Tag Archives: sweet recipes

Back to Basic: Blueberry Muffins

For the last couple of years, my yearly lists of goals have included trying a certain number of recipes from a cookbook I’d purchased. This started in part because I was one of those people who bought books and very seldom used them, and also because I wanted to be more intentional about the things I was bringing into my life (books included). For years 30 and 31, I picked books that would force me to stretch my abilities and push me further out of my comfort zone, but this year I wanted to try something different. With me starting to write recipes of my own, I wanted to go back to the basics and really work on refining my scratch baking. Also, regardless of how I look, I am southern, and I think it’s a bit embarrassing that I bake and I’ve only made biscuits once or twice. So I took to Amazon and found Muffins and Biscuits, and just a few days after my 32nd birthday, I tried my first recipe: Blueberry Muffins. I am hoping to alternate and make their basic biscuits the next time around.

Notes:

  • Yummy, yummy muffins! And the streusel recipe for the topping!? These are great without it, but it really elevates the whole muffin.
  • I split the difference between 12 regular muffins and 6 jumbo muffins, and settled on 9 muffins in a regular tin, but just really full. My baking time increased by 5ish minutes, but they turned out just fine.
  • Don’t be afraid to really layer in the fruit. I got a bit jumpy, and I didn’t use the full 2 cups of blueberries because everything was looking a bit crowded as I assembled, but they puffed up quite a bit and, while delicious, would have benefited from the additional fruit.

Vegan Banana Coconut Custard Pie

With my birthday mere days away, I had to write one more recipe to cross #7 off my 31 before 32. This weekend’s trip to the VegFest inspired me to create a vegan dessert. I did some research, cobbled together bits and pieces of some things that I found interesting, and came up with this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans of full fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 bananas
  • 1 box vanilla wafers
  • 1/3 cup melted vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

Directions

  1. Pre-heat over to 350 F and spray pie tin with nonstick spray.
  2. Crush all the cookies into crumbs and mix with the vegan butter.
  3. Pat the crumb mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While your crust cools, pour the coconut milk into the pan and heat, ultimately to a boil.
  5. As your coconut milk heats, combine cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the heating milk.
  6. After the cornstarch has completely dissolved,  add the sugar and stir.
  7. Right as your coconut milk beings to bubble, whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
  8. Once the mixture again reaches a boil, remove from heat and whisk for 2 minutes while it thickens. Set aside to cool slightly.
  9. While your “custard” cools, slice your bananas and layer them on your cooled crust.
  10. Pour the custard over your sliced bananas and place the entire pie in the fridge for at least an hour to set.
  11. Enjoy!
    * To take your pie to the next level, sprinkle with toasted coconut when you serve it 😉

All in all, not bad for my first vegan custard.


Lightly Lavender Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

I consider myself a fairly competent amateur baker, and I have made some really delicious things, but every once in a while I surprise even myself. That’s how I feel about these Lightly Lavender Lemon Meringue Cupcakes I made this weekend. I’ve wanted to frost something with simple meringue ever since I tried this recipe a few weeks ago. The meringue was so pretty and glossy, and the flavor was lovely on its own. Perfect for a spring cupcake. We all know lemon is a time honored companion for meringue, so figured that would be a safe bet for my main flavor. Last year, I  had lavender in lemonade so I decided to make that the “something special” that would take these cupcakes up a notch. Honestly, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever made, and my taste testers RAVED about them.  I am so excited to share this recipe with you guys, and I hope you love them as much as I do.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 box King Arthur Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp veggie oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp lavender extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp chopped or pulverized lavender buds

Filling:

Frosting:

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar

Special equipment: Kitchen torch

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF
  2. Combine cake mix, butter, veggie oil and eggs in mixer until combined.
  3. Mix in zest, milk, extract and mix until thoroghly combined
  4. Fold in chopped buds.
  5. Fill cupcake liners
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow cupcakes to cool.
  8. Using a knife or a cupcake corer, create a hole in the center of each cupcake.
  9. Transfer lemon curd to ziplock bag and clip off one corner. Use to fill cored cupcakes.
  10. In a double boiler, heat 2 inches of water in the lower pot. When water boils place top pot over boiling water carefully so that the boiling water doesn’t touch the bottom of the upper bowl.
  11. Combine egg whites and sugar in top bowl.
  12. Whisk gently over heat until mixture become slightly more opaque and the sugar has fully dissolved.
  13. Transfer the mixture to a mixer and whip on high for 10 minutes until it doubles in size and reaches stiff peak stage.
  14. Pipe your meringue onto your filled cupcakes.
  15. Toast meringue lightly (and carefully) with kitchen torch.
  16. Enjoy!

Notes:

  • I’ve doubled the amount of lavender called for in my first trial. Lemon is a strong flavor, and my first batch only had the passing hint of lavender. Don’t over do it though; too much lavender will leave your cupcakes tasting like soap.
  • I recommend chopping or pulverizing the lavender buds before incorporating them into your batter. A whole lavender bud in a single bite can be off putting for a lot of people. I usually crush mine with a mortar and pestle. Same flavor, just a little more diffused throughout the mix.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

With a month to spare, I have finally completed #3 on my 31 before 32 and made the last of the 12 recipes from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook! There are so many great recipes I still can’t wait to try out, but I am happy to have the ones I “had” to do behind me. Since I’d done a few of the main recipes and a couple of the extracts, I wanted to try something from the back of the book. The frosting area seemed as good as any so I decided to tackle Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

So light and wonderfully fluffy! It made for some very pretty cupcakes.


I took some pictures of the process, just so you’d have an idea of how things were going to look as you went along. I find that sort of thing helpful whenever I’m trying out a new recipe.
The egg white/sugar mixture when I put it on ⇑ and took it off ⇓ the double boiler. 
How the meringue looked when it was ready for the butter. 

Notes:

  • I think the thing I liked best about this was the sweetness. I like sugar as much as the next pudgy American, but I hate frosting that is sickly sweet. Standard buttercream is easy to make, but usually it’s a bit much and has ruined many a cupcake for me. It’s really nice to have this in my back pocket for future baking.
  • This recipe also pipes like a dream; I had wonderful frilly frosted cupcakes with minimal piping bag manipulation, and it held its shape and didn’t dry out overnight.

Sweet & Vicious: Kahlo Cookies (Strangely Hot Mexican Chocolate Cookies)

Guys, I am so so very close to finishing off #3 of my 31 before 32 list! Recipe 11 of 12 tried from the wonderful and intimidating Sweet & Vicious. Do I wish I had managed to do it sooner? Yes, but some of these recipes were a little more complex than I anticipated, not to mention that almost every recipe had an ingredient that I had to make a special shopping trip for. I think that’s why being this close to the end make me feel strangely powerful. I won’t go as far as to say I defeated the book, but we fought to a draw and I am good with that.

Notes:

  • For the first time, in a very long time, these did not go to my trusted taste testers. They were good enough that Andy and I decided to keep them for ourselves. Now in all honesty, he is consuming 3 or 4 cookies to every one that I eat, but these are some of the best cookies I’ve had in a while.
  • I think the added heat is what makes these cookies something special. I think you could forgo the extract, but the chipotle pepper is essential. For me, it cuts some of the sweetness -and these are very sweet cookies-, and it forces me to slow down and really enjoy the complexity of what I am tasting.
  • If you guys are interested in the hot pepper extract, it’s fairly easy to make, but it does require two weeks to cure.  Comment below if you’re interested and I’ll post the how-to.