Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies

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Happy First Day of Fall! Crisp mornings, cozy sweaters and baked goods filled with cinnamon and pumpkin easily make fall my favorite season. So I thought I would share a few of my favorite things about the best season of the year to go along with the easiest cookie recipe on earth.

1. Fall Running Weather. Once fall ushers in the slightly chilly temperatures, running becomes so much more enjoyable. And since I already love to run, fall running weather turns me into a running machine. This year I’m training for a half marathon, and I am absolutely loving the crisp morning air and the crunch of fallen leaves on my long runs.

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2. Tailgates at MSU. Ever since we graduated from Michigan State 2 1/2 years ago, my group of college friends try to pick at least one football game to have a big tailgate on our old stomping grounds. You can’t get much better than friends, tailgate food, beer and football. Even if I still don’t quite understand the rules of football just yet.

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3. Baseball Playoffs: This is a relatively new “fall favorite” of mine. Being from Detroit, our home baseball team wasn’t very good for most of my life. But over the last few years, the Tigers have not only become a team to watch, we even made it to the World Series last year. I work a block from the stadium so the excitement of playoff season is definitely infectious.

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4. Pumpkin Mania. Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin spice lattes. Come September, Pumpkin is everywhere and I can’t get enough. So that brings us to the easiest cookie recipe ever. These 2 ingredients cookies, made popular on Pinterest, come together in a flash. All you do is mix a box of cake mix with a can of pumpkin, and after a few minutes in the oven, you have yourself a decadent batch of fluffy, cakelike pumpkin cookies. I like to top them with cream cheese frosting for an especially decadent treat, but they are just as delicious without the topping. Enjoy!

Ingredients: Makes 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (store bought or homemade)

Preparation:

  1. Place cake mix and pumpkin in a large bowl and and mix until just combined
  2. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet
  3. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes
  4. Let cookies cool and top with frosting if desired

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Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

We’re only two weeks into December and it has already been a flurry of holiday related activities. I’ve indulged in a few hot chocolates and packaged up dozens of Christmas cookies to give away as gifts. I saw the Christmas Tree Lighting in Downtown Detroit and drove through Dearborn’s Holiday Light Show on Hines Drive. I spent an evening at  “Christmas with the Rat Pack” with my boyfriend, Eric and had a fantastic time. I then watched a holiday special hosted by my other boyfriend Michael Buble and also had a fantastic time.  I realized that I strongly resemble Buddy the Elf come December 1st. Anything Christmas related makes me ridiculously pumped. Seasonal items somehow always find their way into my grocery cart no matter how many times I convince myself that the green & red packaging does not, in fact, make it taste like Christmas. But do you want to know what does taste like Christmas? Peppermint and chocolate. Anyone who has tried the deliciously decadent Starbucks Peppermint Mocha know that this dynamic combination makes for one festive treat. So I decided to translate the delicious peppermint & chocolate combo into a cupcake. I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and simply added a bit of peppermint extract. And a topping of fluffy cream cheese frosting accents these cupcakes perfectly. They would be a great dessert at your next holiday party or could even be given as a gift. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Makes 12 cupcakes
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of half & half
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Preparation:
  1. In a large bowl sift together dry ingredients (flour through salt)
  2. Add egg, milk, canola oil & vanilla into dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until well incorporated
  3. Stir in boiling water (batter will be very runny)
  4. Pour batter into 12 cupcake liners and bake at 350 for 22 minutes
  5. For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract together until just combined
  6. Beat in powdered sugar, one cup at a time
  7. Use a piping bag to frost cooled cupcakes and top with peppermint candy, if desired

Gingerbread Cupcakes

For me, the day after Thanksgiving is the true beginning of the Christmas season. Suddenly my music selections consist solely of the yuletide variety, Holiday movies are all I really have a taste for and my kitchen is full of the flavors of the season. And though it isn’t quite December yet, I felt a holiday Gingerbread Cupcake would be a great recipe to share. This spicy and sweet cake is covered in a decadent cream cheese frosting making for one delicious dessert. The recipe is from the Cupcake Diaries, a cookbook and memoir written by the bakers behind Georgetown Cupcakes. The soft texture of this cake and the subtly spiciness is proof that these sisters really know what they’re doing when it comes to cupcakes. So even if you aren’t quite filled with the holiday spirit just yet, I would suggest you give this recipe a try. Because the sweet smell of gingerbread wafting through your kitchen is sure to bring on the spirit of the season in no time.

Ingredients: From Georgetown Cupcakes; Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup hot water

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Preparation:

  1. In a medium sized  bowl, sift together dry ingredients (flour through salt) set aside
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and dark brown sugar together until light and fluffy
  3. Add eggs into butter mixture, one at a time, beating after each addition
  4. Beat molasses into butter mixture until just combined
  5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and hot water into butter mixture until all ingredients are well incorporated
  6. Scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake at 350 for 20 minutes
  7. For the batter, beat softened cream cheese and butter together until creamy
  8. Beat in vanilla
  9. Beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time until well incorporated
  10. Use a piping bag to pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

One more day until the most food filled holiday of the year! I hope you are all busy in your kitchens baking and cooking your way to a Thanksgiving feast. I’ll be whipping up a classic sweet potato casserole later tonight, but I thought I would actually share another recipe that centers around this quintessential autumn ingredient. On Tuesday we had a Thanksgiving potluck at work and I decided to bring along a batch of these Sweet Potato Cupcakes.  I found this recipe over at TheBakingPan and decided to top them with a classic cream cheese frosting.  And I’m happy to report that this recipe was quite a hit. My coworkers were big fans of these cupcakes, which is great, because I’m a big fan of all of them. Finding a job that I love is another thing I’m very thankful for this year. My first year out of college was a bit of a bumpy road and for a while I started to think I would never find a good fit. But somehow, I stumbled upon a job that I actually love going to every day. It’s challenging and interesting and fun every single day. Not everyone can say that about the place the spend 40+ hours every week, so I am incredibly thankful that I found such a great place to work. And they let me bring cupcakes in whenever I want. Major plus. Happy Thanksgiving!

Ingredients: Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (about one large sweet potato, cooked, peeled and mashed

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Preparation:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour through nutmeg)
  2. In a large bowl, place butter and sugars and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time
  4. Stir in vanilla
  5. Alternate adding dry ingredients and mashed sweet potatoes into butter mixture until well incorporated
  6. Scoop batter into 12 cupcake liners and bake at 350 for 20 minutes
  7. For the frosting, beat cream cheese & butter together until well combined
  8. Slowly beat powdered sugar into cream cheese mixture until just combined
  9. Stir in vanilla and pipe onto cooled cupcakes

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