Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

I love this time of year... I don't really love the chill in the air (I must admit that I really would rather wear shorts and hand out by the pool every day. I love hot weather.)... but I do love the flavors that come with this season - warm cinnamon and pumpkin. Yumm! These little donuts are so easy to make and not as bad for you as that fried donut from your favorite coffee shop. I enjoy mine with a little chai tea latte - a pumpkin spice one!


Baked Pumpkin Donuts
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the wells of a donut pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, spice, salt, and baking powder (using an electric mixer if you have one) until smooth. Add the flour and stir to combine.

Spoon some batter into the wells of your donut pan, filling them about 3/4 full. You'll likely have enough batter for about 12. 

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Top with a little maple frosting or a dusting of cinnamon sugar.

To make maple frosting, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons water, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon maple extract in a bowl until smooth. Add water a few drops at a time if needed to thin. Drizzle the frosting on the donuts or spread on with a knife.


adapted from

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Samoa Cupcakes

Mmmmm.... Girl Scout cookies. One of my favorites? Samoas (Emily's too)... I think they might call them caramel delights now? But when I was a little Girl Scout, they were called Samoas. I found a great recipe for them at Annie's Eats (one of my favorite blogs - you should check it out). I knew I had to try them.

I will say that they are quite involved. You need to start well in advance because these cupcakes require many steps. But they are worth it!

Samoa Cupcakes
for the cupcakes - mix up your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe. if you don't have one, try this

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar

for the shortbread cookies*
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

*you could also just buy some shortbread cookies and cut them to fit in the bottom of the cupcake

for the chocolate ganache
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup caramel sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

for the coconut caramel topping
15 ounces soft caramels
3 tablespoons milk
pinch salt
2 cups shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

First you'll need to make the shortbread cookies (or take a short-cut and buy some).

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Last add the milk and vanilla and mix. Chill the dough for 1 hour.  Remove from the refrigerator and roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thickness and use a small round cookie cutter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes.

Next make the cupcakes.

Combine all cupcake ingredients in a large bowl.  Prepare a cupcake pan with paper liners. Place a shortbread cookie at the bottom of each cupcake well. Top each cookie with cupcake batter, filling each well about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for 18 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool completely.

Prepare the chocolate ganache.

Bring the caramel sauce and heavy cream to a simmer in a small pot. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Stir in the coconut extract.

Top each cupcake with a layer of the ganache. You will likely have a bit left over. Place it in a ziplock bag to use as the signature chocolate drizzle at the very end.

The last step is my favorite part of this treat (well, my favorite part to eat... not exactly my favorite part to prepare). You need to work a bit quickly with this caramel coconut topping because once it is melted and then begins to cool, it gets quite sticky and difficult to manipulate. In a heat-safe bowl, melt the caramels with the milk in the microwave at 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring between intervals. Stir in the salt and coconut extract. Lastly, fold in the shredded toasted coconut.

Using a knife or offset spatula, top each cupcake with the caramel coconut topping.

I then used the handle of a wooden spoon to make a whole in the topping to resemble the traditional cookie version of this delicious treat. Finish these off by snipping a small corner from the ziplock bag containing the extra ganache and drizzling some chocolate on each cupcake.

See... kind of a long process. But they will bring you back to those yummy Girl Scout cookies. Enjoy!

inspired by

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones


I love having a homemade breakfast treat to take to work with me in the morning. Especially on Mondays... it just makes the week start out a little bit sweeter. Try these delicious and rather healthy scones with your favorite coffee or tea in the morning (or as a snack any time during the day)!

Whole Wheat Raspberry Scones
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (if you don't have whole wheat flour you can use another cup of all-purpose)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sour cream or plain or vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg, beaten

for the egg wash... 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

for the glaze...
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon raspberry puree (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter with two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Gently stir in the raspberries. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vanilla, and egg. Add the liquid mixture to the large bowl and fold with a spatula to combine.

Dump the mixture onto a well-floured surface and pat into a circle. Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 8 equal segments (you can cut each segment a second time if you want smaller scones). Place the scones about 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheet.

Brush the top of each scone with the egg wash. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and water until smooth. Add a few drops of water if needed to thin. Spread glaze on each scone.

If you wish to add the raspberry drizzle, add a little raspberry puree to the remaining glaze. Place the raspberry glaze in a ziplock bag, snip off one corner, and drizzle the raspberry glaze on each scone.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hoisin BBQ Glazed Salmon

I just made this tonight for dinner and had to share it right away! It was THAT good! Not only is this absolutely delicious, it's also fast to prepare and healthy. You could gather ingredients and make this today. It's a great weeknight meal. I hope you like it!

Hoisin BBQ Glazed Salmon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce*
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sambal oelek*
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 salmon filets
salt & pepper

*You can find hoisin sauce and sambal oelek (chili paste) in the Asian aisle of most markets.

In a small sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until lightly browned. Add the hoisin, ketchup, honey, sambal oelek, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rice vinegar.

Brush the salmon filets with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt & pepper. Grill over medium heat for about 7 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness. Mark's the grill expert in our house... I prep the sauces and sides, while he grills the meat. It's good teamwork! Brush some of the hoisin BBQ sauce on top of the salmon filets for the last few minutes of cooking.

Pass additional sauce when serving.

I paired this salmon with some quick steamed broccoli. I prepare my simple broccoli in a skillet over medium heat. Warm 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in the skillet. Toss in a minced garlic clove and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add the broccoli, a splash of rice vinegar, and a splash of soy sauce. Place a lid on the skillet and allow to steam for 7 to 10 minutes while the salmon is grilling.

Garnish with basil or cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

recipe adapted from