It’s barely cooling down these days, but we’ve already broken out our blankets for winter. They’re in every room and in every variety. Soft and furry, plush and coarse, too big to fold, too small to cover our feet.
They’re comforting, especially now, when the idea of winter and cooler temperatures starts to creep up on us. Even Guss has started sleeping with us again — a sure, adorable sign that real blanket weather is getting closer.
Let’s be real here, though. The only thing potentially more comforting than blanket weather is chocolate. And in today’s case, chocolate spelt cupcakes with a mascarpone frosting and thick pomegranate syrup on top.
That’s a whole lotta things happening in one cupcake, but they are all so in sync and combine to make the most wholesome sweet treat you could indulge in. It might seem intimidating, but please believe my promises that this is pretty no-fuss and worth every delicious bite.
Chocolate cake is a fickle friend, and for the longest time I wasn’t a fan. But it’s just right here, and the nuttiness of spelt flour comes through in a big way to lend a hand with flavor. Vote for spelt this November, ya hear?
If you don’t have mascarpone on hand, you can opt for a standard buttercream instead. Though, the mascarpone flavor balances so well with the pomegranates, it’s hard for me to imagine buttercream beating it out at the polls.
So, before you break out your blankets, think about heading into the kitchen and breaking out your cupcake tin and some cocoa powder. Comfort will soon follow.
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup preferred nut milk
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1 pomegranate)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. This will take several minutes.
- Add vanilla and beat until combined. Then add eggs one at a time and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute per egg.
- On low speed, add half of the flour mixture and beat until combined. Then add half of the milk, followed by remaining flour mixture. Once combined, add the rest of the milk and beat until combined.
- Divide batter between the 12 cups and bake for about 18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool slightly before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the pomegranate topping by placing 3/4 cup of seeds in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until some juices are released and the seeds soften – about 4-5 minutes.
- Place the heated seeds in a blender with about 1 teaspoon of water and blend slightly. Place the topping in a small bowl and chill in a refrigerator.
- To make the frosting, cream butter, mascarpone, vanilla, and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fully incorporated.
- Pipe or spread frosting on the cupcakes, then top each cupcake with the blended pomegranate sauce. Sprinkle the reserved 1/4 cup of seeds on top. Serve immediately and enjoy.
On this lovely Friday, getting ready for the weekend, all I know is that I love this shake and this shake loves me.
But really, in our smoothie/shake-obsessed apartment, this one is at the top of the list right now. Plus, it’s still in the high 80s down here in Austin, so cold beverages are the way to go.
Keep the chia seeds out if you’re not a fan of them and the texture they add to smoothies. Otherwise, enjoy this lovely, creamy fall concoction. And have some Guss links, too!
Keep it chill with these autumn acai bowls topped with all the good stuff, including pomegranate seeds. So decadent.
This five-spice roasted butternut squash from Taste, Love, & Nourish looks delicious and super easy to pull together. So smart. So seasonal.
Peanut butter cookies with a chocolate-peanut topping. Um. Yes, please.
Are you not a fan of fall? Because these candy cane chocolate cookies are getting me in the wintry spirit.
And lastly, just to have a dose of spooky, check out these monster s’mores. They make me want to throw a Halloween party. Spooky, for real.
Shake it up this weekend, y’all!
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-2 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
- 1 heaping teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon almond butter
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut milk yogurt
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or non-fat milk
Of the things in life I love most, chocolate and caramel are pretty high on the list. But, unfortunately for me, consuming inordinate amounts of chocolate and caramel isn’t exactly the healthiest decision ever.
Enter these raw pumpkin spiced caramel cups. I ate four in succession without any hesitation or guilt. I also ate one as part of my (balanced?) breakfast today. All of this to say that these rule and my addiction to chocolate and caramel can live on – and be seasonally inspired by pumpkin! Hurrah, hurrah!
Guss and I were left to our own devices this weekend while Lawrence served groomsman duties for a wedding in Houston, and boy, did we party hard making these luscious cups.
They are crazy easy to put together, and use a minimal amount of ingredients. No refined sugar. Completely vegan and gluten-free. Gooey and chocolate-y. Delicious times a million. AKA everything you could ever want for in an indulgent treat.
Tip: if you have leftover pumpkin puree from a can, throw it in ice cube molds and freeze to add to smoothies. Like I said, Guss and I partied hard. Also, if you don’t care about these being vegan, you can sub in honey for maple syrup. You could also melt down your favorite chocolate, but this coconut oil method is what keeps the cups “raw.”
And that’s it. So easy to make and even easier to enjoy. In fact, I think I’ll head back to my fridge now and sneak a few more of these before the weekend comes to an end. Because what is a weekend without lots and lots of chocolate and caramel?
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3/4 cup pitted soft Medjool dates (about 9-10 dates)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Line a mini muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
- Whisk together coconut oil, cacao powder, and maple syrup. Pour one teaspoon of chocolate into each muffin liner, and tilt them to coat the sides. Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, until frozen solid.
- In a food processor fitted with the s-blade attachment, process dates until they form a ball. Add coconut oil and process for about 15 more seconds.
- Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula and add remaining ingredients. Process until combined — the caramel will be thick, so be sure to stir with the rubber spatula after to fully combine everything.
- Evenly distribute caramel into each of the cups (about a teaspoon each) and use your finger or a spoon to flatten the caramel into a layer. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Pour remaining chocolate over top of the caramel (about a scant teaspoon per cup) and tilt the cups to make sure the chocolate covers the entire caramel surface.
- Freeze until ready to serve, or serve and enjoy immediately.
Let’s expand. Out of my immediate family, I have the most pronounced accent. A heavy user of “y’all” and “goodness gracious,” I’ve always been happy to have my little bit of twang. “Justified” has since changed my perception of twang, though. Based for the most part in rural Kentucky, the show sure doesn’t mess around with its lingo — we even have to use subtitles.
And while I may not use phrases like “horn-tossing mood” or “don’t rile the wagon master,” as soon we finish watching a couple of episodes, I feel my drawl expanding. And I kind of like it. (Hint: here’s a list of “colorful” Texas sayings that will give you something to yeehaw about).
You’re probably here for these pretzels, though. As you should be. I think pretzels can be a bit intimidating for people and leave them staying in the shadows of their mama’s apron (see what I’m doing here?). But, they’re really so easy, and once you put them in the oven, you’ll be chomping down in no time.
Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, keep a few things in mind. Be sure to use good, coarse salt – in the dough and for sprinkling. What is a pretzel without salt? No good. Also, be careful not to over-knead your dough or work it too hard when you’re rolling it out.
So, go on now, ya hear? Get all gussied up, throw your hat over the windmill, and eat these glorious pretzels. You’ll be happy as a hog in the mud.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups hot water (about 110 degrees)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt + more for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1/4 cup baking soda + 8 cups water
- Place water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and rosemary. Knead with the dough hook attachment for several minutes until all ingredients come together to produce a smooth dough. If your kitchen is hot, you will likely need the extra 1/2 cup of water.
- Place dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl and cover with dishtowels. Let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a long rope (about 14-16 inches long). Twist each rope into a small pretzel and place on the prepared baking sheets. Let sit.
- Bring baking soda and water to a boil in a large pot. Using a small strainer or slotted spatula, drop 3 pretzels in the water at a time. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip each pretzel and cook the bottom side for 30 more seconds.
- Remove from water and place back on the prepared baking sheets, topside up. Let cool slightly (about 30 seconds) before generously sprinkling each pretzel with salt.
- Bake pretzels for 8-10 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown and cooked throughout. Let cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm and enjoy.
This was supposed to be a frittata full of all sorts of fun veggies. But things happen, and somehow fun veggies end up being roasted for dinner after you realize that two people probably couldn’t down a whole frittata all by themselves.
Right around the same time, you also realize you caught “pumpkin fever” and just have to go to find some pumpkin puree and do super fun things with it immediately.
I would say a browned butter graham cracker crust and swirls of quality dark chocolate are particularly fun. Wouldn’t you? Oh, and I guess I should mention that there’s browned butter in the pumpkin base also. Like I was saying…FUN.
If you think you know how to make the best funfetti cake around, you’re probably wrong. Unless you’re Molly Yeh. Go read about her extensive testing with funfetti and how to get the best results. She made homemade sprinkles, y’all.
Lawrence doesn’t love peanut butter quite like I do, but he might after he tries this three-ingredient peanut butter fudge. Only five minutes of cooking time and no processed ingredients. All the yum.
Brussels sprouts and I are in a very committed relationship, and these tart cherry glazed B-sprouts just cement that love even further. Thank you, Love & Olive Oil.
You know those roasted veggies I was talking about earlier? This makes me want to toss them in some really tasty quinoa, pack it up, and take it to my office for a healthy meal.
And here’s some chocolate for you, because it just wouldn’t be a good weekend without an extra dose of the good stuff. Salted chocolate macadamia apricot bites. Yum.
Anyway, I hope you’ve all caught pumpkin fever, too. Turns out being “sick” can be quite fun.
- 1 1/3 cup unsalted butter, browned
- 12 graham crackers
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- One 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6 ounces quality dark chocolate (72-78%)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with an s-blade attachment, grind graham crackers into a very fine crumb. Pour 2/3 of a cup of the melted browned butter into the food processor with the graham crackers and process until incorporated. Reserve the rest of the butter in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Evenly spread the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the 8×8. Use the back of your hands to flatten it properly.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool while you assemble the filling.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In the large mixing bowl with the reserved browned butter, add the pumpkin puree and sugars. Stir with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Add egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
- Add flour mixture to the pumpkin base in increments, stirring thoroughly to rid the batter of any lumps. It should be thick, but smooth.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave and let cool slightly.
- Add half of the pumpkin filling on top of the cooled graham cracker crust and spread into an even layer. Drizzle half the melted chocolate over top, then use a knife to swirl the chocolate and pumpkin together. Repeat.
- Bake for 28-32 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan before serving and enjoying.
Guess what? I wrote a guest post! This beautiful, crunchy granola is over on A Cup of Jo right now as part of their delicious food series.
The granola is part of an apple-themed series, and it was so tasty to test recipes and be a part of this. I’ll show you a couple pictures here, but head over to Joanna’s site for the full recipe, more photos, and other tasty apple dishes coming soon.
A few hints at how awesome this recipe is: you don’t need to peel any apples and everything comes together in one baking sheet. Yep. You read right. You mix all the goodness up on the baking sheet that you then slide into the oven.
So, to review, you’ve got lots of apples, glorious maple flavor, and about 5 minutes of prep. You want the recipe, right? Go visit Joanna’s blog for all the good stuff.
There’s really nothing more to moments like that, except how fantastic you feel when you finally bite into that buttery biscuit. It melts in your mouth while your worries melt away.
Aren’t those some biscuits you want? Yes. The answer is yes.
And you know what the good news is about these biscuits? You only need one bowl — everything is mixed together in under 5 minutes. And then they bake for 15 minutes. Super quick, no-knead biscuits. Filled with bacon and sharp white cheddar cheese. Yum.
Do you need to know anything else about these biscuits? I don’t think so. Basically they are all of your biscuit dreams in one easy recipe.
Don’t wake me up. I’ll be eating biscuits.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup bacon, cooked and diced
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cheese and bacon.
- Using your hands, cut in the butter until only a few pea-sized pieces remain. Pour in heavy cream, and mix together the batter with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Using a 1/4-cup scoop, drop dough onto the baking sheet and slightly reshape and flatten each scoop to be more like discs.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve warm and enjoy.