Monday, September 24, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake Balls

I've always been quite fond of those little bites of goodness called cake balls. Of course I always have to bring something delicious for Bunco and since it's fall, I thought I would try my hand at cake balls and why not pumpkin ones. These little treats were also well loved by all at the tailgates and other gatherings. They are a little time consuming, but the first bite will be well worth your time.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Cake Balls

1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
1 can pumpkin
1 block cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 package of white chocolate bark
Sprinkles, Nuts (Optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray the baking dish of your choice with cooking spray.
2. Combine cake mix and pumpkin until well mixed and pour into your dish.
3. Bake according to directions.
4. Allow cake to cool completely.
5. Using a beater, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar to make the icing.
6. Using a fork to shred the cake, transfer the cake crumbs into a large bowl.
7. Add the cream cheese icing and combine until mixed.
8 . Using a melon baller or small scoop, form small balls and place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper (You will have a couple or more depending on the size of your cookies sheets)
9. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate bark in double boiler on low heat with a tablespoon of milk.
10. Using a fork, dip cake ball into the chocolate and tap on the side to shake off excess chocolate. Place back on cookie sheet and top with sprinkles or nuts if desired. Repeat until all the cake balls on the cookie sheet have been covered and place the sheet back in the freezer for another 10 minutes. If chocolate starts to thicken, add a tablespoon of milk.
11. I like to place mine in mini cupcake wrappers for easy serving purposes.

These little fabulous delights scream fall and taste even better!

The Original Jalapeño Popper Dip Recipe

Probably one of my most favorite dips! Always a crowd pleaser. I generally use just one jalapeño, but you can add more or keep the seeds to add a little kick! And don't forget an extra half for the signature garnish!

Jalapeño Popper Dip

2 blocks cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced
1 4 oz can green chilies
1 pkg/jar of real bacon pieces
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Place the cream cheese in a small baking dish and place in oven for 5 minutes.
3. Remove cream cheese from oven and add mayo, combine until well mixed.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients, reserving a 1/4 cups of the parmesan cheese and a small amount of bacon pieces and jalapeño.
5. Top the dip with the remaining parmesan cheese, jalapeño, and bacon pieces.
6. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes uncovered.

We enjoy this dip with Frito Scoops and it has been a popular dish at all the gatherings and tailgates. There are a few versions of this recipe roaming around, but this has by far been declared the best!

Note: The picture above is a double recipe to meet the demand

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

In addition to the weather, leaves changing, and decorations, nothing says "Fall" better than the smell of pumpkin treats baking in your oven. With the change in weather already occurring, the itch to get my fall decor has been intensely growing. So today, up went the fall decor and in the oven went the first batch of pumpkin treats - Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

These are an incredibly easy, but absolutely delicious treat that will fill your home with the smell of fall happiness (there are no words to describe the bliss that is still overtaking the house as my fingers fly over the keys trying to describe the joy). I used a spice cake mix in order to use something out of the pantry as Daniel has declared I have a couponing habit (I call it being thrifty), but you can use a spice cake recipe eliminating the wet ingredients. Even better news, these babies are semi-healthy as the oil and eggs are replaced by pumpkin and pumpkin alone. With fat free cream cheese, these little joys can become a fall staple in your kitchen.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

1 box  Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
1 8 oz block cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake papers and spray with cooking spray. Pre-heat oven at 350
2. Combine the cake mix and pumpkin until well mixed
3. Beat the cream cheese with powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until fluffy.
4. Fill the cupcake wrappers half full and use a spoon to make a little well in each cupcake.
5. Place a heaping teaspoon full of cream cheese mixture into each center.
6. Cover with remaining pumpkin batter. 
7. Bake at 350 for 25 - 35 minutes (I use stoneware so my baking times are a little longer).

Optional: I sprinkled mine with oatmeal and cinnamon sugar for decor.

Don't worry if they are full going into the oven as my picture shows below. They will not rise as much as they normally would had you used eggs and oil.

Now assuming your fall decor is already up, your house is ready for fall!

Side comment: Does anyone put their pumpkins and turkeys out at the same time? I have convinced myself that this is completely normal as my fall comes down the week before Thanksgiving in order for Christmas to go up. By putting them out now, I am able to give my turkeys as much face time as possible.  And my jack-o-lanterns get turned around after Halloween to be just pumpkins. Totally normal . . . right?