Sorry, no great pictures of this dessert! I snapped this one quickly before putting on the plastic wrap and taking it to work.
If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you already know that I love pumpkin! There is no better time than the fall to try out a new pumpkin recipe and this fall was no exception. In fact, this recipe is so yummy I’ve made it twice and can’t wait for an opportunity to make it again!
Let me begin by saying that this recipe was adapted from Jennifer W.’s recipe Better Than Sex Pumpkin Dessert on Key Ingredient, so suffice to say…it’s delicious!
I’m sure the original recipe is fabulous…. I only changed it because you can’t buy Heath Bits here and I prefer homemade caramel sauce. Here is my version.
Pumpkin Poke Cake Dessert
Yield 8 – 12
1 box spice cake mix
2 cups pumpkin puree (be careful not to buy Pumpkin Pie Filling)
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tub Cool Whip (I bought the larger size and had some left over, even with a generous layer)
½ bag SKOR Bits (original recipe calls for Heath Bits)
1 batch of Ree Drummond’s homemade Caramel Sauce . The original recipe calls for a jar of Caramel Sundae Topping, but it is worth the tiny bit of extra effort to make your own ~ so good!
Preheat your oven 350º and grease a 9 X 13″ cake pan.
In a large bowl, mix the cake mix and pumpkin puree until a smooth batter forms.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake according to the directions on the cake mix box.
Test with a toothpick to ensure it is cooked. (Toothpick should come out clean when poked into the cake.)
Let cool for about 10 minutes after baking. Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake. (The first time I made this, the holes were nice and uniform, the second time they seemed a bit gooey and I was worried the cake wasn’t cooked even though I’d tested it. Don’t panic, mine tasted great both times.)
Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake and spread as is necessary to fill the holes.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the fridge and spread a generous layer of cool whip over top of cake. Sprinkle the SKOR bits on top and drizzle with caramel sauce. Reserve the balance of the sauce to serve over each individual piece.
Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight, if possible.
This recipe is super easy and a real crowd pleaser! Enjoy and thanks Jennifer!
If you love pumpkin as much as I do, why not check out some of my other recipes!
I don’t have a great photo as these didn’t get cut until I took them to work.
Here’s another one of the new fall recipes I recently discovered. “Baked Bree” is one of my favourite recipe blogs. Her photos are top notch, the recipes sound fantastic and the reviews are always great. When I found this recipe on her blog, I knew it would be a hit, but I have to admit it was no easy feat pulling this off between the kids activities and my crazy week at work. I was on “staff room duty” this week and that meant bringing in treats for the staff, in addition to the cleaning duties throughout the week. Wednesday is usually treat day, but my first attempt at this recipe was a total flop and so I had to re-do it and bring my treat in on Thursday instead. Sometimes, I’m not sure why I can’t choose the simpler route and stick to a recipe I’m already comfortable with. Why do I insist on testing something new when I plan to serve to others?
These Pumpkin Salted Caramel Blondies are really quite incredible and I will totally be making them again. After my first failed attempt, I actually made a few changes, but mostly just to “play it safe” and avoid another possible flop. The result was good, but I think the original recipe is over-the-top delicious. I will definitely stick to the original next time, as I’m sure the “under baking” was a result of me trying to do 100 things at once!! Several of Bree’s readers also commented on the fact that their blondies required extra cooking time, so I’ll just allow for that next time.
Bree’s Pumpkin Salted Caramel Blondies
This is Bree’s photo. Don’t they look scrumptious!!
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup room temperature butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup Bree’s Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce (or store bought caramel sauce with 1 teaspoon sea salt) DO NOT DO THIS!! See below!
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In a second bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix. Stir in the pumpkin puree. Finally, add the reserved flour mixture slowly, and stop when the batter is just combined.
Spray a 9×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Add half of the batter and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. (This was not long enough.) Remove the baked base from the oven and pour the caramel sauce over it. Cover the caramel with the remaining batter. Return the blondies to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes (or longer). A toothpick should come out clean. Let the blondies cool before cutting.
When I say my first attempt failed, it was really a series of unfortunate events that led to the demise of my first attempt. Firstly, all of the reviews of this recipe absolutely raved over Bree’s homemade Salted Caramel Sauce and rightly so…..it is to die for. There was no way I was going to do the “store bought” version, when clearly this is was took the recipe to the next level. I hadn’t made this type of a caramel sauce before and although I read the instructions carefully before making it, I followed my own instincts and gave the sugar/water mixture a “little stir” despite the fact that it clearly said not too. This resulted in crystals forming and the end product was not a sauce at all, but rather a variation of the sugar crystals I originally started with. I then made a second batch of the sauce and stuck to the directions and complete restricted myself from even removing a spoon from the drawer. The result was a “to die for sauce” that would be fabulous served on almost anything sweet! Sooooooo good!! I think I even botched the second batch “just a tad” by removing the boiling sugar and water before it reached a deep amber colour. I guess I was just so worried about burning it. Mine was super delicious, but not as deep of a colour as Bree’s. This is an absolute must. If you are not going to make this sauce, don’t even make the blondies. It is very easy, if you just trust Bree’s directions and are patient with the process.
One recipe of the sauce will make enough for the blondies with enough left over to enjoy in other ways throughout the week!
Sea Salt and Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 vanilla bean, sliced and seeded (Picked up vanilla beans at Bulk Barn)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Slice a vanilla bean in half. Using the back of the knife, scrape the seeds from the pod. Add the vanilla bean scrapings to the cream and add then add the sea salt. Set aside.
Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sugar to a boil. Let the sugar cook until it reaches a deep amber colour (DO NOT STIR) . Whisk in the cream mixture. It will bubble and go nuts, but keep whisking. It will come together.
Pour the sauce into a jar and keep it in the fridge. The sauce will thicken, but it is more of a loose sauce.This will keep for about a week in the fridge.
On my first attempt at making the blondies, I found they were not baking in the time recommended. I did bake them longer than suggested and thought they were done when I whipped them out of the oven on my way out the door for my son’s hockey game. I was so disappointed when I got home and realized the centre sank (obviously not baked long enough). Despite the fact that they couldn’t be served, they tasted absolutely delicious. The following evening, I attempted the recipe again, but much like the evening before, I really didn’t have much time to play with the cooking times as it was another crazy busy evening for the Roys. I decided to cook the entire blondie recipe at once and omit the caramel sauce layer (just saying I did that makes me feel like I’ve committed a federal offence). I just felt more comfortable baking them this way, as I wasn’t sure if the “runny” caramel sauce had contribulted to the under baking problem or not and didn’t have the time or stamina to play around with it. In lieu of the caramel sauce layer, I opted to change the blondies into more of a “poke” cake. When the blondies had cooled, I poked holes over the surface of the cake and poured the sauce over the top so that it seeped into the holes I had created and still infused the cake in a similar way. Of course, the blondies were now covered with holes, so I made a glaze to give them more of a finished look. The end result was very good, but I still think Bree’s original is the way to go. I can’t wait to get this one right!
Salted Caramel Glaze:
I found a recipe for this Salted Caramel Glaze on It’s Yummi and I have to admit, it was a delicious finishing touch to Bree’s Pumpkin Salted Caramel Blondies.
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, divided
In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the heavy cream – but DO NOT boil! Keep it warm. (I microwaved it for about 15 seconds and then did 5 seconds here and there to keep it warm.)
In a separate medium saucepan, combine the sugar & water but DO NOT STIR. Place over medium-high heat & bring to a boil. Cook until mixture turns an amber colour (about 5 minutes). (Of course, by now I had attempted this process three times and finally got it right!)
Remove the pot from the heat and add warm cream, butter, and 1/2 of the salt. Stir gently until smooth & well combined. Pour over the cooked brownies and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the surface. Sprinkle with remaining salt.
Allow the glaze to set before cutting and serving. (The glaze did crack a bit as I was cutting the squares, so I heated my knife in an attempt to “score the surface” before slicing through the entire blondie.)
This ended up being a HUGE production that really wasn’t necessary. I was just trying to do too much without giving my self enough time. This recipe is not really complex or difficult and is absolutely worth the effort.
I love pumpkin and was looking for a few new recipes to try this fall. I came across Shannah Coe’s recipe from Just Us Four Blog and the combination of oatmeal and pumpkin sounded divine. The layer of pumpkin cream cheese frosting that is sandwiched between two soft and chewy oatmeal cookies is quite delicious. I think the recipe caught my attention because it reminded me of one of our family’s favourites: Aunty Myrna’s Oatmeal Shortbread Cookies. They are similar to today’s recipe, but with a layer of date filling in between. They are indeed a must try as well.
Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies
1 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 2/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well. Slowly add in the baking soda and the balance of the cookie ingredients. Stir until just mixed. Play the dough in a sealed container or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Once chilled, create small balls of dough (about 2 teaspoons per ball). Place the balls on parchment lined cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until done. (I like mine on the “under baked” side, so I tend to stick to 8 or 9 minutes at the most.) Let the baked cookies cool for 1 minute on the pan before transferring them to a wire cooking rack to cool completely before adding the filling.
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup pumpkin
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
While the cookie dough is chilling, prepare the filling by beating together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the pumpkin and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the powdered sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Match the cookies up by size/shape and then spread the frosting on one of the cookies. Top with a second cookie of equal size.
*I found that this recipe made about 4 dozen oatmeal cookies. However, once sandwiches, you only end up with 2 dozen (depending on the size of your original dough balls). Next time, I would double the dough recipe.
*The filling made a huge amount of frosting. I filled all of the cookies and had well over half of it left over. If you double the cookie recipe, there is no need to double the frosting. In fact, half a frosting recipe might even be enough for a double batch of cookies??
*I also found it to be very creamy (and delicious), but the icing would squeeze out as you bit the cookie. I found that keeping the cookies in the fridge really helped with that, but I also wondered if I might play with the recipe a bit next time. I will try using only one package of cream cheese (8 oz) instead of using the suggested 12 oz. I think this would stiffen the icing up just a bit and perhaps bring out the pumpkin flavour a little more, as well. (If it doesn’t work, I can always add the extra cream cheese to icing and make it according to the suggested recipe.)
Okay, I am officially hooked on all things pumpkin. I tried a new recipe for pumpkin loaf on Monday and my family devoured the first loaf in one day. Generally speaking, Eden isn’t overly enthused with most of my new recipes, in fact, sometimes I think it is her mission to “snub” them. She will usually try my new recipes and often finish one serving, but rarely asks for seconds or offers any praise, despite the taste. Well, let me tell you this pumpkin loaf passed the “Eden test” with flying colours! Not only did she gobbled up most of the loaf, but when I got home from work yesterday, she had already removed the second loaf from the freezer. She was raving about it and asked when I was going to make it again. I love the crusty texture on the outside and the moist “cake” on the inside of the loaf. Slap on some butter and it’s like a give straight from heaven. The loaf actually seemed to taste even better the second day. Is that even possible? This is a definite keeper and a must try ~ thanks to The Twisted Chef for another great recipe. (I believe the original recipe was found in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito.)
Pumpking Chocolate Chip Loaf
3 1/4 c. flour, sifted
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp group allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 3/4 c. pumpkin purée
1 c. vegetable oil
3 c. sugar (She used 1 c. white & 2 c. brown)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c. water, room temperature
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Spray two 9 inch loaf pans with non-stick spray. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another, larger bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée and the oil until combined. Add the sugar(s) and whisk again. (There seems to be quite a bit of sugar in this recipe, but it does make two nice sized loaves, so I guess it isn’t so bad.) It’ll thicken nicely – now add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition, and then add the vanilla. Add the water and whisk until combined. Grab your rubber spatula and stir in the chocolate chips. Gently fold in the dry ingredients – try not to over mix.
Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. Gently tap the pans against the counter – it’ll remove any air bubbles and level out the top of each loaf. Bake at the centre of the oven – about 1 hour 20 minutes (give or take) – a toothpick or tip of knife should come out clean when inserted in the centre.
Transfer the pans to a wire rack, cool for about 15 minutes; then invert the loaves and cool completely. And then slice into it.
This delicious pumpkin loaf recipe was borrowed from the Twisted Chef. Mmmm good!
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I needed to bring a treat into work today. When I was searching for a cheesecake recipe for Thanksgiving, I visited the Brown Eyed Baker’s site and found a recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple-Cream Cheese Filling. They sounded delicious and I thought they would make the perfect fall treat.
PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES WITH MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FILLING
This recipe makes about 4 dozen assembled whoopie pies.
For the Whoopie Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.
These cookies were actually pretty easy to make as the cookies themselves didn’t need to be rolled. I find rolling takes lots of time. I loved that these were dropped by the spoonful. The flip side it that they didn’t bake flat and thus I found my finished product less round and smooth looking. Not sure how to get that perfect circle when dropping by a spoonful. Oh well! Also, I found the icing to be a bit thin. Very creamy and delicious, but the cookies seemed to slide. I have another recipe for a chocolate whoopie pie and this doesn’t happen. I could have added more icing sugar, but decided to put a toothpick through them and freeze the cookies overnight. They tasted great and I am sure they will be fine once the icing has cooled. I am thinking the maple syrup thins it out a bit or perhaps my butter or cream cheese was a bit too soft. It doesn’t matter. I find these to be very tasty and would totally make them again – when I have more time to play with the icing consistency and see if I can get a cookie that is a bit flatter to make a better “sandwich”. My other recipe is made from a rolled cookie. They are quite sticky to roll, but do come out nice and round and a bit flatter. I am not sure, but I think these maybe too sticky to roll into a ball. The recipe does say to use a cookie scoop or spoon, maybe the round cookie scoop,would create a more even consistency. I don’t have one, so I am just guessing?
You can see that mine don’t look nearly as “perfect” as the Brown Eyed Bakers, but they still taste pretty good.
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