Halloween Mini Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with “Scream” Cheese Frosting

pumpkinandcuppies

Boo! Happy Halloween everyone. This Halloween I am celebrating with scrumptious mini pumpkin spice cupcakes with “scream” cheese frosting and fun Halloween sprinkles. This is an amazingly delicious recipe that makes 24 perfect mini cupcakes and the perfect amount of frosting to top these little critters. I finished them off with awesome bat, ghost and pumpkin sprinkles that I found at my local Bulk Barn. I also found great “treat or treat” Wilton Halloween mini baking cups at the store that were just perfect to bake them in. These are the perfect Halloween treat, the cupcakes have great pumpkin spice flavour and the creamy tangy frosting is SO good!

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup of cake & pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher (coarse) salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 10 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp pure pumpkin purée

For the “Scream” Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 oz light cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

batter

Directions:

  1. Line a mini muffin tin with mini baking cups and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment  blend together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, milk and pumpkin and combine.
  5. Add in flour mixture and blend until incorporated.
  6. Divide equally among baking cups (I like using a small cookie scoop).
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes and then transfer cupcakes carefully to a cooling rack.
  9. While cupcakes are cooling prepare frosting.
  10. In your electric mixer, again using the paddle attachment, mix the icing sugar, butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy.
  11. Once cupcakes are cool transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with desired tip and pipe frosting onto tops of cupcakes, and then top with some fun Halloween sprinkles.

3cuppies

Cupcake recipe inspired by Martha Stewart Cupcakes “Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes” and  frosting recipe based on Georgetown Cupcake’s cream cheese frosting recipe.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Olive Oil & Fleur de Sel

pumpseeds

I couldn’t let all those wonderful pumpkin seeds go to waste when we were carving our pumpkins this weekend with our two little girls, so I baked up a batch of delicious roasted pumpkin seeds roasted with extra virgin olive oil and beautiful Fleur de Sel. They turned out delicious and the kids love them. If you are carving your pumpkins this week be sure to keep those seeds and bake yourself a tasty and healthy treat!

Ingredients:

  • Fresh pumpkin seeds straight out of the pumpkin
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fleur de Sel (you could also use kosher salt)

Directions:

  1. Remove seeds from pumpkin and rinse with cold water in a wire mesh sieve.
  2. Transfer seeds to a paper towel or a kitchen towel to dry, removing any excess pumpkin. Let dry while oven pre-heats.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Transfer seeds to a bowl and toss with extra virgin olive oil (drizzle by drizzle to coat all seeds evenly) and fleur de sel (a hearty few pinches to season all seeds equally).
  5. Bake for about 15-30 minutes, until lightly golden, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Time will depend on how many seeds you have – I had 2 pumpkins worth filling the baking sheet so it took longer.
  6. Remove from oven and finish with another pinch of fleur de sel.
  7. Once cooled move to an airtight container and enjoy!

Note: You eat the Pumpkin Seeds shells and all, they actually taste a bit like popcorn. You can also remove the shell but that is a lot of work! There are also methods that boil the seeds with salted water before baking, but I chose to just bake and they turned out great!

The Ultimate Peanut Butter-Chocolate Lover’s Cookie

PBFINISH

I am a self-confessed peanut butter & chocolate lover and I wanted to create an over-the-top ultimate peanut butter and chocolate cookie packed with my favourite peanut butter-chocolate treats. I started with my favourite peanut butter oatmeal cookie dough base and then packed it with FOUR different treats . . . Chipits Reese Peanut Butter Chips, Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s mini peanut butter cups and semi-sweet chocolate chips. As my kids would say  . . . BAM! WHAT?! (you all watch Liv & Maddie right? LOL!). Anyway, these are one of my best PB-Chocolate treats yet and a great recipe to use for some of that upcoming Halloween chocolate : )

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth light peanut butter (not natural)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1  1/2 cups old fashioned (large flake) oats
  • heaping 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • heaping 1/3 cup Reese’s Pieces
  • heaping 1/3 cup peanut butter chips
  • heaping 1/3 cup chopped-up peanut butter cups (or mini PB cups)

PBDOUGH

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and peanut butter together until light and creamy. Add the sugars and cream until well combined and light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla, mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder salt and oats.
  5. Add the flour and oat mixture to the mixer alternating with the milk in 3 additions (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour).
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Using a medium cookie scoop (1  1/2 tbsp size), scoop dough one dozen at a time onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten the tops slightly to form a 2″ round.
  8. Bake or 12-14 minutes, or until lightly browning on the edges. Let cool for 2 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy with a big glass of milk!

PBINSIDE

Adventures in Quebec City

QuebecCity

We recently had a wonderful trip to Quebec City at the beginning of October with my husband and two daughters. We decided to make the trip not only to visit this beautiful city, but also to watch the Synchronized Swimming World Cup which was taking place at Laval University. Three things I love all in one place . . . synchro, travel and wonderful food! We were extremely lucky to have stunning early Fall weather making our sightseeing around the city picture perfect. I highly recommend making the trip, the old city is a UNESCO world heritage site and overall it is a beautiful place to visit with great food and great hospitatlity. Check out this site for more info: www.quebecregion.com.

So, of course while travelling I must also do good research : ) We had a great time eating our way around town and here are the highlights of the establishments we visited . . .

Paillard

Café-Boulangerie Paillard – I am in love with this place, so much so that we went 3 days in a row. The BEST pastries I have ever had (we sampled a bunch!) and lovely lattes. I also bought some of their homemade fleur de sel caramel which is out of this world!

IMG_1275

Le Marché du Vieux-Port – A beautiful waterfront indoor farmer’s market with lovely produce and home made goods. We bought maple sugar candies, home made jams, and apples to munch on while we walked the city. The vendors were very friendly and we enjoyed samples of apple butter, fall strawberries, nougat and foie gras as we shopped.

aupetitcoinbreton

Au Petit Coin Breton – A lovely lunch of perfect French Onion Soup and Crepes! Good kids menu too – with a surprise dessert for the children.

IMG_1255

Pub St. Patrick – Our first stop and a fun atmosphere – we had great fish and chips and steak frites

IMG_1334

Chez Ashton – Poutine from Quebec, enough said!

accentbistro

Bistro L’Accent – Delicious breakfast of HUGE omelettes and warm baguettes with jam, they also had a really nice children’s menu – my daughter had a enormous beautiful plate of waffles with fruit.

That is the best from our trip and I hope we travel back again to explore more and enjoy more of the great restaurants around the city! I also can’t wait for our next adventure, hmm what city should we do next?

Hearty Turkey Noodle Soup

IMG_7936

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday and wonderful feasts with your families. To follow up with my Homemade Turkey Stock recipe posted on Momstown Recipes, here is my hearty Turkey Noodle Soup that you can make with that delicious stock! If you do not have homemade stock just substitute some cartons of low sodium chicken or vegetable stock.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of Homemade Turkey Stock (or storebought chicken/vegetable stock)
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp (1 clove) of garlic
  • A hearty pinch of Kosher Salt
  • A few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of leftover turkey, diced or shredded
  • 2 cups egg noodles (I used No Yolks Extra Broad), cooked according to package.

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pot to medium-high heat. Add olive oil and sauté carrots, celery, onion and garlic for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
  2. Add teaspoon of flour and cook for 1 minute (to assist the soup thicken a bit) – you can omit if desired.
  3. Pour in the stock and bring to a gentle boil.
  4. Once veggies are soft (do a taste test check), add turkey and noodles and heat through on a simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Do one last taste test and add seasoning if needed to suit your taste.
  6. Serve with some nice crusty bread and enjoy your homemade soup!

Homemade Turkey Stock

Turkey_Stock

Don’t throw our that turkey carcass! You can make your own homemade stock – easy and freezeable for making your own soup. I tried this recipe the day after last Christmas and it turned our great! Love being able to make use of the entire turkey. In addition to making soup (will post the recipe next week!), you can use the stock for quinoa recipes (replacing the water) or in any other recipe requiring chicken/turkey stock.

Link to my recipe featured on momstown.ca and check out more of their great recipes and Thanksgiving ideas for your family!

http://momstown.ca/recipe/homemade-turkey-stock

Thanksgiving Recipes

ThanksgivingCollage

Getting ready for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend? Here are some of my favourite holiday appetizers, mains, sides and desserts to help you in the preparation of your feast!

(PS – just got back from a great trip to Quebec City last week and will have a new post filled with our adventures soon!)

Appetizers:

Crostini with Fig Jam and Gorgonzola

Janet & Greta’s Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Main Course:

Turkey Breast Roast

BBQ Turkey Breast

Sides:

Smashed Potatoes

Sweet Glazed Carrots

Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash, Spinach, Pecans and Dried Cranberries

Dessert:

Pumpkin Pie with a Shortbread Crust

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Grandma’s Apple Cake