Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Every year around this time, my aunt and I go to this little restaurant called The Red Apple to get pumpkin pancakes. We don't go at all during the rest of the year, but when Fall comes around, we have to go. This year, I got the craving a little early, so I decided to make some of my own pumpkin pancakes. I went searching for a recipe and found this one at

Since it was just me eating these, I decided to cut the recipe in half so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the whole batch! Also, I had a slight problem because the milk in my fridge was expired...oops. Luckily I had some evaporated milk left over from making pumpkin bars, so I threw that in and hoped for the best!

Here's how they turned out...


They were so good that they didn't even really need syrup, just a little butter and cinnamon sugar.

Mmmm...tastes like Fall!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

It's Fall! That means the return of my favorite drink, "Fall in a Cup", aka Pumpkin Spice Latte, and other pumpkin treats, like these pumpkin muffins with spiced cream cheese frosting.

Somehow even after the slightly disastrous chocolate cherry brownies, I decided to try another recipe using a mix and a can of fruit filling. Why? I don't know, maybe because it's a super easy way to bake and I was feeling lazy. Or maybe because I just wanted something pumpkin-y to celebrate fall and this is what I thought of first.

This recipe included a box of vanilla cake mix and a can of pumpkin. I also added in a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to get the pumpkin pie flavor.

I guess I should have learned from my last attempt with fruit filling (is pumpkin a fruit?), because these muffins didn't turn out exactly as planned either. When I took them out of the oven, the tops were very jagged and had little peaks, like mountains. They tasted pretty great, super moist and pumpkin-y, but they looked pretty bad.

To hide the mountain peaks, I decided they needed a little frosting. I whipped up a little batch of my favorite spiced cream cheese frosting, and globbed it on with a spoon. Since the muffins weren't flat, the frosting wouldn't be smooth either, so the globbing technique worked out pretty well!

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

Blend together the following ingredients...

8 oz. cream cheese (softened), 1/4 cup butter (softened), 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Hope you're all enjoying fall and pumpkin treats as much as I am!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chocolate-Cherry Brownie Balls

A while back, I read (on someone's blog) about chocolate cherry brownies, made with just a cake mix and a can of cherry pie filling. She raved about how moist and delicious the brownies turned out. This got me to dad loves cherry desserts, but never gets any because no one else in the family likes them. As a special treat, I decided to make these cherry brownies. So I gathered up my 2 ingredients, mixed them together and threw the mixture into a brownie pan.

35 minutes later, the brownies were not turning out quite like I wanted them to...10 minutes later, not done yet, and 5 minutes after that they still didn't seem all the way cooked, but I had had enough, so I took them out anyway. I let the brownies cool for a little while, then cut in to see what the middle looked like. It was super moist, but also super gummy. That didn't seem quite right to me, and I almost just threw them away. UNTIL...I got the great idea to make them into brownie balls!

They were already so gummy that they didn't need any frosting to hold them together. And, look! You can see the actual pieces of cherry sticking out! Then all I had to do was dip them in some chocolate almond bark, and...

Tah-Dah! Chocolate-Cherry Brownie Balls!

Now I didn't really like these, but my dad ate quite a few of them. He said they were really good mixed into his cherry garcia ice cream!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chocolate Eclair Cake

My grandparents just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary - congrats, Grammie and Grampie! So we decided to make them a chocolate eclair cake anniversary dessert. I guess we should have made something a little bit more sparkly - 60 is the diamond anniversary! (Maybe next time.)

Chocolate eclair cake is a pretty standard recipe in my family. We have a rip-off recipe of the Portillo's version. And if you've ever been to Portillo's, you should know about the desserts there: amazing chocolate cake, yummy chocolate cake shakes (yep, they cut up a piece of cake and blend it right in there with the shake), and chocolate eclair cake. In my family, we don't usually get the eclair cake, because our recipe tastes just about as good. I'm not sure where this recipe actually came from, but it's pretty easy, and really delicious.

Here are all the ingredients you need:

Seriously, that's it...just 6 ingredients. And you probably already have the milk (and maybe even the graham crackers) so that's really only 4 things to go out and get. You might have noticed that the can of frosting is not on the original recipe...that's because we cheat and use store bought frosting. But stay tuned for more about the frosting...

Here's the original recipe:

And here is my version:

Step 1: Mix the pudding, block of cream cheese, and 3 cups of milk together. Mix for about a minute, or until it looks like this:

It should be pretty thick, and probably a little lumpy.

Step 2: Fold in the cool whip.

Step 3: Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan with about 7 1/2 graham crackers.

Step 4: Pour half of the pudding mixture over the top of the graham crackers. Spread it out evenly, then layer another 7 1/2 graham crackers over the top of the pudding mixture.

Step 5: Pour the other half of the pudding mixture on top, then top it off with another layer of graham crackers. (You should have 3 layers of graham crackers and 2 layers of pudding.)

Step 6: Stick the can of frosting in the microwave for about 30 seconds, or until it is melty enough to pour. (Don't forget to rip off the box top and send it to me.) Then pour the melted frosting over the top layer of graham crackers. Make sure to cover the edges, too!

Step 7: Cover and refrigerate. I just placed a cookie sheet on top of the pan to cover it, so that foil or plastic wrap wouldn't stick to it and pull the melted frosting off the top.

Step 8: Enjoy your cake, and wish your grandparents "happy anniversary" (oh wait, that's just me!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Bakery Buzz: Gigi's Cupcakes

A few weeks ago, my family and I took a little trip to Nashville, Tennesee. None of us had been before, and we had a great time checking out the country music scene, shopping, and eating lots of food. We also found this sweet little cupcake bakery:

It's a super-cute, super-pink little shop.
They have TONS of different flavors, different everyday.

And just take a look at all of this FROSTING!

We chose Peanut Butter Cup (milk chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting), White Midnight Magic (dark chocolate cake with white cream cheese frosting), and Wedding Cake (white cake with white frosting).

Yum! We just could not wait to dive right in!

Next time you're in Nashville, check out:

1816 Broadway Suite A
Nashville TN 37203