Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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“I never met a pumpkin I didn’t like”…to bake with.

For all you Fall lovers – this is for you! What could be better than combining a classic chocolate chip cookie with Fall’s best accessory – pumpkins?! These cookies are soft and chewy and everything you’ve been waiting for!

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Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp cloves

1 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

7 tbsp canned pumpkin

2 cups chocolate chips

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Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together butter and granulated sugar until well combined. Add in brown sugar and mix. Next add in eggs and vanilla while mixing. Lastly, mix in the pumpkin. Now add your dry ingredients into your stand mixer in 4 parts, mixing just enough to combine. Toss in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed. Place your cookie dough in the fridge for 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Remove dough from refrigerator and place onto parchment paper lined baking sheets using tablespoons. Flatten a bit. Make sure to leave enough space for the cookies to spread. Bake for 15-17 minutes total. I baked at 375F for the first half of the time, then finished baking at 350F. Cookies are done when edges are golden brown.

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Cardamom and White Wine Poached Pear Cake

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“So glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.”

To continue my Fall recipes, I’m bringing you guys this yummy cake today. The pears are poached in white wine and cardamom and all the good Fall spices. I could just eat the pears all on their own (I had to stop myself). Then they’re baked into a cake with fresh apples and pears grated right into it. I’m sure you’ll love Fall after making this cake!

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The Pears

3 Bosc pears, peeled

1/2 bottle pinot grigio

4 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat for a half hour. If the pears are not completely covered, make sure to spoon the liquid over the pears every few minutes and turn them as well. Remove and allow to cool on a plate before cutting off a bit of the bottom to make sure they stand up straight in the cake.

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The Cakes

(makes 2 six inch cakes)

1 apple, peeled and grated

1 pear, peeled and grated

1 stick butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

Spray two 6-inch  springform pans with non-stick baking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Combine butter and sugar in stand mixer until smooth. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and almond extract and mix in. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts while mixing. Add in the grated fruit until combined. Pour into prepared pans. Take the three poached pears and place into the batter in one of the pans – make sure they are touching the bottom of the pan and can stand on their own. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes. My cake without the pears took 50 minutes. My cake with the pears took a little over an hour. Don’t worry if your cake with the pears appears lighter and more moist on top – it’s because of the moisture coming out of the poached pears.

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Chocolate Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup heavy cream

Beat butter in stand mixer until smooth. Combine sugar and cocoa in a separate bowl, then add in 1/2 cups to butter while mixing. Add vanilla and heavy cream, and mix to desired consistency. Should be smooth and strong enough to hold its shape for piping.

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Assembly

Use the closed star tip to pipe one layer of small swirls of the chocolate buttercream on the cake without the pears, starting from the outside, going in. Once that is done, place the second cake (the one with the pears), on top of the other. And you’re done! If you’d like to decorate a bit, I just topped with some powdered sugar, dried rose petals, and a bit of white chocolate ganache drip.

Pomegranate Cupcakes with Avocado Frosting

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“We go together, like Avocado and…literally everything”

…including pomegranate! You guys…I think you will love these cupcakes! Pomegranate is in season right now and not only is it delicious, but it also has a ton of health benefits. I used to be one of those people that was iffy about eating the whole seed, but it turns out there is a good amount of fiber in the seeds, so you can totally enjoy the whole thing and feel good about it. Plus, once it’s in a cupcake, what’s not to like? The slightly sour flavor of the seeds adds a fun burst to your bite!

And lets just take a minute to revel in the beauty that is an avocado. I don’t know about you, but I just eat these with a spoon, with nothing added. Sooo imagine adding some sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and maybe cream cheese to an avocado, and you have yourself an amazing butter-free frosting that tastes sooo good! Also, did you know that avocados, among the many vitamins that you always hear about them having, also have a component called lutein in them – which contributes to eye health and helps fight diseases like Macular Degeneration?!? It’s a win-win with this cupcake!

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Pomegranate Cupcakes

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

1 pomegranate, seeds removed and all loose peel taken off

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Preheat oven to 350F and prepare 16 mini cupcake liners (Double the recipe for about 16 regular size cupcakes – I prefer mini). In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the oil, buttermilk, egg, and extracts and mix until just combined. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (except for pomegranate seeds) and whisk together. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in 3 parts, mixing in between adding. Next you’ll want to toss the pomegranate seeds in a little bit of leftover flour in your bowl – this will help the seeds stay suspended throughout the cupcakes instead of sinking to the bottom. Add about 3/4 of the seeds from a whole pomegranate to the stand mixer bowl and mix in by hand. Reserve the rest of the seeds to decorate the tops of the cupcakes. Fill mini cupcakes liners about 2/3 full and place in oven for about 12 minutes (about 16-18 minutes for regular size) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove and let cool before frosting.

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Avocado frosting

1 large, ripe avocado

2 tsp lemon juice

3-4 cups of powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

8-oz cream cheese (optional)

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Remove pit and peel from avocado. Place avocado in stand mixer and beat until as smooth as possible – this may take a few minutes and you may still have a few chunks – that’s okay. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and continue to beat. Now begin adding the sugar. The more sugar you add, the stiffer it will get. The frosting is very soft at this point, and you won’t be able to pipe it. This is because there is no butter in it, and avocado is your only fat at this point (albeit an all natural one 🙂 ) . I frosted a few cupcakes like this – and they were tasty, but a bit runny. If you would like the frosting a little stiffer and easier to work with/more presentable, you can add the cream cheese and continue beating in the stand mixer until smooth. The end result also tastes amazing! Once you’ve frosted the cooled cupcakes, garnish with 5-6 pomegranate seeds on top and enjoy!

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