Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Swirl Brownies

Well, here is to new beginnings. After just under three months at Healthworks, I am leaving to begin the next chapter of my story. Though personal training has been a good experience and one I learned a lot a lot from, I am so ready to move forward, and I am delighted to tell you all the I accepted a job at the Tufts University's Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and it starts Tuesday.
Before I leave Healthworks, however, I have to bake something for the girls (and one guy). So, Pumpkin Pie Swirl Brownies it was. Eat up, trainers!
Pumpkin Pie Swirl Brownies
¾ cup AP flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup chocolate cups
½ cup pumpkin puree
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x9 baking pan with spray. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In another bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. When combined, beat in the eggs by one until just incorporated. Gradually add the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it's evenly moistened. Divide the batter in half in two separate bowls.
3. Into one of the bowls, mix in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips until well blended. In the second bowl of batter, stir in the pumpkin puree, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
4. Spread 1/2 of the chocolate batter into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, and follow with 1/2 of the pumpkin batter, and repeat the layers. Drag a kitchen knife or small spatula gently through the layers in a swirling motion, to create a marbled appearance.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool in pan and serve.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake Muffins

It is October 3, 2011. October! That means it's time for apple picking, trick-o-treating, and a little piece of heaven I like to call... pumpkin season. As my loyal followers know, I was on quite the pumpkin spree last year. Pumpkin Pie Biscotti, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Pumpkin Bundt Cake, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Pumpkin Pie and Stuffed Pumpkin Cupcakes.
Okay, I went nuts. But I love this seasonal gourd. It's wonderful and spicy and warm and fantastic. And once October September August hits, I start thinking of wonderful ways to use it in every recipe possible.

On a lazy Saturday, Julia and I made this recipe, and though it's not the prettiest little thing you ever laid eyes on, it tastes amazingly moist and autumny and I highly recommend it... just maybe not for a party. Julia and I have an issue with cake in the house. Whenever we make it, little kitchen elves come and take bites of the cake all day until it is gone. Solution? Make everything miniature.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake Muffins
For the Topping
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups AP flour
t tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt

1. In a small bowl, combine sugars and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans; set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In yet another bowl, combine the sour cream, pumpkin and vanilla; mix well.
4. In a fourth bowl, combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture. Beat on low just until blended. 
5. Spread the batter into 24 greased muffin tins and sprinkle with topping. Bake at 325 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.