Monday, March 30, 2015

Spicy Apple Cupcakes

Alright, this post is a hint for the April Fools post for Wednesday. Maybe it has something to do with the Fall? Spices? Apples? Red items? My kids picked the post for Wednesday. I will say these cupcakes are so delicious. I will be making these cupcakes again. I offered a cupcake to my kids unfrosted, they thought they were muffins. They tried very hard to eat them for breakfast. I didn't give in even though I wanted one too.
Spicy Apple Cupcakes
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 small apples, shredded

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  5. Add the vanilla and mix for a minute.
  6. Add the egg and combine until incorporated.
  7. Add the flour mixture with the buttermilk. Mix until incorporated.
  8. Fold in the shredded apples. 
  9. Evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake liners.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (My cupcakes took 25 minutes.)
  11. Allow to cool completely if frosting.
Recipe adapted from The Chow.

One year ago.......................I made Vanilla Wafer Cookies.
Three years ago...................I made Chicken Spaghetti.
Did you already know............
-In the color spectrum, red has the longest wavelengths.
-In a rainbow, red is the top color.
-About 6% of the male population have deuteranopia. They are unable to see red-green.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lemon Crumb Bars

Lately, I have been purchasing a lot of lemons. I been using them in my tea and on top of my roasted asparagus. I figured my family had enough of lemons. When I suggested I tried making these lemon crumb bars, they encouraged me to make them immediately. My son even helped me make them. These bars have a center of lemon filling with a crumble top. They are really good. They take a little work and I don't think my son will volunteer next time to help. The filling is the trickiest part of this dish. They are a nice change from a traditional lemon bar.
Lemon Crumb Bars
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 egg
zest of 1 small lemon
lemon cream filling (recipe below)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, baking powder, flour, and salt with a fork.
  4. With a pastry blender or two forks, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles pea size chunks.
  5. Mix in the egg and the lemon zest. 
  6. Spread half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Set the other half of the mixture aside. 
  7. Pour the lemon cream filling over the half of the crumble mixture in the baking dish. 
  8. Top the lemon filling evenly with the remaining crumble mixture.
  9. Bake the dish for 35 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and the center is set. 
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before refrigerating to chill.
Lemon Cream filling:
1 cup sugar
zest of 3 small lemons
4 large eggs
3/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened

  1. In a heatproof bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. 
  2. Whisk in the eggs for 1 minute. 
  3. Whisk in the lemon juice.
  4. Place the bowl over a pot to make a double boiler. 
  5. Heat the mixture until the cream thickens. A candy thermometer should read around 175 degrees.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Over medium speed, whip in 2 Tbsp of butter at a time. 
  8. Continuing mixing for a total of 3 minutes until the mixture is thick and pale. 
Recipe adapted from Annie's Eats.

One year ago...............................I made Macadamia Nut Pie.
Two years ago.............................I made Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles.
Three years ago...........................I made Patty Melt.
Did you already know......................
-A lemon tree can produce 500 lemons a year.
-A lemon tree grows to 10 to 20 feet tall.
-Lemons flourish wildly in Australia.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Bread

For many years, I wanted to make this bread. Well, I finally did it. My husband even volunteered to help. This bread is an all day affair. It took about five hours to make it. Would I make it again? Yes, I would. It is very good. It taste just like cinnamon raisin bread with no raisins. I did notice I need a little more practice on braiding bread. I should have started in the center and not at the end. The kids thought it was cool and wanted my eggs. I was already prepared and boiled extra just for them. If you want a spectacular bread, this is the bread to make. If you don't want the food dye to run onto the bread like mine, then I recommend using white boiled eggs then replacing them with the colored ones before serving. No one needs to know.
Tsoureki aka Easter Bread
1 cup milk
1 package (1/4 oz.) active yeast
4 cups bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs
3 boiled eggs, cooled
Glaze (see below)

  1. In the microwave, heat the milk for 30 seconds. Stir and allow the milk to cool to lukewarm about 110 degree F. 
  2. Add the sugar to the lukewarm milk and stir. 
  3. Add the yeast to the milk and allow to proof for 5 minutes. Set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl,  combine the flour, salt, allspice, cinnamon, and caraway seeds. Set aside.
  5. Combine the butter and sugar to the flour mixture until the mixture resembles course sand.
  6. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and stir to form a ball.
  7. Onto a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic about 8 minutes.
  8. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 2 hours or double in size.
  9. Punch down the dough and knead for 3 minutes. 
  10. Return the dough to the bowl and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour or until double in size. 
  11. Punch down the dough and divide the dough into three even pieces.
  12. Onto a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into 20 inch pieces. 
  13. Braid the pieces together from the center to the end.
  14. Place the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. 
  15. Push the three boiled eggs into the loaf.
  16. Allow the dough to rise for about 45 minutes.
  17. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  18. Brush the bread with the glaze. 
  19. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. 
  20. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
1 egg yolk
1 tsp honey
1 tsp water

Combine the yolk, honey, and water.

Recipe adapted from The Bread and Bread Machine Bible Cookbook.
**Note: Traditional Tsoureki has mahlab, mastic, and orange zest***

One year ago..........................I made Huli Huli Chicken.
Two years ago........................I made PB Frosting.
Three years ago......................I made Hazelnut Filling.
Yes, the middle egg is a dyed brown egg.
Did you already know..................
-From Greece, Tsoureki is a broche like bread served at Easter.
-Traditional red boiled eggs are used to symbolize the blood of Christ.
-The braid symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

My son said these are his favorite cupcakes. What a claim! I liked them a lot. My husband really liked the addition of the mint chocolate chips. I figured I would make some cupcakes with my cute little Easter liners. I should have double lined them so you could see them better. I also bought those Spring color candies for the tops. My husband elected to forgo the candies on top. He is just too cool for them. The kids figured more for them.
Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup mint chocolate chip morsels

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line two muffin tin with cupcake liners. 
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. 
  5. Combine the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture until smooth.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chip morsels.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter between the cupcake liners. 
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addition.

One year ago.........................I made Coconut Pudding.
Three years ago.....................I made Sloppy Joes.
Did you already know......................
-Mint can be found in Egyptian tombs.
-In Greek mythology, the jealous wife of Pluto (god of the underworld) changed the nymph Minthes into the mint plant.
-To prevent people for treading on the plant forever, the jealous wife, Proserpine, gave the nymph the fragrant mint scent.

Happy Birthday Rosie!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

Welcome Spring! The grass is green. The Canada geese are still here so I'm sure they are waiting to head back north. My sister showed me all the snow still on the ground so I understand why the geese want to stay a little longer down here. The other great thing about today is it is my niece's birthday! Don't worry I will call her to wish her a great first day of Spring on this wonderful birthday. Since I figured I posted cupcakes yesterday, today would be scalloped potatoes! I have made this recipe a couple of times now. My children love it. My husband request it. It is a popular dish. My husband said the recipe even sounds simpler than the box kind.
Individual Scalloped Potatoes 
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
8 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
4 large potatoes, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly spray 4 individual casserole dishes with nonstick cooking spray. 
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Lower heat to low, add the flour and stir to make a roux for 1 minute.
  5. Whisk in the milk. Allow to thicken for 5 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Stir in half the cheddar. Cook for 1 minute. 
  8. Gently, add the potatoes and coat with the mixture.
  9. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared casserole dishes.
  10. Top each dish with the remaining cheese.
  11. Bake the dishes for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Recipe adapted from Southern Food.

One year ago.............................I made Maple and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls.
Two years ago...........................I made PB Oreo Brownie Cupcakes.
Three years ago.........................I made Rice Pilaf.
Did you already know............................
-Canada Geese can live to be 24 years old in the wild.
-In 24 hours, a flock of geese can fly over 1,500 miles with a nice wind current.
-Canada Geese are monogamous and lay between 2 to 9 eggs.