Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins Recipe

These Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins are incredibly moist and flavorful.

A combination of pumpkin puree and virgin coconut oil, blended with a healthy helping of cinnamon, give these muffins a layered dimension of flavor in every bite.

And, really, these mini muffins can function as one giant bite apiece, but I suggest savoring them.

Especially with coffee.

I’ve been wanting to create a pumpkin muffin recipe for a while, and I wanted to incorporate coconut oil.  I’m really glad I did, because I feel that the coconut oil was what pushed these over the edge of awesomeness and made them totally irresistible.

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Above are of some of the ingredients.

The cream cheese goes towards the cheesecake filling that is used to top these muffins with a deep swirl of melt-in-your-mouth smoothness.

I used more cinnamon that I find is called for in similar recipes.  I like to taste my spices.

But there’s no nutmeg.  I know people often put it in pumpkin recipes, but I do NOT eat nutmeg.  It’s too strong and, at least for me, it distracts from the other flavors.  I find that cinnamon is a wonderful compliment for pumpkin, but if you really, really love nutmeg, then you can toss in a smidgen.  If you must.  But it’s unnecessary.  (Don’t do it.)

Plus, you can use vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut oil handy, but the coconut oil adds so much flavor that it’s worth the effort to pick some up if you don’t already have it on hand.  Like I said, it’s the turning point for intense flavor and moisture.

Virgin or extra virgin coconut oil will have a stronger coconut taste and aroma, so that’s the best to use.

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And you do lose some health benefits by melting the oil (which is solid at room temperature) in the microwave, but when I’m baking while heating something for dinner after working a full day… I take shortcuts.  Didn’t feel like washing a saucepan.

Just make sure if you melt the oil in the microwave, that you do it on 50% and for no longer than necessary.  About 30 seconds at a time.

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Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon with a fork or whisk until the colors are completely combined and the cinnamon is evenly distributed.

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Mix together the sugars and wet ingredients.

I just used a fork.  (Shortcuts means not pulling out the mixer.)

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This time, I actually blended the sugars and pumpkin first, then added the oil and eggs, but you could throw all of it together at the same time, too.

As long as it’s all well blended.

Then you’ll gradually add in the flour mixture.  Do not overmix it, though.  It should be smooth, but if you beat it too much the muffins may be tough.

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Here are the filling ingredients.

Again:  just mixed it with a fork.

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I had considered layering the pumpkin mix, then cream cheese mix, and then more pumpkin, but I’m glad I decided against it.  This method was easier and, as long as you swirl it, the cream cheese mixture still makes it into the center of the muffin.

Fill the mini cupcake liners about 3/4 full with pumpkin batter, then dollop about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mix on top.

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Next, you’ll swirl a toothpick through the muffins, which will drag the cheesecake portion over the top and mix it into the center, too.

Don’t over do it.  You’ll want some large chunks of cheesecake, so don’t swirl it to the point of thinning it out so much you can barely see the cream cheese any more.

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Doesn’t that look AMAZING???

And they taste even better.

You can eat them right out of the oven, but I prefer them at room temperature.  They should be stored in the refrigerator, because of the cream cheese, but can be left our for a while without spoiling.  (I ate a few of the ones I’d brought into work and left out in the break room all afternoon, before putting them back in the fridge at the end of the day.  They were fine.)

I suggest serving them at room temperature, but they’re also good cold right out of the fridge.

I haven’t tried freezing them.  They were gone in a few days!  ;)

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Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1/2 cup melted coconut oil, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cheesecake filling:
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).  Prepare mini muffin pans with 5 dozen mini cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt with a whisk or fork.  In a large bowl, use a mixer or a fork to cream together pumpkin, granulated and brown sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Gradually incorporate the flour into the pumpkin mixture until batter is smooth.  Do not overmix.

Make the cheesecake filling by creaming together the cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.

Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full with pumpkin batter.  Top each with approximately a teaspoon of cheesecake filling.  Combine by gently swirling a toothpick through the batter.

Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let sit in pan for two minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Store covered in the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature.

[Note:  I use virgin coconut oil because it has wonderful taste and aroma of coconut that compliments the muffins, but you can substitute vegetable oil if you need to.]

Here is the free printable PDF:

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins Recipe

Happy Baking!

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July 4th Fireworks Painting and Cookies

July 4th Fireworks Painting Activity and Iced Cookies with Roaming Rosie

Happy Fourth of July!

This year, my kids and I did a painting activity and a cookie project that mimicked fireworks.  First, we stamped fireworks with toilet paper rolls, and then we baked some chocolate cookies and iced them in patterns to represent bursts of color.

Both of these things were done on dark backgrounds to make it look like our paint and sugar fireworks were exploding against a nighttime sky.

Even threw in some glitter (edible and not-so-much) for a little extra spark!

Fireworks Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls and Glitter 1

First up:  the painting project.

We reused some toilet paper rolls by transforming them into stamps.

To make the firework-shaped stamps, cut slits around one side of the cardboard roll, making the incisions about a quarter-inch wide (my kids made a few slivers; don’t aim for uniformity here), and then bend back the strips against the palm of your hand to make the pieces stick out.

I put some red, white, and blue (washable) paint into three small paper plates, and we dipped the stamps into the plates and then pressed them into the paper to make our fireworks.

To get a neat effect, overlap your stamps.

Fireworks Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls and Glitter 2

After you’ve covered your paper in fireworks, sprinkle with glitter for a fun sparkly touch!

Allow the paint to dry before shaking off the excess glitter and displaying your art.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 1

These cookies were not only fun to make – they were delicious too!

Just like the painting activity, we used the red, white, and blue colors against a dark background (in this case chocolate) to represent the fireworks bursting against a night sky.

We used the recipe that I made for my Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies, but I made double the batch of icing.

You don’t actually NEED to double the icing – the recipe already makes plenty – but I wanted to make extra, double, totally sure that we’d still have enough icing if my girls ended up squirting most of it onto the counter instead of the cookies.

It turned out, one batch probably would have been more than enough . . . except that one of my containers burst and half of the blue icing spilled out onto a couple of cookies.

But that’s an anomaly.  (Hopefully.)

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 2

When you make the icing, be sure to stir it well until there are no lumps and it drips easily from the fork or spoon in thin ribbons.

Not watery – just thin.  If it’s too thick or clumpy it will clog your spout.

I used my Wilton Candy Making Decorating Bottles.  Mine are quite old but they usually work fine only sometimes explode.  (But seriously, this is the first time I’ve had a problem.)  I’ve been meaning to pick up some new ones anyway.  They’re pretty easy to clean and my girls just love using them.

But if you don’t have bottles like these, you could just as easily put the icing into three separate plastic baggies and snip off the ends to squeeze out the patterns.

If you’re using the bottles, I poured the white icing into them and then mixed in the food coloring with a wooden skewer, the kind used for making shish kabobs.  You could do the same with the baggies, or, if you’re not lazy like me, you could put the icing into three bowls and add the red and blue food coloring to two of them, and mix them before pouring them into the containers.

I made the icing while the cookies were in the oven.  You could make it much earlier in the day, but the longer it sits, the more likely to thicken and then you’ll have to worry about mixing in more water or stirring it to thin it again.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 3

As you can see, we took the easy way out with these “cut out” cookies:  no cookie cutters.  We just sliced them up with a pizza cutter.  Easy Peasy.  Re-roll and slice again.

(If you’re wondering, that’s cocoa powder sprinkled over the counter to keep the dough from sticking, which you can use instead of flour when making chocolate cookies.)

We made the cookies into rectangles or large squares, all slightly different.  Once baked and fully cooled, I spread some waxed paper to catch the drippings and we all drizzled the icing onto the cookies, overlapping the colors, in a bit of a star burst pattern so that they would kind of look like fireworks exploding.

And, before the icing could harden, we added some white sparkling sugar to add a little extra spark to our cookies and to match the glitter on our paintings.

Again, you can find the cookie recipe on my post for Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies.

Happy Fourth!

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Grobswitchy Cake: a BFG Recipe from Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl's The BFG Grobswitchy Cake

We read The BFG by Roald Dahl recently and my kids LOVED it.

It may have been a bit of a trogglehumper to gobblefunk around with some of those propsposterous words – especially at bedtime when my coffee has long worn off – but it was SO worth it!  It was totally whoopsey-splunkers to see my girls burst into fits of laughter worthy of a big friendly giant.

And then, after reading the novel, we took a look at Roald Dahl’s Even More Revolting Recipes (which is a sequel to Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes), and decided to make the Grobswitchy Cake featured in the book, with just a few small changes.

We wound up using walnuts, because my oldest daughter loves them, and we traded out the amber crystals they suggested to use as grobswitches for Cake Mate’s Gold Sugar Cupcake Gems. 

Roald Dahl's The BFG Grobswitchy Cake 2

Now, I don’t know exactly what we did wrong, since baking with two kids can be … distracting … but somehow we had too much batter for our little pan.  I put it in the oven like that anyway, but with some foil below it to catch the drippings.

(And – just FYI – dripped cake is actually kinda fabulous.)

It’s a pretty typical coffee cake recipe, but with a really beautiful sentiment, since it references how the BFG mixes up dreams:

“It is a little bit like mixing a cake,”the BFG said. “If you is putting the right amounts of all the different things into it, you is making the cake come out any way you want, sugary, splongy curranty, Christmassy or grobswitchy. It is the same with dreams.”

And to explore the story a little more, I suggest stopping by Roald Dahl’s official website.

Happy Baking!

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Sweet Honey Scones

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe from Roaming Rosie

I first made these a few years ago, and I recently changed the recipe a little.

So here are the updated Sweet Honey Scones!

These scones are crumbly yet moist and permeated with a distinct honey flavor.  And boy do I love me some honey.

But why “sweet”?

Not only are these made with honey, but they also have a small amount of sugar in them, which you don’t always find in scones.  Plus, I added in some vanilla, which adds a beautiful aroma and pairs well with the honey.

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe 2

Just a few basic ingredients.

Make sure the butter and cream are cold.

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe 3

Once you cut in the cold butter pieces, you’ll mix together the honey, vanilla, and cream and stir that in.

Stir just until everything is moistened.  You don’t want to over mix the dough or the scones will be heavy.

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe 5

To bring the dough fully together, gently knead it.

I knead it right in the bowl, since all you’re really doing at this point is making sure it comes together.

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe from Roaming Rosie

On a lightly floured surface, press the dough into a square or a circle.

Shape it with your hands by patting it out into the shape you want.  A circle will make rather large wedges, and the square pictured above can be further cut down to make small triangles by cutting each of those squares diagonally.

Oh, and I find a pizza cutter is the easiest way to shape your scones. :)

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe from Roaming Rosie

Spread out your pieces on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, leaving some space to spread.

Brush the scones with cream and sprinkle generously with raw sugar.

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe from Roaming Rosie

Then bake until set and browned.  The bottoms will get dark much faster than the rest, so keep a close eye towards the end of the baking time.

And, as you can see, some of mine were touching because they were close together on the cookie sheet.  But as long as you gave them some room to spread, they’ll be fine.  Even if they touch a little.

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe from Roaming Rosie

Don’t those look delicious?!

Here’s the recipe, and the printable version below:

Sweet Honey Scones

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (one stick) cold unsalted butter, sliced
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons raw or turbinado sugar

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles large crumbs.

In a small bowl, mix the honey, vanilla, and the 1/2 cup whipping cream.  Add that to the dry mixture and stir until just moistened.  Then knead it gently with your hands to pull it all together.  Do not overmix.

Sprinkle a little flour over your work surface, and shape the dough with your hands into a circle or square about 8 inches across and one inch high.  Cut the circle into 8 large wedges or cut the square into 16 smaller squares (at this point you could also cut each square diagonally to create 32 triangles), and place the pieces an inch apart on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with the reserved heavy cream and sprinkle with the raw sugar.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the edges are just browned.

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Click here to download the free printable PDF:

Sweet Honey Scones Recipe

Happy Baking!

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Zebra Zoo Cookies

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Aren’t these CUTE???

I didn’t come up with the idea all on my own – I have my daughter’s last years preschool teachers to thank for it!  At the end of the school year, they sent home a “cookbook” of all the recipes they’d made.  My daughter was excited to flip through it and I let her pick out which recipe she’d like to remake first.

She picked the Zebra Zoos.

Now, they actually did theirs a little differently, so this is my version.

Below are all our store-bought ingredients that make this super simple to set up.  It’s the type of project where you can buy everything ahead of time and stick all the stuff in the back of the pantry until a rainy day.

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

You’ll need:

Graham Crackers

Vanilla Cake Icing

Animal Cracker Cookies

Black Candy Melts OR Chocolate Chips

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

The first step is to spread the icing over the graham crackers.

You don’t need a lot.  And you don’t need your Little Ones overdosing on sugar, so you may need to gently offer to help them smooth it out a bit.  :)

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Melt the candy melts in the microwave according to the package directions within a small baggy (preferably freezer weight), then snip the corner off to drizzle the candy back and forth over the white icing.

This will make the appearance of the zebra stripes, which is where the treat gets its name.

Why did I use candy melts instead of chocolate chips?

First of all:  the black candy melts are darker than the chocolate chips.  Black instead of brown, so more zebra-like.  Also, I wanted the flavor of them to match the icing.  The candy melts have a vanilla flavor, like white chocolate.

[hint:  you can usually buy the candy melts at Michaels with a coupon.]

Zebra Zoo Graham Cracker Cookies

Then attach a few cookies by pressing them into the black candy melt stripes before the stripes have a chance to set.  (So, right after you draw on the stripes.)

Then enjoy!

Oh….. and it would behoove you to remember to coat your workspace with waxed or parchment paper first.  Just sayin’.

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Spinkle Cookies

Sprinkle Cookies

Don’t those look deliciously fun?

Seriously, these sprinkle cookies were a super easy way to give my girls a fun project in the kitchen.

First of all, they love sprinkles.  LOVE.  Them.

So when I put tiny paper plates full of colorful sprinkles in front of them, there were many squeals of joy.

Making Sprinkle Cookies With The Kids!

We used a box cookie mix for this {thanks to Publix BOGO}.

So it was just a basic sugar cookie and piles of whatever sprinkles we had in the pantry.

The girls rolled the cookies in the sprinkles, creating wonderfully colorful cookies, and we baked them according to the package directions.

Sprinkle Cookies

Look at how pretty they were even before baking:  like little sparkly jewels!

They certainly made movie night even more exciting.  :)

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The Most Dangerous Video on the Web

WARNING!  I am about to share with you a video of something very, very dangerous:

A Magic Chocolate Lava Cake.

I actually found this video by way of some gifs that reached into my chest and stole my breath straight from my lungs.  Some people would call this a gasp, but it’s really more of a gasm.

An ooey, gooey, luscious, shivering foodgasm, that is.

You can watch the the chocolate miracle being made right before your eyes:

And you can find the recipe at How To Cook That.

I now have the desire to throw a party for the sole purpose of serving this dessert.