Tag Archives: Baking

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Last fall when my husband asked me oh-so-sweetly if I would bake something for his office, I spent hours looking for the perfect (in other words simple and inexpensive) pumpkin recipe. Martha Stewart came through for me again with her pumpkin cupcake recipe. I made my own cream cheese icing to top them off and added a few sugary sprinkles for some texture. Rumor has it that these cupcakes were a huge hit and I was commissioned (ok, asked again by my husband in that same oh-so-sweet voice) to make them again.

Two weeks ago my husband got a promotion at work and he thought it would be nice to bring something in to welcome his new team. He quickly suggested the pumpkin cupcakes. This time they seemed even easier to make and I swear, they tasted at least five times better than last year! In fact, I might make them again for an afternoon get together this weekend. Not that I ‘m obsessed with them or anything…but really, they’re that good.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • ½ cup butter
  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar

Directions

  1. Combine butter, cream cheese, add vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the sugar, while beating well.
  3. If mixture is too thick to spread, thin to a spreadable consistency by adding a small amount of milk.
  4. Leftover icing can be frozen for up to three months.

Lemon Rosemary Cookies

Happy August! It’s the beginning of the end…of the summer, that is. The sky-high temperatures may make the days seem longer than ever, but the countdown to the end of my beloved favorite season is on. For those of us who plan to enjoy as many ice cold glasses of lemonades and frosty glasses of iced tea as we can before they’re replaced by oversized mugs of steamy chocolate and cider drinks, this recipe is for you. These cookies’ petite size make them perfect for an afternoon snack or a light breakfast and they pair with a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea the way that peanut butter goes with…well, you know where I’m headed with this one. Don’t be fooled by these quarter-sized confections – a full-sized cookie’s worth of buttery lemon and rosemary flavors await you. Trust me – these cookies will make the rest of your summer a little bit more satisfying.

Ingredients

4 oz. (1 stick) butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary

1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/3 cup corn flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup turbinado or sanding sugar for decorating

 Directions

1. Beat butter, sugar, rosemary, and lemon zest with electric mixer 3 minutes, or until creamy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.

2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Add to butter mixture, and beat until just combined. Shape into 2 1-inch-wide logs. Wrap in wax paper, and chill 2 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Slice cookies into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Place turbinado sugar in bowl and press one cut side of cookies into sugar. Place sugar-side up on baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown on bottoms. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Summer Fruit Pocket Pies


I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe how fast this summer is flying by. Between my work schedule and my belated honeymoon to Italy, I don’t think I’ve had very many long and lazy summer evenings this year. Long gone are the days of my teenaged years that I spent in the swimming pool, climbing out only to eat a sandwich or to drip through my mom’s kitchen to go to the bathroom. I miss giggling with my best friend on the front porch, with the crickets and lightening bugs keeping us company. My parents had long since gone to bed and we giggled and talked until we saw the headlights of her mom’s car pull into my driveway. And I can still imagine waking up in the morning to the summer sounds of humming lawnmowers, ticking sprinklers and bouncing basketballs throughout the neighborhood.

To remind myself that it’s summer and that summer is meant for quiet evenings doing nothing but enjoying life, I turn to fruit pie and ice cream. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a steamy August morning, a scorching July afternoon or a muggy Indian summer night, everyone finds the time to slow down the pace for pie and ice cream. This recipe is perfect for making pocket pies. That’s right – everyone gets their own personal pie to bring out to that backyard hammock or front porch swing and watch the world go by and the summer slip away all too soon. Here’s to summer and to savoring every moment of it!

Fruit Pocket Pies (adapted from Williams Sonoma and can be used with their Pocket Pie Mold)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbs. sugar, plus more for sprinkling

16 tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

6 to 8 tbs. ice water

½ – 1 cup frozen or canned fruit pie filling (I use cherry, blueberry or apple)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp. water

Vanilla ice cream for serving

 Directions:

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar sugar until combined, about 5 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 6 tablespoons of ice water and pulse twice. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Divide the dough in half, wrap with plastic wrap and press each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least two hours or up to overnight.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll out one dough disk into a round 1/16 to 1/8 inch (2-3mm) thick. Brush off the excess flour. Using a pocket pie mold, cut out 8 of each shape (4 solid and 4 with the decorative cutout). Reroll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.

Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold. Fill the center with 1 to 2 tbs. of pie filling and brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Top with a shape with a decorative cutout. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie. Remove the pie from the mold and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Freeze the pies for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Brush the top of the pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is gently bubbling, about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pies to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Makes about 8 pocket pies.



Happy Sunday!


Happy Sunday! This is the last weekend I have to run major errands for my honeymoon. Oh, I didn’t mention I’m going on my honeymoon? Two-and-a-half years later, my husband and I are going to Italy for our honeymoon! I’ve been so busy this weekend finishing our itinerary (this will have to a completely separate post if you’re interested) and shopping (such hard work, right?) that I haven’t been able to bake or cook. However, while my husband was weeding and mowing the lawn this morning in order to prevent our yard from looking like a desert jungle when we return, I remembered that I had a package of Sticky Fingers lemon poppy seed scones in the pantry. I’m not a huge fan of boxed mixes, but they really are handy when you’re busy getting ready for, say, an Italian vacation. This was the first time I tried a Sticky Fingers mix and I have to admit, the scones are delicious. Despite a busy morning, I’m pleased to say that I blogged over a plateful of scrambled eggs with chives and cheddar cheese and these yummy lemon poppy seed scones. I’ll be sure to replace the bag of scones mix for the next time I’m too busy planning a dream vacation! I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer Sunday!

Hello…oh, and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes

via Cooking with Chrissy

I’m Kelli and I’m an event planner in Phoenix, Arizona. In my twenties, I was not what you’d call “domestic,” but I think I’ve finally found my way from behind the desk to behind the mixing bowl. I work a lot of long hours, but one thing that I manage to do on a regular basis is cook. Even though my job is planning special events, I still love throwing dinner parties for my friends. I also love to read, come up with decorating ideas for my new(ish) house, play with my puppy (ok, he’s almost four), daydream and read other people’s gorgeous and inspiring blogs. I collect cookbooks from places to which I travel and one of my favorites is called “Quatre Saisons” that I bought at a discount book shop off the beaten path in Paris last summer for three euro. One kind of party that I haven’t planned yet is a baby shower, but I think it would be so much fun!

To start this blog off right, I’m sharing with you a recipe for chocolate peanut butter cupcakes that I recently found on Foodbuzz on the Cooking with Chrissy blog. I’m not advanced enough to create my own recipes yet, so I’ll be sharing my favorites, some of which I have modified. When I do start creating my own recipes, you’ll be the first to know! Besides recipes, I hope to share lots of tidbits about my journeys in decorating my first house, traveling, etiquette (and especially seasonal favorites)…and much more! But for now, enjoy this recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the filling:
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

For the cupcakes:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup whipped topping

Directions:
Start by preparing the filling. In a medium bowl mix together the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until well blended. Shape the peanut butter filling into 24 balls. (Balls will be sticky and don’t need to be perfectly shaped.) Place the peanut butter balls on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 standard muffin-pan cups with paper liners.

To prepare the cupcakes, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, mix together sour cream, milk, and 1 tsp vanilla, then set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar and butter on low speed and mix until just blended. Increase the speed to high and beat for 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; and add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat for 1 to 2 more minutes until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until ingredients are combined, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula.

Spoon 1 heaping measuring tablespoon batter into each muffin-pan cup. Drop 1 peanut butter ball in center of each cup and top with another heaping tablespoon batter. Bake cupcakes 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out clean. Immediately remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. In large bowl, with mixer on medium-low speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter until smooth and blended. Add powdered sugar slowly, incorporating fully after each addition.  Add the whipped topping and beat until smooth and creamy.  Frost cupcakes as desired.