Monday, November 22, 2010


The first whoopie pies I ever made were red velvet last Christmas. What could be better than red velvet whoopie pies? Pumpkin ones! Everyone loves pumpkin this time of year. The maple cream cheese filling really completes the flavors of these delicate pumpkin delights. How could I resist not taking these to Thanksgiving this year?

I have only celebrated three Thanksgivings in my lifetime; being an American holiday, we don't celebrate it back home in the UK. Christmas is the only day we bring out the grand turkey, so it was a little disorientating for me the first time. It felt too much like Christmas. Thanksgiving definitely feels different to me now. The abundance of all things pumpkin is surely something that helps separate the holidays and sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top are not something you would find on the Christmas table. Thanksgiving has become an autumnal celebration of food that I just could not live without now.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies:
(makes 36)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8th teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Maple Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (room temp)
  • 5 tablespoons butter (softened)
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.

Cream together the butter and sugar well.

Whisk in the eggs, vanilla, salt and pumpkin.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices.

Mix until well combined.

Scoop teaspoons of the batter on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350F.

Allow to rest on a rack until completely cooled before assembling.

For the filling whisk all the ingredients together until very smooth.

Turn one cookie upside down and add a teaspoon of the frosting and add another cookie on top.

Continue until all your whoopie pies are assembled.

Friday, November 19, 2010


As we near towards the holidays I often start to think about my favorite cookies. Everyone has their favorite Christmas cookies, but what's everyone's favorite cookie of all time? Is there really a cookie out there that is better than the classic chocolate chip cookie? For me there's just nothing I like more than a warm chocolate chip cookie fresh out the oven and dunked in a cup of tea.

Every person will always claim that their favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is the best in the world. It all comes down to the fact that there actually is no such thing as the world's best chocolate chip cookie. Rather, it seems to come down to personal preference; the best chocolate chip cookie in ones own opinion. 

My mother in law makes what I would call the best chocolate chip cookies. She gave me this recipe years ago and I just haven't found another that turns out more perfect. Slightly crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside with an overload of chocolate chips.

Chocolate Chip Cookies: 
(makes 24)
  • 2/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I added another teaspoon...)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F.

Cream the butter and sugar together. mix in the egg and vanilla.

Sift in the flour, baking soda and salt.

Add the chocolate chips and combine well.

Scoop teaspoons of the cookie dough and spread out on a un-greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes.

Remove when the cookies are still soft.

Monday, November 15, 2010


As soon as we enter fall, I always find myself at the farmers' market every Sunday without fail, even if there's nothing particular that I need. There's something very comforting about an Autumn farmers' market; it brings out the homely side in me.

Buying produce closest to their natural state seems more rustic and appropriate now that it's fall. Brussels sprouts: do I want to buy them loose and cut off from their stem? No, it's much more fun bringing the whole stalk home or a large bunch of carrots with their lengthy leaves still intact. I also find these vegetables being showcased more in the fall. The usual carrots chopped up and thrown in the microwave to steam rather become carrots braised in fresh thyme and beef stock or roasted along with a medley of other seasonal root vegetables such as butternut squash and parsnips with sage and butter.

Autumn seems to have that magic touch that transforms any of our everyday ruts to blissful comfort goodness. Oatmeal becomes spiced pumpkin oatmeal with maple syrup. Apple juice becomes warm apple cider with cinnamon. Our everyday coffee becomes a gingerbread or pumpkin latte and a blueberry muffin is now a warmly spiced apple muffin with almonds.

The best item of all to buy at the farmers' market this time of year is most certainly apples. We might eat them year round but never do they taste the same as freshly harvested fall apples. Honeycrisps are my favorite in particular; they're fantastically crunchy, sweet and juicy. I have used Honeycrisp apples in this muffin for a bite of luxurious sweetness, but any fresh Autumn apple will taste beautiful in these muffins to be truthful. My favorite muffin of the far!

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins: Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Kitchen
(makes 12)

  • 2 of your favorite apples (peeled, cored and diced small)
  • 1 3/4 cups spelt flour or all-purpose flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup flavorless vegetable oil (like canola)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds (roughly chopped)
For the topping:
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds (roughly chopped)

Preheat oven to 400F.

Measure all the dry ingredients in bowl. Add the chopped almonds.

In another bowl add the brown sugar, honey, yogurt, oil and eggs.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet along with the chopped apples. Don't over mix.

In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the topping.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups/muffin tin and then sprinkle on top of each with the topping mixture.

Bake for 20 mins until risen and golden.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Happy Fall! I'm now Mrs. Bowl of Mush ;) Our wedding was everything I ever hoped it would be and the cake was SO delicious!

Now that I'm all settled down and there's no more crazy wedding plans to take care of I can finally get back to blogging! This is my favorite season for baking. It's a time for warm, comforting, Autumn flavors.

These muffins are so delicious and very fitting to the season. They smell incredible. Originally they started out as pumpkin pecan muffins but this time I added chocolate chips and I was in heaven.
Pumpkin, Pecan & Choc Chip Muffins:
(makes 12)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (like canola)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Mix together the wet ingredients and then add to the wet mixture.

Add the chopped pecans and chocolate chips.

Be careful not to over mix the batter for a lighter muffin.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 mins.
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