takes forever to peel and grate carrots-even with a food processor you still have to clean the food processor afterwards.  This cake tastes surprisingly like carrot cake, without the texture of carrots.  Next time I’ll definitely add raisins and tell people it’s carrot cake and see if anyone believes me.  Good thing I have friends who don’t read this blog!

Another plus of this cake: two bowls!  One if you’re real lazy!  The recipe says “bars” but it really is just like a short cake.  I made it in a fat cookie sheet with tall sides, but if you put it in a 9″x13″ it’d be a normal sheet cake size.

Though pumpkin Be major part of this recipe, you have to watch out for the sharp (edges of the can) [this is a music theory joke]

Though pumpkin Be major part of this recipe, you have to watch out for the sharp (edges of the can) [this is a music theory joke]

Original recipe called for a cup of oil, which seemed like a lot, so I subbed in yogurt for some of it.  Super moist and delicious!

Also, peeve: doesn’t it make more sense to mix dry ingredients with a whisk first, then mix the wet with that same whisk, then mix them together?  Often when I read recipes it says to do the wet first.  But then you have a wet whisk going into dry ingredients.  Unless you’re fancy and use more than one whisk.  Anyways, you mix up all the wet ingredients: pumpkin, egg, yogurt, oil, sugar.  And separately, the dry: flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices.

Sometimes I whisk I had a pun-making machine.  Then I remember I have myself!

Sometimes I whisk I had a pun-making machine. Then I remember I have myself!

If I remember right, the protagonist of A Wrinkle in Time gets made fun of in school a lot because her family's a little crazy.  I think a great nickname would be NutMeg.

If I remember right, the protagonist of A Wrinkle in Time gets made fun of in school a lot because her family’s a little crazy. I think a great nickname would be NutMeg.

Then mix the two together, and pour into a greased pan.  Turns out I own some nonstick bakeware (whaaaat?) so I didn’t bother greasing.  Or taking a photo.

I have a baby now, but of course he's not in the kitchen when I cook- I keep him back in the living room where I can see him.  Baby got back.  (because I'm mix-a-lot here)

I have a baby now, but of course he’s not in the kitchen when I cook- I keep him back in the living room where I can see him. Baby got back. (because I’m mix-a-lot here)

While that bakes, make the best part: cream cheese frosting!  Beat up some butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a bit of vanilla.  This is now a thick buttercream frosting.  Add some milk, a bit at a time, until it’s the right texture for you- this’ll change depending on humidity etc.  I used two tablespoons.

Cream cheese is a pretty popular flavor, so if you want to choose a less traveled by option you could make all the difference via Frost-ing

Cream cheese is a pretty popular flavor, so if you want to choose a less traveled by option you could make all the difference via Frost-ing

After the cake cools a bit, frost it and cut it into bars.

This is the wrong order- frost, then cut.

This is the wrong order- frost, then cut.

This cake is SO DELICIOUS that 28 hours after baking it, I had one square left to take a picture of.

IMG_20141103_213227225_HDR

 

Pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing, adapted from Taste of Home

4 eggs

1 1/2 c sugar

1/3 c vegetable oil

1/2 c plain yogurt

1 can pumpkin

 

2 c flour

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1 TB cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

 

Optional: 1/2 c raisins and/or 1/2 c walnuts

 

1 package cream cheese (8 oz)

2 c powdered sugar

1/4 c butter, softened (1/2 stick)

1 tsp vanilla

1-3 TB milk

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix first five ingredients together in a bowl.  Separately, mix the dry ingredients.  Then mix the two together.  Add raisins and/or nuts, if using, now.  Pour into a 15″x10″ pan if you have one, or a 9″x13″, or whatever you want.  For the 15″x10″, bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.

Beat the cream cheese and butter together.  Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat.  Then add milk 1 TB at a time until you have the consistency you want.  Spread on bars.

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter

26 Oct

In my last two weeks of pregnancy I really, really wanted cinnamon rolls.  Turns out cinnamon rolls are one of those things that are everywhere when you aren’t looking for them, and then mysteriously disappear as soon as you want them/are super gigantic and can’t travel very far.  I ended up getting some from the grocery store (the Mariano’s ones were way better than the Whole Foods ones), and an un-iced one from the bakery down the street (why would you have an un-iced cinnamon roll?!)  These were not satisfying, so the last thing I baked before baby came was those awesome vegan pumpkin cinnamon rolls that I always make when I want cinnamon rolls.

Cinn-fully delicious.  This is apparently a standard cinnamon roll pun.

Cinn-fully delicious. This is apparently a standard cinnamon roll pun.

They were packed with butter because I’m not actually vegan.  I should’ve made cream cheese frosting for them instead of the vegan simple white icing (powdered sugar + milk + vanilla).

Anyways, almost every time I make those cinnamon rolls I end up making pumpkin gnocchi, because they don’t use an entire can of pumpkin.  They leave just enough leftover pumpkin to make a recipe of gnocchi.  Pumpkin gnocchi = way easier/faster than potato, though probably the same if you start from raw pumpkin.  It’s taken me three hours to make potato gnocchi, while pumpkin come together in about half an hour if you don’t bother to do the dimpling (which I don’t because I’m lazy).

Cinnamon rolls are not a necessary ingreedyent, but make them if you're feeling greedy.

Cinnamon rolls are not a necessary ingreedyent, but make them if you’re feeling greedy.

So few ingredients!  Flour, pumpkin, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg.  Also, in our defense I made the gnocchi the day after the cinnamon rolls.  So that’s why we’ve already eaten four of them.

Orange you glad I make so many puns for you?

Orange you glad I make so many puns for you?

The key to gnocchi is to not mix it too much- a very, very light touch is needed, or else the dumplings get gluey/chewy instead of pillowy.  Start your pot of water boiling now.  Once your ingredients are barely mixed, you need to lightly roll the dough into four ropes (about half an inch in diameter) and cut the dumplings with a fork.

Let me show you the ropes, kid.  These are the ropes.  No literally.

Let me show you the ropes, kid. These are the ropes. No literally.

This would be a terrible pillow fight

This would be a terrible pillow fight.

I cut one rope at a time, then toss that batch of gnocchi into the pot.  It takes about the same amount of time to cut a rope as it does for one batch to cook.  The gnocchi are done when they rise to the top of the water.  Use a slotted spoon to pick them up.

I wonder if the author of Tortilla Curtain makes pasta a lot- you know, b/c he's Boyle all the time

I wonder if the author of Tortilla Curtain makes pasta a lot- you know, b/c he’s Boyle all the time.

Leave them in a colander and toss them with a little olive oil so they don’t stick to each other.  IMG_20140926_120122557

 

I have a windowsill herb garden so I threw tons of sage leaves into a most of a stick of butter.

When horses take photos, I wonder if they go "Say Gee!" (sounds like sage)

When horses take photos, I wonder if they go “Say Gee!” (sounds like sage)

Sage brown butter, if you haven’t had it before, is amazing.  Just put butter into a pan until it sizzles, then stops sizzling (that’s the browning part), and then put in a ton of sage leaves.  Recipes on the internet call for eight leaves, which is crazy.  Put in as many as you can.  The crispy sage leaves are delicious!  And they impart such a rich flavor to the butter.

Once the sauce is done, throw the gnocchi in the pan, toss, and eat with some grated parmesan on top.

IMG_20140926_121350251_HDR

 

Pumpkin gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce

Gnocchi recipe is unadapted from The Skinny Fork, so I won’t write it here.

Sauce:

Melt 6-8 TB of butter in a pan, until it sizzles, foams, and subsides.  Butter will be nut brown.  Add 8-20 sage leaves and let them fry for a few minutes.  Don’t let them burn!  Eat with anything.

“vegan” pumpkin cinnamon rolls

23 Jun

A couple years ago, I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals.  It didn’t have too much effect on my life at the time (I was dating a vegan and in Vietnamese culture you eat vegan after a family member dies for awhile anyways), but it’s echoed since then in the form of my friend Edward , who became vegan after reading it during a visit to me.  A few months after that, I visited him in Seattle and made these bomb cinnamon rolls.  They’re just incredible, you can’t tell they’re vegan, and sometimes when people find out they’re completely incredulous.  But you have to make them while watching TV/doing laundry/blogging because they take about THREE HOURS (maybe 20-30 minutes of active time).

The story was to explain why I sometimes do vegan baking.  My math big brother is also vegan, so I sometimes bring in baked goods and he can have them.  These cinnamon rolls are the first vegan thing I ever baked.

That said, I failed this time because I didn’t have any Earth Balance in my house, and my roommate shops at Costco so it’s hard to justify buying it when we have something like five pounds of butter sitting in the freezer.

It's around 3:14 but it's not pumpkin pi time... it's pumpkin cinnamon roll time!

It’s around 3:14 but it’s not pumpkin pi time… it’s pumpkin cinnamon roll time!

First, mix your yeast with your hot water.  It’s a packet to a tablespoon, and it smells awful, and you need to do it asap to give the yeast time to do their thang.  Then turn on your oven.  Basically to whatever temperature- I did 350 because it’s the default.  The point is to heat up the oven, and then after a few minutes you turn it off so you have a “warm place free from drafts” for your dough to rise in.

While you’re waiting for your yeast to chitchat and the oven to warm up, you can prep the rest of your ingredients/workplace.  Mix up the pumpkin, melted margarine (oops), sugar (only a heaping tablespoon!), and soy milk.  That’ll mix with your yeast in a few minutes.  Meanwhile, clean your countertop or table, then sprinkle a bunch of flour all over it.  Put 3/4 cup of flour in a bowl nearby with a tablespoon.

The skeptical Canadian was always suspicious of canned pumpkin.  "You say that's pure, eh?"

The skeptical Canadian was always suspicious of canned pumpkin. “You say that’s pure, eh?”

There's no plaid at this prep school, but there are lots of flour prints

There’s no plaid at this prep school, but there are lots of flour prints

Sift together the flour and spices and salt (I skipped this because I was using salted butter) (Also I skipped this step because I don’t sift things).  Point being, measure out your stuff.

By now you can turn off your oven, hopefully it’s around 150 in there.  Crack it open while you mix your wet ingredients with the yeast, then add the dry.

Pumpkin puree, there ain't no mountain high enough to keep me from gettin to you, babe.  Even if that mountain is covered in spices.

Pumpkin puree, there ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from gettin to you, babe. Even if that mountain is covered in spices.

I just used a fork- you’ll get very sticky dough.  Just keep mixing it until it’s smooth.  Then it’s KNEADING TIME.  Throw that dough onto your floured surface, and start tossing flour on it a tablespoon at a time.  Knead, knead, turn, flour, knead, knead, turn, etc. for about ten minutes.  Honestly I’m awful at kneading so I won’t tell you how to do it, just try.

I'm just such a commitmentphobe- I hate being kneady.

I’m just such a commitmentphobe- I hate being kneady.

It’ll be a beautiful soft ball, a little sticky but not nearly as much as you started, and if you poke it it’ll gently bounce back slowly.

It's so beautiful, I might start crying.  Even BALLing.

It’s so beautiful, I might start crying. Even BALLing.

Throw it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, and chuck it in your heated-then slightly cooled oven.  Close that up and let sit for an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.  I was productive played a lot of Candy Crush during that time.

After that hour, pull it out, punch it down, cover, and re-flour your surface.  Clean up all your bowls etc. and prepare the filling while you let it sit.

If we crossed Hansel and Gretel with a scandalous show about vampires, could we call it Struesel Blood?

If we crossed Hansel and Gretel with a scandalous show about vampires, could we call it Struesel Blood?

Filling is a standard streusel- I suggest doubling the recipe.  Sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and cut in chilled pieces of margarine until it looks like coarse crumbs, or in my case, until you’re sick of cutting it up.

Now you can uncover your dough, throw it on your floured surface, and roll it out.  You really won’t need extra flour because it’s already oiled so it won’t stick to your rolling pin.

It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but this version of pinball is way older than that newfangled version the kids are playing in them arcades nowadays

It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but this version of pinball is way older than that newfangled version the kids are playing in them arcades nowadays.

Roll it out to a giant rectangle- it’ll be pretty thin (like 1/4 inch) but it’s pretty easy to make a rectangle.  Then sprinkle your filling all over it, and start rolling it up tight, from the long edge.

2013-06-05_18-37-46_756

Though a rolling stone gathers no moss, a rolling pastry gathers lots of filling.

Then pinch the ends and seam to keep in the filling, and cut it up- I do cut in half, then cut each half in thirds, and then those in half to make 12 “even” sized pieces.

If you cut me, I will bleed deliciousness. So be careful to not lose too much filling on these.

If you cut me, I will bleed deliciousness. So be careful to not lose too much filling on these.

Now tuck them all in an oiled 9″ dish (circle or square) and cover it.  Let sit for about half an hour.

2013-06-05_18-40-59_602

It's ALLLLLIIIIIIIVE

It’s ALLLLLIIIIIIIVE

Actual bake time, for all that waiting, is happily quite short: 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Top it with a quick icing, made by mixing lots of powdered sugar, a little vanilla, and some warm water:

Time to cop a powder(ed sugar)

Time to cop a powder(ed sugar)

As with Chicago, all lines lead to the gLoop

As with Chicago, all lines lead to the gLoop

Cool, drizzle, and eat!

2013-06-05_19-47-24_997

Recipe from Don’t Eat Off the Sidewalk, just slightly modified:

Combine:

1 package yeast

1/4 c warm water

Turn on your oven.  Let the yeast sit for 5-10 minutes while you mix:

3/4 c pumpkin

1/4 c soy milk

1/4 c melted margarine

1 heaping TB sugar

And sift together:

2 1/2 c flour

1/4 tsp each nutmeg, ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Turn off your oven.  Mix the yeast, the wet ingredients, and the dry ingredients until smooth.  On a floured surface, knead the dough for ten minutes, adding

3/4 c flour

a tablespoon at a time, until soft and slightly sticky.  Put into an oiled bowl, cover, and leave in the oven for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Pull it out of the oven, punch down, cover, and let sit for another five minutes.

Combine:

6 TB each white sugar, brown sugar

4 TB flour

1 TB cinnamon

in a bowl.  Cut in:

4 TB chilled margarine

until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Roll out your dough to a 9″ by 12″ rectangle.  Cover with the filling, then roll up tightly from the long end.  Pinch to seal seam and ends, cut into 12 1″ pieces, and place into a greased 9″ baking dish.  Cover and let rise for half an hour or until doubled in size.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Mix:

3/4 c powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 TB hot water

with a fork- you’ll get a thick, drizzle-able mixture (add more water if you can’t drizzle).  Drizzle over your cinnamon rolls.  Delicious!

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