Light Pumpkin Spice Cake Bars

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Guess who’s back? Back again.
Pumpkin’s back. Tell a friend.
(Yes, I just used Eminem’s song lyrics & put the word pumpkin in it 😉 )

I just couldn’t stay away from baking with pumpkin for very long… After contemplating for a good 20 minutes on what to bake today, I decided to bake some Light Pumpkin Spice Cake Bars!

I wanted to make something a little healthier than I normally bake and thought bars are always easy, but tasty!

To skinny-tize these Pumpkin Bars, I used a half cup all-purpose flour, and a half cup of whole wheat flour. The whole wheat adds nutrients & goodness, and the all-purpose gives the bars a nice light texture. Whereas when we just use whole wheat flour in recipes, the baked goods tend to be pretty heavy & thick.
I think the combo of the two flours make it the perfect consistency.
We also reduce the amount of butter & eggs in this recipe which makes the bars healthier.

These pumpkin bars are super moist, and have a cake-like consistency.
Although these bars are delicious on their own, feel free to add some walnuts, white, milk or dark chocolate chips, or even some whipped cream to the top! NUM!

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Ingredients:
(makes 9 bars)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch – 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup milk (plain, fat-free, soy, or almond)
1/4 cup butter (melted in the microwave)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients until evenly combined. Set aside.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar & pumpkin until combined. Add in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract and stir until just combined. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & mix until evenly combined. Do not over mix.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely, than cut into 9 squares.

Notes: Bars stay fresh for up to one week stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

The One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookies

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After searching high & low for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, I have finally found the one!
I have eaten many (far, far too many) chocolate chip cookies in my lifetime, and my mom and I have tried many different chocolate chip cookie recipes over the years so believe me when I say – this recipe is the best homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe out there right now. They are so, so good, it’s insane. And yeah, I ate over ten of these babies tonight. (I don’t curr, I’ll admit it.)

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You may be asking how this recipe is any different than the other billions of chocolate chip cookie recipes out there? Well let me tell ya – the main reason for their goodness, and the secret ingredient to making these cookies so thick, soft, gorgeous & chewy is….

CORNSTARCH! 

Cornstarch is the ingredient that makes these cookies so thick & chewy, and gives them that delicious soft-baked quality.
Funny how one ingredient can make all the difference! All of the chocolate chip cookie recipes I have made in the past did not use cornstarch. The difference in cookies using cornstarch was like night & day.
The other main component as to why these cookies are so chewy and moist is because of the higher ratio of brown sugar to white.

Not only is this recipe the BEST tasting, it is also super easy & straightforward. No crazy ingredients are used – you’ll probably already have all of the needed ingredients in your cupboard!

This is the recipe that I’ve been looking for, the classic chocolate chip cookie – the one that I’ll be making over and over again for years.

I thank the cookie heavens for creating a cookie so perfect –  the One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookie. 😉

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The One & Only Chocolate Chip Cookies
(This glorious chocolate chip recipe is from Anna Olson (Food Network), which can be found here. I have adapted the recipe slightly.)

Ingredients:
(yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (the darker the sugar, the better)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, (preferably at room temperature)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cornstarch (the magical ingredient!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand-held electric mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light & fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda & salt. On low speed, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until all ingredients are evenly combined. Do not overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper. (If you don’t have parchment paper, just leave the cookie sheet plain.) Using your hands to form the balls, roll dough into 1 Tbsp-sized balls and place onto cookie sheets. If you want extra chocolaty cookies, press a few chocolate chips onto the top of the dough balls.

3. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. They will almost look uncooked. Do not leave cookies in oven over 10 minutes! Remove and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet. If the cookies are too puffy for your liking, gently press down on them with the back of a spoon.
Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Note: Cookies stay chewy and fresh for up to 10 days in an airtight container.

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Enjoy!
Natasha xo

Perfectly Pumpkin Cake Bars

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Pumpkin + Milk Chocolate Chips + Pecans = Perfection!

I love making dessert bars for many reasons… Let me count thee ways:

1) They’re super easy to make. Just throw the ingredients together, and pop it in a pan.
2) They almost always turn out moist & delicious.
3) anddd they usually taste even better the next day!

These Pumpkin Cake Bars are definitely no exception. They are moist, full of flavour, & are quick and easy to make.
While they are pretty cakey & fluffy fresh out of the oven, by the next day they almost have a nice chewy, blondie texture to them. They’re the best of both worlds!

I chose to use milk chocolate chips & pecans, but feel free to use whichever extra goodies you prefer.. from walnuts to any kind of chocolate chips.

This is one of my favorite Pumpkin recipes for Fall. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Pumpkin final

Perfectly Pumpkin Cake Bars Recipe

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin
1 1/2 – 2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda & salt. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter & sugars together on medium/high speed until smooth. Beat in egg, & vanilla until combined. Beat in the pumpkin.

4. Reduce speed to low, & mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips & pecans with a wooden spoon of spatula.

5. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan.

Notes:

– Bars stay fresh for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
– Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

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Enjoy!
Xo Natasha

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats!

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Today I made Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats for Zeus! (Aren’t they cute?!)
Whenever I bake something in the kitchen, Zeus is always near, watching me and I decided it was time to bake him a little somethin’ somethin’.
In continuing on with my pumpkin baking phase, these dog treats consist of pumpkin (of course), and all kinds of other healthy goodness – whole wheat flour, eggs, peanut butter, and cinnamon.

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com which you can find here. I made a few slight changes though after reading many reviews.
After looking through the reviews, I then googled every ingredient to double check that they are safe for dogs. So rest assured, all the ingredients are most definitely healthy for dogs. Pumpkin and peanut butter in moderation can actually have many health benefits for dogs. Pumpkin helps aid the digestion process, and is a good source of Vitamin E, Magnesium & Potassium. And peanut butter is rich in protein and contains healthy fats and vitamins E and H, which will help keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny!

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I used a few different cookie cutters of various sizes. Use whichever cookie cutters you like!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Ingredients:
(yield: 24 dog treats)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2-3 tablespoons peanut butter (I used crunchy – any kind will do)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons of water (as needed)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer using the whisk attachment, mix the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt and cinnamon until well blended and batter appears clumpy, forming a bunch of small balls. The dough will be dry and stiff. Knead the dough with your hands and add water if needed to make the dough more workable. Taking 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll.
Cut shapes using your cookie cutters.

3. Bake in preheated oven, approx. 25-35 minutes.

Note: These treats should be stored in a ziplock bag/airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Zeus adored the treats, and couldn’t get enough. Here’s Mom giving Zeusie a treat.. 🙂
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Hope you and your fur-baby enjoy this quick, tasty healthy recipe!
Natasha xo