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Monday, November 19, 2012

pumpkin spice scones... and some other stuff

happy happy monday :)
is everyone getting ready for thanksgiving... i am SOOOO looking forward to it... a visit to new york has been long overdue... i'm so looking forward to spending time with my family, seeing my sister who is back from france for a bit, and helping her with her wedding plans, spoiling my adorable nephew, celebrating with cocktails with my fabulous cousins, going to the parade with the hubby, my boys, my pops and the rest of my family... and of course my mom's amazing thanksgiving dinner... i just love this time of year... but i'll leave my thanksgiving love to my post-thanksgiving blog post...
now... onto why we are here today... pumpkin scones... i am a pumpkin scone feine... i know people get all amped up for the arrival of the coveted starbucks pumpkin spice latte, but i feel kinda like "ehh" about them... i'd rather my usual caramel macchiato... but their pumpkin scone... i swoon... luckily for me i don't have starbucks to close to me... otherwise i'd be broke and possibly a bit chubby around the middle... so what's a gal to do... well, make them at home of course, and defiantly get chubby around the middle...
i found this recipe while cruising through pinterest... and i have to say, these are a winner in my book
pumpkin scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg
1. preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
2. in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with fit the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger
3. add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture
4. mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse crumbs, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas
5. in a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half and egg
6. fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and form the dough into a ball
7. pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into a 1-inch thick rectangle about 4 inches by 12 inches
8. use a large knife to slice the dough making three equal portions...cut each of the portions in an X pattern (four pieces) so you end up with 12 triangular slices of dough
9. place on prepared baking sheet and bake for about 14-16 minutes, or until light brown... place on wire rack to cool before glazing

  for the glaze i just combined some heavy cream, powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg... and drizzled it generously atop each warm scone... mmm...
now onto the other stuff... i just want to give a big love shout out to my husband, who on friday had his chiefs initiation...
for the past two months he has been going through a traditional initiation process for all who advance to chief... and it finished on friday, culminating with a lovely dinner, and ceremony in which he was honored with some fellow coast guardsmen... i am very, very proud of him... and i was so happy to take part in this moment with him... it was a little embarrassing standing in front of everyone pinning his anchors on him... but what is a loving wife to do :)
congratulations hubby... i love you
i'll catch you all after thanksgiving...
i wish you all a wonderful holiday... and as always, happy baking!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

cookie butter and pumpkin cupcakes

there is only thing i can say about these cupcakes... they are EFFING awesome!! every bite is like eating the very best flavors of fall and winter... pumpkin, cinnamon,  and gingerbread... mmm....
now... before i get started i have to thank trader joes for bringing so many good things into my life... like chile lime chicken burgers, my chocolate/coffee bean and sugar grinder, dark chocolate caramels, veggie pot stickers, almond and apple butter... and now... this... this delicious gift... cookie butter... many of you have probably heard of biscoff spread... this is basically the same thing... and it is utterly amazing... whether you eat it by the spoonful, on pretzels, or my style... faceplanting right into the jar :)
i figured it would make a delicious topping for a pumpkin cupcake... and as always, i was right...
pumpkin cupcake recipe (yields 12 cupcakes):
1 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
2 eggs at room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
7.5 ozs. pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. pure maple syrup
1.preheat the oven to 350 and prepare the cupcake tins
2. in a medium saucepan, melt and brown the butter, set aside to cool
3. in a small bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together
4. in mixer, beat the eggs and the sugars together, when combined add the cooled melted butter
5. gently fold in the dry ingredients, and don't over mix
6. whisk in pumpkin and maple syrup until combined
7. bake about 17-20 minutes, cool on wire rack before frosting
speculoos "cookie butter" cream cheese frosting
4 ozs. softened cream cheese
1/2 cup of trader joe's speculoos cookie butter spread
confectioners sugar
heavy cream
1. in a mixer, blend the cream cheese and the cookie butter until smooth
2. gradually add the confectioners sugar until you reach your desired sweetness, and the heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency
3. try not to eat it right out of the bowl, and frost your cupcakes!!

now the hubby doesn't share my enthusiams for eating the cookie butter straight from the jar... but he could not get enough of these cupcakes... and he actually said these are probably one of his top 5 favorite cupcakes i've ever made... sweet!
 have a great weekend everyone... and as always happy baking!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

trick or treats and thoughts and prayers...

well hello everyone... i hope you all are enjoying this thursday... it's been a tough few days here for me, my heart has been heavy with the thoughts of my hometown of Staten Island... and with all of the people that have been devastated by the hurricane... i don't even know where to begin with how i feel about what has happened... i can't even watch the news anymore, it's just too hard... as a family, we were extremely lucky... all of my family and relatives live in safe areas of the island, although they are still without power, we were blessed... it seems every hour more tragic stories emerge... some are too hard to even bare...
i like many New Yorkers are very proud of where we come from... we are very protective of our city, maybe that's why new yorkers are kinda like a different breed... it's very aggravating sometimes seeing how Staten Island is portrayed... now, i'm not going to say that those yahoo's on mtv, mob wives and bad girls club don't exist, because believe me, Staten Island is full of some characters... but it is also a tightknit, family loving community, one of which i am happy to belong... and it's really getting old being the forgotten borough... the dumping ground... the laughing stock of the city... that spare sock with no mate you find in the dryer...
the island is undergoing some serious heartbreak right now, and so many are still left wondering where people are, and how to even begin to make sense of it all...
there is one thing i do know, Staten Island is home to a tough bunch of New Yorkers, and the rebuild will bring us closer and more resilient...
my thoughts, prayers and much needed love to all...
and to all of those first responders, and unselfish givers of comfort and aid, the ones who brave the search and rescue... thank you
now... on a lighter note... i hope everyone had a happy halloween... or, if your town postponed the trick or treating until this weekend, i hope you and yours will enjoy the day... as for us, we were lucky enough to celebrate halloween on several occassions... first it started on friday with the school's halloween costume parade, followed that night by the schools halloween party, then the next day, the town had it's annual halloween howler, which is another party and parade...
now... as for costumes... my littlest guy made it easy on me... he wanted to be none other than his favorite (and i think my favorite) avenger... captain america... the minute he put his costume on, the little guy acted like he was some toughnut... this kid cracks me up... i mean, look at that face...
haha... lego man photo-bomb...
but he's not always so serious... here he is fooling around in one of the silly masks my parents had sent up for the boys to mess around with... he's a character...
and here they both are... clowns...
now... onto my big guys costume... i have to say i am really proud of myself with this one... he was a built to scale lego minifigure... and i made the costume all by myself... well... the hubs helped a little too :)
 pretty damn awesome right?! now if you knew anything about my boy, he is a bit of a lego freak... like border line obsessed... so... this costume was just right up his alley... and it was hilarious to see him walking around with this on...

here he is at his school, surrounded by the other kids... i have to say it made me smile to see him at the center of this...
 oh... and by the way he won third place at the towns costume contest... i (along with a few other townies) thought he deserved first, but oh well, what can you do... all that really mattered was the smile on his face... and believe me, under that big ol' lego head, he was grinning from ear to ear :)
until next time...