Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel
When you think of baking with pumpkin, the first dish that comes to mind is probably pumpkin pie. as delicious as pumpkin pie is, pumpkin puree is a versatile ingredient that can – and should – show up in many other bakes in your kitchen during the fall and winter holiday season. This …

The post Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel appeared first on Baking Bites.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel
When you think of baking with pumpkin, the first dish that comes to mind is probably pumpkin pie. as delicious as pumpkin pie is, pumpkin puree is a versatile ingredient that can – and should – show up in many other bakes in your kitchen during the fall and winter holiday season. This Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel is a cake that is perfect for serving up at holiday brunches and can also serve as a wonderful alternative to pie after a holiday meal. The coffee cake is a moist pumpkin cake topped with a delicious spicy-sweet streusel that is packed with toasty pecans.

The cake itself is simple to put together. It contains pumpkin puree – and canned pumpkin is just fine in this case – along with a generous helping of pumpkin pie spices. The spices, of course, get their name because they’re frequently found in pumpkin pie and other desserts. They include cinnamon, ginger and cloves – all of which compliment the natural sweetness of the pumpkin puree. The cake also contains buttermilk, which helps to ensure you get a moist and tender cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, sour cream makes an excellent substitution.

The streusel for this cake is rich with brown sugar and warm pumpkin pie spices. It will sink down a bit into the top of the cake after it comes out of the oven, due to the sugar melting slightly, so don’t be alarmed if that happens. The cake itself is also not overly sweet, so the crisp, spicy brown sugar topping makes for a nice contrast. The streusel also contains chopped pecans, which add a little bit of extra texture to this bake. If you’re not a pecan fan, you can use walnuts or hazelnuts. Since the baking time is relatively long, you don’t need to use toasted nuts in this recipe, as they will toast up nicely in the oven.

The cake is ready to eat as soon as it has cooled, but it will keep for at least 2-3 days after baking if stored in an airtight container. Feel free to microwave a slice for a few seconds before serving, too, to recreate that just-baked warmth!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel
Topping

1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, chilled
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 10-inch round tube pan.
Prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt and spices. Cut butter into small chunks and rub into sugar mixture with your fingertips, making sure no pieces larger than a pea remain. Mixture should be crumbly, with some small pieces of butter visible.
Stir in nuts. Set aside.
Prepare the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, blend in half of the flour mixture, followed by the pumpkin puree and buttermilk. Blend in remaining flour mixture, stirring only until the batter just comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into a even layer.
Using your hands to squeeze the topping mixture into clumps (grab handfuls and squeeze to form clumps of streusel), sprinkle batter evenly with the topping mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.

Serves 10-12

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Sweet and Spicy Maple Pecan Scones

Sweet and Spicy Maple Pecan Scones
I do a lot of entertaining during the fall and winter, so I am always putting together desserts and brunch bakes that use some of my favorite fall flavors. These Sweet and Spicy Maple Pecan Scones make an outstanding addition to any holiday gathering, since they’re loaded with warming flavors.

Maple …

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Sweet and Spicy Maple Pecan Scones
I do a lot of entertaining during the fall and winter, so I am always putting together desserts and brunch bakes that use some of my favorite fall flavors. These Sweet and Spicy Maple Pecan Scones make an outstanding addition to any holiday gathering, since they’re loaded with warming flavors.

Maple syrup is a fantastic sweetener because it adds a deep, rich flavor to baked goods, in addition to simply making them sweet. Good quality maple syrup is not inexpensive, and that is one of the reasons that people often shy away from using it in their baking. A high quality maple syrup is well worth the investment when it is used in a recipe where it is the star, since its flavor cannot be reproduced by using a less expensive ingredient, such as maple extract. That extract is an easy way to add a bit of extra flavor to a cake recipe that already has other ingredients working in it, but it won’t give you the same effect as the real thing in these Sweet and Spicy Maple Pecan Scones.

The scones are sweetened primarily with maple syrup and you can taste that maple flavor in every bite. I added a little bit of sugar to the dough to enhance the maple flavor without needing to drown the scones in syrup.

The spicy element of these scones comes from the addition of chopped Sweet and Spicy Pecans, addictive sweet and savory candied nuts that I make a lot around the holidays. They’re seasoned with a blend of spices, including cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper, and they contrast both in flavor and texture with the rest of the scones. I highly recommend making up a batch of the nuts, however you can buy similar spiced pecans that can be used in these scones, as well. I added a bit of cinnamon and cayenne to the scone dough to compliment the nuts.

The finished scones are tender, with a moist interior and a distinct – but not overly sweet – maple flavor. They can be eaten as-is, or spread with a little bit of butter. It might be tempting, but don’t use pancake syrup in place of the maple syrup in this recipe. I like to use Grade B maple syrups, or dark amber syrups, rather than the lighter “fancy” maple syrups because they have a stronger, more intense maple flavor that really comes through in the finished product.

Sweet and Spicy Maple Pecan Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup milk (any kind)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sweet and spicy pecans, homemade or store-bought, chopped

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, salt and sugar. Add in the butter and toss to coat. Rub butter in with your fingertips or a pastry blender until butter is in pieces no larger than a pea.
In a small bowl, stir together maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract. Pour into flour mixture, along with the pecans, and stir until dough comes together in a coarse, not-too-sticky ball. If mixture is too dry, add in a teaspoon or two of milk. If mixture is too wet, add in a few teaspoons of flour.
Transfer ball of dough to a lightly floured surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disc. Cut each disc into quarters and place them on your prepared baking sheet, allowing room for the triangles to spread slightly.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, until golden and set.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving.

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Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix, reviewed

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix, reviewed
Pumpkin seems to show up in everything in the fall, from lattes to cakes to cookie mixes. This Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix from Trader Joe’s is one of the store’s new product offerings for the season. Naturally, as a fan of almost all things with pumpkin and …

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Trader Joe's Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix, reviewed
Pumpkin seems to show up in everything in the fall, from lattes to cakes to cookie mixes. This Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix from Trader Joe’s is one of the store’s new product offerings for the season. Naturally, as a fan of almost all things with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, I had to give it a try.

The cookie mix is very straightforward to put together, simply add an egg, a softened 1/2 cup of butter and 2 tablespoons of water to the mix and stir until well-combined. I used a hand mixer, however you probably could to it by hand with a bit of muscle, too. The mix uses the same ingredients that you would find in a homemade cookie mix – sugar, chocolate chips, oats, unbleached flour, brown sugar, salt, and spices – but it seems to utilize dried pumpkin, since you can’t put canned pumpkin into a packaged cookie mix. The mix has a nice mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves in it.

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie Mix, reviewed

The mix yields 24 good-sized cookies, just as it promises on the box. I used an average sized cookie scoop to portion mine out. The cookies baked up evenly and smelled like pumpkin spice when they came out of the oven. They were chewy, but not too dense, and had a nice balance of pumpkin, spices and chocolate. They weren’t quite as buttery as homemade oatmeal cookies, nor were they quite as moist as cookies made with canned pumpkin, but they were still pretty tasty and did feel more homemade than most pumpkin cookie mixes I’ve tried. My only small complaint was the the cookies didn’t spread that much, so next time I would flatten them slightly before baking to give them a less domed appearance.

I also have to say that I really like the packaging for this cookie mix. The round shape seems to be a nod to the round packaging that a classic oatmeal brand (Quaker) uses, tying in nicely with the oatmeal in the mix. Aside from the oatmeal connection, it just has a great feel to it and I think it stands out from other packages. I filled it up with a few cookies after baking and used it to transport some treats to a friend, which gave it a touch of versatility, too.

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Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies

Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies

The fall is my favorite time of the year for baking. I love the classics – pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookies and pecan anything – but I also love the opportunity to come up with fun new treats that make use of some of those classic flavors. These Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies are …

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Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies

The fall is my favorite time of the year for baking. I love the classics – pumpkin pie, oatmeal cookies and pecan anything – but I also love the opportunity to come up with fun new treats that make use of some of those classic flavors. These Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies are part blondie and part pumpkin pie, and they will be a delicious addition to your fall baking lineup.

The bars are made with two different batters, a blondie batter and a pumpkin batter. The pumpkin layer is inspired by pumpkin pie, but is not the same as your typically pumpkin pie filling. The filling used in pumpkin pie is a custard that is fairly liquid before baking, which works great with a crispy pie crust but not with a chewy blondie base. So, the pumpkin pie layer is actually a cross between a traditional pie filling and a blondie, with more flour than you would find in a typical pumpkin pie recipe (which often contains no flour). In the end, this means that the pumpkin layer is packed with pumpkin flavor, but has a chewy texture that is similar to that of the classic vanilla blondie underneath it.

Cinnamon sugar – and lots of it – is what gives this bar cookie a sweet churro twist. There is a generous layer of cinnamon sugar on top of the bars, as well as between the blondie and pumpin pie layers.  I also dusted the pan with cinnamon before adding the blondie batter, which gives even the base of the bars an extra pop of cinnamon. The cinnamon really stands out from the pumpkin pie spice in the batter, too.

These bars are best within about two days of baking and can be stored at room temperature, although they are also quite tasty when they are chilled. I serve them as-is, but you could turn them into a plated dessert by adding a scoop of ice cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce to each serving.

Churro Pumpkin Pie Blondies
Blondie Layer + Topping
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar + 2 tsp ground cinnamon
more cinnamon, for dusting the pan

Pumpkin Layer
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly grease the pan and dust the bottom with ground cinnamon.
Make the blondie layer: In a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Allow butter to cool for 2 minutes, then whisk in the sugar, egg, salt and vanilla extract. Once those ingredients are well-combined, stir in the flour using a whisk or spatula.
Pour batter – it will be thick – into prepared baking dish and smooth it into an even layer using a spatula.
Combine sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle half of the mixture evenly over the top of the blondie layer.

Make the pumpkin layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, vanilla and eggs, then whisk in the sugars an pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree until well-combined. Stir in half of the flour, along with the baking powder and salt. Stir in remaining flour and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour mixture over blondie base, then sprinkle evenly with remaining cinnamon-sugar topping.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until bars are set and the edges are lightly browned on top.
Cool completely in the pan before lifting the bars out using the aluminum foil and slicing.

Makes 20 bars.

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Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Three Ways

Toasted pumpkin seeds are the tiny, edible trophies you get for carving pumpkins. There are a couple of tricks to roasting perfect pumpkin seeds.

Continue reading Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Three Ways on 101 Cookbooks

Toasted pumpkin seeds are the tiny, edible trophies you get for carving pumpkins. Don’t carve a pumpkin (or any winter squash for that matter), without toasting or roasting the seeds. That’s just how it needs to be. The question is, what’s the best technique? There is some debate about the best approach, but I’ve settled on a foolproof method over the years. It’s super easy, and I’m going to share it here. 
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Take note, there are a couple points of departure you’ll see in my technique (compared to most). First! Some people boil the pumpkin seeds prior to toasting. No need. Second, I now season and spice the pumpkin seeds after baking, and I’ll talk more about why.

Different pumpkins, Different seeds

Pumpkins aren’t the only winter squash with seeds. And seeds from different squashes have different sizes, shapes and textures. Have fun experimenting! Play around with white “ghost” pumpkins, blue Hokkaido, butternut squash, and all the other beautiful winter squash varietals out there for a range of seeds. Also, if you’re going to roast the squash as well, they’re often much better tasting versus carving pumpkins.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Different Sized Seeds

Smaller seeds roast more quickly, so adjust your baking time (less). Aside from that, treat them the same as you would regular “carving” pumpkin seeds. Pictured above (top to bottom): delicata squash seeds, butternut squash seeds, carving pumpkin seeds.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

How to Clean & Make Pumpkin Seeds

Place a colander (or strainer) in a bowl filled with water. The seeds float, so this set-up makes separating the seeds from any stubborn pumpkin flesh much easier. Scoop the seeds from your pumpkin and transfer to the colander. Separate the seeds from any pumpkin flesh and pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen cloth.

The Best Technique

Bake the pumpkin seeds after a good rinse. You need to dry them well. Get as much water off the seeds as possible. I’m convinced the seeds steam less using this method, and crisp more.

When to Season?

I used to heavily season seeds prior to baking, but I find that if you bake with lots of spice coating the seeds, the spices tend to over bake or even burn. I do most or all of my spice additions post-bake now.

Flavor Variations Beyond Classic Pumpkin Seeds

The directions you can go related to seasoning you seeds are endless. That said, I’m going to include three of my favorite variations down below.

  • Meyer Lemon Zest, Cayenne, and Olive Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sweet Curry Pumpkin Seeds
  • Garlic Chive Pumpkin Seeds

And, because I can’t resist. If you don’t mind stained fingertips, tossing the hot seeds with a dusting of turmeric, minced garlic, and cayenne or black pepper is also really great. Wasabi paste or powder is a great flavoring option, as is ponzu sauce. Have fun & play around!

Continue reading Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Three Ways on 101 Cookbooks