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In my life, there are some simple facts.

Coffee is necessary in the morning.

The color purple makes anything better.

Dogs are way more fun than cats.

I always prefer a cupcake to a muffin.

However, sometimes there are little exceptions. Like when you find a borderline-on-cupcake muffin recipe. You know, the cupcake that is masquerading as a muffin. It’s the kind of thing that you can justify eating first thing in the morning, but deep inside you know you are pretty much eating dessert.

I originally found the recipe for these muffins at www.mybakingaddiction.com . However, when I started making them at home, I realized I was missing some ingrediants and had other things to add. This led me to make Cinammon Apple Glazed Muffins.

Batter
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2  2/3 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 apple, diced

Cream butter, oil, and sugars together until smooth. Add in the eggs, beat well to combine. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.

Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternatively with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Thoroughly combine.

Spray a muffin tin with nonstock spray and spoon the batter into the pan (I got 20 cups full).

I wanted to try some of these muffins without apple and some with. So for the other pan, I pressed the apple pieces into the batter.

I ended up liking the muffins with the apple in them much better so next time, I would mix the apple right in with the batter.

Cook for 13-15 minutes at 425F. Cool slightly.

Glaze
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup icing sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp hot water

Whisk together butter, icing sugar, vanilla, and water until smooth.

After the muffins are slightly cooled, dip the top of each muffin into the glaze, then allow the glaze to harden. I dipped each muffin twice.

The muffins were just the right amount of sweet and would be perfect for a brunch.

Nobody needs to know these are pretty much a cupcake. It can be our little secret.

Today’s Sweetness: Hubby came home from out of town a day early!

Parmesan Knots

I have a great love of two types of food-candy and bread. I could eat either of those all day, every day (well, until my teeth fell out, that is). This love has lead me to search out recipes for the two foods. It’s pretty hard to find a good candy recipe (and much easier to go to 7-11 and buy it) but there are thousands of great bread recipes out there.

I offered to bring some type of buns to a family dinner on Sunday. Once I had decided to bring this, I went through my recipes, trying to find the perfect recipe to try out. The most interesting recipes I had were using frozen rolls as the dough and that seemed way too easy to me so I decided to improvise and came up with a delicious recipe.

Parmesan Knots
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp white sugar
melted butter
parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy (about ten minutes).

In a large bowl, combine flour, oil, salt, and sugar with the yeast mixture. Mix until a stiff dough has formed. Knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic (about a minute).

Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Once the dough has risen, place on a floured surface.

Cut the dough into small chunks (I got 8 chunks out of the dough). Roll our each chunk until about 7-8 inches in length and then tie into a knot.

Brush the tops of each bun with melted butter and bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Let the buns cool for about 5 minutes. Brush completely with melted butter and then roll in parmesan cheese until covered.

These tasted a lot like Little Ceasar’s Crazy Bread but homemade so 100% better! They were extremely easy to make and quick to make. I only wish they had made more!

Today’s Sweetness: A good night’s sleep to get me through the day.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

A few weeks ago, I made the best cupcakes in the world. I found the recipe at www.somethingshinyblog.com and knew immediately I had to make these. It was a cupcake on steroids. There was goodness on top of goodness and it will be a challenge to ever beat this recipe.

Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
2 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 white sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 bag mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Combine butter, chopped chocolate, and cocoa in a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir. Continue microwaving until smooth. Cool until barely warm.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the sugar and salt. Add the cooled chocolate mixture, beating until smooth. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and whisk until fully combined. Add sour cream, mixing well. Whisk in remaining flour mixture until fully incorporated and batter thick.

Divide batter into cupcake tins. Press a mini Reese’s cup into the center of each cupcake until level with the top of the batter.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tbsp butter
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 – 2/3 whipping (heavy) cream

Beat peanut butter, butter, and icing sugar until thoroughly combined. Add cream and beat until light and fluffy.

Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

The original recipe had a homemade magic shell recipe to complete this cupcake. However, it seems that all the grocery stores near me do not carry coconut oil and after 30 minutes of driving around looking for it, I decided to just go with the store bought magic shell.

Before dipping, the icing on the cupcake must be cool so the chocolate will harden properly. I left the cupcakes in the fridge for about 30 minutes before dipping.

One simple dip, and the cupcake was complete.

These cupcakes should be kept cool until serving so the chocolate coating does not melt.

I thought these cupcakes might be too sweet but they were simply perfect. I originally made these cupcakes about a month ago and have been dreaming of them ever since… Definitely a recipe to hold onto!

Today’s Sweetness-Big Brother starts on TV tonight. Enough said.

Christmas in July

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I count down the days until it’s appropriate to start putting up decorations and break out the Christmas music. I try and stretch out Christmas by at least a month.

Last night I hosted our D.A.T.E. night and I thought what could be better than Christmas in July? It’s just over the halfway mark to the holiday and it would be something totally unexpected.

I had to refrain myself from pulling all my decorations out this weekend while decorating. I tried to just do the basics but still have the house feel “Christmas-y”

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is stockings so I wanted to include that. I had no luck finding actual Christmas stockings so I stuck to Superstore socks.

There were a couple very happy guys who left not only with the contents of their stockings, but a pair of new socks as well!

I wanted to include a fun activity as well so I went with gingerbread house making. No luck finding any kits around (I was hoping for some really great deals on some expired kits) so we had to do it the old fashioned way.

I bought the candy on Saturday and it has been tempting me ever since. I was glad to finally put it to use.

The gingerbread house making was a success! Bonus points were given out for the most creative house and there were some pretty interesting creations!

Christmas in July was a bit strange because the temperature outside was around 25C and the temperature inside my oven of a house was even hotter. But all in all, it was a good night!

Now to take down all the decorations…

Today’s Sweetness: I’m wearing my favorite shirt today. And that always makes for a good day!

I am a huge fan of breakfast food. I could eat it all day, every day. Especially the breakfast food that could almost be considered a dessert. Cinnamon buns falls into this category

Hubby and I went to a friend’s cabin for the long weekend and I volunteered to bring breakfast for the group. What better way to spend your morning at the lake then with a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun? They were absolutely perfect!

Normally I make these cinnamon buns in a 9 x 13 pan. This time I tried something a little different and made them in cupcake tins. They came out looking perfect but I think in the future I would stick to the 9 x 13 pan because they made a bit of a mess in the cupcake tins.

Cinnamon Buns
Dough:
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups (approximately) flour

Filling:
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Dissolve 1 tsp of the white sugar in warm water and sprinkle in yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes or until frothy. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat milk, remaining sugar, butter, and salt until butter has melted. Let cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk mixture, and yeast mixture.

Using an electric mixer, gradually beat in 2- 2.5 cups of the flour. Beat for 2 minutes or until smooth. With a spoon, gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to make soft, slightly sticky dough that comes away from the side of the bowl.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 7-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a large, greased bowl (I use cooking oil for grease), turning to grease all over. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt 3/4 cup of the butter with 3/4 cup of the sugar, whisking until smooth. Pour into a greased pan. Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle. Spread remaining butter across the surface and sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

Tighly roll up, pinching seam to seal. Cut into 15 pieces and place in pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour or until double in bulk.

Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the tops sound hollow when tappen. Let stand in pan for 3 minutes and then invert onto serving platter.

Mmmm….makes me wish I had one right now!

Today’s Sweetness: The anticipation of a fun filled evening with D.A.T.E. night!

There are certain specifications my cookies generally need to meet. For the most part, I do not like hard cookies. I prefer them soft. For the most part I do not like flat cookies. I prefer them fluffy. And for the most part, I require that my cookies have a very sweet element to them, whether that be chocolate chips or icing or whatnot.

This last requirement has kept me away from peanut butter cookies in the past. I’m not completely opposed to them, but if I’m going to eat a cookie, it better have all my requirements.

Then I realized the obvious-chocolate chips could just be added into a peanut butter cookie recipe…

A little bit of chocolate and these cookies met all my requirements! Of course, now I don’t think I could ever go back to eat a simply peanut butter cookie…from now on, these cookies will have to have chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together margarine and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add peanut butter and mix.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Mix into peanut butter mixture. Add chocolate chips.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and spoon dough onto sheets.

Bake for ~12 minutes @ 375F

This recipe is very easy and the cookies quick to make. I definitely recommend it!

Today’s Sweetness: Hubby has been out of town since Monday and he comes home tonight!

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