PostHeaderIcon Banana Bread

This awesome banana bread recipe comes from my lovely mother. I grew up eating loaves of this bread and I simply adore it. I have made this recipe countless times and it has never failed me. However, I was looking for a new go-to banana bread recipe simply because I love trying new recipes. So, over the past few weeks I have made a few different banana bread recipes (cinnamon swirl banana bread, almond vanilla banana bread, etc) hoping to find a new banana bread recipe to add to my collection. Well, each one was just a bigger disappointment than the last. They rose about two inches. Two. Inches. I guess that’s what I get for throwing a great recipe aside to try a new one.

My mom’s banana bread recipe is moist, flavorful, and rises like no other banana bread I have ever seen. This is my go-to banana bread recipe and I’m not looking back. I did tweak the recipe a touch just to give it a bit more flavor (gotta love vanilla extract). Also, chocolate chips or walnuts would make a great addition to this banana bread so throw those in if you like. I personally LOVE chocolate chips in my banana bread!

Everyone has their favorite banana bread recipe, this is mine……

Banana Bread

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2.5 – 3 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in bananas and vanilla extract . Beat in eggs, one at a time until well-incorporated. Stir in salt, baking soda, and flour.

Pour batter in a well buttered bread pan. Bake at 350°F 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Yield: 1 delicious loaf

Source: My Mom

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PostHeaderIcon Snickerdoodle Muffins

 

We started construction on our master bathroom about five weeks ago. It’s been a long five weeks since we’ve been living in our second bedroom and the rest of our condo is cluttered with boxes……not fun. Thankfully, there’s an end in sight and hopefully (:::knocks on wood:::) everything will be finished this week and we can put our condo back in order and finally set up her nursery (yay!). To get the construction men working faster show my appreciation I decided to bake something for our construction men to snack on last week. After taking way too long to decide what to bake I finally chose these delicious snickerdoodle muffins.

These muffins should seriously be named “Crack Muffins” since they are so addicting. I’m not kidding, they are so good that my husband told me several times to put these on my blog after eating a couple. If you like to get your hands dirty while you bake, these are definitely the muffins for you. You scoop the batter out with an ice cream scoop, small measuring cup, or your hands and place it in a bowl filled with cinnamon sugar. The messy part is covering the batter entirely with cinnamon sugar and putting it in the cupcake liners. Your hands will get a little messy, but it’s so worth it!

If you really want to go all out, serve the muffins warm with a side of ice cream. :)

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Yields: 18 – 24 muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ¼ cups flour
¾ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons cream of tartar
½ teaspoons salt
1 cup sour cream
¼ cups buttermilk

For the topping:
⅔ cups sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners (they are too fragile for just cooking spray). Set pan aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.

Use an ice cream scooper and plop a scoop of batter into the bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll the batter in the sugar and cinnamon. Place the ball into the paper liner.

When you have completed all of the muffins, sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar onto the tops of all of the muffins.

Bake the muffins at 350ºF for about 16-18 minutes or until they are golden on top and just baked through.

 

Source: The Tasty Kitchen, adapted from Culinary Concoctions of Peabody

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PostHeaderIcon Sugar Cookie Bars

Since I recently posted my favorite sugar cookie recipe I thought it was only fair to share this awesome recipe for sugar cookie bars with you. When I say these are awesome, I mean they are unbelievably awesome! Even though I love the process of making sugar cookies, sometimes I just want a short cut to satisfy my sweet tooth. These are definitely that short cut since they are quick to whip up and sweet enough to satisfy my pregnancy sweet tooth (which at this point, is very sweet). :)

This is the perfect dessert to bring to an upcoming cookout or graduation party. Trust me, everyone will love it….and love you in return. I split this recipe in half and used an 8 x 8″ baking pan (which made about 16 bars). However, the directions call for a large 13 x 18″ (or similar size) baking sheet. If you use a baking pan like I did, the baking time will increase dramatically since the bars are thicker. I’m pretty sure I took them out of the oven after 25-30 minutes of baking but make sure to keep a close eye on them. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make sure you have plenty of help eating these because they are very addicting!

Sugar Cookie Bars

Yield: about 4 dozen bars (depending on which size pan/sheet you use)

Ingredients:
For the cookie bars:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste)
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda

For the frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
5 Tablespoons milk
Food coloring (optional)

Directions:
To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.   Grease a 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet . Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla extract, seeds from the vanilla bean, and almond extract.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda.  Whisk together to blend.  Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and beat on low speed just until incorporated.

Transfer the cookie dough to the prepared baking sheet and press into an even layer.  Bake 10-15 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla, salt, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.  Mix in the milk.  Tint as desired with food coloring.  Spread over the bars in the pan (add sprinkles if desired), cut into bars, and serve.

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally from The Repressed Pastry Chef

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PostHeaderIcon Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing


My baby shower was this past weekend and, of course, I made sugar cookies for the event. I was very excited to make these sugar cookies. I have made sugar cookies for several other baby showers in the past but these were extra special since they were for my shower. I decided to make little onesie and feet sugar cookies. I love how they both turned out and they were a big hit with my friends and family! My mom and mother-in-law (along with my wonderful sister-in-law) hosted my baby shower and it turned out lovely. The weather was a little chilly but the shower was perfect. I felt so much love for my little girl!

I was very glad I made these for my shower since they were all devoured very quickly! If you’ve never made sugar cookies with royal icing you should give it a try. I love decorating with royal icing but it definitely took some time to get used to decorating with it, so don’t give up hope if you aren’t satisfied with the results at first. Working with royal icing can be a tedious and time-consuming process but I’m always in love with the results. Just be patient while decorating them and you’ll enjoy the process as much as I do!

Here are just a few tips about royal icing to get you started:

  1. Use a stand mixer to make the royal icing, I do not recommend using a hand mixer.
  2. When you color the icing, use a gel based color. I use Wilton gel colors but I’ve heard great things about AmeriColor.
  3. I usually use a #3 Wilton tip with a pastry bag to outline the cookies and then add the details using a #2 or #1 Wilton tip.
  4. I first outline the cookie with the #3 tip, then flood the cookie with a squeeze bottle filled with royal icing.
  5. Toothpicks are your best friend when working with royal icing! I use them after I flood the cookie to spread the icing to the edge of the cookie. They are also used to pop the little bubbles that may appear on the icing after you flood the cookie.
  6. Allow a few days to make the cookies. I usually make the dough and bake them one day, and then I allow two days to decorate the cookies. Let them sit overnight to dry when you are finished decorating.
  7. Keep trying! You’ll get better the more you practice, trust me!
  8. Please leave a comment if you have any questions.

Here I am at my baby shower (34 weeks pregnant)….. :)

Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups flour

Directions:
Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour.

Chill dough until firm (at least 30 minutes).

Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool.

 

Royal Icing

Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons meringue powder
5-6 Tablespoons water

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes).  Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl to an air-tight container (or many air-tight containers – one container for each color).  This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing, and at this point it is still too stiff to use for decorating.  Add water a very small amount at a time and stir by hand until fully incorporated.  Continue until the icing has reached a consistency appropriate for piping. Color the icing as desired.  (If you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick.  Add a little more liquid and try again.)  Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie.  Let stand for at least an hour for the icing to harden.  Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.

Once all the cookies have been edged, thin out the icing by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl (it should dissolve together after about 5 seconds).  If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again.  Once the icing has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie.  If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along.  Allow to set for at least a couple hours before adding the details.

Use the remaining thicker icing (that you used for piping around the edges of the cookie, which are already in the pastry bags) for piping decoration as desired.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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PostHeaderIcon Baked Chicken Fingers

I’m still very much a kid at heart. I love meals that most children order at restaurants, including chicken fingers. I try to be mature and order something like salmon, chicken breast, a salad, etc. However, I still cave every now and then and order a cheeseburger or chicken fingers and french fries. I would probably order these dishes more often, but it’s the guilt factor that prevents me from doing so. That’s what I love about this recipe, since these chicken fingers are baked I can eat them for dinner without feeling guilty. How great is that?

Since these chicken fingers are baked they are so much healthier than the fried version at restaurants. Honestly, they are just as good as the fried version, if not better. It’s perfect that all of the ingredients are pantry staples so you can throw this meal together last minute if you have to. It’s also super easy to prepare; just toast the panko crumbs, cut the chicken in strips, coat them as directed, and bake on a wire rack for 10-12 minutes. I was a little hesitant thinking they might come out raw but since they are baked at such a high temperature they do not need to cook very long. Needless to say, I will definitely be making this dish again.

Baked Chicken Fingers

Ingredients:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-inch wide strips
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 475˚ F.  In a large skillet, combine the panko and the oil.  Toast over medium-high heat, stirring often, until golden, about 8-10 minutes.  Transfer the toasted crumbs to a shallow dish and let cool slightly.

In another shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, and cayenne. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard, and thyme.

Lightly spray a wire rack with cooking spray and place over a rimmed baking sheet (I lined my baking sheet with tin foil for easier clean up). Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Working with one piece of chicken at a time, dredge each in the flour, then dip into the egg whites, and finally, coat with the toasted panko crumbs, pressing on them to adhere. Lay the breaded chicken on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

Lightly spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

 

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook

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PostHeaderIcon Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate chip muffins have always been my favorite muffin, even while growing up. However, when I was young, I was not a baker. Thankfully, I love to bake now. Even though I wasn’t a baker growing up, I still made chocolate chip muffins when I was craving them…..from a box. I know, a box. Shame on me! I would never use a box mix these days but back then I didn’t know what a difference baking from scratch makes. The muffins I used to make wouldn’t stand a chance against these homemade chocolate chip muffins. If only I could turn back time and set myself straight. At least I’ll be able to bake “the correct way” for my daughter. :)

As I’ve said, these are soooo much better than boxed muffin mixes. These muffins are so delicious and very easy to whip up, so throw those boxed mixes out. The addition of buttermilk gives these muffins a rich, tangy flavor which I absolutely love. Since my husband isn’t a fan of chocolate chip muffins (I know, that baffles me as well!) I halved the recipe, which made 6 perfectly delicious muffins. I saved two for myself and gave the rest to our doormen.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Set pan aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl stir together the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until well blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the liquid mixture into the well and gently stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into muffins cups. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove muffins from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

 

Source: Two Peas and their Pod

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PostHeaderIcon Maple Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Doughnuts

I finally caved……about a month ago I purchased my first doughnut pan. I just couldn’t take it anymore. After seeing more and more mouth-watering recipes for baked doughnuts all over the blogosphere I knew I needed a doughnut pan. I bought my pan on Amazon but I’ve seen them in craft stores (in the baking section) if you’re interested in buying one. This particular recipe caught my eye for many reasons. First of all, the name itself screams deliciousness, don’t you agree? Also, I love that this recipe makes 6 doughnuts (the exact number my pan holds!). Most recipes I’ve seen yield 20-30 doughnuts. Even if I cut the recipe in half, it’s still way too many doughnuts for anyone to have in their household ………especially if that household includes a woman who is 7 months pregnant and craving sweets. ;)

These doughnuts are delicious in every way, and since they are baked you feel less guilty eating more than one (or in our case, more than two)! Since they are baked they kind of taste similar to a doughnut and a cupcake in one – still very good, but different from the standard fried doughnut. They are nice and sweet due to the maple syrup and cinnamon in/on them with a very light and fluffy texture. They are best eaten the same day they are made. However, my husband and I split the last one for breakfast the next morning and it was still very good.

Maple Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Doughnuts

Yield: 6 doughnuts

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 (6 oz) container of non-fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cinnamon and sugar together in a shallow dish and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, egg and yogurt.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the hole. Gently fold everything together until combined. The batter will be thick.

Scoop batter into a piping bag or ziploc bag, snip a bottom corner with scissors, and squeeze out the batter evenly into a doughnut pan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm.

Use a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over your donuts and then dip each doughnut in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Serve immediately after coating with cinnamon sugar mixture for best texture.

 

Source: Handle the Heat, originally from Cooking with my Kid

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PostHeaderIcon Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Some things are so much better homemade, and pita bread is definitely included in this category. I have always assumed that pita bead is supposed to taste like cardboard, since that is what the store bought stuff tastes like. I assumed that until I made pita bread at home and fell in love with the results. You have never truly had pita bread until you have made it yourself.

I love baking with yeast. The process can be tedious and time consuming but the results are always well worth the wait. Even though they take some time to make, you can start making these in the morning and have fresh pita bread by lunch time. Also, these freeze so well! I always make a full batch and keep half in an airtight container on the counter and put the other half in the freezer. They taste just as fresh out of the freezer as they do out of the oven – honestly! Just pull one out of the freezer about 30 minutes before eating and enjoy with tuna, egg salad, or anything else you might want to throw in it. One last tip, I highly recommend using a baking stone instead of a cookie sheet when baking these. A baking stone allows the pita bread to cook quickly and evenly, whereas the cookie sheet does not.

Note: As always, anything mixed in a stand mixer can also be mixed by hand as well.

Whole Wheat Pita Bread

Ingredients:
2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 package active dry yeast)
1 tablespoon honey
1¼ cups warm water (105˚- 115˚ F), divided
1½ cups bread flour, divided
1½ cups whole wheat flour, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal, for sprinkling

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together yeast, honey, and 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk 1/4 cup of the bread flour and 1/4 cup of the whole wheat flour into yeast mixture until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Place the bowl on the stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook. Stir in oil, salt, remaining 3/4 cup warm water, 1 ¼ cups bread flour, and 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and put in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Set an oven rack in middle of the oven. Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat oven to 500°F.

Transfer to a lightly floured work surface once the dough has risen. Punch down the dough and cut into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball. Flatten 1 ball, then roll out into a 6 1/2- to 7-inch round on floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer round a baking sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal (on parchment paper). Make 7 more rounds in same manner, arranging them on baking sheets. Loosely cover pitas with a clean kitchen towel and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Transfer 4 pitas, 1 at a time, directly onto the baking stone. Bake 2 minutes, until puffed and pale golden. Turn over with tongs and bake 1 minute more. Transfer pitas to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pitas. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, originally from Gourmet (May 2003)


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PostHeaderIcon Baked Meatballs

I found this recipe for baked meatballs last week and I instantly put it on my to-make list since I knew my husband would love it. I mean, don’t all men love red meat? I know it’s a huge stereotype but I think it’s pretty true. Don’t you agree? I’m not a big fan of spaghetti and meatballs but I still very much enjoyed this dinner. The meatballs are very easy to make; you just toss all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix together with your hands, shape into mini balls, place over pasta sauce, and bake for 20-25 minutes. I think I checked my meatballs at 22 minutes and they were perfectly done. I love the addition of panko crumbs in the meatballs, it gives them a nice texture. I halved this recipe and I think it made enough for three people, but it depends on your portion size.

Bite Size Baked Meatballs

makes 30-40 mini meatballs

Ingredients:

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef

1 egg

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup romano cheese

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, add ground beef, egg, oil, cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and parsley. Mix to combine, gently tossing a few times with your hands. Don’t overmix – it will result in tough meatballs! Spray a large baking dish with non-stick spray and add 2 cups of pasta sauce. Roll beef into mini meatballs (about a tablespoon of beef) and set in sauce. Once all meatballs have been added, sprinkle additional cheese and breadcrumbs over top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with additional sauce and whole wheat spaghetti noodles.

 

Source: How Sweet It Is

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PostHeaderIcon Funfetti Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

I recently joined a baking group called What’s Baking?, which is made up of a bunch of food bloggers who love to bake. Each month a different food blogger chooses a theme and the other bloggers can interpret the theme any way they want and bake something delicious while keeping the theme in mind. I am super excited to be joining this group! What a fun excuse to bake new and exciting recipes and share them with my readers and other food bloggers!

This month, the theme was: Bake Something for Mother’s Day. Since my mom and I live hours apart I couldn’t bake her something on Mother’s Day. However, she came to visit last weekend so I decided to bake something for her then! I asked her what she was craving, gave her a few different options, and she picked these lovely funfetti cupcakes! Great choice mom!

I love funfetti cupcakes but I’ve never made them at home. It’s a super simple and delicious cupcake – moist and fluffy vanilla base with sprinkles hidden inside, covered with buttercream frosting, and topped with even more sprinkles. Yum. This cake recipe is a bit different, usual cupcakes start by creaming the butter and sugar, adding the eggs, and then alternating the dry and wet ingredients. However, with this cake recipe you add the dry ingredients with the sugar, then add the butter until the mixture becomes coarse and sandy, and finally add the eggs/liquids. It’s a fairly different technique but the cupcakes came out light and fluffy so I’m not complaining! Just a tip – only fill the wells of the cupcake pan 1/2 way. I filled mine about 2/3 full and they were overflowing when I took them out of the oven. They were still delicious, though! :)

Funfetti Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
3 large egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk the milk, egg whites, vanilla and almond extracts together in a measuring cup.

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low speed briefly to combine.  Cut the butter into 6 pieces and add them to the mixer bowl.  Mix on low speed until the mixture is coarse and sandy.  Add milk mixture and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl and continue beating for 20-30 seconds.  Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the sprinkles.

Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the prepared pan – I wouldn’t fill them more than 1/2 – 2/3 full, the cupcakes rise quite a bit in the oven.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, originally from Baking Bites

 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Yield: enough frosting for 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

2.5 – 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (10+ oz)

Pinch of salt

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.

Slowly add the rest of the ingredients a little at a time. I usually start by adding a cup of confectioners’ sugar along with the salt and vanilla extract. Then I add some heavy cream, slowly add in more confectioners’ sugar and heavy cream until all 3 cups (or so) of confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 cup of heavy cream are added. (Do not add all 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar at once or you’ll have a mess)

Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice.

Decorate cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source: Melissa Bakes Original

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