Pumpkin Bread!

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It finally feels like Fall with the colder weather. I love lighting my candles almost every night! It’s as close as I’ll get to a fireplace.

I love the change in seasons so much because with each season brings new ingredients to use in baking and cooking. The Fall is one of my favorite times of the year because of all the pumpkins, apples, and squash. This means warm apple pie, apple crisp and cobbler, apple cider, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and…pumpkin bread!

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This recipe is not an original but one my mom has made for a long time. It comes from a cookbook called Recipes for Life. I’m not sure exactly where it came from but it’s been well loved as the pages are yellowing and the cover is falling off.

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This recipe is so easy to make and so worth the time! The bread is so moist and full of pumpkin flavor. It’s definitely a family favorite! It does make quite a bit, but it freezes well or you could give it away to friends and family!

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Ingredients

3 ½ cups AP flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

 

3 cups sugar

1 cup oil

2/3 cup water

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

4 eggs

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare the 3 medium loaf pans by greasing them and dusting with flour. Set aside for later.
  3. In a bowl, add the AP flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  4. In a mixer using the paddle, add the sugar, oil, and water. Mix until combined.
  5. Next, add the pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until combined.
  6. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix until the batter is smooth.
  7. Divide the batter between the 3 greased and floured medium loaf pans.
  8. Bake for about 55 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

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I hope you get a chance to make it!

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Enjoy!

 

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Apple Butter!

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Nothing says Fall like homemade apple butter. I’m so glad I finally had some time this weekend to make it! It’s super easy to make and quite delicious! Once all the peeling and chopping is done, let your crockpot take over and just enjoy the awesome smells as thy permeate your house!

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I usually freeze it once it is made or give it away to friends and family. I’ve never done any canning before, but I would like to learn one day.

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It’s so good on toast, bagels, scones, English muffins, or even in oatmeal, maybe even ice cream, although I’ve never tried it. The picture above is what will soon be apple butter just at the start of the cooking.

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This picture is after about 5 hours of cooking.

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And this picture is after going a total of approximately 18 hours because I ended up letting it cook on low overnight. I know it looks quite gross, but once it gets pureed in the blender, I promise you it is amazing!

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The apple cider I used in this recipe is my absolute favorite! I get it from my local farmer’s market. They don’t pasteurize it, they freeze it. This means you only have about a week to drink it or put some of it in apple butter. I’ve also made some awesome apple cider pancakes to help use it up. Wherever you get your apple cider from, as long as it’s your favorite, it will work for this recipe.

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Apple butter is complete! It is so smooth and full of apple flavor! Gosh, I love Fall!

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I had made Irish Soda bread awhile ago. Since it has raisins and cinnamon in it, I decided to toast it and spread some apple butter on it. Mmm. Mmm. So good!

Ingredients

4 lbs. peeled and diced apples (Fuji and golden delicious. Use 50/50 of each–2 lbs. Fuji, 2 lbs, golden delicious)

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups apple cider

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. cloves

¼ tsp. nutmeg

 

Directions

  1. Peel and dice apples. Place in crockpot. Use your favorite apples. I prefer golden delicious for just about anything I make that uses apples.
  2. Add the brown sugar, apple cider, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the apples. Stir it all together.
  3. Turn crockpot on high for about 4-5 hours. Turn down to low until you’ve reached the 12-hour mark. I leave it on overnight because the time I get to the apples being in for 12 hours, it’s the middle of the night.
  4. Puree in a blender until smooth. Can or freeze.

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Enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from a recipe for apple butter from the Food Network Kitchen.

Honey Wheat Bread

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I’ve been making this wheat bread since my senior year of high school. It’s so good! I can’t seem to go back to buying wheat bread from the store. It just doesn’t have the same flavor. That’s is how I feel about any homemade bread versus store bought. It does take some time as it does with any homemade bread, but it freezes well and I don’t eat it very often. When I do have time, I make a loaf and then it will last at least a couple weeks.

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My family loves it and enjoys it very much! I love to make my gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches on it or a deliciously toasted Peanut Butter and Jelly!

Not only do I love freshly baked bread, but I love the process and how the dough feels in my hands. Kneading the dough is relaxing to me so it’s easy for me to make time to make this bread or any other bread. I think my second favorite bread to make is Focaccia. All the herbs, onions, and cheese are just so yummy! I want to try making pizza out of it sometime. Oh, and I have a really good English muffin recipe! They are quite amazing!!

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Above, is the milk, butter, salt, and honey being heated in the pot. It gets poured into the mixer with part of the flour and the yeast. Below is the dough after mixing in the other half of the flour. The picture on the right is the dough before it proofs.

 

 

 

Above is how to shape and form the loaf. Flatten the dough into rectangle. Fold the long ends over into thirds and roll tightly (the short side) to form the loaf. Place it in a greased large loaf pan and let it proof for about half an hour.

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The beautiful loaf after it has proofed. Below is the final product!

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Ingredients

4 ½ cups Whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. Active dry yeast

1 ¾ cup Almond milk

2 tsp. Salt

1/3 cup Honey

2 Tbsp. Unsalted butter

 

Directions

  1. In the mixing bowl, put 2 cups of wheat flour in the bowl followed by the yeast.
  2. In a small pot, add the milk, salt, honey, and butter. Heat until butter is melted and the temperature reaches 135-140 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the mixing bowl. With the dough hook, mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn up the speed to high for 3 more minutes.
  4. Take the bowl off the mixer and add one more cup of flour. Mix in by hand with a rubber spatula. Once incorporated add another cup of flour. Do not completely mix in. Place the dough onto a lightly flour surface and start kneading. Once the flour is incorporated, it will probably be sticky. At this point add a couple tablespoons at a time until the dough forms a nice ball and does not stick. Knead by for about 5-10 minutes until it springs back when touched.
  5. Grease the mixing bowl and place the dough back into the bowl. Let it proof for about an hour or until it’s doubled in size.
  6. After the first proof, punch down the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Flatten it to rectangle, getting rid of the air bubbles. (See above pictures.)
  9. Fold one third to the center and then the last third over that like a letter. Flatten and stretch to about 6-7 inches wide. Roll tightly to form the loaf. Tuck the ends under the loaf. (See above pictures.) Place in a greased large loaf pan. Let it proof for about 20-30 minutes until doubled in size.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes and then cover with foil so the loaf doesn’t get too dark for another 15 minutes totaling 35 minutes. Adjust accordingly depending on type of oven being used. Alternatively bake to an internal temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from loaf pan and let cool on a cooling rack.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

Cherry Amaretto Sweet Rolls

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Mmmmm….Cherry Amaretto Rolls. Besides vanilla bean, I love pretty much anything that has cherry and almond in it! I don’t know why, but my taste buds like it!

I recently purchased some cherry amaretto preserves and then stumbled upon a Fall Baking magazine, which contained a recipe for Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls. They just so happened to contain cherry preserves as the filling for them. This magazine has so many good recipes in it and was worth every penny!

IMG_1412My mom hosted her sister’s weekend this year, so we decided on these cherry amaretto sweet rolls! They turned out really well! My aunts loved them! I made quite a few changes and completely turned the roll into my own creation. Sometimes I just can’t help myself. When I see a recipe, I can’t help but make changes and improve it using ingredients I love, like buttermilk, pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean, or real butter. Sometimes knowing how ingredients work helps me decide what to use instead of another, such as knowing the gluten strength of flours. I have made too many changes sometimes, and it doesn’t quite work out, but more often than not, my changes to recipes work! It makes me so excited, and then I can’t wait for the next recipe.

I had bought a 16 oz. jar of cherry amaretto preserves, but I didn’t use all of it. I used about 3/4 of it. A lot oozed out as I was rolling, so I recommend putting less it or just deal with it like I did. You could try chilling it for a bit too before cutting the rolls. Another thought…you could spread some of the preserves on as you are eating the roll, if you want more cherry flavor. This recipe is nice because another fruit flavor could also be used instead of the cherry preserves for another flavor if you don’t like cherries. As the rolls baked, some of the filling did come out on the bottom of the pan too. But overall, I didn’t mind, I still thought they turned out great. My yield was 10 rolls, but you could make more or less depending on how big you want your rolls to be.

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Make sure to proof the dough for an hour or until it’s doubled in size as well as proofing after shaping and the rolls are in the pan. Otherwise you will have very dense rolls.

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Don’t they just look so good? Yummmm. I recommend waiting until they are completely cooled before icing them. I decided to add a little almond extract to my flat icing to add more almond flavor. These should be eaten within a couple days otherwise, freeze them so they don’t lose freshness. Also, microwave them right before eating for a little bit, if they are getting on the older side and they will be just like they were the first day!

Ingredients

2 cups Bread FlourIMG_1393

1 ½ cups AP Flour

1 Tbsp. Active Dry Yeast

½ cup milk

½ cup Greek yogurt

6 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1-16 oz. jar Cherry Amaretto preserves

 

Flat Icing

½ cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tbsp. milk (start with one or teaspoons)

A few drops of pure almond or vanilla extract

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Directions

  1. In a mixer, add both the flours and yeast.
  2. In a small pot, add the butter. Let it melt and then add the milk, yogurt, sugar, and salt. Heat to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Another test: if your finger can stand the warmth/heat without burning your finger, it’s probably ok to use.) It just needs to be very warm.
  3. Pour the heated ingredients over the flour and yeast. Place dough hook onto the mixer and start mixing.
  4. Add the egg after it has mixed a little. Continue mixing until dough has formed into a ball. The dough should be smooth and spring back when touched.
  5. Take the dough out of the mixer, pan spray the bowl. Put the dough in the greased bowl and turn over so the top of the dough is now greased. Let it proof at room temperature, in a proof box, or on the proof setting in your oven until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
  6. Punch dough down and roll out to a rectangle (14 inch x 10 inch).
  7. Spread a good amount of cherry preserve filling onto the dough or any other filling of choice. Roll up the dough long ways. Cut to desired size. I got 10 rolls out of mine. Place in a greased 9 x 13 pan. You may need a second smaller 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan. Place rolls however they fit best in pans. Let rise for 30 minutes on the proof setting on your oven again, at room temperature, or in a proof box.
  8. Bake a t 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before making flat icing.

 

I hope you get to enjoy these with your friends and family with some good coffee!

Vanilla Bean Scones!

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Yuuummmm! In case you were wondering, vanilla bean is one of my favorite ingredients to use. There is nothing complex about it. Vanilla is so simple yet so good! This fresh vanilla bean scone is quite amazing! I wanted to try something a little different this time and use half cake flour for this recipe. It worked really well!

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As these were baking in the oven, the house smelled of vanilla bean! It was heavenly. I didn’t expect the aroma to be as strong as it was, but trust me it was a good thing!

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Make sure you chill these in the freezer for 10 minutes or in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. This will help create a flakier scone. I don’t always do this step. It just depends how much time I have to make them.

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To help intensify the flavor a little more, I made a vanilla bean glaze. Put on as much or as little as you like. They are quite delicious plain as they are with the glaze. They would be really yummy with a slathering of you’re favorite jam. I personally like cherry or strawberry…whatever we have in the house or what I’m in the mood for. Since Fall is approaching, apple butter would be wonderful on these scones too! I might make some soon!

 

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Ingredients

Scones:

1 cup AP Flour

1 cup Cake Flour

½ tsp. Baking soda

¼ tsp. Salt

2 Tbsp. Sugar

½ cup Unsalted Butter, cold

2/3 cup Buttermilk

2 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste

 

Glaze:

1 cup Powdered sugar

½ tsp. Vanilla bean paste

2 Tbsp. Milk

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together AP flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
  3. Measure the buttermilk and add the vanilla bean paste to that. Mix together.
  4. Cut up the cold butter into the bowl of dry ingredients. A cheese grater can also be used for this part.
  5. Use your hands, a fork, or pastry cutter to cut in the butter chunks. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until they’re about pea sized or a little bigger. It should be crumbly.
  6. Add the buttermilk and vanilla bean paste to the dry ingredients with the butter. Mix until combined.
  7. Place the scone dough on a lightly floured counter. Form into a 7-8 inch disc. Cut into 8 scones. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer or 20 minutes in the refrigerator, time permitting.
  8. Bake for about 12-15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (Convection oven).
  9. Prepare the glaze after the scones have completely cooled. If you decide not to make the glaze, the scones are still delicious on their own. You could even put your favorite jam on them.

 

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I hope you get a chance to enjoy these scones and share them with your friends and family!

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!

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!