Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A New and Improved Site!

We've moved! Check out the new site

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trick or Treat: Halloween Cupcakes


I have a lot of baking for Halloween parties this week. And that means a lot of cupcakes. I made mini cupcakes as I am primarily baking for 2-7 years olds.

I started my cupcakes this morning as soon as my kid was eating his breakfast. I wanted to get as many cooked off and starting to cool as possible so I could get frosting while he was at a 1/2 day of school. Baking is a little faster and less messy when my favorite little sous chef isn't around.

Round 1 went to the Pastry Gods. I have no idea. I am guessing it was too large of chunks of oreos for mini cupcakes. I have made these many times and never had the situation that I had this morning. I regrouped. Poured another cup of coffee and started a fresh batch. Next batch came out perfect. As for the first batch, with the great suggestion of Yeast Coast Baking, that I would turn them into cake balls. Yeahhhh. These were ugly. I don't know. Today wasn't my day. My kid is syked as they taste delicious and they are too ugly to face the public so they will stay in our house to be enjoyed.

I surrendered to the Cookies & Cream Cupcakes and left it at one successful batch. Surely, another cupcake would not have the tragic results I had be confronted with today. Apple Cider Cupcakes were decided upon. Fortunately, these are beautiful. I should have started my day with these.

While cleaning up after frosting the last Apple Cider Cupcake, I was at the sink when I heard "I am so so sorry". As a parent, every time I hear this my stomach goes to my throat and I brace myself. "I am so so sorry. I am so so sorry." I stepped around the kitchen island to find...

Why yes, that is the good batch of Cookies & Cream Cupcakes on the floor. I really honestly didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I chose both. I called CB over at Yeast Coast Baking and as I was relaying the story I broke down cry-laughing. Then I hear "why is your smile upside down?". Trust me the child is lucky he's cute. I'm done for the day. Beer me.

Happy Halloween!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped oreos

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with liners.

Beat buttermilk, sugar, oil, and vanilla together until foamy. In separtate bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat. Add in oreos and mix well.

Pour into liners, 3/4 way full and bake 18-20 minutes. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oreo cookie crumbs, well crushed

Beat shortening and butter together until well combined and fluffy. Add sugar and beat for 3 mins. Add vanilla and milk, beat for 5-7 mins. Add oreo crumbs, beat for 1 minute.

Apple Cider Cupcakes

2 eggs
1 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 c butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat overn to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with liners.

In large bowl cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, beat well, approximately 3 minutes. Add baking powder, spices, and salt. Mix. Add flour and cider alternately until combined.

Fill 3/4 way full. Bake 18-20 mins. Cool completely before frosting.

Use recipe above, instead of milk, substitute a 3/4 cup cider boiled to a reduction of a quarter cup. Do not use oreos. Sprinkle with cinnamon on top.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An Apple a Day...

It's fall! And we took a family trip to Larriland Farm in Woodbine, Maryland to pick our own apples and take advantage of some of the fall festivities around their farm. They have a great storybook character hayride through the fields, over the creek, and through the woods which is fun for young and old. There is also a "haunted barn", perfect amount of spooky for a 4 year old, parents are free and kids are $2. And there is a hay bale maze, again you pay for the kids and parents are free. OH! and they stamp the kid's hand so they can do it again and again after you paid the one time. There are great grilled items for lunch, apple fritters, candied apples, apple ciders, etc at stand around the farm. A farm store will provide any odds and ends, produce if you don't want to go into the fields, or novelty items to bring home. My kid had a blast, very excited for everything we did and the weather could not have been better.
We headed out into the orchard where the Braeburns, Idareds, and Staymans were ready for the picking.

Picking Staymans
Now with all of our apples it was time to get cooking some fall treats! I had just received two cookbooks "The Apple Lover's Cookbook" and "The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook" and was anxious to try out the recipes.

"The Apple Lover's Cookbook" is a great resource book for making your apple-y treats. It describes many popular apples helping to provide the best apple treats. I've tried two recipes so far, one great, one not so great. So I will have to get back to you on how I feel about it as an actual cookbook, but as far as a resource and an apple inspiration- wonderful!
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
"The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook" is gorgeous. It has a few blank insert pages for you to add your own heirloom recipes. This book would make a beautiful host gift throughout the season. The photos are stunning, the page layout is well thought out and it is organized by season. I have made three recipes from this cookbook. The orange gingerbread- delicious! and then used it to make gingerbread stuffed pork loin. I did change the recipe only slightly, using the boneless pork loin I had on hand- which just changed the presentation. My son inhaled this pork and I must admit I snuck down for some leftovers also. It really is that good. Mixing the fresh picked apples with the gingerbread made for such a warm, comfort treat! I served it along with the potato-leek gratin from the cookbook. Great fall dinner and SOOO easy. I feel as though this cookbook will be perused often.

Apple Gingerbread Stuffed Pork Loin with Potato-Leek Gratin and Spinach

I also made an amazing pot roast braised in white wine with onions served with potatoes. I love when the weather gets cooler and the meals are full of warm, satisfied bellies such a nice contrast to the light foods of a hot summer.

Pot Roast with Potatoes and Spinach

(I promise to unpack my camera from the move some day! Sorry these were all taking on my phone)