Sunday, November 18, 2012

Walnut Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

The holidays are well under way and I've already gained my obligatory five pounds of winter squish.  A little early this year because I just came back from a 7 day cruise to Mexico where I ate my face off, yes, but also because I just had my first of at least four Thanksgivings.

Yes you read that correctly.  I am having at least four Thanksgivings this year.  And of course I will be baking for all.

The first thing I've baked so far are these very autumn themed Walnut Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.  After two or so years, I think I have finally perfected my pumpkin spice recipe.  I'm very excited about that.  I'll be adding nuts each time I make it now though, that's for sure. But I am also very happy with the aesthetic of how they came out.  (That means I think they're prettyyyyyy.)

At first I was not even excited about making these.  Until I made a basic pumpkin spice cupcake my own, of course.  Add walnuts.  Add a ginger molasses cookie crust.  And more walnuts on top.  Done.

But I also wanted them to LOOK like fall.  I had done leaves before and I loved how they had come out but they needed something more.  And then I remembered the teeny tiny little leaf shaped cookie cutter that I had bought almost a year ago in a set of cookie cutters at Sur La Table.  I bought it for the star to use on my red velvet cupcakes, but the pack contained a leaf too.  I searched about the grocery store until I found some type of candy I could roll out and settled on gum drops because of the added sugar sprinkle flare. They're quite easy to roll out once you get the hang of it.  But until you get the hang of it, it's a sticky mess so beware.

Gum Drop Leaves
Large Pack of Large Gum Drops/Spice Drops
Small Leaf Cutter

1. With a rolling pin and medium pressure, roll on top of gum drop. Turn gum drop 90* and roll again.  Flip gum drop over and repeat until gum drop is mostly flat, about an 1/4 inch long.
2. Press cutter over gum drop and remove excess gum drop from sides before pushing out the leaf.
Tips:  The reason you are are slowly rolling out the gum drop is because if you apply too much pressure and roll it out flat at once, you will make a sticky mess.  You want the gum drop to retain the sugar on top so that it not only looks pretty, but also so that you can still work with it.  Once it's too thin you won't be able to use it anymore.

Initially I wanted to use ginger snaps.  Unfortunately I couldn't find them at the two stores I went to and it was pouring rain so I ended my search and bought molasses cookies.  I spiked them heavily with ginger instead.

Ginger Molasses Crust  (optional)
1 package (10 medium-large) of molasses cookies
2 tsp ginger
1/8 c butter, melted

1. Crush cookies with rolling pin and place in bowl.
2. Add melted butter to cookies, add just enough to make the crumbs workable.
3. Add ginger. Spice to taste.
4. Place one tablespoon of crumbs at the bottom of a lined cupcake tin and press down.
5. Bake in oven for 3-4 minutes at 350* and set aside to cool.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Makes 15, Bake for 350* for approx. 15 minutes

1 1/8 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tbls baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. oil
1 egg
1 c. pumpkin
1/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. roasted walnuts

1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, all spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
2.  In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir two sugars, egg, oil, pumpkin and sour cream until combined.
3.  Slowly add in your dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture, beat on medium speed.
4. Fold in roasted walnuts.
5. Scoop batter onto the top of the ginger molasses crust and bake in oven for 15 minutes or until done.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

1. Cream butter and cream cheese in stand mixer until smooth.
2. Add in vanilla.
3. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time and beat until fluffy.
4. Frost cupcakes.

I can't say how much the walnuts added to these cupcakes.  Really.

That and the fact that they bake up super fluffy and full of moisture.

Actually I think it's the combination of the spice and the walnuts and the ginger crust that makes these so good. When people first bite into the crust, they know it's good but they aren't even sure what it is except that they like it.

It's all the flavors of fall (dressed up with a bow of course) in your mouth all at the SAME time. Awesome.

Let's see what else I end up making this week.  Hopefully you fill your kitchens and your bellies with something wonderful.


No comments:

Post a Comment