Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies


More holiday cookies!! I love how pretty these cookies are and I am sure they will be a show stopper at any holiday party.  They taste good and they look good, what more can you ask for!?  I used jolly rancher for the candy part and they harden nicely and I even made one cookies with red and green.  When I made them, I cooked the dough for about 5 minutes then took them out and added the jolly rancher.  If the candy gets too hot it bubbles up and goes over the edge so you have to watch them closely.  I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas!  Happy Holidays!!

Stained Glass Cookies - Adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: 3 Dozen
2 Cups Sifted Flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

20 assorted clear colored hard candies, such as Jolly Rancher or Starburst hard candies

  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat until smooth, 1 minute.
  3. Add reserved flour mixture, and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla. Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.
  4. Position two racks in oven; preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat (nonstick baking mat); set aside.
  5. On a well-floured work surface, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out exterior shapes using a cookie cutter or templates. With a metal spatula, transfer whole cookies to the prepared baking sheets. 
  6. Using tip of a paring knife or cookies cutter, make a cutout in center of each cookie to be filled with candy. 
  7. Transfer baking sheet to the refrigerator, and chill until cookie dough is firm, about 15 minutes. 
  8. Crush the candies into small pieces.
  9. Place the baking sheet in the oven, and bake cookies for about 5 minutes.  Take the cookies out and add the candy.  
  10. Bake until the candy has melted and completely filled the cut-out area, 6 to 8 minutes. Do not let the cookies brown, or the stained-glass effect will not be as brilliant and the candy centers may become bubbly, not clear.
  11. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes, and then use a metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Enjoy!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Happy Holidays!! I hope everyone is done with their shopping and spending all their time baking!!  This is such an easy recipe and super quick!! Anyone can whip this up for a holiday party or just to share with your family.  I am gonna make this post short and sweet because I have a lot to do! Merry Christmas!

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Fudge - Adapted from - Cake Duchess
Yield: 25 squares
2 1/2 Cups Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
1 (14 Ounce) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
4 Candy Canes, crushed

  1. Line a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with parchment paper leaving about 2 inches around the sides of pan hanging out.
  2. Place chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Cook until chocolate melts, stirring often until smooth. 
  3. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Stir in the sweetened condensed milk and the peppermint extract. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  4. Let the fudge set for a hour or two.
  5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

These cookies are so festive and they smell amazing! I love the combination of chocolate and peppermint.  I made dark chocolate peppermint fudge which I will be posting soon too!  The batter is just a chocolate roll out recipe from Bon Appitet magazine and then your creativity comes into play with whatever you want to do with the dough.  I made some stars and some ornaments with cutouts in the middle as well as I used Martha Stewart Holiday Stencils to make snowflakes and the holiday wreath.  I bought an 8 pack of her stencils and they are super cute!!  Happy Holiday Baking!!

Your recipe here, or I will be posting the bon appetit one soon!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting topped with Mini Gingerbread Men

Merry Christmas to all my readers! Sorry I have been so MIA lately, I am just too busy to keep up.  I did a lot of baking this weekend so I have like 5 posts coming out soon!! These cakes are amazing and that's all I have the energy to say today!  Happy Holidays!!

Cupcakes - Adapted from - Melissas Munches
Yield: 22 cupcakes
Cupcake Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Ground Ginger
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Ground cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Ground nutmeg
1 1/2 Cups Unsalted Butter (3 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons Unsulphered Molasses
4 Eggs, room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
22 Gingerbread men

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing:
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350. Line muffin pan with baking cup liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour and spices; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light, about 3 minutes. Beat in the molasses until incorporated. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla. 
  4. Add flour and mix on low speed until just combined.
  5. Fill the cupcake papers three-quarters full, making sure that the batter is divided evenly. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of them comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack 10 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the cinnamon cream frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  7. Frost and top with gingerbread men.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Soft Oatmeal Cookies

YogurtLand inspired these cookies.  My favorite flavor there is called Oatmeal Cookie.  I was eating this the other night and my taste buds were delighted.  I soon realized that I have never made a plain oatmeal cookie and decided to change that this weekend.  I found this recipe on and with all the positive reviews I knew this would be the perfect cookie to bake.  I added more cinnamon, because why not.  They  so delicious!  But I actually made two cookies today.  I had recently seen a recipe for an oatmeal cookie that had Dark Chocolate Covered Acai bits in it, but I didn't save the recipe and couldn't find it again.  I decided just to add about 3/4 cup of the chocolate to the second batch of cookies.  I had two types, Acai and Pomegranate so I used some of each.  I think they qualify as a healthy cookie with the oatmeal and antioxidants from the dark chocolate and Acai.   These would be a perfect addition to any Christmas plate of cookies!

Soft Oatmeal Cookies - Adapted from
Yield: 3 Dozen
1 Cup Butter, unsalted and softened
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
3 Cups Quick Oats
1-2 Cups Brookside Dark Chocolate with Acai or Pomegranate (optional)

  1. In the bowl of a KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. 
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.  (I didn't chill my dough, I am too impatient when my dough has cinnamon in it.  My cookies came out GREAT, so its your choice)
  3. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease cookie sheets. Scoop or roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.  (I flatten the plain cookies just with my hand, and I didn't flatten the ones with chocolate in them.  I like a thicker cookie but again this is your choice.)
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack or I use tin foil to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

1 Year Blogiversary & Mocha Cookies

So it might have seemed that I had fallen off the face of the planet, but I am back.  I started a new job and I am working a normal 40 hour week.  Its been hard getting into a routine where I have time to bake, but I am working it out.  In other exciting news, I just past my 1 year of blogging mark which is a big milestone.  I cant believe its been a year, and man oh man so much has changed.   I went from a student with a passion for baking to a hard working 9-5er with no time to bake.

Anywhoo.  Thanksgiving just past and we are rolling up on Christmas real fast.  This is when the big scramble for baking and gifts hits us like a ton of bricks.  There is never a enough time in the day to get everything done, but I think I discovered something that might help.  These cookies!!  These cookies have a rich chocolaty brownie flavor with espresso!  What more could u ask for.  This are great for a mid-day pick-me-up or perfect to add to your holiday cookie tray, just don't let the kids get to them!

Mocha Cookies - Adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: 3 Dozen
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder or Dark Special Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon (Optional)
2 Tablespoons Instant Espresso Powder (I used Starbucks VIA Packages)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 Cup (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
1 Cup Packed Light-Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Egg, plus one egg yolk
1 Cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used chocolate chips)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; set aside. 
  3. In a small bowl, stir together espresso powder, vanilla, and a tablespoon of water; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and yolk; mix until incorporated. 
  5. Add espresso mixture; mix well, scraping down the sides of a bowl with a spatula. At low speed, add flour mixture in small batches, mixing until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer, and stir in chocolate chunks.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, scoop heaping balls of dough and place 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies are set, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool completely before removing cookies.
  7. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oreo Cake

It was my boyfriends 25th birthday yesterday so I made him OREO Cake.  His favorite is white cake with store bought chocolate frosting, but I had to get more creative then that so I made Oreo Cake!  I got too busy today to make the cake from scratch so I gave in and used box mix, it happens to the best of us sometimes.  I wanted to make sure that there was at least one thing he asked for in the cake so I bought the chocolate frosting at the store for the middle of the cake and put the Oreo buttercream on the outside.  I had a really hard time spreading the chunky frosting round the cake but it turned out okay.  I used the left over Oreos to surround the outside of the cake, because why not.   This was a huge hit with my boyfriend and his friends, very chocolaty though so be sure to serve a glass of milk with every slice of cake.  Enjoy!
Happy Birthday Joe!!

Oreo Cake - Adapted from My Baking Addiction
Yield: 2 Layer 8 Inch Cake
Cake Ingredients:
1 (18.25 ounce) Package Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 (5.9 ounce) Package Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix (I used 2 small packages which was about 2.5 oz)
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Warm Water - I think I forgot this in my rush to get the cakes in the oven!
2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips - I dont think you need this much extra chocolate....

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease (2) 8 or 9 inch round cake pans thoroughly.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, salt vanilla, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and divide batter into the prepared pans.
  3.  Bake for 25-35 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking the baking time. Bake until the top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake for at least 30 minutes before inverting. Allow cake to cool completely on wire rack.
Oreo Buttercream
2 Stick Unsalted Butter – room temperature
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Pounds Powdered Sugar
3-4 Tablespoons Very Cold Milk
25 Oreo cookies chopped - or they will chop themselves if you put them in the mixer and turn up the speed!

  1. Cream the butters in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer with the whisk attachment. Add the vanilla extract and combine well.
  2. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, begin adding the very cold milk… one tablespoon at a time, combining well after each addition until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Add the Oreo Cookies and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Frost your cooled cake layers and decorate.
  5. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

100th Post & Nutella Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

Today is also my 100th post!! I have been blogging for almost a year now and I love still love it.  I started my blog while sitting in my biology class one day.  I already followed a few blogs and I thought to myself, I can do this too!  My style has changed over the months, and my photography has improved but I still love baking and sharing my treats with everyone.  I have a lot to make on my Baking Bucket List, so I will continue blogging and trying new recipes!  I hope you enjoy this recipe for Nutella cream cheese brownies!  They are truly amazing!!

P.S. The CMA's were AMAZING tonight!!!

Nutella Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies - Adapted from Lovin The Oven
Yield: 16 Squares
Cream Cheese Topping Ingredients:
5 Oz Cream Cheese - not whipped
2 Tablespoons Butter, room temperature and unsalted
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/4 Cup Nutella

Brownie Batter Ingredients:
3/4 Cups Flour
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Stick of Butter, room temperature and unsalted
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Eggs

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.  Grease and line a 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cream cheese topping - 
    1. Cream together butter, sugar and flour. Add cream cheese and mix/blend until smooth.
    2. Scrape bowl and add the egg and beat until the topping is nice and creamy. 
    3. Scrap bowl and add Nutella, beat about one minute or until the nutella is mixed into the cream cheese mixture completely.
    4. Set topping aside and mix brownie batter.
  3. Brownie batter - 
    1. Sift flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
    2. In a small bowl cream sugar and 1/2 stick of butter, add eggs one at a time, beat well then add vanilla.
    3. Fold egg, sugar, butter and vanilla mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
    4. Spread 3/4 of the brownie batter into the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  4. Randomly dollop the cream cheese topping over the brownie batter.
  5. Randomly dollop the rest of the brownie batter on top of the cream cheese batter. Swirl with the tip of a knife.
  6. Bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Toffee Rum Banana Bread

Still have leftover Halloween candy!?  I had a lot of left over heath bar to use so I made this banana bread.  The toffee and the subtle rum flavor was a great twist on traditional banana bread.  I put most of the heath bar on the top of the bread instead of in the middle, which made a nice crunchy toffeey crust!! I would just cut off the top and eat that if I could.  I also liked using chopped up Heath Bar because it has more chocolate in it then the Heath Bits.  I added cinnamon and nutmeg to the recipe because why not.   This is a very moist banana bread and I think it would a huge hit at any holiday party!

Toffee Rum Banana Bread - Adapted from Hershey's
Yield: 1 large loaf or 2 small loafs
2 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
3 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Milk
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Tablespoons Rum (I used Bacardi)
1 Egg
1 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana (about 3 medium)
1 Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)
1 1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits, divided (I used 10 fun size heath bars)

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-1/2x4-1/2x2-1/2-inch baking pans.  I just used one pan and used about 75% of the batter.
  2. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add milk, oil, rum, egg and banana; stir with spoon until well blended. Stir in nuts. 
  3. Spread 1-1/4 cups batter into bottom of each prepared pan. Top each batter with 1/2 cup toffee bits. Gently spread about 1 cup remaining batter in each pan. Sprinkle remaining bits over batter. 
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. If only making one loaf, bake time will increase to 45-55 minutes.  (Bread will have slight sink in center.) Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, loosen bread from sides of pan. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.
  5. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Butterfinger Brownies

Do you have leftover Halloween candy!?  Here is one way you can use some of it.  See I planned for this to happen.  When I picked out my Halloween candy, I only bought stuff I knew I could bake with after.  When the trick-or-treaters stopped coming, I dumped out the candy bowl and starting sorting and counting my loot.  I found this recipe and knew it would be a perfect recipe for my 12 butterfingers.  Tomorrow I am making something with my 10 Heath Bars, so look forward to that recipe!  Anyway, I pulled these straight out of the oven to take to Working Wardrobes to share some good news with them.  The whole staff at Working Wardrobes has been so supportive and helpful over the years, I cant thank them enough.  These were a huge hit and I will be making another treat on the 13th for all the volunteers at the Baubles & Bags Brunch.  If anyone lives in the Los Angeles area and wants to support a great organization that helps men and women in crisis get back to work, then click on that link!!  Thanks!!

So the good news is I was offered a full time job working for a company called Regus.  I will be working at one of their offices in Newport Beach.  I am thrilled about this opportunity, but I am worried I wont have much time for baking.  I guess time will tell what my schedule is like, but I want to continue blogging.  So I am closing my Nordstrom chapter soon, and opening another one.  YAY!

Photo taken in my car with my iPhone... not great!!
Butterfinger Brownies - Adapted from Recipe Girl
Yield: 25 brownies
4 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 Cup Butter, unsalted and softened
1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter - don't use natural pb, use something like skippy or jif
2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Flour
16 (.65 ounce) Butterfingers candy bars, chopped, big chunks are okay (or just use 10.4 ounces total) - I only had 12 bars and it was enough...

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil; grease the foil.
  2. Melt chocolate in glass bowl in the microwave- short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter, peanut butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. 
  4. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour. Stir in chopped butterfingers (reserving about 3/4 cup for the top).
  5. Spread batter into prepared pan. Top with reserved Butterfingers chunks.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  7. Once cooled, peel off the tin foil.  Slice into squares.  If you want, refrigerate until brownies are well-chilled- if overnight, cover with plastic wrap. 
  8. Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marbled Pumpkin Brownies

Do you love brownies!? Do love pumpkin pie!?  If you answered yes to both those questions then you will love these!  Its basically a brownie swirled with a pumpkin pie.  Can you say delicious?  These were a huge hit with my friends and family.  These would even be a fun treat for Thanksgiving, traditional flavors in an nontraditional form.   I don't have much more to say other then, "TRY THESE!!!"

Happy Halloween!!

My only Halloween decoration is that pumpkin.... very sad!
Marbled Pumpkin Brownies - Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
Yield: 24 Squares
Pumpkin Ingredients:
3 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 Tablespoon Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Cup Canned Pumpkin
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves (optional)
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg (optional)
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 Tablespoon Flour

Brownie Ingredients:
1 1/4 Cups Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
6 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate, Chopped (I used semisweet chocolate chips and reduced the sugar to 2 Cups)
3/4 Cup Butter, cubed
2 1/4 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
3/4 Cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts, toasted (optional, I didn't use nuts)

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Grease or PAM the foil; set pan aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese and the 1 tablespoon butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. I did this step with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.  Add the 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until well combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. 
  3. Beat in 1 egg, the pumpkin, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the cinnamon, and ginger until combined. Stir in the 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl stir together the 1-1/4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  5. In a large saucepan combine the chocolate and 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir with a whisk over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually add the 2-1/4 cups sugar, beating with an electric mixer on low speed just until combined. I used a whisk to make the brownies.
  6. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture just until combined.
  7. Spread chocolate mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture in several mounds on top of the chocolate batter. Using a knife, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter. If desired, sprinkle with walnuts.
  8. Bake about 60 minutes or until center is just set when pan is gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into squares.
  9. Enjoy!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Pumpkin! Pumpkin! Pumpkin! Its that season, so get use to it.  My co-worker loves pumpkin so I made these for her.  They are a delicious pumpkin muffin with a streusel topping.   They are very moist and pumpkiny!  These are perfect for breakfast or just a snack.   I changed up the recipe a little bit, you can see my changes below.  There are a few things that are not allowed in my house, one of them is sour cream.  My boyfriend and I both loathe sour cream and mayonnaise, so I don't buy it.  I substituted the sour cream for yogurt and they turned out great!!  These are a perfect fall treat, so enjoy!!

Muffins ready for the oven!
Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins with Streusel Topping - Adapted from Naked Cupcakes
Yield: 12 Muffins
1 1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour - I use regular all-purpose flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon - I used more like 1 teaspoon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon Cloves
1 Cup Rolled Oats
1 Egg
1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin
1/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Sour Cream - I used low fat vanilla yogurt

Streusel Topping:
1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Oats
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon - I used more like 1 teaspoon
1/3 Cup Cold Butter

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 and line a muffin pan with liners.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and rolled oats in a medium bowl.
  3. In a second large bowl, whisk together the egg, pureed pumpkin, milk, and sour cream until smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter between the 12 prepared muffin cups.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  You can use the same bowl as before.
  7. Add the cold butter and cut it into the streusel mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs (you can use a pastry cutter, two knives, or even your fingers to do this, I think hands work the best!!)
  8. Sprinkle the streusel topping on top of the filled muffin cups.  Fill in and pat down the streusel into the muffin tin.
  9. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Enjoy!
Warning: These are messy... bake at your own risk to clean up afterwards!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

For my birthday, my dad sent me 30 vanilla beans!! I have been looking for an excuse to make vanilla bean cupcakes and the perfect occasion came along. Makenna's 1st birthday! I remember a year ago when I got the text that she was born and I have had the pleasure to watch her grow over the last year. She is now a crazy and energetic little girl with her whole life ahead of her. I am Auntie Merlot, even though I am not related and I love every moment I get to spend with her. Her birthday was on Friday so I met up with the birthday girl and her mom South Coast Plaza to shop for the perfect birthday outfit. We rode the carousal and play peak-a-boo. And then it was nap time... Life of a 1 year old.  She enjoyed her birthday cupcake when she got home. 

About the cupcakes, they are amazing!! I had never cut open a vanilla bean, so the whole process was new to me. I never realized how small the little granules are. I was sent 3 types of vanilla beans and I decided to use a Tahitian bean. The cupcakes would be good without the vanilla bean too, because the cake is just perfect. Its moist and not too sweet. I made just a regular vanilla buttercream and added some pink food coloring for color. Overall, for how simple the flavors are, this is one of the best cupcakes I think I have ever made.

Happy 1st Birthday Makenna!!

Little tiny vanilla beans....

Birthday girl enjoying her cupcake!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes - Adapted from The Busty Baker
Yield: 12 Cupcakes
1/2 Cup Milk
3 Egg Whites
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Vanilla Bean, split and seeds scraped - I used a Tahitian vanilla bean
1 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Flour
3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) Unsalted Butter, room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tin with liners.
  2. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together milk, egg whites, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds to combine.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter, mixing on low until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. It’ll look a bit like the start of pastry dough.
  4. Add half of milk mixture to flour mixture and beat until dough is moist and thick (a bit like cookie dough). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add remaining milk mixture and beat until combined. Mixture should look more like batter now.
  5. Divide batter among prepared cups, filling with about 2 tablespoons of batter each. Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  6. Make a frosting.
Quick Vanilla Buttercream - Adapted from
Yield: Too much for 12 Cupcakes - but you can freeze buttercream!
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Butter, Unsalted
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons Whipping Cream

  1. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
  3. Add coloring if desired.  Pipe onto cupcakes.  
  4. I rolled mine in sprinkles for some extra pinkness. 
  5. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nutella Scones

Friday was treat day again for my boyfriend at his work.  I had to work late on Thursday so we started making these at 10:30 at night.  I was reading though all the ingredients and making the dough and put them in the oven.  I had a sneaking suspicion I had done something wrong.  I notice the recipe said 3/4 stick of butter, not 3/4 cup of butter.  So I accidentally doubled the amount of butter in these but I don't think anyone noticed.  They weren't the correct texture for a scone, but they were chocolaty and filled with Nutella, so who can complain!?

I forgot to take photos, my boyfriend took these at his work on his iPhone.
Nutella Scones - Adapted from I'll Have What She's Having
Yield - 16 Scones
2 Cups Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) COLD Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks - This is where i went wrong!!
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
3/4 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts, coarsely chopped - I didn't use nuts.
1/2 Cup Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon mat, or nothing if you use Airbake - I am obsessed with my Airbake! 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter to the flour. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the chunks of butter become pea sized and the flour holds together when squeezed.
  3. Whisk the cream and egg together. While mixing, slowly pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture until the dough just comes together. Stir in the hazelnuts, if you choose to use them.
  4. Then pour the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough into a 6 inch by 12 inch rectangle (doesn’t have to be exact).
  5. Spread 1/4 cup (I used a little more!) of the Nutella over the dough, then roll it into a cylinder. Flatten the cylinder into a disk, then slice it into wedges (16).  They start small and expand a lot in the oven!
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
  7. Once baked, place on a cooling rack. Warm the remaining 1/4 cup Nutella, then drizzle it over the cooling scones.
  8. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Espresso in a cookie is always a good idea!  Espresso in a chocolate chip cookies is a life changing idea!!  These cookies were so good, everybody loved them!  I made these to share with all the volunteers at a Working Wardrobes event that was this weekend.  I had to work, so I wasn't able to volunteer this year but I always make sure to make a treat to share with everyone.  The event is a long day and lots of work, so I figured everyone could use a little pick-me-up!!   Its hard to see the espresso in the cookies, but the taste is there.  They smell amazing too.  Its like drinking a latte and eating a cookie at the same time.  You MUST try these if you are a coffee lover...

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies - Adapted from
Yield: 2-3 Dozen
1/2 Cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Egg
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 3/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoons Instant Espresso Coffee Powder (I used Starbucks VIA, Caramel flavor)
1 1/2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 300.
  2. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 30 seconds. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
  4. Using a 1-ounce scoop or a 2-tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a prepared cookie sheet about 3 inches apart.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.
  5. Serve warm with a glass of milk or Coffee! 
  6. Enjoy!!