Pumpkin Pasties

Pumpkin Pasties

Even though there’s a heatwave where I live at the moment, I’m dreaming about all the delicious fall treats I’ll be baking this year. Let’s look forward to cool, crisp weather, the smell of pumpkin or apples baking, and sipping a warm mug of something spicy while we wait for our bakes to come out of the oven.

Inevitably, every fall, the Harry Potter movies come on at my house and it’s nice to have some popcorn and sweet treats to enjoy while watching the movies. And these Harry Potter Inspired Pumpkin Pasties are perfect for that! If you’ve read the Harry Potter books, you may remember the Pumpkin Pasties being mentioned. There are many interpretations out there, but I imagined them to be crispy and flaky on the outside with a sweet pumpkin filling. I included a delicious flaky pie crust recipe here, but feel free to use store bought pie dough if you want to streamline the process. I sprinkled mine with raw turbinado sugar before baking which provides a sweet delicious crunch. You can also use maple sugar or sparkling sugar. To find the sugar I used, click here.

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Pumpkin Pasties
Harry Potter inspired sweet pumpkin filled hand pies
Course Dessert
Keyword pastry
Servings
hand pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Filling
Assembly
Course Dessert
Keyword pastry
Servings
hand pies
Ingredients
Pie Crust
Pumpkin Filling
Assembly
Instructions
Pie Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Work shortening into the flour mixture with your fingertips until evenly dispersed throughout.
  2. Work butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips, creating flat dime size pieces.
  3. Mix ice water and vinegar together. Sprinkle over flour mixture a little at a time, stirring until dough comes together. You may not need all of the water depending on your climate.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough briefly by folding dough over onto itself a few times. Do not overwork dough! Form dough into two discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or up to overnight.
Pumpkin Filling
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together pumpkin purée, sugar, egg, heavy cream, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg until well combined.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into 12 5-inch rounds, re-rolling scraps as needed. Place dough rounds on prepared baking sheets.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons of filling on each round, leaving a half-inch border. Apply egg wash to edges of rounds.
  4. Fold dough over and press edges together. Crimp edges with a fork. If any filling oozes out, wipe it up with a paper towel or it will burn.
  5. Brush pasties with egg wash. Cut a half-inch slit into the top of each pastie. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Blueberry Donut Holes with Homemade Blueberry Sugar

Blueberry Donut Holes with Homemade Blueberry Sugar

If you landed here from one of my social media accounts, welcome! I’m really glad you’re here. I love to create fun, pretty and sweet treats like these delicious blueberry donut holes! The thing that really makes these special is the homemade blueberry sugar, which adds a burst of blueberry flavor. Freeze dried blueberries are combined with sugar to create a beautiful, flavorful sugar that you can use for many other things. It can also be used in tea, lattes, lemonade, cocktails or sprinkled on cookies or scones. Keep in mind that freeze dried blueberries are not the same as dried blueberries. Dried blueberries still contain some moisture, so they won’t work for this purpose.

The donut hole batter comes together quickly and easily. The most challenging part for me is frying them. I found that using a thermometer and testing one donut hole first, helps you determine the perfect oil temperature. Using a small ice scream scoop helps you get uniform donut holes. Make sure the outside of the scoop is clean between each donut to help them keep the round shape and avoid pointy tails.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Donut Holes with Homemade Blueberry Sugar
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings
donut holes
Ingredients
Blueberry Sugar
Blueberry Donut Holes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings
donut holes
Ingredients
Blueberry Sugar
Blueberry Donut Holes
Instructions
Blueberry Sugar
  1. Process freeze dried blueberries and sugar in a food processor or a clean spice grinder until finely ground. Be careful not to over process or you may end up with powdered sugar.
Blueberry Donut Holes
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla extract until well combined.
  3. Stir in flour mixture just until combined. Do not over mix! A few lumps are okay.
  4. Fold in chopped blueberries.
  5. In a heavy saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 340ºF.
  6. Drop tablespoon size scoops or spoonfuls of batter into hot oil. I used a #60 ice cream scoop. Don't overcrowd the pan.
  7. Cook donut holes until golden brown on all sides, about 2-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. If donut holes cook too quickly on the outside, turn heat down.
  8. Briefly drain donut holes on paper towels, then toss warm donut holes in blueberry sugar. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Success tip: Use a small ice cream scoop sprayed with nonstick spray to drop donut holes into oil. Make sure the outside of scoop is clean between each donut hole to keep the round shape and avoid tails on your donut holes.

To find freeze dried blueberries, click here.

To find the ice cream scoop I used, click here.

The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

The tradition of enjoying the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmastime has been in my family for over 20 years. The Nutcracker Land of Sweets is a magical theme that has me mesmerized. Gingerbread, candy canes, gumdrops and billowy clouds of pink frosting are what dreams are made of. And that’s exactly what these dreamy cupcakes are made of. The cupcake flavor is a subtle spice cake. The recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart cake recipe I made last summer. The original cake was paired with blackberry jam, but I knew plum jam would be perfect for these cupcakes. I topped them with a mildly sweet, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream.

Part of the fun of making these cupcakes began at the store as I collected the sweets to decorate the cupcakes. Another perk of the job is taste testing the candy. I discovered that purple spice drops are licorice flavored and red spice drops are cinnamon. Who knew?

Print Recipe
The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes
Spice cupcakes filled with plum jam, topped with fluffy pink frosting, gingerbread men and Christmas candy, and dusted with sugar snow
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Spice cupcakes
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Spice cupcakes
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Instructions
Spice Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 serving muffin pan with disposable baking cups. (I used silver foil liners.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla, one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  5. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with milk. Mix until combined.
  6. Divide batter evenly into wells of prepared muffin pan, filling about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake until light golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes.
  8. Let cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes. Gently transfer cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Core the center of each cupcake, removing a 3/4-inch deep circle. Fill with jam and replace the circle top.
  10. Frost cupcakes with pink Swiss meringue buttercream. Decorate with cookies and candies. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercreamgue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of gently simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixture with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing the butter to fully incorporate each time before adding more.
  5. Switch to paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla, salt and food color. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Spice Cake

Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

These Apple Spice Cookies were one of my most popular cookies last fall so I decided to bring them back a little early this year. I’m definitely not the type of person to be drinking pumpkin spice lattes in 90º weather in the middle of August, but these are my favorite fall cookies ever so I wanted to give them a proper head start. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie and help you look forward to fall.

The apples in this recipe are cooked briefly on the stovetop to bring out the flavor and create the perfect texture. Dropping raw apple chunks into cookie dough or cake batter is never a good idea. If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know that apples release liquid as they’re cooked and that liquid will end up in your baked cookies, creating soggy spots. So definitely don’t skip this step!

These gorgeous, golden brown cookies are perfectly delicious on their own, but extra credit goes to the Brown Butter Icing for taking them over the top!

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Make sure to head over to TikTok to watch the video of these Apple Spice Cookies being created.

Print Recipe
Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Instructions
Cooked Apples
  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon to skillet.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Drain any excess liquid from cooled apples.
Apple Spice Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract, one at a time, until well combined
  5. Stir in flour mixture, just until combined.
  6. Fold cooled apples into cookie dough.
  7. Divide dough into 12 equal golf ball size portions and place three inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 12-13 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Brown Butter Icing
  1. In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Immediately transfer browned butter to a small bowl. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and 1 tablespoon milk. Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  3. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies.
Recipe Notes

NOTE:  If your cookies spread too much when baking, refrigerate dough for 20 minutes, then bake as directed.

Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves with Caramel Filling

pumpkin spices mini loaves with caramel filling

In early September, I saw someone announce the fall season on social media. In addition to people pointing out that it was too early for the announcement, the word police corrected the person with the word autumn. Since both terms are correct, we can call the season whatever we prefer. I think autumn is a pretty sounding word, so I’ll use it for the rest of this post. Whatever you call it, these Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves are a perfect little celebration of the season. They have just the right amount of pumpkin spices, making them so fragrant that your kitchen will smell like cozy autumn heaven.

pumpkin spices mini loaves with caramel filling

I call them loaves because I originally made them in mini loaf pans. They’re so cute and delicious that I often give them as holiday gifts. This year I decided to try them in ramekins and I loved the results! I used 6-ounce ramekins, but you can use 8-ounce ramekins, any size mini loaf pans, a muffin pan or even an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan. Keep in mind that baking times will differ. To find the ramekins I used, click here.

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Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves with Caramel Filling
Mini loaves of tender pumpkin bread with caramel filling and luscious cream cheese frosting
Servings
mini loaves
Ingredients
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings
mini loaves
Ingredients
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
Cream Cheese Frosting
Instructions
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour seven 6-ounce ramekins or six 8-ounce ramekins or any loaf pans of your choice.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
  5. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until combined.
  6. Stir in flour mixture just until combined.
  7. Divide batter evenly into prepared ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. (Mini loaves or muffins bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on size. 8 or 9-inch loaf bakes for 40-50 minutes)
  8. Cool completely if serving in ramekins or remove from pans after cooling for 10 minutes. Continue to cool on wire rack.
  9. Make 3/4-inch well in the center of each loaf. Fill with caramel sauce. (For an 8 or 9-inch loaf, poke multiple holes with a skewer. Fill with caramel sauce.)
  10. Top with cream cheese frosting and pumpkin seeds
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat at medium speed until combined.
  4. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined.

Fairy Puffs

Fairy Puffs sugared mini muffins wtih edible flowers

My dad used to take me on walks in the woods to look for fairy rings when I was a child. I wanted to see a real fairy so badly! I got a book about fairies, hoping to learn more about them. Fairies love little cakes, milk, honey and butter so I’m sure these Fairy Puffs would be fairy approved.

My Fairy Puffs recipe is loosely based on an old favorite mini muffin recipe. I tweaked it quite a bit, including the addition of pink dragonfruit powder. Dragonfruit has a subtle flavor, so the bright fuchsia powder is mostly for color. But oh what a beautiful color it is! You can find dragonfruit powder in healthy food stores or online. To find the dragonfruit powder , also known as pink pitaya powder, I used, click here.

fairy puff muffins

Decorating these little cuties was so entertaining! After sampling multiple variations of sparkling sugar and cinnamon sugar, I decided that dipping the bottoms of the muffins in butter and cinnamon sugar, then dipping the tops in butter and sparkling sugar gave them the perfect balance of sugar and spice. I had purchased some edible flowers a couple of days prior, and they added a pretty, magical touch. The flowers I used are called bachelor’s buttons and I got them at a local gourmet flower seller.

sugared mini muffins with edible flowers

Print Recipe
Fairy Puffs
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword cake, muffins
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
Fairy Puffs
Topping
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword cake, muffins
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
Fairy Puffs
Topping
Instructions
Fairy Puffs
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 24 serving mini muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, dragonfruit powder, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and beat until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in two additions and mix just until combined.
  6. Fill wells of prepared muffin pan with batter.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Be careful not to over bake. Small muffins can dry out easily.)
  8. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove puffs from pan and transfer to cooling rack. (Loosen puffs with a small offset spatula or butter knife if necessary.)
Topping
  1. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  2. Place colored sparkling sugar crystals in another shallow bowl.
  3. Dip the bottoms of each puff in melted butter, then into cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Dip the tops of each puff in melted butter, then into sparkling sugar.
  5. Decorate with edible flowers if desired.
Recipe Notes

*To purchase dragonfruit powder, click here.

 **To purchase pink sparkling sugar crystals, click here.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Brownies

pumpkin cheesecake crumble brownies

It’s Fall 2020. We need chocolate! We need pumpkin spice! And we need it drenched with caramel! These satisfying brownies check all of the boxes with multiple layers of comfort. A rich chocolate brownie is the base. The next layer is heavenly pumpkin cheesecake. The topping is a buttery crumble that rivals the best crumb cake. Finally, as if that isn’t enough, it’s drizzled with caramel sauce!

If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s not. Each layer is super easy to make. You can use your favorite store bought caramel sauce to top it with. Vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream are optional, but highly recommended toppings also. Just saying.

The layers go unexpectedly well together and make the perfect dessert for Halloween or Thanksgiving. I’m even going to add these beauties to my Christmas dessert table this year. Enjoy! You deserve it.

Print Recipe
Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Brownies
Chocolate brownies with pumpkin cheesecake and crumb topping, topped with caramel sauce.
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Topping
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
Brownie Layer
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Topping
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
Brownie Layer
Instructions
Crumb Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until well-combined and crumbles are pea-sized. Press crumbles together to make large quarter-sized chunks.
  3. Set aside in refrigerator.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add pumpkin, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and beat until well combined. Set aside.
Brownie Layer
  1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large microwaveable bowl.
  2. Stir in sugar until combined
  3. Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the eggs and beat until smooth
  5. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Spread brownie batter into prepared baking pan. Smooth with a spatula.
  7. Spread pumpkin cheesecake batter over the top of brownie batter. Smooth with a spatula.
  8. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the top of pumpkin cheesecake layer.
  9. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into pumpkin cheesecake layer comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve with caramel sauce.