Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Bundt CakeI have loved baking with berries and stone fruit all summer, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not excited to do some fall baking. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been daydreaming about apples and pears, cranberries and warming spices, and of course, pumpkin. I’ve already gone through five cans of the stuff while testing upcoming recipes! If you love pumpkin, you’ve come to the right place.

Pumpkin Bundt CakeThis first recipe of fall is a great one, if I do say so myself. This Pumpkin Bundt Cake is soft, sweet, and full of that seasonal flavor we all love. It’s made with an entire 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée and a hefty dose of pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin by itself has a very subtle flavor, so quality pumpkin pie spice is imperative for quality baked goods. While there are many great store-bought versions, I prefer to make my own Pumpkin Pie Spice blend. It’s a combination of seven warming spices including all of the ones you’d expect (think cinnamon and nutmeg) and a couple of surprises (think cardamom). It has a depth that I haven’t found in even the highest quality packaged versions. I swear by this particular blend, but feel free to use any Pumpkin Pie Spice you like.

Pumpkin Bundt CakeEnough about spices though. Pumpkin Bundt Cake is a breeze to make. The simple no-mixer-required batter comes together in just a few minutes. In addition to the pumpkin purée and pie spice, it contains oil, light brown and granulated sugars, four eggs, and all the other usual suspects.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeOnce the beautiful orange batter is ready, pour it into a bundt pan that has been heavily greased and floured. While I usually rely on a paste of oil and flour to keep my cakes from sticking, that particular method does not work well with this recipe. Instead, I recommend heavily (and I mean heavily) greasing every nook and cranny of the pan with butter, or even shortening, and giving it a good dusting of flour. Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for forty minutes. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before running a knife along all of the edges and inverting it. There’s nothing quite like the relief that comes when a bundt cake comes out in one piece.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeThe cake itself may be made up to a day in advance. To do this, let the cake cool to room temperature before carefully wrapping it in plastic and letting it sit overnight. The pumpkin spice flavor will actually deepen as the cake sits, making this a very appealing make-ahead dessert. If you don’t have that kind of time though, your cake will still be delicious on the day it’s baked.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeBefore serving, glaze the cake. I prefer to use a vanilla glaze here, but feel free to add a pinch of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to jazz it up. To make the glaze, whisk together some confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk until thick, but still pourable. Carefully pour it over the top of the cake and then let gravity do its job. It will turn out rustic and beautiful every time 

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeI love this cake so much, you guys. It has a moist crumb and a fairly light texture; it will stay soft for days! And the flavor is everything you want in a pumpkin baked good—there is just enough spice 😊 Like I said, I’m positively in love. 

Pumpkin Bundt CakeHappy fall, y’all 🍂🍁Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Bundt Cake
makes one 12 cup-capacity bundt pan

For the pan:
2 tablespoons softened butter or shortening
~1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin purée (I like Libby’s and Trader Joe’s)

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 12 cup-capacity bundt pan heavily with butter or shortening and dust with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Whisk in light brown and granulated sugars followed by oil, vanilla, and pumpkin purée. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth out the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon. Tap the full pan on the counter 5-10 times to release air bubbles. Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a few spots comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the outer edges of the pan before inverting the cake onto a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar and salt. Whisk in vanilla and milk. Glaze should be thick, but pourable.

Place the cake (still on the cooling rack) over a sheet of wax paper. Pour glaze over the top. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Today’s post is the third new cookie recipe in as many weeks…except that it’s not new at all. These Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies are made with the gluten-free cookie base of my Lindor Truffle Peanut Butter Blossoms and the marshmallow filling from my homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies. Put ‘em together, and you’ve got a sandwich cookie that is stupid easy and crazy delicious.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}This cookie recipe is based on the Fluffernutter Sandwich, which is a perfect food as far as I am concerned. It doesn’t get much better than peanut butter and marshmallow fluff! That rich, creamy, sweet and salty combination is one of the greatest lunch treats out there. And make no mistake, it is a treat. While peanut butter (the natural kind, anyway) is pretty good for you, marshmallow fluff definitely isn’t! Good thing this is a dessert blog—this magical combination is much more suited to a cookie than a main course.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies come together quickly and easily. The cookies are my spin on the classic three-ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe. My version has six ingredients; aside from the usual peanut butter, egg, and brown sugar, this recipe has vanilla for flavor and cornstarch and baking powder to give the cookies a chewy texture. There’s no flour or butter in this dough or in the filling, so this recipe is free of gluten and dairy 😍

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Scoop the dough by the 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons), roll it into balls, and flatten slightly. They may crack slightly, but that’s sort of a necessary evil here. This dough doesn’t spread much, so the flattening helps the cookies to bake into a shape that lends itself to sandwiching. 

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}And speaking of sandwiching…once the cookies are baked and cooled, make the filling. Cream together marshmallow fluff and shortening. Beat in some confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla, and hot water until a smooth, sticky filling forms. Load it into a zip-top plastic bag and snip off a corner.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Pipe dime-sized dollops of marshmallow filling onto half of the cookies and top them with the rest of the cookies.

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}Y’all. Y’ALL. These Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies are SO GOOD. The cookies are chewy and peanut buttery and the filling is marshmallow magic. Together, they are rich, sweet, salty, gluten- and dairy-free, and irresistible!

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}

Fluffernutter Sandwich Cookies {Gluten-Free}
makes about 2.5 dozen very small sandwich cookies

Cookies:
1 1/2 cups creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/8 teaspoon baking powder

Filling:
4 oz marshmallow fluff (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup shortening,* room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon hot water (from the tap is fine)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat peanut butter and light brown sugar until combined. Mix in egg and yolk, followed by vanilla. Beat in cornstarch and baking powder.

Scoop dough in 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoon) increments and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least 1.5 inches apart on prepared pans and flatten lightly with your fingertips. Bake 6 minutes, until no longer shiny. Let cool ten minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

To make the filling, cream the marshmallow fluff and shortening with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add in vanilla and hot water and mix on high until the filling is very fluffy.

Assemble sandwich cookies. Load filling into a piping bag or zip-top freezer bag and snip off a small corner. Pipe a dime-sized dollop onto the middle of the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat with all remaining cookies.

Cookies will keep very well covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Note:

You may use an equal volume of softened butter in place of shortening. This will mean that your cookies are no longer dairy-free.

Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Chocolate CookiesI’m a vanilla person, but you sure wouldn’t know it by the way I wolfed down three of these cookies yesterday.

Double Chocolate CookiesDouble Chocolate Cookies have been a favorite of mine since childhood. When I was growing up, I was particularly fond of the version available in the bakery department of our local supermarket, but I haven’t had one of theirs in at least fifteen years, so I have no idea if they were actually any good (they probably weren’t). Regardless, I have many happy memories of snacking on them during our weekly grocery trips.

Double Chocolate CookiesIt’s tricky to make a good Double Chocolate Cookie. Add too much cocoa powder to the dough and you’ll end up with dry, crumbly results; don’t add enough and your cookies won’t have any flavor. Ugh. Since I am simply unwilling to resign myself to a life of subpar Double Chocolate Cookies, I take a note from Alice Medrich, arguably the queen of baking with chocolate.

Double Chocolate CookiesDouble Chocolate CookiesWhen she makes her Cocoa Brownies, Ms. Medrich begins by melting butter with cocoa powder and sugar. This technique is called blooming—it basically means infusing the butter with chocolate flavor. I’ve mentioned blooming before—it’s what makes my Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies so delicious. It does the same thing in these Double Chocolate Cookies, giving the dough a rich chocolate flavor from the very start. This simple process is a bit unusual in cookie-baking, but it yields unmatched depth of flavor.

Double Chocolate CookiesThe rest of the dough-making process is fairly straightforward, and since the butter is melted, it doesn’t require a mixer 🙌🏻🙌🏻 Whisk eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, and salt into the chocolaty butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chips before covering and chilling the dough for at least a couple of hours. Don’t skip the chill unless you want sad, lacy cookies that run all over your baking sheets!

Double Chocolate CookiesAfter the dough has firmed up a bit, scoop it in two tablespoon increments and bake for just shy of ten minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before moving them to a rack. Make sure to let the baking sheets come back to room temperature before baking the rest of the cookies.

Double Chocolate CookiesOnce all the dough has been baked, grab a cookie or two (or three!) and prepare to fall in love with a freaking baked good. These Double Chocolate Cookies have super dense, soft centers and crisp-chewy edges. Thanks to the blooming technique, they’re basically like eating a fudgy brownie in cookie form 😍😍😍 It goes without saying that I am totally obsessed. Coming from a vanilla person, that means a lot.Double Chocolate Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen medium cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Combine butter, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Let melt together, stirring frequently, until no pieces of butter remain. Mixture will be grainy. Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Let cool 5-10 minutes.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Whisk eggs into liquid ingredients one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats. Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least 2.5 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 9-10 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom at the 5 minute mark. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for five minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Allow the baking sheets to return to room temperature before baking the remaining dough.

Cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to a week.

Baguette French Toast

Baguette French ToastThe great thing about classic dishes is that there are a million ways to make them. Take Chocolate Chip Cookies for instance: whether you like them soft and chewy, thin and crispy, with chocolate chips, with chocolate chunks, more brown sugar, more granulated sugar, etc., there’s a recipe out there to suit your preferences. The same rings true for just about any dish you can think of, really—no matter what you like, I guarantee there is someone else out there who feels the same way. While I like to think this blog is full of the “best” ways to make 200+ recipes, it’s really just a bunch of things made exactly the way I like them.

Baguette French ToastToday, let’s talk about French Toast, that classic dish made by dipping day-old bread in custard, frying it up, and serving it with maple syrup. The concept is simple, but there are endless ways to make it. Whether you like your French toast thin, thick, with just a whisper of custard, soaked with custard, fried, baked, stuffed, baked and stuffed, on the sweet side, with more of a savory note, or any other way, know that a recipe exists that suits your needs.

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastWhile I don’t think I’ve ever turned up my nose at any variety of French Toast, right now I’m into Baguette French Toast. My particular recipe was born of necessity on the last morning of my trip to Maine—we had two kinds of bread leftover, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to make this custard-dipped syrup-smothered dish with whole wheat sandwich bread. Thick-cut white bread or bust, am I right?!

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastMy Baguette French Toast (or Pain Perdu, if you’re feeling kicky) is made with thick slices of day-old baguette. You want each piece to be somewhere between 1- and 1 1/2-inches thick; I can get about 20 slices out of a baguette. The advantage to using thick slices of slightly-stale crusty bread is that they can soak up a lot of custard without getting mushy and weird. This French toast has all the fluffy texture your (or uh, my) little heart desires, but also stays fully intact.

Baguette French ToastLet’s talk about the custard. While the (very good) French toast of my childhood was soaked in just eggs and milk, as an adult, I like mine to have a little more panache. I add cinnamon, a bit of sugar, salt, and vanilla to my custard, and while none of the flavors are particularly strong, they all work to make this breakfast treat taste balanced and delicious.

Baguette French ToastA word on mixing. There is nothing I dislike more than finding unadulterated bits of egg yolk or white on my French toast. To keep this from happening, I like to mix the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and vanilla into the eggs before adding the milk. This ensures a smooth, homogeneous custard.

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastI soak the baguette slices in the custard for about two minutes per side before frying them in a combination of butter and oil. Yes, butter and oil. Why? Because I want the flavor of butter and the smoke point of canola oil. If I used only butter, I’d run the very real risk that it would burn, and if I used only oil, I’d miss out on flavor. By using a combination, I get plenty of flavor and crispy edges.

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastBaguette French ToastAs far as service goes, it’s up to you. I like the usual maple syrup, but I also heartily endorse sifting confectioners sugar over the top. Dot it all with fresh fruit, if you feel so inclined. However you choose to serve Baguette French Toast, know that you and your guests are in for a treat.Baguette French Toast

Baguette French Toast
makes 4-5 servings

1 day-old baguette* (about 11-13 ounces)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
1-2 tablespoons butter, for cooking
1-2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, for cooking (I like canola)

For Serving:
seasonal fruit
pure maple syrup
confectioner’s sugar

Use a serrated knife to remove the very ends of the baguette. Slice into 1-1.5 inch slices (about 20 slices). Set aside.

Make the custard. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and cinnamon until smooth. Whisk in sugar, salt, and vanilla, followed by whole milk. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.

Soak about 8-10 baguette slices in the custard for 2 minutes per side.

Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Place baguette slices in the skillet. Let cook until a golden brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes. Flip baguette slices and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove French toast to a plate.

Repeat soaking and cooking processes until all slices of baguette have been used. Add more butter and oil to the pan, as necessary.

Divide French toast over 4-5 plates. Top with seasonal fruit, maple syrup, and confectioner’s sugar, as desired. Serve immediately.

Note:

Don’t have a baguette? Use 8 slices of thick-cut challah, brioche, or soft Italian bread instead.

Oatmeal Creme Pies

Oatmeal Creme PiesIs there a better school day dessert than an Oatmeal Creme Pie? I mean, who can resist two super-soft cookies sandwiched together with marshmallow filling? Not me, that’s for sure. I haven’t been in school in eight years, and I still get hankerings for the Little Debbie treat.

While packaged Oatmeal Creme Pies are delicious, they are full of preservatives and ingredients I don’t recognize and cannot pronounce. I don’t have kids, but if I did, I can’t imagine putting one in their lunch boxes. But my feeling is that life is simply too short to live without such a delicious cookie, so instead of buying Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, I’ll just stick to making my own.

Oatmeal Creme PiesY’all, these homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies are so damn good. They have everything that makes the original version great (hello, insanely soft cookies and marshmallow filling!), without any of the sketchy ingredients. I’m not saying my Oatmeal Creme Pies are healthy (because they aren’t), but I know and can pronounce everything that’s in them. Oh, and they’re just as delicious as the original, if not more so. Homemade is always better.

Oatmeal Creme PiesLet’s talk about the cookies. They’re everything you want in an Oatmeal Creme Pie: insanely soft and almost cake-like, with a tender crumb and just enough oats to qualify them as an oatmeal cookie. The cookies are made with all dark brown sugar which, in addition to giving them a rich molasses flavor, keeps them soft for days.Oatmeal Creme Pies

Oatmeal Creme PiesAlso keeping these cookies soft? Quick oats. They’re used here instead of the usual old-fashioned oats. Their finer texture allows these cookies to retain that tender texture that I love about the original version. If you, like me, don’t keep quick oats on hand, I’ve included a conversion for regular old-fashioned oats in the recipe notes.

A word of warning: unlike most of my cookie recipes, this one is formulated to spread. Make sure to leave plenty of room around each ball of dough. Despite the spreading though, these cookies will not get crispy in any way.Oatmeal Creme Pies

Oatmeal Creme PiesEnough about the cookies—the marshmallow filling is where it’s at! It’s made with marshmallow fluff, confectioners sugar, vanilla, and shortening. If shortening is not for you, feel free to use softened butter instead. Either way, you’ll end up with a soft, luxurious filling that, in addition to being crazy delicious, will keep your Oatmeal Creme Pies soft for days on end!

Oatmeal Creme PiesOnce you sandwich the cookies together with the filling, you’ll have a hard time keeping yourself and your family away from these Oatmeal Creme Pies. They’re a classic for a reason.

Oatmeal Creme PiesWant more Oatmeal Creme Pies? Check out this pumpkin version!

Oatmeal Creme Pies
makes about 3.5 dozen sandwich cookies

Cookies:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups quick oats*

Filling:
1 7 1/2-ounce jar marshmallow fluff (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature*
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 teaspoons hot water (from the tap is fine)

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about one minute. Beat in dark brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in two installments, until completely combined. Mix in quick oats. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Scoop cookie dough in 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoon) increments. Roll into balls and set them at least 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared pans (I can fit 12 dough balls on a half sheet pan). Bake for 4 minutes. Rotate pans top to bottom in the oven. Bake for another 3-4 minutes, until no longer wet-looking. Let cool on the pans for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking until you have used all the dough.

To make the filling, cream the marshmallow fluff and shortening with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and salt. Add in vanilla and hot water and mix on high until the filling is very fluffy. There are two options from here:

  1. To assemble a sandwich cookie by piping, apply filling by pipe about a teaspoon onto the middle of the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.
  2. Repeat until all cookies have been used. To assemble a sandwich cookie by spreading, use an offset frosting knife to spread 1/2-1 teaspoon on the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.

Cookies will keep very well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Notes:

  1. If you don’t have quick oats, you may blitz 1 2/3 cups of old fashioned oats in the food processor until there are no whole oats visible. Steel cut oats will not work in this recipe.
  2. If you don’t want to use shortening, you may use 1/2 cup of room temperature butter.