Pumpkin Spice Blondies

I’m all about pumpkin this time of year! I had 3 pumpkins worth of puree, and these blondies were some of the goodies that we enjoyed from said puree. The recipe is a one-bowl wonder, found and adapted from Crazy for Crust, and comes together super fast. The resulting blondies are perfectly spiced, and their texture is just perfect!

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Yield: One 9”x13” Pan

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9”x13” pan with aluminum foil and grease generously. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, butter, pumpkin puree, and granulated sugar. Whisk until combined. Add egg yolk and vanilla extract and whisk until thoroughly combined. Mix in cinnamon, nutmeg (if using), baking soda, salt, ginger, and allspice. Add all-purpose flour and gently mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Use lightly dampened hands to press the batter evenly into the pan. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and the center looks slightly under baked, 18 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in the pan itself. Remove from pan, slice, and serve.

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Pakistani Carrot Rice Pudding / Gajrela (Gajar Ki Kheer)

It’s that time of the month again- Muslim Food Bloggers Challenge Reveal Day! This month was special because it marked the end of one year since these challenges began. The theme of this month was to go back and revisit a past challenge of our choice. It could be one that we missed, or one that we wanted to do again. I chose to combine two-

  1. Share a Pakistani recipe.
  2. Share a recipe from a Muslimah blogger.

I’m sharing a recipe for Pakistani Carrot and Rice Pudding, also called Gajrela (or gajar ki kheer). The recipe is actually from a vlogger who shares videos on her youtube channel- Cook With Faiza. I love her recipes because they are authentic and her demeanor is very approachable.

I made this recipe over the summer while I was visiting my family in California. While I was there, my mom and I hosted a surprise anniversary party for my brother and sister in-law (she is more sister than in-law. Love you SaraMaa!). I was originally going to share this recipe back in September for the monthly challenge. Imagine my surprise when I saw that Rafeeda from The Big Sweet Tooth had posted the same dish! Ha! At the last moment I decided to go with something else that was a regional specialty (Karachi Bun Kababs). Truly, great minds do think alike 😉

Anyway, this recipe is very special to Pakistani cuisine, and with the coming cooler months, it is even more special. Enjoy!

Check out all the yummies everyone is sharing this month by clicking on the graphic below!

 

 

Gajrela

Yield: 10-12 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups whole milk
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and grated
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup basmati rice, ground coarsely
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • Handful sliced almonds or pistachios

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pot, heat milk over medium heat until it comes to a low boil, stirring often to prevent the milk from burning. Add grated carrots and stir. Once the milk returns to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the carrots have softened considerably, about 20 to 30 minutes. Be sure to stir often.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and ground cardamom. Add sugar mixture to carrots and mix well. Add ground rice and condensed milk and mix until thoroughly combined. Cook, while stirring often to prevent burning, until significantly reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes. Add sliced nuts and remove from heat.

Gajrela can be served warm or cold. Garnish with additional sliced nuts, if desired.

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Are you all ready for the onslaught that is pumpkin season? I AM!

I’ve been swimming in pumpkin these past several weeks, and totally loving it! Also, I finally tried my hand at making my own pumpkin puree. You guys, it is SO easy! I had three pie pumpkins hanging around, much thanks to a field trip my son’s class took to an orchard (and also a local fall festival), so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. All you have to do it trim off the stem and cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh, and roast them in the oven (350°F) for about an hour.  Once they’re done cooking, let them cool a bit, scoop out the flesh, and puree away (if you find it too thin, simply pour it into a strainer and let it sit until your desired consistency is reached)! So so easy!

So about this recipe- I made it several times last year, and it was always a hit. I tried again this year, and again it was a stunner. I love this recipe because it doesn’t require the crust to be pre-baked, and the filling is a one-bowl recipe.

(Recipe adapted from A Treats Affair.)

 

 

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Yield: One 9”x13” Pan

Ingredients:

For Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

For Filling:

  • 4 packs (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

Directions:

Prepare Crust:

Preheat oven to 300°F and set aside a aluminum foil or parchment paper lined 9”x13” pan.

In a medium bowl, combine graham crackers crumbs and melted butter. Transfer to prepared pan and press the crumbs on to the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Prepare Filling:

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium low speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat until thoroughly combined. Pour half of the mixture over the crust, and spread evenly.

To remaining cheesecake filling, whisk in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Carefully spoon mixture evenly over the pan.

Bake until the edges are set and the center is still a little wobbly, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving.

Chicken Chili

There’s definitely a nip in the air, and when it gets cold there is nothing better than a bowl of steaming hot chili. There is already a beef-based chili recipe here on the blog, but I wanted to switch things up this time and give chicken chili a chance. I found this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and adapted it to be cooked traditionally on the stovetop. The recipe comes together fast, and yields a flavorful and healthy meal. With autumn finally settling in and winter fast approaching, it looks like there is a lot of chili in my near future 😉

 

 

Chicken Chili

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • ¾ – 1 pound boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 (14 ounce) can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ bell pepper, any color, diced
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Heat oil in a large vessel over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until no longer raw. Reduce heat to medium low and transfer chicken to a plate and shred.

Add remaining ingredients and shredded chicken to the pot and stir. Cover and cook until thick and bubbly, about 30 minutes.

 

Apple Twist Bread

My favorite season is autumn, and I’m so happy that it is upon us! Living in the Midwest, we really learn to appreciate the changing of the seasons. Nature provides us with the most spectacular show- the changing colors of the trees! At the moment, our front and back yard is littered with literally hundreds of dead leaves, but I would be lying if I said that it bothered me.

With autumn comes it’s wonderful produce- apples and pumpkins! I love baking with both, and I truly look forward to it once the weather changes. We went apple picking recently, and these Apple Twist Breads were the result of said harvest. I made these last year as well and they were a hit. I got the recipe from King Arthur Flour, and it was a part of their September Bakealong Challenge as well. These are amazing as is, but their amazingness is elevated when you warm them up a bit…Speaking from experience, you know 😉

 

 

Apple Twist Bread

Yield: 2 Loaves

Ingredients:

For Dough:

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons yeast
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons milk, lukewarm
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For Filling:

  • 1 cup peeled and grated apple
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 – 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

Make Dough:

In the bowl of a mixer, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. With the mixer running on low speed, add egg, milk, butter, and vanilla. Once the dough comes together, increase speed to medium and knead until the soft and smooth, but still a bit sticky, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, about 2 hours.

Make Filling:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and mix well. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the apple begins to release its juices. Increase heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Cook, while stirring, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Assemble Bread:

Set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

After the dough has doubled, punch it down. Transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two portions, and work with one portion at a time. Roll each portion out into a 10-inch by 12-inch rectangle. Spread the apple filling evenly over both rectangles, leaving a ½-inch margin along the edges.

Starting with the long side, roll up the rectangles into logs, pinching the ends together to seal.   Using a sharp knife, cut the logs in half lengthwise. Place two of the half-logs, cut-side facing upwards, on prepared baking sheet. Keeping the filling-side face up braid the two logs together, pinching the ends together. Repeat with remaining dough, keeping several inches space between both loaves. Cover lightly and set aside until puffy, 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Bake loaves until lightly browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour before applying glaze.

Make Glaze:

Combine all ingredients (start with 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, and add more as needed) in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over the loaves.

 

Note: Leftover bread can be stored loosely wrapped at room temperature.