Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

About a month ago I made some oatmeal cookies from a recipe by Paula Deen and I wanted to change it up a bit and add some pumpkin for the season.  I was googling around last night and came across a recipe posted on Bless This Food and made it because not only did it sound perfect (and I had all the ingredients), I also loved the name of her blog and how grateful she is.  So, I gave it a shot and wow!  I did not, however, make the frosting on top because the boxes I had required these to be packaged on top of one another.  Instead I made a spiced brown butter icing with powdered sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, a couple tablespoons of water and a 1/2 cup of butter.  The house smelled amazing!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Apple and Pumpkin Pocket Pie Molds, Set of 2 | Williams-Sonoma

This is an absolute "must try" and is an inexpensive way to save time and make something home made for the winter holidays.  I purchased these about a month ago and forgot about them, so I ran to the store and picked up the following:
Peach canned pie filling
Apple canned pie filling
Pillsbury ready made pie crust dough (two to a package)
What I had at home and needed:
Rolling pin
Crystalized sugar for decoration
Two eggs for the egg whites to seal the mold
My first two were a disaster.  You have to be careful not to overfill them if you fry them, and personally baking seems smarter and healthier anyhow.  The slit in the pumpkin can only be used if you bake the pies, and it serves as the vent so no poking is necessary.
1) Lay the dough out flat, it is already rolled.  Cut out your shapes from the mold itself. 
2) Lightly flour the inside of the pie mold or IT WILL STICK.  Next, place about a tablespoon and a half of the filling of your choice in the pumpkin.  
3) IMPORTANT-STRETCH THE DOUGH ALL THE WAY UNTIL IT COVERS THE MOLD ENTIRELY.  If you don't, the pie won't seal and it doesn't tell you this on the package.
4) Take your finger and place the egg white around the seam, close and press down hard, crimp and seal.
5) Brush the top of the pumpkin, slit side up, with egg white.  Pour a generous amount of your decorative sugar on top and bake as directed.  I believe about 15 minutes worked for me at 350.  You will know they are done when they brown slightly and the filling starts to bubble.  If you overcook them, they will bubble out and spill over.
Now that I learned from my mistakes, they are so quick and easy and I whipped up some heavy whipping cream with sugar and vanilla for the top.  You could always use ice cream, too.  Mmm!

Apple and Pumpkin Pocket Pie Molds, Set of 2 | Williams-Sonoma

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Alana's Peacock Cake

I really must sit down and make time to go back and document the process for some of these baked goods but I was just too eager to post pics before I became backlogged.  Funny enough, I was pouting about this cake because for some reason I had some challenges with my fondant.  I am unsure if it is the drastic change in weather or it was just an off day for me, but thanks to Herick he encouraged me and we finished it up just in time for Alana's 10th birthday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Cupcakes and Coffee? French Toast with Maple Buttercream and bacon!

Today was my husband's day to take breakfast to work, as they rotate weekly and he said he wanted to bring something home made.  Cupcakes are great but I'm unsure if they can satisfy a hungry team so he decided to order regular breakfast and bring in an extra "treat."  That was until he requested my rum cake AND cupcakes.  Sure honey, I have nothing to do today but bake at the last minute, clean the house, make dinner (this was at 5pm) got it!  I ended up making French toast with maple buttercream topped with crisp bacon.  I have to say, this is my favorite recipe yet.
I browsed the net for a while to find a recipe I thought would work best.  I saw one made of Bisquick and slightly altered, another for more of a spice cake.  Then I came across (when I figure out to how link the title to her page, I gladly will) and loved the recipe she had posted.  I loved her even more when she said she isn't a huge fan of french toast because neither am I so she had me at hello.  Here it goes:
  • Servings: 12
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted then cooled.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
Note-I ALMOST overfilled the muffin cups.  I would suggest filling them just over halfway and they will bake up into a perfect dome.  The batter is thicker than most so don't be concerned.  It actually makes it easier to scoop up, I use a standard ice cream scoop for each one.  Also, I will add that I always sift everything from my flour to my sugar unless you use Baker's Sugar.  I truly believe it makes a huge difference, especially in your buttercream so you don't have small clumps.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with baking liners.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, and eggs until combined. Then add maple extract.

Alternate between whisking in flour mixture and milk into your liquid mixture. Make three additions of flour and two of milk. Beat until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown and tops spring back when lightly touched.

Cool cupcakes for 10 minutes, remove from pan and allow to cool completely before frosting.

**These were dense enough that I pulled them right out of the pan and onto the cooling rack. I know it sounds silly but I am always worried that the extra two minutes will over bake them.  

I made a combination of recipes for the Maple buttercream, but still was not "in love" with it so I will try something new.  I didn't use Maple extract and I think I will next time, to enhance the flavor but it was still great topped with bacon and cinnamon!

Maple Buttercream
1 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Dash of Allspice
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Pipe onto cakes, sprinkle with cinnamon and add your bacon.  I guess you could say he is on everyone's good side today.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Babycakes is Good for You..."

"...And this is why!", Erin McKenna with  

I have yet to discover the world of Gluten-Free Baking, Vegan Baking, or Sugar-Free baking.  I just returned from some afternoon gift shopping at a favorite novelty store of mine,  As I stated yesterday, cupcakes surround us and sure enough she had a bountiful selection of magnets, keychains, gift boxes and recipe books.  I couldn't help but to pick up Babycakes and quickly start thumbing through to see if there was anything I could whip up tonight.

 It is now an hour later and I've read it cover to cover and love that the author, Erin McKenna, includes ingredients for drinks such as Agave lemonade, teacakes and muffins, cookies and brownies and provided references and ingredient lists for beginners just like me.  

I will be sure to post some photos of my experience, hopefully this will broaden my ability to fill everyone's tummies with homemade goodness!