Vanilla Bean Cupcakes!

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Vanilla cupcakes may sound a little boring, but I promise you these are anything but that! These vanilla bean buttermilk cupcakes are so moist and taste so amazing, they are worth making the next time you have a celebration or just feel like making cupcakes!

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I filled mine with dulce de leche, which I bought from the store. You can find it just about anywhere, usually in the baking aisle by the sweetened condensed milk. The icing is vanilla Italian buttercream, which I have posted previously. You can find it under, Fillings, Frostings, and Buttercream. It says Almond Italian Buttercream, but just add 1-2 tsp. of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste in place of the almond extract.

After baking the cupcakes and letting them cool, I used an apple corer to remove some of the center. I’ve also used a spoon, which works just fine if you don’t have an apple corer. (Just to be clear, this is not an apple slicer. It has a handle and is only for removing the core.) I removed about a half inch to an inch of the cake. The more you remove, the more filling you have to enjoy! I save the centers and put them on ice cream sometimes. 😉 You can use a piping bag or a small spoon to fill them. I’ve used both and either way works well.

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Along with being very moist, these cupcakes are very flavorful. The cake is so soft and pillowy. Yummmmm! They are highly satisfying if I do say so myself.

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I mean, come on. Just look at how good these look!

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Ingredients

2/3 (about 5.3 oz) cup unsalted, softened butterIMG_1315

1 ¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla bean paste plus ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 ½ cups sifted cake flour

2 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 ¼ cup buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Cream until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl in between the addition of each ingredient.
  4. Measure all dry ingredients and sift them together. Measure buttermilk. Add some of the dry and some of the liquid. Let it mix. Scrape sides of the bowl and repeat until all ingredients are combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  5. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. I filled mine about 2/3-3/4 full and yielded 19 cupcakes. If the liners are filled a little less, the recipe could yield about 24. Bake for about 17-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter M&M Cookies!

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It doesn’t get better than this…right!?…I made these cookies last week because I was leaving to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. I know how much they love my baking, so I thought what a great opportunity to create a new recipe. They’re very similar to my monster cookies except there’s no oats or butterscotch chips. I was going to use just M&Ms in them but then didn’t have quite enough, so I threw in half a cup of my favorite Ghirardelli chocolate chips! And I’m sure you could guess this, but they’ve been approved by my 2 year old niece!

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I used all butter (unsalted), creamy natural peanut butter, and all brown sugar. They came out so much better than I thought. They are so soft, thick, and very chewy! My favorite!

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I ended up making the cookie dough and chilling it for at least an hour and half because I had to go do some errands. I came back, turned on the oven, scooped, and baked. It worked great! You don’t have to chill them that long (20-30 minutes should work fine after scooping, before scooping–chill for about an hour). These cookies turned out oh so yummy!

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I can’t believe that summer is almost over! I start my last semester of pastry school next week! It has been so much fun, and I am very excited for this last semester of classes! I will be learning advanced breads and plating desserts as well as running the student-run bakery. I hope you get a chance to make these cookies! They’re wonderfully delicious!

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Ingredients

1 cup softened, unsalted butterIMG_1299

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 ¼ cup All Purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 ½ – 2 cups M&Ms

½ cup Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until smooth. There should be no chunks of butter. Do not beat it too long or the cookies will spread.
  3. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Then add the vanilla. Scrape the bowl in between the addition of each ingredient.
  4. Measure all dry ingredients and add them after the eggs and vanilla. Mix on a slow speed a little. Finally, add them M&Ms and chocolate chips until combined.
  5. Scoop to desired size. My cookie scoop gave me yield of about 45 cookies. You can refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes to help decrease spread. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until done.

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Enjoy!

Fresh Cherry Almond Scones!

One fresh cherry almond scone please!

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These scones are my absolute favorite! I prefer them to be made with fresh cherries but dried can be used. One of the things I really like about these scones is that they are rustic looking because they are not cut into triangles or circles.

This time of year when cherries are in season is the only time I make them. The fresh cherries contribute to making this scone an excellent one.

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Cherry and almond is probably one of the greatest flavor combinations! They’re so moist and so DELICIOUS!

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These past few weeks have been pretty busy and a little crazy so I haven’t gotten to post anything. I had a cake project assignment and my practical for my cake decorating class, which ended up turning out fantastic. For my FIRST cake that I ever stacked and covered in fondant, I was very happy! I know it’s not perfect but the overall look of it was exactly what I envisioned. I made chocolate cake with white chocolate vanilla bean mousse, and vanilla bean Italian buttercream. It’s so yummy!

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Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

2 ½ cups AP flour

½ cup whole wheat flourIMG_1276

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. Baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cubed

1 ¼ cup buttermilk plus 1-2 Tbsp. for brushing the tops

1 -1 ½ tsp. pure almond extract

1 cup fresh cherries quartered or halved

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar for topping

 

Flat icing:

About ¼-1/2 cup powdered sugar

Add milk or water as needed for desired consistency

Add a few drops of pure almond extract to taste

½ cup sliced almonds, toasted for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 1 to 2 baking sheets with parchment depending on pan size and desired scone size. My scones were a little bigger and yielded 10 scones so I only used one baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix ingredients together.
  3. Cut up the cherries and remove pits with a paring knife. Or if you have a cherry pitter that can be used. Set aside
  4. Measure buttermilk and add almond extract to the buttermilk.
  5. Cut up the butter into small chunks and add to the flour. A pastry cutter, fork, or your hands can but used to cut in the butter. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is about pea sized or a little bigger. Add the cherries to the large bowl with the dry ingredients and butter. Mix them gently to coat them with flour.
  6. Add the buttermilk and almond extract mixture. Stir carefully so the cherries don’t get smashed. Mix until combined.
  7. A cookie or muffin scoop can be used, but I used my hands and made them about the size of a tennis ball. They were quite large so make them smaller if you want. I got about 10 scones with the size I made them. Brush with extra buttermilk or milk and sprinkle with about 1-2 Tbsp. granulated sugar.
  8. Bake for 18-21 minutes if they are tennis ball size. If they are smaller they will probably bake for 10-15 minutes. There done when they get a little brown on top and the bottoms are lightly browned.
  9. Once the scones are cooled, prepare the flat icing and drizzle it over the tops. Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top.

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**This recipe has been adapted and changed from other similar recipes.