Monday, December 30, 2013

It's Been a While

The holidays were extremely busy this year.  All of the travel and festivities were a lot of fun (from San Diego, to Orlando, to Atlantic City), but I am really looking forward to getting back into my normal routine... although, that still won't happen for about another week or so.  Right now, I am preparing to host a little New Year's Eve party in our 700 square ft apartment, which takes a lot of creativity - and I am trying to get some of the prep done early.  Sunday was rainy and dreary outside, which everyone knows is perfect for baking!  I made the most amazing maple glazed mini pumpkin muffins and darling (darling?  who am I?) little peanut butter drop cookies for the party.  These two were some of the best desserts I have ever had in my life (I know I exaggerate a lot, but on this, I am serious) - check out the recipes below.

There were way too many amazing food experiences over the past two months since my last update, but I will call out a few highlights with pictures:

1)  Fresh simple grilled halibut at Fish 101 in Encinitas, CA

2)  Bagel breakfasts at home at Mom and Dads (I love them but never let myself buy them):

3)  Homemade Apple Carmel Pie for Thanksgiving (tears were shed, curses words were yelled, but overall I would deem it a successful family baking night):

4)  Christmas Eve cocktails at the Willard's Round Robin Bar in DC (to understand the full experience, just think bow ties and talk of the old Soviet Union):

5)  And a lovely/lonely Christmas with me and my guy (the tree looked so much better after the champagne was consumed):


Now for the recipes:

Soft Gooey Mini Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze

For the Muffins:
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon nutmeg

For the maple glaze:
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 ¼ cup of powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix dry and wet ingredients separately, then gently fold batter together with a spatula.  Pour batter into greased mini muffin tins.  Bake for about 12-15 minutes.  Make the glaze in a small pot on the stove by mixing all ingredients into the melted butter.  Pour over the top of the muffins (after muffins have cooled completely).

Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies
½ cup salted butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ cups of all purpose flour
½ cup Reese's Pieces

Mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer, except the Reese's pieces - add those last.  Chill dough for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  Scoop bite sized cookies onto a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  They may appear too soft, but will firm up after they cool.

Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, Peanut Butter Lover’s Cookies

New Year's Resolution is to start posting more frequently

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