Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confetti Cupcakes

When asked what kind of cupcakes she wanted for her birthday, a co-worker said "Fun-Fetti Cupcakes", which as most beginner bakers know, is a popular Betty Crocker boxed cake mix. Well, I no longer bake from boxed cakes, everything I make is homemade, so I had to come up with a recipe that looked and tasted like the Betty Crocker cakes that everybody knows and loves. I searched and searched, and finally came to this one. It is a thin batter, but bakes fluffy and tastes like a massive sugar cookie! You'll never guess where I found the frosting recipe!! I was shopping for ingredients to the most recent buttercream recipe I had found from Wilton. While looking at the different powdered sugars the local Albertsons has to offer, I happened across a frosting recipe on the back of a C&H powdered sugar! I snapped a quick photo of the back of the box on my iPhone as the box was 20 or 30 cents higher than the store brand. As we are pinching pennies, we need to buy the least expensive items as possible until I can afford the finest our world has to offer. In the mean time, after using this frosting recipe, I doubt I will stray. This recipe is rich, thick, and not too sweet, not too buttery - absolutely perfect.

I only have the one photo, but I know I will re-use this cupcake recipe again and again, so I will post more photos when I go. I'm keeping this recipe up for anyone who wishes to use it. I no longer use this recipe, but it is a great recipe, so try it!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 cupcakes

1/2 C milk
3 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/4 C unbleached flour
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp rainbow sprinkles

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Whisk the milk, egg whites, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Beat the butter with the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder until the mixture is like a thick sand.
4. On a medium speed, add the milk mixture, and mix until smooth, stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.
5. Add the rainbow sprinkles and mix until combined.
6. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
7. Fill the cupcake liners to about 1/3 inch from the top.
8. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the edges are slightly brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Applesauce Chocolate Cupcakes

Since its APPLE SEASON!!! (Yay!!) I am doing as many apple-based recipes I can get my hands on. Tomorrow is my manager's birthday, and so I asked her what she wanted. She didn't really have a preference, so I asked if I could make Applesauce Chocolate Cupcakes. She said she'd love it, especially since she knew I recently went apple picking! The recipe was a lot of fun, and I got to make some applesauce! This recipe inclues the previous recipe for applesauce, found here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homemade Applesauce

This recipe creates a slightly chunkier applesauce, but is very tasty warm or cold!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 3 C

8 medium apples*
1 1/2 C water
1 1/2 C sugar
(optional) 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
*I used three larger Granny Smith and four smaller Rome Beauties

1. Core, peel, slice, and chop the apples. I used a food processor to chop the apples.
2. Place apples and water in a pot and bring to a slow boil.
3. Add the sugar and cinnamon.
4. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.
5. Strain any remaining water.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Homemade Baked Apples

I've never had this before, but I've seen a lot of different recipes for baked apples, so I must assume its an East Coast thing? Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong! Since I have plenty of apples, I decided to try this recipe out! I haven't tried one yet (the pie is just too good to stop eating), but according to my brother-in-law, he likes the recipe!

Prep Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 9 small apples or 6 large apples

9 small apples or 6 large apples*
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C water

1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Core the apples - do not peel or slice them.
3. Peel a 1 inch thick strip around the middle of the apple.
4. In a small or medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, allspice, and cinnamon.
5. Pack the cored apple with the brown sugar mixture, as hard-packed as you can get it.
6. Place the packed apples into a deep dish baker, and pour a little bit of water in the bottom of the pan to just cover the bottom of the pan.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, basting the apples in juices frequently.
8. Serve warm with sweetened whipped cream.
9. Store in a closed container in the fridge and microwave for a midnight treat!

Homemade Apple Pie

Since last week was the trip to Oak Glen, CA, I knew this week would be based around APPLES!!!! I borrowed an awesome book from my mother called The Apple Lovers Cook Book. On my trip, I found the exact same book and bought it to add to my own collection, also so I could give back my mother's cook book. One whiff of this cook book and you can tell it has been sitting in an apple gift shop for a while. This book has more recipes containing apples, apple juice, and apple sauce than I will ever need. But with one or two read-throughs, I found several recipes I will definitely use, and I have already dog-eared some pages. I started out with an American favorite (which is strange because the origins aren't in the US, but instead a Dutch recipe): apple pie. I could have bought a pre-made pie crust from the store, but that's a no-no! Since I'm a beginner with pie crusts, I had my husband help me make the pies. He says "I know how to bake, I just don't like to bake." And yet, he had fun and enjoyed the outcome! The recipe is actually extremely easy, but the pie crust was a pain in the butt. Plus, slicing, peeling, and coring all the apples was a timely process. But, overall? Success, and absolutely amazing!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Makes: 1 9" apple pie

Prep Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 2 9" pie crusts

2 C sifted unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 C shortening
4-6 tbsp cold water
1/4 C extra flour

1. Lay out wax paper and sprinkle with a generous amount of flour.
2. In a small to medium mixing bowl, cut the flour, salt and shortening together using your hands.
3. When the dough is crumbly and pea sized, sprinkle some water on the dough and form into a ball.
4. Cut the dough into two parts.
5. Using your hands, flatten out the smaller ball of dough on wax paper. 
6. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into as good of a circle as you can, 1/4 inch thick.
7. However you can maneuver, put the crust into the pie pan. (I flipped the crust over the pan and then slowly peeled the wax paper off the pan.)
8. If you need to fix any cracks in the pie crust, use dry, floured fingers to press the crack together.
9. Once the pie is filled, repeat steps 5 and 6 for the second small ball of dough.
10. Cut the dough into strips and set aside (or leave alone, if you have the space) for later use.

Prep Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes: Enough for one pie

6-8 medium sized apples*
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp butter
* I used Granny Smith apples for one pie, and Macintosh for another

1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. Peel, core, and slice all of the apples being used for one pie. (I used a Pampered Chef Peeler/Corer/Slicer.)
3. Mix the slices with the sugar and cinnamon until completely coated.
4. Fill the pie and evenly space out the top of the pie to be as level as possible.
5. Dot the top of the apple filling with butter.
6. Lay the strips of crust across the apple filling.
7. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.
8. Serve warm with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The First Annual U-Pick!

 As it is autumn in Southern California, I am rather excited for all of the flavors fall brings: spices, pumpkin, apples, and squash. In Southern California, there is a well-known town that many go to visit to pick their own apples or enjoy a day surrounded by gorgeous scenery. My sister, niece, close friend and I did both!

In Oak Glen, California, there are many places that offer a U-Pick style: buying a certain size container and pick apples to fill said container. We went to Los Rios Rancho. We went all in and bought a 1/2 bushel (a decent sized box, as shown on my niece's head!) and picked Rome Beauties and Granny Smiths! I purchased a ten pound bag of Macintosh from the store.

After apple picking, we took a tour of the farm in a horse-drawn carriage.

After that we got some lunch at a small, family owned restaurant called Law's. They are well known for their apple pie, with good reason!

After lunch, we hit the seasonal boutique set up for Halloween and fall with a lot of cute decorations! 

For some reason, I couldn't get the color right...
It's that color, but muted. It's really rather pretty!

One seller at the boutique was selling antique items, and I found this great train case! I bought it and it currently resides on my makeup station to hold my makeup and hair care products. 

All in all, it was an awesome day, and I foresee some apple recipes coming in the near future!