MSC: Banana Pecan Cupcakes

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yay! The first bonus bake for those cupcake enthusiasts who can't wait a whole month to bake was... Banana Pecan Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream!

Well I made these quite a bit ago so it's hard to remember the whole baking process. But the outcome? Pure and utter amazing-ness! I thought the zucchini spice cupcakes were the best I've ever had, but these just took the number one spot! I brought these to a family party and got wonderful feedback. Honestly, these were one of the best treats I've ever made both in taste and skill. The flavor combination of banana and caramel is superb.

I filled the cups up pretty full and as they were baking I got worried as the kept rising. But in the end, they held incredible height! Ahh, they were gorgeous!

To make the cupcakes themselves were easy enough. I have to give Martha credit, she really knows what she's doing. I have become a huge fan of hers even after just two recipes! Putting the ingredients together were a breeze. The interesting part, though, was the frosting.

To make the caramel frosting, you had to make homemade caramel, something that really intimidated me. But really, if you don't worry so much and just have patience while you wait for it to turn brown, it's simple. It tastes fantastic too! I have never been a fan of caramel, in fact I try to avoid it. But after making my own caramel, I'm a convert=) You stream in your caramel into your butter cream until combined. Although the recipe tells you how much caramel to use, I just added to taste. I didn't think the recommended amount was enough, so I made a second batch and added a little over half of that.

Note: I was able to get 30 or so cupcakes out of this batter, and I filled them pretty well.

Goodness I can't even tell you how good these were!!!! Although I made them weeks ago, I can still recall that glorious taste. MAKE THESE!!!

I am so grateful to The Martha Stewart Cupcake Club for having this bonus bake! I would have missed out on something special if I'd have skipped it. If you're a member of the club and skipped this one, it's not to late to do it anyway!

So to recap: I was so proud of these cupcakes. I <3 them=)

Dad's Delish Dish

Sunday, September 27, 2009
My dad came home one day and told me he was going to make dinner for the family. This is pretty surprising to hear because that never happens. But he had tried a dish somebody at his work had brought in and got the recipe for it. He prepared in advance and got all his ingredients together for when he'd make his big meal. And when it was time to start, he laid out all of what he needed before him.

Your basic low down of the recipe is:
A layer of spiral pasta, then a layer of cream spinach spread. Top with some small halved meatballs and red sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese and you're done.

This dish was simple and honestly incredible. I seriously can not even begin to describe to you how delicious this was. I paired it with some garlic bread to complete the meal.

The cream cheesy spinach was out of this world. Meatballs are perfect fillers and paired with a red sauce and pasta, you've created a meal of perfection!!

Please try this. YOU MUST.
Dad's Delish Dish
*Bear with me on these ingredients. My dad could not remember exact numbers and sizes of anything! So, trust your judgment and add to taste.

Spiral noodles- enough to lightly cover a 9 x 13 pan
1 bag of frozen spinach, thawed
1 pkg of cream cheese, room temp!
1 bag of frozen meatballs, prepared as directed, halved
red sauce w/:
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 tablespoon dry chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
shredded mozzarella cheese


Prepare and cook the noodles as directed on the package. Layer your spiral noodles along the bottom of your pan. Note: You can use a dish of any size or shape as long as you adapt the other ingredients to fit it.

Cream together your cream cheese and spinach and spread over top the noodles. Place your halved meatballs over the spread with the rounded side up. Then, layer over top with your red sauce. Sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over the whole thing.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes?, or longer if it needs more. The time is really just preference because nothing needs cooked, just heated and until the cheese is melted on top.

Scottish Scones

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I have a scone baking curse. I love 'em to death but yet I can't make them myself. Whenever I mention that I want to make scones, my family cringes at the notion and persuades me out of it. But, my cousin Lauren (who has her own wonderful blog), told me to try her favorite scone recipe. And after I made my way through some items on my "to-bake" list, I finally made them.

As they popped out of the oven, the heavens opened. I had at last made some great scones! The hallelujah chorus played in the back ground as I took my first bite, then my next, and my many others after that.

The only bad thing about this recipe? It only make eight! These went so fast! I will for sure be making a second batch.

Scottish Scones
Adapted from the Pillsbury Cookbook, seen on Lauren's blog

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup "quick cooking" oats (Quaker Oats or something else that you would use for oatmeal)
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup butter
½ cup milk

1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and ½ tsp cinnamon. Blend well. Using pastry blender or fork, cut in ½ cup butter, until mix is crumbly. Add milk all at once, stirring just until moistened. On a well-floured surface, gently knead dough five or six times, or enough to work the dough into a ball.

Placed on baking sheet; press into six inch circle, about one in thick. Brush top with melted butter. In small bowl, combine sugar and ¼ tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Cut dough into eight wedges. Separate slightly. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.
I actually needed quite a bit longer to get mine golden brown, almost 15 minutes! But that was just me.

Makes eight scones.

Banapple Bundt Cake

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This bundt cake turned out great! I was skeptical at that concept of both apples and bananas in the cake, but it really just made it great. You got a lot of moisture and tiny juicy apple chunks throughout. It was incredibly easy to make.

The only preparation is when you saute your apples in the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Once that's quickly done, you pretty much mix everything together. It takes some time to bake, but it's that way with any banana bread type item.

Overall, it was good but not great for me. My dad took some to work and he said that everyone thought it was incredible. My mom also found it marvelous. But for me it was just good.

The texture was great and it came out of the pan wonderfully. It went fast and I'm glad I made it=) Head over to Hot Oven, Warm Heart to see the recipe!

Apple Galette made easy

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This recipe made me extremely happy. My neighbor has an overflowing apple tree and was practically begging me to take some off her hands. Then, I found this nifty recipe for an apple galette online and knew it was perfect. Over at Pinch My Salt, you are walked through each step of the process. She displays wonderful pictures and comments of every step of the way and I found it extremely helpful.

The dough she recommends was really my first attempt at a pastry dough, and I was not disappointed. It came together wonderfully and was super tasty.

The recipe calls for four apples and maybe six if they're small. Well I used four and still had a lot of apples! So after making the galette and having leftover apples, I made little apple pie cups!

With Pinch My Salt's help, this recipe was extremely easy and came together beautifully. The results were fantastic and I was surprised at the huge results with little effort. I definitely recommend this recipe to anyone and everyone=)

Serve this up with some homemade whipped cream and you'll find yourself in heaven!

MSC: Zucchini Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
When I heard what the month of September's cupcakes were going to be, I was ecstatic! Zucchini cupcakes not only sound delicious, but healthy too! Of course when I spread the monumental amount of cream cheese frosting over it, well that's another story.

To make these cupcakes is extremely easy. You really can't go wrong. Grating the zucchini was a breeze, just use a regular cheese grater and go to town, skin and all. The spices smell so aromatic as you add them in. My favorite part, though, was the toasted walnuts. Pop some walnuts in the oven and in a few minutes you can take your cupcakes from good, to AMAZING!

I took these to a family reunion and they were an immediate hit. Of course you're hitting only a small demographic of people on account of the zucchini, which is tragic. My dad of course said they looked wonderful, but no way would he even try a bite. Way to encourage my love of baking Dad.

I will admit these are extremely addicting and one cupcake will soon be followed by another until you lose count of how many you've actually had. Or maybe you made yourself forget on purpose?... Anyway, I made these ahead of time then froze them for two days. The morning of the day I needed them I took them out to thaw. I made the frosting the night before and refrigerated that. Unfortunately, it was extremely hot that day and the Battle with the Frosting began. Using the semi-frozen cupcakes to my advantage I was able to frost about a dozen before I was met with dripping frosting. Keeping calm (yeah right.), I just plowed on. Since I was transporting these to the party, I put ice packs between the Tupperware. They were perfectly fine by the time we got there and ready to be eaten!

I am so thankful to Tracey from Tracey's Culinary Adventures for choosing this month's recipe! I am a big fan of hers. You can find the recipe on her blog. Also, go here to see the Martha Stewart's Cupcake Club's official blogspot along with the other baker's who participated in this challenge.

Up next, September's bonus bake: Banana Pecan cupcakes with caramel buttercream.

Exquisite Pizza Sauce... seriously!

Monday, September 14, 2009
This is a recipe I found labeled "Exquisite Pizza Sauce", and honestly, I can't disagree! I just needed a quick recipe and now I think I've found my go-to pizza sauce!!

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
6 fluid ounces warm water
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
salt to taste
Combine all ingredients and enjoy over your favorite pizza dough, or mine!

This was a quick post, but boy, did I enjoy this one!

White Velvet Butter Cake Day 3

Friday, September 11, 2009
On our third day of baking the cake, It was time for assembly and frosting.

We poured the raspberry puree into the buttercream and combined them.

Here's our assembly:
So it's not a real professional job or anything, but we were very proud of our hard work.

So our white velvet butter cake with a raspberry puree buttercream was a huge success!! It was incredible tasting. It had a light fresh taste and was very moist and dense. The raspberry went so so so well with the white cake. It tasted best at room temperature or slightly chilled.

It was a lot of hard work, and pretty time consuming. So, unless someone asked me to make the a gourmet cake and I was possibly getting paid for it, I don't know if I'd be able to justify all the work. Wow, that sounds pretty lazy of me. But, I don't know, we'll see if I try another. I'd like to make her simple pound cake though, that wouldn't be too bad.

Layered Taco Dip, minus the meat

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yumm... taco dip!!! Although, this taco dip is meat free, making it simpler to whip up, it's tastier in my opinion.

This is just your basic easy layered taco dip. A classic, but a favorite=).

We used a pie dish but use any container you want.
From the bottom:
-guacamole (1 avocado smashed with lemon juice to taste)
-salsa (a mild kind, you don't want anything too spicy to overwhelm the over flavors)
-refried beans
-sour cream
-shredded cheddar cheese

Next time, I'd switch the order of the salsa and beans. For assembling, it was somewhat tricky to spread the heavy beans over the watery salsa.

Taste: Amazing-ness!! The slight lemon taste of the creamy guacamole with the fresh salsa, then the savory beans, the cold silky sour cream, and the tangy cheddar on top is the ultimate combination.

So go on and make this fantastic simple dip and start scooping it up with some delicious blue corn chips!

Pecan French Toast

Monday, September 7, 2009
Quick fancy breakfast. Pecan French toast.

No real recipe. Just make french toast then smash some pecans on it. Of course, Texas Toast is preferred, but use what you have. Add some cinnamon sugar to the pecans as well.

I work at King's Family Restaurant, and they make this beautifully! It is by far my favorite thing on the menu. =)