Applesauce Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Posted on Mar 16, 2014 in DIY, Sweet | 0 comments

Applesauce Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Well kids, it seems we’ve officially reached that awkward time of year. It’s not quite spring with its renewal of fresh produce, but the celebratory winter season has reached its end. What to make?

 

This conundrum led me to raid my pantry and fridge to see what I could come up with. I promise I had everything needed for these moist, amazing cupcakes on hand in and in stock- and so will you! The brown butter frosting adds an element of sophistication, but without requiring exotic ingredients or difficult techniques.

 

And the bonus? As the recipe bakes it will make your whole house smell amazing.

 

Applesauce Cupcakes 1

 

Yield about 18 cupcakes

Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

 

Frosting

1 cups butter

2 cups powdered sugar

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Applesauce Cupcakes

For the cupcakes, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with paper liners or lightly oil.

 

In a mixing bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In the bowl of a standing mixer or in a separate mixing bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.

 

 

Kitchenaide Mixer

 

 

Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between. On low speed, add in the applesauce followed by the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

 

Portion the batter into the prepared muffin tins filling each three quarters full. Bake 18-22 minutes, rotating the cupcakes halfway through. Cool five minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

 Applesauce Cupcakes 2

 

 

Brown Butter Frosting

For the frosting, place the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter starts to boil, cook until it turns a deep brown color and gives off a nutty aroma. Don’t rush- this process should take approximately 8 to ten minutes.

 

Remove the butter from the heat and transfer to a shallow container. There will be coffee ground-like granules in the butter, which can be strained off at this point by pouring the butter through a tea strainer. However, I prefer to leave them in the butter as an extra texture and flavor component. Refrigerate the butter until it has just re-solidified.

 

Take your now solid brown butter and transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer or mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Sift the powdered sugar and add into the butter along with the salt. Whip the frosting until light and fluffy, approximately three to five minutes. Wait until the cupcakes are completely cool then frost. Enjoy!

 

Applesauce Cupcake BW

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Dark Chocolate Almond Macaroons

Posted on Nov 13, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 0 comments

Dark Chocolate Almond Macaroons

Somehow it’s already November and I can’t help but feel as though fall has just blown past me. October was a blur of work, work, work and today I had the winter reality check of snow. Yup, that’s right. Snow. The sun rose today on a frosty white wonderland. Hello winter. I’m not ready for you.

 

To compensate, I decided to reminisce summer with some yummy tropical flavors in my baking. And what better than coconut? With that on my mind, I turned to a favorite recipe I’ve adapted from Emily Luchetti’s cookbook, “The Fearless Baker.” These macaroons combine sweet coconut with nutty roasted almonds and deep dark chocolate to make a delicious and airy treats. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

 

 Dark Chocolate Macaroon

 

 

Adapted from Emily Luchetti “The Fearless Baker”

 

Ingredients

1 cup almonds

4 ounces dark chocolate

2 egg whites

½ cup sugar

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1 teaspoon almond extract

Pinch of salt

 Almonds

 

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Roughly chop the almonds and the spread them out in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Lightly toast them in the oven approximately five minutes or until just browned.

 

Meanwhile, place a pot of water on the stove over high heat. Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over the water bath. Stir the chocolate occasionally with a spatula until completely melted, then remove from heat and set aside.

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whip attachment, start beating the egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle in the sugar while mixing a little at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer up to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Add in the almond extract and mix until just incorporated.

 

Dark Chocolate Macaroons on Cookie Sheet

 

 

In a separate bowl, toss together the coconut, toasted almonds, and salt. With a spatula, gently fold the coconut mixture into the meringue, followed by the chocolate. Once the batter is uniform, use two spoons or a scoop to portion onto non-stick cookie sheets.

 

Bake the macaroons for approximately ten minutes, or until the surface looks dry. Allow them to cool completely before using a spatula to remove them from the cookie sheets. Store in a tightly sealed container.

 

Dark Chocolate Macaroons

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Fresh Sour Cherry Muffins

Posted on Sep 5, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 0 comments

Fresh Sour Cherry Muffins

It’s summer! It’s summer! It’s summer! Ok, so it’s already late summer. Diving back into the culinary industry (who was I kidding about taking time off) with my new pastry chef position has caused these last few months to go by in a blur. But finally, I feel as though I can take a few deep breaths and relax a little bit more.

 

One awesome way I found to do that was taking time with my guy to go old-fashioned cherry picking. Luckily my parent’s neighbor had a fantastic cherry crop this year and invited me to come over to pick whatever I wanted. Let me tell you, that tree was a pastry chef’s dream. Every single branch was loaded with perfectly formed, bright red cherries.

 

Cherries

 

And being who I am, once back at home I immediately began exploring the culinary opportunities. These muffins are by far my favorite idea for my spoils. I absolutely love the way the almond compliments the flavor and brightness of the cherries. Those of you with a sweet tooth might want to increase the sugar slightly, but for my slightly more savory palate they were perfect. And perhaps the best test, my guy thought they were a good enough reward for getting dragged cherry picking to even consider going back apples. Enjoy!

 

Sour Cherry Muffins

 

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved or quartered

 

Streusel Topping

2 Tablespoons almond meal

¼ cup flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed

pinch of salt

dash of nutmeg

 Cherry Muffins in Pan

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by either lining with disposable muffin cups or greasing.

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar. Add in the almond extract, followed by the eggs one a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl well.

 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk until both are incorporated.

 

Remove the mixer bowl from the machine and stir in the cherries by hand until they are just distributed.

 

Portion into the prepared muffin tins.

 

For the streusel topping, combine all the ingredients into a bowl. Toss the butter to coat it evenly in the dry ingredients and then rub it between your hands until crumbly (pretend you are trying to warm up on a cold day). Distribute the streusel over the muffin batter.

 

 Bake the muffins 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans after the first 9 minutes for more even color.  They should be golden brown on top and a cake tester should come out free from batter when done. Cool about 5 minutes before removing the muffins from their tins. Finish cooling completely before storing them in a tightly sealed container.

Cherry Muffin

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Maple Pecan Blondies

Posted on Apr 24, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 1 comment

Maple Pecan Blondies

It seems I’ve still got maple syrup on my mind this week. No wonder – I was lucky enough to get a jar of syrup from a family friend who tapped his trees this year. No offense Aunt Jemimah, but the store bought imitation stuff doesn’t hold a candle to the rich flavor of real maple syrup!

 

Moving on from the maple sage shortbread of last week, I decided to try something similar to this blondie recipe I found from Martha Stewart. I’ve never been a huge fan of blondies (really, what’s the point when there are dense, chocolate-y brownies in the world). However, the idea of combining maple and pecan into a bar was too mouthwatering to resist. Gotta say it’s a classic for a reason- the maple and pecans compliment each other delightfully in these chewy little guys!

 

Maple Pecan Blondie

 

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Yield: 8×8” pan

 

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

1½ cups light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup maple syrup

2 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

¾ cups pecans

 Maple Syrup

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8×8 baking dish and line with parchment.

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs one a time, followed by the vanilla. With the mixer running, stream in the maple syrup. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom with a spatula to make sure everything is well incorporated- especially the sticky syrup.

 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stop the mixer and add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, making sure the batter is consistent.

 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake approximately 18-20 minutes, rotating after the first ten minutes. Insert a skewer or paring knife to test for doneness. Be careful to not over bake them so they don’t dry out.

 

Cool completely before turning the blondies out of the pan and cutting. These are great eaten plain or with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

 

Maple Pecan Blondie 2

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Maple Sage Shortbread

Posted on Apr 18, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 1 comment

Maple Sage Shortbread

Today I was sitting in my kitchen thinking about some of my favorite recipes from restaurants I have worked in. Brownies with fresh raspberries, banana bread pudding and coconut sorbet, beignets rolled in vanilla sugar… there have definitely been plenty worth remembering.

 

One of my personal favorites is actually a maple sage ice cream that was made for a savory dish. I absolutely love the flavor combination of maple syrup and fresh sage, especially when combined with the richness of the ice cream base.

 

In honor of that delightful sensory memory, I decided to make maple sage shortbread cookies. Although I had never tried this variation of shortbread before, I thought if it is good in creamy ice cream, why wouldn’t it be good in a buttery cookies?

 

Luckily I was right. I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I have!

 

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/3 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon sage, chopped finely

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

 

Garnish

Sugar in the Raw

3-4 sage leaves

 Chopped Sage

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 

In the bowl of a standing mixer cream the butter and powdered sugar. Stream in the maple syrup, then vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.

 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and chopped sage. Add into the stopped mixer at once and mix on very low until the dough is uniform.

 

If the dough is soft, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 20 minutes.

 

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough between 1/8” to a ¼” thick. Cut with a cookie cutter and evenly space on a baking sheet. Scraps can be re-rolled once or twice, but be sure to dust off the excess flour before re-rolling the dough to prevent it from becoming too dry.

 

For the garnish, chop the sage leaves and combine them in a small bowl with the sugar. With your finger tips, rub the sugar and sage leaves together to release the sage’s oils. Sprinkle on top of the cookies immediately before baking. Bake 6-8 minutes, rotating after the first 3 minutes, until lightly brown.

 

Maple Sage Shortbread 2

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Tahini Cookies

Posted on Apr 1, 2013 in DIY, Sweet | 0 comments

Tahini Cookies

I went to the store last week to get fixings for some home made hummus. In my world, hummus is practically its own food group I eat it so much! But lately, I’ve been lazy and buying store bought instead of making my own. Sure it’s not as a good, but who can turn down instant gratification?

 

Well, obviously I can’t. But no more! So back to my original point of I went to the store get fixings for hummus. And to my great pleasure, my favorite local store actually does carry tahini (I figured I had about a 50-50 chance there). However, it seems they only carry it in a massive jar. Even at the rate I eat hummus it would take a while to use it all…

 

And then I remembered! I had saved an intriguing looking recipe for tahini cookies on pinterest weeks ago. And know what? These cookies turned out to be absolutely delicious.

 Tahini Cookies

 

Adapted from Israeli Kitchen

Yield 1.5 dozen

 

Ingredients:

½ cup butter

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

½ cup tahini

1 cup all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment cream, together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the almond extract, then the tahini.

 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the salt, flour, and baking powder. Dump into the mixer bowl all at once and mix on low until the dough is just combined.

 

Form the dough into 1 ½ inch balls and space evenly on cookie sheets. Bake 13-15 minutes, rotating after the first 7 minutes. Be careful to not over bake these cookies or they will dry out and become crumbly!

 

Tahini Cookies Raw

 

When the cookies are completely cool, remove them from the cookie sheet. Lightly dust with powdered sugar before serving.

 

IMG_1052

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