Category Archives: Baking

A Farewell to Summer – Peach Blackberry Pie

If you read the title of this post, it’s pretty clear that I’m a few weeks late in sharing a season-appropriate recipe.  But it was so delicious, it was worth ignoring the pumpkin and apple inspired desserts of Fall.

At the end of August, we spent a week at Lake Erie with my family, and just as we were embarking on a seven hour drive home, we stopped by a roadside fruit stand to pick up the fresh produce available at the end of summer.  Due to the lake climate, it was perfect for growing peaches.  The blackberries looked and smelled amazing as well.  So there we were, a little car packed full of suitcases, babygear, our family, and now a box of peaches and several containers of blackberries.  The sweet aroma of the peaches soon took over the car and we were eager to get to work on them.  If it wasn’t for the seven hour drive ahead of us and the cramped legroom I had sitting in the backseat next to Alister, I would have been in heaven.  It is a wonder how we made it all the way home with all of the peaches and blackberries remaining.

About a week after we had been home, we had made a huge dent in the peaches.  But I knew it was time I added them to a baked good.  After all, anytime I want to buy a large amount of produce, I sell the idea to Justin by promising that I will use them in some form of a baked good.  And that is just what I did.

I found this amazing recipe and was instantly intrigued by the use of coriander in a fruit pie.  Not to mention, she goes to the trouble of providing detailed, step-by-step instructions with photos, so I was ready to take it on.  Besides, I had all of the ingredients on hand and a couple of hours to kill.  Aside from a few modifications, namely substituting in blackberries for the blueberries, using a smaller amount of sugar since our peaches were already so sweet, making a lattice-style crust, and covering the crust halfway through the baking process, I kept to the recipe.

Here is my slightly modified version of the linked recipe, but to give credit where it is due, most of it is directly from the linked recipe.  I will keep it a little brief, but if you want more detail, I strongly suggest clicking on the original recipe above.

Peach Blackberry Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Crust:

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Filling:

About 3 pounds ripe peaches (I used about 6 peaches)

1 cup fresh blackberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for topping crust before baking

Instructions:

Make the Crust

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.

2. Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture.  The mixture will crumble into different shapes and sizes.  That is okay.  Just work it down until the butter is evenly distributed.

3. Stir together the ice cold water and vinegar.

4. Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the water and vinegar mixture.

5. Use a fork to bring the dough together and try to moisten all of the flour bits.

6. On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture and divide it into two.  Gently knead into two disks and then wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Dough

Make the Filling

1. Wash peaches and blackberries.  Slice each peach into about 10-12 slices.

2. In a medium bowl, combine peach slices and blackberries.

Peaches and blackberries

3. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch.

4. Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit, and gently toss together with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the lemon juice.

Pie filling

5. Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the crust out.

Make the Pie

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a rack in the center of the oven, and place a baking sheet on the lower rack, just below where you’re going to place the pie to catch any pie drippings.

2. Remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into about a 13-inch round.  Roll the dough a few strokes, then use your fingers to move the emerging circle around the floured surface.  This ensures that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface.  When you roll the dough and you can see it start springing back, that means that the butter is warming and the crust shouldn’t be rolled out anymore.  Gently lift the 13-inch round from the floured surface and center in the 9-inch baking dish.  Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

3. Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, moving the dough across the floured surface every once in a while, and creating a roughly 13-inch circle.  The circle does not need to be perfect as you are going to cut it into strips.  Cut the circle into roughly 1-inch wide strips .

4. Remove the bottom crust and fruit filling from the fridge.  Gently pour the fruit filling into the pie dish.

5. Assemble the lattice top crust by placing strips in one direction about 1/2 inch apart.  Then fold up every other strip in half and place a long strip perpendicular across the middle.  Unfold the strips and begin weaving the other strips until the pie is full.  There are much better instructions for making a lattice crust, but I think I captured the highlights.

6. With your fingers press the top and bottom crusts together and fold under.  Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough.  If you are using the leftover dough scraps to make a design with cut-outs (as shown in the photo), you will want to place them on top of the crust before moving on.

Lattice crust and cut-outs

7. Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Sugar and spice and everything nice

8.  Place pie in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven heat to 375 and bake for 45 to 55 more minutes.  When 25 minutes are left on the timer, place a crust cover over the crust to prevent burning.

Cover the crust

9.  Remove from the oven when crust is browned and golden, and the juices are bubbling.  Allow to cool for 2 hours before serving.

Peach Blackberry Pie

Or let your patience get the best of you and serve with all of the juicy goodness oozing out as shown here.

Peach Blackberry Pie

If there is any leftover, place covered in the fridge to store.  We stored the leftovers in the fridge and warmed them up at 350 for about 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!  Even if you need to wait until next summer to do so!

A Berry Tasty Summer Treat – Berry-Lemonade Cupcakes

It has been a week since our blueberry and blackberry adventure and we continue to work our way through the stash in the fridge.  I had hoped to bake with the berries at some point, other than the impromptu muffins I made for the new neighbors, but I haven’t had a good enough excuse to use my time baking rather than tackling one of the more pressing home projects.  Until this past Sunday.

We had plans to attend a friend’s dinner party and I wanted to contribute something that took advantage of our (still) fresh blueberries and blackberries.  I glanced through recipes online long enough to realize it was just overcomplicating the process.  Instead, I remembered seeing a delicious recipe that my friend, Kelli, had posted awhile back.  While I had not personally tried them, they looked like the perfect summer treat by combining both blueberries and blackberries with lemon!  Besides, we were pressed for time and I had just about all of the ingredients on hand, so I could get moving on the recipe while Justin ran out to pick up a lemon and cream cheese for the frosting.

You can find the recipe on her post or shown below:

BERRY-LEMONADE CUPCAKES

Lemonade-Berry Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes

  • 1 stick softened butter (1/2 cup)
  • 2  cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons grated lemon zest (1 large lemon should yield enough for the cupcakes as well as the frosting)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole) or buttermilk (make buttermilk by adding 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam – (any berry jam or preserves will do.  Recipe calls for raspberry jam, but I used blackberry preserves as that was what I had on hand.)
  • 1 cup blackberries (extra for topping)
  • 2/3 cup blueberries (extra for topping)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 packages softened cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (this is another thing I loved about the recipe.  It did not require 4-5 cups of powdered sugar!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh lemon zest to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  3. Add one egg at a time and then your lemon zest.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
  5. In another bowl, mix 3/4 cup lemon juice, the milk or buttermilk, and vanilla.
  6. Add the flour and buttermilk mixture alternating each addition, beginning and ending with the flour. Once your batter is made, gently fold in your raspberry jam (or preserves), blackberries and blueberries.  Scoop into your cupcake liners, 2/3 of the way full.  Bake for 20-22 minutes.  Let cupcakes cool before icing.
  7. While cupcakes are baking, cream the butter and cream cheese.  Slowly add the powdered sugar until your desired consistency is reached.  Then add the vanilla and lemon zest.

As mentioned, we were in a bit of a rush to make it on time to the dinner party, so I turned to my trusty Ziplock bag frosting trick to finish these bad boys and get on the road.  As we watched the timer count down, my hands were shaking as I poured the frosting into the bag.  Then, when the cupcakes came out of the oven, I nearly scolded my fingers as I placed the piping hot cupcakes onto a plate in the fridge to help the cooling process.  I felt like it was a scene straight out of Cupcake Wars.  All the rushing around was worth it – we made it to the dinner with about 10 minutes to spare and the cupcakes were a hit!  A perfect treat to round out a delicious summer meal.

Here are a couple of photos that I took with my phone as I balanced the cupcakes on my lap en route to the party.

Lemonade-Berry Cupcakes

The recipe yields approximately 24 cupcakes (I ended up with 30 regular sized cupcakes).  As you can see below, I took a dozen cupcakes to the dinner party, which was more than enough, and I had over a dozen left at home.  What does this mean? Justin’s coworkers get to start the week off right come Monday morning.  Who says this can’t double as a well-balanced breakfast?  After all, the recipe includes eggs, milk, flour, berries, cream cheese – it’s practically every breakfast item combined into one!

Lemonade-Berry Cupcakes

We loved this recipe and plan to add it to our growing list of summer treats we will make again in the future.  If you are looking for something to make with blueberries or blackberries that is a little less conventional than your standard cobbler or pie, give this a whirl.  You will not be disappointed.

Blueberries for Al – blueberry picking & blueberry muffins

Blueberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal.  What a great summertime read.  We received the book from one of my dear friends, Suzanne, before Alister was born.  Beautifully illustrated, it tells the story of a mother taking her child to pick blueberries at the same time and place that a mother bear takes her cub.  After a slight mix-up between mother and child, it has a happy ending with Sal and mother back in the kitchen canning blueberries.  We love the book, and there is no better time to read it than during blueberry season in the summer.

Having already given us the book, Suzanne surprised us again a couple of months after Alister was born.  She stopped by to drop off fresh blueberries right out of the patch.  They were the best blueberries I had ever tasted and I was determined to figure out the secret.  Turns out, it wasn’t much of a secret at all – she hand-picked them from a pick-your-own orchard in the area.

Well a year later, we found ourselves introducing Alister to the deliciousness of blueberries and it was love at first bite.  He cannot get enough of them, and so they have become a key ingredient in every meal he eats.  We’re thrilled that his treat of choice is an antioxidant and fiber-rich treat, but we also knew that blueberry season would soon come to an end.   But did it have to?  If we stocked up while they were in season, then we could find a way to surprise our little buddy and sneak his favorite food back into his life throughout the Fall and Winter.

Remembering the delicious blueberries Suzanne gave us, we were inspired to do the same.  We decided to try the same orchard/berry farm that Suzanne visited – Butler’s Orchard – even though we debated going back to the same place we picked apples and pumpkins last Fall.    And what better weekend than this past weekend?  The temperature dropped about 30 degrees from the previous week.  And to make the deal a little sweeter, it was the final weekend for blueberry picking at Butler’s Orchard,  but it was the first weekend for blackberry picking!

Here is a look at our blueberry picking adventure.  Get ready to start SALivating!

Blueberries!

A lovely day for picking berries.  Mid-seventies, a few clouds, and very little humidity, unlike the swamp we are accustomed to around the DC area.

Blueberries as far as the eye could see.

The blueberries were ripe and delicious for picking.  To think we were concerned there wouldn’t be any left!  I assure you our containers were overflowing.

Blueberries

See any similarities?  Even the same disheveled hairstyle.  Alister had just as much fun squishing the blueberries as he had devouring them.

Blueberries for Al

Blueberries for Al

Blueberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal

After we realized Alister was having a little too much fun squishing the blueberries we picked, we gave him his own container and filled it with about a dozen berries instead of the hundred he was trying to smash.  This seemed to entertain him for awhile.  Well, at least for a few minutes while the dozen berries made their way from the container to his belly.  Just as Sal did in the book, Alister took a few berries, dropped them into his container, and then ate them.  Ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk.

Blueberries for Al

When we were done with the blueberries, we made our way over to the blackberries that were just beginning to ripen.  You can see it was still early in the season, but I managed to fill a couple of containers with plump blackberries.

Blackberries

After we finished picking blackberries, we headed home and started making grand plans for our fresh picked fruit.  Pies, crisps, ice cream, smoothies.  We thought of it all.  However, over the past few days, we have enjoyed eating them in their natural form.  No added sugar necessary.  Here is Alister taking advantage of the summer’s bounty, once again.

Blueberries for Al

And once again.  Nom nom nom.

Blueberries for Al

Despite my good intentions to enjoy them in their purest form, it just so happened that our new next door neighbors moved in that day.  What a perfect excuse to use some blueberries in a baked good (and then give it away so I do not devour it myself).  After a quick google for the best blueberry muffins, I came across the following recipe that resulted in light, fluffy, almost cupcake-like blueberry muffins.   If you are looking for a blueberry muffin that is a little on the sweeter side (for my taste) and received rave reviews online, here you go:

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS – recipe found here and listed below.

Blueberry Muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine, at room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or 2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

For Topping

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, mixed with
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 375°.
  2. Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups (or 12 large size muffins).
  3. In bowl, mix butter until creamy.  Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.
  5. Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt.
  6. With spoon, fold in half of flour then half of milk into batter; repeat.
  7. Fold in blueberries.
  8. Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle topping onto each muffin.
  9. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch.

Presidential Cookie Bake Off, Round 2: Michelle Obama’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Inauguration Day!  As people crowded the National Mall to watch the POTUS take his second oath and hear Beyonce belt out the National Anthem on this chilly January day, I paid tribute in the comfort of my own home by baking a batch of the First Lady’s winning white and dark chocolate chip cookies.

Ever since I baked the delicious winning recipe for the Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies back around the election in November, I knew that I would pay tribute to the winner of the election by baking a batch of this election’s winning cookie recipe come Inauguration Day.  However, when glancing through the ingredients of the recipe, I could not believe this submission was from the same person who started the Let’s Move campaign.  Two sticks (1 cup) of butter and a stick (1 cup) of butter-flavored Crisco??!!  No wonder it beat Ann Romney’s measly one-stick-of-butter M&M cookies.  Well since we do not have the strict workout routine exhibited by Michelle Obama, I cut the butter requirement in half.  Besides, I was sure the cookies would look like pancakes if I mixed in that much butter.

Other than halving the butter, I kept pretty close to the original recipe.  The only other modifications I made were toasting the walnuts and swapping out milk chocolate chips for semi-sweet since that is what we had on hand.

The original recipe is located here at Family Circle and my modified version with less butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and toasted walnuts is listed below.

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (1/2 stick) Crisco butter-flavored solid vegetable shortening
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup each white chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and mint chocolate chips
2 cups chopped and toasted walnuts
 
Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Using the paddle attachment of a standing mixer, cream butter, vegetable shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  On low-speed, beat in flour mixture.

Image

While the original recipe recommends adding the chocolate chips and walnuts and mixing by hand, I took the easier route and used the stir setting on my standing mixer.  I poured in all chocolate chips – white, semi-sweet, and mint – and the two whopping cups of walnuts at the same time, and let the mixer work its magic.

Image

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

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Having taken a month-long hiatus from baking after the holidays, I finally had an opportunity to try out my new cookie sheets and liners that Justin gave me for Christmas.  Very clever of my loving husband.  New baking sheets mean desire to bake more.  Baking more means tasty treats for Justin to eat.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.  My first sheet yielded smaller cookies and baked for 10-11 minutes.  My second sheet yielded heaping tablespoon-sized cookies and baked for 12 minutes.

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Now begins the waiting game.  Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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Enjoy!

Carrotapalooza, Part 3: Baked and Wired Carrot Cake Cupcakes

After successfully using carrots to make both soup and muffins, I have reached the moment you’ve been waiting for (and by “you” I mean “mom”).  The third and final installment of Carrotapalooza!  Also known as the time I finally use carrots in the most obvious baked form and put them in a cake!  Or little cup-sized cakes as was the case here.

About a year ago, I stumbled upon some recipes on the Taste of Georgetown site and made a note to revisit the site when the opportunity presented itself.  Well, this past summer, the first opportunity appeared.

We were visiting my family in Indiana and after my family spent the week catering to us, we returned the favor and prepared dinner for everyone, complete with the Sprinkles strawberry cupcake recipe listed on the site.  While everyone claimed to love the meal, including the dessert, I was not thrilled with the outcome of the cupcakes for a few reasons.  One, I followed the advice of some recipe reviews and added extra strawberries to the frosting, which added flavor but impacted the texture.  Two, the frosting-to-cupcake ratio was quite high and would have been better suited for mini cupcakes.  And three, trying to keep buttercream frosting from melting on a 100-degree day in July is nearly impossible unless you consume the cupcake the moment it comes out of the fridge, which sacrifices the moisture of the cake.

In the end, I do not think the cupcakes were bad.  It is that they required a lot of preparation while I was trying to prepare the rest of the meal, so I suppose I had unrealistic expectations of a perfect result.  I plan on trying this recipe again and adjusting it to address the concerns I noted above.  One, I will not increase the amount of strawberries based on the reviews.  Two, I will make mini, bite-sized cupcakes instead of frosting-heavy, regular-sized cupcakes.  Three, I will avoid making them on days with triple-digit temps.  And finally, I will make sure I make these when I am not trying to prepare an elaborate dinner at the same time.

My attempt at Sprinkles strawberry cupcakes may have been less than ideal, but I was not about to give up on my grand plans to try other Taste of Georgetown recipes.  And fortunately, the next opportunity was a lot more successful.

Thanksgiving was nearing and I was planning to contribute a couple of desserts.  I had just finished making an apple pie like the one I tried and posted here, and as I was considering making another one, I opened the fridge to see that never-ending bag of carrots staring back at me.  Light bulb moment!  I remembered seeing a carrot cake recipe on the Taste of Georgetown site, and while risky considering my previous cupcake flop, I was eager to try the recipe.

If you live in the DC metro area, you may have had the pleasure of trying the delicious handcrafted baked goods from Baked and Wired, one of the bakeries/cupcakeries in the now oversaturated Georgetown cupcake market.  However, whether or not you’re local, you now have the opportunity make their famous carrot cake cupcakes at home!

Cake:

  • 2 ¼ (11.5) oz. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 ½ cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted, and cooled (I purchased toasted and chopped pecans to reduce the time)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  If making a round cake, grease and flour two 9” pans.  If making cupcakes, place cupcake liners in 16 regular-sized cupcake holders.

Whisk together all dry ingredients.

Blend all ingredients at low speed, except nuts.

It's mixing time!

Now it is time to change things up from the normal mixing routine with the paddle attachment.  Use the WHISK attachment on the mixer and whisk for 3 minutes on high.

Don't forget to use the whisk!

Stir in pecans.

Stir in the pecans

Pour the batter evenly into the lined cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Bake for 34 minutes.  The recipe did not specify if this was for the round cakes or cupcakes.  While this amount of time seemed high for cupcakes, as most baking times tend to range from 18-23 minutes, I baked my 16 cupcakes for nearly 34 minutes and kept an eye on them to make sure they did not overbake.  I cannot imagine round cakes would bake for much longer than 34 minutes since they tend to bake between 25-35 minutes.

When finished baking, remove and allow to cool.

Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 lb. 8 oz. powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated milk (may not need)

Blend together all the ingredients.  Apply to cooled cake or cupcakes.  Here is my first attempt at using a piping bag/tube.  It could use work.

Mmmmm

Spread additional ½ cup of chopped and toasted pecans over the icing for decoration.  You can see I got a little tip-happy with the piping options as a first-timer.

Packed and ready to go!

These were a hit and I will definitely make again.  My family said the cake was really good but the cream cheese frosting took them over the top.  Who knew that the one thing that left me unimpressed with the strawberry cupcakes would be the same thing that won the approval of the carrot cupcakes?

Now that I finally reached the end of my 10-pound bag of carrots without turning my skin orange, I think we were convinced it was a worthwhile purchase.  I’m sure it is only a matter of time before we find carrots taking over our fridge again just begging for a return of Carrotapalooza!

Carrotapalooza, Part 2: Carrot Muffins

Following the success of the curried carrot soup, I decided to continue on my carrot quest.  I found this recipe on Pinterest awhile back and it has proven to be a great go-to recipe whenever I have extra carrots to use.  It is quick and easy, and similar to the curried carrot soup, you probably have all the ingredients on hand assuming you have carrots.

Here is the linked recipe along with my modifications in parentheses:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup white flour (1 1/4 white whole wheat flour)
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar (2/3 cup light brown sugar)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch fine salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (ish) of grated carrots (3-4 medium carrots)

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Whisk oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a medium bowl, then add to dry mixture.

Combine wet and dry ingredients

Stir until just combined, then add carrots & stir until incorporated.  Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups, which is about 2/3 full.

Batter filled cup

Bake at 350 for 28-30 minutes.

Baking time!

After the muffins have finished baking, take them out and let cool to touch, which is probably 15 minutes.

Nom nom nom

Serve warm-ish (although they are just as tasty when served cool).  Enjoy!

Next up in Carrotapalooza  – Carrot Cake Cupcakes!

Presidential Cookie Bake Off, Round 1: Laura Bush’s Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies

Another Presidential Election down and another accurate prediction by Family Circle’s Presidential Cookie Bake Off.  This time, Michelle Obama’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies took the prize over Ann Romney’s M&M Cookies.

In the spirit of all things election, Justin convinced me I needed to bake cookies from one of the Presidential Cookie Bake Off candidates, past or present.  We put our political alliances aside and  looked at the list of entries dating back to the 1992 election when Hillary Clinton and Barbara Bush kicked off the tradition.  Cookies ranged from oatmeal to chocolate chip to ginger snaps, but we were most intrigued by a recipe that seemed to require dumping just about all of our  baking mix-ins  into a single mixing bowl.

That particular recipe was Laura Bush’s winning entry in 2000 against Tipper Gore with her Texas Governor’s Mansion Cowboy Cookies, which appeared as a classic chocolate chip cookie.  With oats.  And  pecans.  And coconut.  And more chocolate chips.  Here is a look at the recipe and a glance at our joint effort, yes Justin joined me in the kitchen, when trying this winning recipe out for ourselves.

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat white flour.)
  • tablespoon baking powder
  • tablespoon baking soda
  • tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • eggs
  • tablespoon vanilla extract
  • cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • cups sweetened flake coconut
  • cups chopped pecans (8 ounces)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.
  • In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars to combine, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.
  • Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.  

Sorry, Justin, it does not say anything about testing 20 chocolate chips before adding to the mixture.

Adding the mix-ins gave the standing mixer a run for its money.  I had to pull out all the stops and actually use the lid to prevent cookie dough from flying all over the kitchen during the “stir” phase.

Everything IS bigger in Texas.  Including the cookie recipes.

  • For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.

  • Bake in 350 degree F oven 17 to 20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies to rack to cool. (I baked standard-sized cookies for 10-12 minutes.)

Well, there you have it!  We loved this recipe and will definitely make it again despite Justin’s mind-over-matter aversion to coconut.  It actually reminded me of Potbelly’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which I have never been able to replicate.

Two final notes:

(1) A little detail you should know about this recipe in case it was not obvious with the amount of flour and oats required in the recipe – this makes a lot of cookies.  A LOT of cookies.  It notes around 3 dozen cookies, but the recipe fails to tell you that if you follow the recipe and make standard cookie scooper-sized cookies, you will end up with nearly 90 cookies.  Needless to say, in addition to the  couple dozen cookies we threw in the  freezer, we made our  coworkers pretty happy this week.

(2) You may note that I have declared this Presidential Cookie Bake Off, Round 1.  See what I did there?  Oh yeah, there will be more rounds of  former Presidential cookie submissions.  And what better time to kick this off than now that the cookie baking season is quickly approaching, if it isn’t already in full swing.  I think Justin and I will soon try the other recipe we had our eye on for this round –  the First Lady’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Judging from the title of the cookie, I’m pretty sure Michele did not pick anything from the garden for this recipe 🙂

MY LIMBO REALITY

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Simple Scratch Cooking

A Guide to Easy, Everyday Meals

wedding withdrawal

paper crafts & baked goods

The Sweet Life

baking, Boston, and the pursuit of happiness

The Honest Toddler

Juice. Crackers. TV.