Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

I am so not here for holidays skipping over each other. Like, Halloween is this Friday and my local drugstore already has their Christmas stuff up! It’s absolutely crazy! The wall of Christmas lights and a small assortment of ornaments are right next to the Halloween candy. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas but let the other holidays have their time in the spotlight!

With that said, let’s talk about Halloween. Even though I don’t celebrate it like I used to when I was a kid, I still get excited this time of year. Mostly because holiday season begins with Halloween, but also because CANDY! As evidenced by this blog, I have an enormous sweet tooth. No matter how hard I try, I can’t give up the stuff. Whether it’s candy or baked goods, I’m eating it. Can you believe I almost gave up candy and sweets for good? It was a very dark time in my life. I’m just glad I saw the light.

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Despite the fact I can’t eat candy or sweets like I used to, I still enjoy a variety of sweets. I love it when Halloween rolls around because there’s SO MANY options. Halloween’s one of the big candy holidays, up there with Easter. I love seeing all the seasonal offerings, and every year there’s always something new. The best part is the discounted candy on sale on November 1st. Half off a giant bag of candy is such a steal!

One of my favorite Halloween candies is actually candy corn. I swear, I can hear the groans of disgust from here. Yes, they’re insanely sweet and taste of pure sugar, but to me they’re Halloween. I love getting the bags of Autumn mix because it had a bit of everything; regular candy corn, cocoa flavored Indian corn, and candy corn on steroids in the form of mellowcreme pumpkins. Granted, I can’t eat as many as I used to but I still enjoy like, three when I have them.

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I knew I wanted to make something festive for this year.¬†I planned on taking whatever I made to class with me, but because I didn’t want to subject my classmates to candy corn, I had to get creative. Cookies are an absolute given, so I rolled (ha!) with that.

The best thing about sugar cookies is that they’re a blank canvas, both in taste and in appearance. I wanted to stay on topic, so making them bright orange was the best option. This was slightly tricky, as I didn’t have any orange food coloring. Instead, I had to use the liquid ones and make orange out of red and yellow. First of all, the directions on the back of the box are a lie. I used the same ratio of red to yellow to make orange and ended up with a pink dough instead. Appalled at the fact that I made pink, I kept adding drops of red and then yellow to get orange. Took me what felt like forever, and a lot of color drops but I got it.

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The second best thing about sugar cookies is that they can be made ahead. SUCH a good time saver, let me tell you. I have been insanely busy these past few weeks and barely have time to bake. I make it a point to bake as much as I can when I have the chance, but usually aim to do it on days I have class. I love treating my classmates to baked goods, especially when they’re really appreciative and genuinely love what I bring. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, to be honest. The problem is that I don’t have much time to bake on days I have class with the whole gang. My inner lightbulb went on (or off?) when I realized slice and bake cookies were the way to go. Let me just preface by saying slice and bakes never really worked for me. I’m a drop cookie kinda girl, and all this extra work for a cookie seemed overwhelming. That, and the cookie dough never worked for me; it was always too soft, despite it spending time in the fridge.

I went for it anyway and was very pleased with the result. I made the dough the night before and baked them off the next morning. They were absolutely adorable! I was so happy to see the swirl came out. I was even happier when I tasted the cookie. Sugar cookies to me always taste like butter covered in sugar. I guess they kind of are, but these cookies tasted like a real cookie and not like sugared butter. My classmates loved them, and so did my sister! The cookies didn’t last long in class, and all the cookies I had at home were gone within a day. They reminded me of the Pillsbury cookies that come out for the holiday seasons. You know, the ones with the pumpkins or Christmas trees on them? Either way, these were crumbly, sweet, and delicious.

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Even though everyone has basically moved on to the next holidays in the line up, I’m still about Halloween. At least for the next few days ūüėČ

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Pinwheel Sugar Cookies – adapted from Just A Taste

Makes 22-24 cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 2 teaspoons rum (optional)
  • Orange¬†food coloring
  • about 1 cup of festive sprinkles

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In another large bowl, beat the butter until smooth with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 more minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla.
  3. Slowly add the flour and then beat just until combined. Remove the dough and separate it into two equal pieces. Shape one piece of the dough into an 8-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the white portion of the cookies.)
  4. Keep the remaining piece of dough in the bowl, and add in the food coloring, drop by drop. Mix the food coloring into the dough with a rubber spatula, until it reaches your desired color.
  5. Remove the colored dough, and shape it into an 8-inch square. Wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Refrigerate both doughs for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut each square in half to form two rectangles. Wrap half of each color of dough in plastic wrap and return it to the fridge. Place the white dough in between two pieces of wax paper and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.
  7. Roll out the colored half of dough between two separate pieces of wax paper until it is a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick.
  8. Peel the top layer of wax paper off of the white dough and then peel the wax paper off one side of the colored dough. Use the other side to transfer the colored dough on top of the white dough. Very lightly roll the two layers together.
  9. Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, roll the dough as tightly as possible into a log.
  10. Repeat the rolling and stacking process with the remaining dough in the fridge. Wrap the logs in wax paper and then plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 1 hour.
  11. Remove the dough logs and roll them on the counter several times so they don’t develop a flat side. Unwrap the dough logs and place the sprinkles in a large, shallow dish. Roll the dough logs in the sprinkles until they are completely coated. Re-wrap the dough logs in wax paper and plastic and refrigerate them for 4 more hours.
  12. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350¬ļF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice each log into 1/4-inch rounds. Place the rounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, as the cookies will expand when baked.
  13. Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes until pale golden, and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • An easy way to cut wait time in the fridge is to use the freezer. Try freezing your dough for half of the suggested time, to move the prep process along a bit quicker
  • These cookies really are a blank canvas and can go really well with many flavorings. Orange zest would’ve gone well with these orange cookies!
  • I threw a bit of rum (whiskey, actually) into my cookies just for kicks. Not sure if it was detectable but I knew it was in there!
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Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread

When the weather finally starts to chill out, all I want to do is eat something warm and cinnamon-y.¬†My folks have been nagging me to make cinnamon rolls again. Been there, done that. Instead, I looked for something similar that’ll please my folks, and give me something new to make.

I’ve been seeing pull apart bread for what feels like ages all over the internet. They’ve always intrigued me but I never really thought about making one. It reminds me a little of monkey bread, another one I’ve seen everywhere. The fact that these recipes are both interactive seemed¬†like a good idea. Little did I know I was in for a bit of a challenge.

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First of all, the recipe itself is a little strange to me. It’s a bread recipe, which I am familiar with, except this one has a different method. The dough is very wet at first and it’ll feel like it’s never going to come together. I was initially concerned midway through the recipe when I saw how sticky it was, and that I barely needed to knead it. The dough actually reminded me of two things: an egg bread, and the aforementioned cinnamon rolls. The only difference was that the cinnamon roll dough wasn’t this sticky (it handled like a dream. I swear I’m not talking about a car). ¬†As I moved further along in the process, it did come together.

Relieved from knowing the dough turned into dough, I moved forward onto the next steps. Let’s talk about this topping for a minute. Cinnamon sugar is super simple to make, and does this thing where whatever it’s on is basically automatically delicious. I don’t know how that works but it does. This recipe calls for a lot. A LOT. Joy (the mastermind behind this recipe) says to use it all. Look, I was as skeptical as you when I read that. I thought about it for quite some time (read: two minutes) and ended up holding back. Listen to Joy, people. Use it all. When stacking the slices of dough encased in sugar, a lot of it fell off. It kind of defeats the purpose of using all of it but make sure you slap on all that butter, too. Sprinkle the leftover sugar on top if you must but use it all up.

Proofed, looking like an accordion

After I got through the messy cinnamon sugar stage, it was time to pop the slices in the pan. I have a regular loaf pan (a 9×5), which is what the recipe called for. Considering my measuring skills suck, my rectangle of dough wasn’t the exact size in the recipe, which means my strips weren’t sliced into six. I had five strips that turned into eight stacks, which ended up backfiring on me a little bit. I gently maneuvered my stacked and sliced sugared strips into the pan and let it rise. It looked like a beautiful, sugary accordion. So lovely. I popped it in the oven and proceeded to clean up my kitchen.

About 10 minutes in, I hear sizzling. Confused about the noise (because since when does bread sizzle?), I turned on the oven light and checked on the bread through the oven door. Pieces of the bread had come out of the loaf pan and onto my oven racks and floor! I dropped whatever I was doing, grabbed the longest pair of tongs in my house, and popped the oven open. I was able to rescue the piece that fell on the rack but the one on the oven floor ended up giving me grief. Since it was covered in sugar, it burned all over my oven floor. It smelled like burnt sugar for a while, too. I guess that was my fault but I wasn’t expecting that to happen! I cleaned up my oven after I finished baking, though. A real pain but it happens.

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Even after all of that, the bread continued to give me grief. It did not want to get out of the pan. Like at all. I buttered it twice, and it still stuck. Again, all that sugar was to blame. It caramelized and hardened a little while it was cooling. After several knife runs and turns upside down, I got the bread out with a few minor injuries (read: the bread fell apart in some places).

Despite the fact that it gave me some trouble, the bread came out absolutely delicious! It didn’t even last the day in my house; it was that good. The top was super crunchy¬†because of all that sugar. The bread itself was light and fluffy, which I guess has to do with the odd dough method. Kudos to that, to be honest. It actually reminded me a lot of a Dominican sweet I can only get when I’m over there called ‘pan dulce;’ which literally translates to sweet bread, and that’s exactly what they are. And like I correctly assumed, it was fun to peel off each layer before devouring it. My folks peeled them off in chunks, and all you heard were approving¬†noises come out of them while they had their mouths full.

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I’m not one to repeat recipes but even though this bread gave me a little trouble, I’d make it again. At least I now know how to handle it!

Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread – barely adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes one 9×5″ loaf

Dough:

  • 3 ¬†cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Sugar topping:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted until browned

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl (I used just the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.  Set aside. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. ¬†Remove from the heat and add water and vanilla extract. ¬†Let mixture stand for a minute or two, or until the mixture registers 115 to 125 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer, it should be a little warmer than body temperature.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula.  Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  The eggs will feel soupy and it’ll seem like the dough and the eggs are never going to come together.  Keep stirring.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes.  The mixture will be very sticky.
  4. Place the dough in a large, and well greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel.  Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  5. While the dough rises, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for the filling.  Set aside.  Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned, and set aside.  Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch  loaf pan.  Set that aside too.
  6. Deflate the risen dough and knead about 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough. ¬†Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes. ¬†On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out. ¬†The dough should be 12-inches tall and about 20-inches long. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all of the dough. ¬†Sprinkle with all of the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Emphasis on ‘all
  7. Slice the dough vertically, into six equal-sized strips.  Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan like a flip-book.  Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and allow in a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
  8. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Place loaf in the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is very golden brown.  The top may be lightly browned, but the center may still be raw.  A nice, dark, golden brown will ensure that the center is cooked as well.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.   Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert onto  a clean board.  Place a cake stand or cake plate on top of the  upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up.  Serve warm with coffee or tea.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Rereading the recipe made me realize a very important tidbit I missed the first time. FLOUR THE PAN. Jeez, that would’ve save me a lot of time (and a minor headache).¬†
  • Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t roll out to exactly the size stated in the recipe. I didn’t and it came out fine. Sorta.¬†
  • Make sure your loaf is completely cooked through. The bread should be super brown, like almost on the verge of burning. Not only does that leave you with a super crunchy crust, but it gives the bread time to cook through without sacrificing taste.¬†

Apple Cinnamon Scones

I’ve had scones on the brain since the last time I made them, which feels like it was ages ago. There’s something awesome about scones that makes me want to keep eating them all the time and forever. It might be all the butter and cream, to be honest. Since I have been dreaming about scones, I couldn’t decide what flavor to make them. I’ve had success with pretty much any flavor in my house because apparently, I’m not the only one with a scone fixation here.

Apple Cinnamon Scones Plated

I’m not sure if I mentioned it here before but I am done with pumpkin for the time being. I went HAM last year with the pumpkin recipes and decided this was the year for apples. Pumpkin anything seems so played out these days. Like, Starbucks brought out the Pumpkin Spice Latte in August. AUGUST! It wasn’t even remotely close to fall weather then! I don’t know but that kind of takes out the novelty of things when they’re brought out too early; kind of like putting Christmas decorations on sale in September. As much as I love Christmas and the holiday season, it’s not time for that yet.

For me, this is apple season. I already made and posted¬†one apple recipe this season,¬†but I have a couple more up my sleeve. When my dad isn’t ranting about his OTM (one true muffin), he’s eating apple things. With that in mind, I set out to make apple cinnamon everything and I’m not even done. For today though, let’s talk about scones.

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Like I mentioned before, there’s something about scones. I still don’t know what it is but there’s a distinct scone taste that only certain scones have. I briefly mentioned it the first time I made them here but I can only imagine it has something to do with butter. Speaking of that first time, I used the same recipe but modified it to use apples and cinnamon for a more seasonal offering.

Besides swapping out the orange for apples and cinnamon, I opted for cream instead of milk. Decadent much? Hell yes! I just feel that butter and cream both belong in scones at the same time. No other way about it. For the apples, I used McIntosh because it was the only kind I had around. They’re not the optimal apple to bake with though, and work better when used in conjunction with other apples. For example, my one true apple is the Granny Smith. It’s perfect for baking because its flavor is still there, they’re sturdy, and still have a bit of bite to them even after being baked. If I make these again, I’ll definitely change the apples from McIntosh to Granny Smith (and suggest you do the same, too). I also grated the apple instead of chunks because I wanted the flavor to be ‘equally distributed.’ Might’ve backfired on me but it can probably work with a Granny Smith, as opposed to the soft McIntosh.

Apple Cinnamon Scone Wedges

Even though I had slight moisture issues with this batch (again), they came out delicious. Unfortunately, they spread out quite a bit in the oven and barely held their shape. This probably happened for two reasons; the butter got too soft in the batter and because of the excess moisture. And then because of my choice of apple, their flavor kind of disappeared in the scone. Upsetting but nothing too bad. They still had that scone taste that I love, and were very cinnamon-y. I topped some of them with a cream and cinnamon glaze to amp up that fall flavor. SO GOOD!

Apple Cinnamon Scone solo

Mind you, these aren’t very photogenic. As much as I tried to make them look appetizing, it didn’t really work. Trust me when I tell you they were delish, especially since they were gone within a day. I guess I’m really not the only one with a scone fixation!

Apple Cinnamon Scones – adapted from this recipe

makes 16 scones

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • about 1 cup shredded apples
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well.
  3. Cut in the butter, either with a pastry cutter, forks or your fingers, into the dry ingredients. Continue until the butter chunks are about the size of peas.
  4. Add the grated apple and mix well.
  5. In another small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients until dough comes together and everything is well moistened.
  6. Divide the dough in half and form each into a ball. Flour a clean work surface and pat down each ball to form a 6-7″ circle. Roll out the circles until they are 3/4″ thick. Cut each round into 8 wedges. Repeat with the second dough ball.
  7. Arrange the wedges on the pans without any crowding. Sprinkle with sugar (optional), and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm if unglazed.

Creamy Cinnamon Glaze

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the cinnamon and whisk together.
  2. Add in the heavy cream and vanilla, and mix until sugar is moistened.  Stop here if you like your glazes thick. If not, add in the milk.
  3. Drizzle or dip your cooled scones in the glaze. Set the glazed scones on a wire rack to set.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Use any firm apple you’d like for this recipe. You can also opt for chunks instead of grated apples.
  • To prevent your scones from spreading, freeze the wedges for 10-15 minutes before baking to help the butter set back up.
  • To glaze all of the scones, you might need to double the glaze recipe.
  • To amp up the apple flavor, you can also use a tablespoon of apple juice in the glaze. Sounds weird but it could work!

Kitchen Experiments: Pilot Cookies

Recipe development has always scared me. I’ve been baking for a while now, so it was only a matter of time until I finally made something up myself. Baking is a science and that means that if things aren’t exact in the formula, it can go south fairly quickly.

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I set out on trying my hand at cookies as my first attempt at sweet recipe development. The first thing I thought to myself was: “how many of my favorite mix-ins can I put into a cookie dough?” With that in mind, I looked for a guide to help me formulate this recipe.

Michael Ruhlman’s “Ratio” was the help I was looking for. I read and re-read the chapter on cookies one day at work, and without looking at the recipes included in the chapter, I used his formula and wrote my first draft on a piece of scrap paper.

The formula is fairly simple: 1 part sugar: 2 parts fat: 3 parts flour. This formula is the same one behind chocolate chip cookies, which is what I was going for. He measured by weights but I wanted to measure by volume, so my ratios were; 1/2 cup of sugar: 1 cup of butter: 1 1/2 cups of flour.

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From there, everything else was easy. I knew I wanted to put as many mix-ins as I could, but ended up settling for four: rolled oats, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and pretzels. In my first draft, I wanted to replace some of the flour with ground oats, and chop up the pretzels to incorporate it into the dough.

Satisfied with my first draft, I made my first batch of cookies and ended up failing. Since I took out some of the flour for oats, the cookies were too brittle and barely made it from the tray to the cooling racks. The chopped up pretzels weren’t much help, as they made the cookie heavier and took over the entire cookie. I took my scrap paper and went back to the drawing board.

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Not to be defeated by a failed batch, I decided to put back the flour I took out and incorporate the rolled oats as a mix-in. I also took the chopped pretzels out and opted to top each scoop of dough with one instead. I said a little prayer and popped them into the oven on my second try. It took me two weeks to try to make this recipe and I think it was definitely worth the wait. The cookies came out with the right structure; sturdy but not heavy. The oats made them chewy, which went great with the soft chocolate and sweet butterscotch chips. And then the pretzel. Easily the best part of the cookie! I was worried the oven would soften them but they stayed crispy atop the cookie, and added a little saltiness.

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I took my cookies to class with me and they were definitely a hit! My classmates were already supportive of me and my baking endeavors (those sweethearts), so I already felt better about debuting these with them. One of my classmates even said these were her new favorite!

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To be completely honest, they were the inspiration behind this cookie. I am part of this super new and innovative program called CO*OP that aims to bridge the college to career gap in New York City for advertising and marketing graduates. For those who don’t know, I graduated college over a year ago and have been struggling to start my career¬†ever since. This opportunity kind of fell into my lap this past summer, and I have been rocking with it ever since. We’re the guinea pigs for the program, so things are always changing and we’re just rolling with the punches. Our founder told us from the beginning¬†that we were the pilot, hence the name of these cookies. We’re the first group and since this was my first try at creating a sweet recipe, I named them pilot cookies (that, and because ‘oatmeal butterscotch chocolate chip pretzel cookies’¬†is¬†a mouthful).

I learned a lot while creating and trying these cookies out, and definitely had fun doing it. For one, I won’t replace ingredients for¬†others without seeing how it’ll affect the final product. Since these are my pilot, it’s only a matter of time until I start creating more recipes on my own (with Ratio’s help, of course)!

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For more information on CO*OP, check us (and my face) out here and here. 

Pilot Cookies Рa  Lucy the Baker Original

Makes 28-30 cookies

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, room temperature and slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup each of rolled oats, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips
  • 28-30 salted pretzels

Directions:

  1. Place the oven racks in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, cream together with an electric mixer the slightly softened butter and the sugars until light and fluffy; up to five minutes. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until completely incorporated.
  4. Gradually add the flour mix to the batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically. Do not overmix!
  5. Fold in the oats, chocolate and butterscotch chips with a rubber spatula. Using a small disher or two spoons, scoop the batter onto the prepared baking sheets, about an inch or two apart. Place a pretzel atop each scoop of batter and gently press down so the pretzel sticks to the cookie dough.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
  7. Cool cookies on the pan for a minute before transferring to racks to cool completely. For storage, place in an airtight container at room temperature. Cookies should keep for about a week.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Make sure your butter is room temp and slightly softened; not completely softened, as that will affect your final product. If your butter got too soft, make the batter and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to firm the dough back up. To know if your butter is ready, gently press it with a finger. It should be firm, not too cold, and your finger should only make a slight indent.¬†
  • To prevent overmixing, incorporate the last bit of flour with a rubber spatula instead of the mixer. It’s also a good opportunity to scrape the bowl and make sure all the flour is incorporated.¬†
  • I use a #50 disher (similar to this one), which holds 1 1/4 tablespoons of dough. Feel free to use a larger one or two spoons to scoop your batter.¬†
  • To rotate your pans during baking, switch the top tray and the bottom tray (so the top one is now on the bottom rack and vice versa), and turn them 180 degrees. Sounds confusing but I hope that makes sense!

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ah, the fall. It’s finally getting chilly, the leaves are falling, and I can wear a jacket out without immediately suffering from heatstroke. I’m excited about the weather and upcoming holidays, among other fall things.

The best part about the fall, though, is that the best fruits and vegetables are now in season! Of course I’m talking apples. Technically, they’re always in season but apples are in their prime in the fall. I’m dying to go apple picking one day. I’d make apple EVERYTHING. Yeah, right; I’d probably eat more than half the apples straight up! Anyway, I planned on making a bunch of apple things this fall and may have a couple more recipes up my sleeve, but let’s start with these muffins.

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I’ve discussed a few times on here how much of a muffin fiend my dad is. While he believes the corn muffin is the “one true muffin,” he can’t really say no to anything apple related. Apple cinnamon is one of his favorite combos for pastries. I’m talking turnovers, danishes, pies, whatever. Out of all of those things, I’ve only attempted one and did not get his seal of approval. Sad, but I’m working on it!

I decided on muffins for my first apple entry this year because of my dad, and because I wanted to switch things up a bit. Last year, I made an apple cake (from one of my favorite bloggers) that went over really well. I wanted to remake that success but in miniature form. The muffins themselves are actually pretty simple, which almost guarantees its deliciousness.

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Before I get into the muffins themselves, let me wax poetic about these liners. If you’ve been following me since last fall, you know how I feel about muffins in cupcake liners. They’re a no go for me. Now, the recipe states to use these things and then grease them. WHO DOES THAT?! How do you even grease a cupcake liner? I don’t know but that doesn’t make sense to me AT ALL. I went to Target (holy grail) a couple months ago and bought these liners, in preparation for some cupcakes I had planned. I didn’t use them to make the cupcakes (go figure) but considered them for these muffins. I had a mini internal debate right before it but I went ahead and used them. Since they’re parchment, I skipped the greasing (still a weird concept to me but okay).

Can I just say these things are the biggest blessing to my non-cupcake-liners-for-muffins heart? OMG NOTHING STUCK TO THESE LINERS. N O T H I N G. I was amazed, thrilled, and surprised with the result. I mean, see for yourself. The muffins came clean off the liner. I got to enjoy the ENTIRE muffin, without a single crumb sticking to the liner. Very impressive, Target. Four for you.

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Back to the muffins. They were awesome. Just the right amount of cinnamon and apples. I should’ve cut the chunks a tad smaller, but will keep that in mind for the next recipe. The cinnamon sugar topping goes perfectly well with these muffins, considering the muffin itself isn’t that sweet. It was fluffy and moist too, thanks to the buttermilk. Besides the fact that the muffins were delicious, I was way too impressed with the functionality of these liners. I’m still impressed, actually.

For my first apple recipe this season, I think it went pretty well. I can’t wait to see what else I can come up with!

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Apple Cinnamon Muffins – adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 12-16 muffins

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided (1/2 cup + 1/4 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken (not stirred)
  • 1 cup¬†whole wheat Flour
  • 1 cup¬†all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups peeled, cored, and chopped apples (about 2 large apples, about 3/4 pound whole apples)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375¬įF. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with magical parchment cupcake liners and skip the greasing all together. No magical liners? Grease regular paper liners instead.¬†

  2. Mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, stopping once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

  3. Gently mix in the buttermilk. At this point, the batter will look curdled and gross. It’s supposed to, so keep going!

  4. Stir in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in the chopped apples.

  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar on top. Bake the muffins for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

  6. Remove the muffins from the oven, cool them for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Get those magical liners. Worth every penny!
  • I tossed my apple chunks in a bit of cinnamon and flour before folding them into the batter. The cinnamon was for extra flavor but the flour was so the apples wouldn’t sink to the bottom of the muffin.¬†
  • Top the muffins with the sugar topping a tad sparingly. Melted sugar is a pain to get off the pan, just saying.¬†
  • Use a disher or ice cream scoop to help evenly distribute the batter among the pans. Helps get consistent muffins, and ensures they’ll all be done at the same time.¬†