Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

It didn’t start out to be a Labor Day weekend in the kitchen but in the past 24 hours I’ve washed a lot of dishes.

It started with a text from my nephew Garritt. “How busy r u this weekend?” I proceeded to tell him that I’m around, working on a few things around the house and waiting to see if my daughter was coming home. He asked if he could put in a request for me to make something – pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Well how do I say no to a sweet, innocent face like this?

(Disclosure, I Photoshopped a small injury off my forehead because I didn’t want to tell you that right when I was hosting the CBS Sunday morning crew for my real job, I cracked my head open a tiny bit with my car door. But now you know anyway. So, I Photoshopped the injury back on my forehead.)

Staci Garritt 2014

The two middle children in our family. T-R-O-U-B-L-E is our middle name.

Staci Garritt 2015

So, I baked Garritt’s favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.

pumpkin chip cookies

While I was at it and washing dishes anyway, I made the Caramel Apple Nut Bars that I had intended to make for my sister Kalli’s birthday last week. I delivered them today. Better late and sweet than never I guess.

Caramel Apple Nut Bars

I’ve been trying to thin out the shelves in my pantry a little so today seemed like the perfect day to bake a big old pot of Make-It-Your-Way Rainy Day Chili. (I should’ve made Beer Chili instead so I could also get rid of a bottle of beer).

rainy day chili

Of course I made from-a-pouch cornbread and added a few dollops of Lake Benton honey. And a bowl of French vanilla pudding with banana slices (because Jason likes it).

And a pie plate of Cherry Crunchobblerumble (because we both like it).

Cherry Crunchobblerumble | Random Sweetness Baking

Well, enough about all the dishes I washed this weekend. Tell me about all the fun you had!

Sweet wrinkly wishes,



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Here’s a [short] story of oat-packed, honey-sticking, fall-spiced energy balls.

They didn’t get made in time for the girls varsity state hockey tournament, but since the ingredients were already in my pantry, they made their way to sisters shopping trip. OK, so the hockey players needed the energy more than we did but I don’t know a mom who can’t use a tiny ball of get-up-and-go.

pumpkin spice energy balls

The recipe for spiced pumpkin energy balls is from Wholesome Magazine & Community. I substituted sliced almonds for the walnuts and due to availability, I substituted dry roasted sunflower seeds for the raw pumpkin seeds.

I’m not sure if this would help keep them together better but I would add an extra tablespoon or so of honey because the chilled balls fell apart when we ate them (luckily in the hotel parking lot). An easy solution to the crumbs would be to serve them in cupcake papers.

As they aren’t supposed to be, these aren’t sweet except for the dried cranberries. Next time I might ruin the healthy thing and sneak in a few mini semi sweet chocolate chips and dried cherries instead of cranberries.

Sweet & healthy shopping,


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There is no better fall smell than filling your home with the comforting scent of spicy pumpkin, especially when the cozy aroma wafts from your oven, not a candle or an outlet. Before your house smells like turkey and scorched potatoes, start your Thanksgiving festivities with pumpkin streusel coffee cake.

A few years ago I baked this cake to celebrate a coworker’s birthday. After I got strange looks from people that morning, I found out I was supposed to have brought treats the day before; but once we sliced into the soft, warm-in-the-middle cake, they quickly forgave me. See, look at those beautiful, forgiving smiles.

The recipe is from VeryBestBaking.com., a website on which I have a recipe box overflowing with homestyle goodness. But here’s what sends it over the top — instead of using plain nuts in the streusel, I tossed in Praline Pumpkin Seed Crunch from King Arthur Flour. I don’t think they sell it anymore, but you could use any praline nuts like pecans or cashews and crush them up.

Cozy cake wishes,

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Since you continued reading even after seeing the title, I appreciate your sense of humor. Last week my sister and I decided we need a puking emoji (we suppose there’s one out there but it didn’t come loaded on our iPhones) and we would also like to see a new Facebook relationship status titled “married but he’s cheating on me.” We are confident it would be a commonly used selection. To be fair, if Facebook would like to make a “married but she’s cheating on me” status, we don’t discriminate.

On the sweeter side of the week, I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in a pan and Paula Deen’s Georgia toffee.

Georgia Toffee

Georgia Toffee

(from my all-time favorite Paula Deen’s Chocolate Celebration special 2008 issue)

13 graham cracker sheets

1 cup butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use the mini chips)

1 cup chopped pecans (I use pecan cookie pieces)

Preheat oven to 425˚. Line a 10×15-inch jelly-roll pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Place graham cracker sheets evenly over foil, breaking crackers apart as necessary to cover bottom of pan; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; boil for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in condensed milk. Immediately pour evenly over crackers. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips and pecans. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.

pumpkin chocolate chip cookie bars

The pumpkin bars are made using my son’s favorite soft pumpkin chocolate chip cookies recipe.

Pumpkin Chip Cookie Bars

1 1/2 cups butter, softened (3 sticks)

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (this is my own addition)

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread batter in a greased 15×10-inch jelly roll/bar pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting into bars.

These cookies are also quite fabulous as sandwiches with marshmallow maple cream.

I’ve got a classier post for you next time.

Sweet & sarcastic wishes,


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I never should have messed with it. The cookie recipe that my family will probably publish in my obituary, already tasted like pumpkin spice and everything nice. So I’m not sure why I thought our beloved pumpkin chocolate chip cookies would be even more cherished by turning them into sandwiches with marshmallow maple cream and chocolate drizzle.

pumpkin chocolate chip sandwich cookies with maple cream

Don’t get me wrong, these palm-size sandwiches taste like everything that’s charming about fall. They are soft, with bites of chocolate and warm spices, stuffed with creamy maple filling and a drizzle of glossy honey chocolate sauce.

But my family has more than 10 years under its soft pants belt with this cookie and they just weren’t interested in a change. I came home with a full container, vowing only to make them again for strangers.

Marshmallow Maple Creme

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted sweet butter, softened

1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme

2 teaspoons maple extract

Beat together sugar and butter with an electric mixer on high for 2 minutes. Whip in the marshmallow creme and maple extract on medium speed until smooth. Set aside at room temperature for up to two hours.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

1- 1/2 cups butter, softened (3 sticks)

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup sugar

1 can (15 oz) solid-pack pumpkin

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (this is my own addition)

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips

Bake the cookies:

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, pumpkin and vanilla. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Makes 10 dozen cookies.

Assemble the cookie sandwiches:

Turn half of the cookies upside down and spread a thick layer of marshmallow maple creme on the bottom of each cookie. Top each cream layer with another cookie, top side up. Drizzle each sandwich with honey chocolate drizzle (recipe below). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for two days.

Honey chocolate drizzle

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup heavy cream

Pour honey and chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, slowly bring cream just to a boil. Tip hot cream into chocolate and honey; let stand for 1 minute. Stir until melted and smooth. Drizzle onto cookie sandwiches.

Have you ever messed with a beloved family recipe with not so raving results?
Sweet wishes,

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Remember that double chocolate pumpkin cake you made a few years ago? The one with pumpkin buttercream frosting so good you ate the bottom first just to save the best for last?

double chocolate cake with pumpkin buttercream

This time, do yourself a favor and save the recipe in your online recipe box, email it to yourself, or better yet print it and tape it inside your cupboard door. Because you WILL be looking for it again. Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Spice Buttercream from Picky Palate

In addition to the cinnamon, I added a few scrapes of fresh nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the buttercream frosting. As stated in the recipe, you can make two 9×5 cake loaves, 24 cupcakes, or two 9-inch round cakes. I made eight mini loaves and two medium cake loaves. There’s plenty of frosting so smear it on thick like a redhead with a bottle of sunscreen.

Sweet fall wishes,

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If you have a can of pumpkin, you have a pumpkin pie recipe. Every label has one.

Traditional pumpkin pie | Random Sweetness Baking

So why would I post a recipe for something as easy as pie? Because sometimes we forget how simple and quick it is to bake one of America’s favorite pies. And I like eating creamy pumpkin pie all year long, not just at the Thanksgiving table when I’m stuffed full of turkey and gravy.

I’m posting this recipe mostly for my 10-year-old niece, Katera, who loves pumpkin pie. She reads my blog and bakes on Sundays before the Indianapolis Colts take the field. And for my nephews, the T-boys, who suddenly appeared in my kitchen when they heard “pumpkin pie” at Christmas.

Pumpkin pie ingredients | Random Sweetness Baking

And don’t freak out about making a pie crust because unless you have an extraordinary family recipe, Pillsbury, Hy-Vee, and other brands, sell refrigerated pie dough that is as good as any homemade crust (that I’ve ever made anyway).

Alright kiddo, let’s bake some pie!

Place pie crust dough in pie plate(s). Set aside.

Pumpkin pie crust | Random Sweetness Baking

In a large mixing bowl, add the can of pumpkin.

canned pumpkin | Random Sweetness Baking

In a small bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs with a small whisk or a fork.

beat 2 eggs | Random Sweetness Baking

Add the beaten eggs to the pumpkin.

add eggs | Random Sweetness Baking

Add 3/4 cup sugar.

add sugar | Random Sweetness Baking

Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

add salt | Random Sweetness Baking

Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

add cinnamon | Random Sweetness Baking

Add 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

add ginger | Random Sweetness Baking

Add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.

add nutmeg | Random Sweetness Baking

My secret is that I add a couple of dashes of pumpkin pie spice.

add pumpkin pie spice | Random Sweetness Baking

Pour in a 12-ounce can of evaporated milk.

add evap milk | Random Sweetness Baking

Beat on medium speed until well combined.

mix pumpkin pie | Random Sweetness Baking

Pour into the unbaked pie crust(s).

pour into shell | Random Sweetness Baking

Baked the pie for 15 minutes at 425°. Reduce the oven temperature to 350° and cover the crust with a pie shield or foil so it doesn’t get too brown. Bake an additional 50-55 minutes.

pie shield | Random Sweetness Baking

Remember to do the dishes while you wait for the pie to bake. Your mom will appreciate it. You can probably put everything in the dishwasher.

dishes | Random Sweetness Baking

Pumpkin Pie

This recipe makes two pies. Or, if you have a deep-dish pie baker like the one I have, it will make one pie. It makes two pies if you have two smaller pie plates, like glass or aluminum.

1 box refrigerated, ready-to-bake pie crusts, (two pie crusts)

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice, optional

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk

whipped cream to top the pie when you eat it

1.  Preheat oven to 425°.

2.  Place pie crust dough in pie plate(s). Set aside.

3.  Crack the eggs into a small bowl and gently beat with a small whisk or a fork. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice (optional), and evaporated milk. Beat on medium speed until well combined.

4.  Pour the pie mixture into the pie crust(s).

5.  Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Then pull out of the oven and cover the edge of the crusts with foil or a pie shield like the one I have from Pampered Chef. That way, the edges of the crust won’t burn.

6.  Turn the oven temperature down to 350° and bake an additional 50-55 minutes. The edges will look done and the middle will be just a little bit jiggly. If you stick a knife in the middle of the pie, it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

7.  You can serve it once it’s cooled, or put it in the refrigerator. Eat it with a generous pile of whipped cream.

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See how easy that was, Katera? When you bake yours, text me a picture. And maybe save me a slice?

Love, Aunt Staci

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