Will someone please phone Florida Weather Control and let them know that it is Autumn? That means temperatures should not be above 75 degrees and even that is high. How the heck am I supposed to get into the holiday spirit when I’m roasting in 90 degree temperatures? At least I have my pumpkin to help me feel better.
Little Cupcakeasaurus Rex carved his up and we got to watch it whither and melt over Halloween. I decided not to carve mine. So he’s just been chilling out in a corner of my kitchen. This pumpkin does not look like a carving pumpkin anyway. He is large and really really lumpy all over. He is my Lumpy Pumpky!
It’s Friday y’all and as always I’m baking some tasty treats to share. In true Fall fashion, we are baking up some pumpkin favorites that can be a great addition to your Thanksgiving tables. Next week, I’ll be attending a turkey shoot and these treats can be appreciated there as well.
I started with the praline. This is so super easy it isn’t even funny. This recipe is more than enough to top your cupcakes so feel free to snack on a little too. I did!
Go ahead and lay out a cookie sheet and cover in parchment paper. Wax paper could work but parchment is so much more baking friendly. It makes the praline super easy to remove.
You’ll put two cups of granulated sugar in a saucepan on medium high heat and let it melt. I used my metal spoon to stir it up as it was heating and it was neat watching it turn from the white granules to the amber syrup. Then just add in two cups of whole pecans. I didn’t have to stir them in long, just a quick few flips with the spoon to make sure they were covered.
Spoon out the amber sugar syrup and pecans on to the parchment paper. The nuts will want to stick together and may make this a little difficult. Just smooth it out and try to get just one single layer of nuts on the cookie sheet. Then just set that to the side to cool. It actually doesn’t take too long at all. I sat it to the side while whipping up the batter and by the time I put the cupcakes in the oven the Pecan Praline was ready.
Making the praline brings back memories of baking and candy making with my stepmother years and years ago. During the holidays she would make a peanut brittle and a holiday peppermint bark. Maybe I can get into the holiday spirit after all.
Now for our delicious pumpkiny batter, we’ll start by sifting together our dry ingredients and then the wet ones. In a medium bowl, add in your flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Wait, do those last ingredients sound familiar? They should. That’s your Pumpkin spice flavoring. Almost the exact same ingredients are used for Apple Pie spice. I like to pretend I’m funny and make a joke about the difference between Apple Pie spice and Pumpkin spice. The ginger makes all the difference. Okay, so maybe that goes over better with my redheaded pals.
In your mixing bowl cream the butter, one cup of granulated sugar and half a cup of brown sugar. Similar to our butter cream in Caramel Cinnamon Apple Pie Cupcakes, it will become light and fluffy looking. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing between them. Then you will mix in your dry ingredients in three parts alternating with the milk and lemon zest. This you’ll want to do on low speed because we don’t want flour flying everywhere. Last, add in the pumpkin puree and mix until well blended.
Fill the liners 3/4 full and then pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean when they are done. They look like little pumpkin bread muffins and the whole house will smell heavenly.
I’ll be honest this icing is not what I expected it to be. At first it was supposed to be a light whipped cream type topping but my whipping cream was not cooperating. I will blame that on the 90 degree November I’ve got going on here. So a few additions turned this into a creamy, cheesy, brown sugary goodness.
I named it Pumpkin Brown Sugar frosting because I liked that the anagram would be PBS. I know that is silly but Whipped Cream Pumpkin Brown Sugar Cream Cheese frosting just seemed exorbitantly lengthy.
Pour your whipping cream into your mixing bowl. Set your mixer to medium and basically just walk off for awhile. I’m serious, I got the mail, had some lunch, watched some Arrow on Netflix and then came back to my cream. Then you will add in the brown sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract and Pumpkin spice. Again you can pretty much walk away while it beats itself to death. You’ll want to beat it until it is smooth, no lumps. Don’t be Lumpy Pumpky!
If the frosting is a bit wet, like mine was, just add in the powdered sugar. It thickens it right up and makes it much more manageable for piping.
Using Wilton’s 2A decorating tip, I piped the frosting on top. Then, it was time to add the crunch. Break off a few pieces of the Pecan Praline, try a bite, and then put the rest in a Ziploc bag. Since the praline tends to be glass sharp, I also laid out a kitchen towel and sandwiched the baggy between it. Then, SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER! I’m kidding. You don’t really need a hammer. I just used my body weight to crush the praline into little crumbly bits. Sprinkle as little or as much as you’d like on top of your beautiful cupcakes.
I also experimented at adding the Pecan Praline in a different way. I broke off a few larger pieces and stuck them up like Frozen’s ice walls. It looked okay, but it requires their removal before eating the cupcake. To get the full on flavor and texture effect, I find it best to crumble the Pecan Praline over the top, heavily.
Hopefully, you are able to enjoy these treats with a nice chill in the air overlooking beautiful Fall foliage. If not, you can still enjoy them almost as much with a nice AC breeze in the air overlooking palm trees. Either way, they are a pretty sweet way to make life taste sweeter.