Pumpkin Pie Swirls - cookie or pastry?

In one of my previous posts I had made a delicious pumpkin spice cake - the recipe only calls for half a can of pureed pumpkin, so not wanting to be wasteful I thought I'd use it in these delicious cookie-pastry-cross swirls/pinwheels.

Sounds a little confusing, but it's not really they are cookie like, but the dough is more pastry like. Whatever you want to call them they are sooooooo good!

It's the time of year for pumpkin. I used to think that pumpkin pie was only for Thanksgiving, but in reality pumpkins are totally a Halloween thing. So, pumpkin pie and cake and lattes are comfortable in October and November. Neither month owns the pumpkin. It even flows over into December.

Perhaps I should stop sharing my random thoughts and get to the recipe! The dough or batter or whatever you want to call it needs to spend some time in the fridge so be sure to read the recipe through and note the times!

Pumpkin Pie Swirls

270g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter
225g cream cheese
225g pumpkin puree
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
115g light brown sugar

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and cream cheese until creamy and there are no lumps. If using a free-standing mixer or hand mixer slow it down and add the flour and salt mixture little by little. Continue to mix until completely smooth. It is a sticky dough. Lay out a piece of cling film and lightly dust with flour, also lightly dust your hands and form the dough into a ball and place on the cling film tightly wrapping it up and chilling in the fridge over night.

The next day.....

Before taking the dough out of the fridge mix the pumpkin puree with all the spices and sugar.
Lay out a piece of grease proof baking paper and as the dough will still be a little sticky sprinkle a little bit of flour over the top and bottom to avoid stick-age. Then roll it all out into an oblong shape. Spread about half of the pumpkin puree mixture over the top and leave about a half an inch border. Add more filling if you need it, if you don't then don't!
Starting with the longest side towards you and using the baking paper for support start to tightly roll up the dough. Some of the filling will squish out and that's okay. Once rolled pinch the edges to avoid too much of the filling squishing out and wrap in the baking paper and then cover tightly with cling film. Place in the fridge for a minimum of

2 hours later.....

Heat the oven to 200C/400F and line your baking sheets with grease proof paper. Take the roll out of the fridge and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place on the prepared baking sheets with space between the pinwheels and bake for 12-14 minutes. They should be a light golden brown in color. While the swirls are cooling make the frosting.

40g unsalted butter
250g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp boiling water

Beat the butter, icing sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. I tend to add my icing sugar a little at a time to avoid it exploding everywhere, but to each their own. Add a tablespoon of hot water one at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. tip - to make these even more pumpkin pie like add about a tsp of cinnamon to the frosting and beat well! 

Once the swirls are cooled spread the frosting on top of each one with a spoon! Then enjoy!

These are one of those treats that ticks all the boxes - they are easy, although they take a bit of time. Also they taste good and best of all they are full of all the spices I associate with comfort and winter!

Are you feeling the pumpkin love? Check out some of my other pumpkin bakes: Spiced Pumpkin Cake; Pumpkin CupcakesPumpkin Spice M&M Cookies; Pumpkin Pie; Pumpkin Pasties (another great recipe for half a can of pumpkin puree); Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins; Pumpkin Spice Latte Meringues; Pumpkin Cake.

*recipe is adapted from a recipe in Sugar Sugar: every recipe has a story by Kimberly Reiner and Jenna Sanz-Agero

Easy Choc Dip and Drizzle Cookies from Dr Oetker {recipe/product review}

I don't have a microwave. Some people find that weird and others don't have them either and so can relate. It really hasn't affected my kitchen life. 

Until I agree to try out a recipe from the Dr. Oetker website and even picked the recipe I thought looked great, only to find out that the White Easy Choc pot suggests it to be microwaved. It was at this point I was annoyed with myself for not paying attention to all the details. 

However, as I re-read I was excited to see I didn't need a microwave at all because I could just put the pot in a bowl and then pour hot water around it just like a bain marie aka water bath aka double boiler type situation. Perfect! 

This recipe is one of the easiest cookie recipes I have tried and would be a great one to make with kids, once the cookies are dipped you could easily let them decorate them with all sorts of sprinkles! I kept mine plain because I was lacking in sprinkles... I should really stock back up..... 

Back to what I was saying these are easy cookies to make and what I haven't said yet is that they are soft and chocolatey! They would make a perfect treat after school or dinner or bake sale! As Dr. Oetker are the proud sponsors of the Great British Bake Off I think I can safely say .... 

Get ready, set, bake! 

Easy Choc Dip and Drizzle Cookies

100g unsalted butter
75g dark brown sugar 
1 medium egg yolk 
100g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 pot of Dr. Oetker White Easy Choc

Heat the oven to 190˚C (170˚C fan oven, 375˚F, gas 5). Line 1-2 baking trays with baking parchment. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and well blended. Beat in the egg yolk.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Divide the mixture into 16 rounds approx. 4cm (1 ½ inches) in diameter and place on the baking trays, spaced slightly apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until just firm and lightly cracked on top. Cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Melt the Easy Choc as directed on the pot, and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Arrange the cookies on a board lined with baking parchment. And, using a teaspoon, thickly drizzle half of them with the melted Easy Choc. Half dip the remaining cookies and place back on the parchment to set.

*Dr. Oetker got in touch with me and sent me a few of the products mentioned above to bake these cookies from their website, the recipe can be found here  link no longer available. There was no other compensation given - all opinions are my own for more information please see my contact/policy page above. 

Bounty Cupcakes - A Birthday Treat!

I have a confession to make. I am the worst gift giver. It's not something I enjoy doing because the amount of pressure, I most likely put on myself, to find the perfect gift. Also I am tight when it comes to money and if I am going to spend my money on a gift it has to be good. Right?

The point of this mini-rant is that instead of having a minor anxiety attack over a present for friends I just bake their favorite cake or bake! My friend Sam recently turned 30 and had a low-key party at her house so I brought a dozen cupcakes.

After a text of "name your top five favorite cakes" she responded with chocolate, coconut, peanut butter, carrot cake, and red velvet. It was a no-brainer to combine the first two choices with these delicious cupcakes from a Hummingbird Bakery cookbook - Home Sweet Home. The book is 4 years old now, not as old as my friend Sam though! Sorry Sam!

If you want to make these again here's how!

Bounty Cupcakes

70g unsalted butter
170g plain flour
250g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
210 ml whole milk
2 large eggs
about 6 Bounty's total, cut into chunks as seen in the photos
desiccated coconut, to decorate

500g icing sugar, sifted
160g unsalted butter
60 ml coconut milk

Heat the oven to 170C and line your muffin tin!
Beat the butter, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in a freestanding mixer or with a handheld mixer, until combined but crumb looking.
In a separate bowl mix the milk and eggs together with a fork.
Gradually add the milk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients, beat until just combined.
Using an ice cream scoop if available, scoop the batter into the cases. Place a piece of Bounty in the middle before baking for 20-25 minutes in your pre-heated oven.
To tell when the cupcakes are done they should spring back slightly when gently prodded.

While they are cooling make the frosting, by beating the butter until whipped and then gradually add the icing sugar. This is to keep it from flying everywhere. Slowly pour in the coconut milk, beating all the while. Once it is all incorporated beat on high for a minute or two to get it fluffy.

Frost the cupcakes once they are cooled and sprinkle with desiccated coconut and top with a piece of Bounty!

These were good cupcakes and a hit with the birthday girl and her party goers! I would be curious to try these the other way around, coconut cupcakes with a chocolate frosting ...... maybe for next time!

top tip - bargain stores have small cans (120ml) of coconut milk so you don't have to buy a huge tin (400 odd ml). However, if you can't find a small can use the rest of the coconut milk for a curry or something?

Last note - if you like to bake and you don't own a Hummingbird Bakery book I suggest you get one immediately. Not later, I mean right this minute go online, you already are online so it's easy right? And order yourself a copy of  Hummingbird Bakery The Cookbook, Cake Days, Home Sweet Home, or Life is Sweet. My personal favorite is Cake Days, but have a look as every single recipe I have ever tried of any one of these books has turned out for me!

Autumn/Winter Reading List - United Cakedom

It's another one! I don't know if any of you are actually interested in what books I have lined up to read, but for me it helps me get through the pile if I have put it out there. It is a part of my personality that I do as I say I am going to do. So, I get away with stuff by not saying I will do anything. It takes a lot for me to commit to something. Hence the list's, I've committed to reading these books. 

However, I didn't quite manage to get all the books on my summer reading list read either - so they are still technically on the list too! Dead Zone by Stephen King and Happy by Ferne Cotton. However, when I do make these lists it tends to give me a bit of direction when it comes to tackling my huge pile of books! And narrows the "what to read next" question down!

When I was writing the summer list I was like "Yes, warm summer days to read outside in the park or if you're lucky by a beach!" Now I'm like "Nice rainy days are perfect for cuddling up with a cup of coffee or tea and a great book or if you're lucky by a roaring fire!" 

It just proves books are great for all seasons!! 

The Grisha Trilogy: by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, Ruin and Rising 
synopsis - (from Shadow and Bone) The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, is slowly destroying the once great nation of Ravka. Allina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the world of the kingdom's magical elite - the Grisha. Could she be the key to setting Ravka free? The Darkling, a man of seductive charm and terrifying power. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him. But what of Mal, Alina's childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, what can't she ever quite forget him?

-I was suppose to give out copies of this book for World Book Night two years ago, but the copies never made it to my library pick up point. Ever since I have been intrigued and managed to pick up copies of book one and two at a charity shop and am keeping an eye out for the third. 

The Yorkshire Pudding Club by Milly Johnson
synopsis - Three South Yorkshire friends, all on the cusp of 40, fall pregnant at the same time following a visit to an ancient fertility symbol. For Helen, it's a dream come true, although her husband is not as thrilled about it as she had hoped. Not only wrestling with painful ghosts of the past, Helen has to deal with the fact that her outwardly perfect marriage is crumbling before her eyes. For Janey, it is an unmitigated disaster as she has just been offered the career break of a life-time. And she has no idea either how it could possibly have happened, seeing as she and her ecstatic husband George were always so careful over contraception. For Elizabeth, it is mind-numbing, because she knows people like her shouldn't have children. Damaged by her dysfunctional childhood and emotionally lost, she not only has to contend with carrying a child she doubts she can ever love, but she also has to deal with the return to her life of a man whose love she must deny herself.

- I was given a copy of this book in a book giveaway I managed to snag on twitter years ago. I have read The Teashop on the Corner by Milly Johnson and it was a light hearted easy read perfect for when life is just a little too much! 

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
synopsis - A God in Ruins relates the life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have. 

- A couple of summers ago I had Life after Life on my summer reading list and although it took a while to get into, I couldn't put it down so when I saw that there was a book following Ursula's brother I just had to get a copy! If you have never read anything by Kate Atkinson, I think you need to remedy that immediately starting with Scene's Behind the Museum or the Jackson Brodie novels!! 

The Good Psycopath's Guide to Success by Dr Kevin Dutton & Andy McNab
synopsis - How to use your inner psychopath to get the most out of life - Professor Kevin Dutton has spent a lifetime studying psychopaths. He first met SAS hero Andy McNab during a research project. What he found surprised him. McNab is a diagnosed psychopath but he is a GOOD PSYCHOPATH. Unlike a BAD PSYCHOPATH, he is able to dial up or down qualities such as ruthlessness, fearlessness, conscience and empathy to get the very best out of himself – and others – in a wide range of situations. Drawing on the combination of Andy McNab’s wild and various experiences and Professor Kevin Dutton’s expertise in analysing them, together they have explored the ways in which a good psychopath thinks differently and what that could mean for you. What do you really want from life, and how can you develop and use qualities such as charm, coolness under pressure, self-confidence and courage to get it? The Good Psychopath Manifesto gives you a unique and entertaining road-map to self-fulfillment both in your personal life and your career.

- To be honest I am not entirely sure what drew me to pick this book up, another charity find, I just thought that sounds interesting. 

How to Eat Better by James Wong
synopsis - Between the rush to keep up with the latest miracle ingredient, anxiety about E-numbers and demonization of gluten/dairy/sugar (or the next foodie villain du jour) many of us are left in a virtual panic in the supermarket aisle. Tabloid headlines, 'free-from' labels and judgemental Instagram hashtags hardly help matters - so what should we be buying? How to Eat Better strips away the fad diets, superfood fixations and Instagram hashtags to give you a straight-talking scientist's guide to making everyday foods far healthier (and tastier) simply by changing the way you select, store and cook them. No diets, no obscure ingredients, no damn spiralizer, just real food made better, based on the latest scientific evidence from around the world. With over 80 foolproof recipes to put the theory into practice, James Wong shows you how to make any food a superfood, every time you cook.

-There is so much out there these days on what's good for us and what's bad for us and they vary in extremes. James has taken years to write this book giving a clear and straight forward way to look at food and get the best out of it, I haven't read it through and that is why it's on my list as I must give it proper time and attention.