So I’ve been very, very bad about updating my blog. I have been baking and crafting, just not with the same frequency as I used to. Recently I got some good baking in and thought I’d share.
I’ve been craving apple fritters for multiple months now, but don’t eat them often since they’re fried. I came across a recipe for baked apple fritters and gave it a shot during the weekend where we stayed indoors due to nonstop rain from Harvey. I followed the recipe exactly and the only note I have was that you don’t have to make so much glaze.
My second delicious baking adventure was a peach upside down cake using delicious in-season peaches that the grocery store has right now. I have a few changes / notes on this recipe:
- Used ginger in place of nutmeg. Ginger and peaches are delicious together!
- I made extra caramel topping after reading the comments, but I think the original amount would be better. If I were to make extra of anything in the future, it could have used a bit more cake batter.
- I baked it in a springform pan because it’s the only cake pan I have that size. I put foil around the bottom to catch any caramel leaks. It did leak a tiny bit.
- I did not serve the cake with creme fraiche since Whole Foods was out of it. It was delicious eaten on its own.
- The cake took much longer to bake than the recipe called for, like 45 – 50 min instead of 30 min.
Very shortly I’ll start posting about biking since this year’s Bike MS is just a month away. So stay tuned!
It finally happened… the figs on our monster fig tree started to ripen! I tried two new recipes this year with figs that both turned out fantastic.
Fig and Blueberry Crisp
I basically followed this Food Network recipe with some slight modifications:
- I used 3 cups blueberries and 3 cups figs and added a bit of lemon zest to the fruit mixture
- I did not add nutmeg or pecans
- I did add some ground ginger, probably about 1/2 teaspoon
Fruit mixture and topping:
The final, delicious product:
Fig Cookie Bars
While the crisp was super easy to throw together, fig cookies bars (also called fig newtons) required more work, spread across two days for me. For the cookie part, I mostly followed this Fresh Fig Newtons recipe from Sugar Dish Me. For the jam in the middle, I looked around at a number of recipes and ended up using:
- 2 lbs fresh figs, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup honey
- Juice from 1 lemon
Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. After the boil starts, reduce to a simmer and continue to stir / mash from time to time. After 45 min or so, the jam should be thickened.
Note: this jam did turn out quite sweet, so next time I’d reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup probably.
For the cookie part, I changed the Sugar Dish Me recipe by:
- Reducing the butter – I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce
- Omitting the orange zest – I didn’t have an orange and wasn’t sold on this anyhow.
The bars were a huge hit. If only they weren’t so much work!
Finished cookie bar sheet:
Back when we had figs ripening like mad, I came across a recipe from Vegetarian Times for a Lavender and Fig Tart with Goat Cheese Cream, and oh man was it worth the effort. It was a super big hit at a party, the first food to completely disappear.
The only change I made was to use thyme instead of lavender, since we had that in abundance in our garden.
The hardest part of the recipe was dealing with the puff pastry, something I had no experience with.
After you bake it, you have to cut along the edges to create the crust and then press down the middle. It wasn’t too bad, but of course mine wasn’t as pretty as the magazine picture.
We had on over-abundance of figs at the time, so I really loaded up the tart.
The final step was drizzling with a sweetened balsamic and thyme mixture. I can’t wait to make this recipe again next year!
Tropical “ice cream” made by pureeing frozen banana slices, peach slices, and watermelon chunks in a food processor, with a little milk to help them combine. Quite the delicious treat after my 72 mile hot and hilly bike ride today!
Made some banana blueberry “ice cream” by pureeing frozen banana slices and frozen fresh blueberries in my food processor. Added a bit of milk to help them combine. Let it set for a while in the freezer. A delicious, healthy frozen dessert!
Birthday desserts, ready to be eaten!
A few weeks ago, it was that time again. Time for the husband and I to jointly celebrate our birthdays by inviting people over and providing waaaaaayyyyy more desserts than the group could possibly consume. Last year’s selections were a hit and this year was no exception.
We had left overs of everything. Luckily I hid some of the extra banana cream pie that wouldn’t fit in the pie pan, because that pie pan was clean by the end of the night!
Blueberry crumble cake (bottom left), banana cream pie (top), chocolate crazy cake (bottom right)
Chai cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Fat free ginger cookies
First time using this nice pie pan. Definitely need to make banana cream pie again.
Crumbled graham crackers, sugar and mashed bananas made up the crust.
Crust ingredients mixed together
Crust pressed into pan and baked. The small white crocks were for the left over crust. The recipe made way too much for my pie pan.
Cooking the cream filling.
First layer of cream filling and first layer of bananas.
Second layer of cream filling and the final layer of banana slices. The pie then just had to set for hours in the fridge, so make this early if you decide to make it!
Cupcakes for my birthday!
I recently came across a recipe for these orange ginger cupcakes on Instructables that I just had to try. Conveniently, my birthday gave me a good excuse to bake something I wanted to eat, and then force my co-workers and softball teammates to eat it for me.
I edited the recipe a bit, to cut down on the butter of course. My next updates to this recipe will include using more orange zest and adding some chopped candied ginger to the batter. However, here’s the recipe I used for the pictured cupcakes. They were pretty good after all.
Ingredients – Orange ginger cupcakes
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 sticks (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 1/8 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Ingredients – Buttercream frosting
- 6 tablespoons unsalted softened butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar (you may end up adding more)
- 1 tablespoon milk (you may need more)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Steps – Cupcakes
- Cream the butter, sugar and applesauce together in a large bowl until fluffy.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and ginger together in a smaller bowl and set aside.
- Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well between each.
- Add the orange zest and vanilla.
- Add the milk and dry ingredients mixture, alternating and mixing between the two until the batter is smooth.
- Since I didn’t have cupcake liners, I greased my cupcake pan well. Definitely grease the pan well if you do this and use a knife to loosen up the cupcakes when you try to remove them!
- Fill the cupcake holes 2/3 of the way full. You should get 22 – 24 cupcakes.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 – 22 minutes. The cupcakes are done when golden and they spring back when touched. Use the toothpick test if you’re not sure.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool for a few minutes before removing and putting on a cooling rack.
Steps – Frosting
- Once the cupcakes are cool, you’re ready to frost them!
- Cream the butter until nice and smooth.
- Add in half the powdered sugar. Mix until well combined.
- Add the rest of the powdered sugar, the milk and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- If the frosting is too thick, add more milk. If it’s too thin, add more sugar.
- Frost your cupcakes! I like just a thin layer of frosting. If you like more, you may want to double this recipe.
Butter, applesauce and sugar mixed until fluffy.
Orange for the zest. I really like this little zester – it catches the zest and is easy to hold.
Batter after mixing in the eggs, and adding the zest.
Mixing in the dry ingredients.
Cupcakes on the cooling rack.
Frosting in the mixer.
I have a love of bananas. I buy more of them than I can eat and once they are too ripe or almost too ripe I’m faced with what to do with my leftover bananas.
Over the years I’ve come up with strategies for dealing with my banana problem.
- Feed them to our dog Molly. She LOVES banana slices. We usually mix it with her dinner but sometimes I just give her extra because I can and she’ll eat it.
- Freeze them. I use frozen bananas to make the most wonderful banana bread you’ve ever eaten.
- Compost them. To be honest this rarely happens with the first two options around.
Now I have a new strategy to add to my list: chocolate covered frozen banana pops! After realizing I was never going to eat a white chocolate rabbit in the pantry, I decided to put it to good use.
My first step was to slice bananas into about 1.5″ slices and stab them with a small wooden stick. I had left over coffee stirrers from a Starbucks coffee package that worked perfectly. You can also use wooden skewers that you cut into smaller pieces. I put the bananas on parchment paper on a plate and put them in the freezer. A few hours later they were frozen solid.
Next I chopped the chocolate up:
I microwaved the chocolate on 50% power for short intervals (30 / 15 seconds) and stirred it until all the lumps were gone.
I got out the bananas and dipped / rubbed them in the chocolate. I put the bananas back on the parchment paper and into the freezer. Not long after, it was time for me to share the banana pops with my friends!
Very delicious. Not quite as fancy as the delectable chocolate covered frozen bananas made by the food truck Bananarchy, but these are a smaller serving and I don’t have to drive to downtown Austin. Maybe next time I’ll try adding toppings like Bananarchy does. Yum!
Ok, it was my birthday last month. And then 7 days later, it was my husband’s birthday. To celebrate, we threw a party so that I could bake a cake (or four).
My selections for the evening:
Changes to the recipes:
This year I made the chocolate stout cake with a spiced porter instead of stout. It was in the kegerator after all. I always use store bought chocolate frosting on this cake.
Chai spice cupcakes were delicious and well worth the effort. I made a simple powdered sugar / milk glaze and reused the chai tea bags in the milk to give the glaze a bit of flavor.
This time, I made my honey apple oatmeal cake with store bought applesauce. It’s way better when you make your own applesauce. Or maybe I over cooked it. It was just a bit less moist than usual.
When I had the cinnamon coffee cake made by a friend, it was amazing and I couldn’t stop eating it. Got the recipe and of course didn’t get the same results my first try. The instructions talk about using firm butter in the topping, but really I think you are supposed to melt the butter first. I will have to try again.
Chocolate spiced porter cake
A chai spice longhorn cupcake
Honey apple oatmeal cake
Cinnamon coffee cake... the cinnamon topping is supposed to sink into the cake.
I used to make an apple crumb pie for Thanksgiving. It was good, but I don’t really like to mess around with real pie crusts so I always just bought a frozen crust. That was probably the downfall of my pie.
Then one magical day, I discovered the world of making apple crisp. Ok, so someone else actually made it and I was so enamored that I had to have the recipe. She obliged and now it’s one of my favorite fall and winter desserts to make. I’ve changed up the recipe a bit to add more spice of course.
- 5 – 6 Medium to large apples – I like to use sweet apples like Gala, Braeburn, Jonagold, Cameo, Fuji, etc.
- 1/4 cup water
- Cinnamon and ground ginger to taste
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, softened / melted
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Cinnamon and ground ginger to taste
Chop apples. Peel them if you like, but I like to leave the peels on. Place in a baking dish and toss with water, cinnamon and ginger.
Combine topping ingredients. Stir together by hand until combined. No mixer required.
Spread topping on top of apples. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until apples are soft. Hard apple cider in a Christmas glass is optional, but highly recommended for the cook.
It was so good I didn’t even get a picture of it before it was partially eaten.