Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Yesterday really felt like Fall. It was cold, cloudy, and raining in the morning and so I did what any sensible person would do. I called in to work and took the day off. I pulled the covers back over my head and slept in for a while, then got up and put on comfy clothes and fuzzy socks. I spent the day curled up on the couch drinking cinnamon spice coffee, and watched chick flicks, read a good novel, painted my toenails, and watched the rain through the window. I baked a yummy cake that filled the house with aromas of cinnamon and pumpkin and caramel. It was the perfect autumn rainy day.

OK, time for reality. I didn’t do that. Homekeeping, for all its wonderful qualities, doesn’t have the perk of “sick days” unless I really am sick. So I didn’t call and take the day off. I didn’t sleep in. I did wear comfy clothes, but my shirt was covered in spit-up by day’s end. I did drink some coffee and have a little downtime when both Little Man and Little Lady were miraculously napping at the same time. But the rest of the day included watching Disney movies and Super Why! with Little Man, reading Dr. Seuss books, and walking around with Little Lady in my arms for a long time trying to get her to sleep. And while I didn’t get to leisurely watch the rain, I did get to see Little Man play tag with the cat and give kisses to Little Lady. I got to watch Little Lady smile in her sleep as I held her. Still a perfect autumn day, just in a different way.

And I did bake the yummy cake. It was a quick and easy recipe that I was able to pull off even with the kids awake and wanting attention. The house smelled amazing and the cake tasted so good. I will definitely be making this recipe again, whenever I need a quick “perfect autumn day” fix.

I found this recipe on Not So Humble Pie, and altered it slightly. I baked it in a 9×13 pan and changed a couple proportions in the streusel. Finally, I topped the cake with a drizzle of homemade caramel, because pumpkin and caramel are soulmates.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

1 stick butter, softened
11/2 cups sugar
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt

Streusel:

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbs butter, melted
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the pumpkin and eggs and mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Combine streusel ingredients together and sprinkle over batter in pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool about 20 minutes before applying Caramel Drizzle (below).

Caramel Drizzle (optional, but highly recommended):

In a saucepan, combine 2 tbs butter and 6 tbs packed brown sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves mixture boils. Once the mixture boils, add in 2 tbs heavy cream (the mixture will bubble like crazy). Swirl the pan to combine and boil for 1-2 minutes longer. Drizzle caramel over the coffee cake.

Cut a big slice of cake and take a few minutes to slip into autumn rainy day bliss.

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Cinnamon Toast Crunch Apple Pie Bars

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The last couple of mornings I have really started to notice that the days are getting shorter. The sun is rising later and that means summer is on its way out and autumn is coming. Big Man couldn’t be happier since he loves autumn and winter. He’s all about the cold weather and snow and lack of sunlight. I’m not as big a fan, but I am excited for the weather to start cooling off. And autumn does mean fun things like sweaters and boots. And pretty leaves. And boots. And baking with all those warm, homey flavors like cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg. Did I mention boots? All right, I guess I’m ok with autumn.

So in celebration of the coming of autumn, I made these apple pie bars. I was looking for something apple-y and more interesting than traditional pie when I came across this recipe on the cookiesandcups site. Pie in bar form? With an icing drizzle? And an excuse to eat more sugary cereal that I already do? Sign me up.20110811-082348.jpg

These bars are definitely more labor intensive than my berry pie bars. In fact, I’m not sure I saved any time at all over making an actual apple pie. But these were totally worth it.  They were so yummy and really tasted exactly like apple pie. It was fun to have all those apple pie flavors in an easy-to-eat bar and the addition of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and icing really put it over the top.

Celebrate autumn with me.  Make these soon. If for no other reason than to have an excuse to buy more Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I halved the original recipe and used an 8×11 glass pan. Here is my adaptation of the original recipe.

Crust

1 1/4 cups flour
pinch salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 eggs separated, keep both parts
1/3 cup whole milk

In a bowl, mix the flour and salt, then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Whisk the egg yolk and add half of it to the milk. Add the egg and milk to the bowl and mix with your hands until a dough forms (it will be sticky). Separate into two halves, flatten each into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling

1 scant cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
3-4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup powdered sugar
dash cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush the cereal into fine crumbs (I put it in a Ziploc bag and used my hands to squish it around). Roll one of the dough disks into a 9×12 rectangle and place into baking dish, with dough coming up the sides about 3/4 inch. Pour the crushed cereal into an even layer on the dough. Top with an even layer of the apple slices, then mix the powdered sugar and cinnamon sprinkle over the apples. Roll out the other dough disk and place on top, sealing the edges with your fingers.

Topping

Reserved egg white
2 tbs sugar
dash cinnamon

Whisk the egg white in a bowl with a little bit of water. Brush about half of the egg onto the top crust and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar. Bake for about 45 minutes until crust is golden brown and apples are soft. Cool for 1 hour.

Icing

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbs milk

Whisk ingredients together and drizzle over bars. Let cool another 2 hours or until completely cool and enjoy!

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