Baking

Pumpkin Roll

Happy Halloween! This is the fourth pumpkin recipe to wrap up the month of October. These last few weeks have been so busy, it’s spooky, but I’m keeping my promise and you’re getting four pumpkin recipes this month.

 

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Pumpkin recipes. That’s how I roll.

 

I decided to make a classic pumpkin roll, which is great for fall gatherings, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas! It’s essentially a pumpkin cake rolled up with cream cheese filling. My mom says it tastes like Starbucks’ pumpkin cream cheese muffin, so if you’re fond of those, you’ll probably like pumpkin rolls.

I didn’t have a good way to sprinkle powdered sugar on top and have it look aesthetically pleasing, so I skipped that part. If you want your pumpkin roll to look pretty, I recommend doing it, but it’s not vital.

Pumpkin Roll

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Ingredients

Pumpkin Cake

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • optional: powdered sugar to sprinkle on at the end

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a 10 x 15″ baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Mix the dry ingredients with the pumpkin mixture until just combined.
  4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Carefully roll the cake up, keeping the parchment paper with it. Set it on a cooling rack to cool.
  5. To make the filling, simply mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.
  6. Once the cake has cooled, roll it out on a flat surface. Spread the filling evenly on top, leaving about a 1/2 margin on all sides. Roll the cake back up and carefully peel the parchment paper off as you do.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. To serve, unwrap it, sprinkle the powdered sugar on top if desired, and slice.
Baking

Mini Pumpkin Pasties (Pumpkin Hand Pies)

php4The idea for these little pies came when Yvette alerted me to a post on Tumblr. In that post, the pies were cut in the shape of jack-o-lanterns, which would make them great for a Halloween party. However, I decided to keep it simple and didn’t go all-out with “carving” the pumpkins. They still came out super cute!

I also wanted a slightly different filling than that recipe, so I scoured the internet for other pumpkin hand pie recipes. I came across a recipe for “pumpkin pasties,” which had a pretty simple filling and the name was perfect.Whenever there’s a chance to make references to Harry Potter, you’d better bet I’m gonna jump on it. I call them “mini” because from what I can tell, actual pasties are pretty big. The pies are indeed as magical as their name suggests.

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The crust comes from Barefoot Contessa’s “Perfect Pie Crust” because it’s never failed me and it’s delicious. Essentially, this recipe is a combination of three others with my own little spin put on it. This recipe makes about 8 pies.

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My one recommendation when you make this is to make sure you have a rolling pin before you begin. I recently moved and took it for granted that I had one. I ended up using a can of cooking spray wrapped in plastic wrap instead. It made for some uneven dough and it was a struggle to roll out. I have since bought a rolling pin to avoid any future struggles.

Mini Pumpkin Pasties

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Ingredients

Crust

  • 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold shortening
  • 6 – 8 Tbsp cold water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp water

Filling

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Cut the butter into small cubes and place it back in the fridge. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar.
  2. Using a pastry cutter (or food processor), mix in the butter and shortening until the butter is the size of peas. Add in water until it starts to form a dough.
  3. Flatten the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugars, and spice. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon water.
  6. Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Use a 5-inch pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 16 shapes.
  7. Place 8 of the dough cut-outs on the baking sheet. Put 3-4 tablespoons of the filling on each cut-out, leaving a 1/2 inch perimeter. Brush the egg mixture around the perimeter of each. Place another cut-out on top of the filling. Press down the edges with a fork, being careful not to let too much of the filling escape. Brush the top of each pie with egg mixture. Cut out crescent-shaped slits on each side to look like a pumpkin. If desired, sprinkle the tops with a bit of sugar.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and store any leftovers in an airtight container.
Baking

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies

Imagine a cookie that combines the delicious flavors of pumpkin spice, Nutella, and dark chocolate. Now imagine that you could eat that cookie for breakfast without feeling guilty because these cookies also contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, whole grains, and protein. These cookies are just about everything you could want in a quick fall breakfast.

If you don’t already know, each week this October there will be a new pumpkin recipe for you to enjoy. Next week’s recipe is going to be magical, so you won’t want to miss it!

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This recipe is based off of one I found from Momables, and I made that original recipe a little while back. I substituted a few ingredients. The bananas turned to pumpkins, the peanut butter to Nutella, the cinnamon to pumpkin pie spice, and the craisins to chocolate chips. I had to experiment a bit with the Nutella to pumpkin ratio so that the Nutella didn’t overpower it too much. And let me tell you, the effort was well worth it.

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I’ve also changed up a few of the directions from the last time I posted about these breakfast cookies. Instead of using a wet spatula to flatten down your cookies, just use a rubber spatula to scrape the dough out of the measuring cup and flatten your cookies. It’ll save you a lot of agony.

Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oats, flour, flax seed, protein powder, spice, and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, Nutella, honey, and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients and chocolate chips until well combined.
  4. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out some dough and drop it on the cookie sheet. Flatten cookie to about a 1/2 inch in height with a rubber spatula. Distribute any leftover dough among the cookies. (Or just eat the leftover dough because it’s yummy.)
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown around the edges. Allow to cool slightly before eating.

 

Jewelry

8 Things I Learned After a Year on Etsy

It’s been a little over a year since I opened Yellow Raspberry Jewelry, and I’ve learned a few things. You’ve probably heard some of these before, but they’re important enough to repeat. I hope you can use these tips to analyze your shop and improve it, or to avoid common mistakes before you set up shop. Most if not all of these are things that I need to work on. If you look up any successful Etsy shop, you’ll find they’re already doing a lot of these things well and that can’t be simple coincidence.

 

  1. Content is king.
    Make sure that what you sell is what people want to buy. You’ll have to do some market research for this, but doing your homework will pay off. And you’ll want to keep up with trends, because what’s in style today probably won’t be in a few months. Basically, you don’t want to spend your time and money making things that won’t sell. And don’t waste your time copying other designs. Buyers will pick up on it. Instead, develop your own style and set yourself apart from your competition by offering unique items.
  2. Photography is queen.
    I know you’ve heard this before, but seriously, if your photography is poor, your sales will be too. Get a good camera. It doesn’t have to be a DSLR, but do some homework on what you need. And please edit your photos to make your items look even better. There are many free online photo editing websites and apps, like PicMonkey. I use Photoshop which costs $10/month, but I think it’s worth it. Also, watermarks are annoying and distract from your item, so please don’t use them. Search for anything on Etsy and count the number of items with professional-quality photos on the first page; you’ll find that good photos are rare. So if your photos are good, this means you will automatically stand out from your competition.

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    For jewelry, it’s recommended that you use a plain white background for your photos. I spent a lot of time getting this photo to have a nice white background, and it’s now my top-viewed item. 
  3. Extended vacations tend to halt your momentum.
    As you begin on Etsy, it may seem slow at first, but once you’ve built up some momentum, you’ll tend to start having more frequent sales. This is why it’s so important not to put your shop on vacation for long periods of time. If you’re going away for the weekend, there should be no need to put your shop on vacation. Simply extend the processing times for your items temporarily. I put YRJ on vacation for about two months and after I came back, despite it being the holiday shopping season, all my sales came to a halt. Similarly, try to spend time on your business every day, whether that’s improving your current listings, creating new things, taking photos, editing photos, etc. I noticed that when I consistently spent time on my business, I had more consistent sales.
  4. Social media is basically free advertising.
    Of course, your time spent marketing on social media is a cost, but places like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are all free to use. This also helps you to build your brand and improve your SEO (search engine optimization). Experiment with as many social media platforms as you desire, and see which ones work best for you. Another thing you want to be aware of is where your target market is. By doing a little research, you can find out where the majority of your target market spends their time on social media.

  5. Know your target market.
    You need to know who your buyers are most likely going to be. Knowing your market will help you generate keywords for tags and titles, as well as help you figure out where they spend their time online so you can market to them better. Additionally, when you stock your shop with items for your market, someone will come along and quickly know if your store is right for them. It’s like when you walk into a store at the mall and you get that feeling “this store is for me” — you want that same feeling for your customers.
  6. If it’s not selling, fix it.
    Your four months are up, your listing is about to expire, but it still hasn’t sold. Even worse, it’s had very few views. What do you do? Etsy recommends that you analyze your tags, titles, photos, descriptions, pricing, etc., and fix anything that’s not working. These things are important, but what happens when you’ve done all that, and it’s still not selling? Unfortunately, this means it just may not be something people are interested in buying. You could try putting it on clearance, but in my experience that rarely works. Instead, see if you can make something new from it.

     

  7. Don’t wait around for the “right buyer.”
    I’ve seen comments in the Etsy forums of sellers continuing to renew items that don’t sell because they believe eventually the right buyer will come around. Sure, it’s possible. It’s probably also possible for pigs to fly, but it’d take tens of thousands of years of evolution. Renewing items on Etsy costs money and if you’re relisting things that aren’t making you money back, then it’s probably best to stop wasting your money.
  8. It’s not Etsy. It’s you.
    Sellers blaming Etsy for poor views and sales is a common topic in the Etsy forums. Even I’ve blamed Etsy at times. But something I’ve come to realize is that it’s not Etsy, it’s me. In fact, a lot of the tips in this post come from things I’ve realized I need to work on. After all, it’s not Etsy’s fault if you didn’t research your target market, or learn how to take good pictures. Your success will be determined by you, not Etsy.
Baking

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Whoever thought to combine pumpkin pie and cheesecake is a genius. Seriously, this tastes exactly like a pumpkin pie and a cheesecake had a baby, or at least what I imagine that would taste like. I think if you made this instead of pie on Thanksgiving, it would be just as good, if not better.

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I got this recipe from Paula Deen, and I think it’s weird that Food Network won’t air her show, but they still have her recipes on their website. Go figure. Anyway, I think I messed up somewhere along the way with this recipe and I’m pretty sure it was because not all the ingredients were at room temperature when I mixed them together. I know that it caused little pieces of cream cheese that didn’t get homogenized in the batter, and I’m guessing it had something to do with the center of the cake deflating. If you’re a cheesecake expert, let me know what caused the deflating in the comments.

I made this recipe twice, and still managed to mess it up the second time. Cheesecakes are hard to make and I now fully appreciate why one slice costs $8 at the Cheesecake Factory. I did change some things with Paula’s recipe, and you’re going to be surprised (sarcasm) because it involves butter. Paula uses a whole stick of the stuff in her crust, but it ended up melting through the cracks in the pan somehow and dripping all over the oven. So I reduced it to half a stick, and that seemed to do all right. I also subbed three spices for just pumpkin pie spice because it made my life easier. (Pumpkin pie spice comprises those three spices anyway.) And make sure that all your ingredients are at room temperature, not just the cream cheese. I discovered even one cold ingredient will cause the cream cheese to get cold again. You can call it a thermodynamics problem.

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It may be deflated, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from the Patriots, it’s that deflated things can win championships!

If you absolutely love pumpkin and that time of year when pumpkin spice is everywhere you turn, then you’re going to love my blog this October. Every Friday there will be a new pumpkin recipe for you to enjoy, beginning with this one. I hope you’re as excited as I am! And if you’re craving pumpkin and can’t wait until next week, I’ve got more recipes like Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats, Pumpkin Bread, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ stick melted butter
  • 3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 – 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs plus 1 yolk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray.
  2. For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, brown sugar, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the springform pan and along the sides a bit.
  3. For the filling, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar, and pumpkin spice. Then add the flour and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  4. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator for 4 hours to set.