Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Homemade Apple Sauce

I had mentioned in my last post that I had bought tons of different apples. I made apple pie with the more tart apples I had (like the granny smith and Jonathan apples). I had a ton of red and golden delicious left over that needed a recipe soon.
My boys absolutely LOVE applesauce. However we are less than impressed with the high price tag that comes with it.
I found a really good recipe that was easy and delicious (how can a recipe for apple sauce be hard, right?)
This recipe cuts out a lot of the sugar sometimes called for, and has a delightfully cinnamon-y flavor.
I betcha this recipe would taste wonderful if you added a couple of pears! or just use pears instead of apples.

I can't say it enough that Cinnamon might be my favorite fall smell!

We have been enjoying the wonderfully cool weather, we've enjoyed some really beautiful walks. while my boys were running through the woods, I noticed the slight sound of crunching leaves under their "little" feet.
Oh be still my heart! It is fall!!! excited does not describe it lol

I hope you are experiencing beautiful weather and walks ;-)

What recipes do you use for apple sauce?

Homemade Apple Sauce:

Serves 8


  • 8 Apples peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup White Sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 


  1. In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. 
  2. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.

Recipe adapted from allrecipes

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Apple Pie , the sweet smell of fall !

I know it has been awhile. I've been busy with family and work. It was a good time of rest and re-evaluation :-) 
I have missed posting here, and more than often I would find myself grabbing my camera to catch a moment to post on here. 
Facebook got most of my updates filed, so they are not completely lost. But i am glad to be writing again.
I find myself getting nervous right before I write. I'm not sure what to write about...or i have waaaaay to many thoughts and can't organize them sufficiently. 
anywho...I'm back for now with this gem of a post (HA!) 

The weather is getting cooler, I don't know if it's just me, but I swear I can smell fall coming 
What does fall smell like to you? 

Here are a few of my favorites

  • pumpkin spice latte's (duh right? who doesn't like that smell!) 
  • damp rain falling on the ground
  • cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices.
  • oranges and cloves
  • cookies, snickerdoodles
  • soups and roasts
  • baked squash with brown sugar (mmmmmm)
  • maple syrup
  • firewood
  • pine trees 
  • baked apples...everything apple!
  • there are so many more!!!

Apples are in season right now and I've loaded up on quite a few different kinds. mostly to test the flavors and texture in baked goods. 

my conclusions:  

Granny Smiths:  decent choice for pie.They will hold up during baking and can take a lot of extra flavor from sugar and spices. 
Jonathan, Jonagold and Pippin:   excellent sweet-tart choices. 
Gravenstein, Braeburn, Fuji and Pink Lady:  are crisp and sturdy. 
Red Delicious and Golden Delicious:  are not good choices for baking, and neither are Gala and Cortland, since they tend to become mealy and "applesaucy" in pie fillings.

Apple pie is a staple for fall. I have the hardest time making pie crusts and getting the perfect texture and crispness in the crust. This pie turned out great, the flavor was amazing but the crust, although done was light in color. I'll have to try different techniques on washes. But for now I'm just savoring the beautiful and delicious smell coming from this pie ;-)

Hope you are bringing out your inner baker this fall! with so many awesome recipes I don't see why not.

Have fun and be fearless!

Apple Pie:


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons cold water


1/2 cup sugar1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar1/4 cup all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg6 medium (6 cups) tart cooking apples, peeled, sliced 1/4-inch1 tablespoon     butter
1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon sugar, salt, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in large bowl; cut in 1/3 cup butter and shortening with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in enough water just until flour is moistened.
  2. Divide dough in half; shape each half into ball. Flatten slightly. Wrap 1 ball of dough in plastic food wrap; refrigerate. Roll out remaining ball of dough on lightly floured surface into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough into 9-inch pie pan; unfold dough, pressing firmly against bottom and sides. Trim crust to 1/2 inch from edge of pan; set aside.
  3. Combine all filling ingredients except apples, 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon sugar in large bowl. Add apples; toss lightly to coat.
  4. Spoon apple mixture into prepared crust. Roll remaining ball of dough into 12-inch circle. Fold into quarters. Place dough over filling; unfold. Trim, seal and crimp or flute edge. Cut 5 or 6 large slits in crust. Brush with melted 1 tablespoon butter; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Cover edge of crust with 2-inch strip aluminum foil.
  5. Bake 35 minutes; remove aluminum foil. Continue baking 10-20 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust. Cool pie 30 minutes; serve warm. Store refrigerated.

* If desired, remove pie from oven when lightly browned and bubbly. Run knife through slits in crust. Pour 1/2 cup whipping cream evenly through all slits. Return to oven 5 minutes to warm whipping cream. 

Recipe adapted from Land O'Lakes

Monday, June 3, 2013

Summery Banana Cream Cupcakes

And once again it it summer! The GA heat is creeping in, and the pools are now open!
These cupcakes fit the summery feel and they sure as heck didn't disappoint!

The base cupcake was a plain vanilla cupcake. I added a scraped vanilla bean to the batter. I just Adore the little specks in the white vanilla cake batter! It makes me happy lol
it brings a distinct vanilla flavor to the cupcake. the cakes were a little dense (not bad at all).

the filling was my favorite part! It's a little tricky if it's your first time making it, but so worth it, trust me!
I used my Belgian recipe but I have included the american version below as well.
The difference between store bought vanilla pudding and homemade is incredible! I highly recommend making your own!

I added banana to the filling (otherwise the cupcake wouldn't taste like banana at all, and that's not okidoki as my son puts it )

The frosting was a simple homemade whipped cream. However I highly recommend you make the whipped cream and frost the cupcakes a couple minutes before serving for best results. Mine ended up melting in the heat on our way over to the BBQ :-( 

I topped my cupcakes with homemade pie crust cookies. you are welcome to add a slice of banana, but be warned!, the banana turns brownish in air. A solution to this can be; brushing the banana slices with lemon juice, using a banana chip or placing the banana piece on the cupcakes right before serving.

Enjoy the cupcakes.

Banana Cream Cupcakes

Don't panic when you see all the steps, they really are not that hard and the great thing is you can make everything ahead of time. The pastry cream can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. The pie crust can be baked ahead of time and stored in an airtight container for several days. The cupcakes can be baked ahead of time and stored in an airtight container (I love this one) and filled and frosted the next day. i highly recommend making the frosting the day of and frosting the cupcakes just before serving, especially in this heat!. So with that said, on we go !...


For the pastry cream:
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cupcakes:
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the whipped cream:
  • 1¾ cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To assemble:
  • 60 banana slices (about 3 bananas), plus more for topping if desired
  • ½ batch store bought pie dough or your favorite recipe
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Pasty cream
  1. Heat the half and half, 6 tablespoons of sugar and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar for about 15 seconds, until the mixture is creamy and the sugar has started to dissolve. Add the cornstarch and continue whisking another 30 seconds, until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. 
  3. Slowly pour in the simmering half and half, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly for about 30 seconds until a few bubbles have burst on the surface and the mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. 
  4. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl and strain the pastry cream. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
  1.  heat oven to 350º. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and seeds from the vanilla bean on medium-high for 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue beating an additional minute.
  2. Add the sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Combine the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry. Mix until just incorporated, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 15 seconds.
  3. Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about ⅔ full. I like to use a large cookie scoop. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining liners and batter.
  4. To fill the cupcakes, remove the center using the cone method. Discard (snack on) the cones. Place a slice of banana inside of each cupcake. Add a spoonful of pastry cream and another slice of banana.
  1. combine the cream and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, taking care not to over-beat. (If you're worried, you can always use the mixer until soft peaks form and then finish it off by hand.) 
  2. Blend in the vanilla. Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe a swirl of whipped cream onto each cupcake.
Pie crust cookies
  1.  heat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. 
  2. Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface and cut small decorative rounds with a cookie cutter. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and lightly brush with egg wash. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.
  3.  Allow to cool completely. Just before serving, top cupcakes with a round of pie crust and another slice of banana.

Source: Cooks like a champion, Cupcakes adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, Pastry cream from Baking Illustrated

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day! Black-forest Cupcakes with Kirsch.

All you need is love. 
But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.  
Charles M. Schulz

I agree Mr. Schulz! but I'm going a little further and adding boozy cherries...Yeah! 
did I get your attention? 
These cupcakes definitely fit the valentines theme, red and white, chocolate, cherry liquor and whipped cream with a cherry on top.
everything in one, convenient bite.

The cupcakes are a deep rich chocolate flavor, the sour cream really makes them nice and soft. 
the cupcake itself is not overly sweet (none of the components to this cupcake are really sweet) .
The cherry filling is a replica of a cherry pie filling and the whipped cream is  simple yet elegant vanilla flavored. 

 kirsch is a clear, colorless fruit brandy traditionally made from morello cherries
However, it is now also made from other kinds of cherries.

Black Forest Cupcakes with Kirsch

Makes 24 cupcakes


  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup {2 sticks} butter, unsalted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

    Cherry Filling
  • 16 oz  Frozen dark black cherries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Kirsch
  • Fresh cherries or maraschino cherries with stems

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the hot water and cocoa until smooth, set aside.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside
  3. In a small saucepan, combine butter and sugar, heat stirring occasionally until the butter is melt. Pour into a large bowl and beat on medium speed until mixture is cooled, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition
  5. Add the vanilla, mix, and then add the cocoa mixture, mix well
  6. Add dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with sour cream, beat just until combined.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill cupcake pan with liners
  8. Divide batter into liners and bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean
  9. Cool completely
  10. Poke little holes (not too many) and brush each cupcake with kirsch. let the cupcakes soak.

  11. Cherry Pie Filling

  1. Drain cherries, reserving the liquid
  2. Add water to measure 1 1/4 cups, add to small saucepan
  3. Add cornstarch and sugar to saucepan, and heat, whisking occasionally until mixture comes to bubble and thickens.
  4. Continue whisking so no lumps form and filling is smooth
  5. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and almond extract, fold in cherries.
  6. Cool completely. Store leftovers in fridge
  7. To fill cupcake, use a small knife and cut out a cone shape from the middle of the cupcake, fill with the cherry filling.


  1. Pour whipping cream into a large bowl and beat on medium until it starts to thicken
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beat on high until stiff peaks form {be careful not to overbeat}
  3. Fold in vanilla
  4. Fit a decorator bag with tip of your choice (I used the open star one from bake it pretty) and fill with whipping cream
  5. Pipe onto filled cupcake
  6. Top with a cherry


Recipe adapted from Hoosierhomemade, who adapted it from Annie's eats

Monday, February 11, 2013

I'm being featured!!!! Soooooo excited!!!!

So I'm totally over the moon right now.
This might not be a huge thing for regular bloggers, but since I had dedicated my blog to be a hobby and had chosen to not put adds and such on my blog, I really wasn't expecting this! I'm so excited!
I'm so excited to be listed amoung a number of my favorite bakers and bloggers...such an honor. 
I'm definitly feeling the pressure now lol

You can check out the story here  ;-) Hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Margarita Cupcakes

I know that valentines day is a day we pull out everything red, pink and any combo of the two. I honestly don't like red and pink together.
My husband has to be very creative when it comes to valentines, I'm not an average girl I don't like stuffed animals, I can't wear jewelry or perfume and I don't like spending money on flowers that will go bad in a couple days.
So I am going to give you a perfect valentines day present for any stressed out tired mom of little ones (at least for me)
These cupcakes are simply sexy (yes I said sexy, covering mouth is shock, Oh no she didn't just say that!)
They are light and moist and just perfect as a desert right after a romantic dinner.
I think the best gift I will be given is our marriage retreat coming up! I'm super excited. It's hard to keep our marriage romantic and creative when you have small kids!
I've read the book covenant marriage, it's really an awesome book, that would be another great gift idea. Try spending time together after the kids are asleep, reading and eating these lovely mini cakes.

What would your perfect gift or night be???

Happy Valentines remember to thank God for the ones you love!

Margarita Cupcakes

Printable Recipe



For the cupcakes:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 limes, juiced and the zest kept separate
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 large egg whites
  • Pinch coarse salt
  • 3 sticks (1½ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2½ tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2-4 tbsp. tequila


To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚ F. Line two normal sized cupcake pans with some pretty paper liners.  (I used Wilton's paper liners)
  2. Grab a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir to blend well.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy on med-high speed, 3-5 minutes.  
  3. One at a time blend in the eggs , mix well after each addition and scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.  Beat in the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla.  
  4. Turn the mixer to low speed, mix the dry ingredients in 3 additions beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk,   Beat each addition until just incorporated.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ full, don't overfill
  6. Bake the cupcakes 20-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  
  7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Brush the cooled cakes with gingerly with tequila to emphasize margarita flavor and to give the cupcake a kick.

To make the frosting:

  1. Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in a (Bain-Marie) heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  
  2. Heat until the sugar mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved, whisk frequently.  
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat until stiff peaks form on med-high speed  make sure the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8-10 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more after each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on med-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (Don't give up if it looks soupy, just keep going. it will come together eventually! might take a long time though)  Stir in lime juice and tequila and mix until fully incorporated and smooth.
  4. Keep buttercream at room temperature if using the same day, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat with paddle attachment on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.  Frost the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream.  Garnish with lime zest and lime slices as desired. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of  Annie's eats

Monday, February 4, 2013

Biscoff Cupcakes A Tribute to the Ever Loved Airline Cookie

Biscoff cookies are a big part of my childhood. I was born and raised in Belgium (Europe, right under the Netherlands and above France). I remembered getting these awesome cookies at school as a treat for Sinterklaas (St Nicolaas). Every year on Dec 5th we would put out our shoes with a note to st Nicolaas and a carrot or sugar cubes for his white horse. the next morning we would find our shoes filled with speculoos (biscoff cookies), oranges  marzipan and a gift. Our school would hand out a bag full of chocolate st nicolaas figures and a bag of fruit and some chocolate covered biscoff cookies. We loved them. (read more about sinterklaas or st nicolaas here)
I've been so  excited to see the cookies here in the states. and now hey have biscoff spread???? why didn't I think of that? pure genius.
of course my little cupcake consumed brain started turning it's wheels, a biscoff cupcake? HECK YES!!!! it would happen just wasn't sure how...
The poor biscoff jar sat there for a month or so untouched! ( the horror!) until finally I found a recipe that might be a good base for the cupcake.
The cupcake itself was a little dense, so i might just need to work on that a little more. but the combo of the biscoff cupcakes, filling and frosting was a great success. i used the crunchy spread out of curiosity but next time I will try the smooth spread for the cupcakes and the crunchy spread for the frosting ( I really liked the little added crunch it gave) I also would use the crunchy spread for the filling.
so here is the recipe I followed and like I said i will be messing around with the cupcake recipe a little more. I'll keep you posted.

Biscoff Cupcakes With Biscoff Buttercream.

Printable Recipe

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread (I would use the smooth one)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
     Biscoff Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup Biscoff (I used the crunchy)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Line 12 muffin cups with liners. In a small bowl mix flour and baking powder until combined. set aside.
  2. On med-high speed cream together butter, Biscoff spread and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until just incorporated, add vanilla. Set speed to low. Add half of the flour mix until just combined. add half of milk and mix until just combined alternating between flour and milk ending with the milk. Mix until just combined.
  3.  Divide batter evenly into cups.Bake for 17 to 20 minutes. The top will be firm like a cookie, and the inside will be soft like a cake. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
  4. When cupcakes are cooled cut a small hole in the top of the cupcake, remove the cake. place about 1 1/2 tsp of biscoff spread in the cupcake. place the top back on the cupcakes.
  5. To make the buttercream, cream together butter and Biscoff. Slowly add powdered sugar. Add cream and vanilla and beat until very light and fluffy. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes and add decorations if you like.

Recipe adapted from Baked Bree