Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pumpkin Oat Bran Muffins

"It's just a little something I threw together" has turned out to be a standard go-to recipe. Because I wrote it down this time. If you cook like me, experimental and hap-hazard, messy and fearless, you probably don't keep notes as you go. This time I did and I am so glad because Baking is a bitch who doesn't play around. She's not gonna give you perfection unless you play by her rules, which are actually pretty simple.
1. Read.
2. Measure.
Even simpler is this recipe, because there's no sifting. Enjoy.

Preheat oven to 350f.
Using a hand or stand mixer combine in large bowl:
1/2 c. melted butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. milk
3 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional, but So Yummy)
In separate bowl gently whisk together:
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. oat bran
1 1/2 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice (optional, but So Yummy)
Topping: combine 1/4 cup white sugar & 1 Tbs. cinnamon
Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
Line muffin tin with paper muffin cups and fill cups 3/4 full. The fuller they are increases the possibility for those coveted muffin tops.
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake at 350f. for approx. 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Makes 12-15 muffins

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Magic Treehouse Cake

For the Big 6th, Quinn decided he wanted a Magic Treehouse themed party and cake. The party was a snap to orchestrate. The cake, on the other hand, took much planning and strategizing. I am no Ace of Cakes when it comes to structural engineering of pastry products and the thought of trying to create a Tree With a Treehouse In It, as our son wanted, left me feeling like a failure even before I'd begun. This nice, safe, square cake was much more my speed. I used this yellow cake recipe I found on the wacky wild web, which turned out to be a really good one.
The leaves were a snap. Wilton Candy Melts, melted and painted onto the backs of Camelia leaves, popped into the freezer to set, then peeled the leaves off. I kept them in a container in the fridge until time to decorate.
The frosting is from the fine people at Hershey's; the recipe is located on the back of the Special Dark Cocoa can.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Grandma's Shortcake Biscuits

Growing up, these biscuits were not a Sunday dinner staple; they were something to be turned into a wonderful summertime treat. My mom would load up strawberries and vanilla ice cream between one or two of these little cakes and top it with whipped cream. At breakfast the next morning we would beg for more, and if there were any biscuits left we were allowed to enjoy an encore, this time with strawberries and milk, because that's Healthier, of course.

The texture of this biscuit is more that of a scone. I'm positive that adding dried currants, shaping them into triangles and sprinkling them with sugar would make any scone lover happy.

Mary Nichols' Shortcake Biscuits
Preheat oven to 400 f.
Sift together into a large bowl:
4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Cut in with pastry cutter or 2 knives until a coarse meal forms:
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. unsalted butter (Grandma used Crisco, I use butter. You choose.)
Form a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in:
1 1/3 cup milk
Mix well with your hands until combined. Turn half dough out at a time onto a well floured surface, sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough.
Roll out to 1/2" thick. Bake on a parchment lined sheet at 400 for 10-13 minutes.
Makes 18 delicious morsels.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ma Petite Fleur

Petite Fleur
This little beauty is great on a bobby pin, barrette or brooch, clustered together on a wrapped present, sewn to a t shirt, I could go on and on.

Crocheted Petite Flower Instructions

With Color A: ch 4, join w/ sl st to first ch to form ring.
Round 1: ch 1, 10 sc into ring, change to color B during join to first sc.

Round 2 (with color B): ch 1. 1 sc, 3 dc, 1 sc into same st as join. Skip 1 st ( in next st, work 1 sc, 3 dc, 1 sc, sk next st) 4 times. 5 petals complete. Join with sl st to first sc. Finish off, weave in ends.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

My son, a precocious kindergardener, decided we need to make a garden cake for my birthday. Boy did we ever. It is a standard carrot cake with caramel cream cheese frosting, topped with soil made out of crushed chocolate animal crackers and marzipan veggies.

I think one of the best things about having a child is how much inspiration they bring to your daily life. Sure I would've made a cake for my birthday because I love to bake and fiddle around in the kitchen, but I seriously doubt I would have come up with this little bit of horticultural festiveness without such a convincing muse by my side.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lego Cake

Our son requested a Lego Cake for his 5th birthday.  When asked what flavor, he said he wanted strawberry cake. Do you know how hard it is to find a good strawberry cake recipe that does not require strawberry flavored Jello?
After exhaustive searching, I found this wonderful recipe at A Dash of Sass.  It was tender and delicious and so stinkin' easy!  
I wish I could say as much for the construction of this bad boy.  The icing is a standard cream cheese-buttercream with about a gallon of food coloring.  So much for keepin' it natural.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Trees need love, too

The "Big Snow" of 2010 happened here in North Carolina this past weekend.  Some chose to go sledding, some chose to go on walks through the winter wonderland.  I chose to sit on my butt and crochet like a fiend.  Many visits to Lucy's place over at Attic24 had inspired me to bring some color to the cold, harsh gray.