Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies!

O.K., by now pumpkin might be getting a little old for most of you, but here's one more recipe I'll throw at you.  The pumpkin taste isn't as prevalent and there are chocolate and cheesecake tastes to boot!   I will admit that instead of being a purist by making the homemade portion of these brownies, I took the easy way out and used a box brownie mix and kept the recipe limited to the yummy pumpkin cheesecake topping.  Without further delay, here is the recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies from Table for Two Blog:


1 box brownie mix (and all the ingredients required to make them) (I would suggest a "moist" brownie mix - advertised as extra fudge or rich)
4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. pumpkin puree (you can use canned pumpkin and puree it with a blender)
1 large egg (in addition to any that might be required for the brownie mix)
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Prepare oven according to brownie mix directions.  For best results, use a parchment lined pan and spray it with non-stick spray.  After preparing brownie mix and pouring it into the pan, set aside and make the topping:

Beat together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.  Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and egg and beat until well mixed.  Using a tablespoon put spoonfuls of the topping onto the brownie batter.  Using a toothpick or knife, swirl it around into the batter.  Don't forget to make some pretty patterns!
Bake the brownies according to directions (about 35-40 minutes).  Definitely don't over bake.  If your mix offers you the difference between a chewy brownie or a more cake-like brownie, choose the chewy - you don't want these like cake.  After baking the center should still be jiggly.  Let cool 20 minutes and then use the parchment paper to lift out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.  After cool, put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before cutting.

Here they are.  (Again, photographing food is not by best skill):

Enjoy for the holidays or anytime during the year!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Still the BEST Pumpkin Bars!

It's Pumpkin Palooza week and here is a recipe that lives up to its name.

The BEST Pumpkin Bars Ever

No kidding - these are the ones!  I don't know if I ever tasted a pumpkin "bar", but these things are the bomb!  I can't take credit for any part of this - not the title, the recipe or the awesomeness, but I do want to introduce you to one of the most fabulous pumpkin things I have ever eaten.

I found this recipe through a beautiful photograph on Pinterest.  That led me to Mique at 30 Handmade Days and her great recipe.  Click through the link to her post and the recipe; it's written out in a way you can print it or save it.

These bars are definitely not for those on a diet - they are made with oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin and a few other ingredients.  They have a consistency almost like a moist brownie.  The frosting is a homemade cream cheese frosting (which I plan to use on many more recipes).  They can be baked in a shallow pan like a cookie sheet.  I chose to use a 9 x 13" pan, so mine are deeper and denser.

The taste?  You can eat them cold, or better yet, warmed with the frosting melting slightly.  When they're cold, they taste like a wedge of pumpkin pie, but with a firmer consistency.  When they are warmed up, they melt in your mouth.  They stay firm and moist, even after a couple of days.  We stored them open in the refrigerator and cut them as we ate them, and they never dried out.

These pumpkin bars passed the picky test with my kids and husband, which is impressive for a pumpkin dish.  This recipe is definitely a keeper and one I plan to pull out for a party this weekend.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Our first entry on Pumpkin Palooza is an EASY recipe.  I originally published this as part of a Pinterest Challenge and I ended up using several different cake mixes.  I would recommend spice cake for best taste.

Start with a box cake mix and a 15 ounce can of pumpkin.  You add - NOTHING!  That's right, two ingredients.  No eggs, oil, water or vanilla extract - NADA!

There must be more ingredients.  The result is probably dry.  The whole thing will taste like pumpkin.  NOPE.  You can use any kind of cake mix you want.  I wanted to make a bunch of cupcake/muffins, so I tried spice, yellow and devil's food cake mixes.  (I understand these are considered fairly healthy and even have a Weight Watcher point value somewhere.)

Just mix the pumpkin and the cake mix with an electric beater

Spoon into muffin/cupcake tins lined with cupcake papers, and after 23 minutes at 350 degrees, you get this for the spice muffins:

As for taste - excellent!  The pumpkin taste comes through in the spice muffins, but hardly at all with the yellow and devil's food cake mixes.  For an even more flavorful spice version, try adding a little cinnamon or a dash of nutmeg or allspice to the mix.  Chocolate chips are an awesome addition to the chocolate cupcakes/muffins.  The spice or yellow cake muffins are great topped with cream cheese frosting and you can try drizzling warm frosting over the muffins for a fancier look.  A note - I keep referring to these as muffins/cupcakes because the consistency is a cross between both.  It's not a cake, but a very moist muffin.  The best part for me was that they were so quick and easy to make, and the yield is about 18 cupcake/muffins.

Success!  Pumpkin Palooza is on!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Palooza Redux

We did this a year ago and it was so much fun!  This year pumpkin is even more popular - if that's possible.

Have you had enough pumpkin yet with Halloween coming?  It's time to stop looking at it like a porch decoration and bring it into the kitchen!

Seriously, now is the time of year for pumpkin recipes and here at Straddling the Gap I'm trying some recipes and a decorating technique I've found in various places - Pinterest, Facebook and family recipes.  I can't guarantee they will all be great, but I promise to let you know if they aren't.  If you find the right recipes, add them to Thanksgiving or other holiday festivities.

The four recipes I'm making are all desserts.  I'm just not adventurous enough to make savory pumpkin dishes because I know my family won't give them a second glance.  Truthfully, they will be the picky taste testers on the pumpkin desserts.

So, get some cans of pumpkins, sugar, eggs, flour and a couple of mixes and get ready!

Pumpkin Palooza!