Month: May 2011

Pear and Apple Phyllo Crisp

I know what you’re thinking: pears and apples? Shouldn’t this recipe be posted in the fall, not late spring?! I will admit that it’s not seasonally appropriate, but here’s the truth: my phyllo dough was about to expire and had to be used! When the scents of apple and cinnamon filled my apartment, I closed my eyes and *almost* thought it was October.

Pear and Apple Phyllo Crisp
Recipe source: Martha Stewart
Print Recipe

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
6 sheets frozen phyllo dough (11-1/2 x 15 inches each), thawed
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 small firm pears (Forelle or Seckel)
2 Granny Smith apples (peeled is best, but I was too lazy to do that step!)

1. Preheat oven to 400F with a rack in the top position. Combine pecans, breadcrumbs, sugar, and cinnamon.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment and top with 1 phyllo sheet. Brush phyllo all over with butter and sprinkle pecan mixture evenly over top. Repeat 4 times. Top with remaining phyllo sheet and brush with all but 2 Tablespoons of the butter.
3. Slice pears and apples 1/8-inch thick; discard seeds. Arrange pear and apple slices in a single layer on phyllo, leaving space between fruit and 1/4-inch border around edges. Brush fruit with reserved 2 Tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with sugar, and dust with cinnamon. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until phyllo is golden brown and fruit is soft — about 28-32 minutes. Let cool slightly, cut into 8 pieces.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios a few months ago. Being an avid Harry Potter fan, I was curious to know how the park would look and feel — and I was curious to know what the butterbeer would taste like! I was skeptical — mainly because I don’t like super, super sweet ANYTHING. I tried the frozen butterbeer and it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I would have had a second and third and fourth glass if I didn’t have a conscience that told me, “stop – there are probably 1,000 calories in one glass!” The theme park itself was also amazing and you really did feel like you were *in* the books. The employees even referred to the patrons as muggles.

I found a recipe for butterbeer CUPCAKES and had to try! They are filled with butterscotch and cream soda flavors and really do taste like the butterbeer at the park!

Butterbeer Cupcakes
Recipe source:

For the cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

For the ganache:
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream

For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
Splash of milk or cream (as needed)

For the cupcakes:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream your butter until light and fluffy. Add your sugars and beat until well-combined. Beat in your eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat in your vanilla and butter flavoring.
4. Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated.
5. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.

For butterscotch filling:
1. In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth.
2. Cool to room temperature.
3. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.

For buttercream frosting:
Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined.
2. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed.
3. Frost cupcakes. You can top with a drizzle of ganache or with butterscotch chips.

Mum Flower Cupcakes

Happy Mother’s Day weekend! Moms are the best, aren’t they? If you don’t want to buy your mom real flowers, make her some in cupcake form! I saw these cupcakes in “What’s New, Cupcake” and had to give them a try. They are SUPER easy to make, but are time-consuming. You can cut some of the time down by making cupcakes from a box mix and using store-bought frosting. Here’s how I made mine.

Mum Flower Cupcakes
Recipe source: What’s New Cupcake
Print Recipe

1 box cake mix (I used white cake)
1 tub store-bought vanilla frosting
1 package of fruit-flavored Twizzlers (optional)
1 bag mini marshmallows (you can use the colored marshmallows or the plain white, it’s up to you)
Variety of sprinkles/sugars

1. Make the cupcakes according to box directions and frost.
2. Cut the marshmallows on the diagonal. Dip the sticky side of the marshmallow into the sprinkles or colored sugar. Repeat this process until you have many “petals” to work with.
3. Place the marshmallow petals around the outside of the cupcake; repeat with a second and third row until you get to the center of the cupcake.
4. Optional: Separate the green Twizzlers and use them as stems!

Caramel Corn Cookies

These cookies don’t directly involves caramel corn… but have flavors to match! I was sold when I saw the words “butterscotch chips”. :)

Caramel Corn Cookies
Print Recipe

1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts
Coarse sugar or turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine shortening and butter. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, honey, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with a mixer. With a spoon, stir in any remaining flour, the butterscotch chips, and peanuts.
3. Place coarse sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. Roll balls in coarse sugar to coat. Place balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until tops are golden and edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks for complete cooling. Makes about 48 cookies.

Worms in the Dirt Cupcakes

Ahh, springtime. Flowers, rain, green-er grass, and worms! I may be in the minority on this, but I always like seeing the worms come out of the ground after a big rainstorm. If you aren’t a fan of real worms, hopefully you like gummy worms. The cupcakes are super simple to make because I went the semi-homemade route.

Worms in the Dirt Cupcakes
Print Recipe

1 box Oreo cookies
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 tub of chocolate frosting
1 bag gummy worms

1. Bake cupcakes according to box directions; frost when cooled.
2. Crush the Oreo cookies in a food processor. Dip the frosted cupcakes into the Oreo crumbs to coat.
3. Place gummy worms on top of the the cupcakes. You can cut some of the worms in half to make it look like they are coming out of the cupcake.