Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Pumpkin Bars


It's Tuesday again and high time I took a break from me and focused on someone else. Which is a lot more fun and rewarding than obsessing over myself. Or testing recipes over and over and over and over...

On Tuesdays, I feature an original recipe from another blogger: I make the recipe following the author's directions, I snap a few pictures, I taste the result - and I share everything I love about the recipe.

Confused? Read more about the details for Tuesday Tutor.


Today's Tuesday Tutor: That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ThatSkinnyChick
Find on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lizzydo/
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Join on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116213594518847001708/posts

My Tutor for today was Lizzy from the ever-approachable That Skinny Chick Can Bake blog. Her recipes are clear, uncomplicated and unpretentious - and it's the kind of food you crave. Every time I drop by her blog, I seem to post the same comment involving words like "drool" and "gorgeous" and "intriguing". If you're not following Lizzy, start now.


About the Author: 5 Fun Facts
  1. "I am one of 4 sisters...my mom is an English major with a Masters in Fine Art (a calligrapher) and my dad is a retired physics professor.  I'm much better at math and science than art!"
     
  2. "I grew up in a small university town in Iowa, and despite that, my mom cooked all sorts of exotic dishes: baklava, moussaka, matzoh ball soup, egg rolls and wontons, and deep fried rosettes."
     
  3. "I am finally using some studio lighting to take my blog photos.  Living in Indiana, the weather does not cooperate most of the year!"
     
  4. "My mom didn't bake very often, so I started my forage into the baking world in high school, so we could have something for dessert besides vanilla ice cream. My parents were very supportive of our creativity...two of my sisters are accomplished artists...the 3rd is a civil engineer."
     
  5. "I started my blog a year and a half ago, just to share recipes with a few friends.  It has grown beyond my wildest expectations!  Thanks to everyone who reads and supports it!"

Author's Photo: I failed to capture the amazing crumb

I was so excited to try Lizzy's Pumpkin Bars for two very selfish reasons: 1) I had never made ANYTHING with pumpkin before and 2) I absolutely ADORE all things pumpkin with cream cheese. These bars were the perfect excuse to roast my first pumpkin (which is the only change I made to Lizzy's recipe) and whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting. 

But despite my selfish motives, these Pumpkin Bars are AWESOME! Light and moist with an amazing balance of sweet and spicy. And the recipe was so easy and fast, baking beautifully exactly as the recipe describes. The following is my attempt at recreating these bars - make sure to pop over and try this recipe yourself:


Original recipe courtesy of That Skinny Chick Can Bake


Original recipe uses canned pumpkin.
I wanted to try my hand at roast pumpkin

I ::heart:: pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin waiting to be scooped

Voila! Fresh pumpkin puree

I didn't have vegetable oil, so I used canola

Really let my stand-mixer go nuts creaming oil and sugar

Creamed in eggs

I was awfully proud of this pumpkin ;)

More mixing pumpkin fun

Look at all that glorious spice!

The color of the flour is incredible

Take a deep sniff. Mmmm...cloves.

Realized my sheet pan was a little too big

So distracted by sheet pan, forgot to snap pictures of finished batter

Due to my sheet pan size difference, I baked mine for just 20 minutes
Look at this beauty!

Had to wash my mixer bowl. So I could enjoy more mixing fun with icing

Panicked when I realized my cheese and butter were still ice cold

Eventually, room temperature is achieved

Whipping butter and cheese. With zeal!

Adding powdered sugar

Arriving at finger-licking frosting

Notice my MAD frosting skills - be very jealous

Well. At least I didn't get icing on my shirt this time

::face plant::

Two of MANY pieces that day

Notice the color and texture - fantastic



Thoughts while scarfing...
  • The texture of these bars is probably my favorite part of the devouring experience - the crumb is so moist and airy and satisfying. I knew I was eating bar after bar after bar - but my tummy insisted I hadn't swallowed a single bite!
     
  • I'm fairly sure I got carried away with my stand-mixer (I have such tendencies) and beat too much air into the icing. The icing was still delicious, but I'd recommend mixing the butter and cream cheese, not whipping
     
  • I've heard all kinds of horror stories about stringy fresh pumpkin - but I think those stories are greatly exaggerated as I found not a single string or stand of pumpkin in these bars
     
  • Lizzy suggests freezing the remainder of the bars - if you manage to restrain your ravenous inner pumpkin-demon more successfully than I. My boyfriend and I polished off the whole sheet pan in two days
     
  • When I make this again (like next week), I plan to grate in fresh nutmeg and crystalized ginger instead of ground - and maybe spoon in a little maple syrup into the frosting because the boyfriend isn't a huge fan of cream cheese flavor


Other Must-Try Recipes from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Maybe pumpkin isn't your thing. But I guarantee you'll find something scrumptious at That Skinny Chick Can Bake. Check out these mouth-watering eats and tell me you're not inspired!


Pastry Wrapped Caramel Apples
Homemade Croissants
Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova
Lattice Topped Peach Raspberry Pie
Spaghetti with Sunday Gravy
    


3 comments:

  1. Oh, I am thrilled to be your Tuesday Tutor subject this week!!! Such fun. A big "whew" that you liked these...I can totally related to the face plant feeling when these are iced.....mmmmmmmm. Thanks so much!

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  2. The perfect tutor, enjoyed reading!

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  3. Lizzy, Sandi: I'm so glad you both enjoyed - these were fantastic bars!

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