Wednesday, December 20

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Banana cupcakes topped with rich peanut butter Swiss meringue, chocolate magic shell and bourbon caramel.


Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream 
Ingredients:

For the cake:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana
3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the Frosting: 
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, room temp
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups creamy peanut butter (this is not the time to use natural peanut butter, your better off with a higher sugar brand like Jiff or Skippy) 

For the chocolate and caramel topping:
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tbs coconut oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter, banana, and sugar together until combined.

Mix in eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. 

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together.

Fold into your wet ingredients until combined.  

Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. 

Using an ice cream school, fill each liner with batter. 

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Place cupcakes on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature. 

To prepare the frosting, whisk egg whites and sugar together in a stainless steel bowl, place over a bot of boiling water to create a double boiler. 

Whist and heat the egg whites just until all the sugar melts. 

Remove from heat and add the bowl to your electric mixer, using the whip attachment, whip the egg whites until they form stiff peaks and glossy.

With the mixer on medium speed, whip in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Then slowly pour in the melted peanut butter. 

Whip the frosting until it comes together and is smooth. It can take up to 10 minutes. If your butter cream breaks, looks curdled or looks like soup. Play with the bowl temperature. For curdled looking buttercream, add a warm washcloth around the bowl. For soupy buttercream, apple ice packs to the bowl, and continuously whip until it comes together. 

Pipe large dollops of frosting on to each cupcake. Place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. 

In a microwave safe bowl add chocolate chips and coconut oil. Heat in 15 seconds increments, until it is smooth. Pour chocolate over the top of the chilled cupcakes. 

Place back into the freezer just until the shell forms. 

Drizzle the cupcakes with caramel sauce. 

Sunday, December 17

Orange Marmalade Doughnuts


Winter citrus has been one of the only things I look forward to in the Winter. I remember my parents getting crates of oranges and grapefruits from a friend who lived in Florida. One year, when I was about 5 or 6, that crate of oranges was sitting on the table, and I could smell them.

I. had. to. have. one.

But my mother didn't sense my urgency and told me she'd help me peel one in a little bit.  I being impatient as always decided I'd peel it myself, so I climbed up to get a steak knife, and then picked my orange out from the crate, and tried to peel it.... except the only thing I peeled with my left index finger. It resulted in my first trip to the ER, and my very first scar.



Though I loved my oranges as a kid, I was not fan of marmalade. I was put off but by the bitterness of the orange rind, and refused to eat it. Now that I'm an adult, it is my favorite type of jelly to serve on toast or biscuits.

And now...


I use it as a doughnut filling!


Orange Marmalade Doughnuts:

Ingredients:

½ cup warm water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbs kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
About 4-5 cups  bread flour (or all purpose)
2 qts vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar for coating
Orange Marmalade for filling

Directions:

In a small bowl combine yeast, warm water and sugar. Mix and then set aside for about 10 minutes or until it starts to foam.


In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment,  combine salt, eggs and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk, and 1 cup of flour.


Add the yeast mixture to the bowl, mix until combined.


Switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Turn mixer to medium/low and add in more flour ¼ cup at a time.


Continue to add in flour just until the dough is barely sticky. Turn mixer to medium speed and “knead” the dough until it slightly elastic.


Turn the dough out into a large buttered mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it someplace warm to rise until it has doubled in volume.


Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to be about a ½ inch thick and cut into 3 inch circles (you can use a biscuit cutter, or a drinking glass). Place the dough circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do not re-roll scraps, I usually fry them cut into small strips or chunks for extra snacking, they can also be discarded.


Allow to donuts to rise one more time, until they have at least doubled in size, and appear to fluffy and filled with air.


While the donuts rise, preheat cooking oil to 370 degrees in either an electric fryer, or on a stovetop in a heavy bottomed dutch oven.


Fry each donut until it is golden on the bottom, flip and fry until the other side is golden. Be very careful when transferring the donuts to the oil, if they are handled too much, they will collapse. The finished donuts should be golden on each side, with a white ring around the middle, this shows a perfectly risen donut, and will ensure that it is nice and light in the center.


Place fried donuts onto a paper bag or paper towels to drain any extra grease.  Toss donuts in powdered sugar, and place on a cooling wrack to cool to room temperature.

Once the doughnuts have cooled, cut a small X into the side of each doughnut. Fill a pastry bag with marmalade, and fill each doughnut.

Then enjoy!

Amish Sugar Cookies



My entire childhood into my early adulthood, every Christmas one of my dad's employees would make our family her special Christmas cookies. They were normally cut into holiday shapes, incredibly thick.... I swear they were at least a centimeter thick, and then topped with sprinkles. Some years, she would use the same dough, fold in candies or chocolate chips, and bake them as a drop cookie.

They were unlike any cookie I have ever eaten in my life. Sugar cookie like, but milder in flavor, supper soft.... and just plain old perfect!



When my dad had an aneurysm when I was 16, he was unable to go back to work... and those Christmas cookies? They slowly stopped coming home. So for the last 10-15 years I've craved them every winter, and have spent many many days trying to recreate the recipe in my own kitchen.

Then one day I stumbled upon an article about Amish Sugar Cookies. They looked very similar to the drop version of my dad's long time employee. So I gave them a try.




A few test batches, many adaptions.... I think I have come close! They are slightly more rich in flavor, I think it's because I bake with butter, and the more I think on it, I suspect her cookies were made with margarine or crisco.

Regardless to the butter vs. margarine or shortening, these sugar cookies are the best of the best. The dough is too sticky to be a cutout cookie, but they are just so good, and simple they honestly are perfect as a drop cookie with just a sprinkling of sugar.



Amish Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Sparkling sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl cream butter, oil, granulated and powdered sugar together.

Mix in one egg and the vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, sift baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and flour together.

Mix into the wet ingredients.

Once the batter has come together, using a 1tbs cookie scoop, place cookie scoops onto a parchment paper cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Sprinkle cookies with sparkling sugar.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the bottoms slightly turn golden. Remove from oven.

Allow the cookies to sit for 5 minutes before placing on cooling racks.

Recipe yields about 2 dozen cookies.


Monday, December 11

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls



Soft pillowy cinnamon rolls are the perfect addition to any brunch or breakfast get together. We have a tradition in our family that Christmas morning, I make a batch of my  Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls. My kids are huge fans of yeast rolls of any kind,  rolled with cinnamon and sugar, then topped with a sweet glaze, how can they resist?


Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients:

2 packages Red Star Platinum Yeast (or another quick rise yeast)
1/4 cup warm water
2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup warm buttermilk 
1 tbs salt
About 5 cups of flour ( I use bread flour, but you can use all purpose or white whole wheat as well)

For the filling:
1 cup of room temperature butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbs ground cinnamon

For the topping:
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt

Directions:

In a small bowl add yeast to 1/4 cup warm water with 2 tbs granulated sugar. Give a stir and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until it is bubbly.

In a mixing bowl mix yeast with  the melted butter, buttermilk, salt, and about 2 cups of flour. Mix well until it starts to come together. Slowly mix in the rest of the flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is just barely sticky.

On a floured work surface pour dough out and start kneading until it is smooth and elastic. About 8 minutes. Add in as much flour needed (small amounts at a time) to keep it from sticking to your hands and work surface.

Place dough in a greased mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until it has doubled in size.  

Once it has doubled in size, pour it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick.

In a small bowl mix the filling ingredients together and then spread it over the top of your dough.

Starting from one end, roll the dough into a long log enclosing the cinnamon filling in the dough.

Using a piece of string or a sharp knife or unflavored floss or string, cut the rolls about 1 inch thick. Place each of them in a buttered baking dish. I divide mine up into two pie plates

Set rolls aside, and allow to rise again until they have doubled in size.

Once they have doubled, bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until they are golden brown.

Allow rolls to cool slightly.

To prepare glaze, whisk together buttermilk with powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over the tops of your warm rolls and then dig in!

Recipe yields about 12 extra large rolls. 


Friday, November 17

Eggnog Cake with Maple Spice Buttercream




For the first time in years, we are having a semi low key holiday week. Typically we spend Christmas traveling all over New England visiting our various family members. Because we get to stay put most of the holidays, and everyone is coming to see us, I have more time in the kitchen to bake and cook holiday meals.


Nothing seems to impress guests more than a towered layer cake. Now if you have been a long time blog reader over the last 7 or so years, you will know that I do not claim to be a cake decorator. It is something I am just not that great at. However over the last two years, naked cakes have become the rage. While beautiful piping is always a hit, the simplicity of a naked cake is just as jaw dropping gorgeous at times. So if you are someone like me, that is not so great with a piping bag, this style of layer cake is for you!




Nothing says “ Happy Holidays” more than a cold glass of Hood Eggnog. Hood products have been a staple in our family for generations, and on Thanksgiving and Christmas you will most definitely find a carton of Golden Homestyle Eggnog in my fridge.



Not only is Hood Eggnog a delicious treat all on its own, it’s great to bake with as well. I often use it as a milk substitute in my coffee, in pancakes, waffles, muffins, cinnamon rolls…… and now in layer cakes.


This cake is dense like a pound cake, on it’s own tastes just like a glass of eggnog, and then topped with a maple meringue buttercream that is spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Impress your family members with a slice of eggnog cake, paired with a cold glass of Hood Eggnog this holiday season!


Eggnog Cake with Spiced Maple Buttercream

Ingredients for the cake:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¾  teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup eggnog

For the frosting:
6 large egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Grease 4, 9 inch cake pans with non stick baking spray.

In a large mixing bowl sift together, flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together for one minute, or until and light and fluffy .

Mix in each egg, one at a time until fully incorporated.

Mix in flour, and eggs by alternating 1 cup of flour, and then egg. Mixing fully before adding another.
Once the batter is smooth, divide into the 4 prepared cake pans. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.

Bring maple syrup to a low boil. Remove from heat and allow it cool until it is warm... but not so hot you can't  touch it.

Whip egg whites with salt on high speed until they are stiff.

Slowly drizzle in the maple syrup, and whip until the meringue is shiny.

Mix in the cinnamon and nutmeg.

Reduce speed to medium and add the butter in 1 tbs at a time until it is all incorporated.

If the meringue appears to be soupy, place the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes and then return to the mixer and whip on high until it thickens and starts to come together.

If the meringue appears to be lumpy and cottage cheese like, try wrapping a warm wet dishtowel around the bottom of the bowl and whip it on high until it smooths out.

Sometimes Buttercream can be fussy, but if all of your ingredients are the perfect temperature it should come together just fine. But don't fret if it's collapsed and soupy or cheesy... you can fix it with the tricks above! Meringue based buttercreams can often take 7-10 minutes to come together, so be patient!


Once the buttercream is finished, and the cakes have cooled completely frost and pipe as desired!

Optional garnishes, rosemary and cranberries.

Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation to write this post. Thanks to brands like Hood, I am able to take the time to create new recipes for you all.

Friday, October 27

Hood Eggnog Season Has Begun


hood eggnog-2.jpg

Growing up, there were not nearly as many dairy brands on the market as there are today. Infact, there was only one that I remember seeing on all of our packaging, milk, ice cream, sour cream,  and that was Hood.

My Great Grandmother, Bambi Kenny (that’s what we  called her), used to babysit my brother and I from time to time. When it was our day to spend with Bambi, we always looked forward to going, because we knew there would be a slice of banana bread and a Hoodsie Cup waiting for each of us. For those of you who didn’t grow up in the Northeast, you may not know what a Hoodsie Cup is, so I’ll educate you because you’ve been missing out. Hoodsie cups are little single servings of ice cream produced by Hood. They come in vanilla/chocolate, fudge swirl, and strawberry swirl. Each cup was sold with a little wooden spoon on top, and they were a guaranteed treat at almost every kid party, and they still are today! I must have been only 4 or 5 years old at the time, and eating those Hoodsie Cups at Bambi’s,  is one of my earliest memories.

Hood was founded in 1846, and today is one of the leading Dairy providers in the United States, and is also the number one selling dairy brand in all of New England. It’s no wonder they have been a staple in my New Hampshire family for at least four generations! Now that I’m an adult, and have a family of my own, I still carry on the Hood tradition, and feed my family the same dairy products that I grew up loving.

hood eggnog 32.jpg


About this time every year, my kids start to see the Hood Eggnog, or (ice cream milk as my youngest calls it) in the grocery stores. They beg and beg for me to get a half gallon of their favorite Hood Golden Eggnog. I honestly can’t say no. I look forward to eggnog season as much as they do. Not only is it a nightly treat after dinner for the whole family, after the kids are off to school, I sneak it into my coffee in the mornings!

hood eggnog.jpg


This year we have become a little adventurous and tried some of the other eggnog flavors Hood has to offer. Their eggnog comes in four varieties, the oldest and most popular in our home is the Golden Eggnog, Hood’s recipe has been a secret for almost 50 years. I’m not sure what they put in it, but it’s by far the best eggnog on the market.

hood pumpkin eggnog.jpg

Next they have the Pumpkin Eggnog. This one is the perfect gateway from fall to winter. It’s made with real pumpkin puree and pumpkin spices, I have been using it in my coffee, as a milk substitute in my pancakes and waffles, and of course just enjoying a small cup of it as a sweet treat after dinner.

They also make a Vanilla eggnog, which is equally as delicious as all the others, and honestly tastes so much like soft serve vanilla ice cream. My kids are huge fans of this!

eggnog hood.jpg

And lastly, they make Light Eggnog, which has 55% less fat than the others, BUT with all the same great flavor you want. Considering how much eggnog my family consumes from Halloween straight through the New Year, I should probably drink a little less of the full-fat varieties, and enjoy this one more often!  

In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing a new recipe featuring Hood Eggnog. I am excited to be partnering up with a brand I’ve loved for as long as I can remember. Be sure to look for Hood Eggnog, available now in dairy cases across the Northeast and also check out their website for some awesome recipes!


Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation to write this post. However as always all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Thanks to the collaboration with brands like Hood, I am able to share recipes with you all here.

Sunday, February 12

Maple Bacon Bars














Maple Bacon Bars
These donuts are light and airy, topped with a pure maple syrup glaze, and a crispy strip of bacon.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbs room temperature unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 package Red Star Platinum Yeast (or other quick rise yeast)
2 tbs warm water (for yeast)
1 tbs granulated sugar (for yeast)
About 3 cups of bread flour (all purpose flour works too)
Vegetable Oil for frying (at least 4 cups)

1 pound of bacon, fried

For the glaze:
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
pinch of salt


Directions:

In a small bowl add yeast, with 2 tbs warm water, 1 tbs granulated sugar, give it a quick stir and set aside and wait for the yeast to start to foam and rise. About 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, add milk, 1/4 cup water, 1/3 cup maple syrup, butter and salt together in a sauce pan, heat until the butter melts and the mixture reaches 90 degrees.

Add mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in one cup of flour until a thick batter has formed. Add in yeast mixture and the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time.

When the dough comes together and is only slightly sticky pour it out on to a well floured surface. Knead for about 6-8 minutes (add in more flour as need) or until the dough is elastic, when you pinch a piece, it should pull back.

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise. On a cold winter day, I crack the oven and place the bowl on the cook top so it stays nice and cozy!

Allow dough to rise until it has doubled in size. Forget timing it.... every one's rise time with be different. So please, pay attention to the size of the dough!

Once the dough has doubled  pour it out on to a well floured surface again, and roll it out until it is about 1/4-1/3 of an inch thick. Using sharp knife cut doughnuts out into rectangles (about 2x3in) and set aside on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (again choose a warm spot). You can re-roll and cut scraps if desired, I usually just cut them into small pieces  and fry them as they are. My kids enjoy the odd shaped scrap doughnuts for some reason!

Allow cut doughnuts to rise until they have fully doubled in size (or even bigger, I let them go until they triple) 

Once they have at least doubled in size.  Heat the frying oil in a heavy bottomed pot. I use my dutch oven, whatever size pan you choose just make sure you have at least 3 inches of oil in the bottom. Heat oil to 360 degrees.

Fry doughnuts a couple at a time, making sure not to crowd them. About 2 minutes per side. Once they are golden brown remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain any extra grease.

Once all the doughnuts have fried and have cooled a bit, start preparing your glaze.

In a mixing bowl whisk maple syrup and powdered sugar with a  pinch of salt together until smooth.

Dunk each fried doughnut in the glaze and coat just the top. Place on a baking rack, and top with a slice of bacon. 

I enjoy eating them warm and messy, however you can let them cool to let the frosting harden.