Pumpkin Rolls

We’ve been spending the last two Thanksgiving with D’s cousin’s family.  Thank goodness for them; otherwise, our Thanksgiving would be pretty lonely.  There are 6 additional cousins all around the same age so its more fun and lively for our girls.  Plus this was the first Thanksgiving without Papa. It would have been harder to not feel the loss keenly.

I was bringing my famous mac and cheese, whipped sweet potatoes, salad and pumpkin bread.  Without the burden of cooking a full meal, I had some time to experiment.  When Cousin L mentioned how pretty the pumpkin rolls looked and she was thinking of buying some at a bakery, I offered to make them.  So bold of me considering I’m still a little afraid of baking, let alone something as unfamiliar as a rolled cake.

I Googled for recipes and the first hit was from Libby’s.  I looked at a few more, but they were all pretty similar so I decided to go with the Libby’s.  Everything is pretty standard apart from the rolling portion of the recipe.  The thin cake cracked a bit as I rolled.  It may have been due to fact that I forgot to sprinkle the kitchen towel with powdered sugar.  The cake turned out okay visually until I started slicing it.

The rolled cake needs to be chilled before slicing!

However, the main problem is the taste.  The cake didn’t taste that great and the filling’s sweetness overpowered the cake.  A friend suggested trying the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and the difference is night and day.  Sally adds more spices and switches some of the granulated sugar with brown sugar and the resulting cake is delicious.  Looks visually more pleasing, too! I love the browner color and the added spices balanced out the sweet filling.

Go to Sally’s for step-by-step instructions.  I think she even has a video posted.  Here are a few of my photos.

Rolled right after baking:

Frosted:

Finished cake:

Pumpkin Roll
From Sally’s Baking Addiction

Yield: 12 slices

Ingredients

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

For filling
6 ounces block cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 10×15 jelly roll pan with wax paper. Grease and flour the paper. Sprinkle a thin cotton kitchen towel liberally with powdered sugar and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking sofa, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla until combined. Our the wet ingredient into the flour mixture until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Give the pan a shake to level the batter. Bake for 17 – 18 minutes or until the cake springs back when poked with a finger.

Remove the cake from the oven and invert it onto the prepared kitchen towel. Peel off the wax paper carefully and immediately start slowly rolling the cake up with the towel.

Place the rolled up cake in the refrigerator for 2 hours to cool completely. Remove the cake roll and let it sit on the counters for a few minutes to warm up while you make the frosting.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute until it’s completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla on medium speed until smooth and creamy.

Slowly and gently unroll the cake and flatten it out. Spread the frosting evenly on top, leaving about 1/2 in border around the cake. Slowly roll the cake back up without the towel in a tight roll. Loosely cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

*Make your own pumpkin pie spice with 1/4 teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves and ground allspice.

Chocolate Crinkles with Kisses

Soso had a sleepover with a bunch of friends and wanted to bake something.  She had taken a week-long baking class in the summer and she’s 13 years old.  She had helped with the Christmas cookies.  So I told her to pick an easy recipe and make it on her own.  Then I added a caveat.  I had bought a bag of Hershey’s Kisses that I never used for the holiday baking. Soso had to use the kisses in whatever she was making.

After searching Google for cookie recipes with Hershey’s Kiss and only getting Peanut Butter Blossoms for results, she finally found an image of chocolate crinkle recipe with the red and white mint Kisses.  We only had the regular Kisses, but I think any type of Kisses would work with the crinkle recipe.

I think we have another contender to add to the Christmas cookies repertoire.  I’m really proud of Soso! I helped roll out some cookies towards the end to save some time. Otherwise, she made these all by herself.  When I was her age, I was making boxed cakes.

Soso used the recipe from Simply Recipes.

Chocolate Crinkles with Kisses
*From Simply Recipes

Yields: About 50 cookies

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 bag Hershey’s Kisses

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat cocoa powder, granulated sugar and vegetable oil. Add one egg at a time and then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Cover the dough and chill the dough minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven at 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioner’s sugar in a wide shallow bowl.

Scoop balls of dough about 1 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Roll them briefly in your hands and then roll the balls in the confectioner’s sugar. Place the balls on the cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake 10 -12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven when the cookies are done. Place the Kisses in the center of each cookie and press lightly. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes before transferring them to the cooling rack. Allow to cool until the chocolate Kisses are set.

Confetti Cookies

I’ve been making cookies for Christmas for the past 10 years or so.  Every year, I try something new to add to the repertoire.  The standards are Papa’s pizzelles, Aunt Lucy’s Knots, Linda’s spritzes, chocolate chip cookies and the Rolo Pretzel Turtles.  I came across Smitten Kitchen’s Confetti Cookies recipe last year and I loved the bright cheerful colors of the confetti sprinkles.  I switched to red and green sprinkles to match the Christmas season and they came out great!  I made them again this year so I think I can say they’ve made the repertoire!  I only need to work on my cookie sizing. Mine is a good 1/2 inch bigger and D complains they are like a meal.  Can I insert a rolling eyes emoticon here?  Who complains about having to eat a big cookie?

While I was typing out the recipe for this post, I realized I made a mistake this year.  The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of cream cheese.  On Sk’s site, she wrote “1/4 cup (2 ounces, 55 grams or 1/4 of an 8-ounce brick) cream cheese” and my eyes glossed over it all and say only 8 ounce brick.  Oops.  The cookies tasted great and I would never have known had I not re-read it for this post.

Last year’s batch:

This year’s batch:

Confetti Cookies
*From Smitten Kitchen

Yields: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 cup or 2 sticks of unsalted butter
¼ cup cream cheese
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract, optional
1 cup sprinkles, your choice of colors

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to blend. In a large bowl of stand mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and extracts and blend again.  Add flour mixture until it’s just combined.  Let the dough chill for 20 minutes.

Scoop balls of dough about 1 ¼ inch in diameter. SK recommends using #40 scoop.  Roll briefly in your hands and roll in a bowl of sprinkles until the dough is completely covered.

Transfer the balls to the baking sheets 2 inches apart.  Using the bottom of a flat drinking glass and press down on the cookies until they are about ¼ inches tall.  Bake for 9 – 10 minutes, until lightly golden brown underneath.  Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack