Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chocolate cupcakes with Coffee Mascarpone Frosting

Devil Food cupcakes with Coffee Mascarpone Frosting 
 I love tiramisu and was craving chocolate so this was my happy medium using just a basic cake mix as a base, but it could easily made from scratch if you prefer.  I added some strong coffee to plain mascarpone, although BelGioioso does have a tiramsu mascarpone if you would rather not have to brew and add coffee to the mascarpone.  I added 3-4 tablespoons of cooled strong coffee.  The frosting is rather thick so it can be spread on or piped on, I don't decorate cakes often so I just piped from a Ziploc bag which wasn't super fancy but it got the job done.  If I was going to bring these for a special occasion or hand them out I would definitely make sure they would be presentable but these were just a test of whether the mascarpone frosting was too much.

Friday, November 29, 2013


I saw a recipe from Food and Wine to make homemade bagels and for some reason decided I had to try it.  The process is a two day process and its rather involved but rewarding if you want to make your own bagels.  Granted mine were not as pretty as the picture of the recipe shown because when my risen bagel was boiled it was a perfect little bagel, I guess that only comes with practice.

Below is the link to the Food and Wine page if you want to check out their bagels and recipes.

Here is the recipe from Zoe Nathan at Food and Wine which you can view at the link above.


1 1/3 cups bread flour 
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast


1 teaspoon active dry yeast 
1/4 cup honey  
5 1/3 cups bread flour 
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour  
1 tablespoon salt 
1 tablespoon baking soda  
Poppy seeds, sesame seeds and coarse sea salt, for sprinkling 

1.  First make the poolish by combining the bread flour and yeast together with 1 cup lukewarm water  until combined with wooden spoon, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2.  To make the dough combine yeast, honey with 1 and 2/3  cup of water with a dough hook in a standing mixer.   The poolish mixture is added to  the dough mixture.  Add the bread flour, whole wheat flour, and salt.   Beat the mixture at medium speed until stiff dough forms (5-7 mins).  
3.  Transfer to lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute.  Transfer dough to an large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand in draft free spot till its doubled in size.  

4.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and oil well with vegetable oil.  Divide dough into 12 balls formed into tight balls.  Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let stand 30 minutes.  

5.  To form bagels poke your finger through center of each ball to make a 1/2" hole in each bagel.  Return the bagels to the baking sheet and let stand 1 hour until risen.  Add one bagel to a bowl of cold water if it floats it has risen enough.  

6.  Preheat oven to 475 degrees and position racks in the lower and middle thirds of the oven.  Line one baking sheet with a clean moist kitchen towel.  Line 2 other cookie sheets with oiled parchment paper.   Bring 2 large pots of water to a boil, add 1/2 Tablespoon of baking soda to each pot.  Add 2-3 bagels to each pot ( without crowding the bagels will swell up) simmer 1 1/2 minutes. Flip and simmer other side for 1 1/2 minutes.

7.  Transfer bagels to kitchen towel lined cookie sheet to drain.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt, and poppy seeds.  Immediately move the bagels to parchment lined cookie sheets.  Repeat with remaining bagels.

8.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until deeply brown shifting mans from top to bottom halfway through baking.   
Can be stored in an air tight container for 3 days or frozen.  

    No-Bake Cookies

    When you have a craving for both peanut butter and chocolate but do not want to turn the oven on try some No-Bake Cookies.  

    I usually make dark chocolate no bakes but I tried an all peanut butter version and actually liked them a lot.  Next time I would double the peanut butter because I only used the same amount of peanut butter as the chocolate.  

     No-Bake Cookies 

    1 cup white sugar
    1/4  Hershey's Dark Chocolate cocoa
    1/2 peanut butter
    1/2 milk
    1 tsp vanilla
    3 cups rolled oats
    1 stick butter

    1. Place wax paper on newspaper or cookies sheet prior to starting cookies so it is ready as they set up fast and you won't have time to do it afterward.
    2.  Put sugar, milk and cocoa in medium sauce pan on medium heat.  Stir mixture constantly until it reaches a full boil.  It has to fully boil for at least a minute or the cookies will not set up properly. 
    3. Remove mixture from heat.  Stir in peanut butter, vanilla, butter till thoroughly mixed.
    4. Mix in oats quickly and spoon onto wax paper.  
    To make the Peanut Butter version omit the cocoa.  I used old fashioned oats so I actually had to use a little bit less of the rolled oats.

    Pumpkin Carving

    Since I was making pumpkin seeds I figured I might as well carve the pumpkins as well especially since I had all the fancy carving tools mentioned in the last post. 
    I free stenciled this on the pumpkin based on the Michigan State University "S" 
    Below is the pumpkins lit by candle light.  The second pumpkin was based on a stencil that came with the pumpkin carving kit from Walgreen's. 

    Walgreen's Pumpkin Carving Kit

    Pumpkin seeds

    Pumpkin seeds are the highlight of Halloween time, not only do they smell good while cooking in the oven, they are a tasty snack.  Its well worth the trouble of digging out the seeds for the final product although the pumpkin slime is never my favorite.  I found a pumpkin  carving kit that was marked down at Walgreen's and it had a scooper and it actually worked pretty well to scoop out everything pretty quickly with minimal mess. 

    Link to Walgreen's Pumpkin Kit

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013

    Pumpkin Roll

    The recipe is a modified version from Trisha Yearwood's Southern Kitchen on food network.
    3 large eggs
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2/3 cup canned pumpkin
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 cup pecans, finely chopped ( I forgot about the nuts this time but previously have added them good with and without if you do not like)
    1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
    1 stick butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.
    Beat eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Spread into jelly roll pan.
    Bake about 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Cool in pan 5 minutes.  

    Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Sprinkle some of the confectioner' sugar on a large tea towel and carefully transfer the warm cake to the towel, folding the sides of the towel over the cake. Roll the cake up in the towel and cool in the refrigerator thoroughly for about 45 minutes.
    Combine the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. Carefully unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake. Gently re-roll the cake up and refrigerate it until you're ready to slice and serve. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

    *If you don't roll it perfectly it still tastes great, plus you can always make pumpkin bars or whoopie pies with the filling*  People won't mind it just tastes good :)

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Iced Pumpkin Cookies

    I used a slightly modified recipe from Gina on The link is at the bottom of the post to view the  original recipe and other great recipes.  I reduced the amount of nutmeg and omitted the cloves.


    1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
    1 tablespoon melted butter
    3 tablespoons milk  ( I used almond milk) 
    2 cups confectioners' sugar   

     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine the flour, baking powder,baking soda, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon together in a bowl set aside. 

    Cream together softened butter and  sugar.  Add eggs, pumpkin and vanilla mix until creamy and smooth.  Mix in dry ingredients.

    Drop by tablespoon on a cookie sheet and press down to flatten.

    Bake 11-15 minutes depending on your oven and the size of cookies. ( My oven runs a little hot so my average time was 12-14 minutes)
    (Original recipe directed to bake 15-20 minutes)

    To make Glaze:
    Mix powdered sugar, melted butter, vanilla and milk ( I used almond milk I had on hand), mix until consistency of a glaze aka  you will be able to drizzle it but if you make it to soon it hardens so you may have to add more milk to loosen it up.

    Unless you make it after the cookies are done and don't leave it sitting while their cooling.

    But I'm rather impatient so I like to eat cookies warm so I made it early and had to add a little more milk no big deal still worked fine and cookies were good warm and cooled.  

    Chicken and Noodles with Kale and Swiss Chard

    I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, saute express garlic and herb butter, whole grain spaghetti noodles (all I had on hand and I wanted to use my electric wok), lacinto kale, and swiss chard.

    • I probably used about 1-1.5 boneless chicken thighs
    • 1 bunch of organic swiss chard stems and large ribs removed and torn into pieces
    • 1 bunch of organic lacinto kale rough chopped
    • Noodles of your choice (Boiled ahead of time best if left  a little al dente or "chewy"(will cook when added to mixture)  (I made about a cup whole grain spaghetti noodles but more dependent on your preference and people to be served) 
    • 3 Saute express garlic and herb butter "blocks"

    This probably would serve 3-4 people and could be adjusted dependent on the number of servings and to taste.  The saute express flavored butter directs a "block" per ever 1/2 pound of chicken  but it also may be personal preference.

    First I heated my electric wok and then added 2 blocks of butter.  Then I added my chicken to the wok and let that heat up and cook through. 

    Next I removed the chicken from the wok and reheated it up to temp and added another block of saute express flavored butter. 

    Then I added the swiss chard and the kale to sear it up and flavor it and then added the chicken back in. 

    Last I added the noodles pick up some noodles and rewarm them, mix together a few minutes, serve and enjoy.  Might also be good with some shredded Parmesan cheese over the top.  

    This is my own creation based on what I had on hand.