Lemon Summer Muffins

Hello bakers! Well, my world has been a little upside down, so I needed to take a minute and get used to things. Unfortunately, I am not a stress baker! I choose to read and cry and drink a little wine. I just can’t help it. But I am back with a brand new computer and some fun baking inspiration. I am loving muffins that can be cupcakes, and vice versa. I wanted a little bit of sweet in my muffin, but I also wanted a little less sweet in my cupcake. So, Cupins! I don’t really like that name and the other option was Muffcakes, and…. that just wasn’t working for me either… for obvious reasons!

As much as I love chocolate, it is just too hot for such a heavy treat. But fresh lemon is the very essence of summer. It is crisp, fresh, refreshing and genuinely tasty. Everything about a lemon makes me smile. The fact that you can put it in your water, or in your cookies or in your pasta sauce just makes me love it that much more. I made a simple lemon glaze to delicately drizzle over my muffins/ cupcakes, but they are great without.

So, what you will need…

  • 1 3/4 C. All-Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 C. Nonfat Milk
  • 3/4 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 C. Fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/2 C. Confectioners Sugar

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and line a muffin pan with muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 regular size muffins.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and add lemon zest. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl whisk eggs until blended.
  4. Add sugar, butter, and 1/4 C. Lemon juice to the egg mixture.
  5. Slowly add the milk and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until just combined.
  7. Spoon the batter equally into prepared muffin tins.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before glazing.
  9. To make the glaze take the remaining lemon juice and the confectioners sugar and combine in a bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle glaze over each muffin. Let set, and enjoy!

This is a super delicious, and refreshing little treat. You can have it for breakfast with a cup of tea and some blueberry yogurt, or for dessert with a scoop of frozen yogurt. These also stand well on their own. Plus you don’t have to worry about feeling gross and full, just happy and satisfied.

Happy Baking!

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Peanut Butter and Honey Hearts

Yummy Yummy people! I am loving the whole candy making thing, and since it is so hot outside, I figured why not give my oven a break. This is a super easy way to make delicious, fairly guilt free Peanut Butter Cup type treats at home.

I can honestly say that i don’t get the PB&J thing… AT ALL! It is a bizarre combination of food that just doesn’t work for me. Lots of treats involving peanut butter call for salt, but I think peanut butter is salty enough. Some say it adds to the flavor, but so does the chocolate, the honey, etc. No salt needed here. These are the perfect addition to a summer ice cream sundae!

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. Peanut Butter, use the All- Natural kind, it just tastes better!
  • 2 3/4 C. Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Honey, local honey of course
  • 1/4 C. Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 C. Chocolate or Chocolate Candy Coating finely chopped, tempered for dipping

Here was my process…

  1. Combine peanut butter, butter, confectioners sugar and honey in a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon until a thick mixture forms.
  2. Take your candy mold and fill each mold, pressing down to make sure all air bubbles have escaped.
  3. Scrape excess off top of each mold, and place in freezer for up to an hour until stiff.
  4. Pop hearts out of mold onto a piece of parchment on a baking sheet.
  5. Temper chocolate or candy coating, I used a double boiler for my candy coating but you can use the microwave too.
  6. Dip hearts into candy coating and let set.
  7. Enjoy!

These are so easy to make, and so much fun to eat. It is always nice to eat homemade candies, and they are going to make a great gift as well!

Happy Baking… or Candy Making!

Orange Honey Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yay!!! Summer is upon us and there is no end in sight. The endless possibilities of summer treats make me feel like I could bake forever! I have three pages of things I want to create and share with my loved ones. The fresh squeezed lemonade, strawberries and cream, fresh green salads… and watermelon! The flavors go on and on. For today I settled on Oranges and Honey. Yummy yummy!

I wanted a cookie that would be able to make a sort of “Dreamsicle” type Ice Cream Sandwich. SO, I made Orange Honey cookies and used some 1/2 fat vanilla bean ice cream for the filling. The ice cream complimented the cookies so well, you would think that the ice cream company had invented this cookie. Alas, it was I… just a simple baker.

 

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. + 2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • 1/4 C. Honey
  • 1 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, yes, freshly squeezed!
  • 1 Egg

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine canola oil, honey, sugar, orange juice and egg. Beat with mixer of your choice until all ingredients are well combined.
  4. Pour dry mixture into wet mixture and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. DO NOT over beat.
  5. Spoon dough onto prepared baking sheets allowing room to spread.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-11 minutes, until sides are a lovely honey brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before creating a Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich!

These cookies are surprisingly delicious and work very well in this situation! They are also good on their own, or with milk. Milk and honey after all, are very good friends.

Happy Baking!

 

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

I love coconut, but I am not a fan of chunks of it in my cookies! I love the tropical flavor and the how much fun it is to break one open. I also love Chocolate Chip cookies but you can only blog about the simple, yet delightful cookie so many times.

I was wandering through a little co-op type place in Randolph, Vermont when I found the solution to my cookie problem. Coconut Sugar?! As skeptical as I was, I bought it. I let it sit around for a week or so before I said, “What is the worst that can happen?” Fully knowing the answer I proceeded anyway. I mean, how terrible could it really be?

The cookies were amazing! The Coconut Sugar has the same effect as a brown sugar, and my cookies were buttery, crispy and chewy in the right places and an overall fantastic surprise.

So, you will need…

  • 1 1/4 C. All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 C. Butter, softened
  • 1/2 C. Coconut Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 C. White Chocolate Chips, for the best flavor look for the white Chips that contain Cocoa Butter 😉
  • 1/2 C. Dark Chocolate Chips

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine butter, coconut sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Feel free to use your mixer.
  4. Add the egg white and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients in increments of your choosing until everything is well mixed.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Drop spoonfuls of dough on to prepared baking sheets allowing 2 or so inches between each cookie for expansion.
  8. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, at 350 degrees F for 10-13 minutes. Tops should be a rich golden brown, and somewhat firm to the touch.
  9. Let stand for around 5 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.
  10. Enjoy!

This is just a slight variation in ingredients, but a rather large variation in taste. served warm with a little  Talenti ‘Sea Salt Caramel’ Gelato or maybe a nice glass of Cupcake ‘Angel Food’ wine, or a classic glass of cold milk… no matter what, you will not be disappointed.

Happy Baking!

Framboise Dream Meringues

First of all I want to say Sorry for my absence. Sometimes a gal must roam!

Who doesn’t love a delicious Prosecco? Framboise Beer is a fantastic  Raspberry Belgian Craft Beer, and lets face it ladies, if we are going to drink beer, it might as well be fancy beer. This is the Prosecco of Beer.

So, for my comeback recipe, I made a delicious Meringue cookie with Framboise and white chocolate. It is truly divine! It is light and airy, yet chewy as all meringue should be. They are sweet and delicate, just like me.

So, you will need…

  • 1/2 C. Confectioners Sugar, sifted
  • 3 Large Egg Whites, at room Temperature
  • 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1/3 C. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Framboise Beer
  • 1/2 C. White Chocolate Chips

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 250 Degrees F and line two baking sheet with Parchment Paper
  2. Sift the confectioners sugar onto a plate and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine egg whites, cream of tartar and Framboise. Beat on medium until soft peaks form.
  4. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat on medium high until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the confectioners sugar, then fold in the white chips.
  6. Drop the dough on the prepared baking sheets, you can sprinkle the baking sheets with powdered sugar to make them stick less, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
  7. Bake at 250 degrees F for 55 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool.

These are so much fun to eat, and you really do feel a twinge of sexy sophistication while eating them. Plus you won’t need more than one or two of this ladylike treat, which is good for the midsection. Put on your best night wear, throw on an old classic, pour a glass of Prosecco, and have yourself a treat.

After all, Life is but a Meringue…

Happy Baking!

Maple Bourbon Caramels

The only thing that goes better with Bourbon than a smoldering Don Draper is caramel. Well, it might be a tie, but if I can’t have that tall, dark and handsome man with his slick hair, wearing a classic 1960’s suit standing right in front of me holding a glass of bourbon ( no ice) while I am drinking bourbon, I might as well turn it into a candy. I have been really digging the whole making candy thing lately, and I love love love caramel. So this was a fun little project. And I did it all in my nightwear! Hair all bunched up, slippers on, and no, I didn’t spill a drop. This is cooking like a lady!

These caramels came out smooth and silky, with a hint of the beloved bourbon. The maple flavor is not overwhelming at all, it adds the prefect amount of sweetness to this fun little treat! It is a simple, sophisticated candy my friends. The are divine!

So, you will need…

  • 2 C. Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 C. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 C. Milk
  • 1 C. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Bourbon

Here was my process…

  1. Line half of a baking sheet with tin foil, and lightly butter. Create edges, so that the caramel will maintain a brick shape once cooled.
  2. In a large saucepan combine brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, milk, maple syrup, butter, salt and 1 Tbsp Bourbon. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. Once the mixture comes to a boil cover for 3 minutes. If sugar crystals form on the sides, use a pastry brush dipped in warm water to wipe down the sides.
  4. Remove lid and place a candy thermometer in the mixture. Once the candy reaches 246 degrees F, remove from heat.
  5. Immediately stir in the remaining 1 Tbsp of bourbon.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and let cool for  a few hours until the caramel sets.
  7. Once hard, you can cut and shape your caramels.

Enjoy in your nightwear 😉

Happy Baking!

Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)

Who doesn’t love a good Cream Puff?! For years I have wanted to make these but again, I thought it was going to be wicked hard. Turns out it is actually really easy. The Choux Pastry was the part that seemed daunting, but I found a few great recipes, and just made a dough using parts of the recipes I found. Trial and error! The first batch fell, but the second and third turned out beautifully. I found that the key to these beautiful puffs was milk! I prefer the texture and taste of the puffs much better than other recipes that don’t call for milk. They also didn’t brown as quickly. Success!

For the cream filling I made a Vanilla Bean whipped cream. It added the perfect amount of flavor to this light and airy delight.These are fun, and easy and you probably deserve to have them right now. I think these are the new bonbons! I would much rather sit around in my unmentionables eating these cream puffs than a box of bonbons. Bonbons are so 1994, in a bad way. Cream puffs are a lovely marriage of light and air pastry perfection and sexy whipped cream, with a dash of ladylike elegance that only the ground vanilla bean can offer. Cream puffs are the new sexy. 😉

So, you will need…

*Makes 30-35 puffs

  • 1/2 C. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour, always unbleached
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add flour all at once and stir quickly using a beautiful wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Return the pan to heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pan and forms a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to 140 degrees, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a smaller bowl whisk 1 egg, and add it to the cooled dough. (the dough will separate and get shiny after you add each egg, but keep stirring and it turns back into a nice smooth batter). Stir until blended.
  7. Add the remaining eggs, whisking them one at a time, and adding them one at a time. Stirring each until well incorporated.
  8. Let the dough cool for another 10 minutes or so before putting it in your piping (pastry) bag.
  9. Once cooled, fill your piping bag, and for each puff pipe out 1Tbsp of dough (some will call it paste), about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake puffs, one sheet at a time, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown in color.
  11. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately poke the sides with a toothpick to let the steam escape. Don’t worry, they will not collapse on you!
  12. Return the tray to the oven, turn the oven off ( leaving the door open) and allow the puffs to dry out for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely before filling!

For the whipped cream simply combine the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, vanilla and ground vanilla bean in a bowl and beat on medium-high with hand mixer, or stand up mixer until medium peaks form.

Once the puffs are cool, fill your pastry bag with the whipped cream, and gently insert the tip of the bag into the puff and pipe it full of cream. You will feel the puffs get full, and when you see the cream start to show, you know the puff is full!

These are super fun to make and they are also great for any occasion. A wedding, baby shower, birthday, dessert party, pajama party… literally anytime is a good time for a cream puff!

Happy Baking!

Shortbread Sandwich Cookies w/ “Fancy” Chocolate Frosting

Shortbread is a very versatile cookie. You start with your basic dough and you can literally add anything edible to it. I’m not so sure how some ingredients would taste, but hey… we live in a world full of possibilities now don’t we?! My friend leaves for 42 days in 4 days so I was trying to make him something from his request list. He wanted shortbread cookies with chocolate “on top”. To me that meant sandwich cookies… haha, I heard what I wanted, leave me alone! 😉

So, I decided to just keep the lovely shortbread simple. Butter is all that I needed to get the flavor I wanted, but a nice chocolate to be sandwiched was in order. I wanted something not too sweet, but sweet enough. I tried a few different combinations of chocolate to powdered sugar to cream, and I found the best one for this cookie. I love sandwich cookies!!!!!!!

So, you will need…

*Makes 30 cookies

  • 1 C. Salted Butter, softened (Adds to the flavor)
  • 2 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Frosting

  • 1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 C. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 C. Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • add milk if you need a thinner icing/frosting

 

Here was my process…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 2 baking sheets, can line with Parchment Paper, but it isn’t necessary
  2. In a small bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream butter using mixer of your choice, and mix until light and fluffy. About 1 minute.
  4. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until smooth. About 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture until everything is well combined.
  6. Take dough and flatten it into a disk on a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it up.
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Unwrap the dough and roll it out onto a slightly floured surface. Rolling the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick.
  9. Using a circular floured cookie cutter, (you can get crazy and use whatever cutter you fancy!!!!), cut out as many cookies as you can.
  10. Place cookies on the cookie sheet then put into icebox (fridge) for 10 minutes. This allows the cookies to maintain their shape during baking.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Let cool completely before frosting and making the glorious sandwiches!

While the cookies are cooling you can prepare your frosting. Take the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and cream and mix it all together at the same time until you have a smooth consistency. If you need to make the frosting thinner, or it isn’t wet enough add a tsp of milk at a time until you are happy with it!

These cookies might sound boring to you, but they appeal to my 1950’s inner housewife in an undeniable way! Make a batch, wear an apron, drink a martini in the middle of the day, enjoy a shortbread cookie sandwich. 😉

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon Sugar Bagels

I wanted something kind of different and easy for Easter breakfast, so I thought a play on cinnamon sugar toast would be nice. Maybe classing it up a bit by making bagels…. and they were great. I used my same recipe from before, just added cinnamon and sugar instead of blueberries or herbs. They were so delicious served warm with a little bit of butter on them. They almost tasted like a cinnamon roll with cream cheese! I decided to not do the classic Cinnamon Raisin bagels because I don’t like them, and I feel like they take away from the elegance of the cinnamon sugar bagel. The Cinnamon Sugar bagel is a classy bagel, with poise. It would wear Prada if allowed!

So, you will need…

  • 2 tsp of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 1/4 C.  warm water (add more water if needed)
  • 3 1/2 C.  bread flour (will need extra for kneading)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs Cinnamon
  • 1/4 C. Granulated Sugar

Here was my process…

  1. First I took 1/2 a  cup of the warm water and poured it into a small mixing bowl. Then I added  in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. I let it sit for 5 minutes,  then I stirred the yeast and sugar mixture until it all dissolved.
  2. In a large bowl, I  mixed the flour and salt. I made a well in the middle of the flour and poured in the yeast and sugar mixture. Then I added half of the remaining warm water into the well. I stirred the ingredients together adding the remaining water as I needed to, and more if necessary. You want the dough to be moist and firm after you have mixed it.
  3. Add Cinnamon and sugar and mix well.
  4. On a floured countertop, I kneaded the dough for exactly 10 minutes until it was smooth and elastic. (Try to work as much flour in as possible while kneading to form a firm and stiff dough).
  5. I  lightly brush a large bowl with olive oil and turned the dough into the bowl making sure to coat the dough with the oil. Then I Covered the bowl with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, The dough should in size. I punched down the dough, and let it rest for another10 minutes.
  6. I divided the dough into 8 pieces, relatively the same size. I rolled them into nice, neat balls of dough. Then I put flour on my very clean finger and poked the ball of dough! I made a hole in the center of each adorable ball , hence the bagels shape. I carefully stretched the hole I had made out to about 1/2 and inch or so, again,it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to taste good.
  7. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, I covered them with a damp kitchen towel and allowed them to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I preheated my oven to 425 degrees.
  8. For the next step I brought a large pot of water to a boil and immediately reduced the heat. I used a skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. I put 4 in at a time and turned after 2 minutes and boiled for another 2 minutes. This makes for a chewy delicious bagel. If you prefer a less chewy bagel, boil for 1 minute on each side. Then remove from water and place on slightly oiled baking paper on baking sheet.
  9. I baked them for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown.

These are great tasting, and it proves that you can use one recipe a hundred ways. You can have any flavor bagel your little heart desires!

Happy Baking!

 

Delightfully Sinful Brownies

Brownies… they are just so damn good. I tried a few “healthy” brownie recipes and I really, really tried to make a delicious yet health conscious brownie. I gave up for today. Today, I made this completely sinful, buttery, moist and downright amazing brownie. It is another must on your baking bucket list.

Image

So, you will need…

  • 2 cups sugar (1 cup white, one cup brown)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Here was my process…

First preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Next melt butter. Then I mixed all the ingredients as they are listed above. I mixed everything together until a beautiful gooey batter formed. If the batter seems too thick add 1 or 2 tablespoons of milk.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake for 18-22 minutes. If you want to use a 9 by 13 greased pan, bake for 30-40 minutes. Once cooled dust with powdered sugar to make them pop!

This is a truly easy recipe, and it is definitely fool proof. It isn’t for the fair weather brownie eater!

Happy Baking!