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:


Finished cake:

Pumpkin Roll
From Sally’s Baking Addiction

Yield: 12 slices


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


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


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


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.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

It’s Christmas time and that means baking cookies for friends and family.  I usually bake a batch of spritz, Italian cookies, pizzellespretzel turtles and may be a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Then I try a new recipe or two in an effort to add to my repertoire.   None from last year made the cut.

The new recipes this year are White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction and confetti cookies from Smitten Kitchen (I’ll write a separate post for this).

The White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies are okay.  They are probably better than okay… But personally, they didn’t wow me so I’ll have to wait on verdicts from the friends and family members.

Soso has tried one already and she likes them. But she did mention that the one advantage to this cookie is that you won’t eat too many.  Doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, does it?  I don’t want to give a bad impression though.  They are perfectly fine cookies. May be someone is a dried cranberry fan and will pick this cookie over the fabulous chocolate chip cookie.  May be you’ll eat this cookie because you hate dark chocolate.  May be if you’re going to eat five cookies, this will be one of your five.  But in all honesty, if I could eat only one of my cookies, it would be this one.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 40 mins
Makes: 2.5 dozen cookies


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries


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

In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until completely smooth and creamy. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix until fluffy and light in color. Beat in egg and vanilla.

On low-speed, slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Add the white chocolate chips and dried cranberries mix on low for a few seconds until evenly disbursed. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. This cookie dough must be chilled.

Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes for 2 hour chill time. If chilled longer than 2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Scoop about 1.5 tablespoon of dough each and roll the dough into balls. Place 10 – 12 on each baking sheet 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.