So the past two days have been SNOW DAYS here in Seattle! That makes my Thanksgiving break extended by 2 days! Yay! Speaking of Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is here! Well, it's tomorrow but still...Thanksgiving is here!! I don't know about you but it has come just at the right time. I'm fully prepared to stuff my face with delicious food and be around family. I live for the holidays because it's one of the only times out of the year where the whole family gets together. There's just something about it that makes you all happy inside. Anywho, so it's Thanksgiving so it only seems logical to have a Thanks-giveaway! So if you haven't checked out CSN Stores after my multiple posts about CSN Stores, get to it!! Get coffee tables, a lamp, heck even get yourself a huge fountain! Whatever makes you happy. I'll talk about this later.
In honor of Thanksgiving, why not make something pumpkin related. This was my first time working with pumpkin and it was well...Interesting? ha. It was fun working with a new ingredient because I was able to increase my "Ingredient Use Count". You can read on for the end results of these cupcakes late on as well.
Now, back to what you've all been waiting for, the Thanks-Giveaway. CSN Stores is giving you the chance to win a $45 Gift Certificate for any of their online stores! I repeat, $45 Gift Certificate!! Here's how to enter:
You must be a follower of "AJ's Cooking Secrets" through the Google Friend Connect located on the left side bar of my blog to enter this giveaway. If you are not a follower, your entry and/or entries will not be counted.
You have THREE chances to enter!!
1. Leave a comment stating what you would like to buy from CSN Stores with the $45 Gift Certificate, along with your email.
2. Become a fan/liker of my Facebook Fan Page : AJ's Cooking Secrets and leave a comment below stating that you have become a fan/liker. If you are already a fan/liker of my FB Fan Page, leave a comment stating that you are.
3. Follow me on Twitter @aaronjohn04 and leave a comment below stating that you have become a follower. If you are already a follower of my twitter page, leave a comment stating that you are.
-Must be a follower of this blog, "AJ's Cooking Secrets", through Google Friend Connect located on the left side bar for your entry/entries to count. Anyone who "enters" without being a follower of this blog will not be entered into the drawing.
-The Giveaway will last until Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 11:59 PM PST. The winner will be drawn using Random.org. The winner will then be announced in a blog post, on my facebook page and emailed that they are the winner. From there, the winner will be contacted by CSN Stores where you will receive a Gift Certificate Code.
-It's a fairly straightforward recipe so don't over mix the batter and don't over bake your cupcakes. Stick a toothpick into the cupcake and if there's a tiny bit of crumbs that stick, it's ready to take out. Some people say to take them out when a toothpick is clean but you have to remember that the cupcakes will somewhat continue to cook because of the heat that is retained in the pan and the cupcake itself.
Taste: The cupcake itself was very reminiscent of a carrot cake in terms of the flavor of the spices but with the slight flavor of pumpkin instead of carrots. I personally felt it was missing an a "lil' somethin' somethin'". The Maple Cream Cheese frosting didn't taste like Maple. Maybe because I used a tablespoon of maple syrup instead? But it was missing that Maple flavor.
Texture: Definitely a moist cupcake because of the use of the pumpkin and the oil. The frosting was smooth and creamy.
Pumpkin Cupcakes With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (Makes 10 cupcakes)
Recipe by Ina Garten
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.
Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.