Sunday, October 28, 2012


We've been preparing for Hurricane Sandy! It's pretty calm outside now, but the weatherman says to prepare for quite a storm. Schools have already been cancelled for Monday and Tuesday (no complaints here)! Hope everyone stays safe!

I've been enjoying Taylor Swift's new songs. I especially like this video (mainly because it takes place in Paris)! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
adapted from
Oven 350

2 2/3 cups flour
3 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs

Combine first 8 ingredients, up to and including salt. Set aside. Combine pumpkin, sugars, and oil in mixing bowl. Mix until incorporated.

With mixer on low, add in eggs, one at a time. Add flour mixture and mix until incorporated.

Fill cupcake tins (already lined with cupcake liners) with batter.

Bake in oven for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when tested.

Top with your favorite frosting and even a drizzle of caramel. Or leave plain, they taste just as good!

Makes 8 dozen mini cupcakes.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumn Rest

As the month of October flies by, it's important to take time to enjoy the autumn. The baked good this week is perfect to serve with tea, cocoa, or coffee and enjoy a minute of rest.

English Muffin Breadadapted from One Good Thing by Jillee
makes 2 loaves
Oven 350

2 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/2 pkgs rapid rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
5 1/2 cups flour (all purpose, whole wheat, etc)
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine

Mix together all the ingredients (by hand or in mixer).

Divide mixture between two well greased loaf pans that have been sprinkled with cornmeal.

Let rise in pans, 30-60 minutes, or until dough reaches the top pf the pans. Bake for 35 minutes. Brush loaves with melted butter. Bake additional 10 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Best when toasted.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


My husband has been away for the last week. It's been a long time since we've been apart. In fact, the last time we were apart for this long was when we were dating in college. We went to college in separate states and neither of us had a car for the longest time. We'd have very long phone conversations and couldn't wait to see each other during break or when one of us could get a ride. This time around it's a totally different thing. I have a job, a house, a dog, and many other responsibilities. My mornings are all out of whack and I don't really feel like cooking for one. I don't know how single people do it. I've always appreciated my husband and all that he does, but it's even more evident when he's gone. He's my best friend and I've missed him terribly.

My husband does not like "warmed fruit" which means no pies, cobblers, or dumplings. So I decided to make the recipe below when he was away. This way I get to enjoy the dessert and I don't feel too bad finishing it by myself!

Apple Dumplings
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens October 1950

Makes 3 Dumplings
Oven 375

3 apples (peeled and cored)
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1/3 cup shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons half-and-half or light cream
1 tablespoon chopped walnuts
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine

For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the water, sugar, and cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the butter or margarine. Set aside.

Meanwhile, for pastry, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the half-and-half, light cream, or milk over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the cream or milk at a time, until all of the dough is moistened.

Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to an 9x6-inch rectangle. Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut into three 6-inch squares.
In a small mixing bowl combine the raisins, walnuts, and honey. In another small bowl stir together the sugar and the cinnamon. Set aside.

Peel and core the apples. Place an apple on each pastry square. Fill centers of apples with raisin mixture. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture; dot with the butter or margarine.

Moisten edges of each pastry square with water; fold corners to center over apple. Pinch to seal. Place dumplings in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour sauce over dumplings.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 35 minutes or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown. To serve, spoon sauce over dumplings.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apple Overload

I was invited to a apple picking and baking party this weekend. I wasn't able to go to the apple picking since I was tutoring. However, I did partake in the baking portion of the festivities.

We made 4 different types of apple pies (apple rum raisin oatmeal, traditional apple pie, apple cranberry pie with a graham cracker topping, and apple rum raisin pie with pecans), 2 different types of breads (apple zucchini bread and apple coffee cake bread), 2 different crisps (apple pear crisp and apple berry crisp), an apple torte, and a caramel apple cheesecake. It was apple overload!

 It was the perfect way to really welcome fall! My favorite dessert that we made was the cranberry apple pie with graham cracker topping. We adapted it from a recipe that someone had written down and given to the hostess awhile ago.

Cranberry Apple Pie with Graham Cracker Topping

4 Macintosh Apples (peeled, cored, sliced)
1 cup fresh cranberries
5 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 premade pie shell (just the bottom)
1 1./2 cups crushed graham crackers
4 tablespoons butter or margarine

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl, making sure to coat all apple pieces. Pour into pie shell. Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl using fingertips to create a crumb topping. Put on top of the apple filling. Place in oven for 30 minutes. Let cool on rack before serving.