Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Pie

pumpkin dulce de leche twocaroline.com

Pumpkin Dulce De Leche Pie by twocarolines.com

We posted this pie almost a year ago and since it’s October and all, I felt it was time for an update and re-post because seriously IT’S THE BESSSST!! Now I know that many of you cannot leave your Thanksgiving table without pumpkin pie, it’s a staple of the season and although there are many versions of this pie, rarely does it taste bad, but really and truly – NEVER has it tasted this good!  The brilliant and talented Caroline King v1.0 came up with the idea to spread a layer of dulce de leche at the bottom of her Mom’s pumpkin pie recipe, did I mention that she’s a genius?  I use my favorite pumpkin pie filling that I’ve adapted from the Joy of Cooking classic, made with cream, not evap or sweetened condensed milk – and it is so creamy dreamy and has a nice firm texture with SO MUCH PUMPKIN FLAVOR! I love it the most.  I know you will love it, but I leave you with this warning:  This pie will ruin you for Costco pumpkin pie forever – sorry bout that.

One 9″ traditional pie crust – I roll thin and easily fill a deep dish, but you can make this work in a 9″ as well.  We recommend our recipe, but use whatever you like!
1 can dulce de leche
2 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree (I can isn’t quite two cups but it works out just fine)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or evap milk if that’s how you roll, I recommend cream)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves or allspice
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Crust – 1 single 9-10 inch traditional pie crust, unbaked.  Deep dish pie pan recommended.  We use a shortening crust you can find instructions for here.  Do whatever crust you like best.  Preheat oven to 375
  2. After you have prepared your crust warm up around 3/4-1 cup of the dulce de leche – just 20 seconds or less so it’s easy to spread out around the bottom of your pie pan in an even layer.  You can take it out of the can and microwave it in a pyrex or just warm it up by putting the can in hot water.
  3. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and don’t stress on spices -you can use pumpkin pie spice if you don’t have all of the above.  My advice is to take a taste and if your raw filling tastes like it needs more flavor add accordingly.
  4. Pour pumpkin filling into your prepared pie crust over the dulce de leche layer and bake for 35-45 minutes until firm – mine took around 48 last time, check for doneness, more than bake time.  You know it’s done when it is no longer liquid, it’s okay if there’s some jiggle in the middle, but your pie is done when the sides are bubbling up your dulce layer and the middle wiggles like jello, not like liquid.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving and refrigerate remaining pie which will be delicious for a number of days but it will be gone much sooner than that.  I recommend fresh whipped cream with a little cinnamon and sugar or vanilla ice cream – but even on it’s own you will go nuts for it!

Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking pumpkin pie copyright 2006

Pear Plum Pecan & Apple Crisp

pear plum and apple crisp

Pear Plum Pecan and Apple Crisp by twocarolines.com

Fall fruits have never been in a more delicious setting than bubbling with cinnamony juices and topped with a crumbly crunch top in this delicious pear, plum and apple crisp!  I am missing the bounty of summer, but honestly there is no summer dessert that can make your house smell like this, and not only does this crisp taste outstanding warm, but it’s life altering cold and completely over the top with a scoop of legit vanilla ice cream.  This recipe is very versatile.  It’s my own creation loosely based on the Joy of Cooking apple crisp.  I’ve made it with apples and blackberries, rhubarb and blueberries, any number of stone fruits or just with apples, and the topping is begging to be messed with too!  This time I added oats as I almost always do and chopped some pecans into it which was heaven, but you could add any number of yummy things like coconut, dried fruit, or nuts of  just about any kind.  This is the ultimate in easy desserts which is also handy for this busy time of year, but despite the small effort, anyone who eats it will be convinced you’re a genius in the kitchen!

2-2/12 lbs fruit – either apples, or apples and a combination of other fruit – it comes out to about 7-8 medium sized apples.  Peel and chop apples, pears and plums.
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oats (old fashioned work best)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces

  1.  Prepare a 2 quart sized baking dish by spraying the very bottom.  You don’t have too, but I think it helps with clean up.  Preheat oven to 360 (original recipe is 375, but I find that burns my nuts so I keep it a bit cooler).
  2. Spread fruit into dish and in a separate bowl combine everything but the butter then cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or forks until it resembles coarse bread crumbs.  Scatter the topping evenly over the fruit.  Bake until the topping is golden brown, the juices are bubbling and the apples are tender, about 45-50 minutes.  I usually tent mine at the end just to make sure things don’t get too brown, but you don’t have too.
  3. Serve hot or cold with whipped cream, sour cream or ice cream…or just by itself because it’s seriously incredible on it’s own.  Refrigerate leftovers, which will be good for at least 4-5 days but they will be long gone before then!

Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking Apple or Fruit Crisp 2006

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce

Two Carolines Pumpkin Bread Pudding.JPG

The blessed Season of the Pumpkin is upon us! There are spiced drinks, teas, cookies, etc. But have you had a Pumpkin Bread Pudding? Have you had one that has been drizzled lovingly with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce? Have you had your mind blown yet? Well, we Two Carolines are here for you—here for your pumpkin addiction needs, here to support you cozying up to all things spiced up for fall. Basically, we are here to Spice up Your Life like some other friends of yours from the 90’s.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding recipe:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 1-lb loaf pumpkin bread (recipe below), cubed and dried out for at least one day

Butter a 3 quart baking dish. Whisk eggs in large bowl to blend. Add milk, sugar, cream, and vanilla. Whisk to blend well. Add bread chunks and set sit covered, in the refrigerator, for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Scoop coated bread chunks into prepared baking dish, push down the bread crumbs, compacting the mixture. Add a little extra custard on top, and press down some more. Toss any extra custard. Fill a 9×13 pan filled halfway with water and place on the bottom rack, place the bread pudding on the middle rack. Cook for 1 hour, 30 minutes, or until it is set (maybe another 15 minutes). Before serving, dribble some cinnamon caramel sauce over the top. Freak out.

Cinnamon Caramel Sauce recipe:

  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 cube butter
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add cream and cinnamon and bring to simmer. simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to 1 ½ cups, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.


Pumpkin Bread recipe:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 14 oz. can pumpkin
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. cloves
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (350 for high altitude) and grease one large loaf pan; set aside. Mix dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and oil. Beat with until well blended. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake in for 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours. Put toothpick in center to see if bread is done. Let cool before slicing. Recipe can be doubled easily, and so delicious when adding chocolate chips or a streusel!

-CK 1.0


Coconut Chocolate Granola Bars

These bars are seriously MY FAVORITE ever!  They are the #1 request of my husband and his “Sea Donkey” surf crew because there’s nothing better on a road trip or for a work-out recovery.  I enjoy making them for new Mom’s, to me they were the most satisfying snack and nursing a newborn always made me feel totally famished.  We often use them as just a quick on the go breakfast or afternoon snack.  The only other bar I make are the Chocolate Date Nut Bars I posted a few months ago.  Those are amazing, but more of a smooth chocolate treat, whereas these have all sorts of dimension with chewy dates and coconut, crunchy almonds and other nuts, plus hearty oatmeal and melty chocolate.  I always double this recipe, then I cut and wrap them individually with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.  We eat them for weeks – and you can wrap them then freeze them too!  They freeze beautifully which is another reason I always make as many as I can.  The original recipe was from Smitten Kitchen – her almond date breakfast bars were the inspiration, but I’ve made a number of changes over the years to make them my own.  This a recipe begging to be messed with – sometimes I add other nuts like those Trader Joe’s coconut cashews, or pecans, and sometimes I will add another dried fruit such as tart cherries or apricots – it always turns out epic.  Have fun and make it your own.  I’m certain you’ll love them as much as we do!

1 cup chopped dried pitted dates (I buy them whole and chop them with some flour on my cutting board and knife)
1 1/4 cup quick rolled oats
3 tablespoons barely or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ (or wheat bran)
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds (you can use other nuts too)
1/3 cup shredded coconut (sweetened is fine, but you may want to use a bit less honey)
1/3 cup chocolate chips (I prefer the mini ones when I have them)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat your oven to 350.  Line an 8×8 pan with parchment laying it in an X going first in one direction than perpendicularly in the other so you can easily pull out your bars when they are done.  I almost always double the above recipe and bake them in a 9×13 – but we eat these for days and like to have enough to give away so suit yourself.
  2. Stir together the dates, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds (or whatever nuts you’re using) coconut, and chocolate chips.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the salt, cinnamon, almond butter, coconut oil, honey, and extracts until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir them until the dry ingredients are evenly coated.  Spread the batter in the prepared pan, pressing firmly into the bottom, edges and corners to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.  It’s handy to use a piece of plastic wrap or parchment while you do this so your hands don’t get super sticky.
  4. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes until they are brown around the edges and there’s a little color on the top too.
  5. Cool the bars in their pan placed on a cooling rack.  After 20-30 minutes you can pull them up with your parchment sling and put that on the rack to speed the cooling process.  I recommend cooling them in the fridge for about 30 minutes before cutting.  I forgot to do this last time, which made them a little crumbly when cutting.  If they are a little chilled they are easier to cut.  I like to take the cut bars and wrap them individually then put them in a gallon bag in the fridge or even freeze half of them and enjoy them for weeks and months!

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Almond Date Breakfast Bars in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.

Pumpkin Banana Pecan Muffins


Pumpkin Banana Pecan Muffins by twocarolines.com

Over here in the King home we are fans of muffins.  The one we eat the very most often is my chocolate zucchini muffins because of the well established fact that we believe in chocolate for breakfast whenever possible.  Of course we also eat more bananas than a family of chimps, so I was excited to discover this new banana muffin recipe that uses all whole grain wheat and pumpkin.  I’m betting by late November my blood type will be pumpkin spice.  The banana pumpkin combo made for such a moist and delicious muffin, and I added some chocolate chips because of the aforementioned insistence on chocolate for breakfast.

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
(scant) 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup (7 1/2 to 8 ounces, 1/2 can) puréed pumpkin
1 cup (8 ounces) mashed banana, the riper the better
2 tablespoons orange juice or water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup diced toasted pecans (optional obviously – I used the Trader Joes candied pecans)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup demerara coarse sugar for sprinkling

  1. Prepare 2 standard muffin tins using liners or baking spray and preheat oven to 350.
  2. Beat together the butter, sugars, eggs, pumpkin, banana, water (or OJ), and vanilla.  Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir well to combine.  Next, if using, add the pecans and chocolate chips.
  3. Pour 3/4 full into your prepared pan (you can also do this in a loaf but bake it for about 45-60 minutes paying closer attention to doneness than bake time).  Sprinkle tops of muffins with coarse demerara sugar and bake for 16-18 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the top of your largest muffin.  Let cool a few minutes in the pan then turn out on a rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Pumpkin Banana Bread

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting


chocolate zucchini cake by twocarolines.com

I’m well known for my love of cakes, so people often ask me my favorite, well HERE IT IS! Caroline’s world famous Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting.  I just deeply love and adore this cake.  It’s the dessert I crave the most often, there’s something about it, that really sends me.  Usually when I make it, I bring it directly to an event of some sort and never get a decent picture, but it’s fun to be sharing a favorite almost a year after we launched.  I’m not ashamed to admit that this is a ‘doctor the mix’ cake, with a mix foundation that tastes better than many from scratch cakes, there are no ego’s allowed in my kitchen! The cake itself is soooooo rich and chocolatey, the zucchini makes it ridiculous moist.  And the frosting is a legit, dreamy dark chocolate buttercream just poppin off chocolate flavor like nobody’s business.  I like to put nuts on half my cake so nut haters can still enjoy but man alive does a pecan or walnut just belong on this beauty! I also adore this cake with a white sticky frosting, but if you make it that way you need to eat it day of, because the white sticky tends to break down after a day or so.  I’m so excited to share this and I hope you love it as much as I do!

Chocolate Zucchini cake:
1 package devils food cake mix (I use the pillsbury one and it always tastes great)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
2 cups zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Chocolate buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup butter melted
3/4 cups cocoa
1/3 cup milk (or cream)
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup or so walnuts or pecans (optional)

  1. Heat oven to 350.  Grease and line 2 9 inch round cake pans (or it bakes up beautifully in a 9×13 – just pay attention to doneness rather than bake times).
  2. In a large bowl blend cake mix, cinnamon, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, and eggs and beat for a few minutes.  Add zucchini and mix until thoroughly combined and then add chocolate chips.
  3. Distribute evenly into your cake pans and bake for about 22-25 minutes depending on your oven.  It’s done when a toothpick in the center comes out clean.  Let cool before frosting.
  4. For the frosting, mix the butter and cocoa then add the milk, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar mixing on high until totally uniform and combined.  I use a cocoa mix with 1/3 special dark cocoa and the rest regular cocoa for an ultra decadent flavor.  Add more powdered sugar, or milk alternatively to get the desired texture.
  5. Cut off the top rounds on your cakes with a large bread knife then put the first one cut side down on a plate or cake stand.  Spread 1/3 of your frosting on that layer, then put your next cake on cut side down and spread the rest of your frosting, starting at the top and being careful to never touch your frosting spatula or knife to the cake itself but only on the frosting so you don’t pull crumbs.  Spread over the sides and around the edges.  Garnish with pecans or walnuts if you would like.

chocolate zucchini cake by twocarolines.com


Nutella Swirl Banana Bread


Nutella Swirl Banana Bread by twocarolines.com

We eat ridiculous amounts of Nutella in our home, and when I say “we” I mean my adorable 7 year old daughter who could sustain herself on nothing else if we let her – she’s the one on the left, she’s a very adorable Nutella addict, but an addict none the less.  IMG_2912.JPGI don’t make loads of Nutella recipes because it’s expensive stuff and I buy enough as it is, but this Nutella Swirl Banana Bread turned my head because, duh – bananas!  And I’ve seen a few versions of it, but I liked the way sweetest menu did the swirl on the top and put chocolate chips throughout.  It was a total dessert bread that was here and gone in a day, everyone loved it!  I’m sure you will too.  -CK 2.0

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large overripe bananas
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, add the flour brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.  Whisk together to combine.
  2. Mash bananas with a fork or I use this Pampered Chef Mix and Masher every day and I love it.  Set bananas aside.  In a separate bowl, add the oil, egg, vanilla, and greek yogurt.  Whisk to combine.  Then, add your wet mixture, along with your mashed banana, into your dry mixture and gently fold to combine.  Add chocolate chips and fold in.
  3. Warm the Nutella in the microwave for 10-15 seconds then add 1/4 of the Nutella into your banana mixture.  Fold gently so you can keep your pretty swirls.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.   Add the rest of your Nutella on top and swirl it with a knife into a pretty pattern.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes then tent your bread with foil so it doesn’t burn on top.  Bake another 10-15 minutes until a knife in the center comes out clean (minus a bit of Nutella).  Remove from oven and leave to cool a solid 10 minutes before removing bread from the pan to cool on a rack completely.

Recipe adapted from Sweetest Menu Nutella Swirl Banana Bread