Sending everyone the very best wishes for 2017!
Sending everyone the very best wishes for 2017!
Rich & moist, chocolate banana muffins with dried cherries and bittersweet chocolate.
Heart’s Desire Muffins
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. granulated white sugar
1/4 c. natural cocoa
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 c. mashed overripe banana
1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. dried cherries
1 1/2 oz. fine bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 T. confectioner’s sugar, stirred together with a pinch of cinnamon.
Cinnamon gumdrops, optional, or desired garnish
Paper heart-shaped muffin molds*
May your heart be full of happiness this Valentine’s Day!
Orange Chocolate Chip Baked Donuts
Donut batter ingredients:
1 3/4 c. + 2 T. white rice flour (for gluten-free) or all-purpose flour
1/3 c. granulated white sugar
2 t. baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 c. buttermilk
2 lg. eggs
2 T. unsalted butter, melted
2 t. fresh, finely grated orange zest
1 t. orange extract
2.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 T. + 1 t. fresh orange juice
1/2 t. orange extract
2 T. honey
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 6-mold donut baking pan with oil, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, orange zest, and orange extract. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until the mixture is smooth. If the batter is a little too stiff, slowly stir in just a little bit more buttermilk. Fold in chopped chocolate.
4. Divide the batter between the oiled donut molds. Spread batter with the back of a spoon to smooth out tops. If needed, run your fingers under cold water, shake them off lightly, then use them to shape the donuts. Batter will stand slightly above the top of the donut pan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until done to the touch.
5. While the donuts are baking, prepare the topping. Stir together confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, orange juice, orange extract, and honey until very smooth.
6. When donuts are done baking, invert onto a cooling rack. Glaze right away, then sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately.
More baked donut recipes:
Enjoy! Have a great day!
These light-textured chocolate cupcakes, served with whipped cream and cherries, are really fun for guests. An added bonus is that you can make the cupcakes ahead of time and freeze them until you have company. Just thaw, top with whipped cream, garnish and serve! Ready to start thinking about Valentine’s Day?
Black Forest Cake Cupcakes
Makes about 24
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. Dutch-process cocoa powder*
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 c. whole milk (or sour cream for a denser cupcake)
3 lg. eggs
2 t. cherry liqueur
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated white sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. dried cherries, finely chopped
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
Sweetened whipped cream for topping
24 fresh dark sweet cherries
* If you need to, you can substitute natural cocoa, but Dutch-process has better flavor in this recipe.
** I use plain white papers for baking, then slip the muffins into decorative papers or foils for serving.
When baking an assortment of cookies for the holidays, it is nice to have both a variety of shapes and of flavors. Mexican Wedding Cookies are small, buttery, nut cookies, rolled in sugar that provide a contrast to drop cookies and to cut-out cookies in shape and provide contrast to chocolatey and to fruity cookies in flavor. This version, with spices mixed into the rolling sugar is both flavorful and aromatic. I made this batch last night and loved the way that they made the kitchen smell. Added bonuses are that these cookies are easy to make keep well for gift-giving. Enjoy!
Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies
Makes about 32
Mexican Wedding Cookies – also known as Russian Tea Cakes, Italian Tea Cakes, Snowball Cookies, and Butter Balls, and probably a dozen other names – are a traditional Christmas cookie in the United States. They are buttery cookies made with ground nuts, baked, and then rolled in confectioner’s sugar. In this version, aromatic cinnamon and cloves are added to the sugar.
• 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
• 2 T. confectioner’s sugar + 1/2 c. extra for rolling cookies
• 1 t. vanilla extract, or almond extract (if using almonds), or hazelnut extract (if using hazelnuts)*
• 1 c. all-purpose flour
• 1 c. pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts, very finely chopped or pulsed in the food processor to the texture of coarse kosher salt
• 1 t. ground Vietnamese cinnamon
• 1/4 t. ground cloves
Enjoy! Happy Holidays!
These festive, chocolatey-peppermint, cheesecake cupcakes are easy to make with a food processor and can be made ahead of time and frozen so that you have them on hand for holiday company or surprise visitors – that is, unless a certain someone in your house likes to sneak into the freezer and eat them as is. You might need to make extras! Enjoy!
North Pole Cupcakes
An easy to make, festive treat for the winter holiday season!
• 12 Mint Oreo cookies (or gluten-free sandwich-style cookies)
• 2/3 c. granulated white sugar
• 16 miniature peppermint candy canes, divided
• 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips
• 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 c. sour cream
• 2 lg. eggs
• 1 T. chocolate liqueur
• 1/2 t. mint extract
• whipped cream for topping (canned is ok)
• shaved chocolate, chocolate sprinkles, sugar pearls, or sugar sprinkles for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers. Place one cookie in the center of each muffin paper. (The cookies will be a little smaller than the bottom of the muffin cups, but the cookies puff out during baking.)
2. Unwrap 4 of the candy canes and break candy into small pieces (should be about 1 T.). Using a large food processor, process sugar and broken candy canes until they are crushed to a fine consistency. Add chocolate chips and process until the chips are finely crushed. Add cream cheese and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add sour cream and process until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add eggs, chocolate liqueur, and mint extract. Process or beat until well blended and perfectly smooth. Scrape down bowl.
3. Divide cheesecake batter between muffin cups, filling to the top, but not over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheesecake batter is puffy and set in the middle. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. (The cupcakes will sink in the middle as they cool and don’t look very pretty until garnished.)
4. Once completely cool, cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. (Once cooled, muffins can be removed from the baking pan, placed in a plastic container, covered tightly, and frozen until shortly before serving. If no one sneaks into the freezer to eat them, cupcakes should keep for about 1 month.)
5. Serve cold. (If frozen, remove cupcakes from freezer shortly before serving – about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, remove muffin papers. Garnish each cupcake with whipped cream, shaved chocolate or other decorations, and an unwrapped candy cane. Enjoy! Happy Holidays!
Variation: Instead of whipped cream, top with chocolate ganache or chocolate buttercream flavored with peppermint.
It was cold and dreary here today, so my friend Sara and her daughters came over to bake cookies. What a perfect afternoon to have the oven on … and the girls did a great job!
Chocolate Mint Crinkles
Makes about 58 cookies
Chocolaty sugar cookies with Andes’ Mints.
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. Dutch process cocoa
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 c. granulated white sugar
1 lg. egg
2 t. bourbon or 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. finely chopped Andes’ mints or Andes’ creme de menthe baking chips
2/3 c. sparkling decorator’s sugars*
* Sparkling sugars are available through baking specialty companies such as King Arthur Flour and Wilton. For this recipe, I use white, green or gold sugar, depending on the occasion.
Happy Baking! Have a great weekend!