Sunday, November 29, 2009

MSCC Apple Spice Cupcakes

I really do bake more than cupcakes! And later this week I will prove it. But for now I will share another 5 star recipe from  Martha Stewart's Cupcake cookbook. The bonus round this month was Applesauce-Spice Cupcakes on page 55. This was a great fall pick, it mixed together quickly with ingredients in my pantry. The recipe called for toasted pecans, an ingredient I use often. I toast several cups at once on my large Pampered Chef bar pan and keep them in the freezer.

The cupcakes were spicy, the toasted pecans added a fun texture but the frosting really brought all these fall flavors together. A simple frosting of butter, cream cheese and brown sugar was the perfect topping for another fun cupcake. Check MSCC and see what other bakers created.

I'll be back later this week with my favorite tomato soup--a great 30 minute meal. I also have a pecan pie bar that was a hit at Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

MSCC Candied Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I enjoy sweet potatoes, I just don't think of them as a cupcake flavor. Thanks to the Martha Stewart Cupcake Club I had a chance to combine the two.
The cupcakes came together quickly, cream sugars and butter add eggs, stir in baked mashed sweet potatoes. Add dry ingredients that include plenty of cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg. The house smelled wonderful as the cupcakes baked.

They were delicious warm from the oven. The suggested 'frosting' is simply mini marshmellows and candied pecans which I'm sure is yummy...but I wanted to mix things up. Actually I didn't have any marshmellows, it was snowing sideways and I didn't want to go out. I love browned butter frosting and it proved to be a great alternative. I must give this recipe five stars it was excellent!

Check out MSCC and see what others created.

Friday, November 13, 2009

All In One Holiday Cake

Did you know that November 15th is 'National Bundt Day'? It probably isn't on your calendar but it's presence is felt in blog land. Check out The Food Librarian she has been making 'bundts' for the last 30 days. The Tuesdays With Dorie baking group also made a delicious bundt cake this month. I couldn't quit thinking about it, the reviews were great. I tried to talk myself out of making it, do I really need a bundt cake right now? But trust me you need to make this cake! It is full of everything fall, I gave it 5 stars.

All In One Holiday Cake is from my favorite cookbook 'Baking: From My Home To Yours", by Dorie Greenspan. You need this cookbook, put it on your Christmas list.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/4 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup cranberries, halved or coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
Beat together butter and sugars in stand mixer with a paddle attachment  on medium speed untill light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and beat for one minute after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the pumpkin and chopped apple--don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries and pecans. Scrape the batter into a bundt pan, I like my Pampered Chef Stoneware pan. I spray my bundt pan with a good amount of 'Bakers Joy'. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-70 minutes, my cake baked for about 56 minutes, a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
Transfer cake  to cooling rack for 10 minutes before unmolding. Let cool to room temperature, just before serving dust cake with powdered sugar.

I'm sure a slice of this cake counts as a serving of fruit. It is great toasted with a bit of butter for breakfast or brunch, top it with some whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have a delicious dessert.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Baked Potato Soup

The assignment was easy--make a pot of soup. I volunteered to help provide lunch for a gathering at our church. But...I like to make things difficult. My brain gets carried away. If I make a double batch I will have dinner ready, I can even take a bowl to my mom. I think I must have forgotten how long it takes to make a white sauce with 12 cups of liquid! I scrubbed, wrapped, chopped, mashed, peeled and stirred for two hours. Note to self--Do not double this recipe!
But the end result was delicious! This is pure comfort food. Years ago following a surgery Cyrstal (a roommate of Candise) offered to bring us dinner. She arrived with this delicious soup, it quickly became a family favorite. This hearty dish is rich and filling; add a colorful salad, a crusty loaf of bread and you have the perfect fall/winter meal. Just don't double it!

Baked Potato Soup

4-6 large baking potatoes
½ cup butter
2/3 cup flour
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 green onions chopped
1 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
12 slices cooked and crumbled bacon

Bake potatoes in a hot oven until tender, cool. Cut in half and scoop out pulp; set aside. Melt butter, add flour, stir and cook over low heat until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk, cook over medium heat until mixture is thick and bubbly; stir often. Add potatoes, seasonings, half of the green onion and cheese. Heat thoroughly. Stir in sour cream. Add extra broth or milk if necessary for desired consistency. Garnish with remaining green onion, cheese and crisp bacon.