Pumpkin mini muffins

This recipe was my pumpkin flood gate recipe. The first one I learned that unlocked the part of my brain that looks at everything and says, “hey, let’s put pumpkin in that”. It’s quick, easy, tasty… all the things ya gotta love about a good muffin recipe.

001

What you’ll need:

1 box yellow cake mix

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/4 c water

2 TBSP veggie (or canola) oil

3 eggs

3/4 c canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

muffin pans… your choice on size, but I usually do mini muffins.

Preheat your oven to 350 before you start. This is pretty quick to put together, so you won’t have to wait for the oven when you’re ready.

First off, I know what you’re thinking… box cake mix?! That’s cheating! So just knock it off. There’s nothing wrong about altering a cake mix. As my aunt always says, “if you open the box at home, it’s homemade”. Altering cake box mixes can be a lot of fun. You can experiment with new flavors and ideas without the hoops of making it from scratch and the crushing disappointment of wasted time if it turns out like junk. Trust me, not awesome. So yeah, box mix, deal with it.

003

Of this mammoth can of pumpkin, this tiny bit is all I used. I have more plans, so I slapped some cling wrap over it and stuck it in the fridge. If you don’t plan on any other pumpkiny delights, I suggest you get the smaller can. Even the small can will make a double batch with ease. I’m a horrible judge of how much I need when I’m shopping for ingredients. I can’t tell you how many tubs of sour cream I’ve tossed because I only needed a cup and I panic and get the economy size cause I’m afraid I’ll run out of it. Don’t act like you’ve never done that.

004

Dump all the dry stuff together, then add the rest. It’s going to look like there are tiny lumps. You can turn your beaters on high for a few seconds, but don’t over do it. They’re not going to all go away, but they’re not going to ruin your muffins, so relax.

005

Spray the bejeepers out of your muffin tins. I don’t like to use liners for this. First off, since you’re using a box mix they’re going to be a little softer and about 36% of your cake will stick to a liner. You just made that number up. Yes, yes I did, but you know it’s true. How many times have you picked out a delicious looking cupcake only to peel the liner and almost half the cake goes with it? At that moment you can either toss the paper and weep over the lost tastiness, or look like a crazy person trying to eat the liner. Second, mini muffins are eating by the half dozen, and who wants to work that hard shucking for breakfast? No one.

006

At first I had thought about using our good friend, the cookie scoop. However, muffin batter is runny and requires something else. I give you, the batter dispenser! Yeah, I have a lot of weird gadgets. This thing is pretty handy for cakes, muffins, and most of all, waffles. It takes a second to get into the rhythm of pouring that will give you the perfect amount. Practice makes perfect. You can get 6 dozen mini muffins, or 24 standard muffins out of this. I don’t know about jumbo ones, but I bet they’d be awesome.

Bake minis for 8-11 minutes, and standards for 25-30 minutes.

008

They puff up pretty well and will have a soft, spongy feeling. If you do a toothpick test, it will likely come back with a tiny piece or two, but it’s okay. If you just have to use liners, I suggest you over bake them just a little. It’ll help with that liner cake loss problem.

010 009

HANDY TIP ALERT: Got stuck muffins? I didn’t feel like respraying after the first batch so I paid the price when it came to get them out. If you don’t have one, invest in a small angled spatula. It’s absolutely perfect for icing cupcakes and cookies, but it also works as a fantastic muffin unsticker. Run it around the edge to loosen, then use it to wedge the muffin out. Go slow to avoid ripping. It’s pretty easy, just takes a little time.

007

Watch yourself, mini muffins can be dangerous. They’re so small that it’s pretty easy to eat 6, or 8, or 2 dozen. Granted, there’s no such thing as too much pumpkin, but there is such a thing as muffin overload.

Advertisements

Pumpkin mini donuts

Let’s kick off this pumpkin adventure with something everyone can get behind… the mini donut. What’s not to love? It’s delicious, easy to make, and adorable! Be warned, it’s tiny size can lead to eating the majority of the batch without realizing it. I speak from personal experience. So here we go.

001 (4)

What you’ll need:

5 TBSP melted butter

1/2 c sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 c flour

2 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 c milk

bowls and spoons and all that jazz

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ALERT: I used a mini donut maker.

002 (4) My sister got me this a few years back and it’s one of my favorite little kitchen toys. You can use a donut tray, just adjust the time. Use your common sense.

 

I relied my magical kitchenaid again, but doing this all by hand is pretty easy. Mix together the butter and sugar then add the egg. While that’s going in the kitchenaid or after you’ve whisked by hand you should sift together the rest of the dry stuff. Do I really need to sift? Yes, the answer is always yes. Sifting is never just stuck in directions for the fun of it. It’s not fun, if you think it’s fun you’re weird. It has a purpose. I don’t know what, but go with it.

004 (4)

Sift it into a bowl so it’s easier to pour into the bowl as you mix. Alternate pouring in the milk and the sifted mixture. I used a 1/3 cup for the flour and ended up doing flour, milk, flour, milk, flour. It shouldn’t take very long to get a nice consistency.

005 (4)

You want it to stick to the paddle like that. Pretty, isn’t it?

006 (4)

Scrape it all to one side so it’s easy to scrape. Hey! Look who’s back! It’s our good friend the cookie scoop! Didn’t I tell you he’d show up again. Yeah, it’s a he. I call him Sir Perfect-scoop.

008 (5)

Hence, the perfect scoops. SIDE TIP: If you’re using a donut tray, I suggest putting your dough in a gallon ziplock bag (like piping frosting), cut a tip, and use it to pipe the dough into the tray. I bet that will make things much easier.

007 (4)

This donut maker I do 3 minutes. If you have one, it might be different, if you’re using a tray then you’re on your own, but I bet you know what to do. I know when I was an early baker I needed to have exact temps and times for everything. If a recipe was for standard muffins then gosh darn I was going to do standard muffins for the time and temp specified. Well, I’ve learned a thing or two and I’m not afraid to change the size *gasp* and even the temp and time *blaspheme!* to get the product I want. Best rule of thumb, start at a lower time than you think. You can always leave them in longer. You can’t, however, turn back time and unburn them. Unless you have a time machine oven in which case I’m totally jealous.

009 (5)

Toss them onto a nearby laid out towel. I used little tongs, then I tried a fork, and finally I got out the prong thing that goes with my cake ball maker. Yes, I have a cake ball maker and yes, you’ll get to see it in action eventually. Geez, pushy.

011 (5)

Taste test passed by the most critical of reviewers. So you think we’re done, right? WRONG!

013 (3)

Every donut needs a good glaze!

 

What you’ll need:

1 c powdered sugar

3 TBSP milk

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

 

This is the easy part… just whisk it all together, Seriously, that’s it.

014 (4)

There are three methods I could think of for applying this awesome, sugary delight. You could pick them up and dip them, pour it over them, or use a pastry brush. I used a pastry brush like a civilized person.

015 (4)

First, I put them on a plate so as not to get the towel all sticky. Just brush brush brush as much as you want. It’ll harden up for a nice crusty coating if you wait. Or you can just start eating them. I may have done a little of both.

016 (4)

They never last long. What a lovely way to kick off our pumpkin journey!

That brownie jar mix

I told you I’d come back to it eventually. I’m surprised it made it this long. These turned out really well. I was very happy with it. Very rich, could really taste the cocoa. In the original post I didn’t give a clear answer on what size pan to use. Well, turns out it’s 9×13. In fact, I’m pretty sure if I had used an 8×8 it would have over flowed. So let’s do this!

010

What you’ll need:

that jar brownie mix

1 cup butter, softened

4 eggs

mixer and what not

9×13 pan

You should have directions written on that handy little card, so I won’t go into all that. If you’re fortunate enough to have the glorious, all powerful kitchenaid then use the paddle. Otherwise you might be doing this by hand. It gets pretty darn thick.

Prepare your pan.

011 012

I don’t care what you say, Baker’s Joy is fantastic. Spray the crap out of that pan. No baked good has given me such a fight coming out of the pan like brownies.

013 I told you it would be thick.

Spread it around, slow and steady.

014

The card on the jar says 50 minutes at 325, but mine only took 40 minutes. No one knows your oven better than you.

015 Those little dips are chocolate chips. So tasty. Another jar mix with a stamp of approval to be refilled and put back in the pantry to wait for another time I’m craving a delicious, chocolatey treat.

By bakingmama22 Posted in Baking

Remember that snickerdoodle jar recipe?

I’m a stress baker. It’s my happy place. I use to be a stress eater, but I’m working on that. However, baking is what I do to cope. I needed it extra this morning after being cussed at by a mom whose daughter darted her bike into the middle of an intersection right in front of me. I was pretty far away from her, but got a bad word and a nasty look from the mom as I drove away. Fantastic way to start the day. My stomach was in knots over it for two hours till I decided I needed to get my ktichenaid on. What a perfect time to try out one of those mixes that have been taunting me every time I open the pantry.

003

Do you remember this jar? No, well lucky for you I learned how to put a link in posts. So now you can go back to the original post and review.

So you’ve got your jar mix, and the other things you need that you wrote on that handy dandy card attached to the jar. Mix that 1/2 c sugar and 1 TBSP cinnamon together for the tasty coating each ball of dough will get.

Preheat your oven to 375 now, before you have all the dough set out on the cookie sheet and have to stand there like a weirdo staring at your oven, willing it to preheat faster.

I stuck the butter in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it up because I really didn’t want to wait for it to get soft just sitting out. Other than that, throw everything into the bowl and mix it up. It’s all crumbly! Keep mixing. It’s going to look like a crumby mess for a couple minutes. No, I didn’t time it, use your eyes. Geez.

005 See, more cookie dough like.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite cookie making tools. The melon baller.

004 Oh glorious melon baller, how many perfect cookies have graced your shiny metal scoop. I know you can get official cookie scoops at Pampered Chef or Williams Sonoma, but this one probably cost 1/4 one of those fancy pants places.

No matter how it happens or what tool you use, roll 1″ balls of dough around in the cinnamon sugar and then lay them on your cookie sheet.

006 007

I fit a dozen on my big ol’ Food Network insulated cookie sheets. Be civilized, use parchment paper. I usually don’t use the suggested bake time, but this is a rare exception. It took all 10 minutes and they turned out perfect. Using my fantastic scoop made two short of four dozen. Side note, cookie spatulas are awesome.

008 009

This jar gets a huge stamp of approval! I highly suggest it, and I plan on refilling the jar with another batch, reattaching the instructions and putting it back in the pantry for when I need  calming morning of baking.

By bakingmama22 Posted in Baking

Desserts in a jar – part 1

I have a lot of cookbooks. Like the shelf is sagging and they’re crammed in there so tight I’m half afraid they might burst out when I walk by. I haven’t looked at some of them in awhile, but with trying to set up a freezer meal making party, I did some digging and found a little gem  tucked away. A whole book about gifts in a jar. Hey weren’t we doing a series on hats? I don’t have time to make a hat right now, cut me some slack.

To make up for your hardship of not getting a new hat, this post will be a twofer. Not one, but two super easy jar mixes that give you desserts at your fingertips! I’m really excited about this one. The idea of only having to grab one thing out of the pantry is magical. As opposed to balancing at least four tubs of whatever and then cramming them onto the small counter space next to the kitchenaid.

007

Let’s start with some fudge brownies!

What you’ll need:

1 qt wide mouth jar

jar funnel (optional but HIGHLY useful)

index card or some kind of tag to put the info on

yarn, twine, or ribbon… just something to tie it on

1 1/3 c sugar

2/3 c cocoa

2/3 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

2/3 c chocolate chips

2/3 c chopped pecans (optional)

 

Layer the ingredients in the order I put them. Pack them down a little after each layer. The easiest method is tapping the jar on the table, or your knee. That’s it!

008

Well maybe not totally done, you need to know what to do with this awesomeness in a jar. Knowing my luck, I would totally forget what this was, what else needed to go into it, and what book it came out of to find it again. I can barely remember what I had for breakfast. Holy crap did I eat breakfast?!

Anywho, punch a hole or two in an index card or a little piece of paper. Write the info you need to know, and tie it onto your jar so you don’t lose it. This is what you need to know for your tag…

“1 jar mix, 1 c softened butter, & 4 eggs. Preheat oven to 325. Cream butter, add eggs one at a time. Mix in dry ingredients. Spread into greased 8×8 pan. Bake 50 min.”

Want to make it a nifty gift? Cut a circle of fabric to go over the lid/under the ring, and tie the tag with ribbon for extra fanciness!

Okay, honesty time… the original recipe actually didn’t say what size pan to use. I was pretty shocked when I realized they just left me hangin’ like that. I assumed 8×8 cause that sounded right to me. That’s pretty normal for brownies.

009

You said this was a twofer! True enough, so here ya go.

Gave you a brownie, now time for a cookie. Everyone has a cookie or two that just make you feel like a kid again. Ones that your mom use to make. For me, one of those childhood favs is snickerdoodles. My mom makes some awesome snickerdoodles. This jar might not stay in the pantry very long.

What you’ll need:

1 qt wide mouth jar

funnel (slightly less optional)

card and something to tie

2 1/2 c flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 1/2 c sugar

 

Layer the ingredients like they’re listed. This one really needs to be tapped down. The flour takes up a lot of space, so take a little bit to tap it down. Then only add 1/2-1 cup of the sugar and tap it down to give yourself enough space for that last bit of sugar. It’ll fit, trust me.

Same deal with attaching the need to know, and here’s what you need to know:

“1 jar mix, 1 stick softened butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 c sugar + 1 TBSP cinnamon. Preheat oven to 375. Mix jar, butter, and eggs. Shape into 1″ balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mix. Bake for 10 min.”

011

How many cookies does this make? I have no idea! I haven’t actually tried this yet. Did you notice that this post has a little “part 1” on it? Can you guess what the second part will be? I intend on making these this week. So stay on the edge of your seats, or make them yourself!

By bakingmama22 Posted in Baking

the great greek takeover

Remember when cranberries started to weasel their way into everything? Started all innocent with crangrape and slowly metastasized into other aspects of food. It even started taking over other food’s jobs. Craisins are ridiculous and that’s a fact. Then it was pomegranate. Even more aggressive than the cranberry. But it’s a super fruit. Whatever. If I can’t fly or lift a car after eating it then it’s false advertising. That little sucker broke through the glass ceiling and ended up in body wash, chap stick, and face cleaner. Whoever the salesmen is for pomegranate deserves a raise.

Food is no stranger to fads. Atkins, South Beach, one of who knows how many shake things, but I have to give some props to this diary ninja, greek yogurt. So you’re on a diet, like so many other people (including yours truly) and you think yogurt is a smart choice, right? WRONG. Is it plain, reliable yogurt chuck full of protein? No? Well then. All it took was “it has more protein” and like half the nation was sold. Who didn’t hear that and perk up? So it got its foot in the door and slowly worked its way into our hearts, grocery stores, and mouths. What started as a couple weird titled brands with like one flavor all hidden in that overwhelmingly large yogurt section exploded into its own little segregated yogurt subdivision. In my head, greek yogurt is like a gated, fancy pants neighborhood. It was awhile before I got on the greek yogurt train and only because of one almighty factor… chocolate. Chobani makes a vanilla chocolate chunk yogurt. It only comes in a big tub, which is smart cause they know we’re going to buy it. It says chocolate for cryin’ out loud! Also, tubs make great little bowls for other things like finger paint and ingredient prep bowls when you don’t want your 4-year-old to “help” scoop flour. Just when I thought greek yogurt was taking over that whole section of the dairy department, it turned out the dairy section was only the Trojan horse for the real plan of total food domination. Turkey pot pie, pancakes, mac n’ cheese, stuffed shells, corn bread, oven fried chicken. It found its way into fried chicken! Is nothing sacred?! That’s crazy talk. Chobani’s website, search if you dare.

Don’t mistake my passion of dislike. I was skeptical until I noticed something on the back of one of my many tubs of chocolate chunk yogurt. (No kidding, I have like 25 of these containers floating around) Someone had the audacity to take butter and sugar out of a perfectly good muffin recipe and put in greek yogurt, like we wouldn’t notice. Poor Paula Dean’s stocks just went down. She owns stock in butter, right? I just assumed. I can’t lie though, I tried the recipe. Traitor! I know, I love butter and sugar too, but my curiosity got the best of me. They’re good. I said it and I don’t care who knows it! Don’t believe me? Still on the yogurt fence (that’s a horrible image)? Try them!

 

What you’ll need:

1¼ cup Chobani Vanilla Chocolate Chunk Greek Yogurt

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 TBSP baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp kosher salt

⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar

6 TBSP canola oil

2 large eggs

1 TBSP vanilla extract

 

Preheat your oven to 375. This is pretty easy… mix together the yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla. In a bigger bowl (or the all powerful Kitchenaid) combine all the dry stuff. Now make a well in the dry stuff and pour in the wet stuff. Mix till it’s just combined. You don’t want to over mix or it gets all dense in not a good way.

002

Pick your muffin size! I did mini muffins for Cory’s class snack. Took 12 minutes for these little ones, but it could be 15-18 for standard. Like I always say, you know your oven. I always start 5 minutes less than a recipe calls for. You can always leave them in longer, you can’t undo burnt.

003

Now enjoy tasty muffins!

By bakingmama22 Posted in Baking