Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Pumpkin Muffins 
Pumpkin Muffins

It's Fall.
It actually rained in Los Angeles today!
Of course, we are expecting it to be 95 degrees on Saturday.

But the calendar says "Fall" so I'm diving into pumpkin 24/7.

How have you been? I think this blog is still turned on. I've been really busy lately and had some losses - don't worry, not deaths. My best friend moved 3,000 miles away and my boss of 9 years left for another library system. Very sad times. Oh, and it was 1000000000 degrees in Los Angeles for weeks so I didn't want to turn on the stove to experiment and try new recipes. I was still baking some mornings...but many of the same items I can make in my sleep - scones, brownies, cookies and Texas Sheet Cake.

Pumpkin Muffins
Last week, on October 1st, it was the start of my pumpkin season. Here are some super easy pumpkin muffins via Smitten Kitchen who adapted it from American club, in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine. It's an easy pumpkin muffin with a light dusting of cinnamon/sugar.

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/3 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Place 12 cupcake liners (or spray with baking spray) in a muffin tin.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie pie.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined. Don't overmix!
6. Dish batter into muffin tin.
7. Mix together the topping ingredients: sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over each muffin - you'll probably have leftover, I didn't use it all.
8. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Muffins
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Fresh Peach Crisp for Two

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fresh Peach Crisp for Two
Fresh Peach Crisp for Two

It's Sunday so that means I'm at my parent's house for #breakfastwithdad. My mom heads to church and I hang out with my Dad. We have breakfast, Dad walks with his walker, physical therapy exercises and then a whirl in the wheelchair with me pushing and Cidney the Girl Dog strolling with us through the 'hood.

This morning, I made a Peach Crisp for Two. My parent's kitchen lacks many baking supplies (probably because I took all of them when I moved out more than 20 years ago!) If I do bake at my folks, I often measure things out at my house and then assemble and bake at their house. But this morning I was tired and late so I made it at their house with a single measuring cup. So, the measurements aren't perfect!

This has Peach (Fruit) and Oatmeal (Fiber) so it's totallllly a breakfast food! :) I can eat crisps all day long.

Fresh Peach Crisp for Two
I'm sad that summer is coming to an end. Fewer stone fruits in the Farmer's Market... so until the last peach is picked, make fresh peach crisps!

Peach Crisp for Two

Fruit mixture:
2 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into chunks
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
Couple dashes of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oatmeal (I used old fashioned oatmeal)
1/3 to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix together the fruit, sugar, flour and sugar in a small bowl. Place mixture in two ramekins.
3. Using your fingers or a fork, cut the butter into the topping ingredients until it is crumbly and holds together slightly when squeezed.
4. Divide topping on top of fruit mixture.
5. Bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your ramekins), until the fruit is bubbling.

My dad and I split one of these for breakfast and I'll leave the other one for my mom and dad's dessert tonight!
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Peach Buttermilk Cake

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peach Buttermilk Cake
Peach Buttermilk Cake

When you have buttermilk...
When you have peaches or stone fruit...
Then make cake!

One morning (I wake up at 4 am if I'm going to bake...and there is very little planning or thought process at that time), I looked in the refrig with my iPad in hand and saw that I had buttermilk and some peaches on the counter. Some searches on what my father's calls the "magic machine," and I came across this buttermilk cake recipe on Bowen Appetit blog!

It's super simple - basic cake mixture topped with cut fruit. Yum! I brought this to a meeting at work and we ate the whole cake before 9 am. (Yes, my work and meeting start early!)

Peach Buttermilk Cake
Make a basic flour, butter, and egg batter, and top with diced fruit. 

Hope you are having a good summer! I think Target put out the Back-to-School stuff on July 5th - what happened to summer vacay?! I must admit I get a bit jealous of all those new school supplies, lunch boxes, backpacks and erasers. I believe I somehow earned a trip for myself to Muji USA for my favorite supplies of paper and pencils!

Sorry for the sad photos - but I'm sure you get it. These photos from my Samsung 6 phone...My DSLR camera is very sad. One of my lenses stopped working...eeck!

Peach Buttermilk Cake

Recipe adapted from Bowen Appetit Blog, June 28, 2011

Peach Buttermilk Cake
Be sure to read the original recipe for "Buttermilk Anything Cake" to see other ideas (different fruits, flavoring, and lots of good tips). Here is what I used and did:

1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temp
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced peaches
Sanding sugar or Raw sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare an 8" round cake pan (I use a parchment circle and spray with Bak-Klene baking spray).
2. In a mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and sugar until fluffy (a few minutes).
3. Add egg and mix to combine.
4. Add vanilla extract and mix to combine.
5. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
6. With the mixer on low speed, alternate the dry ingredients with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Don't overmix...you can blend the last of the flour with a rubber spatula if you wish.
7. Pour batter into pan. With an offset spatula, spread out the batter in the pan.
8. Top with your diced fruit.
9. Sprinkle with sanding sugar or raw sugar. (Original recipe calls for granulated sugar so you can use that too).
10. Bake for 20-35 minutes - It really depends on the type of fruit and size pan you are using. Start checking at 20 minutes and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
11. Let sit in pan for 10 minutes before removing onto a cooling rack.
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4th of July Jello and Cookie Treats

Monday, June 29, 2015

4th of July Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Happy Almost Independence Day! Here are some 4th of July worthy treats:

4th of July Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Recipe and Instructions: 4th of July Jello

4th of July Pioneer Woman Spreads Cookies

4th of July Pioneer Woman Spreads Cookies

Recipe and Instructions: Spreads Cookies

Happy Birthday America!
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Raspberry Ricotta Cake from Bon Appetit

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
Raspberry Ricotta Cake from Bon Appetit

Whole Milk Ricotta
Melted Butter

All these combine into one incredible cake. It has a rich flavor, but not heavy. It is really, really good.

You should make this. Serious. Really. How do I know? Well, I made this at 4 am this morning, then brought it into work. I share treats with my office mates first, then put it out for the rest of the staff. This morning, the guys got their piece and within 15 minutes my co-worker asks, "How long do I have to leave it out there for the others until I can get a second piece?" We agreed that an hour was good enough (you snooze, you lose) and 62 minutes later, he got the last piece left on the cake stand! 

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
This is a super easy, two bowls, no Kitchenaid cake. You always need to have some no Kitchenaid recipes in your recipe box. And sometimes you buy the large Raspberry container at Costco and have a few raspberries to use up.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
It's super easy. The wet mixture is ricotta cheese, eggs and vanilla. This combines with the dry ingredients then a stick of melted butter is folded into the mix. See, I told you it was easy peasy.

I used a 9" by 3" round pan (instead of the usual 9" x 2" round). I think this will rise to very top of a 9" x 2" round pan so don't try to make it in an 8" pan.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
The recipe uses FROZEN raspberries or blackberries, but I used FRESH raspberries only. I used one 6 ounce square package of raspberries. Next time, I might add some lemon zest.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit (March 2015), also found on Epicurious

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta (I used whole milk ricotta)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces (little more than 1 cup raspberries) fresh raspberries (one package)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan. I used a 9"x3" cake pan. It may rise to the top of a 9"x2" pan. 
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
4. Pour egg/ricotta mixture onto dry ingredients and fold together until almost all blended.
5. Fold in the melted butter and then add 75% of the raspberries and fold those into the mix. Don't overmix.
6. Put batter into the pan and smooth with an offset spatula.
7. Scatter the remaining raspberries on top of the cake.
8. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes (mine took 50 minutes, I used fresh raspberries). Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
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What's Mary Been Reading? Heartbreaking Nonfiction & Funny YA

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hi! I have several recipes to post, but first wanted to tell you about some books I read and can't stop talking about. Since it's summer, I thought you might want some reading suggestions (well, some of my books are heartbreaking so maybe they aren't the best beach reads).

I'm not a very good reviewer of books. My colleagues have a gift for recommendations, while I just find myself saying "OMG. You have to read this. It's so good." with no elegance (mind you, I do yell out my recommendation enthusiastically, so there's that.)

Here are a few that I read or listened to recently...

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
OMG. You have to read this. It's so good. (see that I mean?)

No, really, this book is crazy good. Enthralling book about America's opiate to heroin addiction. Weaves stories of big pharm, Mexican immigrants with a retail model of selling heroin via delivery cars (with follow-up quality assurance calls to customers asking "What it good?" "Was the driver rude?"), the origin of pill mills, and the pain families are left with after the overdose death of young people in the prime of their lives. Well researched, narrative journalism. I listened to it on on audiobook via Audible and the reader is very good except one small regional pronunciation slip...he calls the Los Angeles street "Se pul VEE da". Sam Quinones is a former LA Times reporter.

Find it on Amazon or your library

OMG. You have to read this. It's so good. But it also has some utterly heartbreaking scenes. I listened to it on Audiobook (yes, I was going through an audiobook kick, and I got this via OverDrive at my cool public library) and found myself weeping in the kitchen while baking cookies. The author is a former LA Times reporter (see a theme here?) and the book is beautifully written. She was embedded with detectives of the LAPD and describes personalities and scenes with detail. Because it focuses on Los Angeles and places I know, it was actually hard to get through, and I had to break up my listening...it is heavy but should be read by everyone.

Find it on Amazon or your library

Very heavy topic...college rape at the University of Montana, Missoula. I listened on Audiobook via OverDrive. You shake your head many times reading this and get totally pissed off...not light reading. Although it is well researched and written, it didn't captivate me as much as his Under The Banner of Heaven; perhaps because that subject was so outside my realm it was almost like a fictional story, and this book reminds me of the tragedy of sexual assault and those who don't believe it really happens.

Find it on Amazon or your library

 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Finally, I'll leave on a light note! This is a YA book that is getting outstanding reviews. It is super funny! About a teenager who is gay secretly corresponding with another closeted teen in his school. It's freakin' adorkable. I really fell for all the characters, and stayed up until 2 am finishing it. And it's perfect for LGBTQ Pride Month!

Let me tell you, I love reading books that have letters... Remember Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence with the folded letters? Yeah, I'm all about those. (I also liked I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella with lots of text messages.)

If you have recommendations for more heartbreaking nonfiction (just bought a new box of kleenex) or lighter fare with correspondence, let me know in the comments!

See you next time. I'll have a recipe for a great sour cream coffee cake...

Happy Reading! - mary the food librarian (yah, putting the Librarian in Food Librarian today!)

p.s. I am in the Amazon Affiliate program so if you buy something by following my links to Amazon, I need to tell you that I get a few cents. I won't know who or what people bought, but it helps me buy stuff on Amazon like cookbooks and gifts for my friends! Thanks! :)
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Pioneer Woman's Monster Cookies with M&Ms, Chocolate Chips, Oatmeal, Nuts and Rice Krispies

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monster Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
Monster Cookies from the Pioneer Woman

Every Sunday morning, I make breakfast for my dad. If you follow my instagram, you'll see photos. We have a routine. 8 am - watch the news (KTLA, Channel 5) until 9 am, then Pioneer Woman and Trisha Yearwood on the Food Network (unless there is baseball, then baseball always wins).

Monster Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
I'm always interested in what Ree is cooking up on the ranch. Last Sunday, it was Monster Cookies! I decided to take them for a spin and bring them into my meeting today.

You might be thinking, "Those cookies aren't very "monster" sized." Ree makes these MONSTER with only 6 cookies per sheet. I didn't make them as big as hers and got 48 cookies (baking 9 per sheet).

Monster Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
These cookies have oatmeal, mini M&Ms, chocolate chips, cashews and rice krispies! Everything you need in life, no?

Monster Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
I'm ready for the morning meeting!

Monster Cookies
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 whole large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt (I used 1 teaspoon kosher salt because I was using salted cashews)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup oats (either quick or regular, I used regular)
1 cup chocolate coated candies, such as M&M's (I used mini M&Ms)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk or semisweet) (I used Nestle semi sweet chips)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (I used salted and roasted cashews (I had a sleeve from a Costco variety pack of nuts!)
2 1/4 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Pioneer Woman used 375 degrees but I liked the batch I made at 350 degrees).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to combine.
3. Using a mixer with paddle attachment, ream butter with white and brown sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.
6. On low speed, add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until just combined (don't worry if you have some flour, you'll be continuing to mix it.)
7. Add in the oatmeal, M&Ms, chocolate chips and nuts and mix at low speed. Then, add the cereal and mix until just combined.
8. Use a cookie scoop or disher to scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet.
9. Depending on the size of your cookies, it could take 12-25 minutes to bake so remove them when they are golden brown.
10. Cool on a cookie rack and enjoy!
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Nutella Buttons - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Nutella Buttons - Tuesdays with Dorie
Nutella Buttons

I have 10 minutes to post this before I have to head out to work!

I made these.
I didn't put enough nutella in some of them.
I topped some of mine with more nutella.
Because, really, you can't have too much nutella.
This is a post for the awesome baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie.
Out of time. See you later!
- mary the food librarian

Nutella Buttons - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesdays with Dorie doesn't publish the recipe. You should get Dorie's book: Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere! You'll love the book. I promise

Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers and their take on this yummy recipe!

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Cara Cara Orange Scones

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cara Cara Orange Scones
Cara Cara Orange Scones

I love the Cara Cara orange! It's sweet, pink, juicy and delicious. So, it deserves a scone!

I love making scones for a morning meeting. I need to leave the house at 6 am for my commute, so I try to prep the ingredients the night before...measuring the dry ingredients and putting out items to get to room temperature overnight if needed. But scones are so easy that I can often throw everything together, make the scones, pop them in the oven, get myself in the shower, quickly dress and then grab the scones from the oven.

Cara Cara Orange Scones
These are very rich, with butter, cream (pre-butter) and an egg. The glaze adds a lot of orange flavor.

Cara Cara Orange Scones

Recipe: Cara Cara Orange Scones

2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 ounces sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest of one Cara Cara orange
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, cold
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy whipping cream, cold
1 egg, cold

2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a piece of parchment on a baking tray or half-sheet pan.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.
3. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender/cutter until butter is pea-size
4. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the cream and egg until well blended.
5. Add the cream/egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until moistened. Don't overmix.
6. Scoop scones with an ice cream scoop or #16 disher onto the baking sheet.
7. I got 11 scones from this batter.
8. Bake until golden brown about 14-16 minutes.
9. Remove scones onto a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes before glazing.
10. To make the glaze, mix together the melted butter and the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Pour over the scones. Enjoy!
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Oatmeal Maple Scones from the Flour Bakery Cookbook

Friday, April 17, 2015

Oatmeal Maple Scones - Flour Bakery
Oatmeal Maple Scones from Flour Bakery cookbook

Three things:
Maple Syrup


Just make these! Anytime you make them is fine. I could eat them all day long...breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.

Oatmeal Maple Scones - Flour Bakery
These scones are from the totally awesome cookbook: Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe. It's definitely one of my favorites. I can tell because it is all torn up, spilled on, and written in. Written next to this recipe? My feedback in a sharpie: "Excellent!"

It's an easy scone recipe. The dough is "wetter" than others so it's simple to scoop it out onto a baking tray.

It has pecan pieces throughout the scone for a nice bite. You can add raisins or dried cranberries but I omitted the fruits.

After they cool, you make a delicious maple syrup glaze. I mean, come on. Glazes are so lovely and just a little bit decadent. Just what you need in the morning.

Oatmeal Maple Scones from Flour Bakery Cookbook
Scones are perfect simplicity. Who wouldn't want one of these at a brunch, or in my case, a morning meeting at work?

Oatmeal Maple Scones from Flour Bakery Cookbook
Hello Beautiful!
Make these today!

Oatmeal Maple Scones
(Adapted from the cookbook - Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe by Joanne Chang, page 41)
Find the book in your library or on Amazon!

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup (125 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (50 grams) pecan halves, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins or dried cranberries/cherries/etc (I omitted)
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, cold

1 cup (140 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 tablespoons water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on a half-sheet pan or baking tray.
2. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, oatmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pecans and fruit (if you are using it) on low speed until combined.
3. Drop in the butter pieces and beat on low speed for about 30-60 seconds until the butter has broken down into pea size pieces. You don't want the butter pieces too small.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, maple syrup, vanilla and egg.
5. With mixer still on low speed, add wet ingredients to dry mixture and blend for about 30 seconds until just combined. The batter will be slightly wet.
6. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the flour has been incorporated.
7. Scoop out with a #16 disher or ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup onto your prepared baking tray. Joanne's recipe says you'll get 8 scones, but I got 10 scones After scooping the dough, I pressed down slightly on the mound.
8. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tops and bottoms are golden brown.
9. Transfer to wire cooling tray and let cool about 30 minutes. Place the cooling rack with the scones over the baking tray before glazing (I keep my piece of parchment on the tray so it catches the drips and makes clean up easier).
10. Glaze: Whisk together sifted powdered sugar, maple syrup and water. Once the scones have cooled, brush or spoon tops with glaze.

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