Saturday, October 29, 2011

My To-Bake List

Is anyone else as addicted to Pinterest as I am?  Talk about inspiration!  To pass on the love, I'm sharing the beautiful photos and ideas that make up my current "To-Bake" list.  Let me know if you've made any of these items, and how they came out!

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Inside-out carrot cake cupcakes

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Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

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Thursday, October 27, 2011


I am SO excited because tonight, hubby and I are on our way to Chicago for the weekend!  It is my first time visiting the Windy City, and I. Am. Pumped!

Picture from

Please leave me any and all of your recommendations for must-go places- I'm looking for good food, good shopping, and great photo-ops!  We want to see everything we can while we're in town for the weekend.  I promise to bring back some sweet reviews next week...I've been reading up on Chicago cupcakeries, can't wait!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Everything Fall Cupcakes!

Fall is in full swing here in New England and what better way to celebrate crisp days, pretty leaves, and cozy nights than with cupcakes?!  This year I was in the mood for something a little different than my typical pumpkin spice cupcake, so I turned one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes Take the Cake, for a little inspiration and found the holy grail of cupcake creativity; The Cupcake Project!

If you love cupcakes, you need to check out this site.  The writer posts so many creative flavors and combinations; it's awesome!

Today's cupcake is one straight from the Cupcake Project blog- I didn't change anything, though I did leave the cranberries off the top.  Since I didn't modify this recipe at all, feel free to check out the original here!

For now, here's the low-down...first you make a batch of mini apple cobbler cupcakes and top them with some brown sugar glazey icing that is just like the icing on a donut. Ho-ly-mo-ly good luck to you saving enough to complete this project.  The fact that they are mini and moist and addictive makes this a hard task, so I suggest hiding them until they're cool and ready to be frozen.  Seriously!

Next you make your big-cupcake batter; pumpkin with real maple syrup and rum.  This is one of those batters where you freak out because it looks curdled and nasty at first, but don't worry, it comes together beautifully and ends up looking and smelling like a delicate pumpkin mousse.

Bake the pumpkin batter with a frozen mini (wrapper removed) in the center and you have your cupcake.  The last step is whipping up an easy batch of cinnamon cream cheese icing and topping your cuppies with love, and voi-la.  You have the best fall dessert you've ever made.

These fall cupcakes SO good, and you can easily taste all of the flavors...except for the rum.  I used Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum (my favorite dark rum) and I think it was just overpowered by the maple and pumpkin.

This project does take some serious prep time; you have to freeze the mini cupcakes overnight.  This was a 2-day baking project for me, but it was a lot of fun and the taste makes it worth every minute.  Check out the Cupcake Project's original recipe here, and enjoy!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

French Apple Pie

Happy Monday, sweets!  I hope everyone had a nice weekend!  It was beautiful in Massachusetts this weekend, perfect for enjoying fall treats.  My husband and I spent the weekend at my parents' house, helping to replace their driveway.  Well, hubby helped with the driveway, and I helped my mom to feed all the men that were working.  We baked some delicious pumpkin white chocolate blondie bars for dessert Saturday afternoon, and an AMAZING sour dough french toast bake for breakfast Sunday morning.  Unfortunately I was out of the zone and didn't take pictures of either, but you can click above to get the recipes for each.  Both items were a big hit!

One thing I CAN share with you tonight is a recipe for a very unique, very satisfying, very tasty apple pie that should definitely be added to your "must bake" list.  A couple of weeks ago, my buddy Christina of All's Fare Food Blog and I teamed up while our men watched football and baked up this French Apple Pie and a batch of "Everything Fall Cupcakes."  The cupcakes will get their own post from me since that was "my" recipe, but today, I will send you to Christina's blog to read about the pie, which was "hers."

She made the crust, used fresh, local apples, and the recipe called for a custard layer (possibly the element that makes this, a "French" version?) which put this pie over the top.  Christina did a great job for her first apple pie...the proof (for me at least) was when we were all stuffed full of dinner and pie and ice cream, and my husband had room for seconds.  When J takes seconds, especially when everyone else is falling asleep they're so full, you know you've done well.  So kudos to you, Christina, can't wait til we bake again!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quick Fix - Chocolate Mug Cake

Has anyone else noticed the uprise of microwave cake recipes lately?  I've seen them a lot on blogs, and just recently the paper here in Boston did a little bit on microwave cakes.  Hubby sent me the link in an email that read:

"I FOUND THE SOLUTION!!!! ....for when you have your sweet cravings!" HAHA poor hubby always has to hear it when I "need" dessert.  He knows me well though, this 5-minute chocolate mug cake sounded like the perfect quick fix.

While the 5-minute prep & cook time was great, the cake itself turned out a bit...gelatinous.  Not going to lie, it was a little weird at first, but topped with a spoonful of fluff and some chocolate syrup, it really did hit the spot.  This won't become a regular treat but when I am in a bind and seriously need some cake, NOW, 5-minute mug cake it is.

Interested in trying one for yourself? listed a number of recipes for different flavors not too long ago.  Check them out here.

Note- if you do try the chocolate mug cake- I used dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.  Dark chocolate in a moment of chocolate desperation just makes more sense, I think!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spice 'N Easy Apple Crunch Pie

It is a GORGEOUS fall day in Boston today, perfect for apple picking!  Hubs and I have a big weekend ahead so we're taking advantage of a few free hours at home to clean and relax.  No apple picking for us today, but I thought I would share a great recipe that you apple pickers may enjoy making with your bounty.  Bounty?  I never thought I'd use that word in a sentence, but I just did.  Anyway.

This recipe comes from my husband's grandmother, Memere Rita.  She shared it with me a few weeks ago when I told her I was itching to make something appley.  Memere said this dessert is one that never, ever lasts on the counter more than a day because everyone loves it.

Memere Rita was 100% correct.  The glutton in the story I'm about to share may sound a little gross, but I'm going to share anyway.  When I made the pie, my husband and I ate 3/4 of it in one sitting. We started with one slice each, and then we both kept adding more "slivers" to our plate.  Before we knew it, there was only enough for about 2 normal size pieces left.  We stopped at that, and then ate it for breakfast the next morning.

Moral of the story?  Unless you have super self-control, this dessert may be dangerous for your health :)  Happy fall, sweets!

Spice 'N Easy Apple Crunch Pie
*Heat oven to 375 degrees
*This is a 3-part recipe - read all the way first to figure out how you want to time it or prep.  I just went along part by part, didn't do any prep up front and it turned out great.

Part 1- Crust
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. canola oil
2 tbsp. milk

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Pat into an ungreased 9" pie plate, and flute edges if desired.

Part 2- Filling
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 medium apples, sliced/chopped (I use Cortland for any apple baking projects, because thats what my Grammy, who has the best apple pie in the world, says to use!)
1/2 c. sour cream or plain yogurt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Spoon into unbaked crust.

Part 3 - Topping
1/2 c. Rice Crispy cereal
1/3 c. flour
1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ea cinnamon and nutmeg
1/4 c. butter or margarine, softened

Combine all ingredients and mix well in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over apples.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 40- 45 min.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Recently my buddy Christina of All's Fare Food Blog did a post on an amazing looking apple cheesecake she made.  The post has a VERY funny (although probably not funny to her in the moment) story about her baking adventure, I highly recommend checking it out!

So Christina's cheesecake post reminded me that last week I made my first batch of cheesecake cupcakes, and that I really wanted to blog about them!  These cupcakes were super easy and fast to whip up, and went over extremely well!  I brought them to work for a meeting I was leading, and they were gone before I knew it.   The strawberries on top made them seem kind of summery, but I think the switch to fall-centric sweets will be coming soon.

I went with the cheesecake cupcakes because a coworker of mine asked me if I had ever made them, and I had not!  I figured this meeting was an appropriate time to let my work friends be the taste-testers for my first attempt.  Sad thing- the coworker who asked about them missed the meeting!  (Next time, Nancy!)

Anyway, these cuppies are great crowd pleasers, and the product of my southern love, Miss Paula Deen!  Here's my slightly tweaked version of Paula Deen's Easy Cheesecake Cupcakes.  This recipe is enough for 12 cupcakes.  Enjoy!

-2 8-oz packages of light cream cheese, softened
-1 cup sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 eggs
-1.5 graham crackers (3 squares)
-1 cup strawberry jam
-6 fresh strawberries

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake pan with paper liners
2.  Beat cream cheese until fluffy
3.  Add sugar and vanilla, beat well
4.  Beat in eggs, one at a time
5.  Break each of your three graham cracker squares into four small pieces, place one mini square in the bottom of each cupcake cup
6.  Spoon cream cheese mixture ontop of the graham crackers in each cup
7.  Bake for 20 minutes
8.  Let cupcakes cool completely.  When cool, put a spoonful of strawberry jam ontop, and garnish with half a fresh strawberry

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My "To Bake" List

Have you guys checked out Pinterest at all?  It's my new favorite thing to do while waiting...waiting at a red light, in line for Dunkin's, waiting to get somewhere on the T, waiting to get somewhere in the car, you get it.

I'm amassing quite the list of "To Bakes" and wanted to share a few with you, and also see if you have anything to add?  What is your favorite treat to bake?  Let me know in the comments below!

*DISCLAIMER - the pictures that follow are NOT mine!  Please click through to Pinterest to see the creative sweetie that deserves all the credit!

Beautiful icing technique; LOVE this.

No-bake cheesecake with tons of chocolate chips? YES PLEASE.


I adore layer cakes, cream cheese frosting and anything carrot/spice flavor. So, I adore this:

FIVE MINUTE Nutella cake?!?!?! I think I need to try this right now. If only I had Nutella on hand...probably a good thing I don't!!!

What's on your to-bake list?!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sunday Macaron, take 2!

What to do on a lazy Sunday with a bowl full of icing and an itch to bake?  Whip up some french macarons, of course!  I put together some almond flavored cookies with a touch of lemon, stuffed them with almond flavored icing and voi la, pretty!

If you're looking for the recipe, check out my initial post here.  Don't be intimidated; they're easy!  Here's a step by step.

Step 1: Whip up some old (I mean it!) egg whites and some superfine sugar.

Step 2:  Go to town sifting up almond flour and confectioner's sugar

Step 3:  Take eggs, sift flour on top one more time, add some food color and flavoring, and stir 'til shiny.

Step 4:  Pipe circles onto some parchment paper (or silpat mats if you're fancy like that.)

Step 5:  Bake for about 10 minutes, let cool for 10 more, pipe on your filling of choice, smush together, and enjoy some pretty french cookies!