Kayla’s Reviews: Sally’s Triple Berry Muffins

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Rating: 3/5 cupcakesCapture

Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, oh my! These easy muffins are great in so many ways with one fatal flaw- they are very unforgiving. The recipe for these muffins¬†is from Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction must be followed to a tee. In an attempt to begin living more sustainably, I substituted buttermilk with almond milk. Ugh! I should’ve known better!! Of course I shouldn’t have messed with acidity in baking. Photo Feb 21, 5 20 41 PM

The good news is they’re still delicious- soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. They will probably just be a little dry by the time I give them out tomorrow morning.

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My word of wisdom to you regarding this recipe:

  • Stay true to the recipe- odds are the muffins will still turn out fine if you don’t but if you just listen to Sally, they’ll be perfect.
  • Let yourself indulge here- no substitutions will do. Just eat the dairy and deal with it if you can ūüôā
  • Spray the muffin tin and muffin liners with cooking spray- I know this may seem redundant with the muffin liners in there. Just trust me. Nothing is worse than a seasoned pan and with all the ooey and gooey berries. The more oil, the less time you’ll spend scraping at burnt sugar.
  • The 5 minute hot blitz time is genius!!- again, just follow the recipe. Sally know’s what she’s doing here
  • Invest in some good turbinado sugar- you won’t be sorry.

 

Attached is the link to the recipe– go test it out for yourself and let me know what you think.— http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2014/02/18/master-muffin-mix/

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Vegan Mocha Chip A.M Ice Cream

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No need to churn!

 

Ever wish you could have ice cream for breakfast? This mocha chip ice cream is your answer! Charged with a healthy dose of¬†caffeine, antioxidants, and potassium, this is a great way to start the day. Furthermore… this ice cream is totally vegan!

Also, this AM ice cream is very adaptable so… don’t like mocha chip? Then feel free to sub out the espresso, cacao nibs, and¬†cocoa powder for your preference of mix-ins for a totally different flavor profile.

 

Mocha Chip AM Ice Cream

Makes 4 scoops

Ingredients

2 large bananas (frozen and sliced)

1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons almond milk (or other nut milk)

1 shot of espresso

2 Tablespoon cacao nibs

  1. Toss sliced frozen bananas, cocoa powder, espresso, and almond milk in blender.
  2. Blend well until very smooth.
  3. Scrape mixture out into a freezer-safe container.
  4. Stir in cacao nibs. (This is ready to eat now if you fancy a soft serve ice cream)
  5. Freeze for at least 4 hours (overnight is best)
  6. Scoop and serve with more cacao nibs on top

*if ice cream is too hard to scoop, microwave ice cream for 15 second intervals until it is easier to manage.Photo Feb 16, 1 25 44 PM

 

 

Butterscotch Pecan Blondies

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Inspired by blogger, Entertaining with Beth, these bars are dedicated to my mom. You know how as a kid, during those much anticipated summer trips to the local ice creamery, everyone had their signature flavor– you know, that one flavor that you can depend on everyone¬† in your family ordering every time. At our local creamery, Brooms Bloom Dairy, I always got rice pudding, my sister got mocha chip, my dad got cherry vanilla, and my mom got butter pecan… every single time.

One of my favorite qualities in a recipe is the limited use of dishes because it means less time cleaning up later. These blondies only use one bowl so they are not only rich and delicious, but fairly speedy.

 

 

Butter Pecan Bars

Makes 12 Blondie Squares

1 cup lightly softened butter (2 sticks)

¬Ĺ cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups flour

¬Ĺ tsp¬† baking soda

1 tsp salt

¬Ĺ cup roughly chopped pecans

1/4 cup butterscotch chips

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. On a paper plate, soften butter in microwave. Save this paper plate, you’ll be using it later.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. In a small ramekin, crack eggs and add vanilla.
  5. ¬†Add to butter mixture, one egg at a time. The batter may look slightly curdles at this point– it’s ok! It’ll thicken up once the flour is added.
  6.  On a paper plate, flour, baking soda, and salt. Use clean hands to swirl and combine.
  7. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, in thirds, beating between each addition.
  8. Mix in butterscotch chips and chopped pecans.
  9. Transfer to a 9 x9 pan that has either been sprayed with baking spray, or lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and set.
  11. Allow to cool and then flip onto a cutting board to cut into 9 squares. You may need to run your knife along the edges to loosen.

 

Photo Feb 15, 8 21 30 PM
I love you, mom

 

Hello Dolly!

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Graham, Coconut, Chocolate, Butterscotch, Pecans, and Caramel (to bind it all together)

This layer bar has fallen straight from heaven! It is¬†a classic southern recipe from Miz Kathi’s Southern Sweetery, where I worked last summer. It is a decadent, ridiculously sinful dessert that every food lover with a sweet tooth MUST try. Not only are these bars delicious, but they are quick and easy- perfect for a party or for baking in bulk.

They were an amazing hit among my high school populations (except for a few complaints about the decadence).

 

Hello Dolly Bar

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 c. graham cracker crumbs

2 c. sweetened coconut flakes

1 c. chocolate chips

1 c. butterscotch chips

2 c. pecans

2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350o.
  2. Place butter in 9×13 casserole dish and slip into oven as preheating.
  3. Remove from oven once butter is melted and stir in graham cracker crumbs. Pat down tightly.
  4. Sprinkle remaining ingredients in dish as listed.
  5. Pour condensed milk as evenly as possible. (Don’t mix!)
  6. Bake 30-40 minutes (the longer you bake, the more the sweetened condensed milk will caramelize)
  7. Cool completely and refrigerate before cutting into bars.

 

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Pistachio, Honey, and Vanilla

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Baklava inspired, these vanilla cupcakes are iced with a ground pistachio buttercream, topped with a hand-shelled pistachio, and drizzled with honey.

Vanilla cupcakes are so difficult for me to conquer. They always end up dry but these seemed to be better than normal. I’m still on the hunt for a great recipe.

Salted Chocolate Chunk and Espresso

Rich dark chocolate with the acidic, dark bite of a shot of espresso- a match made in heaven. These are chocolate cupcakes topped with my espresso buttercream (my own recipe!!!), and garnished with salted semi sweet chocolate chunks.

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This is a link to the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever tried! Go give them some love and check them out yourself. http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/ultimate-chocolate-cupcakes/

My only alteration with that recipe is where it calls for a cup of boiling water, I use a cup of hot coffee (I used Lavazza Espresso Decaffeinato Ground Espresso in a French press). It makes a world of difference and is a great way to bring the batter together.

 

The Toppings:

Chocolate Espresso Icing

1 cup + one tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar (This may vary depending on how thick you like your icing)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 shot of espresso (I use Nespresso Decaffeinato Intenso)

  1. First, microwave the chocolate chips at 30 second intervals for one minute, mixing well with a fork after each interval to avoid burning.
  2. The chips should be soft but not totally melted yet. Here, add the shot of hot espresso, mixing vigorously.
  3. You should have a chocolate sauce now. It may begin to cease. If so, keep stirring and add a tablespoon of butter. Stir until butter is melted. Make sure there are no lumps and set aside to cool.
  4. Cream butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until pale and creamy
  5. While mixing at a low speed, add about a cup of powdered sugar at a time to avoid a mess.
  6. Once combined, add vanilla extract and chocolate-espresso syrup. Mix at medium to combine.
  7. If this isn’t the consistency you like, add milk to thin and add powdered sugar to thicken.
  8. Load in a piping bag and frost your cooled cupcakes.

Salted Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (This can be substituted to any chocolate you like. Please avoid white chocolate though. I would steer toward the richest dark chocolate you can find)                                                   1.5 teaspoons ground sea salt

  1. Chop chocolate
  2. Add salt and lightly stir to combine
  3. Sprinkle on frosted cupcakes

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Enjoy!!

12 Days of Cookies

2015-12-21 19.43.37-1Christmas is a time for generosity, cheer, and most of all, DESSERT!! This Christmas, I tackled a project that I like to call The 12 Days of Christmas.¬†This entailed¬† 12 different cookie recipes in the 12 days leading up to the last day of school; That’s about¬†288 cookies (2 dozen¬†per day)¬†to be passed out to my high school population. To make this project manageable,¬†I premade¬†and froze all of the¬†dough. Each day, I¬†thawed the dough and¬†then all I had to do each night was drop the cookies.¬†It cut the time and clean up in half! ¬†It proved to be a wonderful way to spread joy.

*I have to give Sally’s Baking Addiction a big shout out! Her blog is where I find a lot of inspiration and base recipes. Her recipes are incredibly reliable and wonderful all around. She is amazing!! Please check her out! http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/

 

Day 1- Crystallized ginger cookies rolled in raw sugar. This one was a huge crowd pleaser. It is actually a recipe from the Cotillion, the bakery that I worked at this summer.

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Day 2- Dark Chocolate dipped toffee shortbread. I made the toffee myself, and finally mastered the skill of tempering chocolate! This one was delicious.

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Day 3- Gluten-free¬†almond butter and chocolate chip cookies. These guilt-free cookies were amazing!! My dad, a die-hard tollhouse fan, raved about these. I made homemade almond butter by processing almonds. The dough was greasy; though, it was nothing a paper towel couldn’t take care of.

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Day 4-Salted caramel, pecan and chocolate chip cookies… NOT. Day 4 was a disaster. Thankfully, the only disaster day. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a huge advocate of making my own salted caramel- so that’s exactly what I did. My cookies proceeded to melt into a soupy, flat mess in the oven. In hindsight, I may had been able to fix this by baking the dough in a casserole dish and cutting them into cookie bars with a garnish of some caramel swirls and sea salt. However, in the moment, there was tears, yelling, and laying on the kitchen floor in self-pity. Needless to say, there was little problem solving thinking happening in this moment. 2015-12-10 20.22.54

My mom then swooped into the rescue! Thank goodness! It was 8pm and I was in full panic. Think of how many people I’ll be disappointing!! She went on to whip out a classic chocolate chip recipe. She helped me improvise a salted chocolate chip and pecan cookie. We used sea salt, chopped pecans, vanilla bean, along with vanilla infused sugar. It turned out caked and delicious- proof that there are such things as happy accidents. Also proof that Mom always knows best.

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Day 5- Cranberry pistachio shortbread wheels. These are easily one of my favorite. Buttery, fruity, nutty, rich, and ADDICTING. Filled with chopped craisins, chopped (hand-shelled) pistachios, and brown sugar. These are DELISH.2015-12-13 19.19.19

Day 6-Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut¬†crisps.¬†I have so many ideas for improvement for these. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t necessarily up to my standard. Improvements: Chocolate chunks instead of chips, CHOP THE MACADAMIAS. ALWAYS CHOP THE MACADAMIAS, fiddle with the leavening agents to make a cakier and richer cookie. These were too thin for my liking. Also, they weren’t super attractive. Not my favorite- though servable.2015-12-14 18.41.00

Day 7- Sugar Cookies. These are awesome! An eggless royal icing, almond extract in the sugar cookies, the ability to maintain the shape- All things great. Kids love these.

This is my favorite sugar cookie icing: Thanks again to Sally!

“Easy Icing

  • 1 and 1/2 cups¬†(180g) confectioners’¬†sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup2
  • 2 – 2.5¬†Tablespoons (30-38ml)¬†room temperature¬†water
  • pinch salt

 

  • ¬†whisk the confectioners’¬†sugar, vanilla, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. It should be quite thick.¬†If it is much too thick, add 1/2 Tablespoon more water. If it is much too thin, add 2 more Tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar. If you drizzle a little of the icing with the whisk, the ribbon of icing will hold for a few seconds before melting back into the icing. That is when you know it’s the right consistency and is ready to use. If desired, add liquid or gel food coloring. You can pour some icing into different bowls if using multiple colors. If not decorating right away, cover the icing tightly and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.”

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Day 8- Snickerdoodles. Delicious!!! These are my mom’s favorite. They’re crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and very flavorful. Check out Sally’s Baking Addiction for this recipe.

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Day 9- Red Velvet? Sorta. These were supposed to be red velvet chocolate chip. Few people know that red velvet is simply chocolate dyed red. It’s not my personal favorite, however it is a crowd pleaser. The recipe called for an obscene amount of red food dye. I was uncomfortable with the amount of artificial, chemical based dye. So it turned into more of a soft-baked chocolate chip cookie with a twinge of red. Still good.

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Day 10- Strawberry thumbprints. These were AWEEEESOMEEE. Buttery, crumbly, flavorful, just crunchy enough while still being soft. Ugh one of my favorites for sure!

 

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Day 11- Espresso Chip- Similar to the Chocolate Chip Macadamias, these have a lot of room for improvement. I’d like to give it a shot or two of espresso to boost the flavor, add cocoa nibs for a chocolate-y crunch, switch out the chocolate chips for mini chocolate chips. They were alright though not quite as flavorful as I’d like. 2015-12-21 20.36.41

Day 12- Gingerbread men. I used that cookie icing I mentioned above to decorate. These were good as far as gingerbread cookies go. However, I’ve found that if you’re gonna eat a ginger cookie, go for day 1- Something with a sugary crust and wholesome, spicy crystallized ginger baked right in. BUT if you’re dying for gingerbread, go for a gingerbread¬†cake, preferably with cream cheese icing.

2015-12-22 20.17.49Happy Holidays, you guys! How did you spread the holiday cheer this year?