Tag Archives: delicious

Soft, Sweet, and Cinnamon-y: French Toast Cupcakes

I am addicted to sugar. Yes, I like my fair share of white sugar, brown sugar, and certainly icing sugar. But one of my absolute favourite ways to enjoy the sweetness is through delicious maple syrup. Sometimes, I only make pancakes or french toast because I’m craving syrup (I don’t actually really like pancakes that much). I have been on a three day break from school, so I decided to spend my last full day off baking up a storm and experimenting with tasty flavours.

I whipped up a fairly classic cupcake recipe, but substituted maple extract for the vanilla extract. This gave a faint maple flavour. I also made some streusel to give the cupcakes a little bit of crunch. They baked quite nicely, coming out fairly light and very soft. They tasted so delicious on their own that I ended up snacking on a few before I even got around to adding the maple syrup buttercream. Beware: they are addictive.

When the cupcakes were cooled, I topped each with a swirl of maple syrup buttercream. I was unfortunately out of pure maple syrup, but I made do with a little maple extract and butter-flavoured table syrup. I then sprinkled each with a cinnamon-sugar mixture to add a special touch. The finished cupcakes were soft, sweet, and slightly crunchy–all the good things about french toast.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Begin by making the streusel. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Using a fork, break up the cubes of butter until they resemble small crumbs. If needed, rub the butter between your fingers to break it up even smaller. Place the streusel in the fridge while you make the cupcakes.

Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix in the maple extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk to the wet mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture (3 additions of flour mixture, 2 additions of milk). Mix only until incorporated. Divide evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle a generous amount of the streusel on top of each cupcake. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. It will make approximately 12 cupcakes.

For the maple buttercream, cream 1/2 cup of softened butter with 1 3/4 cups of icing sugar. Add a tablespoon of milk, two tablespoons of maple syrup and a sprinkle of salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Add additional milk or syrup to taste. Transfer buttercream to a piping bag fitted with your desired tip and top the cooled cupcakes. Combine sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle on top of each.

These cupcakes are so tasty that you will certainly want to eat them for breakfast. But that’s ok because french toast is a breakfast food, right? I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. I hope you are finding every excuse to enjoy something tasty and sweet on these chilly autumn days!

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Well Isn’t That Peachy: Peach-Streusel Bread

Since I’ve been home from camp, I’ve been on a baking kick. That’s right, I haven’t even touched my new sewing machine yet. Not once. Every morning, I lay in my bed and plan out my day. After making a logically organized goal list for the day in the notes on my phone, I pull myself out of bed and get myself ready for what’s ahead. However, the moment I set foot in my kitchen, my sister’s new Kitchen Aid Mixer stares me in the eyes, softly calls my name, and practically plugs itself in. And that’s that. I end up baking all day.

I can’t complain though. The summer months are full of fantastic flavours and tastes that deserve to be baked into delicious treats. The winter months are good for rich chocolate-y desserts, but summertime screams “fresh fruit”! I joined my sister on a trip to the local farmer’s market the other day. While we were there, we found a whole assortment of locally grown fresh fruits that we couldn’t resist. We picked up some blueberries, strawberries, and peaches. But with all that fresh fruit, we had no choice but to bake with it. Otherwise it would just go to waste, right? So we scratched our heads, pulled out some of our favourite recipe books, and got to work.

As we drove home from the farmer’s market, it dawned on me that I didn’t really know what flavours went nicely with peaches. A while back I came across a recipe for Apple Pie Bread. It looked fabulously delicious but needed to be saved for the autumn. However, after pondering the peach question for some time, I realized that peach would be a nice summer alternative to apples in the recipe. As it turns out, my leap of faith paid off because the adapted peach bread turned out delicious. I went back for seconds. And thirds. Okay, and maybe fourths.

In this recipe, peach is paired with cinnamon to create the perfect summery sweetness without being overwhelming. The loaf is topped with a delicious walnut streusel to add an extra crunch. It is crumbly, but every single crumb is worth eating (trust me, I watched my Dad eat every crumb off his shirt that was dropped in the process of eating a piece). The bread can be enjoyed as breakfast, with your afternoon tea, or as a late night snack. It also packs quite well in lunches.

Did I mention that it’s easier than (peach) pie to make?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with shortening. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the buttermilk and baking powder and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. In a separate container, combine the cinnamon, flour, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in the diced peaches. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf pan.

In a smaller bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour for the streusel topping. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until small crumbs form. Stir in the walnuts. Top the batter in the loaf pan with the streusel. Lightly press the streusel into the batter. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes. When the loaf is finished, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow generous amounts of time to cool.

Once the bread is cooled completely, you can either slice it up piece-by-piece in the loaf pan or remove it from the pan and pre-slice it, storing the pieces in a tupperware container. The streusel can be quite crumbly so I personally find it more worthwhile to leave the bread in the loaf pan and slice it by need. That way, I can savour every bit of crumbly goodness!

What delicious fruits are in season around your neck of the woods? Do you have a local farmer’s market where you can get local fruits and veggies? What is your favourite summer fruit?

Have a peachy day, friends!

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Early Mornings, Late Nights, and London Fog Cupcakes

Let me tell you a little story.

Two years ago, a naive eighteen-year-old girl was preparing to begin a new chapter of her life at university. She wasn’t nervous or scared, but instead was excited to be more independent and self-reliant. Little did she know how much dedication, organization, and energy was required to be successful. When September hit, she was faced with the long and painful hours spent reading, the early mornings required to beat the traffic rush, and the chaotic atmosphere of students rushing here and there. Although stress quickly hit and a few breakdowns transpired, she found great comfort in the hours she spent in the coffee shop on campus, sipping away at her new found favourite hot drink. She made it through that year (and the next) with a little help from the pure sweetness that London Fogs brought to her study hours.

Okay, so London Fogs are not the only thing that got me through my first two years of school, but they definitely contributed. I have vivid memories of sipping the sweet drink while fighting my eyes to stay open as I read my astronomy textbook. And modern art history textbook. And arts and culture textbook. You get the point.

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself “What in the world is a London Fog?”. I don’t blame you for asking. It is essentially a sweetened earl grey tea latte. Put simply, vanilla syrup is added to earl grey tea and steamed milk. It is sweet and frothy and every sip is as good as the last. The only thing I can really say is: de-lish. If you haven’t tried one, you need to.

So that brings me here. The other night, I was tossing and turning into the late hours of the night. Millions of thoughts were running through my mind. From mental checklists to cupcake flavour combinations, my brain could not settle itself down. But I guess I can’t complain because I came up with some fabulous ideas for future baking projects, one of which being this one.

A couple weeks ago, I was scanning through one of my favourite blogs. I was introduced to the possibility of using tea in baked goods when I came across a recipe for Earl Grey and Poppy Seed Muffins. I wanted something sweeter than muffins though. I wanted cupcakes. So I adapted my favourite vanilla cupcake recipe to include earl grey, whipped up a batch, and swirled each with some delicious vanilla buttercream and chocolate sprinkles. Then I ate one. Or two.

So let’s make some, yeah?

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Continuously whisk the milk to prevent it from burning on the bottom of the pot. When it begins to steam, add the tea bag and continue to whisk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking occasionally. Simmer it for two minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and cover, allowing the milk to sit for three minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the first three ingredients in a small bowl. Cream the butter and the sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Alternatively beat in the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly into paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake for 20 minutes. Cupcakes will be slightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, cream together 3/4 cups of softened butter and 1 and 3/4 cups of icing sugar. Add a pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag adorned with a preferred decorating tip. Cover the tops of cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles.

That’s all there is to it. Whether you are an avid tea lover, an adventurous flavour seeker, or just simply willing to try something new, you will love these cupcakes! The earl grey flavour is not overpowering at all and combines perfectly with the vanilla. The buttercream is very sweet, so I suggest going easy on the swirls of frosting. Overall, the flavours combine together quite nicely and create a delicious (and in my case nostalgic) treat.

As I baked these up, I couldn’t help but wonder what other flavours besides vanilla would go nicely with earl grey. I also tried thinking of what other flavours of tea would bake nicely into a cupcake. What do you think? Green tea? Herbal teas? Something fruity?

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RECIPE: “Easier Than Pie” Pie Pops

If you’re a Pinterest user, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen these guys pinned here or there. When I first saw a photo, I knew that I would have to try them out. I’ve done the cake pops and the cookie pops, but there was something about cute little pies on lolly sticks that really caught my attention. Tomorrow there is a pie auction fundraiser at my church (to raise funds for a Cuba mission) and so I knew it was time to pull out the mini-pies.

I didn’t really look for a specific recipe. Instead, I adapted a variety of different recipes and found a combination that worked. I found that they turned out pretty delicious, so I decided to share! I made my own crust and filling (from scratch) but you could just as easily use a crust mix or can of pie filling. I should pre-warn you that it does take a little bit of time and patience. It’s worth it though–how cute are mini pies!?

This recipe makes “Caramel-Apple” Pie Pops, but it can be adapted to make whatever flavour tickles your fancy!

PIE CRUST

  • 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 cup of shortening (or TenderFlake)
  • 4-6 tablespoons of cold water

FILLING

  • 1 apple
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of flour
  • sprinkle of cinnamon (to taste)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of skor toffee bits

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

PIE CRUST: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and the salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening in until the pieces are pea size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over the mixture and toss with a fork. Continue to do so until the pastry can be formed into a ball. Do not over-knead the dough. Roll it out with a rolling pin on a floured surface. Cut out an even number of circles. Place half of them on a greased baking tray. Lay a lolly stick and sprinkle with a little bit of white sugar.

FILLING: Peel and cut the apple, placing it in a small bowl. Be sure to cut the chunks very small (so they don’t take as long to cook). Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Plop a heaping teaspoon full onto each lolly-donned circle. Place the remaining circles on top and pinch the edges with a fork. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove them from the oven and immediately (but carefully) transfer the pie-pops to a cooling rack using a spatula. If the filling spilled onto your baking tray, I strongly suggest that you immediately soak the tray in hot water (it makes cleaning up SO much easier!)

Allow the pie pops to cool completely before picking them up. They can be displayed in a vase filled with chocolate chips or simply on a plate. Enjoy!

There you go! I just have a few notes for you. Firstly, I found that I left my pastry a little bit too thick so it overpowered the filling. Try to roll your dough fairly thin (but obviously thick enough to hold it’s shape). Also, when I assembled the pops, the filling juice poured onto my baking tray. Instead of creating a huge baked-on sticky mess, I decided to transfer the assembled pie pops to a different tray for baking. The filling still poured out a little bit, but it was a lot less messy. Finally, cut a couple of slits in the top circle to allow the hot air to release while baking. I forgot to do this and I found that there were a few air pockets in my baked pie-pops.

Oh, and one last note…don’t tell your dad you made them–they will be gone faster than an ostrich can run (and that’s the fastest running bird, you know). Happy Friday, friends!

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A Quick and Easy Sweet Treat: Chocolate Pretzel Bites

As I mentioned in the previous post, I have had a fairly busy weekend. One of the things that took a lot of my attention and time was a Coffee House/Open Mic Night/Bake Sale fundraiser event that I helped to organize. I love a good cup of java, I love great music and time spent with friends, but, perhaps most of all, I love baking delicious treats (well…and eating them too)! Earlier in the week, I made a brief list of a few recipes that I have been dying to try. I decided that I would bake quite a few treats from my list to be sold on the special evening.

One of the things that I was eager to try was Chocolate Pretzel Bites. I didn’t actually have a recipe for them, but I had seen an image on Pinterest. One of my favourite flavour combinations is “salty” and “sweet” so chocolate pretzels have always been a favourite treat of mine. I liked this version because it could be customized for personal preferences. They were so easy to make which is good because they don’t last long (at least not in my house).

Perhaps this is not the way that the original “inventor” created these easy treats. But this is what I did and it worked very well. There is not a set amount of ingredients needed. Simply put, you will need the same number of Hershey Kisses as you will need pretzels. I purchased my ingredients in bulk (Bulk Barn=treat-lover’s heaven) but you could just as easily buy a bag of pretzels and a bag or two of Hershey Kisses.

You will need: pretzels, Hershey Kisses, and peanuts.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the pretzels out in a single layer.

Unwrap all of your “kisses” and place one on top of each individual pretzel. Do your best to ensure that they are in the center of the pretzel (otherwise the melt slightly off the edge). Carefully place the baking sheet on the center rack in the oven and “bake” for 5 minutes. In the meantime, crush up some peanuts.

When the 5 minutes are up, remove the pretzels from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the crushed peanuts. Quickly sprinkle with a little salt as well. Allow to cool for half an hour and then transfer the tray to the fridge. Re-fridgerate for at least one hour. Remove from the tray and place in a container. Store in the fridge.

That’s it! You can definitely experiment with different variations. The original photo from Pinterest had an M&M pressed into the chocolate instead of peanuts. You could try different types of nuts, toffee bits, dried cranberries, or coconut. There are also a variety of different Hershey Kiss flavours to experiment with as well. Try different kinds and see what combinations you can come up with. I made another batch with Hershey Hugs (a white and milk chocolate mix) and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. Those were delicious as well! What combinations do you think would be worth trying?

To finish off, I thought I would share a few of the photos from the Coffee House/Open Mic/Bake Sale night. Thanks for reading and I hope you try this deliciously sweet and salty treat. Let me know if you come up with any unique combinations that are worth trying!

These are a couple young ladies practicing some songs.

These are a couple of the first prints purchased from a series created by Landon Wideman. He is an incredibly talented graphic artist and even has a rockin’ blog going. If you are interested in checking out his work (and I strongly suggest that you do), you should check out The Seam. Trust me…you won’t regret it.

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