Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lesson #177: Alien Cupcakes

Happy Halloween! This post is more like a craft project rather than a baking project, but I thought it would be a fun idea to share. Just in case you are looking for an edible craft project. Here's the final product:

Kinda looks like an alien, right?

 First, you bake a batch up cupcakes using the silver foil liners for their "spaceships".
 While the cupcakes are cooling, mix neon green food coloring into store bought frosting. You need to use store bought because you melt it in the microwave and homemade frosting won't melt and set up properly.
 Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of the cupcake and top with a doughnut hole. Freeze the cupcake for 10-15 minutes.
 Get your chocolate sprinkles (for the eyes) and black licorice (for the antennae) ready!
 Place the unused frosting in a measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds - stirring after 15 seconds. Make sure the frosting is liquified and slightly warm. Dip the semi-frozen cupcake into the frosting (I didn't get a picture of this step - it's a little messy!). Attach the sprinkles and licorice to the cupcake. Let set.
 Package up the cupcakes so you can share them with your friends!
LESSON LEARNED: It becomes easier to dip the cupcakes once you practice on a few!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lesson #176: Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

This is the perfect dessert for those windy, rainy, and cool Fall days. I love combination of textures and temperature in this crisp. The apples are soft & squishy, the oatmeal topping is crunchy, and the vanilla ice cream is smooth & creamy. My favorite way to eat this is to heat up the crisp is super warm, then top it with the ice cream. Some of the ice cream melts into the crisp creating a wonderful vanilla sauce. YUMMY!

LESSON LEARNED: Store the leftover crisp in the refrigerator and heat it up when you are ready to enjoy!

Recipe for Apple Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lesson #175: Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

I couldn't resist this combination of sweet & salty in the form of an ice cream sandwich. I've noticed a trend on other food blogs discussing these dark chocolate cookies. I decided to take the recipe up a notch by sandwiching the cookies between ultra-creamy vanilla ice cream. Use the best ice cream you can find - or make your own!

LESSON LEARNED: Refrigerate this cookie dough at least an hour before you bake. I refrigerated it a whole 24 hours before baking...this really allows the flavors in the cookie to develop.

Recipe for Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lesson #174: Pumpkin Toffee Cookies

These cookies SCREAM fall! This dessert is a soft & cake-y spiced pumpkin cookie with bits of English toffee scattered throughout.  I made a big batch for my classes last week. I thought I would have enough to share with at least two of my general psychology classes, but they went over so well that my first class ate them all! I've learned that I have to rotate which classes I give treats to. :)

LESSON LEARNED: Around the holidays you can find bags of English toffee bits. If they are not available, break up a bar of toffee.

Recipe for Pumpkin Toffee Cookies

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lesson #173: Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Hello Fall! We are in full swing in Ohio with falling leaves and colder temperatures! The season has definitely influenced my baking because I've been making a ton of Fall-flavored desserts.

This is a tender buttermilk coffee cake that is perfect anytime of day. The cake has a swirl of cinnamon & sugar throughout and is topped with a walnut crumb topping and chopped apples.  I enjoyed a piece with a cup of hot tea!

LESSON LEARNED: Use whatever apples you have on hand. I used a mixture of sweet and tart apples - this cake turned out great!

Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lesson #172: Pumpkin Pancakes

I had a bit of leftover pumpkin from making these pumpkin cream cheese muffins, so I decided to incorporate it into a pancake.

Every weekend I try to make a different breakfast instead of our usual cereal, toast, and fruit we have during the weekdays. I usually do a sweeter breakfast one day and a savory breakfast the next. My sweet breakfast options are usually some form of waffles (I have an awesome recipe I should share on the blog!) or pancakes.

These pancakes are have traditional "warm" Fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Pureed pumpkin is mixed in to create a wonderful orange hue. Drizzled with maple syrup these are a great addition to your pancake repertoire.

LESSON LEARNED: This recipe makes a lot of pancakes. I divided them into stacks of 3 or 4, wrapped them with plastic wrap, and froze for later. That way, you can grab a pack out of the freezer, microwave for 1-2 minutes, and you are ready to eat.

Recipe for Pumpkin Pancakes

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Lesson #171: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These pumpkins scream "welcome to fall". That is, along with all the fall leaves, wind, and lower temperatures here in Ohio. :)

These muffins are similar to the ones you can find at your favorite coffee house this time of year. They are a moist pumpkin muffin with a dab of cream cheese baked right into the middle and topped with a sugary cinnamon crumble.

I brought a couple dozen of these to one of my classes last week. Almost everybody in my first class took a muffin so I would consider these a success!

LESSON LEARNED: These muffins require a little prep time. The filling is a combination of cream cheese and powdered sugar. This has to chill in the freezer for a few hours before you assemble and bake the muffins.

Recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lesson #170: Coconut Cupcakes

Last Friday was my birthday, so I decided to make these coconut cupcakes as part of my birthday dinner. The day was pretty low-key  - ending with me making dinner for my family (this was my choice - they offered to take me out!).

These cupcakes are very rich and indulgent - everything a cupcake should be! The base is a buttermilk cake with a generous amount of coconut in the batter. The cupcakes are topped with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with more coconut.

LESSON LEARNED: This recipe makes over 2 dozen cupcakes. This was way too much for my family gathering - luckily we were visiting friends the next day so I took half of them with me. :)

Recipe for Coconut Cupcakes

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lesson #169: Peanut Butterscotch Fudge Bars

These cookie bars are part rice krispie treats and part butterscotch fudge....ahh the best of two kinds of sweet treats! A thin layer of peanut butter rice krispie treats is covered by a generous layer of homemade butterscotch fudge and the entire bar is topped with chopped peanuts. Yummy!

LESSON LEARNED: These stay fresh in a covered container at room temperature for 3 days.

Recipe for Peanut Butterscotch Fudge Bars

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