Maple Pumpkin Tart


Life. Is. Stressful. Between SAT studying, which is October 6th, being an editor for yearbook with deadlines looming ahead, and a paper due for my college english class, life is busy this weekend. So of course I have to take time and wind down. So I bake! And y’all get to see the results and make it for yourself!

Maple Pumpkin Tart with Shortbread Crust
Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine

servings: serves 8
prep time: 25 minutes
cook time: 75 minutes

ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoon dark brown sugar, plus 1/4 cup
2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
2 each large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/2 teaspoon cloves, ground
15 oz canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

directions:

The requisite holiday pumpkin pie takes on a sophisticated look in the form of a tart. Make sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Tart may be frozen, tightly covered, then thawed in the refrigerator prior to serving.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan or a 9- to 9 1/2-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.

2. Prepare crust. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla on medium speed until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Sift together flour, cornstarch, and salt and add to bowl. Mix on low speed just until dough forms crumbs and flour is blended, about 15 seconds.

3. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan. With clean dry hands, press dough smoothly and evenly onto bottom and sides of pan. Using a fork, prick top of dough lightly. Bake crust 15 to 18 minutes, until firm and lightly colored; edges should not begin to brown. Let crust cool for 20 minutes before filling. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

4. Make filling. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, brown sugar and maple syrup, until smooth. Add cream, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt, whisking just to incorporate. Use a whisk to blend pumpkin in thoroughly. Pour into partially baked crust.

5. Bake tart until filling is just set in center and edges are firm, about 52 to 57 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours up to overnight. To serve, carefully slide a small knife around edges of crust to loosen it. Serve chilled or at room temperature, topping each slice with a drizzle of maple syrup and a spoonful of whipped cream, if desired.

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Cinnamon Buns


Mmmmm…cinnamon buns. They are heaven on earth. The best cinnamon roll ever. I shall never buy canned cinnamon rolls at the grocery store again. They wanted to speak for themselves today. 🙂

Cinnamon Buns
Recipe adapted from: Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

INGREDIENTS

Dough

1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
(2) .25 oz. pks. active dry yeast (I use 2 TB instant yeast)
1 tsp. granulated sugar (only if needing to proof the active dry yeast. If using instant yeast, disregard this)
2/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup melted butter OR margarine
1 cup 110 degree water (approximately)
1 cup warm milk (must be warm)
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs – slightly beaten
Approximately 5 cups all-purpose flour, sifted plus more for kneading/floured surface.

Coating

1/2 cup melted butter OR margarine
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I don’t like a lot of nuts in dessert so feel free to add more.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or brown sugar – your preference)
INSTRUCTIONS

Mix together 1 sugar and the cinnamon; set aside (this will be used later to spread on dough)
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in warm water; set aside (if using instant yeast, you can skip this step)
In a large bowl, mix together milk, 2/3 cup sugar, 2/3 cup melted butter, salt, and eggs; add yeast mixture and 4 cups of flour to mixture; beat until smooth; stir in enough flour to form a slightly stiff dough.
Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. I always know when my dough is finished kneading (either by hand or machine) when it can stretch quite well. It must be elastic enough.
Place dough into a large greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and let rest for 5 minutes.
Roll dough out onto a floured surface into a 15″ X 20″ rectangle.
Brush 1/2 cup melted butter over dough; sprinkle cinnamon sugar liberally over dough; sprinkle nuts evenly over dough, if desired.
Tightly roll up dough and pinch edges together to seal; cut the roll into 12 – 15 slices using dental floss or thread.
Coat the bottom of a 13″ X 9″ X 2″ baking pan with 1/2 cup melted butter; sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar evenly in the bottom of the pan. (When attempting to make these a little bit of a lower fat version, I do not do this. If I do, then make sure after they are done baking, that you flip the pan over so that all the delicious drippings go onto the rolls.) Typically, I prefer more “doughy” rolls and like them as HUGE cinnabon sized rolls, but some have mentioned that they prefer an additional 8×8 pan for the extra dough.
Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the prepared pan; cover pan and allow to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes or just eye ball them until nearly doubled in size.
Bake rolls in a 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s) (plus additional rise time)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12 huge Cinnabon size or divide into two pans for regular sized rolls

Ingredients for dough:

Kneading the dough:

Dough before it rises:

It will be about twice the size after 1 hour.

Dough being filled with sugar/cinnamon mixture, butter, and walnuts 🙂

Before going into the oven…

Mmmmm…. I figured you wanted to see it again 🙂

Now it’s your turn to go make them! You’ll be happy you did!

Vanilla Roasted Peaches


I am going to admit right now that I am not very proud of this dish. But I felt I had to put it up because it is one of my first desserts of many to come. It tasted phenomenal but I am not happy with the plating, the lighting and the angle of the picture. But I will say that this is my first venture into making desserts other than cupcakes, so I will give myself that much. I will definitely be venturing into making more desserts and pastries because I have chosen to and already applied for a baking and pastry degree at Johnson and Wales. I guess I have a lot to learn about the plating of desserts. The lighting is not so much my fault but Mother Nature’s. We got a heavy rainstorm today so it was dark and cloudy.

On a good note, as I said earlier these roasted peaches were absolutely amazing! I had two of them. 🙂 I will definitely be making these again. So when I do, I will post a hopefully improved picture of this dish. On another note, what would you rather see for my next post, meringues or french macarons? Leave a comment below with your choice.

Chocolate Drizzled Crepes


I got up early this morning; early meaning 8:30, to find out that I didn’t have to work today. So instead of going back to sleep, like my usual self would in the summertime, I got up and made my family some crepes. Let’s just say my skills were a bit rusty. It took me about a good six crepes being thrown away before I ended up with six good ones.

I had to complete this post for a fellow blogger of mine, Ilan, who asked me to make crepes about two months ago. It took me awhile to get around to it with exams and cupcake orders in my way. I finally got around to it Ilan, here’s my recipe:

Chocolate Drizzled Crepes
Serves 4-5

2/3 cup all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 egg

2 tbsp superfine sugar

1 1/2 cup milk

scant 2 tbsp unsalted butter

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

chocolate syrup for drizzling

strawberries (optional) for garnish

Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Beat the egg, sugar and half the milk together in a separate bowl, then pour the mixture into the dry ingredients. Beat the dry ingredients into the liquid, gradually drawing them in from the side, until a batter is formed. Gradually beat in remaining milk. Pour batter into a pitcher.

Heat a 7 inch/ 18 cm nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon butter. When the butter has melted, pour in enough batter to coat bottom of skillet. Swirl it around while tilting it so that you have a thin, even layer. Cook for 30 seconds and lift up the edge of the crepe to check if it is cooked. Loosen crepe with a spatula all the way around and create a P with your arm. By this I mean, go in straight and quickly lift up and come back down. Cook on the other side until golden brown.

Transfer to a plate and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with strawberries.

A Rainy Summer Day Calls For…


CAKE POPS!

Chocolate Cake Recipe
Yield 20 cake pops

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup oil

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 chocolate pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Spray cake pop tin and fill each cavity with cake batter until full. Bake 18-20 minutes. Let cool ten minutes. Coat sticks with icing or other coating and stick into cake balls. Freeze for ten minutes. Dip cake pops into icing and refridgerate.

Order #3: Happy Birthday Reagan!


Cakes. Cakes are a pain. I thought they might just be bigger versions of cupcakes. You know, you create a bigger batter, put it in a pan and bake it. Oh no. I was given an order to make a basic vanilla cake for a birthday party. No we aren’t talking about a box mix either, a from scratch cake. The first cake I attempted at making turned out pretty well, except one of the layers wasn’t done all the way. So I put it back in the oven so the center could finish baking and then the outside got too done. So I started with a completely new cake recipe.

Let’s just note that this next cake recipe said it was “fool proof” except the owner of the recipe called it “full proof”. I should have dropped the recipe right there. But I was desperate, ok?

So I start making my cake, supposed to be fool proof, fluffy, and super moist. Oh and it is supposed to rise, alot. When it’s been in for about fifteen minutes I go and check on it. It hasn’t rose at all, and it is quite brown. I take it out and it feels like a cookie.

I want to throw the cake at the wall at this point.

I also go over to my computer and immediately take cakes off my website. I also have a breakdown. I sit and cry for ten minutes trying to figure out what in the world I am going to do. So let’s just say Duncan Hines had to save the day for Reagan’s cake. The cupcake cones are homemade, so I can give those recipes to you. As for the cake, well….

It was a humbling experience.

I want to wish Reagan a wonderful second birthday; I hope she enjoys her cupcakes and cake.

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe
*Kid Friendly
Yield 12
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup cocoa powder
• 1/2 cup oil
• 1 cup water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon vinegar

• Prepare cupcake tins; lightly grease or insert paper liners.
Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer on medium speed until moist and well blended.
Fill each cup 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minute at 350 degrees F.
*If you want the cake in sugar cones, put 2-3 tablespoons of batter in each cone. Use a tube pan and cover it with heavy duty aluminum foil. Poke twelve holes in the foil and place cones in pan and bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Recipe from: Leeza Malachevsky (cooks.com)

The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Yield: 16 cupcakes
• 1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
• 1 vanilla bean
• 1 3/4 cups (175 grams) cake flour, not self-rising
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 large eggs, room temperature
• 1/3 cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream
• 1/4 cup canola oil or vegetable oil (60 ml)
• 1 tablespoon pure (not imitation) vanilla extract
• 2/3 cup (160 ml) whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
2. In a small bowl, combine sugar and seeds from the vanilla bean. (For those of you who are new to using vanilla beans, check out this video to learn how to get the seeds out of the bean.)
3. Using the back of a spoon, move around the bowl and apply pressure to break up any clumps of seeds and to better infuse the vanilla flavor into the sugar. Set aside.
4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. Add the vanilla bean sugar and mix until well combined.
6. Add butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
7. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth.
8. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
9. Slowly add milk and mix on low speed until just combined. The batter will be liquid. (Don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s supposed to be that way.)
10. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
11. Bake for 14 minutes and then test to see if they are done. They are done when a toothpick comes out without wet batter stuck to it. The cupcakes should appear white with specks of vanilla bean. They should not turn a golden brown. If they are not done, test again in two minutes. If they are still not done, test again in another two minutes.
12. When the cupcakes are done, remove them immediately from the tins and leave them on a cooling rack (or just on your counter if you don’t own a cooling rack) to cool.

Recipe from The Cupcake Project

Order #3: Cake and Cupcakes


My mom’s friend contacted my mom about a cake and cupcakes she had found on Pinterest that she had wanted for her daughter’s birthday party. She knew how much I loved to bake and asked her if I would like to make it for her daughter. I was so excited when I found out, because usually I just do cupcakes. But now I can take it to the next level. I will be making her cake and cupcakes on Friday so check in then for another post.

Thanks to Sweetness Bake Shop for the picture!