Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chai Breakfast Cupcakes

You know how sometimes you have something you haven't had in a long time and then  you have it and you are immediately re-obsessed with it?

This happened to me today. With Chai tea. I stopped to get breakfast this morning and the restaurant was plastered with signs about how delicious chai tea is and how I should clearly get one to have with my delicious bacon, egg, and cheese on marbled rye bagel. I did it. I am a victim of advertisements.

Anyway, I got home and was browsing my new Fall Baking magazine I got on a whim yesterday at the Wal-Marts and saw a recipe for Chai Cupcakes. I thought to myself...mmm...more chai.

I was also thinking of others! I work in accounting and tomorrow is month-end closing...which kinda sucks. So I thought I would make these and bring them in to share with my wonderful co-workers! It's a win-win situation. Or win-win-win.

Here are you ingredients!

Except the brown sugar. I don't know how and/or why that got in there. It just happened.

I was looking for my cupcake pans because I just moved about a month ago and was looking in my fancy lazy susan cabniet. I just like to show it off:

Yeah, it wasn't there. It was in the cabinet that I keep my baking sheets in. But whatevs...got to show off my sweet cabinet.

Once you locate your cupcake pans, fill them whatever pretty cupcake liners you like

While your oven is preheating to 350 degrees, mix your regular flour, wheat flour, baking power, baking soda, ginger and salt together in a medium bowl.

Then you need to put your milk in a saucepan and let it simmer, then you will put your chai tea bags in to steep. I dug out my favorite saucepan like thing that I saved to use for a whole year. I got it for Christmas the year that I lived with 4 boys, and I didn't want them to ruin it. It's super cool! Check it outttttttt!

Then, I realized that I did not in fact have the chai tea packets that the recipe called for, which was sad. I bought some chai tea while I was in India last year and I had yet to open it, when I finally did (today...just now) it turns out they are instant chai tea mixes. Oops.

Well, I did the best I could. After my milk started simmering, I added a couple pinches of nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon and then added one packet of the instant ginger chai tea. I let it simmer a bit and took it off the heat. If you follow the rules for realizies, let the tea bags steep about 5 minutes, remove from the milk, and then let it cool.

In a separate large bowl, use your hand mixer to beat your softened stick of butter until it's all light and fluffy. On a side note, I like to assume everyone is using a hand mixer, because as much as I would love a Kitchen-Aid mixer, they are expensive as heck and I always feel sad when recipes just assume you have one. It also makes me feel like I am getting a mini arm workout. So there. Vindicated'd.

Add in your sugar and beat, then your vanilla, beat, egg, beat, egg number two, beat. It kind of sounds like a poem/rap/song. But that's how you do it.

Then you will alternatively add in the flour mixture and the milk mixture to your sugar/butter stuff. Beat until just combined on low speed. I forgot to take a picture of this part. Sorry...I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. But here is a picture of some of the batter after I poured it in the measuring cup.

I then poured the batter in my measuring cup to then pour in the cupcake liners.

Once you get your cupcake liners about 2/3 full, sprinkle with granola. The recipe calls for maple flavored granola which would indeed be delicious, but we had some granola that had dates and raisins and almonds and so I used that instead.

Bake your cupcakes for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Or if you can't find your toothpicks maybe panic and instead insert a knife in and hope for the best.

I also may have gotten distracted by the kitty while the cupcakes were baking. Here he is. He's the cutest. And apparently a weird contortionist.

Back to the cupcakes.

I cut mine in half and put some delicious butter on it. It was tasty and crispy on top and had some fantastic chai flavor. I was afraid they wouldn't turn out well...but they turned out awwwwwwwwesome!

I hope everyone at work likes them tomorrow!

Chai Breakfast Cupcakes
adapted from Fall Baking from Better Homes and Gardens 2011


  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 4 chai tea bags (I used 1 packet instant chai tea mix and a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves)
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. maple flavored granola (or really most any granola, but I used the kind with raisins/almonds/dates)
1. Preheat oven to 350, line 24 cupcake liners in cupcake pans. 
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and baking soda, ginger, and salt and mix.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy, then add in the sugar and eggs, beating well after each addition.
4. In a small saucepan, simmer the milk and steep the chai tea about 5 minutes, remove bags and then let it cool.
5. Alternate adding in the flour mixture with the milk mixture to the sugar and butter until combined.
6. Fill the cupcake liners to about 2/3 full then sprinkle with granola.
7. Bake about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

As usual, thanks for reading! :)

<3, Carly
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings

This is one of those desserts that I have made several times and no matter how many times I make them, I can't get over how freakin' delicious they are.

This is yet another recipe from The Pioneer Woman, and by making these, you are taking a terrible risk of eating an entire pan of butter, sugar, and Mountain Dew encrusted doughy apple treats. It's a risk, but man, it's worth it.

This week was the birthday of my friend and fellow DnD group member, Doty. I asked him what type of dessert he would like me to make our game this week and some of his answers included southern coconut cake, home-made apple pie, and canolis. Then he mentioned these apple dumplings. I've made them before and they are like crack. Well, having never been on crack, I can't say that's entirely true, but they are what I imagine taking crack to be like...? I've wandered onto a strange tangent.

Anyway, off we go to the land of apple dumpling baking!

Here are your ingredients. They are nice and simple.

The original recipe calls for granny smith apples, which I did have two of, but I wanted to be adventurous and try another type of apple, too. That was one called Envy. I would suggest you use 2 granny smith apples though.

Next, you will need to peel the apples and cut them into 8 slices each. So you will end up with 16 apple slices and 16 triangles of crescent rolls. Yay, math!

I'll have you know I am on quite a streak of not cutting myself while I peel things. For a while, I always cut myself using a peeler, but two more apples, no cut fingers!

Take one of your two sticks of butter and use it to butter a 9 x 13 pan. Just make sure the sides and bottom are covered so your delicious apple dumplings don't get stuck to the bottom. You don't have to go crazy with it, remember, there are going to be two whole sticks of butter in with these dumplings. It's statements like that that make the think Paula Deen would be proud of me.

Next, you will need to unroll each of your crescent rolls and their little individual triangles. I used the store brand, reduced fat ones because I figured there was enough fat in these already. Anyway, I had a very difficult time getting the rolls of dough open. Normally, They pop open on their own and scare the bejeezus out of me. I had to smack them on the counter several times and then eventually whine to Jason to get him to get the can open for me. Go with the name brand, they are less frustrating.

Then take each of your apple slices and roll them up in a dough triangle.

Take each little rolled up dumpling and line them up in the pan.

After you do all that, put your two sticks of butter in a saucepan to melt them, and then add in the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and stir it together.

Then stir in your yummy teaspoon of vanilla
Once you have all that stirred together, pour it over your awaiting dumplings. Try to get the sugar evenly over each of them so they will all end up nice and crispy caramelized on top after baking. You will then take your can of Mountain Dew and pour it all around the edges of the pan. Your dumplings will be nice and bubbly and buttery and sugary. Oh, yum. I might have to go heat one up just thinking about it.

The next part is my favorite. Add. Cinnamon. To. Taste.

I love cinnamon. It is my favorite, telling me to add it to taste is really like saying you should probably go ahead and dump the whole container on there. I did manage some restraint though. 


Put them in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes or until they are delicious and golden brown. Here is what mine looked like right before I pulled them out of the oven.

I let them hang out for a bit and cool down because otherwise you mouth will be burned forever and I am a firm believer in not doing that. I feel like it's a bad choice.

Once they are cooled enough (I'd say maybe 5-10 minutes), scoop some onto a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. If you have vanilla ice cream that would also be amazing with this, but I didn't have any unfortunately. But these were UH-MAY-ZING. Make them at your own risk!


Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled
  • 2 cans crescent rolls (8 oz.)
  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 12 oz. can Mountain Dew
Peel and cut each apple into 8 slices. Roll each slice in a triangle of crescent roll dough. Butter a 9 x 13 pan and put each dumpling in it.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the sugar and stir. Add the vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples, trying to evenly coat each dumpling with sugar.Pour the can of Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan and then bake them in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. Once they have cooled, you can sprinkle with powered sugar or serve with vanilla ice cream. Or just eat them by themselves, they are delicious!

Thanks for reading!

<3, Carly
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Nectarine-Plum Crostata

Hello again!

I don't know about anyone else but I am absolutely in this huge fantasy that it is already fall. Everywhere I go I look at every tree to see leaves changing. I think my friends are tired of me randomly shouting, "look! That one tree there has one leave that is slightly yellow on the top branch that you can barely see!"

I have been crockpot crazy and wanting to making everything with apples in it for a couple weeks now, but I was afraid to make yet another apple dessert for my Dungeons and Dragons group this week (I am going to go ahead and call it DnD from now on, the whole name is a lot to type!). I don't want to burn myself out on apples too early, there are still many apple months left.

That takes me to the fact that I instead flipped through all my fall baking magazines and found a recipe for Nectarine-Plum Crostata. I thought it sounded tasty and something that I have never tried to make before, so here's how it went!

Here are your ingredients! (minus the bananas... they just made their way into the background)

In a medium bowl, add 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir.

Then you are going to take your butter and cut it into the flour-y mixture and that needs to be mixed in. You can use two knives to cut the butter in, you can use your hands (make sure you watch them ;)) OR if you are me and you just got a fancy new pastry cutter for the first time ever, you can use that!

I got the cheap one (hey, I'm not made of money here) but it worked pretty well and took much less time. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. (anyone get the quote...?) Your flour butter stuff should now look kinda like this:

Perhaps using a white bowl was not a great decision. I'll try harder next time, I promise.

Next you are going to need to put 1 (ONE) egg YOLK in. You can throw away the other part, or if you want to save your egg white for another day you can do that, but I don't really know what you would do with just the one egg white. Anyway, I digress. It took me three tries to break the egg that didn't also break the yolk.

  I finally did it! Yay, me!

So you will want to mix this yolk into your flour stuff with a fork.

Then start sprinkling in your tablespoons of water. The recipe called for 4-5 tablespoons, I used about 4.5.This is me, playing with the water in the measuring spoon. Sometimes I get distracted.

I finally directed the water into the bowl.

Mix, mix, mix, mix, fun, fun, fun, fun. Oh Rebecca Black, get outta here.

Then you need to kind of knead it a little bit until it's a ball of dough.

Then you need to wrap it in plastic wrap. I also finally bought un-crappy plastic wrap. For some reason at some point, I thought to myself, "hey, Carly, you should get this cheap plastic wrap at the dollar store. It's a dollar!" Don't do it. Don't do it to yourself! It will cause you minutes of heartache. Minutes!

Stick that little guy in the fridge for 30 minutes. I put mine in for longer because I went to dinner before I made the rest, I would suggest going just the 30 minutes because it was harder to roll out later because it was so cold.

Meanwhile. back at the ranch on the other counter, I was getting the fruits all ready.

Look, plums sink and nectatrines float. Science in action! Wash them up because you are going to leave the skin on.

Get them all sliced.
Hey, I told you about my cutting disabilities, don't judge. 
Here is a bowl filled with delicious sliced fruits!
 In another small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
Oh, cinnamon. My favorite spice. I want to put you on everything (although I think it could make some gross combinations.)

Look at it mixed in there with all that sugar and flour and junk. Mmmmm...cinnamon.

After I broke my cinnamon trance, I rolled out the dough from the refrigerator. Another kitchen implement I do not have is a rolling pin. So I used a glass. I think one of my goals today is to get a rolling pin.

This should be rolled out to about 13 inches or so. I think mine was about that size, but I didn't have a measuring tape near me, or a fancy rolling mat. So I just went with it.

I went ahead and mixed in the sugary, cinnamony, floury mixture with the fruit, sprinkled it with the lemon juice, and then piled them in the center of the dough. 
I tried to leave about 3 inches of border so I could pleat it around the size. 

Dot the fruit with pieces of 2 tablespoons of butter, then fold up the edges of the pastry over the fruit trying your darndest to make pleats. I then used my fancy silicone brush to brush some water on the edges and covered it with my new fancy orange and yellow sanding sugar before putting it in the oven.Bake at 425 for 30-40 minutes until crust is golden brown and the fruit is soft.

Here it is, post oven!

If I was Martha Stewart, someone would be scraping off that sugary stuff off the side of the pan so my crostata looked fancier, but I don't have fancy Martha Stewart sidekicks, I have geeky boys plays DnD in the next room who just want to eat baked good. So, you know, meh. 

There she is! I really liked it. The nectarines were sweet, the plums were tangy, and the dough was buttery and kind of flaky. Also, the juice from the fruits made the dough nice and soft. I very much enjoyed it! You should make these and eat it!

Nectarine-Plum Crostata
adapted from Betty Crocker



  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 C. sliced nectarines 
  • 2 C. sliced plums
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp sugar

As usual, thanks for reading!

<3, Carly

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