Monday, November 29, 2010

Pumpkin Muffins, two ways

It's still November, so it's STILL pumpkin season, right?
I've confessed my love for pumpkin already...let me share with you two of my favorite muffins. One savory, one sweet.
These Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins come from the Baked Explorations cookbook.  I am IN.LOVE. with these muffins (I would happily eat all 12 in one sitting).  Even though they are listed in the breakfast section of the cookbook, they are wonderful with a cup of butternut squash soup or a bowl chili.

Pumpkin Cheddar Muffins
{adapted from Baked Explorations}

1 c. canned pumpkin
3 TBSP sour cream
2 eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, cooled and melted
2 c. flour
1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 & 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 & 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 & 1/4  c. grated sharp white cheddar

Preheat oven to 400.  Use a paper towel to lightly coat the insides of 12 muffin cups with vegetable oil.

Whisk together the pumpkin and sour cream.  Whisk in the eggs and cooled, melted butter until combined.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, pepper and brown sugar.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients into the well and gently fold until combined.  Fold in 3/4ths of the cheese.
Divide the batter among the muffin cups.  Sprinkle tops with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out the muffins to a cooling rack.  Serve warm.


Next up....the sweet.
These muffins can also be called "cake muffins."  They're SO easy and SO delicious.  Yes, they are made from a cake mix...and you know, a cake mix now and then comes in handy.

{And that pumpkin makes 'em healthy. Trust me, I'm a blogger.}

If you are one of the crazy pumpkin-haters (and I know you're out there), never fear, these don't taste like pumpkin, they taste like CAKE!

Vanilla Pumpkin Muffins

2 egg whites
1 box French Vanilla cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
sanding or sparkling sugar

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly coat 15 or so baking liners with cooking spray or vegetable oil.  Place in a muffin tin.

Lightly beat the egg whites. Stir in the cake mix and the pumpkin.  Stir until combined.

Spoon into the prepared baking cups and top with a bit of sanding sugar for a little sparkle.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops bounce back when gently pressed.

Cool 10 minutes in the pans, then remove and cool completely on a cooling rack.

How do you like your pumpkin?  Sweet or savory?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are are getting ready for a wonderful Thanksgiving....full of family, friends and PIE!
If you're in the mood to whip up some cookies to take to the feast, here's a simple idea for you.  This turkey doesn't require a special's a combination of a few shapes you probably have already...or can cut by hand. 
I used a flower cutter, a small circle, and hand-cut a small rectangle.  A video of the process of putting them all together is on University of Cookie.
This turkey shape idea came from Paper Glitter's free Thanksgiving printables. Printables and kids' coloring books are great places to look for cookie inspiration.

Make your cookies, break out the royal icing along with Americolor food colorings in Super Red, Orange, Chocolate Brown, Egg Yellow and Super Black.   Have fun!
Happy Thanksgiving, you guys!  I am thankful for each and every one of you....except for you spammers, but other than that....each and every one. :)
Gobble, gobble!
{ my cousin, Maura, currently in labor with her first little one...we are thinking of you! Can't wait to meet your little turkey!}

Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Tasty than a Chocolate Frog

*Do you have the theme song in your head yet?*

Last week, part one of the movie of the last Harry Potter book was released.

We haven't seen it, yet, but I must tell you, we LOVE Harry Potter.  At first glance, it may seem a story of wizards, but at it's heart, it is a tale of the power of love, loyalty, bravery, sacrifice and friendship.
Once I thought kiddo was old enough, we started reading them together.  Actually, *I* read them...aloud, all 4,100 pages of them (to be exact).  Snuggled on the couch, under a pile of afghans, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid and Dumbledore...they became a part of our lives.  Everyday we ended our reading with kiddo begging, "more, more!"
We waited for the last book to be released and I sobbed though the entire thing.  Not only was I going to miss Harry, but I knew this had been precious time with kiddo.  Yes, there would be more books to read together,  but these were special.

Want to make some Harry Potter cookies?  Here's what you'll need:
With a #2 tip, outline the face in copper/flesh.

Thin the flesh color with water until it is the consistency of thick syrup.  Let sit several minutes covered with a damp dish towel.

Stir gently, transfer to a squeeze bottle and fill in the face.  Let sit a few hours.
With a #2 tip, outline the hair in black.

{Forgot to take pictures of a few of the steps here, but.....}

Fill in the hair in black flood icing,
pipe the glasses with a #1 tip,
pipe the lightning bolt with a #1 tip in red.
With the #1 tip, pipe a smile.

I've said it NOT try to cheat and use a baggie instead of a piping bag.  I slipped a #1 tip in a baggie for the eyes....not wanting to waste a piping bag for a few eyes.  Yep, the bag exploded and broke Harry's glasses.  Not even a "Reparo" charm could help me.

On the brooms, I tried a trick from Kudos Kitchen.  Painting on the wood grain.  Renee is a master of this; I'm still learning.  (You can see a video of her technique here.)
{Broom cutter from Sweet!}

Don't forget sweet Hedwig, Harry's snowy owl.

Ron & Hermione sittin' in a tree....
{JK Rowling...thanks for making Hermione a hero to "bushy-haired" girls everywhere!}

A special shout-out to Diamonds for Dessert!  Her Harry Potter cookies were a MAJOR inspiration to me and the first Harry cookies I'd ever seen.  (Love that Snape!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bake at 350 turns 3! (That's 21 in blog years.)

Three years ago. Three years ago I started this blog with a riveting post.

{I was afraid to say anything.}

And then there was the next one, equally riveting.

{Thankfully I've gotten over my fear of expressing myself and now my post titles are longer than those first 2 posts combined.  Case in point...this title.}

I want to thank you.  Thank you for reading posts with 127 pictures of the same cookie.  Thank you for putting up with a post about "salad" containing Snickers.   Thank you for EVERYTHING!  Obviously, Bake at 350 wouldn't be the same without each and every one of you.
This blog wouldn't be here without something else.  My red KitchenAid stand mixer.  I bought it 13 years ago and I WISH I kept track of how many THOUSANDS of cookies that baby has help me make.

Not only does it make cookies, but it makes homemade bread dough and brownies and frosting, OH MY!  That red mixer is a fixture in my life!  I love what the KitchenAid website says, it "does everything but hug your kids."

 So, how would you like to celebrate with me?

Someone is going to win a KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer (with a glass bowl) *squee*!!!  

{I mean, is that the prettiest thing you've EVER seen?!? I'd rather have this than a new car. Promise to send me pictures!}

This is a brand new edition....not the anniversary just came out in October.  Not only can you use it to whip up a batch of cookies or knead bread dough....with the attachments, this baby can make ice cream, homemade pasta and even stuff sausage!

To enter (required)... (giveaway has ended)
  1. Leave a comment with what you would name this little beauty (I'm thinking Ruby....or Betty).
For 2 extra entries...
  1. Leave a separate comment with your favorite recipe or cookie design from Bake at 350 over the last 3 years,
  2. Tweet it!
{The mixer is very, very generously provided by KitchenAid. In case you're wondering, no, I didn't get one....the prize is ALL FOR YOU!}

The giveaway will run though November 26th.  GIVEAWAY CLOSED...jlj914 was the winner...congratulations!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Two things you should know . . .

#1...I've adopted.  That's right.  Only Mr. E doesn't know. ;)

I adopted a blogger through Adopt-a-Blogger and her name is Liz.  Her blog is called Little Bitty Bakes and she and her blog are adorable!

Not only does Liz bake, she runs!  Check out her 26-ingredient Marathon Cookies!  (I like people who combine their exercise with a healthy dose of sugar!)

Pumpkin-Apple Fritters, yes please!
So, go on over to Little Bitty Bakes and say hi!

#2....Wanna compete in a cookie making contest?  

The contest is being sponsored by Sweet Cuppin Cakes and runs through December 10th.  There are categories for Children, Teen and Adult.  More info is here.  And, you can upload your cookie pictures to this group on Flickr.

You-know-who is judging!!!  (And I'm *not* open to bribes...that's right, even if you want to try with a chocolate spa package at the Hotel Hershey, it won't work.  But you can certainly try.)

I know I said "two things," but here's one more little tidbit.  Friday is Bake at 350's 3-year birthday.  And there is a PRIZE.  A BIG PRIZE.  A BEAUTIFUL BIG PRIZE...and it's for one of YOU!  Come back Friday! :) 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I don't mean to be bossy, but . . . really should make this pie for Thanksgiving.
This Cranberry Apple Pie is my very favorite Thanksgiving pie (don't tell Pumpkin).

It's tart & sweet with a *perfect* flaky and buttery crust.  I think you're going to like it.

Yes, the crust is homemade.  Don't be scared. If *I* can you it, *you* can do it. And really, nothing makes me feel like more of a domestic goddess than making my man a pie with homemade crust.  He'll thank you. 

One thing, though.  Please remember to place the pie on a cookie sheet, or place a cookie sheet below it in the oven.  Someone forgot this time...

For the crust:
(modified from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion)

2 & 1/2 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cold shortening (Crisco)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 to 1/2 c. ice water

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Reserve a few tablespoons of flour, set aside. Whisk together remaining flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until it is crumbly.

Place the reserved flour on work surface and coat butter in it. Use a rolling pin or your hand to flatten the butter until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Break the flour-coated butter into 1 inch pieces and mix into the dough until it is evenly distributed.

Sprinkle water over the dough while tossing with a fork just until it is easily squeezed into a ball. Flatten into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll each disk into a 12 x 9" rectangle (approx). Fold into thirds, like a letter, then fold again in thirds to form a square. (A bench scraper REALLY helps here!) Wrap both pieces again and refrigerate 30 more minutes.

After 30 minutes, let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes, then roll one out for the bottom crust.  (I can never get mine round...oh, well.)

Line a glass pie pan with the crust and brush with beaten egg white.

Fill with pie filling and add the top crust, venting as desired.  Brush with egg white.

For the Cranberry Apple Pie:
{modified from an old Williams-Sonoma Pies & Tarts cookbook}

1 c. sugar
2 TBSP flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 Granny Smith apples, not the JUMBO ones
2 c. fresh cranberries
zest of one orange
2 TBSP unsalted butter, cubed

Preheat the oven to 425.  Line the bottom of a glass pie pan with pie crust as directed above.  Brush with lightly beaten egg white.

Stir together the sugar, flour and salt. 

Peel, core and slice the apples.
{Do you have one of these contraptions?  I LOVE mine!}

Add the apple slices, cranberries and orange zest to the sugar mixture and toss well. Pile into the prepared pie pan.  Top with bits of butter.

Cover the pie with the top crust and vent as desired.  Brush with the beaten egg white.

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake 40-50 minutes more, until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife.  (Check the crust periodically and tent with foil if it browns before cooking through.)
Cool on a cooling rack.

Serve with ice cream (I recommend Haagen Dazs 5-ingredient Vanilla...heaven!)

Love the Pie

You want pie, you got it!  TidyMom is hosting a Love the Pie Party today!