Quick & Easy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Quick & Easy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars


The leaves are starting to change colors where we live, and it's seriously feeling like fall! That makes my heart SO happy - I actually squealed with delight today seeing them and scared Charlotte by accident haha!

If you haven't noticed, autumn is by far my very favorite season. It's so cozy, and such a perfect time for fun fall baking recipes, snuggling up and watching movies...I could wax romantic about it all day long!

If you're looking for a super quick and easy fall baking recipe for this weekend, these pumpkin bars are it! Soft and cakey with just enough spice, these are guaranteed to be gone faster than you may like to admit. I'm such a sucker for pumpkin and chocolate recipes, aren't you?



These delicious pumpkin bars take 10 minutes max to whip up, and 30 minutes to bake. So in under an hour you could be enjoying scrumptious, gooey, melted chocolatey pumpkin bar goodness. No excuses, just make them! (And if you're looking for a super delicious cake, check out my Pumpkin Caramel Layer Cake recipe!)




Makes 24 Bars

Ingredients: 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F,. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter, and line it with parchment paper with a small overhang for super easy removal of the bars.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter through pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and combine with a spatula. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the dough into the prepared baking dish, using the spatula to make sure it's evenly spread. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.







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Kirsten Bell
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Pumpkin Caramel Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Caramel Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Fall officially begins in just a few short days - can you believe it? We've had a week of rainy, colder days and that crisp Autumn chill has started to settle in around us. Fall is my very favorite season. I love the changing leaves, sweaters, and of course, everything pumpkin spice!

This is my first fall dessert of the season, and I'm SO excited to share it with you! Pumpkin cake with caramel filling, and cream cheese frosting. It's definitely hard to pick a favorite of my cake recipes, but this pumpkin cake is going to be pretty dang hard to beat! The rich, spicy pumpkin cake pairs so well with the creamy caramel, and is topped with delicious cream cheese frosting.

Used In This Post:



As a fan of all things pumpkin spice, I thoroughly approve this cake recipe! I also love how quick and easy it is to make. Since the cake calls for melted butter, there's not even any need to wait for butter to soften. You'll also notice that for the caramel filling, I used store bought caramel sauce (this one is my favorite). If you have a favorite caramel recipe, feel free to use it instead.

Also, can we talk about how cute those fall sprinkles are? They're called Fall Harvest by Sweets and Treats, and it's safe to say I'm obsessed!






Cake Ingredients: 

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 cups powdered sugar

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease and line three 6" cake pans. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through brown sugar. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all the wet ingredients, butter through buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing on low speed until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Distribute the batter between the three prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

For The Frosting: beat the cream cheese and butter in your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once all 3 cups are added, beat on high speed for about 5 minutes. If the frosting is too wet, add more powdered sugar. If it's too dry, add a bit of heavy cream.

Assembly: Start with cold cakes. I wrap mine well in plastic wrap once cooled, and refrigerate for at least a few hours. Frost the bottom layer with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting. Pipe a small perimeter of frosting on top, and fill the well with caramel sauce. Repeat for the second layer. Use the remainder of the frosting to cover the outside of the cake. Decorate with candy pumpkins and sprinkles!

By the way, be sure to check out my Instagram (@thiscelebratedlife) for videos on how I decorate my cakes!





More Fall Recipes:


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Kirsten Bell
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Easy Beef Brisket with Homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Easy Beef Brisket with Homemade Bourbon BBQ Sauce


Whew, it's Friday! Has it been a week or what? Well, I have an amazing recipe to share with you today! The most delicious, easy beef brisket recipe plus my super easy homemade Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. Trust me - you will never buy barbecue sauce from the store again after trying this!

I have to give a quick shout out to my husband. He and I tag teamed these recipes - he put together the brisket and I owned the barbecue sauce. We wanted these recipes to be really easy, and relatively hands-off. I was imagining having this in the oven before a football game, wrapping it up and taking it to a tailgate. Which, by the way, we totally plan to do this fall!


Since the brisket and the barbecue sauce both have the same flavors, they compliment each other so well when served together!

By the way, can you tell that I'm obsessed with Brown Sugar Bourbon? It is soooo good! I love a splash of it in my coffee on the weekends, and you might remember it from my Pina Colada Cake and Mint Julep Cupcakes. Grab a bottle and cook through all of these recipes with me - more to come! (hint hint, it might involve pumpkin spice!!!)



Easy Beef Brisket: 

5 lb Beef Brisket
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
1 Cup Worcestershire
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar Bourbon 

Combine all of the above, paprika through Brown Sugar Bourbon, in a small bowl. Rub onto both sides of the brisket. Wrap the brisket and refrigerate overnight. Meanwhile, prepare the Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce below!

Preheat the oven to 260 degrees F. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up. Pour excess juices/liquids into pan. Cook for 1 to 1.5 hours per pound of meat. Flip the meat over once, about halfway through cook time. The meat is done cooking when it has reached 180 degrees F, as measured by a meat thermometer. Wrap the meat in foil, turn the oven off, and then place the foiled brisket back into the now off oven for at least an hour. 

Serve hot, with the Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce below!


Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce: 

1/2 Onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup Molasses
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire 
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijion Mustard
1 teaspoons liquid smoke
1/8 teaspoon Chili Powder
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer together the onion, garlic, and Brown Sugar Bourbon for about 10 minutes or until the onion because translucent. 

Add the remaining ingredients, ketchup through brown sugar to the saucepan. Stir well to combine, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate overnight. The flavors will continue to come together as it sits, so it will taste even better the next day!

If you prefer a chunky barbecue sauce (like me!), serve as is. If you prefer a smooth sauce, run the sauce through fine mesh sieve. 

Serve with the above brisket recipe, chicken, fries - this sauce will taste amazing with pretty much anything!


 




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Kirsten Bell
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Easy Mint Julep Cupcakes

Easy Mint Julep Cupcakes


Today I have the perfect boozy cupcake recipe for you! Easy, Mint Julep Cupcakes. Full of delicious bourbon and bright, fresh mint, these are the best cupcakes for a party. And even though the Kentucky Derby is months away, you'd better believe I'll be serving these!


Mint juleps are one of my very favorite cocktails. They're so refreshing, and these cupcakes taste just like the cocktail! With Brown Sugar Bourbon 103 in the cupcakes, brushed on top AND in the frosting, you'd better believe that this is a boozy dessert that you can bet on!


For these deliciously boozy cupcakes, I used Brown Sugar Bourbon 103. This bourbon is the bolder, stronger version of Heritage Distilling Company's Brown Sugar Bourbon, and it was perfect for a dessert where I wanted the bourbon to be a big, prominent flavor. These cupcakes are based off of a mixed drink, after all!


Makes 12 cupcakes

Vanilla Bourbon Cupcake Ingredients: 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar Bourbon 103
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup yogurt

Cupcake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cupcake tin with liners.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and mix on high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, Brown Sugar Bourbon 103, buttermilk and yogurt. Mix until combined.

Add the dry ingredients in two batches to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula, and do any final mixing by hand.

Distribute the batter between the lined cupcake tin. Bake for 14-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow the cupcakes to come to room temperature before frosting.

Bourbon Mint Frosting Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons mint extract
2 teaspoons Brown Sugar Bourbon 103
Fresh mint leaves (optional for garnish)

Bourbon Mint Frosting Directions: 

When the cupcakes have cooled to room temperature, use a pastry brush and brush Brown Sugar Bourbon 103 onto the top of each cupcake for an extra boozy treat! Then top with the Bourbon Mint Frosting. These are boozy cupcakes, after all!

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beginning on low speed and increasing to high as it's incorporated. Add the mint extract and BSB 103, and mix on high speed for 3-5 minutes. If the frosting is too thin, add some more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, you can add some heavy cream (or some extra bourbon, if you're like me!).

Frost the cupcakes, and garnish with fresh mint leaves.









Some More Boozy Recipes You May Like: 


Thank you to Heritage Distilling Co. for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
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Kirsten Bell
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Healthy Banana Bran Muffins with Blueberries

Healthy Banana Bran Muffins with Blueberries


Back to school is in full swing! Charlotte isn't in school yet, but a lot of her friends are, so I've been observing and trying to learn all of the tips and tricks because I know we will be there before I know it! I've partnered with some of my favorite bloggers for more back-to-school recipes - scroll to the bottom to check them out too!

As I child, I remember really looking forward to after school snacks! It was always soooo exciting when we came through the door, and smelled a freshly baked treat waiting for us. These healthy banana bran muffins are the perfect after-school snack. Easy for busy schedules, delicious for the kiddos, and healthy for all of us! I made these this past weekend for a quick and easy breakfast, and they were gone in a flash!



Ingredients: 

1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup bran cereal
2 bananas, mashed
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and line a muffin tin with liners. 

Combine the buttermilk, bran cereal and bananas in a large mixing bowl. Stir together, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs to the banana mixture and whisk until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir until just combined. Gently stir in the blueberries.

Distribute the batter between the muffin tins, filling each to almost totally full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before removing from the liners. Enjoy!









More Back To School Ideas: 



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Kirsten Bell
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