Dessert

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Yes, this is real life. We’ve taken a layer of cheesecake and stuffed it inside pumpkin bread. Not just plain cheesecake, but cookie butter cheesecake. This, my friends, is the one baked good you need to make this fall. And then again in the winter. And maybe even this spring and summer because you won’t have gotten enough of it yet.

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

The pumpkin bread on its own is the best pumpkin bread I’ve ever had. It’s moist, well spiced and packed with pumpkin flavor. A lot of pumpkin bread recipes end up being bland and too light on pumpkin flavor so I love that I found my perfect go-to recipe. It also has just the right amount of sweetness for me since I definitely have a sweet tooth.

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

If that wasn’t good enough on its own, there’s that cookie butter cheesecake swirled throughout the bread! I like the typical pumpkin and cream cheese pairing, but to me the plain cream cheese tends to overpower the pumpkin sometimes since its slight sourness is in such contrast with the warmly spiced pumpkin. I thought the brown sugar and cinnamon spices of the cookie butter would complement the pumpkin really well. And they do!

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

The cookie butter might even make it taste a little too good. I usually share all the treats that I make, but this was one I had a tough time parting with. I gave away two slices and the rest got cut up, wrapped and put into the freezer. Although I’m not sure why I bothered freezing it since it will most likely be gone by the time I even post this recipe. [Update: it’s most definitely all gone].

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you’ve never bought cookie butter, you can find it in a lot of stores now. I buy the Lotus Biscoff brand, which you can find on Amazon here, and Trader Joe’s has their own brand that’s pretty good as well. Already obsessed with cookie butter? Make my Lemon Cookie Butter Cheesecake Parfaits pronto! Maybe even swapping the lemon curd for some pumpkin puree? Okay, I think I just found a recipe to post for next fall!

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread  |  Lemon & Mocha

Cookie Butter Cheesecake Stuffed Pumpkin Bread
 
Yield: 1 loaf
Ingredients
for the cookie butter cheesecake swirl
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup cookie butter
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt (any fat percentage, Greek or regular)
  • 1 large egg
for the pumpkin bread
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions
for the cookie butter cheesecake swirl
  1. Beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add the cookie butter, yogurt and egg to the bowl and beat until combined. Set aside.
for the pumpkin bread
  1. Make sure your oven rack is positioned in the bottom third of your oven then preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5” loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the sugar and pumpkin puree. Whisk to combine then whisk in the oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and egg. Add in the flour mixture and whisk until just combined.
  4. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the pumpkin batter. Pour the remaining batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it evenly. Use a spoon to scoop the cookie butter cheesecake mixture onto the pumpkin batter in the pan. Take the reserved 1 cup of pumpkin batter and pour it in a line down the center of the pan. Using a knife, swirl the batter and cheesecake layer by inserting the tip of the knife into the batter and dragging/swirling it about 5 times.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is cracked and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes then carefully invert onto a plate or another cooling rack before flipping upright. Let cool completely. This will take at least another 1½ hours. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Notes
You can substitute sour cream for the yogurt.

Recipe slightly adapted from Food Network.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

It’s peak apple picking season! Oftentimes it doesn’t feel like fall here until September is almost over so I’ve always associated apple picking with October. However, a few years ago Matt and I went apple picking with Matt’s parents at an orchard by them in Connecticut during the second week of October only to find that there were almost no apples left! Apparently while we were waiting for it to start feeling like fall we had missed peak season for apples. So today I’m sharing some apple goodness so you can join in while there’s still plenty of apples to be picked, stuffed into cinnamon sugar egg roll wrappers and eaten.

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wanted to make an easy apple dessert that would be quick to whip up so I started thinking about apple dumplings. There’s a lot of recipes on Pinterest that combine apples with crescent dough and while that sounds delicious I was looking to make something slightly less indulgent. Then I remembered my Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls. I loved how crispy the baked egg rolls got that I had already started brainstorming other variations, but what about a sweet dessert variation?

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I tried one of these Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites out of the oven they tasted even more outrageous than I was imagining. The spiced apples cooked down just the right amount so the soft apples contrast perfectly with the crunchy cinnamon-sugar coated outside. They’re also so easy to put together! There’s no cooking required except for letting them bake in the oven and as I talked about in my Southwest Turkey Baked Egg Rolls post, folding the filling up into these egg roll wrappers is way easier than you would think.

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Once they are done cooking you get to indulge in the best part – dipping them in the vanilla chai dipping sauce. Simply powdered sugar, brewed chai tea and vanilla extra, this dipping sauce complements the Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites really well. Chai tea is full of warming spices that are reminiscent of fall bringing a nice depth of flavor to a traditional vanilla glaze.

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Also, by using brewed tea instead of the traditional milk or cream we are keeping the entire recipe dairy free, dipping sauce included, if that sort of thing is important to you. So between the fruit, the baking instead of frying, only using cooking spray and keeping them dairy free we totally have a healthy dessert on our hands right?! Okay, maybe not “healthy”, but definitely healthier than other desserts I’ve posted here so I’m going to go with just a eat a whole bunch of them and have no regrets, friends!

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce  |  Lemon & Mocha

Looking for some more apple recipe inspiration? Check out a few of my favorite apple recipes below!

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Caramelized Onion & Apple Dip

Baked Apple Chips

Baked Apple Chips

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Peanut Butter Apple Bars

Peanut Butter Apple Bars

Crispy Baked Apple Pie Bites with a Chai Vanilla Dipping Sauce
 
Yield: 15 apple pie bites
Ingredients
for the apple pie bites
  • 3 medium granny smith apples, about 1 pound
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus ½ teaspoon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 15 egg roll wrappers, see note
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Cooking spray
for the vanilla chai sauce
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon strongly brewed chai tea
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
for the apple pie bites
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or coat with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Peel the apples then cut them into a small dice. You do not want the pieces too big or it will be difficult to roll the wrappers. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the apples with the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the ground nutmeg.
  3. Before filling the egg roll wrappers, make sure you have a little bowl or cup of warm water and a clean work surface. Place the egg roll wrapper down so that a corner is facing you. Scoop 2½ tablespoons of the apple mixture and place it in a horizontal strip in the middle (closer to the bottom corner than the top corner). I like to adjust the mixture so it’s more of a log shape then a big mound. Now you are about to fold and make sure you fold gently and carefully so they don't break although if it breaks a little that's okay. Take the bottom corner of the wrapper and fold it up and over the mixture so it’s completely covering it then continue to roll it one more time. Fold in the left and right corners so they create a little envelope then continue to roll it until it’s 1 roll away from the top corner. Wet your finger with the water and use it to moisten the whole exposed top corner. Fold the corner down to close up and seal the roll. Place it on the baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining rolls.
  4. In a small bowl combine the remaining ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon with the 2 teaspoons of sugar. Coat all the rolls with cooking spray then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over top. Bake the rolls for 8 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 8 minutes. They should be crispy and golden brown. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.
for the vanilla chai sauce
  1. Sift the powdered sugar into a small mixing bowl. Add the chai tea and vanilla extract then whisk to combine. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
Notes
I use Nasoya egg rolls wrappers. I find them in the refrigerated section of my grocery store near the hummus and guacamole.

 

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

As if the monthly Food Network Magazine muffins weren’t enough I’m now introducing even more muffins! That’s okay though because these Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins are so worth it. You know those mini muffins you can buy prepackaged at the grocery store? The Little Bites or Little Debbie ones, etc.? These Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins taste just like that so if you are a fan then you will be loving these mini bites. If you’ve never had them, I would almost describe them as chocolate chip pancakes, but in the form of a muffin. They are light, moist, soft – and chocolatey from all the mini chocolate chips, which is obviously the best part.

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

There are two dangerous aspects of this recipe. The first is that they are so easy to make. The second is that they are completely pop-able. As in, you just want to keep popping more and more of them in your mouth until they’re all gone. Oops. I first made these muffins to bring to my friend’s brunch football tailgate. I wanted something that didn’t need to stay hot and that would be a universal hit.

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

I highly recommend these mini muffins for brunch tailgates, morning potlucks or to have on hand when you’re going to be having guests stay with you. Or for eating in the car on a road trip, eating while watching Netflix or eating while biking along the coast. Also for breakfast, snack, lunch or dessert. Did I forget anything?

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

If you want to turn them into double chocolate chip mini muffins check out my note in the recipe. Also, a couple tips for baking and storing the muffins. As you can see in the photos, the muffins stay pale on the top. They do not get golden brown like a lot of other muffin recipes so if you are waiting for that you will overcook them. Just follow the recipe instructions and note so you will have perfectly moist and fluffy mini muffins.

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

I store the mini muffins at room temperature in a sealed plastic container so they stay soft just like the ones from the grocery store. Normally with muffins you don’t want them to get soft because you want the tops to stay nice and crunchy, but this is one case where they taste so good soft all over. I hope you all love these mini muffins as much as we do!

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins
 
Yield: 48 mini muffins
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray (or 48 cup if you have it). Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg until frothy. Add the milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract then beat until combined. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until just combined - try not to over-mix. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop the muffin batter into the prepared muffin pan. It makes 48 mini muffins so if you only have one 24 cup mini muffin pan you will have to refill it after the first batch is done and the pan has had a chance to cool. Fill the muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean or with a crumb or two. Let cool for 1 minute in the pan before carefully transferring the muffins to a wire cooling rack.
Notes
The tops of the muffins stay pale so don’t wait for them to get golden or the muffins will be overcooked. Just check them with a toothpick at 9 minutes and see if they need more time or not from there.
If you want some chocolate chips right on the top of your mini muffins for presentation purposes, carefully pull out the muffin pan after they have been baking for about 2 minutes and quickly place a couple mini chips on the top of the muffins before returning to the oven.
If you want to make double chocolate mini muffins, you could add 2 tablespoons of sifted cocoa powder to the flour mixture. I haven’t experimented with this version enough, but you might want to add a little espresso powder to emphasize the chocolate flavor and a little more vegetable oil (maybe ½ to 1 tablespoon?) to keep them moist. I will try the chocolate version again soon and report back. Everyone that ate them liked them, I’m just extra picky when it comes to my own baking!

Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for my referral. This does not affect the retail cost of the item. Thank you for supporting Lemon & Mocha!

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

We’re starting Monday off with a bang! This super simple no-bake Lemon Blackberry Ice Box Cake is channeling summer as we try to soak up the last week of August. I love lemon flavors all the time, but I especially love eating it in the summer since it makes me think of fresh ingredients and sunshine. Combine the lemon with some fresh plump blackberries and we are in full summer mode over here!

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I made this cake because I wanted to participate in Sally’s Baking Challenge over on Sally’s Baking Addiction. If you aren’t familiar with her blog, she posts a new challenge recipe every month to inspire more people to bake. I participated last month making cherry hand pies you can check out over on my Instagram and I had so much fun that I decided I wanted to participate again this month. The challenge for August is a chocolate chip cookie layer cake, which sounds amazing, but it is HUGE. Since there’s so many challenge months I missed out on, I decided to head into the archives and make a dessert from a past challenge.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Last year, she posted one for a lemon blueberry icebox cake. Matt’s not a blueberry fan so we settled on blackberries and that’s how this cake came to be on your screen right now. Well after I made it, photographed it, edited it and loaded it up of course. While all that was happening, this light and tart cake was devoured so it’s safe to say it was a big success. Don’t be fooled by the challenge part; icebox cakes could not be easier since there is absolutely no baking involved.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Even though I’ve eaten plenty of them, I’ve actually never make an icebox cake before. An icebox cake is typically made by layering cookies and whipped cream then placing it in the freezer. The cookies soak up moisture from the whipped cream and develop a soft “cake-like” texture. This version has multiple layers and each of them have me doing a happy dance.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

First, for our cookies we’re using graham crackers. You will need about six full-sheet graham crackers, which is just shy of one whole sleeve. For the whipped cream layer we are making a quick homemade lemon whipped cream. Beat together heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until you have soft peaks – done! I love a pillowy homemade whipped cream, but the brightness from the lemon takes it to a new level.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, we have our homemade blackberry sauce that you can make with a saucepan in under ten minutes. We’re going to layer each component multiple times so you have a show-stopping cake slice like the ones pictured here that will have everyone thinking you spent hours in the kitchen. Below is a quick shot I took to show you how I layered the graham crackers; it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t wait for you all to try this one! I’ll be busy over here dreaming up other icebox cake variations to make in the near future.

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Lemon Blackberry Icebox Cake
 
Yield: 10 servings
Ingredients
for the blackberry sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
for the cake
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 6 full-sheet graham crackers, a little less than 1 standard sleeve
  • Lemon zest and blackberries for garnish, optional
Directions
for the blackberry sauce
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, lemon juice and warm water until the cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the blackberries and sugar. Continue to stir until the blackberries have started releasing some of their juices, then add the cornstarch mixture. Stir for another 2-3 minutes while the blackberry sauce starts to thicken, mashing up some of the blackberries as you stir. Remove from the sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Set aside until it’s completely cool. Feel free to put it in the fridge if you want to speed up the cooling.
for the cake
  1. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, making sure there is overhang over the edges so you’ll be able to easily life out the cake. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment. Continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Soft peaks are when peaks are just starting to hold, but flop over quickly.
  3. Make an extremely thin layer using a couple tablespoons of the whipped cream you just made on the bottom of the prepared loaf pan. This is to help the bottom layer of graham crackers stick. I'm going to describe the layering order here, but there is a quick list in the recipe notes section for reference. First, use about 2 graham crackers to make a single layer (see reference photo in the post). Next, a layer of whipped cream using about ¾ cup of the whipped cream. Then, layer half of the blackberry sauce. After the blackberry sauce comes another whipped cream layer of about ¾ cup followed by another single graham cracker layer. Layer another ¾ cup of whipped cream followed by the remaining blackberry sauce. Then another ¾ cup of whipped cream, a single graham cracker layer, and finally the rest of the whipped cream. Done!
  4. Once you have all your layers, you can top with lemon zest and blackberries for garnish, if desired, then cover with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours. The icebox cake can be frozen 2-3 days before serving.
  5. When you’re ready to serve, let it soften in the fridge for 1 hour before serving or allow it to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Use the plastic wrap overhang on the sides to remove the cake from the pan and cut into slices. All leftovers (if you have any!) should be stored in the fridge.
Notes
Layer the following components in this order:
- Single graham cracker layer (about 2 crackers)
- Whipped cream layer using about ¾ cup of the whipped cream
- Blackberry sauce layer, using half of the blackberry sauce
- Whipped cream layer (3/4 cup)
- Single graham cracker layer (about 2 crackers)
- Whipped cream layer (3/4 cup)
- Blackberry sauce layer (remaining half of blackberry sauce)
- Whipped cream layer (3/4 cup)
- Single graham cracker layer (about 2 crackers)
- Whipped cream layer (the rest of the whipped cream)

Recipe slightly adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Beach Crab Cupcakes

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

This past week was my family’s beach week down at the Delaware shore. Every year my Dad’s side of the family gathers together at the beach for a week of lazy beach days, plenty of Leebreezes, and general family shenanigans. As usual, it went by too quickly and we’re already counting down until next summer’s beach week! Do vacations ever seem long enough?

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wanted to bring down a fun treat and when I saw these Beach Crab Cupcakes on Pinterest I knew I had to make them. How cute are these? I don’t normally have the patience for decorating, but these were actually very simple.

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

The hardest part was finding a gummy that would work for the eyes. I ended up using Sour Patch Cherry, which I didn’t even know was a thing. You stick a candy eye onto each Sour Patch Cherry, or whatever small round sour gummies you can find, for the crab’s eyeballs. The claws are made out of gummy peach rings that are cut in half. The crab’s body is made of gummy orange slices and finally the whole thing is propped up onto your cupcake and frosting of choice with some halved toothpicks. Don’t forget the graham cracker crumb “sand” on top!

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I used my Key Lime Pie Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting for these since they were already screaming summer even before I topped them with these adorable crabs. These are great for kids and adults alike, especially the gummy candy eaters like Matt.

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

I will definitely be making these again, although I already started brainstorming cute cupcake ideas for next beach week! Happy Friday, everyone!

Beach Crab Cupcakes  |  Lemon & Mocha

Beach Crab Cupcakes
 
Yield: 24 cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 24 cupcakes
  • Batch of frosting to frost 24 cupcakes
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 48 Sour Patch Cherries
  • 48 candy eyes
  • 60 toothpicks, cut in half
  • 24 gummy peach rings
  • 24 gummy orange slices
Directions
  1. Frost the cupcakes, reserving a small amount of the frosting for the eyes. Sprinkle the tops of the frosting cupcakes with graham cracker crumbs.
  2. To make the eyes, use a small amount of icing to attach one candy eye to each small round sour gummy. Insert 1 toothpick piece into each prepared eye.
  3. To make the claws, cut the gummy peach rings in half. Insert 1 toothpick piece into each crescent shaped gummy peach half.
  4. To put together the crab, insert a toothpick piece into the bottom of the flat part of the gummy orange slice. This will be how the crab gets set on top of the cupcake. Take the two prepared eye toothpicks and insert them both onto the top curved part of the gummy orange slice. Finally, insert one prepared claw onto each side of the crab. Insert the crab onto a frosted cupcake then repeat for the remaining cupcakes.

Inspiration from Clean and Scentsible.