Sunday, November 28, 2010

Orange Yogurt Poppy Seed Muffins

I first made these muffins with my sister a few weeks ago using a lemon and lemon yogurt, as the recipe is originally written. They were sooo good and I don't usually like lemon baked goods! I love orange though, so I decided to make the recipe again using an orange and orange cream yogurt. These muffins are so easy to whip up- it's  a one bowl recipe and then you just dip it in the powdered sugar/orange juice glaze when they're warm out of the oven. My mom loved these muffins so much that she ate 5 in one day!

Here's the recipe:
(adapted from Betty Crocker)

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1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 6oz container orange or orange cream yogurt (I used Yoplait)
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2-3 teaspoons fresh orange juice
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together the milk, vegetable oil, yogurt and egg. Stir in the remaining ingredients, being careful not to overbeat. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown. For the glaze, in a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Dip the tops of the warm muffins in the glaze and let set.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting ready for Thanksgiving!


I took the day off today to get ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow and also because I had a dentist appointment. I usually take off the whole week of Thanksgiving, but this year I only took off today. My 2 sisters and I are cooking our Thanksgiving meal and my youngest sister is hosting at her house. There won't be too many people there- just my mom & dad, my sister, her boyfriend and her baby, my aunt, me and my other sister. I'm in charge of the pies, stuffing and the mashed potatoes and I thought that I'd get the pies and stuffings prepared today. Things didn't get off to a great start when I couldn't find my pie plate or my tart pan and I tore apart my pantry (which was rather disorganized) looking for them. I finally found my tart pan and the mystery of the missing pie plate was solved when I texted my sister and she said it was at her house. I have no idea why it's there or when I left it there- I can't even remember the last time I made pie! At least now I know where it is and I'm going to pick it up later so that I can bake my pumpkin pie. I've partially put my pantry back together and am trying to keep it a little more organized.

Here's a little list of what I'm making this year:

Cornbread stuffing with bacon, apples and pecans. I started off with a box of cornbread stuffing from Trader Joe's and I used this recipe from goodLife {eats} as a base, although I modified it by using apples instead of pears and onions instead of leeks and I left out the cranberries and raisins.

Johnson Stuffing from BakedBree. I'm not sure where the name comes from and it seems a lot like the Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix you'd buy in a bag except here you're using fresh bread instead of dried bread. It smells really good though and I'm sure it'll taste great when we eat it tomorrow!

Pumpkin Pie. I usually make this double decker pumpkin pie from Rachael Ray's magazine, but this year I decided to do something different. When I saw that Food Blogga made Dorie Greenspan's Twofer Pie, I wanted to make that. However, my sister loves pecan pie and she insisted that I do an individual pecan pie and didn't want it paired with the pumpkin pie. So I'm using Dorie's recipe for the pumpkin pie portion and instead of topping it with the pecans, I'm going to sprinkle toffee bits on the top after it's baked, an idea I got from Recipe Girl.

Pecan Pie. For my sister's pecan pie, I use this recipe from but instead of making them squares, I used a pre-made pie dough, pressed that into my tart pan and then made the pecan topping from the recipe and baked it as a tart.

I'm also going to make BakedBree's pumpkin butter cake but since I seem to be on a kick of modifying recipes, I'm going to use sweet potato butter because I bought some from a farm when I went pumpkin picking earlier in the fall and I want to see how it tastes with sweet potato butter.

Mashed Potatoes- I'm making these tomorrow so they're nice and fresh and I'm using my potato ricer to get the smoothest potatoes possible!

I'll come back with pictures of everything and more tips after tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving everyone : )

Monday, November 22, 2010

Margherita Pizza

Who doesn't love Margherita Pizza? I know I do- it's 1 of my favorites! It's so easy to make, but I figured I'd post  my own spin on it.


1 lb. ball of pizza dough (homemade or purchased from a pizza restaurant)
approx. 8 oz. of fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup of pizza sauce (I used the basic pizza sauce from Recipegirl)
Fresh basil (as much as you like) (or, I use the frozen cubes from Dorot and I grate it over the pie with my microplane grater)

Stretch out your pizza dough (or roll out in my case, I am still not very good @ stretching out pizza dough). I roll mine out on a cutting board and then transfer to a cookie sheet or pizza stone. I know you're not supposed to put your pizza stone in a hot oven, but I haven't figured out how to use a pizza peel to transfer my pizza from the cutting board to the stone already in the oven, so I just get it ready on the pizza stone and put it in the preheated oven and (luckily- knock on wood) my pizza stone has held up so far! Spread pizza sauce over the dough, leaving about a half inch border around. Drizzle with some olive oil and bake in a 500 degree oven until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes in my oven. Take out of the oven and sprinkle about 8 oz diced fresh mozzarella over the surface. Sprinkle or grate basil  over the cheese and sprinkle some salt over as well. Put back in the oven and bake for about another 5 minutes, until the mozzarella is melted. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

BAKED Sunday Mornings: Nutella Scones

Hello, this is the first recipe chosen from Baked Explorations for the BAKED Sunday Mornings baking group. This is the first baking group I've joined and I'm excited! I went to BAKED in Brooklyn once and I loved it. The whole cookbook looks amazing and I'm excited to try out recipes that I usually wouldn't, either because an ingredient doesn't appeal to me or because it looks intimidating. Now, with the baking group, I'll have to try new things, and I'm pretty sure I'll end up liking it all!

Unfortunately, I didn't have any hazelnuts to include in the recipe. I first made these scones a month or so ago and didn't have hazelnuts then either, and the recipe still turns out amazing! I love nutella (who doesn't?) and the flavor really comes through on this recipe!

This recipe is so easy to make, it really took me about 10 minutes to get together. I made a half batch because I didn't want any to go to waste (although I probably could have eaten almost a whole batch by myself!)
This is before I cut in the butter

The dough all patted out and spread with Nutella (did you notice my awesome Starry Night cutting board??)

The scones out of the oven and freshly drizzled. Unfortunately, my drizzling skills leave something to be desired...Oh well, I'll just have to practice!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Head on over to bakedsundaymornings to see how everyone else's turned out and to get the recipe!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

I knew I had to make these cupcakes after seeing them on Cake, Batter, and Bowl recently. I love pumpkin and I love nutella. A few weeks ago I made pumpkin nutella quickbread and the combination was delicious! As I usually do, I halved the recipe and brought the cupcakes to work to share with my co-workers. I think they liked them!

Here's my adapted recipe:

For the cupcakes:
7.5 ounces pumpkin puree
3/4 cup + 2 table spoons flour
2 table spoons cornstarch
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk

For the frosting:
2 ounces softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons Nutella
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup powdered sugar


Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Simmer the pumpkin puree in a small nonstick pan over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until reduced to 1/2 cup. Let pumpkin cool while you mix together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until creamed. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth. Slowly mix in half the flour mixture then the buttermilk and then the rest of the flour mixture. Line cupcake pans with liners and use an ice cream scoop to fill the liners with the batter. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack. Cool for 20 minutes or until cupcakes are room temperature.

To make the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, nutella and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. This made 9 cupcakes for me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homemade Twix Bars

I've seen these posted a few times on other blogs recently and I knew that I just had to try them because I love Twix! I made a half batch and I left out the rice flour because I don't have a spice grinder to make any. I also didn't make the caramel sauce recipe- I cheated a little and used Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce instead. These tasted great!

Here is my adapted recipe:

(adapted from the blog Not Without Salt)

The Shortbread:

2 3/4 ounces unsalted butter (5 1/2 tablespoons) at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Gradually add the flour, cornstarch, and salt and allow the dough to come together. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the loaf pans. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the shortbread is a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Top with 1/2 of a jar of Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce. Let set.

Chocolate Glaze:

1/3 cup of milk chocolate
1 tablespoon unslated butter

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, in 15 second intervals, stirring until melted. Pour over the caramel layer and smooth the chocolate in a nice even layer. Refrigerate until chilled then slice and serve.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Goat Cheese Pistachio Pizza

I made this pizza after eating the Goat Cheese Pistachio Pizza @ Mario Batali's restaurant Tarry Lodge in Portchester, NY. The menu description sounds disgusting- goat cheese, pistachios, truffle honey, but it is the most amazing pizza I've ever had. I immediately tried to recreate it and my friends have told me that this is a pretty close representation. I use a basic pizza dough and I got the white truffle honey from a kitchen specialty shop. It can also be found online. Before I found the white truffle honey, I used regular honey and white truffle oil.

Goat Cheese Pizza Recipe:
1lb. pizza dough
approx. 1 tablespoon white truffle honey
4 oz log of goat cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup of pistachios, crushed with rolling pin
1/4 cup sliced red onion

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Spread out the pizza dough and drizzle the white truffle honey over it. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the dough. Spread the goat cheese over the pizza dough, leaving about a half inch around the edges for the crust. Next, spread the pistachios and the red onions over the top of the goat cheese. Put the pizza on your pizza wheel or cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the pizza crust is browned and the cheese is melted. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Starting out

Hi! I love to bake and have been following other baking blogs (silently) for awhile now. I was inspired to create my own blog to keep track of the recipes I try!