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March 17, 2013 / amytheresa

st. patrick’s day cupcakes

today, i am exactly 21 and a half.

i feel old.

this week, glee did a mash-up of backstreet boys and n*sync.  i totally understood the references to the old music videos.  and the nine year old girl in me was completely head over heels.  i think it was mostly the jt hair…

i recently started giving away all my old beanie babies and i realized just how attached i am to them – even if they never made me a millionaire.

i have friends from high school that i’ve known for almost a decade.

i am more than halfway through college.  in a few years, i’m going to have to start living in the real world.  that scares me a little bit.  okay, it scares me a lot.

so, cupcakes.  happy st. patrick’s day and happy half birthday to me.

st p cupcakes

chocolate cupcakes

    1 1/2 c. all purpose flour

    3/4 c. sguar

    1/2 tsp. salt

    1 tsp. baking soda

    1/4 c. coca powder

    1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

    1 tsp. almond extract

    1/3 c. canola oil

    1 tbsp. white vinegar

    1 c. milk

preheat oven to 350°f.  line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.  combine the dry ingredients.  combine the wet ingredients.  add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until combined.  bake for 15 – 18 minutes.

to assemble: cut out a piece of cake from the middle of the cupcake.  fill with the peanut butter filling.  top with the buttercream (tinted green, if you so desire).

peanut butter filling

    1/2 c. peanut butter

    1/2 c. butter, softened

    1 c. powdered sugar

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the peanut butter and the butter until smooth.  add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

buttercream frosting

    1 c. butter, softened

    3 c. powdered sugar

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    a few tablespoons of half&half

beat the butter until smooth.  add the sugar, a cup at a time, until it’s all incorporated.  add the vanilla.  add the half&half, a teaspoon at a time, until you’ve reached the right consistency.

March 16, 2013 / amytheresa

coffee cake 101

coffee cake is an amazing invention.

some random guy one day was like, ‘i just want to eat cake for breakfast,’ and that’s how coffee cake happened.  i’m pretty sure that’s historically accurate.

and that was a totally brilliant idea.  like, can we make coffee pie, too?  coffee cookies?  just so we can eat dessert for breakfast every day?  i feel like that would catch on fast.

anyway.  there’s lots of ways to do coffee cake.  traditional…

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or not so traditional…

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observe: the new york style crumb cake is totally what you think of when you think coffee cake.  in fact, i’m pretty sure this is the recipe starbucks uses.  except better – because it always tastes better when you make it yourself.  the apple cream cheese coffee cake is like cheese-danish-meets-apple-pie-meets-coffee-cake fusion.  long story short, it’s fantastic.

moral of this post:  you should make both.  and eat them with coffee.

new york style crumb cake

  for the crumb topping:

    1/3 c. granulated sugar

    1/3 c. brown sugar

    1 tsp. cinnamon

    pinch salt

    1 stick butter, melted

    1 3/4 c. flour

  for the cake:

    1 1/4 c. flour

    1/2 c. granulated sugar

    1/4 tsp. baking soda

    1/4 tsp. salt

    6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened but still cold (whatever that means…)

    1 egg

    1 egg yolk

    2 tsp. vanilla extract

    1 tsp. almond extract

    1/3 c. buttermilk

to make the crumb topping:  whisk all the dry ingredients together, then pour the melted butter over them.  mix with your hands until combined.

to make the cake:  preheat oven to 325°f.  grease an 8-inch baking dish.  in the bowl of a mixer, combine the dry ingredients.  with the mixer on low speed, add the butter and beat until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  add the egg and yolk, the extracts, and the buttermilk.  blend for about a minute, until combined.  pour the batter into your baking dish.  top with the crumb mixture. bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

apple cream cheese coffee cake

disclaimer:  this recipe is weird.  as you’re making it, you’ll be like, ‘what was this person smoking when they came up with this recipe?’ but it works.  don’t question it.

  for the cake and crumb topping:

    2 c. flour

    3/4 c. sugar

    1/2 c. butter, cold and cut into pieces

    1/2 tsp. baking soda

    1/2 tsp. baking powder

    1/4 tsp. salt

    3/4 c. sour cream (reduced fat works fine)

    1 egg

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    1 tsp. almond extract

  for the cream cheese filling:

    8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

    1/4 c. sugar

    1 egg

  for the apple filling:

    2 apples

    1/4 c. sugar

    1 tbsp. flour

    1 tsp. cinnamon

preheat oven to 350°f.

to make the cream cheese filling:  beat the cream cheese, sugar, and egg until combined.

to make the apple filling:  combine the apples (thinly sliced) with the rest of the ingredients and set aside.

to make the cake and crumb topping:  combine the flour and sugar in a bowl.  using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  set aside 3/4 c. of the mixture.  to the remaining mixture, add the baking soda and powder and the salt.  in a separate bowl, beat the sour cream, egg, and extracts until combined.  fold in the crumb mixture (but! be sure to leave out that 3/4 c. – that’s to put on top).  the mixture will be lumpy.  deal with it.

to assemble: scoop the cake batter into a well-greased 9-inch springform pan.  then, add the cream cheese mixture, but make sure it doesn’t touch the sides of the pan (it will be messy and no fun to clean up if it does touch the sides).  then, layer the apple mixture on top of the cream cheese.  and finally, top with the reserved 3/4 c. of crumb topping.  bake for 50 – 55 minutes.

January 13, 2013 / amytheresa

donuts three ways for a tough week

it’s winter in the pacific northwest, which can mean one of two things:  either you come home from your walk back from the bus so wet that you can’t properly dry out until the next day until you have to get soaked all over again or it’s so cold and dry that your snot freezes in your nose when you walk out the front door and your hand feel like alligator skin.  i might be exaggerating a little bit.

this week, it’s been the latter.

then there’s school.  you know they actually expect you to do work?  the nerve…

so between being consistently colder and drier than a polar bear’s toenails and having a mountain of school work to do – it’s been a rough week.

the solution: donuts.

donuts three ways.

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chocolate donuts

    2 c. flour

    3/4 c. sugar

    1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

    1 tsp. baking powder

    1 tsp. baking soda

    1 tsp. salt

    3/4 c. milk

    2 tbsp. brewed coffee

    2 eggs

    1 tsp. vanilla (1 tsp. almond extract optional)

    2 tbsp. butter, melted

preheat oven to 325°f.  spray your donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

whisk together the dry ingredients.  add in the wet ingredients.  stir just until combined.

pipe batter into prepared pans.  bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  once completely cool, dust with powdered sugar.

maple espresso donuts

    2 c. flour

    1/2 c. sugar

    1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

    1/2 tsp. salt

    3/4 c. buttermilk

    2 eggs

    1/4 c. maple syrup

    2 1/2 tbsp. melted butter

    1 tbsp. vanilla extract

preheat oven to 425°f.  spray your donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

whisk together the dry ingredients.  add in the wet ingredients.  stir just until combined.

pipe batter into prepared pans.  bake for 6 – 8 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  once completely cool, you can dip in coffee icing.

icing

    1/2 c. powdered sugar

    about 1 tbsp. coffee

stir coffee into the powdered sugar until you get the right consistency.  dip donuts in icing and sprinkle with nonpareils (note:  nonpareils bounce like a seven-year-old on espresso.  plan accordingly).

apple cinnamon donuts

    1 c. flour

    3 tbsp. sugar

    3 tbsp. brown sugar

    1 tsp. baking powder

    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    1/2 tsp. salt

    2 tbsp. yogurt

    4 tbsp. unsweetened apple sauce

    1 egg

    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    2 tbsp. melted butter

note:  your first thought when reading this recipe will be, ‘what was this person smoking when they came up with this?’ but it works.  trust me.

preheat oven to 325°f.  spray your donut pans with nonstick cooking spray.

whisk together the dry ingredients.  add in the wet ingredients.  stir just until combined.

pipe batter into prepared pans.  bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  once the donuts are just barely cool enough to handle (in other words, completely scalding to touch), depan them and dip them in cinnamon sugar (note:  the sugar will stick better to the side of the donut that was in the pan).

January 5, 2013 / amytheresa

new year’s brownies

let’s talk chocolate.  brownies, specifically.  i realize that it’s the new year and most of you have probably resolutionalized yourselves to stay away from baked goods, but hear me out.  these are brownies.  you know, brownies.  and i have found a recipe that gives you the yummy chocolatey cakey yet somewhat fudgey center while also resulting in the flaky top that you can only ever seem to get from brownies out of a box.

they’re perfect.

new year’s resolution, eat your heart out.

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chocolate brownies

    1 c. butter

    8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

    1 c. – 1 1/2 c. sugar (depending on how sweet you like your brownies)

    2 tsp. vanilla extract

    1/2 tsp. salt

    4 large eggs

    1 c. flour

preheat oven to 400°f and butter an 8×8 baking dish.  place butter and chocolate in microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted.  add eggs, sugar, and vanilla.  stir in flour and salt.  pour batter into the baking dish and bake for 26 – 29 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

September 12, 2012 / amytheresa

chocolate buttermilk cookies and a cat

we have a cat.

actually, the cat kind of has us.

he’s a stray.  we think.  because he’s always hungry
and doesn’t wear a collar.

he’s pretty cute.  we call him phantom, because he looks like one of our old cats.

see?

oh yeah, and that’s me.  that’s me in the wedding dress too.  don’t ask.

anyway, this cat.  he usually comes at dinner because he knows we’ll have food.  but recently, hes been around breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

so, we feed him.  we even bought cat food.  he sniffs at us every time we bring out people food.

like when i brought these cookies to take pictures.

chocolate buttermilk cookies

    2 c. all purpose flour

    1/2 tsp. baking soda

    1/2 tsp. salt

    1/2 c. butter, melted

    3/4 c. cocoa powder

    2 c. sugar

    1 tsp. vanilla

    2/3 c. buttermilk (or sour milk:  scant 2/3 c. milk with 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar)

    2 c. chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350°f and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

in a large bowl, combine the melted butter and cocoa powder until smooth.  add in the sugar, vanilla, and buttermilk.  gradually add in the dry ingredients until combined (but don’t over mix).

bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

okay, now to assess the weird foil log thing in the photo. this is what i do when i don’t want to bake up a whole batch:  get some plastic wrap, scoop the rest of the dough onto the plastic wrap and roll it up into a log (be sure to close up the plastic wrap so that there’s no dough showing); then, wrap the plastic wrap log into a piece of foil (again, sealing it up nicely); write the kind of dough and baking instructions so that later you can defrost the dough, cut it into slices, and bake up as many as you want.

August 23, 2012 / amytheresa

cat lady scones

can we be real for a second?

do you know what you’re doing with your life?

i don’t.

seriously.

all i know is that i’m going to be a crazy cat lady.

really though, if i weren’t living with the parents, i’d probably be a crazy cat lady already.

honestly, i think i’m okay with that.

i’ll just be the lady down the street that lives with cats and brings you fresh baked scones every week.

lucky you.

there’s a bakery near my house.  it’s called grand central.  maybe you’ve heard of it.  it’s a pretty big deal.

they make these scones called ‘jammers.’

they’re awesome, except that they’re sort of really hard.

oh, and you have to pay money for them.  bummer.

so i made my own jammers.  totally from scratch.  aren’t you proud?

blueberry quick jam

     4 c. blueberries, divided

     1/4 c. sugar

    juice of half a lemon

    1/2 tsp. cornstarch

combine 3 c. of the blueberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a pot.  mash up the blueberries a little, just to release some of the juices.

cook on medium heat until the mixture boils.  boil for 10 minutes, stirring.  add in the cornstarch and the rest of the blueberries and cook for a minute more.  allow to cool completely before using.

note:  if you want to halve the recipe, go for it.  but if you make a full recipe, you’ll have enough jam left to spread on toast and stuff.

scones (jammers)

    2 c. flour

    1 tbsp. baking powder

    1/2 tsp salt

    3 tbsp. sugar (if you want your scones to be sweeter, you can do 4 tbsp.)

    5 tbsp. margarine, cut into small cubes, about 1/2 inch

    3/4 c. non dairy milk

    1/4 c. non dairy creamer (so delicious coconut creamer is great)

    2 tsp. vanilla extract

preheat oven to 400°f and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl.  cut in the cold butter with a fork or a pastry blender.

make a well in the middle and add in the milk and vanilla.  mix with a spoon or spatula until combined.

flour the surface where you’ll be cutting the scones.  pat the dough into 1/4 inch thickness (thicker dough makes puffier scones) and cut with a 2 1/2 or 2 inch round cookie cutter.  if you don’t have one, you can also use the rim of a glass as a cookie cutter.

make an indent in the middle of each scone.  i use the back of a round tablespoon.  fill with the blueberry jam.  if you’re having trouble filling the scones, you can use the same method i used to make the almond thumbprints using a pastry bag.

bake for 15 – 17 minutes.

makes 14 or 15 scones.

August 22, 2012 / amytheresa

things

do you have a thing?

a ‘thing’ or ‘one’s thing’ is referred to as a notable characteristic.

example:  ‘why do you always wear pokemon t-shirts?’

‘it’s my thing!’

like princess leia’s thing is those crazy braids on the sides of her head.

get it?

okay, now that we’re properly versed on the definition of a ‘thing,’ do you have a thing?

i have lots of things.

to some people, my thing is cupcakes.

my mom would tell you my thing is leaving my clothes on the floor or not using a coaster.  she might also tell you that my thing is saving unusable crap (in her eyes) like empty salsa containers or paper towel tubes.

(for the record, mom, those things are currently being put to very good use).

me?

i would say my thing is baking.

in fact, i think i’m some sort of baked goods fairy.  seriously.  any recipe i try turns out great.  even when i tweak it majorly.

i don’t know.

maybe my thing is just being able to spot a good recipe when i see one.

that’s a good ‘thing’ to have, i think.

now, cookies.

want to hear something tragic?

i lost my mrs. fields cookie book.  my mrs. fields  cookie book with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe in it.

i have been completely lost without it.

but!  today, i found a recipe very similar looking to my mrs. fields recipe.  so i changed it.  and baked it.

get excited, it’s pretty great.

chocolate chip cookies

    1 c. margarine (2 sticks earth balance)

    1 c. white sugar

    1 c. brown sugar

    2 flax eggs (2 tbsp. flax + 6 tbsp. water)

    2 tsp. vanilla

    2 c. all purpose flour

    1/2 c. almond flour

    1 tsp. baking soda

    1 tsp. salt

    2 c. chocolate chips

preheat oven to 300°f and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

in an electric mixer, cream the margarine and sugars until creamy.

add in the flax egg and vanilla and combine.

slowly add in the flour, baking soda, and salt, being careful not to overmix the dough.

add in the chocolate chips and mix until combined.

scoop onto your baking sheets (note:  these cookies spread like wildfire.  leave more room between them than you would for normal cookies).  bake for about 16 minutes, until golden brown on the bottoms.

makes about 48 cookies.

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