Little Bit of Spice Cake

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INGREDIENTS

1 cup salted butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
juice and zest of one orange

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. In a large bowl, beat the butter until very light.  Beat in the sugar gradually and then the eggs, one by one. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, juice and zest. 

Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Stir to combine after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.

Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, until it springs back when pressed lightly in on top, and a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and loosen its edges. Wait 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top before serving. 

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Gingerbread Stars

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Let’s get the holiday baking started!

INGREDIENTS

Cookies
3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 cups flour

Icing
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons light corn syrup or honey
1 to 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk

DIRECTIONS

In a saucepan set over low heat, or in the microwave, melt butter, then stir in the brown sugar, molasses, salt, and spices.

Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, and beat in the egg.

Whisk the baking powder and soda into the flour, and then stir these dry ingredients into the molasses mixture.

Divide the dough in half, and pat each half into a thick rectangle. Wrap well, and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. The dough may be sticky and hard to roll if not thoroughly chilled, so make sure it’s cold before continuing.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Get out several baking sheets; there’s no need to grease them, though lining with parchment saves effort on cleanup.

Once the dough has chilled, take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface. Roll the dough 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick; the thinner you roll the dough, the crispier the cookies will be. Flour both the top and bottom of the dough if it starts to stick. Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap over it as you roll, pulling the plastic to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour.

Cut out shapes with a floured cookie cutter, cutting them as close to one another as possible to minimize waste.

Transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets (or, if you’ve rolled right onto the parchment, remove the dough scraps between the cookies). Bake the cookies just until they’re slightly brown around the edges 8 to 12 minutes, or until they feel firm. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

For icing, mix all of the ingredients together. Stir until smooth; a fork works fine. The glaze should be thick, but soft enough to “settle” when you spread it. If the glaze is too thick, dribble in another teaspoon of milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

Decorate as desired with icing and sprinkles.

 

Biscotti

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The Italians really know what they are doing when it comes to making simple cookies that go perfectly with a cup of coffee.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
3 teaspoons of ground anise
2 1/2 cups of flour
3 eggs + 1 egg for brushing
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl if mixer, mix the sugars, ground anise, baking powder, and flour.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Add to the flour mixture. Mix until dough comes together.

On a lightly floured surface separate dough into four equal pieces. Roll one piece at a time into a log shape that is approximately 8 inches long, 2 inches wide. Repeat with remaining three pieces of dough. Place two logs per baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the loaves are shiny and deep golden. Cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before slicing. Place a loaf on a cutting board, and using a large serrated knife, slice cookies 3/4 of an inch thick on the diagonal. Place slices on their sides back on to the baking sheets and bake on each side for 7 minutes each.   Remove from oven and cool completely.  They will last for about a month in an air-tight container.

 

Leftover Cranberry Pound Cake

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Why not bake with leftovers?

INGREDIENTS

1 pound butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
4 cups flour
3/4 cup milk
Juice of one orange + zest
1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
1/2 cup pecans

DIRECTIONS

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  This could take up to 7 minutes. Gradually add sugar, and zest (all at once) beating at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow yolk disappears.

Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with milk and orange juice, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. The batter should be smooth with no lumps. Fold in cranberry sauce and pecans.

Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.

Bake at 300° for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Decorate as desired. I used a dusting of sugar and the cranberry juice.

BA’s Best Pumpkin Pie

Well, what were you expecting? I got this recipe from Bon Appetite.

INGREDIENTS

Crust

1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons chilled lard or vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large egg, beaten to blend

Filling and Assembly

⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, room temperature, beaten to blend
2 cups unsweetened pumpkin purée
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
⅓ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Whipped cream (for serving)

DIRECTIONS

Crust

Pulse sugar, salt, and 2 cups flour in a food processor until combined.
Add butter and lard and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pieces of butter and lard visible, about fifteen 1-second pulses.
With motor running, drizzle in vinegar and 5½ Tbsp. ice water and pulse until dough is still crumbly but just holds together when squeezed (add 1 tsp. water at a time if necessary, but be careful not to overwork dough).
Turn out dough onto a work surface. Knead 1–2 times, pressing to incorporate any shaggy pieces. Flatten into a 6″-wide disk.Wrap with plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 14″ round. Transfer to a 9″ pie dish. Pick up edges and allow dough to slump down into dish, letting excess dough hang over dish. Trim, leaving about a 1″ overhang. Fold overhang under; pinch and crimp.Chill 30 minutes.

Line dough with parchment paper or foil, leaving some overhang. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until crust is dry around the edges and just beginning to brown, 25–35 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and weights and reduce oven temperature to 350°.Brush inside of crust (not the crimped edges) with egg wash and continue to bake until crust is set and beginning to lightly brown in the center, 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

Filling and Assembly

Preheat oven to 325°. Whisk sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl until no clumps remain.

Add eggs, pumpkin, condensed milk, cream, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Pour into cooled crust. Bake pie until edges are set and slightly puffed but center is recessed and wobbles like Jell-O, 60–75 minutes (it will continue to set after baking). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 3 hours before slicing.

Blue Cheese, Walnut & Grape Muffins

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
1/4 finely chopped walnuts + extra for topping
12 grapes cut into small pieces
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 425°F. Lightly grease the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan. 

Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients–milk, butter, eggs.  Take a fork or wire whisk and blend the two briefly–do not overmix. Fold in the nuts and grapes. 

Fill the cups of the muffin pan two-thirds to three-quarters full. Sprinkle nuts on top

Bake the muffins for 10 minutes and then lower over to 350 F and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, and as soon as you can handle them turn them out of the pan onto a rack to cool.

Chocolate Covered Flap Jacks

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 1/3 cups oats
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium-sized pot, melt butter with brown sugar, and honey. After it boils simmer for 30 seconds.  Take it off the heat and mix in oats. Spread in pan in an even layer and baked bars for 25 minutes, until deeply golden at edges.

If you’d like to add chocolate, let them rest in their pan on a cooling rack for 3 to 4 minutes before sprinkling the chips all over, then waiting 5 minutes before spreading them in a single layer.

I worked with this recipe.

Bakery Style Corn Muffins

Give someone the gift of waking up to a fresh hot corn muffin.

INGREDIENTS

1 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cups corn meal
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup melted and cooled butter

DIRECTIONS

Whisk together dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another.  Combine until just mixed and refrigerate for approx. an hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Spray or grease muffin tin.  Scoop mixture into muffin cups and bake for 10 minutes at 425.  Do not open oven door.  After 10 minutes, lower temperature to 375 F and bake for another 10 minutes.

Brown Butter Bars

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Baker By Nature does a great job with this stuff.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and spray parchment lightly with non-stick spray, set aside.

Melt butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Continue cooking butter, stirring frequently, until it’s a light amber color and smells slightly nutty. Remove from heat at once and cool for a few minutes before whisking in the brown sugar; beat until well combined. Add in the egg, beating until combined. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon, being sure not to over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the edges are firm and golden and the center is just slightly wobbly. Sprinkle with sea salt. Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Apple & Sour Cream Bundt

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So many fall goodies in one bundt pan.

INGREDIENTS

Apple Nut Mixture:

2 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced small
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cake batter:

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter,softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs room temperature
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons milk

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325°F; grease a 12-cup Bundt pan.

Prepare apple-nut filling by cooking all ingredients, except nuts, over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook until apples are tender. This will take approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in nuts. Set aside.

Combine sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until each addition is just incorporated into the batter, don’t over beat. Fold in apple mixture.

Spread batter in the baking pan. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turnout onto a serving plate and cool completely.

Whisk together ingredients for glaze and drizzle on top.

 

 

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