Thursday, November 28, 2013

Turkey Cake Balls



Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In honor of the delicious turkey we eat on Thanksgiving day, I decided to make dessert turkey-themed as well with these turkey cake balls! What makes them cake balls versus cake pops is simply the lack of a stick.

For those who the mere mention of cake pops or cake balls send a fear down their spine, I'm telling you, it is not needed. Plus, even if they look a little deformed no one will really care. When it's cake and frosting dipped in chocolate, looks don't really matter.

I will one day make a a cake pop tutorial of my own but for now, a great reference is the inventor of the delectable treats- Bakerella. If you follow the link it will show you how to make red velvet cake balls, but for these I made chocolate cake balls. You can really make whatever type of cake you want! 

Once the cake balls are covered in chocolate and dry, you will want to dip the bottom of either a whopper or chocolate covered coffee bean into some melted chocolate. Then, while the chocolate is still wet, attach it to the top of the cake ball, placing it a little off center (this will be the head). Then, one by one, dip 3-4 pieces of candy corn into the melted chocolate and attach them to the the opposite side of the cake ball for the "feathers." For the beak you will need peanut butter chips (or butterscotch chips). Attach them to the "head" using a small amount of melted chocolate. The waddle is made from candy hearts also attached by a small amount of chocolate (chocolate really works like glue when it comes to decorating cake balls). I used edible food markers to make the eyes, but if you don't have those you can use a couple dabs of icing or couple dots of melted chocolate (in any other color than brown). And that's it! It helps if you have someone around to give you a hand (like a wonderful sister who may or may not have been guilted into helping) and do things in an assembly line fashion.

Turkeys on parade!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cream Cheese-Filled Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
















Who doesn't like snickerdoodles? It is a simple cookie that makes everyone smile...in between stuffing their faces because, well, let's be honest- there's no way to have just one.
Sometimes it can be dangerous to take such a traditional recipe and change it up because it is hard for even the most delicious cookie to compete with another cookie with so much personal history and nostalgia attached to it. Luckily, one bite of these and this recipe had no one even thinking about asking for regular snickerdoodles. It was able to tactfully add some fall flair to the classic cookie with the addition of pumpkin and also a cream cheese filling.

Truthfully, I could have put more of the cream cheese filling in them (I did end up with some left over), but it was my first time making them so in the beginning I went a little light on the filling, not wanting to run out. So if you give these a try, keep in mind, it's okay to be generous with the filling; just make sure it is fully covered by cookie before baking!

cream cheese-filled pumpkin snickerdoodles
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
{recipe from Bakeaholic Mama}

for the cookie:

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the filling:

Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
for the cinnamon-sugar coating:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • dash of allspice

Directions

  1. For the cookies- in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. 
  2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Blend in pumpkin puree. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated. With mixer on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour.
  3. While the dough chills, make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Cover and chill for at least half an hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl ,mix together the sugar and spices for the coating thoroughly. Take one tablespoon of dough and flatten it into a pancake shape. Place about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture in the middle of the pancake. Form another tablespoon of dough into an equally sized pancake shape and place on top, keeping the cream cheese in the middle. Gently pinch together the edges of the dough around the cream cheese to seal, then gently roll into a ball. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. Repeat with remaining dough, spaces the balls 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheets. Dip the bottom of a flat heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water to moisten slightly. Then dip it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly. Recoat bottom of glass in cinnamon-sugar mixture as needed.
  5. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes, or until they are slightly firm to the touch and tops are beginning to crackle. Let cool on baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Apple Cobbler Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting

Have you ever wondered what fall would taste like in a cupcake? Well, my first bite of this cupcake answered that question for me.
It consists of a moist apple cake and pumpkin pie frosting- and when I say pumpkin pie frosting, I mean literally pumpkin pie, as frosting. You take a pumpkin pie, lightly beat/mix it to make it smooth and even throughout, place it in a piping bag and pipe it. I mean really- there is just no better way to add pumpkin pie flavor to a cupcake. You can either make the pumpkin pie or buy a premade pie. I made mine without crust to make it easier to pipe- I just cut a piece out, blended it together a bit and then put it in a piping bag. If there is a crust on your pie, you should scoop the filling out or try blending the crust in with the filling.
mmm pumpkin pie
This cupcake is delicious even for those who don't love pumpkin pie because the apple cupcake nicely balances the pumpkin flavor, making it not so overwhelmingly pumpkin.

apple cobbler cupcakes with pumpkin pie frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes
{recipe slightly adapted from The Cupcake Project}

for the cupcake:

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups apples, roughly chopped and loosely packed
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and ginger together. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, sour cream and lemon zest until blended.
  4. Gradually mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. Batter will be thick.
  5. Divide batter evenly among 12 cupcake liners (they will be filled almost all the way to the top).
  6. Bake at 350°F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cupcake. Let cool in pan for 1-2 minutes, then remove to cool completely on wire rack.
for the frosting:

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin (pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Mix in pumpkin then evaporated milk.
  3. Pour into 9" pie plate (no crust needed). Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out dry.
  4. Remove from oven and leave on counter 2 hours before use. 
  5. Once cool, cut out desired portion of pie and place in medium sized mixing bowl. Mix by hand or with electric mixer until moisture is distributed evenly and pie looks smooth throughout, about 30 seconds. Pipe onto cupcakes as desired.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Full swing into fall here! These cupcakes are the perfect fall treat! For those who aren't a fan of pie crust, these apple pie cupcakes are a great alternative! They truly are one of my favorite cupcakes now! The cake portion contains fresh grated apple which blends perfectly with the apple pie filling. To top them off there is a cinnamon brown sugar swiss meringue buttercream (that's a mouthful). Oh, and I did sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top, but just a smidge.
I ended up altering the recipe, mainly because I didn't have sour cream. (I've been really bad at this planning thing lately!) Also, the apples I used were Empire, because that was what I had from apple picking and they did not disappoint!
On a side note, I really have fallen in love with my food processor. It has the capability to shred/grate (versus just demolishing things into crumbs) and after making carrot cake cupcakes and these apple pie cupcakes it has really given me a new appreciation for it!
These cupcakes would really be the perfect addition to any fall festivity!

apple pie cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
{recipe adapted from The Cake Blog}

for the cupcakes:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated apples

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients: flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Using a mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk together eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla.
  4. Gradullay whisk in dry ingredients to wet ingredients until smooth.
  5. Fold in grated apples.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes, then finish cooling on wire racks.

for the apple pie filling:

Ingredients

  • 3 apples, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Place chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a medium-sized pan. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until apples are tender. Stir occasionally.
  2. Allow mixture to cool.
  3. Use cone method to remove center from cupcakes and fill with cooled filling, then place cupcake top back on.


for the frosting:

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks salted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cinnamon, to taste

Directions

  1. In bowl of stand mixer, combine egg whites and brown sugar. Place over pan of simmering water and whisk continuously until sugar is dissolve and temperature on a candy thermometer reaches 150F, about 2 minutes.
  2. Attach bowl to mixer stand fitted with whisk attachment. Starting on low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until mixture doubles in size and is glossy and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Change mixer to paddle attachment and add butter, one cube at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and cinnamon to taste and mix until combined. Decorate cupcakes as desired.