Food & Drink

One Bowl Blueberry Muffins

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So back in July, I vowed to rarely turn on the oven as to not overheat my house.  Now that we’re in mid-December, I crank up my oven every chance I get so not only do I get a delicious treat, my house feels warm (and smells amazing).  So whenever I open the fridge and I see something close to the expiration date, I start finding ways to bake with it.

Today, during my daily fridge exploration time, I found I had about a cup of sour cream that is on its last days.  A few shelves down, I have a pint of blueberries that are starting to wilt.  On today’s agenda – blueberry muffins.

I’ve found out a while ago that the trick to get muffins to be super moist is just the addition of sour cream (or greek yogurt if you’re on a health kick).  Even if you hate the taste of sour cream, you won’t be able to taste it at all once it’s baked in, and it makes the muffins have a guaranteed moisture lock (trademark, patent-pending, etc.).

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One Bowl Blueberry Muffins

  • Servings: 12-14
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Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pint blueberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a muffin tray with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugar on medium speed for 1-2 minutes.  Slowly stream in vegetable oil and vanilla extract, continue to beat on medium speed.  Beat in sour cream and milk.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Beat on low speed until just combined.  Fold in blueberries.  Spoon muffin mixture on prepared muffin tray.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  The tops will be lightly golden.

Food & Drink

Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

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Last month, Ian celebrated his THIRTIETH birthday.  To celebrate, I baked him a 4-tiered, peanut butter cup cake.  A lot of recipes online simply did chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting.  But I wanted the cake itself to have chocolate & peanut butter combo.  The result?  Peanut butter goodness.

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Ultimate Peanut Butter Cup Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
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Ingredients

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tb vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk

Toppings

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease two 6-inch deep cake pans with unsalted butter.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Gently rotate and tap the pan, until the entire pan is lightly coated with flour.  Tap out the excess.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add eggs, buttercream, sour cream, peanut butter, oil, and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.  Gently stir in boiling water until combined.  Pour cake into prepared pans and bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes.
  3. Remove cakes and place on wire racks until completely cool.  Turn cakes out.  Slice each cake in the middle horizontally so you have 4 layers in total.
  4. While the cakes are baking, make the buttercream by whipping unsalted butter on high speed until light and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter and continue to whip until creamy.  Slowly add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time,  whipping on low speed until each addition is incorporated.  Add salt, vanilla extract and whip until fluffy.  Slowly add milk until desired consistency.
  5. Make the ganache – melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a double boiler,  stirring occasionally until glossy.  Set aside to let cool slightly.  (You could also make the ganache in a microwave by microwaving in 30-second intervals)
  6. Assemble the cake – put one cake layer on a cake board.  Add some buttercream and smooth out.  Repeat with additional layers until the final layer of cake is adhered.  Spread the remaining buttercream on top and sides of cake,  smooth out the cake as needed.  Spoon cooled ganache over the top of the cake, and use a spoon to encourage the ganache to drip down the sides.  Top with chopped peanut butter cups.

Food & Drink

Apple Butter Muffins

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Fall is here!  I absolutely adore fall and everything that comes with it.  The best part of fall, in my opinion, is all the apple things we get to eat.  One of my favorite activities each fall is making a huge batch of apple butter to can and give out to neighbors.  This year, I made close to a gallon (!!!) of apple butter!  While I am a fan of spreading apple butter on almost everything, my favorite thing to do with apple butter is bake with it.  I decided to convert a very simple muffin recipe into the moistest apple butter muffins.  It will fill your home with the smells of fall, and it comes together in less than an hour.  Score!

Apple Butter Muffins

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients

Apple Butter Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tb baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Apple Butter Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tb milk
  • 1/4 cup apple butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line or grease standard muffin tins.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, apple butter, and vegetable oil.  Incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients in parts.  Stir with a spatula until well combined and no dry ingredients visible (little lumps are okay).
  2. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  3. While muffins are baking, make the buttercream.  Beat butter until light and fluffy, about 8-10 minutes.  Slowly add powdered sugar until you get an airy texture.  Mix in apple butter and beat until desired consistency.

Food & Drink

Lemon Sorbet

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Ahhh summer.  One dessert I can never get enough of is sorbet.  I love, love, love the perfect combination of cold and citrus on a hot day.  The best part is sorbet is super easy to make and only requires ingredients I always have on hand.

I like to serve the sorbet in the lemons that I hollowed out.  It’s such a cute way to serve this simple dessert.

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Lemon Sorbet

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Method

  1. In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar over medium-low heat.  Cook until sugar is melted.  Stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.  Let mixture completely cool.
  2. Pour in ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Food & Drink

No-Bake Mini Lemon Cheesecake Cups

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I LOOOOOOVE no-bake desserts.  Especially when the heat is high in the middle of summer, no-bake desserts are the best.  Lately, I’ve been on a citrus kick, and I’ve been experimenting with the jar of lemon curd I made a week ago.

Coincidentally, I’m also cleaning out my pantry at the moment, and I found a sleeve of graham crackers that I need to eat before it expires.  I started experimenting with combining the two to make a no-bake dessert.  After some brainstorming, I came up with a really simple, lemon cheesecake cup.

The base is just like a regular graham cracker crust.  It’s very buttery and has a lot of bite to it.  The filling is not as dense as a cheesecake, but it’s nice and fluffy, which will give you serious lemon meringue pie vibes.  I topped the whole thing with a generous layer of lemon curd and voila!

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No-Bake Mini Lemon Cheesecake Cups

  • Servings: 24
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Ingredients

  • 16 graham cracker sheets, crushed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd

Method

  1. Line the 24 cavities of a mini-muffin tin with paper liners or grease with butter.  In a small bowl, combine crushed graham crackers and butter.  Stir together until it forms a crumbly mixture.  Divide and press evenly along the base and sides in mini muffin tins.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream with granulated sugar until it reaches stiff peaks.  Fold in the whipped cream cheese until well-combined.  Spoon approximately 2 tsp of cream cheese mixture in each cup (leave a little room on top).
  3. Spread a thin layer of lemon curd on the top.  Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Food & Drink

Lemon Curd

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If you know me, you know that my favorite desserts come from the citrus family.  And because I love citrus things so much, when it comes to lemon curd, the more the merrier.  I like to spread lemon curd on basically anything – scones, crackers, I can even eat it by the spoonful.

But I think the thing I love the most about lemon curd is how easy and simple it is to make with ingredients you probably already have at home!  Lately, I find that a lot of my desserts that I’ve been experimenting either uses only egg whites or egg yolks.  So I end up having to shift my cooking based on what I have in my fridge.  Since I had an overage of egg yolks last week, I decided to whip up a quick batch of lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

  • Servings: 12 oz
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Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. In a double boiler over medium heat, combine all the ingredients.  Using a whisk, whisk the mixture gently until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  2. Pour mixture into a heatproof container and let it come to room temperature.  Refrigerate before serving.

 

Food & Drink

Cranberry Walnut Scones

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Cranberry Walnut Scones

  • Servings: 24
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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tb water

Optional icing

  • 1-2 tsp milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until mixture resembles dry crumbs.  Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutter.  Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir in cranberries and walnuts.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla, and milk.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir with a large spoon until no more flour is visible.  The dough should be quite sticky.
  4. Sprinkle some flour on a work surface and transfer the dough to the work surface.  Knead a couple times until it forms a smooth ball.  Divide dough into 4 (or 2 for larger scones).  Roll each portion into a ball, then gently flatten into a disk.  Cut the disk into 6 triangles.  Place each triangle on the baking sheet.  Whisk together ingredients for egg wash and brush a thin layer of egg wash over each scone.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.