Neapolitan Cupcakes

Have I got a treat for you! We all know everything is better in the form of a cupcake, so Neapolitan cupcakes are here!!

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So, who’s excited for the Super Bowl this weekend? I’m not into football, but I have friends who are crazy about it, and I know some of my cousins are excitedly rooting for the Sea Hawks. Are you making anything special? Wings, Sloppy Joes, Chili, or Pizza? I love Chili and we might have some this Sunday even though we won’t watch the games. 🙂

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I made these cupcakes for one of my sisters. She saw them pinned on my Pinterest (which you should definitely follow btw) and wanted me to make them for her birthday instead of cake. I actually also made a cake for her without her knowing, and she was very surprised and excited.

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We have a local burger place here that sells chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry milkshake, and you can also order Neapolitan flavor. It is one of the best things ever because you can taste all the different flavors at once. These cupcakes are also very delicious and moist. As you can see, I think I added a little too much chocolate batter because it’s not exactly half and half on the inside. Oh well, I’ll do better next time. 🙂

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They’re very pretty though! Something you might consider doing this Sunday to impress everyone…(maybe?) 🙂

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These cupcakes together with the cake made for a very happy birthday…or a very happy sweet tooth? Both I guess. 🙂

Click HERE to get the recipe!

Jessica the Baker

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Apple Tartlets for National Pie Day

It’s National Pie day today! And as you can see, I almost forgot about it and I’m posting this very late. But better late than never. Well here I am, bringing to you mini apple tartlets and apple turnovers! I think apple pie will always be my first love when it comes to pies (although I have many other favorites), it’s just SO delicious! Especially if you have a scoop of vanilla ice cream (yuuuumm!)

We’ve actually been pretty sick lately, and I’ve also been busy with work. I think this cold is going around because I heard quite a few people had it. #notfun

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This is the first time I tried this crust for apple tartlets. Surprisingly it turned out amazingly delicious! And you wanna know why? Because the crust has lard in it, that’s what gives it great flavor and wonderful texture as well.

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Oh, and for the apples, I never use Granny Smith when I make pies (we don’t really like those). We found a great deal for Jonagold apples and they are SO sweet!! I think that’s another big reason why these turned out so good! In my humble opinion. 🙂

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By the way, don’t mind the triangle thingy on top. My sister asked me to put some crust on top and this is the fastest shape I cut out. It actually looks like a piece of pie though. 🙂

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So I actually made these as turnovers first and then made tartlets. Both are equally delicious, although I think that since this dough is a bit frail, you have to work gently with the turnovers or else the dough will break.

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But if you’ve ever had McDonald’s apple pie, this is kinda how these taste (maybe better? 😉 ).  This is another great version instead of using the traditional puff pastry.

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I think you should definitely try them soon! And please tell me, what have you been baking lately? Any pies?

Now the recipe I found for the crust was written in Metric measurements. Trust me I would’ve converted it online for you, but I tried doing that once and the recipe didn’t turn out that well (I’m guessing that’s why). So I just use a digital scale to weigh everything. If you want, convert at your own risk, but I’ll post the recipe for the crust only in Metric. 🙂

Apple Tartlets or Apple Turnovers

Ingredients:

Crust:

250 grams lard
150 grams confectioners sugar
100 grams Sour cream or yogurt (last time I actually used buttermilk and they turned out great)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vinegar
10 grams baking powder
Approx. 600 grams flour

Apple Filling:

8-10 apples peeled, cored, and cubed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (maybe less if you don’t prefer that much, I don’t really measure it)
1/2 a lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Arrowroot powder (you can use cornstarch if you want)

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water)
Raw sugar

Directions:

In a large bowl mix together the lard and powdered sugar. Add the eggs and sour cream and stir until mixture becomes smooth and creamy. Then add the vinegar. Slowly begin by adding the flour as well as the baking powder. Continue mixing and adding flour until mixture can no longer be handled with a wooden spoon and then hand knead.  Add enough flour so that a soft dough forms and it doesn’t stick to your hands anymore. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hr.

To make the filling, peel, core and dice your apples. Add the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and arrowroot powder and mix until combined. Pour the mixture in a pot and place over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Leave them on the stove for about 5-8 mins. until the mixture has thickened and the apples have softened. Take the apples off the heat and set aside until completely cooled.

On a floured surface roll out your dough about 1/8 in. thick. If you’re doing tartlets cut out 4 in. round shapes with a cookie cutter and place them in a muffin pan. Then spoon about 1-2 Tbsp. of your apple mixture in each pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 min. or until deep golden brown.

If you’re doing turnovers, cut your dough into squares (depending on how big you want your turnovers, you can decide the size of your squares). Spoon about 1 Tbsp. of your apple filling in the center, and then seal it in a triangle shape. Place each turnover on a baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash. Sprinkle light with some raw sugar and bake the turnovers for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

I don’t know if any other food bloggers out there have this problem, but some of the things I bake and take pictures of, don’t find themselves on my blog. 🙂 Today I realized I can do about three posts with desserts that I made about 1 1/2 to 2 years ago!

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So I made this cake in May of 2013 for my sister’s birthday (who’s almost 14 now! gasp!). But I remember that it had a great taste, and I especially loved the frosting. But everyone was a little like “um…it’s kind of dry…” Hey people, at least it wasn’t so mushy it was falling apart! 🙂

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And of course, you can never have enough chocolate so you need some extra chocolate Ganache on top. Not only does it taste extra delicious, but it looks so pretty! If you’re not much into cake decorating, this will definitely make you look like a pro! And I don’t know about you, but I love the combination of chocolate and fruit, especially raspberry and strawberry.

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Yep, who needs to pipe on frosting when you’ve got raspberries that makes it look like it’s from a professional bakery? 🙂

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PicMonkey Collage 3When I found these pictures on my computer, I searched my blog to see if I posted this cake. At one point I thought I did, and I almost couldn’t believe when I saw that I didn’t. I should work on getting more recipes posted this year. No more postponing/forgetting to post dessert. People need cake!! 🙂

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Yes, amid post-holiday life, taxes, getting back into the daily grind of life (we refer to it as the month of January) we need to stop for a minute and enjoy a piece of cake!

I actually have 2 sisters and a few cousins and aunts born in January so it wouldn’t be fair to them to make the month of January all a month of dieting. You know what they say, “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”

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 In this case we need a slice of cake on each plate to balance out these gloomy winter days. And no, I didn’t plan two raspberry posts back to back, it just happened. 🙂

Go HERE to get the recipe!

Enjoy! 

Jessica the Baker

Homemade Raspberry Lemonade

So it looks like 2015 is upon us and the holidays are already over! It feels like they rushed passed us at a high speed this year! Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like it takes them about a week to realize the New Year is upon them? And now everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to start eating healthier and get fitter, etc. I already went through that during the holiday season. But I still managed to enjoy some yummy desserts, and feasted on great holiday food. 🙂

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  I still want to continue eating healthy, but it’s not like I’m going on a diet this January. 🙂 #ihatedietsanyway

So today I’m bringing you a lemonade.

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I love a good lemonade! What you will NEVER find in my pantry or freezer is lemonade from mix or from concentrate. Eew! Those taste disgusting in my opinion. And not only do they taste bad, but they’re full of goodness knows what! Seriously, our family never buys that stuff.

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When I hear the word lemonade I think about the squeeze-the-lemons-add-water type of lemonade. And what’s great about it is that you not only know exactly what goes in it, but you can regulate the amount of sweetness to your liking.

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Most of the time we use regular water, but when we want to make it more “special” we’ll use club soda. As for sweeteners, we used to add sugar but now we add honey and it gives it incredible flavor. We even tried brown sugar once, and that gives it an interesting taste.

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As you can see, this time we added some raspberries to it and made pink lemonade. Again, no need to use chemically colored lemonade to get pink lemonade. The raspberries add such a lovely taste, and you can also use strawberries to make it pink if you don’t like raspberries. Many times when we have oranges on hand we’ll add those. Really, you can play around with it in a million one ways!

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This is how many lemons we need to use for our family of 9. Or more! 🙂

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It is health in a cup! Plus it’s delicious, so you win *wink*. 🙂 What better way to start the New Year than by ditching your lemonade mix? I think this would be a great step towards eating (or drinking) healthier this year. You will literally feel transported to summer when you taste this, and with all this nasty weather around I know a lot of people are already longing for it. This couldn’t be easier, and really there’s not much of a recipe to it but I’ll give you some guidelines anyway. 🙂

Homemade Raspberry Lemonade

This is an approximate recipe for about one serving

Ingredients:

1 Lemon
1 1/2 cups water (approx. depends how diluted you want it)
1/8 (maybe even less) cup raspberries (or strawberries if you prefer)
Honey or sugar to your personal preference

Directions:

Squeeze the lemon into a big glass. Add the honey or sugar and mix until dissolved. Crush the raspberries and mix them in the lemon mixture. Next add the water. About 1 to 1/2 cups of water depending on how concentrated you like it, taste as you go.

Enjoy!

Jessica the Baker

Gingerbread Town

I am racing against the time and trying to post this as fast as possible while the calender still says December. I wanted to show you the gingerbread houses my sisters and I made. I “stole” these pictures from my sister Becky because I’m in a big rush! I know that Christmas is over, but I really wanted to share with you the last bit of our Christmas celebration before the New Year is upon us.

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I know this will shock you, but this is the first time we made gingerbread houses! And it’s probably going to be the last time. Ha! The whole process was a bit chaotic, and there were lots some tears shed by some of my younger sisters whose houses were kind of collapsing during the building process.

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We actually used chocolate sugar cookies instead of gingerbread cookies. My 4-year-old sister Caroline was hilarious. She would put 3 M&Ms on her gingerbread house, stare at them for a few seconds, and then pick them one by one and pop them in her mouth. 🙂 Little kids…

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In the end, they still had fun, and we ended up with a little gingerbread town. 🙂 My little house is the one in the back with the 2 pillars. Kind of pathetic looking, but not only am I not an artsy person, I was low on frosting and candy so that was the best I could come up with. And mine was actually the first one to collapse. 🙂

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It looks like our little town was attacked by some enemies. 😉

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We also gave some Christmas treats to our mailman. He was pleased!

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Our Christmas tablescape. Very similar with our Thanksgiving one.

Now I can breath a sigh of relief and wish you all a Happy & Blessed 2015!

Happy New Year!!!!

Jessica the Baker