Monthly Archives: December 2012

I’ve got a new Christmas tradition and it’s this bread. I know everybody loves cinnamon rolls, but just look at this thing, it’s an absolute showstopper!  It’s not much more work to make than cinnamon rolls, either, so if you’re looking to jazz things up next year (or whenever – this bread is so good you won’t want to wait for the holidays to make it), try this tasty wreath instead.

Holiday Bread Wreath

Happy holidays, indeed

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The weather has been all over the place here in New York, and the only snow we’ve gotten so far was that Nor’easter in November, but these muffins are so perfect for the season that one bite makes me feel like I’m in a winter wonderland.

Chestnut Muffins

Chestnut muffins

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There’s something rather magical about Spritz cookies. They’re from the German word “spritzen,” which literally means “to squirt,” which is exactly how you make these, by squirting the dough through a cookie press. I make these cookies every year around the holidays and it still blows my mind every singe time to see the dough push through the holes in the disc and transform into trees and flowers and other designs.

The dough for these cookies is a simple butter cookie dough, but my favorite recipe adds cream cheese to make them extra tangy and melt-in-your-mouth crumbly.

Spritz Cookies

Spritz cookies of all shapes and sizes

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It’s been a funky week. My baking mojo has been off, resulting in two failed cakes and tears in the kitchen (though the tears may have been due to smoke inhalation).

On Tuesday, I attempted to bake a simple yellow cake for my coworker’s birthday, so of course my springform pan ended up leaking butter all over my oven and releasing an explosion of smoke that filled my apartment for the entire night. Hence the tears. In retrospect, it was totally preventable since I could smell the smoke almost as soon as it started, but I smartly decided to ignore it because I thought it would go away. This has also been a bad week for logic.

But one kitchen failure is not enough to deter me, so on Wednesday night, I made these homemade funfetti cupcakes that were only about 45% a disaster. I also made a small 6″ cake, but that turned out underbaked even though I stuck a toothpick in it and it came out clean. Toothpick, I thought I could trust you! I say 45% a disaster because they weren’t up to my standards, but the birthday girl and my coworkers all enjoyed them, so I guess it was a win in the end. 

Funfetti Cupcakes

They’re almost too cute to eat

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Let’s be real – muffins are just cupcakes without frosting. Most of the time, we can fool ourselves by making them healthy and stuffing them with fruits and veggies, but these muffins…no amount of denial will change the fact that these are really just cupcakes. With caramel on top instead of frosting.

I think that might actually make these worse – worse for your health, but better for your tastebuds! You win some, you lose some, you know?

Salted Caramel Chocolate Muffins

The breakfast of champions

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This recipe is not for the faint of heart. Not because it’s difficult, but because it’s so absurdly easy and delicious that, before you know it, you’l be hypnotized into eating it straight from the pan with a spoon.

There just has to be magic at play here, because somehow, a can of sweetened condensed milk baked in a water bath for an hour and a half turns into a thick, creamy caramel sauce.

Dulce de Leche

I like to store it in a Bonne Maman jar, because that way, it’s jam, which means I can have it for breakfast, right?

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It’s that time of year again! The real start of holiday baking.

I can always tell when the holidays get here based on my contents of my pantry. Today, I counted not one, not two, not even three, but seven – SEVEN – bags of chocolate chips. I know chocolate chip cookies aren’t really a holiday cookie, but they’re one of my favorite cookies to gift because they’re such a classic. Around this time of year, I consider it a pantry staple so I pick up a bag every time I’m at the grocery, which explains how I have a couple pounds of chocolate in my fridge. And of course they’re all different brands – Hershey’s, Ghirardelli, Nestle – and different types of chocolate – milk, dark, semi, and bittersweet. Live like there’s no tomorrow, AM I RIGHT??

Cookie cutters and chocolate chips

You know you’re a baker when you have one drawer full of cookie cutters and another full of chocolate chips

But I digress. Chocolate chip cookies are among my favorite to gift, but gingerbread cookies are probably my favorite to eat this time of year. They’re full of flavor but aren’t too sweet or heavy, so they’re a great light cookie for snacking on.

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Get ready to bust out the molasses – it’s gingerbread time! Also, this is my 25th muffin from the book! I’m 1/30th of the way there! This is what progress looks like.

Gingerbread pear muffins

Gingerbread pear muffins

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