Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I’m not sure if this is considered a muffin or cupcake, but we’ll call it a muffin so it sounds healthier. I based this recipe on The Best Blueberry Muffins but turned it into a pumpkin muffin that was delicious.

Ingredients:

For the Muffin:

1 stick and 2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup toffuti sour cream
1.5 cup pure pureed pumpkin
2 eggs
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
turbinado sugar

For the Icing:

1 cup icing sugar
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Muffins:

Heat oven to 375˚ F and line muffin tin with 12 liners

Combine melted margarine, sugars, sour cream, eggs, and pumpkin in mixer.

Add baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt, flour and oats. Mix well.

Transfer to muffin tin and top with turbinado sugar.

Bake for 30-35 mins.

For the Icing:

Mix sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract in mixer. Combine well.

Transfer to piping bag with round tip. Cut slice into top of muffin and inject icing into muffin.

Sourdough Pretzels

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Looking for more starter uses I thought I would make some more pretzels, this time using a starter as a leavening agent.

This recipe comes from Baking Sense. It worked perfectly on the first attempt and I highly recommend.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:

225 g active starter (fed 1:1:1 starter, flour, water by weight)
1 1/4 cups warm water
490 g bread flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt

For Boiling:

2 litres water
1/3 cup baking soda

For Toppings:

1/4 cup sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon
Cheese
Melted butter and 1 clove garlic
Everything but the bagel seasoning
1 egg white
flaked sea salt

Directions:

Combine starter and water.

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With mixer on low add half the flour (approx 1 cup at a time). Let sit for 30-60 mins.

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Switch to dough hook, add sugar salt and rest of the flour. Allow to combine then knead for 5 minutes.

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Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat.

Perform 3 stretch and folds, every 30-60 minutes. Allowing dough to rise a total of 3 hours. Refrigerate overnight.

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Divide dough into 12 equal parts. Shape into pretzels (roll out and fold left side over centre of a “U” then right side over centre), twists or cut into bite size pieces.

You can also flatten some dough, sprinkle shredded cheese inside and then roll back up to make some cheese stuffed pretzels.

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Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Bring Baking soda and water to a boil. Boil on each side for 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towel or drying rack.

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Brush with melted butter or egg white (I used butter for the cinnamon ones and cheese ones). Top with whichever toppings you please.

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For cinnamon sugar I rolled them in topping as soon as they came out of the oven.

Bake at 475˚F for 12-15 minutes .

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Cheesy Pull-Apart Loaf

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Ingredients:

For the Bread:

3/4 cup milk, warmed in microwave
1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
Block Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
Shredded mozzarella to top
Optional – add parmesan on top

For the Topping:

1/4 cup butter, melted
2 gloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp oregano

Directions:

Combine warm water and milk in a bowl. Add sugar and yeast and mix. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

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In a stand mixer with paddle attachment combine 2 cups of flour and salt, add butter and egg and mix well until crumbly.

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Add yeast mixture, mix well and add remaining flour.

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Switch to dough hook and knead for 6-8 minutes.

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Transfer to oiled bowl and allow to rise for 1 hour covered (until doubled)

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In a parchment lined and greased pan alternate between placing torn pieces of dough and cheese. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour (I proofed in the oven on bread proof for 30 minutes). I also topped with additional shredded mozzarella on top.

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Mix topping ingredients in a bowl

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Brush dough with topping.

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Bake at 400˚F for 10 minutes, and then lower to 350˚ (remove lid of dutch oven if using – see below) and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

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Alternatively bake at 375˚F for 40 minutes

Optional: bake for the first 10 minutes in a dutch oven to help contain the moisture and give it a crispy top. I preheated my dutch oven prior to putting the bread in.

Sourdough Focaccia

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I’m still pandemic baking. This is scheduled for November and I really hope we’re allowed out.

I’m on a bit of a sourdough binge. I made a foccacia a couple weeks ago but it didn’t turn out well so I went back to the drawing board. This was the result and it was PERFECT.

Ingredients:

100 g active starter
10 g salt
440 g water
530 g bread flour
Olive oil
Flaked sea salt

Directions:

Mix starter, water and salt in a large bowl.

Add flour and mix well.

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Allow to rest 30 minutes.

Stretch and fold.

Allow to rise 8-12 hours.

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Oil the top and pull edges towards centre in bowl.

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Transfer to oiled 9×13 pan and stretch out to edges.

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Allow to rise 5-6 hours.

Oil the top and using and oiled finger create “dimples”. Top with flaked sea salt

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Bake at 425˚F for 25-30 minutes.

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Macaron

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These are a difficult project. They take a lot of patience, but if done properly can be mastered.

Ingredients:

200 g almond flour
200 g icing sugar
200 g granulated sugar
50 g water
150 g egg whited, divided into 75 and 75, at room temperature

Directions:

Stack two baking trays on top of each other. Line with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Process almonds and sugar in food processor. Sift out and large pieces of almond.

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Heat water and sugar on the stop. Mix and heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture reaches 245˚F.

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While heating begin whisking 75g egg whites in electric mixer on high. When they have stiff peaks either stop mixer.

Turn mixer on low, slowly pour sugar mixture into egg whites.

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Continue to whip on high for 5-7 minutes until cooled, glossy and firm.

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Mix almond mixture and other 75g egg whites (until just combined).

Fold egg whites into almond meal without deflating. Batter should be thick and flow slowly without over-mixing.

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Scoop into piping bag with circular tip (1/2 inch diameter).

Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles onto baking sheet. Hold piping bag about 1 cm above tray, and move tip quickly off the circle when finished piping.

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If top doesn’t smooth out, use a finger dipping in water to smooth out top.

Allow shells to harden for 30 minutes, tops should be dry and not glossy.

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Preheat oven to 320˚F.

Bake for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through.

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Fill with jam, nutella or buttercream icing.

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Instant Pot Jam

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During isolation we ran out of jam, but had plenty of strawberries so I starting looking up how to make jam. I didn’t have pectin and with passover approaching I didn’t want to use cornstarch. So that limited me. But I did have an instant pot!

I found this 3 ingredient strawberry jam recipe on The Belly Rules The Mind. I cut it in half just to try it, but it worked perfectly!

Ingredients:

4 cups quartered strawberries (or any other fruit)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Wash and cut strawberries. Add to instant pot with sugar and stir. Allow to sit for 1 hour.

Add lemon juice and Mix.

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Turn on instant pot and set timer for one minute. Turn off Keep Warm and allow pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes.

With an immersion blender or masher, puree the jam.

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Turn the instant pot onto saute to reduce the liquid (this took about 7 minutes for me).

Remove the foam layer on top and put into a glass container or jar. Seal (I used a Weck canning jar).

Allow jam to cool then refrigerate for up to two weeks

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Apple Pear Galette

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This recipe was based on a previous apple pie I made. I modified it to turn it into a galette which was simple and quick.

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp. ice water.
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten + 1 tsp water (can replace with melted margarine to be vegan)

For the Filling:

2 apples, thinly sliced
2 pears, thinly sliced
0.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1.5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
a pinch of salt

Directions:

Combine 1/2 cup flour, water and vinegar in a small bowl.

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In a large bowl, combine remaining flour, powdered sugar and salt.

Add margarine (cut into small pea sized balls). Cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork.

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Add wet ingredients to this mixture.

Wrap dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for 30mins – 1 hour.

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Mix filling ingredients in a bowl.

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Preheat oven to 400˚F

Roll out to approximately 1/8 of an inch.

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Transfer to a cookie sheet.

Place filling on dough with approximately 2 inches of crust around the edge.

Fold crust over top.

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Brush crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.

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Bake for 35-45 minutes.

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Multigrain Higher Hydration Sourdough

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I’ve now continued to make sourdough and have slowly been altering my recipe with a little more water and different flours. Feel free to look at the last recipe to see my notes on starter and more detailed photos of the process.

Instructions:

150 g bubbly, active starter
375 g warm water
25 g olive oil
350 g All-Purpose Flour
150 g best for bread multi-grain flour
10 g sea salt or kosher salt
Flour for dusting

Directions:

Here is the active starter, which doubled after being fed.

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Whisk the starter, water, olive oil in large bowl.

Add flour and salt and squish together. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Once rested work dough into a ball, leave in bowl and cover.

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Perform stretch and folds at 1 hour intervals 2-3 times. Pinch a side of the dough, pull up and fold over itself. Turn bowl and perform on another side until you have moved the bowl 360˚.

Allow to rise for 6-12 hours.

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To shape the dough use a bench scraper to fold the dough over to the centre moving around the dough in a full circle. Flip the dough and cup the sides of the dough rotating in a circular motion.

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Either place in a bannton basket or in the dutch oven for the second rise (1-2 hours). I placed half this one in the banneton and the other half in a loaf pan. I baked the loaf pan inside the dutch oven as well.

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Preheat oven to 450˚. Drop temperature to 400˚ and bake covered for 40 minutes. Remove dutch oven lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

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Elaborate Vanilla Birthday Cake

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This is a vanilla cake that I threw together for a birthday that looked perfect for instagram. It was quite laborious but made during quarantine when we had all the time in the world (which is hopefully over by the time this is being posted, but we’ll see).

Give this a shot to try and impress a crowd.

The cake base is slightly modified from Earl Grey Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla “Buttercream”

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1/2 cup strained and cooled tea concentrate (I used a vanilla oolong tea – 2-3 tbsp tea + 1/2 cup boiling water)
1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 eggs
1 cup 1% milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Icing:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk or cream

For the Ganache:

1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz chocolate chips or dark chocolate

Directions:

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350° and spray 2-3 cake pans (depending on layers).

1) Steep tea (in filter) with 1/2 cup boiling water. Allow to cool

2) In a mixer combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on medium speed until well combined (about a minute).

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3) Add butter, a few cubes at a time until the mixture becomes like coarse sand.

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4) Add eggs one at a time

5) Add milk, vanilla and tea concentrate and beat well. Scrape down as necessary

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6) Transfer to prepared cake pans and bake for 35-45 minutes (depending on 2 or 3 layers).

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Allow to cool for 1 hour before preparing icing.

For the icing

1) Cream butter. Add vanilla extract and mix well.

2) Add sugar 1 cup at a time, adding milk or cream if not combining

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Ice in between layers and assemble the cake. Trim off excess on the top to ensure layers are even. Use a spatula to smooth out the edges.

I used fondant to cover the cake as well so I only put a “crumb coat of icing” however, you can also transfer the cake the fridge or freezer to cool before adding a top coat of icing.

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For the Ganache:

Before putting ganache on top, make sure cake is cold (in fridge or freezer for > 1 hour.

Melt chocolate and heavy cream over a double boiler until combined. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to cool.

Transfer to piping bag or ziplock and cut a small hole at the bottom.

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Pipe along the edges, pausing to allow ganache to drip down the sides of the cake. Cover the top in ganache and smooth out with knife.

For Decorations:

Top with anything you can find, laying it out in an organized manner. I used a mix of sprinkles, chocolate covered pretzels, candy canes, peanut butter cups, chocolate covered espresso beans and mini eggs. I also used icing to attach crushed mini eggs (using a cast iron skillet and a ziplock) around the edge.

Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

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I know, you’re over the sourdough trend – but I was out of yeast and have been trying to come up with other uses of my starter. I settled on sourdough cinnamon buns and they were delicious. If you’ve mastered the starter I highly recommend this recipe.

The base recipe comes from the Clever Carrot and the icing comes from Gimme Some Oven.

If you have a cast iron skillet I highly suggest you use it for this. otherwise use a spring form pan or pyrex.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

2/3 cup milk (skim, 1% or 2%)
2 tbsp/28g unsalted butter (+ 2 tbsp/28 g additional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup/100 g bubbly active starter (fed the night before)
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cup/300g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp cinnamon

For the icing:

:
1/2 cup/4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Melt butter. Add milk.

Put egg, starter and sugar in stand mixer. Add milk mixture and mix wiht paddle.

Add flour and salt and continue mixing until combined. Cover with towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

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Use dough hook and mix for 5 minutes. Add more flour if dough is sticking to sides.

Transfer dough to bowl coated in oil or butter and cover with towel.

Allow to rest for 30 minutes, perform a single stretch and fold. Cover and let rise overnight (8-12 hours).

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Stretch and fold edges toward the centre to deflate dough. turn over and allow to rest for 15 minutes

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Melt 2 tbsp butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl.

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Roll out dough out to approx. 16 x 12 inches on a floured surface. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture overtop.

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Roll tightly along the long end. I chose to cut them into smaller buns, approximately 1 inch each. I used a serrated knife. You can also use unflavoured floss.

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Place dough in greased or sprayed pan. Allow to rise for 2 hours.

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Bake for 25 minutes at 350˚F.

Allow to cool.

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Mix all icing ingredients in mixmaster with paddle attachment.

Transfer icing to a ziplock and piped onto the cinnamon buns once cooled.