Pumpkin love

A couple of weeks ago I came home to 6 smallish pumpkins on my back porch. My first thought was Pumpkin Fairy, obviously! Come to find out that the Pumpkin Fairy came in the form of my Aunt and Uncle. I was super excited, I love the gift of vegetables! With it being October and smack in the middle of fall, I felt I needed to make some delicious pumpkin pastries. In order to use those pumpkins I needed to roast them. This was the first time I have roasted pumpkins to make my own pumpkin purée. I’ve been told and have read that you want to use sugar pumpkins to bake with, they are smaller pumpkins with a non stringy texture. Apparently jack o lantern pumpkins are very stringy and not your best choice. I would imagine that if you had a heavy duty food processor it wouldn’t matter if it was stringy. I don’t know what variety the ones I used were but they worked out just fine.

20131024-195914.jpg
To roast pumpkins for purée, I set my oven at 400 degrees and got out a couple of baking sheets with Silpats. You could use parchment paper or foil if you don’t have a Silpat, you will need to spray the paper or foil with pan spray…otherwise you will never get them off the foil! I love using a Silpat for roasting veggies, super easy clean up! Cutting up pumpkins is really a difficult task especially when your knives are as dull as mine. Seriously my knives are in sorry shape, it embarrassing! You should probably use a sharp knife…it would easier! I chopped up the pumpkins Into medium pieces. The smaller the piece the faster it cooks. I filled my baking sheets pretty full because they will shrink a smidge in the oven and it won’t be so crowded.
20131027-074631.jpg

I don't put anything on them, and I set a timer for 15 minutes. It takes longer then 15 minutes but I like to check them and move them around. Mine took about 30 minutes in the oven . I do know someone who has an oven that will roast pumpkins in 15 minutes, his oven is dark brown….clearly about as old as I am! Obviously it runs a shade hot. I don't know your oven so be conservative with your time, you can always add more time. You will know they are done because they will be very soft. Let them cool down and once they are cool you should be able to peel the skin off of them. Once you have all the skins off I used a food processor to purée the pumpkin.

20131027-074828.jpg
It’s not the same as the canned stuff. It’s a lighter color and not as thick. You could adjust the liquid in the recipe by reducing it just a shade, I left everything the same and the muffins I made turned out just fine. I ended up using all of the purée I made, however if you have more than you need you can always freeze it.

Mountain Dew cupcakes!

I just want to start this whole post saying I hate Mountain Dew. Even when I was a pop drinker I stayed away from it. I have always been wigged out by its color and the crazy rumors of it having formaldehyde in it or other crazy chemicals. With that said, I have a friend and coworker named Bryce who loves some Mountain Dew. He even likes the Code Red flavor…Bryce likes a lot of food items I wouldn’t eat, but he’s still my friend. This last year I decided that I would make a birthday treat for my coworkers on their birthdays. This week was Bryce’s birthday. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and was totally grossed out and really wanted to make them for Bryce. So, I had to buy Mountain Dew, luckily New Seasons sells individual cans.

20131005-170118.jpg
The cupcake it’s self had a decent crumb and texture, but there is way too much sugar! The recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cup of Mountain Dew. Since soda has high fructose corn syrup in it, it was almost sickening sweet. If I were to make these again I would take out a good cup of that sugar. The recipe also calls for lemon and lime juice along with the zests and lemon extract or oil. I left out the extract/oil, mainly because I don’t have any of that and wasn’t willing to buy it when I did have the actual lemon. I think I would have liked these had they not had so much sugar in them. Here is the recipe, the woman who posted it on Pinterest said her husband loved them and says that any citrus lover will think they rock. She was wrong…I love citrus and I don’t think they rock.

Mountain Dew cupcakes

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar (really you should try 1 cup)
4 eggs
3/4 cup Mountain Dew
1/4 cup of lemon and lime juice
Zests from 1 lemon and 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract ( maybe this is to give it that fake citrus flavor)
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Bake 350 for 18-20 minutes
Mix your juices and soda together and set aside. Combine all your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) and set aside.
Cream your butter, sugar and zests high till its fluffy. Add your eggs one at a time and your lemon extract.
Alternate adding your wet ingredients and your dry ingredients starting with dry.
Line a muffin pan with cute muffin cups and scoop out batter tills he cups are 3/4 full.
Bake 18-20 minutes

Mountain Dew frosting

1 cup butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons Mountain Dew ( I added more because I added a shade too much powdered sugar)
Zest from half a lemon and half a lime
1 teaspoon lemon extract (once again I didn’t use this)
Yellow and green food coloring

Beat butter and powdered sugar on slow to medium until combined. Slowly add in liquids and zest. Add food coloring.

The picture on Pinterest was a Kelly green. I was pretty proud of the color I got, I thought it really captured the weird color of Mountain Dew. I used a lot of Yellow and just a smidgen of green.

20131005-170342.jpg
Bryce really enjoyed the cupcakes, he agreed that they were way too sweet. The cake part didn’t taste bad I think if you were to cut back on sugar they would be fine.

20131005-170440.jpg