Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn Pecan Pie

A warm cup of coffee, a cozy sweater, and a slice of pecan pie are the essence of fall.  (They also making doing homework a little more fun.)  Plus, the smell of this pie baking is like all of the good aromas of fall wrapped up in one little glass dish.

My mom would make this pie a bunch at home around this time of the year, so I asked her for the recipe.  Turns out it is this one from Epicurious.  It uses maple syrup along with the typical corn syrup, so there's a whole lot of amazing flavor in this pie.

Happy Fall and Bon Appetit,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes

A couple of days ago, on my way home from classes I stopped by Starbucks and picked up a salted caramel mocha.  It was the perfect way to end a long day, especially since the air was just a little bit chilly and it was starting to smell like fall. 

So for the past several days I have been craving caramel, but I am not super excited to spring $4 on another mocha.  The answer?  Cupcakes, as usual.

I have been wanting to make my own caramel for awhile now, but I am always nervous about trying it because I don't have all the fancy equipment and candy thermometers that a lot of recipes call for.  Then I came across this recipe, which had lots of helpful pictures and explanations, and decided to just go for it.

Totally worth a little bit of nerves.  The caramel sauce made me a little nervous when the butter refused to incorporate with the cooked sugar, but after a lot of whisking it turned out.  And it is delicious.  You can make it with or without the salt, but the salted version is really wonderful.

The cupcakes also include a step where you cook the sugar and butter on the stove.  I was a little reluctant to do this step, since it not only adds more time and dishes, but it isn't the usual procedure for cupcakes.  I realized though, that you are sort of making another caramel which goes directly into the cupcake batter, so the chocolate cupcakes actually have a hint of a caramel flavor.

So happy official last day of summer, and welcome to fall.  What a better way to celebrate than a salted caramel mocha cupcake?

Bon Appetit,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Strawberry Pistachio Tart

Summer is pretty clearly over, even though the calendar doesn't say so quite yet.  However, this weekend Costco was still in that summer mood, and had some gorgeous strawberries on sale.  A Costco-sized clamshell of strawberries is much too much for one girl to handle, so I decided to make something for my suite for dessert.  On a whim I adapted this recipe to go with what I had on hand, which included pistachios.

I love making pies, but often it takes a lot of time to perfect that basket-weave top crust and whatnot, so it doesn't always happen.  However, this tart is super quick and easy to make.   I threw mine together before I got dinner going, and it was all set and cooled by the time dessert rolled around.


1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup plus 1 tbs butter, cubed and cold
2-4 tbs ice water

Whisk dry ingredients together.  Add butter and mix with a fork until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add ice water slowly until dough just forms into a ball.  Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


1/2 cup ground pistachios
1 tbs flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cut strawberries
2 tsp lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and gently mix.  Roll out crust and press into pan.  Prick several times with a fork.  Spread filling over crust and bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes, or until edges of crust begin to brown.

Bon Appetit

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to School Cupcakes

For the past week I have been getting settled in at school and participating in the New Student Orientation Program as and Orientation Leader.  I had a great group of orientation leaders in my "crew," (which happened to be crew P as evident by the decorations) so we all got together for baking and a potluck lunch for our crew and our crew chief.

I decided to go for the black magic cupcakes, since not only were they the first cupcakes that I baked last year in my new kitchen, but also because they are delicious.  They are foul-proof and since I have made them so many times it is a great way to get used to a new kitchen and a new oven.

For the frosting, I adapted this recipe.  I just substituted 1/4 cup of the nutella for peanut butter, and it came out fantastic.  I had a few left over, so my suite got to enjoy some cupcakes as well.  Anyways, its good to be back, and it's good to be baking.

Bon Appetit,