Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Delicous Apple Pie...So I Hear...

Ok, this is embarrassing. I am posting about this delicious apple pie...and guess what...(do I dare even say it???) Well...I don't even like apple pie! Gasp! Yes, yes, I know, I am an avid baker and cook and I don't like apple pie. To be honest, I don't really like any fruit that's been cooked in a dessert, except maybe berries. But no peach cobbler or apple pie for me. It's unfortunate, I know, I really wish I liked it, on the other hand, I pretty much like every dessert out there which presents a problem when I want to try to keep my girlish figure. So when there is a dessert I can easily pass up, I'll take it! However, what I DO like to do with apple pie is this: scoop up some of the cinnaminy apple pie juice, pour it over vanilla ice cream, then sneak a corner of the crust and crumble it over the top. My mom chastised me for stealing some of the crust, but I couldn't help it! Super weird I know, but that's how I like my apple pie..or my un-apple pie....anyways, here's the recipe for all of you apple pie lovers out there! I know you will like it! Would also make a great additions to your Thanksgiving feast:)

My mom makes hands down the best pie crust I've ever had, and I love
watching her make it! There's something about her hands working with the dough.
I've always loved my mom's hands, I feel they tell a story. They are hard working hands
that took care of her family by cooking yummy foods and rocking her babies to sleep.
I love them. May sound cheesy, but it's how I feel :)

(That's right, smile and stir those apples! Smile like your going to
love the pie when it's done, but in reality your only going to steal
it's lovely pie juices and crust and put them over ice cream!)

Finished off with a nice sprinkling of vanilla sugar

And the finished, beautiful product. I have to say even though I don't like
apple pie, I always think it looks beautiful.

I hope you all have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving!
Go here for the apple pie recipe

Trick or Treat?! Is that really even a question!?

I mean seriously, during Halloween, when treats are flowing abundantly I think the "Trick" part of that phrase is meaningless:) And have I got a "Treat" for you! After making these sugar cookies for last month's Daring Baker's Challenge, I've been in the mood to make some more sugar cookies, but wanted to try a different recipe. I stumbled across the site Karen's Cookies, it's a great site to look at if you want to see cookie decorating tutorials and is also a great site for different cookie recipes. I decided to try her Basic Rolled Sugar Cookies, the recipe had butter, sugar, almond flavoring, and an extra egg yolk, how could that be bad? It was absolutely delicious. The only thing is, it's not the BEST recipe that holds the shape of the cookie cutter. This recipe is much better for that. But it's still ok, it holds the shape pretty good but not perfectly. These cookies will turn out to be a softer sugar cookie, which I like.

Now for the frosting. I love the look of cookies decorated with royal icing, but I love the taste of buttercream. I found on Karen's Cookies a recipe for Meringue Powder Buttercream, it's supposed to harden on the top of the cookie so you can still stack them if needed, but have less of a crunch than royal icing. Here's my review of this buttecream: I felt it didn't harden much more than a regular buttercream, but it tasted great. I'm kind of torn as to whether or not I will make it again, I don't see the point with going to the trouble making it when I could just make a simple buttercream. But we will see-maybe I will make it again and like it better the second time around.

Now as for the look of these cookies-don't judge me:) I only had peach food coloring as opposed to a bright vibrant orange, so these cookies weren't' the most appealing Ive ever made, but they certainty tasted great. And with a fussy almost 6 month old begging for my attention, I did the best I could at making them cute :) So if you are going to a fun Halloween Party this week these would be great cookies to take!

Basic Rolled Sugar Cookies
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup superfine sugar, or granulated sugar, processed in blender or food processor for 30 seconds
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. Almond extract or emulsion, optional (I added 3/4 tsp. almond emulsion)
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour.
Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed . Add yolk, beat well. Add whole egg, vanilla and optional almond extract and beat until well-incorporated. Add flour; beat at low speed just until flour is mixed in; do not overmix. Divide dough in halves or thirds and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour and up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough to 1/4" thick, sprinkling with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Cut into desired shapes and place on parchment or silicone-lined pans. Bake in preheated oven until cookies appear dry on the surface and are light golden brown on the edges, about 10 minutes (very large cookies may take up to 12 or 13 minutes). Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks and cool completely before decorating.

Meringue Powder Buttercream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 T. meringue powder
  • ½ cup shortening (I used butter, I am a firm believe the shortening should never be used in a frosting!)
  • 4 ½ cups powdered sugar (1 lb. 3 oz. If you have a scale)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (use clear vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
Place half of the powdered sugar and the meringue powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk together well. Turn on mixer (use whip attachment) and, while motor is running, slowly stream in the water. Mix until everything is incorporated. Turn mixer to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form. Add flavorings and mix well. Change to paddle attachment (for stand mixer) or dough hook (for Bosch). If using a hand mixer, use the same beaters you were using before. Add remaining powdered sugar and shortening and whip for 2-3 minutes more.

Note: Don't skimp on the whipping time after adding the shortening. You really need to whip it well to prevent separation later.

Monday, October 18, 2010

National Chocolate Cupcake Day!!!!

(cupcakes I made for my grandma in laws 80th birthday)

Did you know that today is national chocolate cupcake day?! So run out and grab a chocolate cupcake to celebrate! :) I think I am going to run over to the new cupcake chic and get one. Have a wonderful day!! :) :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bakerella :)

Today Bakerella came to a Williams Sonoma in Salt Lake City to do a book signing for her new book "Cake Pops"!!! My three darling cousins and I went, it was such a blast. Of course, the line to see her was CRAZY! She truly is so talented. She was so sweet and darling. She definitely is THE celebrity within the blogging world. I'm still in awe that I was able to meet her and she personally signed MY copy of "Cake Pops"!! I can't wait to try some of those cute pops out. Here are some pics of the fun day :)

Us with Bakerella:) So much fun!

Eleni sported a cake shirt in her honor

Yay! Me with my signed copy-now it's time to start making
cupcake pops!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Dessert Squares

So this is not a new recipe to this blog, but one that needed to definitely be updated with better pictures. The pictures I used to have for it just didn't make this dessert look as amazing as it really was. Seriously-this could be my favorite pumpkin dessert I make during the fall. I was at my local Williams Sonoma store the other day and they were passing out samples of it which reminded me that it was time to start making it again! I've been trying to eat pretty healthy, and I've been surprisingly been doing a good job! ...that is until I made these bad boys. With this dessert I can't just stop at one square, I will keep piecing and piecing at it until all of a sudden a whole row is gone!! O00pps :)

The only downfall to this recipe is you have to use Williams Sonoma's Pumpkin Pecan Butter, which is almost $10 a jar. However this dessert is so good I think it's worth getting. I want to try to make this dessert with a substitute so it's not as expensive to make. Making I could substitute it with some canned pumpkin mixed with spices?? Who knows, but I will definitely give it a shot so I won't alwasy have to rely on using the Pumpkin Pecan Butter, but for now that's what I'll use:) Hope you have a chance to try this one out :)

Pumpkin Dessert Squares
1 box yellow cake mix
1 jar Pumpkin Pecan Butter (williams sonoma or other kitchen store)
3 eggs
1 TBSP flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 TBSP Milk
1 tsp cinnamon

Reserve 1 cup of the cake mix and set aside.
Mix remaining cake mix with 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 egg. Press mixture lightly into the bottom of 13 x 9 inch pan.
Mix 1 jar of Pumpkin Pecan Butter with 2 lrg eggs and 3 TBSP milk and pour over cake mixture in pan.
Mix to a crumble reserved cake mix with 1 TBSP of flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of soft butter and 1 tsp of cinnamon - crumble over the top of the pumpkin layer.
Bake 35-40 minutes and 350 degrees or until golden.
Cool and serve!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lentil Sausage Soup

Fall is now upon us, and I am so excited to start making yummy soups and stews. Here is the first soup I've made this fall season. I wanted to make something healthy, and yet something different-something I haven't made before. I stumbled a crossed Ina Garten's Lentil Sausage Soup. Yes I know- another Ina Garten recipe, but I am never disappointed with her recipes and I didn't want to risk trying something new and having it turn out bad. I just knew this soup would be amazing-and it was. It's really filling and extremely flavorful. I did change a couple things, I left out the sausage and red wine vinegar. I didn't have the vinegar and even if I did I'm not sure if I would have added it, it was still delicious without it. I know I will be making this soup a few more times this fall and winter. Next on my to do cooking/baking list is to make something pumpkiny-mmmmm can't wait:)

Lentil Sausage Soup

by Ina Garten



  • 1 pound French green lentils (recommended: du Puy)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 4 cups diced yellow onions (3 large)
  • 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only (2 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 large cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups medium diced celery (8 stalks)
  • 3 cups medium diced carrots (4 to 6 carrots)
  • 3 quarts Homemade Chicken Stock or canned broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 pound kielbasa, cut in 1/2 lengthwise and sliced 1/3-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine or red wine vinegar
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving


In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute the onions, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent and tender. Add the celery and carrots and saute for another 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and drained lentils, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked through and tender. Check the seasonings. Add the kielbasa and red wine and simmer until the kielbasa is hot. Serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with grated Parmesan

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bachelorette Cupcakes

My sister in law asked me to make some cupcakes for her friend’s bachelorette party. She wanted me to match the colors of the party, which were a turquoise blue and pink. Of course I was so excited to do it, I love any excuse to bake.

I used my all time favorite chocolate cupcake recipe- well my all time favorite for now, I have yet to come across a recipe I like better. The cupcakes always come out just right, very moist and a slightly denser cupcake than most. I used my extra brutte cocoa powder this time in the cupcakes and it made these cupcakes even better. I frosted them with a cream cheese frosting. I never really follow a frosting recipe, but the general rule I follow for a cream cheese frosting is equal amounts of cream cheese and butter, creamed together, then I add just enough powdered sugar so that it taste good but isn’t too sweet. For this frosting I used a half pound of cream cheese and a half pound of butter, and I probably added about 5-6 cups of powdered sugar, I didn’t really count but that is my estimate. I always add good vanilla, like a Madagascar vanilla, it makes a big difference. O-and a pinch of salt,makes a big difference I think.

Since my last 3 posts have been sweet things, how about something savory?? How does a lentil sausage soup sound?? Check back tomorrow for the recipe :)