Monday, October 22, 2012


I love pumpkin. Pumpkin anything. Pie. Muffins. Coffee. Doughnuts. Ale. Ice Cream. Bread. Cake. So I got a couple of cans of pumpkin last week and went to town. I made the Pumpkin Bread from my fall baking list and I tried a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Now there's a story behind the latte. The day I made it, I had been out and about all day, shopping and running errands and such. Well I decided I had a wicked craving for a pumpkin coffee. So I pull up to the Starbuck's drive-thru and order a Pumpkin Spice latte. The man on the other end of the speaker replies that they are out of Pumpkin Spice for the day. Worst Starbuck's ever. So I drove away. I figured I could still hit up Dunkin' for a pumpkin coffee. Wrong, apparently. I came to find out that my Dunkin' had closed and been all but torn down. At that point, I gave up.

So that's my story. I was forced to make my own pumpkin coffee from scratch. It turned out to be a good thing, since both the bread and the latte came out fantastically, if I may say so!

Pumpkin Bread
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/4 C. vegetable oil
- 1 (15oz) can pumpkin
- 2 C. flour
- 2 C. sugar
- 2 (3oz.) pkgs. cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt

- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs for about a minute. Add the oil and pumpkin, and beat until smooth.

- Combine the flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt with a whisk.

- Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Mix until just combined.

- Pour the mixture into 2 greased loaf pans. (I cut the recipe in half, so I only used one.)

- Bake at 325 degrees F for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pretty simple recipe, but super delicious. It doesn't have great measurements to conveniently cut in half, but it's do-able. The eggs were the hardest, since it's weird to try for 2 1/2 eggs, but I pretty much just used 2 eggs plus one yolk. Maybe it's easier to just make the full recipe and freeze one, or give one away!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Ingredients (Single Serving)
- 1 C. milk
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. canned pumpkin
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 C. very strongly brewed hot coffee

- In a small saucepan over med-high heat, warm the milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, pumpkin, and brown sugar until steaming (but not boiling!).

- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

- Pour the milk mixture into a large blender and blend until frothy. (Be very careful when blending the hot liquid. It will expand rapidly. As a precaution, take the insert out of the top and just cover the hole with a kitchen towel while blending, so the lid doesn't blow off!)

- Add the milk mixture to the strong hot coffee, in a large mug. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve!

It was the perfect fall day treat! I actually made a pumpkin pie last weekend, too, but I was in a hurry and didn't take any pictures. Oh, well... I'm sure I'll make it again soon! 'Tis the season - go forth and make something pumpkin-y!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Whole Wheat Banana-Nut Muffins

I've been in the kitchen! A lot lately, actually. I have a few recipes to blog about, I just haven't had the ambition to sit down and write. I made these muffins a couple of weeks ago to share with my coworkers. I was going to make mini-muffins out of them, but it would have taken forever, so I went with normal-sized. Now, I know that these weren't on my fall baking agenda, but I had ripe bananas to use up. They turned out to be pretty perfect, and the recipe is really simple!

In other news, I visited Howl-o-Scream last weekend. I went with a couple of friends from work and we made a day of it. During the daytime, we rode all of the roller coasters and caught a couple of shows. We even stayed after dark, when the scare-actors come out and the haunted houses open. I went through all 6 haunted houses. And survived. I know, I even shocked myself! It was incredibly fun, and everyone in the greater Virginia area should check it out!

 Anyway, with no further ado...

Whole Wheat Banana-Nut Muffins
(Adapted from the Banana Nut Muffins recipe on

6 overripe bananas, mashed
2/3 C. melted butter
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. espresso or strong coffee
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. whole wheat flour
2 C. chopped walnuts

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the melted butter into the mashed bananas with a wooden spoon, in a large mixing bowl.

- Mix in the sugar, eggs, espresso, and vanilla until well incorporated.

- Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture, then stir in. Add the cinnamon and stir until blended.

- Add all of the flour at once (all-purpose and whole wheat), then stir until it is just incorporated. (Make sure there are no pockets of flour left, but don't over-mix it!) Fold in the chopped walnuts.

- Line a couple of muffin tins with cupcake wrappers. Fill them about 3/4 of the way full with the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2 dozen muffins. You could sprinkle sugar or cinnamon-sugar on top. You could also probably substitute a can of pumpkin for the bananas and have a much more fall-y pumpkin-nut muffin. Get creative!