Pumpkin Cream Cheese Thanksgiving Truffles

Approximately 12 years ago, I made pretty much the best dessert ever for my parent’s Thanksgiving dinner party: Mini turkeys. That’s right. Painstakingly hand-made mini turkeys consisting of a Hershey’s kiss and Oreo cookie body, candy corn feathers, and cut up Twizzlers for the wattle. Finishing those turkeys constituted basically the proudest moment of my life up to that point. Someone (besides my parents) even complimented me on them!

But then . . . no one ate them. Correction: I ate two. One brave adult ate one. And two of my friends, also around the age of 10, each ate one. Sad life. I’ve tried to block out that particular dessert experience from my mind for many years. Now, though, as I reflect back upon my first dessert rejection, I guess I (sorta kinda) get it.

I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily want to eat a mashup of store-bought candy masquerading as a dessert that had been touched and molded into shape with the possibly dirty (but I always washed my hands with soap – even under my fingernails!!!) fingers of a ten-year-old. I’m going on record now, though, to say that if I come across those lovely mini turkeys in my Thanksgiving festivities this year, I promise to eat one. Scratch that. I’m getting five of those suckers. Props to little kids who believe in their dessert craft!

In an effort to avoid the pain of rejection, though, I decided to create a more adult palate friendly dessert this year. And it’s still shaped like a turkey. Hah! Though it can be traditionally truffle shaped for those who so desire. As I considered different food combinations in my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about pumpkin and cream cheese. So, I didn’t. Instead, I used them, along with some powdered sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and pumpkin pie spice as the filling for my truffles. Ermahgawd. I would most definitely eat this filling by itself. In a bowl – no melted chocolate covering or decoration needed. Continue reading

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Mini Coconut Banana Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Here’s the thing about minis: Who ever eats just one?

Seriously, though.

When’s the last time you ate one mini Snickers, or one mini Milky Way Midnight (my fav!), and thought, ‘Perfect! That one extremely tiny square of chocolate-nougat goodness was enough to satisfy all of my mid-afternoon chocolate cravings!’ and then went right back to work? …Exactly.

Minis are especially dangerous when they appear in the form of cupcakes. Especially, especially those coconut banana cupcakes that you (ok, well, I) have been dreaming about, topped with coconut cream cheese frosting.

And oh man, let’s talk about cream cheese frosting. How can I adequately describe my feelings on this subject? If you put too much butter in my cream cheese frosting, I might just punch you in the face. There’s a place for butter, and it’s called buttercream frosting. Phew, glad I got that off my chest.

But seriously. This cream cheese frosting is almost 100% cream cheese, with just a little butter and powdered sugar in there to justify the term “frosting.” Confession: I’d actually planned to add a bit of salt and vanilla extract to this frosting, but after I sampled the three-ingredient frosting, I refused to add anything else.

Side note: Am I completely crazy? Is cream cheese fiendish-ness normal? Please, please, if you, too, have strong opinions about cream cheese – one way or the other – let me know!

I could swim in this cream cheese frosting. Okay, actually, not really. But what I can do (and did) is eat this straight from the mixer. And on mini cupcakes. Three of them, to be exactly.

Luckily for me (and you!), these mini cupcakes contain bananas. And coconut (does it matter if it’s sweetened?). So, you’re really just eating small portions of fruit. And who doesn’t need more of that?

Now isn’t it time you went and baked (ate) these?

Mini Coconut Banana Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Banana Nut Coconut Cake)

Yield: 24 mini cupcakes or 12 regular cupcakes

Notes: As stated above, my frosting recipe reflects the fact that I absolutely love cream cheese. If you’re less into it than I am (it’s okay, we can still be friends), feel free to increase the ratio of butter to cream cheese. If you like your frosting sweeter, add more powdered sugar! Also, the frosting recipe makes enough cream cheese frosting for…me. Meaning, it makes a lot. Just a heads up.

Ingredients

  1. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 1/4 cup butter, softened
  3. 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 4 small or 3 large ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/4 cup milk
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line mini cupcake tin with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick spray. You can also use a regular cupcake tin or cake pan.
  2. Cream together sugar and butter, then add in Greek yogurt, egg, and the mashed bananas.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Blend dry mixture in to the creamed mixture. Then, add in milk.
  4. Blend in vanilla extract, then stir in the shredded coconut. Pour into cupcake liners.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  1.  2 packages (16 oz total) of cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  3. 1 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  1.  Blend together cream cheese and butter, then add powdered sugar and blend until desired texture is achieved.
  2. Pipe on top of cupcakes, then sprinkle with shredded coconut.