Pumpkin Pecan Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Cupcakes | Veggie and the Beast

Being a vegetarian, my Thanksgiving excitement is less about the main meal and more about the sweet stuff. I love that all of my family members, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, agree on the importance of dessert. Each one of us has our own attitude towards dessert. My grandma used to feed me spoonfuls of chocolate sprinkles because she believed no little girl should be without dessert, even if there were no cookies or cakes nearby. If you tell my mom you’re too full for dessert, she’ll tell you that dessert has its own stomach that’s separate from your “meal stomach” (side bar – my tendency to take my mom’s words literally resulted in many embarrassing moments in my childhood). Upon finishing a meal, my sister will always ask what we are going to have for dessert, and then insist that she just wants “one little bite” to curb her craving. When my sister leaves half-eaten desserts in her wake, we always know that my brother or dad will stop by eventually to perform clean up. This is the rhythm of my family operating on dessert time.

Pumpkin pecan pie cupcake filling

Our dessert time operations are a bit over-the-top. Thanksgiving, for example, isn’t a one-pie occasion. Every person in my family has a specific pie preference, and our pie demands greatly exceed our supply of time for pie-baking. For this reason my mom orders an array of bakery pies every year: french silk, pecan, pumpkin, and sometimes something else, just cause it looks good. Then I usually bring a dessert because, well, I usually have dessert around anyway (this is my take on dessert: must.have.sugar.available.all.the.time).

This year, however, my mom said she would only be ordering 2 french silk pies, (ummm…what? why? who? how?), so she asked me to make a pie. Right, cause I can just “make a pie” without dad being all, “where’s the pumpkin pie?” and Anna being all, “I want a bite of pecan pie. Where’s the pecan pie?” and then me being all, “How can I construct one full pie slice out of miniature slices of 4 different kinds of pie if there are ONLY 2 KINDS OF PIE AVAILABLE?” – Our Thanksgiving dessert balance was clearly in danger of major disruption.

After perhaps one-too-many viewings of Cupcake Wars, I came up with a solution. I decided to make a pumpkin cupcake (one of my faaaavorite kinds of cake, btw) on top of an oatmeal pie crust, and filled with a whiskey-spiked pecan caramel. While most pumpkin cupcakes have cream cheese frosting, I wanted to be respectful of pie and its straightforward goodness, so I went with a simple whipped buttercream that has never done me wrong. See what’s happening here? It’s two pies in one, and in a CUPCAKE, so it’s like 3 different desserts.

Pumpkin Pecan Pie Cupcakes2

The result was a light, fluffy pumpkin cupcake that’s spiced just enough to feel warm and comforting, without overpowering the brown sugar pecan goodness in the middle. The pecan center is cooked to a thick caramel texture, and the touch of salt and splash of whiskey make the flavor deep and playful. With a light-as-air frosting, you’ll probably wonder why you ever even bother with silly old pie (please don’t tell my family I said that).
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Speedy Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

Quick Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll

I got this peculiar, intense craving on Saturday afternoon. The kind of craving that’s not just about eating something, but about the feeling that comes over you when you make food that’s completely comforting. When the craving hit me, I knew immediately that I needed to make cinnamon rolls on Sunday morning. It didn’t help that shortly after the craving hit, the boy and I went to the mall and walked right past the Cinnabon counter. The scent was intoxicating…I was drunk with cinnamon roll need.

Quick Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll filling

After searching recipes, I decided to start with the one that promised cinnamon rolls in 90 minutes. Since most cinnamon roll recipes require a 1-2 hour rise time before you even get to the assembly step, the idea of a shortcut enticed me. The sooner the cinnamon rolls made it to my plate, the better. The situation was getting more serious by the minute.

Quick Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolled up

I need to level with you guys, cause this is a big deal. I’ve baked a lot of things in my life. I’ve baked things I couldn’t stomach, and I’ve baked things I couldn’t stop eating, but never have I EVER baked anything as good as this.

Quick Whole Wheat Cinnamon Roll Pan

These cinnamon rolls were absolute perfection. Using half whole wheat flour gives the rolls a wonderful nutty flavor, yet allows them to remain ridiculously light and airy. The filling stretches its buttery cinnamon brown sugar goodness into each layer of the roll. Then, as if that weren’t enough, when the cream cheese icing melts into those cinnamon-filled folds you get a combination that is no less than heavenly. I’m seriously in love. I could go on, but that wouldn’t be fair to you. Let’s get to the good stuff…

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