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Pumpkin Bread in Disguise

I know that the more appropriate time to post a recipe for pumpkin bread would be in the fall, but the last time I mentioned pumpkin bread on this blog it was April, so I’m getting closer to the mark! You might also be thinking that what you see in the photo doesn’t look like “bread” but it is! It’s the wonderful kind of bread that allows you to live in denial about actually eating cake. I decided to embrace the “cake-ness” though and turn the recipe into cupcakes. With generous dollops of cream cheese frosting they were delicious!

I got this recipe from my dear friend Kelly the last time we lived at West Point. I love having a box full of recipe cards hand-written by old friends. I remember everyone I get a recipe from but it’s even better when they write it out themselves.

Start with the water, eggs, oil and pumpkin.

Add the sugar….

…and mix again.

Assemble the spices.

Dump in the dry ingredients and mix again.

Fill the cupcake papers half-way. (This batter tastes wonderful by the way.)

Bake the cupcakes in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 19 minutes.

I had some scrumptious left-over cream cheese frosting from a recipe that my new friend Lisa C. gave me this fall. She makes delicious cupcakes, so you can expect to hear her credited again on this blog! I doubled the frosting recipe the first time I made it and I obviously shouldn’t have. However, that tub of excess frosting generated the bolt of inspiration to turn pumpkin bread into cupcakes, so it was a fortuitous mistake!

Lisa C.’s Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup butter
16 oz cream cheese
3 1/2 cup of powder sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 tablespoon of vanilla (I left this out because I’m just not a fan of vanilla in most recipes.)
1/2 tsp of salt

The recipe makes a lot. I usually get three loaves of bread. This time, I got 24 cupcakes and….

…had enough batter left over to make one loaf. The bread needs to bake for 50 minutes to an hour at 350, until a toothpick comes out clean.

My new position on baking with pumpkin is that the season should be extended until at least May, so go raise the eyebrows of the grocery clerk with a can of pumpkin next time you check out!

Molasses Sugar Cookies

I love cookies but these are my absolute favorites. I get asked for this recipe more than any other. So here it is…with pictures.  I hope you enjoy!

1 cup butter – very firm
½ cup butter flavor Crisco (…I’ll explain below.)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar packed
½ cup molasses (don’t skimp)
2 large eggs
4 ½ cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the baking stone in it.

As you all know, I believe in butter alone for cookies, but in this – my favorite recipe no less – I have decided that a little Crisco really does improve the texture. I still waffle though. If the entire batch is going to be eaten almost immediately and I know I’m going to be on my A-game with the oven temperature and timer then I cut the Crisco and convince myself that I have improved flavor. You decide. Let me know what you think.

Start by creaming the sugar, with the yellow fatty combination of your choosing.

Then, add the eggs and the molasses and mix again.

Next come the dry ingredients.

First, the white load – flour, soda, salt.

Then pile on the delicious smelling spices.

And, mix again. Good Ku-Ki-Do should turn into a big firm lump and leave the sides of the bowl practically clean without a spatula. If your dough is sticky, add a little extra flour, unless it’s because your butter was too soft. If the butter was too soft, then you’ll just have to live with cookie flavored pancakes.

Form the beautiful dough into balls. I like to find coarse sugar for rolling if I can – and this brand of organic fits the bill. Somehow it also makes me feel better about the Crisco…a little bit.

Dressed and ready for 12-14 minutes in the oven, depending on size.

By the time I bite into one of these, I couldn’t care less about what’s in them. When baked perfectly they are soft in the center and crispy on the edges. Don’t over-bake or they turn into hockey pucks – especially if you decide to go with straight up butter.

As I’ve said before, cookies are meant to be shared. This batch was paired with snickerdoodles to feed a bunch of OCF cadets. I think snickerdoodles are boring next to molasses sugar cookies, but they have their fans and the combination is always a big hit.