Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve Egg Nog Mini Bundt Cakes

Egg Nog is one of my hubby's favorite holiday flavors.  I know he grew up with his parents having it on Christmas Eve and my Dad always made his "spirited" bowl for the open house my Mom would host each year.  These little cakes remind me of those times.


It's been a hectic month and as we all do our last minute baking, shopping, and wrapping, it's nice to take a minute and remember how thankful we are for all we have.  Wishing you all the merriest Christmas and happiest New Year.

Christmas Eve Egg Nog Mini Bundt Cakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. Egg Nog flavoring, or 1 tsp. vanilla extract, or 1 T. rum
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup Egg Nog

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray a 6-cup mini Bundt pan with baking spray and set aside.  In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Add the sugar and beat on medium to combine.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the flavoring (or extract or rum) and mix once again.

Whisk the dry ingredients together, then add them to the bowl, alternating with the egg nog, starting and ending with dry ingredients.  The mixture is thick.

Scoop the batter into the prepared mini Bundt pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and after cooling for 5 minutes, turn them out onto a rack to cool.

I decided to treat these like a "doughnut" so I melted 3/4 + 2T (almost two sticks) of unsalted butter.  I also made a mixture of 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg.
Dip the cakes into the butter, then roll into the sugar mixture.
Alternatively, you can glaze the cakes with 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 1tsp. Karo light syrup, and 1-2 T egg nog.

I have one last post to do tomorrow of a Buche de Noel cake, then the baking is done. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Chobani Christmas Coffee Cake

Christmas is less than two weeks away and I know we're all scurrying to get everything done.  This coffee cake came to me while sitting for a minute, taking a deep breath, and enjoying a snack of my favorite Greek yogurt--Chobani/Key Lime.  It's no secret that instead of coffee, I have a Diet Coke with Lime every morning, so you can understand my obsession with this flavor:-D

Food brings back a lot of memories for me and while I looked at this packaging, a memory of being with my girls came back.  It happened that the Catholic school they attended was not far from the mall in Thousand Oaks, CA and so occasionally we would stop on our way home for some "mother-daughter" shopping--they shopped, I paid!  And, occasionally we would take time for a treat when a must needed break was called for.  Our favorite place was a cinnamon roll shop, where one bun was plenty big enough for the three of us to share.  I ordered a diet Coke and the girls would get a Lime Cooler--fresh lime juice with club soda and a maraschino cherry!

The flavors in this coffee cake remind me of those days.  It's tang of lime, paired with the maraschino cherry filling and a hint of cinnamon in honor of those buns.  How good it would be on Christmas morning with brunch after all those presents are unwrapped.  My hubby says it's perfect with a good cup of coffee, but I'll have to take his word on that!

Chobani Christmas Coffee Cake

10 T (1 stick + 2T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
Zest and juice of one lime
2 cartons (5.3oz) Chobani/Key Lime Greek Yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling:
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, cut into quarters
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Crumb Topping:
1 1/4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 T lime zest
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325F-degrees.  Use a baking spray to coat a 10-cup tubed baking pan.  I used my "coffee cake" pan, but if you use a decorative Bundt pan, baking time will have to be adjusted.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugars and lime zest thoroughly.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides and add the extract and lime juice.

Sift the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture, alternating with the Chobani yogurt, starting and ending with the flour mixture.

Mix up the filling ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add half of the batter to the prepared baking pan.  Spoon the filling over the batter, being careful to keep it away from the sides.  Top with the remaining batter and use an off-set spatula to smooth the surface.

Mix up the crumb topping in the same bowl as the filling was in (no need to wash another bowl!)  First, place all the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix well.  Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and use a fork to combine.  The mixture will form "crumbles" about 1/4 to 1/2-inch round; perfect for the topping.  Spoon topping over the batter.

Place in the preheated over for 50-55 minutes.  You can test the cake with a wooden skewer poked in the center--if it comes out cleanly, it's done.  Remove from the oven and allow the cake to rest for 10-15 minutes.  This resting is important to allow the filling to cool and not flatten the cake.

I used a parchment lined baking sheet to invert the pan and them placed my glass cake plate under it and flipped it once more so the crumb topping was showing.
It's great served just like this, warm from the oven or you can allow it cool slightly and add a glaze.

Glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 T light Karo syrup
2 T Maraschino cherry syrup
1-2 tsp. very warm water, if needed to thin the glaze

Drizzle over the cake before serving.
Just as I remember from those days of shopping with my girls.  Enjoy!

If you would like to see more recipes with Chobani yogurt, check out their recipe site.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Feast of St. Nicholas Peppermint Biscotti & December's Give-Away Apron


December 6th is the Feast of Saint Nicholas and I couldn't think of a better way to share the day for this time-honored figured than with baking.  It is a day celebrated with regard to his reputation as a bringer of gifts.  In the Ukraine children wait for St. Nicholas to place a present under their pillows whereas, in the Netherlands,  Dutch children put out their clogs filled with hay and carrots for his horse on December 5th.  It's for sure, it is a sweet tradition and one even our granddaughters have experienced.
Since peppermint is a flavor I associate with the season, I couldn't help but make up this Biscotti with a hint of peppermint in the dough, as well as, some crushed with white chocolate on the end.  I'm trying out some new recipes for the cookie boxes I send to family and friends.  More to come...

St. Nicholas Peppermint Biscotti
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. Peppermint Oil
2 large eggs
2 1/3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

4 oz. white chocolate, chopped and melted over a double boiler
2 candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the peppermint oil and mix again.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

Remove the bowl from the stand and stir in the flour and baking powder.  Mix until fully incorporated.  I like to mix by hand to ensure I don't over beat.  Divide dough in half and create two logs, 8" x 2".
Lightly flour your hands to smooth a bit.  Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool about 10 minutes.

Slice the logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch cookies.

 Lower oven temperature to 325F-degrees and bake another 15-20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before spreading melted white chocolate on the ends and sprinkling crushed candy canes on.

The December apron is another symbol of the holidays--Poinsettias.  I just love this fabric and think it adds to the festivities.  If you would like a chance to win this apron, comment on the posts this month and it could be yours. Enjoy!


November's Apron Winner...

I could start off saying, I don't know where the time has gone, but actually I do.  In addition to baking, I am a paper artist and this time of year finds me mostly in the studio designing and getting ready for our big trade show in January; you have no idea how much work this is!  I'm not complaining, but haven't seen much time in the kitchen like I use to:-(

So, without further ado, November's winner is Susan of Writing Straight from the Heart blog.  Please email me your address and this lovely will be sent to you ASAP. 

I promise, by later today or tomorrow at the latest, I will have December's Apron and an intriguing recipe.  I feel like baking today:-D

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Starbuck's Lemon Pound Cake...or so they say

This recipe has been floating around FaceBook for the last week and being a lover of lemon, I just had to try it.  Since I'm not a coffee drinker, it's the only thing I can say I have ever purchased from Starbucks!

I don't know if it can truly qualify as a pound cake, but it certain lives up to the name Lemon.

STARBUCK'S LEMON POUND CAKE
2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. Lemon extract
1/3 cup Lemon juice (2 medium lemons)
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil can be found in the baking section of your grocery store


Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Well-grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, whisk, and set aside.  In a bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.  Add the extracts and lemon juice and mix again.

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until smooth.  Add the Coconut oil and mix well.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes.  After 25 minutes, I did lower the temperature to 325F-degrees and covered the top of the cake with aluminum foil for my oven; I would recommend you checking after 25 minutes to see how it's browning.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan 5-7 minutes then invert it on a rack with parchment paper, then flip that onto a serving plate to cool before icing the top.

Icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. Lemon extract
2 T whole milk
1 T Light Karo Syrup (I added this ingredient, as I do for all my icings, but not called for in the original)

Icing the cake and allow it to set before slicing.

The cake looked and tasted just as I remembered from Starbuck's.  However, the next time I make this cake, I would add lemon zest to the batter and use lemon juice in the icing in lieu of whole milk and lemon extract...just saying!
No one is complaining here though and that luscious lemon cake was a nice treat with the rain coming down--like a bite of sunshine:-D  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Peanut Butter Cookies with a Twist and November's Give-Away-Apron

Have you seen the different spreads on the grocery shelves next to peanut butter?  I've been noticing this Chocolate~Peanut Butter by Reese's (need I say more) and decided to buy it to try in a cookie.  So, this is an old-fashioned cookie with a twist.

Peanut Butter cookies were a favorite when I was growing up; great for lunch boxes, but also for M & C's when we got home.  I know today it would be difficult to have your children take these to school because of peanut allergies and in addition, at my granddaughter's school, they're not even allowed to have anything homemade!  It makes me sad, but these cookies make me happy:-D

Peanut Butter Cookies with a Twist
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 jar (13 oz) Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate
2 3/4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 cups Old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups Peanut Butter chips (I used mini)

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees (180C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together thoroughly.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add the Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate and vanilla extract and beat on low to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix on low to combine.  Finally, add the peanut butter chips.

Use a #20 scoop to measure out the cookies on the parchment-lined sheets.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely.  Great with a large glass of milk and some conversation with your kids or grandkids.  Enjoy!

Now, as promised...here is the apron for November!
As you can see, I've chosen some pretty rich colors reflecting the beauty of the month.  If you'd like to have this apron for the holidays, just comment on posts in November and I could be sending this beauty your way.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Crumble & October's Apron Winner

Are you ready for the holidays coming?  Well, this might get you in the spirit--Pumpkin Pie Crumble.  I discovered a new magazine on the bookshelf at Barnes & Noble, full of mouth-watering recipes, and yesterday with the crisp air, Halloween decorations, and Trick or Treaters at my door, this recipe stood out!

 My kind of magazine; baking from scratch is why I started this blog so I could show busy women (and men) that it is easy to bake without using a mix or ingredients that are loaded with preservations! It's how my mother taught me and watching her juggling a busy home with eight children--with my Dad at sea often, and she still made everything from scratch.  That's baking with love:-D

I'm trying to keep up sharing with my baking and know I've had some lean months with recipes, but we are starting in to the holiday bake season and I will try to post more--starting with November's apron up by Tuesday.

Pumpkin Pie Crumble
Crust:
3/4 cup + 2T (110g) cake flour
1/2 cup + 2T (125g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 cup (110g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

Topping:
1/4 cup (30g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
2 T brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 T cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Filing:
1 (15-ounce/425g) can pumpkin puree (not Pumpkin Pie Mix!)
2 T brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon*
1/4 tsp. ground allspice*
1/8 tsp. ground cloves*
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg*
1 large egg
1/2 cup (80ml) milk

*I used 1 1/4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees/175C-degrees.  Butter a 9-inch round pan with a removable bottom, then, line with parchment paper.  I used my round Springform pan.

For the crust, stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Add the butter and cut it in until it's the size of peas.  Add the egg and stir until the dough starts to come together.


Dump the mixture into the prepared pan, then, press it evenly into the pan.  Bake for about 20 minutes, until it puffs up, then settles down and browns a bit.  Remove from the oven.

While the crust is baking, mix up the topping.  In a medium bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients, then, cut in the butter.  Add the chopped pecans and stir until the mixture starts to come together in clumps.  Set aside.

To make the filling: In a medium bowl, mix the pumpkin, spices, sugar and salt together, using a rubber spatula or wire whisk.  Mix in the egg, then add the milk and stir until smooth.

Pour the filling evenly over the cooled crust, then sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the filling is set and the top is golden.  Let cool completely before removing the pan sides.

Served on it's own, it was delicious, but I thought a dollop of whip cream would have been nice along side too.  Enjoy!

Now, October's Give-Away Apron goes to Siobhan van N!  Please email me your address so I can send out this lovely.

November's will be up by Tuesday...I promise:-)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Black & Orange Cookies

These cookies have donned their costumes early; usually black & white, I made a switch and made an orange & black that makes them perfect for Halloween.  A favorite in the New York area, these cookies have a soft cake-like texture with fondant like icing.  I love eating one half at a time...don't you?

Black & Orange Cookies

Cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs + 3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt

Fondant Icing:
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (icing sugar)
3 T light corn syrup
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6-7 T cold water

Orange food coloring + 1/4 tsp. orange extract (optional)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Sift the dry ingredients and set aside.  Add the vanilla extract to the milk.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy--about 2 minutes.  Beat in the whole eggs and yolks, one at a time, then increase the speed to high and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.

Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk/vanilla, starting and ending with the flour mixture.  Increase the speed to high and beat for 15 seconds to combine and lightened the batter.

Use a #20 scoop to measure out the batter onto the parchment-lined pans, leaving about 2 inches between for spreading.
Bake in the preheated oven for 13 to 15 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.  The bottoms should be a golden brown.

Once the cookies have cooled completely, mix up the icing using the stand mixer and the whisk attachment, beat the confectioners' sugar with the corn syrup, vanilla, and lemon juice on low speed.  Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running.  The icing should be smooth and spreadable.  Transfer a little more than half the icing to a medium bowl and add the orange food coloring and extract, if using.  Add the cocoa to the icing in the mixing bowl and beat on low to combine, adding cold water as needed to make it smooth and spreadable.

I spread the chocolate icing on half of the cookie and allowed it to set slightly.
Then, I did the orange icing.

This fondant-like icing will set up hard in about 30 minutes allowing for them to be stored without fear of sticking together.  However, these were set to go to our Vet's office because our three little kittens had their year check up and immunizations.  It's nice to bring gifts don't you think? Enjoy!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Shenandoah Apple Pie Cake

I spent the weekend with my Sis at her lovely home that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains; cherished times antiquing, walking an arts & craft show, and apple picking at Carter Mountain Orchard.
View of the Blue Ridge Mountains from my Sister's back deck!
The view from Carter Mountain Orchard

Jonagold's were there for the picking!
I came home with bags of apples, that I've already turned into sauce to prepare apple butter today, but I saved out a couple to make a quick cake for my hubby last night.  The weather was perfect even though the leaves aren't quite as brilliant, but it's still a little early.
 Apple trees are deciduous and although there are several regions in our country where apple production is large, this fruit originates in Central Asia, where they have been grown for thousands of years.  Reverend William Braxton brought them to Boston in the 17th century and when we lived in Sudbury, we would pick apples in Bolton...known as the apple capital of Massachusetts.  It's become a ritual in our family; our daughter Erin took her family this past weekend to an orchard.  It's a great adventure and some even have corn mazes, which are really fun.

Apple Pie Cake
4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. Apple Pie Spice*
1/8 tsp. ground Cardamon
2 cups chopped apples
1/2 cup toasted pecans

*Or mix 1 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. ginger.
 Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Butter a pie dish and set aside.  
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the egg and beat until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.   Add the vanilla extract and mix again.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low just to combine.  Don't worry the batter is stiff.  Add the apples and pecans and mix again.  Spread batter into the prepared pie dish.  Smooth top and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
You could glaze this cake, but it was delicious with just a dusting of confectioners' sugar (icing sugar).  Enjoy! 

Old Fashioned Soft Oatmeal~Raisin~Pecan Cookies

I love crunchy chocolate chip cookies, but my oatmeal cookies need to be soft and chewy. Yes, I'm quirky, but if you have the same...