Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Scones

by Laura
Last night, I was in a baking mood (not that surprising for me on a Sunday night) and I wanted to try a recipe I'd never made before.  I love making seasonal items and I'd recently received a request from a colleague at work to make scones, so when I found this recipe on I knew I'd found the perfect treat.

I followed the recipe closely, but I did add a few notes and suggestions. These are compared by to Starbucks pumpkin scones and I loooove Starbucks, but the perfect texture and authentic spice flavor of these scones are so much tastier than what you get in their bake case.

Pumpkin Spice Scones
Yield: 6 scones (Laura's note: I cut my scones into smaller ones after they cooled and got about 20 petite irregular shaped scones) 
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 15 min

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup canned pure (unsweetened) pumpkin
3 tablespoons half and half cream
1 large egg
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 tablespoon milk (any kind; 
Laura's note: I used half and half)

3/4 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (any kind; Laura's note: I used half and half)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (
Laura's note: I shaved fresh nutmeg!)
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. (Laura's note: I love using parchment so when given the option, I do!) Give it a light dusting of flour on top of that.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (through ginger).
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half and egg.
4. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut butter into the dry ingredients. Continue cutting until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. (You may also use a food processor for this step. Pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs).
5. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients (Laura's note: this will take a bit, but make sure you do it until it's completely combined!), then form the dough into a ball. The dough will be wet, but if it seems super sticky... just go ahead and sprinkle a little more flour into the dough until it's easier to handle. Remember, you want it to be somewhat sticky, and that's okay- but you also don't want it to stick to the baking sheet. 
6.Pat out dough onto the lightly floured baking sheet and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle that is about 9-inches long and 3-inches wide. 
7.Use a large knife or a pizza cutter (Laura's note: flour your pizza cutter!) to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal squares. Cut through the three squares diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Gently pull the triangles apart, leaving about 1/2-inch space between each one.
8. Bake 14 to 16 minutes on prepared baking sheet. Scones should begin to turn light brown. (Laura's note: I turned mine in the oven half way through.) 
9. While scones are cooling, prepare plain glaze by whisking ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix until smooth.
10. When scones are cool, use a knife to cut them apart and then pull them apart so that they are ready for glazing. Use a brush to paint a coating of the glaze over the top of each scone. (Laura's note: a spoon will work too) 
11. As the white glaze firms up, prepare spiced icing by whisking the ingredients in another medium bowl until smooth. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone (or brush it on) and allow the icing to dry before serving.
Source: (Adapted from Top Secret Recipes)

This spicy treat will sure to be a fall time favorite; I know I'm definitely going to be baking this recipe a few times this season and many more to come! 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lemon Tea Cookies!

by Diane 

I have been going a little crazy with lemon these days. I've been throwing in the zest and juice wherever I can. I find myself craving the tart bite it can add to savory and sweet dishes. So, when I found a recipe for a simple lemon cookie, you know I was allllll over it!

Lemon Tea Cookies
adapted from Lemon Crinkle Cookie by Lauren Brennan 

Makes 2 dozen 

  • ½ cups butter, softened 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 whole egg 
  • zest of a whole lemon (2-3" diameter)
  • juice of a whole lemon (2-3" diameter)
  •  ¼ teaspoon salt
  •  ¼ teaspoon baking powder 
  • ⅛ teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1-½ cup all-purpose flour 
  •  ¼ cup powdered sugar 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 
  4. Whisk in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. 
  5. Stir in all flour-salt mixture 1/3 part until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. 
  6. Chill dough for at least 30 minutes. (Cook's note: the dough will still be a bit sticky.)
  7. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. (Cook's note: the powdered sugar will act like flour does with bread/pastry doughs.)
  8. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. 
  9. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cookies look matte, with only a bit of shine.
  10. Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. *If using a non-stick darker baking tray, reduce baking time by about 2 minutes.

These recipe is an unusual one. It's one where along the way, you're sure you've botched it. The mixture (which is almost batter-like) will seem like it's curdled and you'll think the dough is way too sticky, but trust're on the right track. You will be so excited when they come out and you get your first (or second, or third) bite of lemon-y goodness!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Our Kitchen: Pantry Necessities

by Laura
I was half way through making muddy buddies a few weeks ago and realized I was completely out of powdered sugar! I pride myself on being prepared and stocking my pantry, but fell short when it mattered! It got me thinking about what I consider pantry necessities and I'd love to know what you like to stock your pantry with too. Below is a list of pantry specific (no refrigeration needed for storage) items I can't live without; let me know what you think and what I'm missing! 

My Pantry Necessities
  • Flours (unbleached white, wheat, cake)
  • Sugars (brown, cane, powdered, turbinado)
  • Dry Pastas (a few different shapes and sizes; I love penne and capellini)
  • Grains (couscous, rice, quinoa, rolled oats, cornmeal)
  • Oils (olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, sesame oil)
  • Potatoes (sweet, yukon gold, russet) 
  • Onions (white, red and yellow)
  • Garlic 
  • Butters (Peanut, Apple, Pumpkin Pecan) 
  • Spreads (jam, jelly, nutella)
  • Natural Sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, molasses)
  • Vinegars (balsamic, white, red wine, apple cider, rice wine)
  • Specialty Sauces (hot sauce, Tabasco, oyster sauce, sriracha, mirin, rice wine, Bragg's Liquid Aminos, Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki)
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)
  • Dried Fruit (raisins, cranberries)
  • Lentils 
  • Specialty Items (artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives)
Canned Food: 
  • Black Beans (no salt added)
  • Tomatoes (diced, crushed, whole and specialty) 
  • White Beans (cannellini, garbanzo)
  • Kidney Beans 
  • Meats (tuna, chicken) 
  • Chicken Broth 
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Pumpkin (real) 
  • Corn 
  • Artichoke Hearts
Herbs and Spices:
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Cumin
  • Bay Leaves
  • All Spice
  • Ground Mustard
  • Turmeric
  • Spice Blends
  • Beverages (cocoa and diet coke)
  • Pepper (black, white, specialty)
  • Salts (kosher, sea salt)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Boullion Cubes (chicken and beef)

For Baking:
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate (white, dark, milk and mint) 
  • Extracts (vanilla, almond, lemon, peppermint)
  • Vegetable Shortening (butter flavored and plain)
  • Pudding Mix (vanilla) 
  • Cake Mix (yellow, angel food, white) 
  • Marshmallows

I'm sure that I'm missing a few things,  but please share what's in your pantry! Next we'll tackle the fridge and freezer! 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Banana Bread Bars with Brown Butter Frosting

Move over banana've got company! I'm a person who doesn't like to eat my bananas once they get brown speckles, which means I have to get creative with using them because I also don't like to waste. These banana bread bars recipe I found over on the blog Life's Simple Measures.combine my favorite fruit with my obsession with brown butter

adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything 

Banana Bread Bars 
  • 1½ c. sugar 
  • 1 c. reduced-fat sour cream 
  • ½ c. unsalted butter, softened 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1¾ cup (3 or 4) ripe bananas mashed (I only had 3...)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 2 c. all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • ¾ tsp. salt 
Brown Butter Frosting
  • ½  c. unsalted butter 
  • 4 c. powdered sugar 
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract (you know I love Nielsen-Massey)
  • 3 tbsp. almond milk (you can use whatever milk you want--> whole milk, 2%, soy...whatever!)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. 
  2. Grease and flour 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. (Don't freak if you don't have that can use a 9 x13. In fact, I plan to experiment with a muffin tin!)
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  4. For the bars, in a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Mix in sour cream and eggs until creamy. 
  5. Add in bananas and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  6. Add flour mixture in 1/2 cup at a time, mixing only until combined. Once all parts are added, mix for 1 minute.  
  7. Spread batter evenly into pan. 
  8. Bake 20 to 23 minutes or until golden brown. 
  9. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before frosting. (Unlike other cakes, you want to frost this cake when it's still warm.)
While bars are baking...make your frosting!
  1. Heat butter in a large saucepan. Let the butter turn a delicate brown and remove from heat immediately. Let cool for about a minute.
    Brown butter is as easy as...



  2. In a separate bowl, combine  powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. 
  3. Immediately add brown butter.
  4. Whisk together until smooth (it should be pretty thick.)
  5. Using an offset spatula, spread the brown butter frosting over the warm cake soon-to-be bars (the frosting will be easier to spread while the bars are still warm). 
  6. Let cool completely and cut into whatever size bar you want. (I did 2 dozen bars.) 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Magic Marshmallow Rolls

by Diane

I have discovered a magical recipe. It's been bouncing around the web labeled as hocus pocus rolls, resurrection rolls, or marshmallow rolls...whatever you call it, these are YUMMY! Even better, they are cinchy to make. You don't need any special equipment. You don't need any baking experience. You only need an oven, baking sheet with parchment or foil, and 5 ingredients. These little rolls are everything I hoped they would be and more. Something magical happens when marshmallows are encased in dough. When combined with cinnamon and sugar, I feel like I'm eating an inside out cinnamon roll. They are so easy and are good for any occasion!

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • pack of crescent rolls
  • 7-8 marshmallows (depending on amount of crescent rolls)

How to make:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Melt a 1/4 cup of butter and set aside. 
  3. Measure 1/8 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into a bowl. Mix to combine with a fork.
  4. Pop open your can of crescent roll, separating the rolls and laying them out.
  5. Dip a marshmallow into the butter and then roll it into your cinnamon-sugar mixture. Wrap the marshmallow in the crescent roll. Pinch dough to create a little purse. Repeat for each roll.
  6.  Place rolls on parchment covered cookie sheet. Using a brush, put a bit of melted butter on each roll and sprinkle desired amount of the cinnamon-sugar on top of each roll.
  7. Bake the rolls for about 12 minutes until golden brown. 

Yum. Yum. Yum.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 by Diane

After finding my favorite chocolate chip cookie, I've been trying to branch out and experiment with other chocolate chip cookie recipes. Then I discovered this salted caramel chocolate chunk cookie! It's a cookie that is definitely on trend: it uses both milk and dark chocolate, super decadent with caramel, and throws on fancy finishing salt.  Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk Cookies 
adapted from Framed Cooks


3/4 cup granulated sugar 
2 sticks softened butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar 
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup caramel sauce, plus 1/8 cup caramel (you need to heat it up a bit)
3 3/4 cup all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or (finely chop up chocolate used below)
3/4 cups milk chocolate, chunk-size chopped   
3/4 cups dark chocolate, chunk-size chopped  
Maldon Sea salt 

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a stand or electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the vanilla and caramel sauce until well combined.
  3. Put the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients 1 cup at a time, until combined. 
  4. Using slow speed, add the mini chocolate chips until combined.
  5. Place large golf ball size of cookie dough on a cookie sheet. Press down then sprinkle with a healthy pinch or two of the Maldon sea salt then press chocolate chunks over top.  (because of all the baking soda in these cookies, they won't sink much. If you want a thinner cookie, you'll have to press it down more.)
  6. Bake for 6 minutes and drizzle desired amount of caramel over the top of each cookie. Rotate cookie sheet and put back into oven for another 6 minutes  or until just golden around edges. 
  7. Remove (I added another pinch of salt at this step to a few for extra kick!) and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Verdict: These are tasty, but I'm not convinced that without all the bells and whistles (aka chocolate and caramel) this cookie holds up. With all the butter, it should be more flavorful...I think it needs some tweaking.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mint Cookies and Cream Muddy Buddies

by Diane

I love muddy buddies so much, so when I saw a cookies and cream take on muddy buddies you can imagine my joy! When I looked at the recipe, I was really worried the all the vanilla would be overpowering and there wouldn't be enough Oreo, I decided to turn the flavor UP! I adapted the recipe into mint muddy buddies and added a ton more crushed Oreos. Result was AMAZING!

Mint Cookies and Cream Muddy Buddies
adapted from Cooking Classy's Cookie and Cream Chex Mix

  • 6 cups Rice Chex Cereal (use your favorite chex cereal)
  • 1 cup very finely crushed Oreos* (use a food processor or blender. It needs to be more powder like than coarse crumbs)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup mint white chocolate chips *
*OTHER ways to achieve Mint flavors =  1) add 1 tsp mint extract to the melted white chocolate; 2) use mint Oreos; 3) use half Oreos and half Girl Scout Thin mints; 4) use mint flavored white chocolate chips...

How to Make:
  1. Measure 6 cups Rice Chex Cereal into a large ziploc bag, set aside. 
  2. Pour Oreos powder/crumbs and 1 cup of powdered sugar into a bowl and whisk to combine mixture. Put half of the Oreo/powdered sugar mix into a bag, set aside. 
  3. Using a double boiler, melt the mint white chocolate chips stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. **here is where you'd want to add the mint extract if using that method.
  4. Pour 1/2 the melted mint white chocolate over Rice Chex and  seal bag. Using your hands gently massage the bag to help the mint white chocolate seep into the chex mix.  Repeat with rest of melted mint white chocolate. 
  5. Pour or scoop coated Rice Chex into ziploc bag containing Oreo/powdered sugar mixture. Seal bag and shake until the cereal is evenly coated. Repeat with remaining oreo/powdered sugar mixture.
  6. Finally, add in 1/8 cup of powdered sugar, seal bag, and shake to give that signature muddy buddy look.
  7. Now...EAT! Store what's left in an airtight container for up to a week.

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