Tag Archives: dessert

Paper Chef September: Apple Ginger Cupcakes


I decided to try something new and take a stab at this Paper Chef shindig. The basics is a judge picks four ingredients on you’ve got a few days to whip them all up in to a recipe. This month Deeba at Passionate About Baking had the task of picking the ingredients and she went with Riccotta, Ginger, Dark Chocolate and the fourth ingredient had to symbolize Autumn. I went with apples since picking them in the fall is one of my newest favorite autumn activities.


Prior to the ingredients being selected I thought that once I read them I would instantly know what I wanted to make. But that was not the case. After giving it some thought I decided on an apple-ginger cupcakes with a ricotta cheese chocolate icing. I made the icing up as I went and it turned out really good — light, fluffy and smooth. The icing complemented the cinnamony cupcakes. The flour could also be substituted for a whole-wheat flour and the sugar reduced to make more of a muffin.

Also, as a tip, to keep apples from browning while you dice them, as soon as they are cored and diced drop into a bowl of ice water. Store in the fridge between dicing and cooking and drain right before using. Mine stayed nice and crisp.

Keep reading, directions and photos after jump


“Big Easy Bananas Foster Bars”


So I took a stab at it and entered the State Fair cookie bar competition. It had to be an “original” recipe so I concocted these. I didn’t bring home a ribbon but I wanted to share the recipe. They’re pretty taste and well worth it, I think. And you’re reading that right: 2 whole cups of corn starch.
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups corn starch
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 lb. plus ½ cup butter, softened
1 orange zested
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
6-8 bananas
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup dark rum
1/2 cup whole shelled pecans
1/2 cup miniature marshmallow

Keep reading, directions after jump

Apple Preserves

Last fall I went apple picking and ended up with way too many apples. So I decided to preserve them.

Turns out finding mason jars on this side of the country that time of year isn’t an easy task. So if you’re going out in search of jars, I would call ahead first.

Apples I picked in Pennsylvania in the fall.

Apples I picked in Pennsylvania in the fall.

Apples (whatever kind you have)
Mason jars for canning with seals and bands (enough to hold your apples)

I peeled a pot full of apples. Then I used a corer to get them sliced into pieces and cored. I cut the chunks in half to make them fit into the jars easier.

I boiled a pot of water and added about two cups of sugar. I brought the water to a boil and then added the apples. I have a pot that includes a colander part that fits inside so I was able to remove and drain the apples without having to fish them all out.

The water should just cover the apples. They will float in the pot.

Boil the apples for about 15 minutes, until soft all the way through. Stir regularly to let all of the apples have time in the water.

Spoon the apples into the mason jars, filing each one entirely by pushing down on them with a spatula a little.

Wipe the rims of the jars to make sure they’re clean and then snugly fit on the lids and tightly screw on the rims. You should do this while they’re still hot.

Put the jars in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes. When they’re done the lids shouldn’t pop anymore.

I used the double boiler again by putting the jars into the strainer part and them dropping into the boiling water.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes you just need a girls night. My friend Kristen and I held one that included gooey chocolate chip cookies.

We based it off the Nestle Toll House Recipe but added a few of our own touches.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips (we threw in a few more until it was extra chocolaty)

The Toll House version said to preheat the oven to 375 degrees, but the first batch was a little crispy so we dropped it to 350 with better results.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.

Cream the butter, if straight from the fridge, its easier if you stick it in the microwave for about 15 seconds, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.

Kristen and I spent this portion of the process lamenting about how we wish we had a Kitchenaid stand mixer.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Use a spatula to stir in chocolate chips. The recipe calls for pecans, but we opted to leave them out. You can mix in anything else you want. (I suggest a little peanut butter)

Scoop on to cookie sheet spray with non-stick spray. They work best using a tablespoon to make big heaping cookies.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes. Cool, or eat when they’re nice and gooey.

Mardi Gras King Cake

1/2 c. warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 c. plus 1 tsp. sugar
About 5 cups of flour, more or less as needed
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. warm milk
5 large egg yolks
1 stick plus 2 T. butter, cut in slices and softened
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 T. of milk
lots of ground cinnamon (I used about 3-5 tablespoons)
1 tiny plastic doll (you can find the dolls at a party store in the baby shower section)

Optional Cream Cheese Filling all creamed together:

1 8-ounce pkg. cream cheese
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
2 T. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a few drops of milk

Cake Directions:

Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons of sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for several minutes, then mix thoroughly. Set yeast mixture in a warm place for 10 minutes (I put mine in front of a space heater). Combine 3 and 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg, a tablespoon of cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make sure the ingredients are all mixed up.

Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and using a wooden spoon, combine dry ingredients into the yeast and milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Soften the butter in the microwave but be careful not to let it totally melt.

This is the arm work. Keep stirring the mixture for about 5 minutes. It will start to get really elastic. The recipe claims that it will turn into a “medium soft ball” but in neither attempts did this occur until I started mixing in a little more flour.

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