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sweets

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Baked Banana Bread Doughnuts

February 9, 2015

Banana Bread Doughnuts (2) | Espresso and Cream
I now fully understand why everyone says that the last few weeks of pregnancy are the longest weeks. There is something very strange about technically being “full term” knowing baby could arrive any day while being fully aware that baby could still be a month (!) away from his/her arrival. The suspense! The patience! I’m not great with the whole patience thing and have never really loved surprises, so you can imagine how this is all going over with me.

I’m working hard on keeping myself busy after a number of friends suggested that’s the best way to keep yourself sane and happy. I’ve got a pedicure on the calendar and a hair color appointment, along with a bunch of coffee dates and a to-do list of house-related projects. Hopefully I’ll welcome baby relaxed, pampered and fully socialized, right?!

Banana Bread Doughnuts (3) | Espresso and Cream
I’ve also been doing quite a bit of baking lately since I have the extra time on my hands. These Baked Banana Bread Doughnuts set a record in our house for how quickly they were consumed. I ate one, my husband ate 11 and they were gone in 24 hours. I’m not kidding! I’ll take that as a sign that these babies are one of the better recipes that I’ve made lately. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Banana Bread Doughnuts (1) | Espresso and Cream

Baked Banana Bread Doughnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • Doughnuts
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • Doughnut Glaze
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Garnish
  • Additional powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F. If your doughnut pan is nonstick (I think most are) then do not spray. Otherwise, if it isn't nonstick, spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well combined.
  3. In a second bowl, stir together the egg, sugar, bananas and oil until well combined. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Spoon some of the batter into each of the doughnut pans with a spoon. Alternately, you can spoon the batter into a pastry bag and pipe the batter into the pans, if desired.
  5. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until toothpick inserted into doughnuts comes out nearly clean with just a few moist crumbs. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire cooling rack.
  6. Meanwhile, stir together the milk and powdered sugar. Spoon glaze over warm doughnuts. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

 

 

 

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Nutella Blossoms

December 22, 2014

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream

 

This year I’m entirely behind my baking game. By this point in the month on most typical years I’ve already managed to bake through my standard rotation of Christmas goodies, but this year I’ve just started baking a few days before Christmas. I’m finding this to be a very smart way to get around my lack of willpower. At least I only have a few days to indulge rather than an entire month!

My family from Idaho is coming to visit for the week starting tomorrow, so the last handful of days have been devoted to preparing the house, grocery shopping and getting ready for their arrival. Although I didn’t get all the baking done that I would have liked, I did manage to make a few of our favorite family recipes as well as a few new recipes, like these Nutella Blossoms.

Joe requested the traditional peanut butter blossoms, but when I saw that jar of Nutella in my pantry I knew it needed to be put to use. Although I can’t say these cookies are better than the original (that’s setting the bar pretty high!) they do make a fun new addition to the holiday cookie tray. So for all you other baking procrastinators out there, if you’re looking for a new cookie recipe to try I would highly suggest these little gems!

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream (1)

Nutella Blossoms
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Additional sugar for rolling cookies
  • 24 Hershey's kisses
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the Nutella and shortening until well-combined. Add in the sugar and beat 1 to 2 minutes more until fluffy and combined. Add in the egg and vanilla, beating until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  4. Roll heaping tablespoons of the dough in between your hands to form balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and cookies are puffy. Immediately place one Hershey's kiss in the center of each cookie. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

 

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Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins

September 16, 2014

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

 

It’s not often, but every once in a while I get the urge to bake something cute. I should clarify that “cute food” really isn’t my thing, but sometimes it’s pretty hard to resist the seasonal section at Target and I leave with, say, a pumpkin cookie cutter and fall-colored sprinkles that I didn’t even know I needed. Dang you, Target. Thankfully, the cookie cutter was only $1, meaning you, too, can easily get caught up in the excitement of fall, cute food and all things pumpkin.

Since everyone is posting pumpkin-flavored desserts, I decided to go with something that looked like a pumpkin rather than tasting like one. Although these cookies may look like a lot of work, they really aren’t too much of a pain to make since the decorating is on the simple side. And for a little extra time and effort, it’s worth it for the adorable end result.

This frosting is incredibly easy to work with and very versatile. The key to getting the glassy look on the cookies is to outline with a stiffer frosting, then thin the remaining frosting with a bit more milk so it spreads easily when put in the center of the cookie. The border you piped around the edge will prevent the thinner frosting from dripping out all over the cookies and give you a polished, perfect look. I could easily see this recipe be adapted for other Halloween shapes, like a bat or ghost. The sky’s the limit!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies | Espresso and Cream

Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins
Author: 
 
Recipe adapted slightly from Bon Appetit Dec. 2013.
Ingredients
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Decorator Frosting
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk, plus more for thinning
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Orange and green food coloring
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla or almond extract. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined.
  3. Place on lightly floured surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into pumpkin shape using a pumpkin cookie cutter and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter and milk until smooth and well combined. Use enough milk to create a frosting that is smooth but firm enough to pipe through a pastry bag.
  5. Place ¼ of the frosting in a small bowl and color with green food coloring. Color remaining frosting in large bowl with orange food color. Place a small amount of the orange and green frostings in pastry bags or zip top bags with the end snipped off. Use orange frosting in pastry bag to pipe a border around the edge of the pumpkin.
  6. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons milk to the remaining icing until it is slightly softer and runs a little more freely. Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each lined cookie. Tilt the cookies around so icing in center completely fills the outlined cookie.
  7. Repeat process with the green frosting on the stem. Allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.

 

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Classic Apple Pie with Ultra-Flaky Pie Crust

July 7, 2014

Classic Apple Pie (1) | Espresso and CreamUpdate: We went in for another scan on Thursday before the long weekend and got some strange news. Things on our ultrasound looked very normal, pretty much a 180-degree change from our scan on Monday. The doctor and the ultrasound tech didn’t know what to make of it all, so I’m chalking it up to God. Sound good? We’ve been told to still expect miscarriage, but that we now have a legit reason to hope. So we’ve been playing a very strange waiting game until Wednesday, and your continued prayers would be much appreciated.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend! Joe and I spent a lot of time working on the house, in the yard, and even painted our office, a room that I’ve intentionally left out of the E&C house tour because I’ve disliked it so much. We’re a long way from revealing the final product on the blog, but I’ll be sharing some sneak peaks Instagram as we pull the room together.

A few weeks back I made a pie and I would be lying if I said the crust was anything worth eating. Truth be told, it was horrible. Sometimes pie crust is hard and scary, isn’t it? Well, I was determined to have success the second time around because that first attempt was just haunting me. With a new sense of resolve, I went back the the kitchen to make another pie crust for a classic apple pie. The result was amazing, if I do say so myself. It was flaky and tender and perfect enough to bring over to Joe and his friends, who needed a break from painting a house on a hot day.

Classic Apple Pie (2) | Espresso and CreamI based my pie crust on one of my favorite recipes from Sherry Yard in her fabulous baking book, Desserts by the Yard. Over the years I’ve made great pie crusts and horrible pie crusts. And I think that if I had to recap what makes success versus failure, it would be in the way the liquid is incorporated into the dry ingredients. Sometimes I’m feeling impatient and I dump the water in rather quickly, in two or three additions. The problem with doing this is that the water doesn’t get evenly incorporated into the flour mixture and I end up needing to add more water than the recipe calls for.

But when I’m patient, adding just a drop or two at a time and constantly using a fork to stir the flour mixture as I add water, that’s when I have the most success, when the magic of tender, flaky pie crust happens. So give yourself a few extra minutes to incorporate your liquids into your dry ingredients and you’ll be blessed with the end product.

Classic Apple Pie with Ultra-Flaky Pie Crust
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • PIE CRUST INGREDIENTS (for 2 crust pie)
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup ice water
  • PIE FILLING
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored)
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Golden Delicious apples (peeled and cored)
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • TOPPING FOR PIE
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. To make Pie Crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt until well combined. Break up the shortening into small pieces and add the shortening to the flour mixture. Cut the butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture, too. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture until the butter and shortening are the size of peas.
  2. Gradually add the ice water (1 spoonful at a time) to the flour mixture, using a fork to mix the water into the flour mixture as you add spoonfuls of water. This is key, slowly adding the water. It ensures that you get the flour mixture evenly hydrated without having to add too much water.
  3. Divide dough into two portions and gently press into rounds. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  4. Roll one of the dough rounds out onto a floured surface to form the bottom crust. Press crust into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
  5. In a very large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture into crust-lined pie plate. (There will be a lot of apple mixture since it bakes down and loses volume.)
  6. Roll out second dough round onto floured surface. Top pie filling with second crust. Roll edges of pie crust together to seal. If desired, crimp edges. Cut two to three slits on top of pie crust for steam to escape.
  7. Heat oven to 375F. Place a metal baking sheet under pie plate to catch any excess liquid. Brush top of pie with the milk. Sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 55 to 65 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool at least 1 hour. Cut into slices to serve.

 

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4th of July Sour Cream Cupcakes

June 30, 2014

Sour Cream Cupcakes 1 | Espresso and Cream

Lately I’ve been trying to see my husband’s golf hobby as a blessing in disguise. Sure, he’s gone for a large chunk of each weekend, but that means I have plenty of time to spend on the things I love to do, like blogging, getting together with girlfriends for a walk or coffee, and laying outside in the sunshine while reading magazines.

I think sometimes I’m too quick to underestimate the importance of  having individual interests and hobbies in a marriage. Because I love Joe and love spending time with him, it’s easy to default to spending most of our time together, and while quality time is certainly important, it’s amazing how much richer and fuller our conversations and time together ends up being when we devote time to interests apart from things we do together.

This extra time on the weekends has meant that I have a little better grasp on editorial plans for this little blog and the upcoming holidays. It’s also why you happen to see me posting a real, actual Fourth of July recipe almost an entire week before the actual holiday, which pretty much never happens.

Sour Cream Cupcakes 2 | Espresso and Cream

 

Since I’m not a huge fan of “cute” food, I kept these cupcakes pretty simple with just the slightest nod to the red, white and blue. The real special part about these cupcakes is how great they taste and how easy they are to make. I started with a box of white cake mix, then added all sorts of good stuff to the batter like sour cream, an extra egg, some vanilla and a box of vanilla pudding mix.

The cupcakes are light and airy and totally delicious, especially when topped with a vanilla sour cream frosting. The sour cream adds just the slightest tang to the frosting and prevents it from tasting too sweet. For a frosting lover like myself, that just means you can enjoy extra frosting! If you’re looking for a dessert that is a little more in-your-face Fourth of July, I would suggest topping the cupcakes with a mix of blueberries, raspberries/strawberries and shredded coconut.

4th of July Sour Cream Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 18
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE CUPCAKES
  • 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
  • 1 box (3.9 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • FOR THE FROSTING
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Milk (to thin if necessary)
  • GARNISH
  • Fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 18 standard-sized muffin tins with paper baking liners in red, white and blue colors, if desired.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all the cake ingredients. Mix 2 minutes on medium speed until well combined and batter is smooth. Divide batter between cupcake liners. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire cooling rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sour cream and butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons milk to thin the frosting as needed.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes with frosting. Top with fresh blueberries. Store leftover cupcakes in the refrigerator loosely covered with plastic wrap.