Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Happy Halloweeeeeen!

I have a very festive fall treat for you today, so I hope you’re ready. Put that Halloween candy aside for just a few minutes while you indulge in a Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll. 

Being my first time baking cinnamon rolls from scratch, I quickly discovered how challenging they can be. It’s not like I didn’t know going into it. After finding this recipe weeks ago, I kept putting it off because I was a little intimidated by it. 

Sometimes you need to take on a challenge though. And when the result tastes like one of these babies, all of the time and effort is worth it. With just one bite I had already forgotten about how I had to impatiently wait for the dough to rise and how I just about quit when the rolling of the dough didn’t exactly turn out as pretty as I imagined.

I image a sweet pumpkiny roll of goodness will be the perfect way to console myself while watching horror movies tonight. As much of a scaredy-cat as I am, I love the thrill of a good Halloween movie!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
(Adapted from Life Made Simple)

Makes about 8 rolls

*Note the amount of each ingredient may seem odd, but that’s because I cut the original recipe in half

For the dough- 
2 tablespoons warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of milk
1/2 of one large egg, lightly beaten (about 1 1/2 tablespoons of beaten egg)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice

For the filling-
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin

1/2 cup cream cheese frosting (I used Pillsbury whipped cream cheese frosting)

1. In a small bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Let sit about 10 minutes while yeast dissolves.
2. Gently stir in milk, egg, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cup of the flour, sugars, and spices. Add to bowl of stand-alone mixer and beat on medium speed for about 1-2 minutes. Add the hook attachment to the mixer and blend another 2 minutes, while slowly adding the remaining flour.
3. Place dough on well-floured surface kneed 8-10 times. Let sit in a greased bowl for up to an hour. Dough should double in size.
4. While dough is rising, prepare filling by mixing the sugars, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.
5. When dough has risen, roll into a rectangle, about 12×6 inches, onto a well-floured surface. Spread the softened butter and canned pumpkin evenly across the top, then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture. Roll dough into a log, starting from the wide end. Cut into 8 equal slices and set in a well greased round cake pan (7 rolls around the perimeter and one in the middle). Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let sit another 45 minutes until rolls have almost doubled in size.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-22 minutes or until rolls have become golden brown.
7. Let rolls cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Ice as desired and serve warm.


Weekend Eats 10-29-12

As of right now, while I’m writing this post, I came up with a new series for this little old blog of mine. Mondays on Counting My Cupcakes will now feature weekly…or biweekly, or triweekly, depending on my schedule ;)…
Weekend Eats!
Rather than full restaurant reviews or entire posts about the more simple meals I make at home, I will highlight some of the tastiest parts of my weekend. 
For other bloggers out there, I’m working on a button for this so you can join me in Weekend Eats as well! Stay tuned, I’ll get that to you soon!
On the menu this weekend?
On Saturday, after some wedding gift registering (so fun by the way!), Greg and I parted ways for the afternoon. I headed to Whole Foods for lunch. With so many options, I’m often a little overwhelmed deciding what I want from the cafe. It was a cool and rainy Saturday in Charleston so I wanted something comforting. I opted for a ‘build your own’ wrap from the deli. Inside a spinach wrap went pimento cheese, tomato, spinach, red onion and roasted red pepper. 
I brought the wrap home and ate half of it alongside a sweet juicy apple. 

After church on Sunday, Greg insisted on brunch at his favorite spot, Triangle. I’m not one to deny brunch so brunching we went!

It’s always a struggle passing up pancakes, especially with pumpkin pancakes on the menu, but I managed to talk myself into the Veggie Omelet instead. Not a bad choice! The omelet was filled with peppers, onions, mushrooms and goat cheese (instead of bleu cheese as described on the menu). With two side dishes of fruit and home fries, this makes for one giant meal. Again, I saved half to bring home and am looking forward to finishing it off for lunch today!
Dinner last night came in the form of the remaining half of the pimento cheese wrap with steamed broccoli and carrots on the side. 
What was the tastiest part of your weekend?

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

It’s no secret that I was one of the pickiest eaters ever as a child. I’ve said it many times before, but that’s only because it’s true.
Of all of the foods I didn’t like (or just refused to try), my relationship with baked beans became the joke in my family. I distinctly remember being at a babysitter’s house when I was about five years old and being served baked beans with my lunch. I wasn’t about to give those mushy, brown, smelly beans a taste. Instead, I pushed them around my plate to make it look as if I ate some. Guess what? She fell for it! I got off the hook that day. 

The same thing happened a few years later when my friend’s mom served mashed sweet potatoes for dinner. I had never seen sweet potatoes before then and didn’t know why my usually white potatoes were orange. Ew. Again, I pushed the mush around on my plate so it looked like I ate a few bites.
When I was a little older, my picky tendencies led to a Christmas “gift” that everyone seemed to get a laugh out of: a giant can of baked beans. I mean, GIANT. 
Ha. Ha. Very funny, Family. 

Little did I know, one day I would actually like baked beans. And not just baked beans, but all kinds of beans. I can’t get enough black beans actually. And those sweet potatoes I once stared at in skepticism have become one of my favorite foods. 
Who would’ve thought?!
I have been obsessed with both black beans and sweet potatoes recently. Besides Sweet Potato Quesadillas, I have been enjoying the two foods separately – different meals at different times. I knew what a great combination they make together, so I set out to create a modified version of my favorite Black Bean Burger recipe (which, by the way, has become a weekly staple in my household). 
Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
(Inspired by How Sweet It Is
Makes 4-6 medium-sized burgers
1 medium sweet potato
1 cup black beans, cooked
1 egg
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4-6 English muffins, buns, or rolls
1. Follow Jessica’s instructions to cook the sweet potato: “Pierce potato all over with a fork and place on a paper towel, setting in the microwave. Microwave for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove, slice in half and let cool until you can scoop out the flesh.”
2. In a medium bowl, add about half of the black beans. Mash well with a fork. Add remaining beans, sweet potato, garlic, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir vigorously to combine. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg. Add breadcrumbs and whisk to combine. 
4. Pour egg and breadcrumb mixture into bean and sweet potato mixture. Stir all ingredients together until well combined. 
5. Divide into equal parts to make patties of whatever size you desire (Since I was using English muffins, I made the patties about the same size as the muffins). 
6. Heat large skillet over medium heat. Coat with non-stick spray. Once hot, add patties to skillet. Let cook for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another 3 minutes, or until patties are browned. 
7. Place cooked patties on muffins. Top with cheese, sliced avocado or salsa as desired.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt

The word “cupcake” alone drives me crazy, in a good way that is. Say it with me. 
Cupcake. Cup cup cup, cake cake cake. Cup. Cake. Cupcaaaaake. It’s so cute and puts a smile on my face. 

As Greg and I were trying to decide on a puppy name, I might have even suggested we name the girl Cupcake. Okay, I wasn’t completely serious. Greg would never have gone for that in a million years anyway (he’s still convinced the girl doesn’t need a pink collar…we’re working on that one!). 
My other suggestion was Pancake. Can you imagine a puppy named Pancake? Oh em gee. Too cute. Don’t worry though, that’s not happening either.
I’ll reveal her real name when we pick her up in just about 10 days or so. Yay! 
In the meantime, let’s eat cupcakes together, shall we?  These are the perfect balance between dense and fluffy, they are not overly sweet, and they are low-fat to boot. 
What more can we ask for?
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Greek Yogurt
(Adapted from Undressed Skeleton)
Makes 8 cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt 
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1/2 tablespoon red food coloring
~1/2 cup whipped cream cheese frosting (I used Pillsbury)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder. Whisk and set aside.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine yogurt, applesauce, butter, milk, vanilla, egg whites and food coloring. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients while beating on low speed. Beat until just combined. Scrap down sides of bowl as needed.
4. Pour into cupcake wells, about 3/4 the way full. Bake 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. 
Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Frost as desired. 

Tempeh and Bean Chili

Sometimes I really can’t understand how I ever lived all year round in Ohio. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on my hometown. I was born and raised in Columbus and it always will be home. I love it for that reason alone, and love going back to visit. But man, it gets coldddddd.

When temperatures drop below 65 degrees here in Charleston, I am freezing. Not even kidding. Like, fuzzy socks and sweatshirt on (hood UP), freezing. I look forward to this time of year for countless reasons (pumpkin-flavored everything, sweaters, boots, football, cool morning runs, etc…), but it takes some time to adjust.

A hot bowl of chili does wonders for this sort of thing. After discovering tempeh as a great meat alternative, I was excited to experiment on my own. Combined with not much else besides beans and vegetables, this makes for a meal you can feel good about on the inside and out. That’s a good thing too, because I’ll be eating a lot of this until springtime rolls around. 

Tempeh and Bean Chili

Makes about 6 servings
8 ounces tempeh
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
1 can red kidney beans
1 cup water
1 packet chili seasoning mix
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, crumble tempeh into the pan. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add onion and pepper to the pan. Cook until vegetables become tender, about 5 more minutes.
3. Pour tomato sauce, entire can of beans (liquid included), water, and seasonings into the pan. Bring to a sizzle, stirring occasionally, and cook about 5-8 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week. 

Brownie Chunk Oatmeal Protein Cookies

I’m at a loss for words. Not because these cookies were not inspiring or indescribable to the point that I have nothing to say about them. It’s just that they are all gone now and I’m grieving. 
All of the alone time I had last weekend was good for my soul in some ways, but definitely not good for waistline if you know what I mean. I loved turning on my favorite Pandora stations and totally being in my element in the kitchen. I followed some recipes to the ‘T’ while experimenting my own way with others. 

This cookie recipe was one of the aforementioned ‘others’. Yes, I just said aforementioned. I don’t know that I’ve ever used that word in my life, but I’m feeling sophisticated on this lovely Friday. Plus I might very well still be a little sugar crazed from the past week. It didn’t help that Publix’s frozen yogurt was on sale too and we all know my love for that is irresistible  It’d been several weeks since I had a bowl of that creamy heaven and now that it’s been part of my daily life again all feels right in the world. 
I think I may have gotten off track there. Sorry. Where was I? Oh right, these cookies. Um, can you imagine how a good a brownie combined with a cookie would be? You don’t have to imagine anymore. Just make these. I can testify that they are every bit as good as you would think. And I’ll do you one better, they are not just any brownies, they are sea salt brownies
True story. 
(P.S. It was completely unintentional, but apparently my theme for the week has been the combination of two types of sweets into one: Cake and cookies, donuts and muffins, and now brownies and cookies. Hey, I’m not complaining!)

I guess some of you might also like to know that the cookies are made with protein powder too. Just another reason to love them, although I doubt eating two or three at a time are going to build your muscle mass. Then again, if you crumble one on top of a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt (also high in protein), you might just wake up with a six-pack. 
Just kidding. But you should still try eating them that way too. You won’t be sorry. 

Brownie Chunk Oatmeal Protein Cookies
(Adapted from Dashing Dish)

Makes about 6 medium cookies

1 cup oats
2 tablespoons vanilla protein powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
1 tablespoon water
4 pieces Trader Joe’s Sea Salt Brownie Petites (or 1 2-3″ square brownie), cut into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. Add 1/2 cup of the oats to a food processor. Blend about 1 minute, until oats turn to flour.
3. Add ground oats to a medium bowl with the remaining oats, protein powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
4. In a separate small or medium bowl, whisk corn starch and water (this will create a mixture to serve as egg substitute). Add softened butter/margarine and vanilla to this mixture. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Gently fold in the brownie pieces.
5. Scoop batter onto cookie sheet and gently press down (cookies will not flatten much on their own).
6. Bake 7-8 minutes or until tops and edges become golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on cookies sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

A Restaurant Review – Fired Urth

Okay, so Fired Urth isn’t actually a restaurant, but rather a self-described Espresso Bar and Artisan Bakery. I’m not going to beat around the bush here. This place is good! As a matter of fact, it’s my new favorite place.

Chris and Missy, the husband and wife owners, recently moved to Daniel Island from North Carolina where they had a cupcake and coffee shop as well. You can read their full story here. They opened Fired Urth just this past week and I happened to notice it while on a run over the weekend. I immediately looked it up when I got home and was more than intrigued. After being ready for work a little earlier than normal yesterday, I knew exactly how to make use of my extra time.

I walked into the cafe and noticed the local Christian radio station was playing over the speakers. Bonus points! 
First and foremost I needed coffee in my system. But I couldn’t help but stare into the bakery case. 

I quickly skimmed the drink menu and decided I had to go with their signature drink: The Cinn-A-Bee Latte, made with two shots of espresso, steamed milk, cinnamon and honey ($4). 
I realized I wasn’t going to be able to get out of there without the ghost of one of these pastries haunting my day! (These are the things I tell myself…) There were a variety of scones, coffee cake, and biscotti, just to name a few. I picked a pumpkin scone ($2), and Missy was so kind to throw in a Donut Muffin too! She said this is one of their most popular items – a muffin that tastes like a donut and coated in sugar. Sounds right up my ally, huh? 

My hot latte and freshly baked goods smiled pretty for a quick photo shoot in my car. As tempting as it was to eat it right then and there, I really wanted to be able to take my time and enjoy my treats, not distracted by driving. So I drove quickly to work, settled in at my desk, and savored each sip and bite. 

The scone was soft, dense and chewy with the perfect pumpkin spice flavor. Traditional scones are much more dry and crumbly. There is a time and place for that, but not with this scone. Since I had the donut muffin too, I ended up saving half of each pastry for my afternoon later. After all, I didn’t want to put myself in complete sugar overload. 
The muffin truly did capture the essence of a donut. It is a genius creation and I could have eaten five. Self control, my friends. It doesn’t always come easily!

Fellow Charlestonians need to make a visit to my next of the woods on Daniel Island and try this place as soon as you can. I am already dreaming of my next trip. It’s not often I spend money on morning coffee, since I get it for free at work or just make it at home. But with such a great place so close to home now, that could change. 
Like Fired Urth on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

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