Pumpkin Muffins

Canned pumpkin is a whole new thing for us.  Downunder you could probably track it down in some American specialty store but generally pumpkin is served savoury. However, this muffin came from my daughter’s middle school cooking option and she loves making them and more importantly likes them in her lunchbox.

Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ginger (ground)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves (optional – I never have cloves…)

Preheat oven to 350 F

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners

Place flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda into large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine but be gentle and do not overmix.

Spoon the mix evenly into the 12 liners and bake for 20-30 mins until toothpick comes out clean.  Eat warm if you can or cool and freeze for lunch boxes.


Bake Sale Chocolate Cupcakes


It seems that I need to whip up some baking for a bake sale quite a lot lately.  The baking bit is usually stress free but wrapping up the offerings in an inexpensive and practical way can be tricky.  If you know that each item will be sold for $1 each, you don’t really want to spend $5 on packaging for each one! It would be better to donate that money to the cause!  So, if the bake sale directives are for individually wrapped cupcakes I use this method. I bake my favorite chocolate cupcakes in good quality liners, then drop them gently into squat clear plastic glasses.  It is then I frost and decorate, taking care to keep the frosting away from the plastic glass  sides and making sure the frosting does not extend higher than the top. It is much simpler not to frost first, keeps everything clean and tidy.

Then you have two options:

  1. Cut squares of Seran wrap/cling film so there is an overhang around all edges and then I secure with a rubber band and then I slip a plastic spoon in behind the rubber band as it will be impossible to remove the baby cake from the glass without a hellish mess ensuing. This method is as cheap as it gets.
  2. Instead of using the Seran wrap you carefully drop each glass into a cellophane treat bag and tie with twine or ribbon incorporating the plastic spoon into the ribbon bow/tie. This version looks adorable but requires more attention.
    Obviously there are no pictures of the final wrapped product…. I was so rushed that I had no time for pics!  I will wrap some others and pop them here sometime soon.

Wanting to know about this frosting?  This is my trusty chocolate ganache made with milk chocolate and then whipped to be thick and light colored and piped on with a large nozzle.

     Chocolate Ganache frosting  – Milk chocolate version       ( Best whisked upon cooling)
  1. In a saucepan  add 1 cup of whipping/thick cream and heat until about to boil
  2. Add 1 1/2 cup milk chocolate buttons/bits and let melt for 3 mins and whisk to fully incorporate.
  3. Allow to cool and pop in fridge til needed.
  4. Whisk until thick and holds it shape without collapsing.  Ready to pipe!

As I had left over Candy Melts from Easter I quickly melted, poured it quickly onto baking paper lined small tray and spread thinly and sprinkle generously with non – pareils or your favorite sprinkles. Move the tray to the fridge to set properly. Simply break into rough triangles and pop into the frosting, super quick and festive.

Easy Pecan Pie

Pecan pie is a favorite of mine, even before we moved to the States.  I love all types of nuts so a sugary, nutty pastry delight called my name from a young age.  I must admit I have usually purchased this pie piece by glorious piece and had never tried to make it but no longer my friends. This recipe is a winner and is perfect for a picnic if you can take it in it’s dish. Delicious with cream, yogurt or sour cream.

Pecan Pie
  • 1 x Pie pastry (either bought or home made) line and parbake pie dish – usually 400F for 7-10 mins making sure you use baking paper and pastry weights to hold down the pastry – do not brown
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup golden syrup ( available here at Amazon or at World Market – see note)
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans ( mixed sized pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cup whole pecans ( best to do more than needed so your design is not half finished)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla essence
  • splash of whiskey, rum or bourbon if that’s your thing
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Heat oven to 350 F

Lightly toast  your pecans pieces (1 1/4 cups) by dry frying in a large non stick frying pan being very careful to keep moving them and DO NOT BURN. 5-6 mins but be careful!

Place sugar, butter, golden syrup and salt in pan and simmer over a med heat for 2 mins stirring all the time.  Remove from heat and add the toasted chopped pecans pieces  (1 1/4 cup), vanilla, liquor, vinegar and set aside to cool for minimum of 15 mins. After cool add one egg in at a time and beat well after each.

Pour the filling into your par-baked pastry shell and then go about decorating the top using the whole pecans.

Bake for 45 mins, edges will be firm and middle will be set but may still wobble slightly, you may need to cover the pie edge crust with a tinfoil or a protector if it gets too brown too early

NOTE:  This recipe calls for Golden Syrup, a very popular sugar syrup throughout most Commonwealth countries.  This is to replace the usual corn syrup component to this dish as it has become an unpopular ingredient lately. However, the tinned versions available on Amazon may be thicker than the bottled dessert version from World Market so as I only had the dessert version to hand I did add 2 Tablespoons of corn syrup to firm things up a bit.


Oat Berry Muffins

Ahhh the old faithful muffin. It is easy to see why they are still so popular, easy to make and so easy to switch out flavours, they are a crowd pleaser as the young and the not so young love them.  To save cleaning my muffin pan I use cupcake cases and it also helps with keeping them nice and neat within the lunch box. Good for a picnic,  a school snack and even a breakfast on the go. The inclusion of rolled oats and the fruity tart berries makes it a little healthier and are a snap to whip up and store in the freezer until needed.

Easy Berry and Oat Muffins
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted plain flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats  (I use the Raley’ s store brand)
  • 3 level tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 canola or similar baking oil
  • 3/4 cup mixed berries, frozen is fine but cut any large berries smaller

Preheat oven to 410 F

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and rolled oats in one bowl.

Mix egg, milk and oil in another bowl and then pour into dry ingredients and gently mix.

Lastly, fold berries in and spoon into a 12 muffin pan, either greased lightly of with a liner.

Bake 20 – 25 mins but don’t overbake.

I also cooked mini sized but they were tough as I cooked too long and they were tough as boots.