Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

I missed the boat on making these Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars for our Thanksgiving dessert. My mom usually makes apple pie and sweet potato pie but since I knew she wasn’t going to make sweet potato pies I planned to make the cheesecake bars. I had also promised my friend Eb that I would bring him some the next time I came to get my hair done. Being a woman of my word, I was forced to make the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bares the day after Thanksgiving since I was going to see Eb on Saturday. The thought did cross my mind to see if I could push off making the bars until the following week but I would have felt bad not keeping my promise.

To be honest, I am so glad I followed through and made the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars. This was my first attempt at making them and it was easier than I thought it would be to pull together. The warm flavors and spices along with the creaminess of the cheesecake made this dessert a winner. Plus, I added chopped walnuts to the graham cracker crust for a slight hint of nuttiness. Pecans would also work in the crust but the day I want shopping for ingredients the walnuts were on sale. Maybe next time I will try the pecans.

If something you cook smells good, it will often taste good too. I knew the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars were probably going to be good when my son T asked how soon he could eat them when I pulled them out of the oven. Unfortunately for him, the bars had to cool down then chill for a minimum of two hours. Since it was kinda of late when I finished cooking it meant he had to wait until the next day. Hence the disappointed face I saw walk up the stairs.

In the end I was happy with the recipe and how the Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars looked and tasted. I was ever happier when Eb told me “You got something here!” after the first bite. He also said this was the kind of dessert I could sell in a cafe with a nice cup of coffee. Hmmm…. That might be a good idea.

Ingredients: 3 Layers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


3 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 stick + 2 tbsp melted unsalted butter

5 tbsp granulated sugar

Combine ingredients in a large bowl until crumbs are slightly moist. Press into a 9 x11 baking dish. Push some of the crumbs up along the sides of the dish. Set aside.

Pumpkin Layer:

2 large eggs

1 15oz can of pure pumpkin. (Do Not use canned pumpkin pie mix)

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp cinnamon

Whip all ingredients together until well blended and smooth. Pour over graham cracker crust and smooth into an even layer.

Cheesecake Layer:

1 brick softened cream cheese

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

½ cup granulated sugar

2 oz mascarpone cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Spoon mixture over pumpkin layer and smooth out. Take a butter knife and gently swirl the cheesecake into the pumpkin.

Place baking dish in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the center is set. Remove from the oven and let the bars cool for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but overnight is better. Slice into bars and enjoy!

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Banana Pumpkin Muffins


It is that time of year when the leaves turn into brilliant colors of yellow, orange and red. I love the transition of summer into fall just so I can watch the leaves blow in crisp fall winds then trickle slowly to the ground. I also love the smell of fall. The air is filled with the scent of apple cider, pumpkin and spices that let you know that fall is here and both Halloween and Thanksgiving are coming.


Since I have started baking a little more I thought I would try out a new recipe that reminded me of the season and of course would be easy to make. Banana Pumpkin Muffins popped into my mind. What is easier than making muffins? It only take a few minutes to mix all of ingredients and about 15 minutes to bake.


I use to look at really ripe bananas and think they were a missed opportunity to eat. Now, I see them as an opportunity to create. Pairing bananas and pumpkin flavors seemed like a natural fit and I was right. To make them even more yummy, I added a little crumble mix to the top of the muffins for another layer of texture and crunch. The result was a delicious moist muffin that went great with a steaming cup of coffee for my hubby and a cold glass of milk for me.


Fall is a fabulous time of year and Banana Pumpkin Muffins are a fabulous treat for fall.


Banana Pumpkin Muffins

3 ripe bananas
1 egg slightly beaten
1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup melted butter
3 tbsp pumpkin spread
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt (optional)
Pinch of pumpkin spice (optional)
20 – 24 small baking cups

Crumble Topping:
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup packed brown sugar (add a little more if necessary)
1 tbsp butter
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)

Place ingredients in a small bowl. Cut butter into the mixture until little crumbles are formed. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl gently mash the bananas leaving small chunks. Add remaining ingredients until well blended. Fill baking cups ½ way then top with crumble. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes depending on your oven. Test with a toothpick to see if the center is set.



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Sweet Potato Stuffing with Pumpkin Croutons


The holidays will soon be here so I have been trying out new recipes to bring in the season. Although stuffing is appreciated any time of the year, it graces most tables during the holidays. I absolutely love eating stuffing! I usually cut back on eating breads and sweets well in advance of Thanksgiving just so I can pig out on my mom’s cornbread stuffing.


This Thanksgiving I thought I would give my mom a run for her money and make a stuffing that had fewer calories but was still full of flavor. I came up with the idea of a sweet potato stuffing while shopping at Trader Joe’s and saw a big display of Pumpkin Cornbread Croutons. The thought of sweet potatoes and pumpkin just seemed like a natural combination.


The great thing about this recipe is that it very basic. As I have said on other occasions keeping it simple usually works best. I found the croutons provided a lot of spice so there was no need to add a lot of other seasonings. Salt, pepper and nutmeg was all that was needed to bring out the wonderful deep flavors of sweet potato and pumpkin.


As usual, I used my family as guinea pigs to try out this new dish. I served the stuffing with pork chops and greens beans and had smiles all around. So, this Thanksgiving there will be extra stuffing on the table. We just won’t tell my mom.


Sweet Potato Stuffing with Pumpkin Croutons

8 oz pumpkin cornbread croutons (Trader Joe’s)
1 medium onion diced
2 stalks celery diced
2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
1 cup chicken broth
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a medium non-stick frying pan. Add onions, celery, salt and pepper.. Saute until veggies are soft. Set aside.

Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place sweet potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes until sweet potatoes are tender and golden.

In large bowl add croutons, sweet potatoes, celery and onions. Gradually, add chicken broth to stuffing mix until croutons are softened and stuffing is well blended. Place mixture in a greased casserole dish. Dot the top with remaining butter. Bake for 30 minutes.

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Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

cupcake start 1_1

As I have said in the past, I am by no means a baker unlike my mom who can whip up a pound cake or apple pie in the blink of an eye.

cupcake start 3_1

However, I recently I thought I would stretch my wings and take a baby step towards baking a new dessert. Inspired by the smell of fall, the rustling of leaves and pumpkins everywhere I decided to make pumpkin spiced cupcakes. Yes, I know cupcakes are probably one of the easiest things to bake but I am talking baby steps here.

Pumpkin cupcake batter_1

So while looking for canned pumpkin at the grocery store (baby steps remember) I ran across pumpkin butter in the preserves aisle.  Don’t let the name fool you. I soon discovered that pumpkin butter does not contain butter at all. Since I was stretching my wings I figured I could try using pumpkin butter instead of canned pumpkin for the cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcake 5_1

The results…? Scrumptious cupcakes! I had my hubby test the cupcakes with a hot cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and he was in heaven. I preferred a tall ice cold glass of milk. Whatever you choose to drink with your cupcake I have a feeling you will enjoy it.

Pumpkin Cupcakes 1_1

For my fellow beginner bakers, try making my pumpkin spiced cupcakes. It will help build up your baking credentials. For more advanced bakers, making my pumpkin spiced cupcakes may just beef up your credentials even more.

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

1 box Duncan Hines french vanilla cake mix
3 tbsp Dickinson’s pumpkin butter
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1 can cream cheese icing
¼ cup sliced almonds crushed
Cupcake foil cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake mix according to box instructions. Add pumpkin butter and pumpkin pie spice to batter and mix until well blended. Spoon into cupcake cups. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the center is done. Test by sticking a toothpick in the center of a cupcake and see if it comes out clean.

Spread icing on top of each cupcake and sprinkle with crushed almonds.

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