Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze

These were one of the easiest and most delicious muffins I have ever baked. Take a cake mix, add a can of pumpkin, and some spice, and voila! Seriously, you need to make these. For those of you who are cake mix snobs, put your feelings aside and make these muffins. They were the most moist and flavorful pumpkin muffins I have ever tasted. One word of caution, the tops do turn out a little ugly. They don't rise much and the way they look when you plop them in the pan is the way they will look when they're finished. Nothing a little icing can't hide. I drizzled the tops with a cinnamon glaze. 

Pumpkin Muffins
Source: Mama B via Pinterest
(yields 18 cupcake-sized muffins)

1 box of spice cake mix (any flavor will work)
1 can pure pumpkin (not pie filing)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 or 350 degrees, according to box directions, and line a cupcake tin with 18 paper cupcake liners. Mist liners lightly with nonstick spray.

Whisk together cake mix and spices. Add pumpkin and water gradually while mixing on medium speed until combined. Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 18 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and top with cinnamon glaze.

Cinnamon Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons any liquid, such as water or milk

Whisk together powdered sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Whisk in liquid one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached, adding more liquid or powdered sugar as needed. Pour over the tops of muffins.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Beer Bread

I am addicted to Pinterest. I can waste hours pinning recipes and things for the home. It's my way to unwind after a stressful day at work. And it's a way for me to find new recipes to try. I found this simple recipe for beer bread on Pinterest, and it just so happens that this month's theme for my What's Baking group is quick breads. So I had an excuse to make it. And it came out wonderful! I used Stegmaier Oktoberfest beer from our local Lion Brewery (we're blessed to have a handful of local breweries), which added a nice hint of spice to the bread.

Beer Bread
source: Short Stop Blog via Pinterest

3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (I used Stegmaier Oktoberfest.)
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt butter in microwave and set aside. 

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.

Add beer and mix until combined. (Dough will be sticky.)

Place dough into loaf pan, and pour melted butter on top of loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tamale Pie

We love Mexican food. When we love something, it becomes an obsession until we're so sick of it that we can no longer look at it, let alone eat it. However, this never seems to happen with Mexican food. Even though most Mexican dishes share the same few ingredients, just purposed in a different way. This is the case with this tamale pie recipe. It uses Mexican spices, chicken, chiles, and cornmeal just like a tamale, but the ingredients are layered into a delicious pie. This dish is a warm and comforting meal, perfect for a cool autumn day.

Tamale Pie 

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Yields two 8- or 10-inch pies

For cornmeal layer:
1 (8.5 oz) box corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy.)
1 can cream-style corn
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used cheddar.)

For filling:
2 cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
3/4 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 (10 oz) cans red enchilada sauce
3/4 cup shredded cheese
*shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, tortilla chips for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray two pie plates with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine corn muffin mix, creamed corn, milk, egg, green chiles, and cheese. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and divide mixture into two pie plates. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

While the crust is baking, mix together chicken, black beans, green chiles, and taco seasoning. 

When the crust is done baking, pierce entire surface with a fork. Pour one-third to half of the enchilada sauce on top. Top with chicken mixture, drizzle with remaining enchilada sauce, and sprinkle with cheese. 

Bake again for 12 to 15 minutes. Top with shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and tortilla chips before serving (if desired).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Creamsicle Cake

My mom requested a creamsicle cake for her birthday this year. I was never really a fan of orange-cream flavored baked goods, but after tasting this cake, I have since changed my mind. I used a cake mix as the base and added orange gelatin and orange juice in place of the water to pump up the orange flavor. I filled it with whipped topping mixed with orange gelatin mix and iced it with the remaining whipped topping. The result was a light and luscious orange-vanilla cake. It was a perfect cake for the end of the summer.

Creamsicle Cake
source: adapted from Bird on a Cake

1 package white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines french vanilla.)
3/4 of 3 oz. package orange flavored gelatin 
eggs, oil, and water per directions on box (I used orange juice in place of water.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spay.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and beat on medium speed for two minutes.

Pour batter into prepared cakes pans, and bake according to directions on box.

Cool pans on wire rack for 10 minutes, and then invert pans onto rack and remove cakes. 

Cool completely before frosting.

Icing and Filling

1 container whipped topping (You can also use fresh whipped cream.)
1/4 of 3 oz. package orange flavored gelatin

Fold remaining orange gelatin into whipped topping (or whipped cream) and fill cake. Frost cake with remaining whipped topping (or whipped cream).

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tandy Cake Cupcakes—Take Two

Peanut butter and chocolate are a classic flavor combination. And here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Tastykake Kandy Kakes are a popular treat. I decided to update my old tandy cake recipe, using a salted peanut butter filling and chocolate icing. I was really happy with the update, especially with the salted peanut butter filling. It was good enough to be eaten with a spoon on its own.

Tandy Cake Cupcakes—Take Two

First, I baked my go-to recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes.
Then, I filled the cupcakes with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting using the cone method.
Last, I topped them with Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Frosting.

Vanilla Cupcakes
1 stick butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake liners.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
In another bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract.
Turn mixer to low and alternately add flour mixture and milk in three additions, ending with flour.
Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 18 - 20 minutes.
Cool completely on a wire rack. When cooled, fill cupcakes using the cone method, and top with icing.

Salted Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 stick butter (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

Beat together peanut butter, butter, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and milk one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat until smooth and fluffy.

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount of additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.