Tag Archives: Recipe

Cinnamon-Streusel Cider Muffins

I seem to always find myself at a loss when it comes to cooking breakfast for Christmas morning. I mean, I want it to be something special, but then again I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen while everyone else is hanging out and getting their Christmas on. First world problems, right? Since I have yet to come up with a brilliant solution to the dilemma this year, I have been browsing through my cookbooks and looking for something that looks good. After flipping through The Muffin Book, I noticed a recipe that was not only seasonally inspired, but that I already had the ingredients for. Win win, right?

Notes:

  • Be super careful not to over mix your batter; I got a bit carried away, and my muffins were a little more toothsome than I would have liked. You know, sometimes the holiday music moves you and you’re not paying attention the way you should be.
  • I did not have enough batter to complete my dozen muffins, I had to go back and make an additional half batch to fill my muffin tins to the desired level. So either take that dozen down to 8 or increase your batter recipe accordingly.
  • All in all, these were decent muffins. They puffed up and turned a lovely golden brown. For my personal taste, the next time I make these the batter will include cinnamon and maybe a splash of vanilla, just for funsies.

I haven’t decided whether this will be on the Christmas morning menu yet, but considering how easy it was to whip up I’d say with a few tweaks we definitely have a contender.


Orange Spice Cookies

Not to brag, but I have been pretty pleased with the status of my 30 before 31 list lately. Never before have I had some many items crossed off at this point in the year; usually it’s a mad scramble to get things done come about January. I still have a long way to go, but it feels good to be checking things off regularly. My current push is to cross off #8 – Make 12 recipes from cookbooks I already own, before the end of the year. So far all the recipes have been good, and with the slightest tinge of Fall in the air, I felt it was a good time to try out the recipe for Orange Spice Cookies.

cookies5 cookies2 cookies1 Since I lacked not only the fluted pastry wheel, but any pastry wheel at all, I decided to cut these out the way I do most of the cookies I make. With one of the glasses from my cabinet 🙂cookies3 cookies6 cookies4

Notes:

  • I had the worst time with this recipe. I couldn’t get the dough to hold together; it was too soft to roll out even after throwing it in the freezer for five minutes to help it set up. There was some very unladylike cursing and general railing about the folks at Southern Living and whether or not they even bother to try their own recipes before endorsing them. I finally ended up adding extra flour, and everything was peachy, though I sill planned a scathing review… then I realized that I made a teeny tiny error when putting these cookies together. And by teeny tiny, I mean I accidentally doubled the amount of butter called for. So yeah, it was all on me, and I am really glad I didn’t write anything unkind before I figured out my mistake.
  • The only real criticism I have for the final product is that it is really sweet. The cookies are pretty sweet on their own, and adding the icing just takes it a little too far for me. After rolling it around in my mind a bit, I think I’ll probably trade the the icing for a dark chocolate drizzle or dipping the cookies in dark chocolate next time I make them.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Some days I really love Pinterest. It’s perfect for getting any vague half formed creative ideas to actualization.  That was the situation I found myself in this weekend, I found this recipe while I was idly surfing Pinterest for recipes to use up the left over fruit in the fridge.

Lemon

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Lemon glaze

  • 2 Tablespons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350*F and line a 9″x 5″ loaf pan with parchment paper (or lightly grease with butter).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Mix until well combined.
  4. While slowly mixing, add flour mixture and milk in two batches (some flour, then some milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk).  Stop mixing as soon as it’s just combined.
  5. Rinse off the blueberries (if using fresh) so they have just a bit of moisture on them, then, in a small bowl toss the blueberries and 1 T. flour.  This flour coating will help prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your loaf while baking.
  6. Add the flour coated berries to the batter and gently but quickly stir, by hand, to combine.
  7. Immediately pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool bread in the pan for about 30 minutes, then move to a wire cooling rack with a baking sheet below (to catch the glaze you’re about to add).
  8. Prepare glaze by simply whisking together the melted butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla, then pour glaze over the loaf.  Allow to set a few minutes, then enjoy!

Notes:

  • Now let me start out by saying that this is a pretty good recipe. However, I thought that this was going to be a little more cake and a little less bread. Completely my fault, but a little disappointing none the less. Now that being said, Andy inhaled half the loaf within three hours of me taking it out of the oven.
  • This is very much a bread you have to be very careful not to over mix your batter; a few gentle folds and leave it alone the second it comes together. I gave it a few turns too many, and after it baked, I could tell.
  • The only other thing I wanted to comment on was the note in the recipe that said the icing shouldn’t be applied to the bread until the day it was to be served. Seeing how it set up overnight I get the recommendation, but if your house is anything like mine, there is a strong likelihood that it won’t all get eaten in a single day. Was the icing better on the first day? Absolutely, but it was still perfectly good the day after. 

Chocolate Quick & Easy: English Chocolate Tea Bread

In pursuit of getting one step closer to crossing off #8 off of my 30 before 31, I pulled out a cookbook I received for Christmas from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. It’s chock full of chocolaty perfection, and I was eager to make something Andy and I could quickly grab as a snack in between running errands and our household chores.B1
After perusing the book for a few minutes, I landed on this tea bread. It was pretty simple to whip up, and I thought with a couple of tweaks it would be pretty perfect for us.

Bread1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each. If the mixture starts to curdle beat in 1-2 tablespoons of the four.
  4. Mix in the chocolate, the crasins, the pecans, the vanilla and the orange zest. Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and create a small well down in the center with the back of a spoon.
  6. Place loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
  7. Leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes then carefully turn our to finish cooling.
  8. Serve in thin slices.

Notes:

  • At first glance, it looks like I changed a lot of this recipe, and to a certain extent ,that is true. I replaced three of the ingredients because of Andy’s food allergies and my absolute disdain of raisins, but I  tried to stay close to the original recipe by swapping them for items that wouldn’t alter the integrity. There was still chocolate, dehydrated fruit, and nuts, so I think it all came out pretty true in the end.
  • I left my bread in the full hour, and it came out a little drier than I like, which isn’t a problem if you are actually serving this with tea, but I think next time I’ll cut 5-10 minutes off the cook time.

Baked: Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake

This is the second recipe I have tried from Baked Occasions, an early birthday gift from Andy (you can find the first here), and I have to say that this book is definitively helping me push my baking skills a little farther. Of course I had to tweak the recipe just a tiny bit so I could make cupcakes instead of the recommended layer cake, but I think the integrity of the recipe is still intact. Baked5Baked4 Baked2 Baked3 Baked1

Notes:

  • These cupcakes almost didn’t make it to the oven; I had a brain fart and used the wrong kind of flour (all purpose instead of cake). I got lucky and it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in this case, but there was that moment of “do I go ahead and bake it or do I throw it out?” Andy’s vote is always to bake anyway; he is more than happy to take care of any reject recipes that I don’t feel comfortable sending to my testers.
  • I was a little concerned about how the flavors would blend (chocolate, cream cheese, sour cream, cinnamon), but it all came together wonderfully. So much so, that one of the testers said it was one of the best cupcakes he’d ever had.
  • I chopped up the left over dark chocolate to sprinkle over the cupcakes; they were looking a little sad and unfinished even after they were frosted.
  • My two biggest take-aways from the recipe are 1 – I need to bake with sour cream more, and 2 – chocolate cream cheese frosting is awesome 🙂