Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pumpkin, Honey, Peanut Brittle...Oh My!

My husband, Chuck and his colleagues have a meeting tomorrow and I was asked to bake something:)  I'd have to be sick to turn down the chance to bake, so happily the wheels of creativity started to churn.  I had just finished a SKYPE call with our grandson, Ari, and I was feeling happy thinking about for his first birthday I made a pumpkin cupcake that he just devoured!

Ari, like his mama, Kelly loves pumpkin! 

I decided to start with that pumpkin cupcake, but kicked up the flavor with some ginger chips, then, topped it with a honey butter cream and as a final piece de resistance, homemade peanut brittle garnish.  I guess I was still in an autumn mood choosing pumpkin and maybe, like the retail stores I'm pushing the season, but like my mother would say, "Ah Pshaw! Pumpkin is good for you anytime!!"

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes with Honey Butter Cream
  & Homemade Peanut Brittle garnish

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups golden brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
1-15oz can of Pumpkin (not pie filling)-approx. 1 1/2 cups
4 cups Cake Flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Cake Enhancer (optional, but helps make a tender, light cake)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cardamon
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup ginger chips

Preheat oven 350F-degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper cups.
In a KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy.  Add the brown sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes until thoroughly combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the cake enhancer (if using) and beat well.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Add alternately with the buttermilk and beat well until combined.  Stir in the ginger chips.
Use a scoop to place batter into the paper-lined tins.  This recipe makes 24 large cupcakes.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until done.  Rotating the pans helps to uniformly bake the cupcakes.
Let cool completely.  Meanwhile, make the peanut brittle.

Peanut Brittle:

This recipe was given to me by my sister Barbara over 20 years ago.  I make it every Halloween and package it to give as gifts.  It's done in the microwave, so there's no need for excuses about watching the candy thermometer for 10 minutes!

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Light Karo Syrup
1 cup dry roasted, salted Peanuts
1 T butter
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Baking Soda

Butter a baking sheet and set aside.
In a 1 1/2 quart glass casserole, stir together sugar and Karo syrup.  Microwave on high 3 min. 30 sec.
Stir in the peanuts and microwave another 2 min. 30 sec.
Add the butter and vanilla to the hot syrup, blending well.  Microwave 45 seconds.  Peanuts will be lightly browned and syrup, very hot.
Finally, add the baking soda and gently stir until light and foamy.  Quickly pour mixture onto the lightly buttered cookie sheet.  Let cool 30 minutes to 1 hour.  When cool, break into small pieces and store in an airtight container.

Honey Butter Cream:

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 T Vanilla Extract

In the KitchenAid, using the whisk attachment, beat butter until fluffy.  Add the honey and beat well to combine.  Add half of the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and beat well.  Gradually add the last 3 cups of confectioners' sugar and whisk for 1-2 minutes to combine thoroughly.

Fill a pastry bag with a large plain or fluted tip.  Frost the cupcakes and add the peanut brittle garnish.
These cupcakes will taste good anytime, but great at Halloween.  Enjoy!



  1. Dear Susan

    Pumpkin happens to be my favorite too~! Raw food or no Raw food this is on my weekend list of baking. Its my Olivia's 8th birthday coming up soon and I always celebrate under our courtyard tree. What a lovely country feel recipe. Your little one looks very much like his mommy. He's a little treasure...

    How are you doing dear friend? Sending many healing thoughts and wishes...I have been computer absent for sometime. A deliberate need to pull myself away from this world a little... I love coming to visit here.

    I bet Chuck was very happy~!


  2. I've missed you too, but now I'm glad I'm behind in sending a gift I've made you because I can add something for Olivia's 8th birthday:)

    Ari does look like Kelly and has a lot of her personality...somewhat bossy, but in a good way. I can't wait to see him next month; we're both counting the days.

    I love you, Susan xoxo

  3. Well now I am in trouble having a recipe for peanut brittle! What a lovely idea for holiday gifts! This photo of Ari is seriously cute! Your presentation is always so beautiful, they look and sound *incredible* (I told you, my littles are already discussing Halloween!) These will be fun : )They will go well with homemade ice-cream once you win the ice-cream maker! Lots of love xoxo

  4. Susan, your recipes are getting me in the mood for fall. That's great while I'm visiting here in the great NW and enjoying this fabulous cool weather. But when I return home it will still be in the upper 90s! Fall doesn't arrive there until mid October. I truly wish we could simply rotate spring and fall in the south - skipping summer and winter altogether. :D

  5. Susan,
    Pumpkin is a favorite of mine too! These look so good, and you present them so beautifully. That mound of honey butter cream and piece of brittle garnish them so well.... looks divine!

  6. Yup, you are one seriously amazing baker, Susan! I have been dabbling in raw the past few days, and I'm dying over your photos here!! Yum yum yum!