Tag Archives: halloween

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pecan Kitty Cupcakes

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You know what I love about food blogging? I love that it’s 3:30pm and today I feel like writing about food–and I can do that. This is one big thing I’m grateful for. Now that we’ve gotten my gratitude out of the way, let’s get to the cupcake!

The other night we were having guests for dinner. And instead of trying to make everything from scratch I dressed up a Trader Joe’s baking mix and made it into a playful and decadent Halloween pumpkin cupcake.

I loved putting these little creatures on top of my cupcake, largely because it’s creative. I LOVE to make things with my hands. If cupcakes were better for you I would do this every day.  The little guy below was my inspiration for my Halloween cupcake.

Making these ugly little Halloween creatures made me really happy. For 20 minutes as I fumble with toothpicks and candy, I am 12 again. Play is something we all need in our lives. None of us is one dimensional. This is my multi-dimensional self debuting.

My scary Kitty cupcakes–Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pecan yummy-ness. This is the keeper of the kittens, Mr. Pumpkin Persimmon [I realize this probably seems very childish, but I don’t care].


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  • 1 box trader joe’s pumpkin cake mix
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped in a bag
  • pam or olive oil spray
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 cup water
  • chocolate frosting (any brand will due)
  • gum drops (I used black and red)
  • black licorice (sliced in half)
  • toothpicks

Directions for pumpkin cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a big bowl mix cake mix, eggs, oil, pecans, and water. Mix til the dough doesn’t have any bumps in it. Spray muffin pan with your pam spray. Pour an equal amount of your mix into the cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400. Continue to check oven after minute 14 or so as all ovens bake differently. Don’t want to burn the cupcakes!

2. Take the cupcakes out of the oven. The cupcakes should slide out easily. Allow cupcakes to sit and cool. Set aside and take out candies. Stick one toothpick down two black gumdrops. Break one gumdrop in half for the head. Break up the black licorice and stick the licorice with toothpicks for ears, arms and tail.

3. Once cupcakes have cooled, dress with your chocolate frosting and stick your figurines on top.

Now all you need is some quiet time to enjoy this treat. On the other hand, enjoy with some friends so you don’t eat them all yourself. Remember to have fun and play.

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Upside Down Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love fall, I love sweets and I love dressing up. What’s not to love?

I couldn’t miss this pumpkin recipe as it’s got some of the texture and flavor of the original cheesecake. It’s not quite Junior’s New York Cheesecake, but it’s still pretty yummy.

The crispy graham cracker tastes delicious against the cool creamy pumpkin filling that has a custard-like quality.

I adopted this recipe from Hungry Girl, also known as Lisa Lillien who tries to make yummy food low calorie. This recipe was more like a pumpkin mousse rather than a pie, so let’s hope you aren’t feeding pumpkin cheesecake purists. This recipe doesn’t exactly replicate the cheesecake, but it’s a fun and convincing waste-line friendly copy.

Lisa Lillien’s original recipe calls for sweetener and tons of cool whip but I’m not a fan of splenda especially so much of it. So this is my play on upside down pumpkin cheesecake, with a little chocolate for those of you, like me, who have a hard time eating “diet food.”

My grandmother Phyllis gave me this serving spoon. She has an adoration of antiques and she would be glad to know I’m serving with it. I miss her always and this makes me think of her.

Upside Down Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients:

15 ounce can pumpkin
1/2 cup Fage 0% Yogurt
8 ounce container fat free or low fat cream cheese
7/8 cup fat free or low fat sour cream
3 1/2 sheets graham cracker, low fat honey, crushed
1/2 cup honey or agave (add more if sweeter flavor is desired)
2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

And if you dare:
chocolate chips, any kind
top with light whip cream

You can get all of these ingredients at Trader Joes!

Directions:

Blend together all ingredients except graham cracker in a bowl with an immersion blender.
Put ingredients in a pie pan and coat the top layer with graham cracker
Add chocolate chips and serve cold
or
Melt chocolate and drizzle over the top