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Chocolate Cupcakes Topped with Red Chocolate Frosting

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Ahhh, these cupcakes. I was looking forward all day to making them¬†and I knew exactly how they should be–perfect. Well, it didn’t work that way ūüėČ

It was¬†suppose to be a simple, fun project but it turned out to be rather frustrating.¬†First the batter was too thick (I added too much flour) and then I couldn’t get the right color of pink frosting (I wanted a light pink frosting, but I messed up on the dye.¬†In the end, I mixed some cocoa powder in and got this reddish color.)¬†If it wasn’t for the white pearls which help the cupcake’s appearance, and the fact that the cupcakes taste so delicious, I¬†wouldn’t be writing about them!

I used this chocolate cake recipe. It is our favorite chocolate cake recipe–truly the BEST. It made about two dozen cupcakes; each pan took maybe twenty minutes to bake.¬†I made the frosting from a cream cheese base…but lets not talk about the frosting because it isn’t the color I had in mind.

The cupcakes are quite rich, but it is hard to stop at one. I definitely want to try making them again, so I hope my family eats them up fast!

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

Elisabeth

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Homemade Pizza Sticks and Marinara Sauce

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These pizza sticks are delicious, and so beautifully simple to make! The crispy crust and cheesy insides, paired with steamy marinara sauce are the perfect way to start the weekend.

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We were inspired by these amazing-looking pizza bread sticks from Cookies and Cups. We made a few changes to their recipe, like making our own dough and adding spinach. Overall they were a huge hit at our house!

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Basil Marinara Sauce

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce*
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves

 

Heat olive oil in a small pot; add onion, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning, and sauté until onion is tender, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, salt, and pepper, and allow the sauce to simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When sauce is desired thickness, remove from heat and stir in grated parmesan and basil. Serve warm, or cool and refrigerate until serving.

*We often double this recipe using 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce and 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes to add amazing texture.

Pizza Sticks

Dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm water (approx. 110-115 degrees F.)
Toppings:
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 ounces pepperoni, about 30 slices
1 cup baby spinach, lightly chopped, optional

 

For dough, stir together flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add honey, olive oil, and enough water to form a soft, but sturdy dough. Mix until well-combined. Turn on to a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Divide dough in half. Let dough rest for 5-10 minutes to allow gluten to relax.

Set one half of dough on a greased baking sheet. Roll into a large rectangle to fit baking sheet. Top with 2 cups mozzarella cheese; cover with pepperoni slices. Add spinach, if desired. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese evenly over the top.

On floured surface, roll remaining half of dough into rectangle of the same size as the first. Transfer to cover pizza.

Bake on lowest rack in the oven at 375 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes, or until pizza is golden brown. Use pizza cutter to slice into desired size sticks or triangles, and serve warm with marinara sauce. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven by broiling them on low for a few minutes to make them crisp and toasty.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

 

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I love how these freshly baked chocolate chip cookies are reflected in the mixer bowl!

The secret to the yummiest looking cookies is to add a lavish amount of chocolate chips directly to the top of each cookie before baking.

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

-Kerstin and Elisabeth

 

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Day Seven: Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll

This is Day Seven in a 8 part series featuring amazing pumpkin recipes! Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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Remember the very first recipe in this pumpkin series? That’s right, those delicious Pumpkin Biscuits! Today’s recipe starts with that same super easy biscuit dough, but it takes it to a whole new level. We roll the dough into a huge rectangle¬†and¬†slather it with a buttery brown sugar mixture. Then we cut it into narrow strips and roll the strips into large circles in pie plates. It’s really simple, but the result is gorgeous! This recipe actually makes enough dough and filling for two giant cinnamon rolls, so you can have one for yourself and one to share with a friend! (Who am I trying to kid…)

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Step by step:

 

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Melt 1/2 cup butter in a glass measuring cup. Mix in a pile of brown sugar, maybe a cup or so. Just add it until it seems sweet enough. Then stir in a large teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

 

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Yep, just like that.

 

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Here is the dough, all ready to go.

 

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Roll it to about 1/4 inch thickness.

 

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Spread the butter/brown sugar mixture evenly across it. As you can see below, we sprinkled on some extra sugar in a few places, because it was a bit thin.

 

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Using a pizza cutter (or a sharp spatula) cut the dough into narrow strips, approximately 1 inch wide.

 

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Roll the dough into circles. After the first strip, I placed it in a greased 10-inch pie plate and just wound the remaining strips around that.

 

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It looks just a bit like a rose. A really yummy, pumpkin-cinnamon rose. It must be a special fall variety.

 

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It’s growing!! Leave a little bit of space between the¬†cinnamon roll and the pie plate, to allow for it to rise. Then bake at 375 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes, or until it’s no longer doughy.

 

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Let them cool for a while before you add a glaze.

 

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We like to make a delightfully simple glaze by whisking together powdered sugar, a tiny bit of milk, and a few drops of vanilla or maple extract.

 

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Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls. Tear them apart with your hands in a ravenous fit of hunger.

Or cut them into neat, dignified portions and serve with milk or coffee.

 

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Giant Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Filling:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 (to 1  1/2) cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Dough:
3   1/2 cups flour
4   1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1   1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. milk (until the consistency is right)
1/2 tsp. vanilla or maple extract

For the cinnamon-sugar filling, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the dough, in large bowl combine first four ingredients. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, butter, sugar, and milk; add to flour mixture and mix well. Knead 8-10 times. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Spread cinnamon mixture evenly across the dough. Cut the dough into strips and roll into two large circles (one in each of two 10 inch pie plates). Wrap remaining strips of dough around the circles. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes or until no longer doughy. Cool on wire rack while mixing the glaze.

For the glaze, whisk together all ingredients. Drizzle across the cinnamon rolls. Serve slightly warm. Yield: 2 giant cinnamon rolls.

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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Day Six: Best Pumpkin Cupcakes (with Dreamy Cinnamon Frosting)

This is Day Six in a 8 part series featuring yummy pumpkin recipes. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.DSCN1974

We never let an autumn slip past without one of us girls making pumpkin cupcakes. This is a recipe that Kerstin found several years ago. She made them once, and they were immediately voted into our recipe book. The cupcake itself has the perfect amount of sweetness, and a rich balanced spice from the pumpkin pie spice. The frosting is a dream! With cream cheese to make it (you guessed it) creamy, and butter to make it smooth and light (not in the healthy sense of the word, just the fluffy sense), it simply melts in your mouth. Some powdered sugar for sweetness, a big splash of vanilla extract, and a large dose of cinnamon all take it over the top.

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Make them for Thanksgiving! Or make them for the weekend! Make them for your dad’s birthday! Or shucks, just make them for Thursday.

I promise you won’t regret it. Ever.

Here we go:

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Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

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This is gorgeous!

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Add the eggs one at a time, and beat the mixture well after each addition.

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You can see how creamy the butter mixture is! Add the pumpkin.

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And beat it in.

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Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl.

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Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately. I usually do three additions of each, but it doesn’t matter too much. Just be sure to beat in each addition thoroughly.

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Here the batter is perfect!

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Prepare the cupcake pans. I love using miniature cupcake liners! These pumpkin ones are so cute, and they are perfect for pumpkin cupcakes!!

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Fill the cupcake liners three-fourths full with batter. I like to fill a Ziplock bag with batter, cut off one corner, and squeeze the batter into each cup. It keeps the cupcakes even and the pan clean.

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For miniature cupcakes, bake at 350 degrees F. for about 15-18 minutes, or until they test done with a toothpick. Bake standard-sized cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until they test done.

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I also filled some standard-sized cupcake liners. They’re really cute, too!

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For the frosting, beat softened cream cheese and softened butter until it’s smooth and fluffy.

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Add the powdered sugar in two additions, beating the mixture well between additions.

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Yum! You can almost feel how silky smooth it is.

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Add a bunch of cinnamon. This really makes the frosting special!

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Pour in about a teaspoon of vanilla extract. It’s rare that I measure this stuff!

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Mix it together and you are ready to smother some cupcakes!

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Hmm, this is a challenge. ūüėČ

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Pipe it on, spoon it on, or slather it on with a knife.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes:
3/4 cup butter, softened
2   1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
2   1/3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup buttermilk
Cinnamon Frosting:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes for standard-sized cupcakes or 15-18 minutes for miniature cupcakes, or until cupcakes test done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, in a large bowl beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; beat until smooth. Frost cupcakes. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: about 2 dozen standard-size or 6 dozen miniature.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle