Monday, October 31, 2011

Sweet Escapes: Happy Halloween!

Hello my fellow Halloween-Obsessed Friends!

Although, with the weather lately I feel like I should be saying Happy Holidays. I mean, really, I just broke out the nice Fall sweaters and then it becomes a frozen tundra outside my apartment. Why can't we just have one nice, long, Autumn season?

Regardless of the chilly weather, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Halloween. Today the baking organization I run, Rutgers Student Bakers, is having a Halloween Bake Sale with Candy Corn Cupcakes, Cookies n Cream Fudge, and Witch Hat Cookies! Very festive, and very tasty.

I thought I'd share these recipes as this week's Sweet Escape! These are tried and true recipes that are sure to impress, and who doesn't love Halloween themed sweets and treats?

1. Cookies n Cream Fudge via VeryBestBaking

This is a fantastic recipe because it can be made festive for any holiday with the wonder of food coloring. We dyed ours orange to pair nicely with the dark colored Oreos, but you could always marble the white with red and green for Christmas, pink for Valentine's Day, and even green for St. Patrick's Day! The flavor on these will be a sure-fire hit at any event you have. We whipped these up last semester and sold out, and they are back by special request.

2. Candy Corn Cupcakes via OurBestBites

What a great way to add some fun to traditional vanilla cupcakes. Split the batter into 2 portions, and dye each a different color (in this case, leave one "white", and make one yellow and one orange). Pour each layer into the cupcake pan and voila! Candy-corn cupcakes, or really any themed cupcakes for any occasion. Very impressive for the school bake sale or just a whole lot of fun with your friends.

3. Death by Chocolate Witch Hat Cookies via Explore.Dream.Discover.

Now this isn't quite as versatile as the previously mentioned treats, but it's just way too neat to pass up for the Halloween parties. Bake up some killer (hah, get it? I love me some literary puns) chocolate cookies, and top each with a chocolate kiss. Pipe orange frosting around the kiss and you now have adorable witch-hat cookies that will be sure to please any chocoholic.

This has been this week's Sweet Escape! Enjoy your fright night and keep an eye out for a new post on S'mores Muffins in the next few days!

Disclaimer: I do not profess to own any of these photos. They were found across the internet at some lovely blogs, which I link directly both by name and through the image. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

21st Birthday, Apple Picking, and Apple Muffins

Hello all!

I bet you all thought I fell off the deep end for awhile there: well I did. Midterms and papers have taken me away from my wonderful little blog, but I am back with fun photos and a simple delicious muffin recipe that is totally in season.

So, first things first, it was my birthday last weekend! The big 21, which I celebrated with my lovely boyfriend up in Chester NJ apple/pumpkin picking and enjoying the wonderful Autumn weather that has finally set in. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene took away a lot of the pumpkins this year, and apparently many of the apples as well. But it didn't stop us from finding a few stragglers on the very tops of the trees...

...and enjoying some much anticipated apple cider, cider dogs and cider donuts (can you tell we like cider?).

We spent the rest of the day waltzing around Chester, enjoying some birthday cake balls from a cute little shop called SweetSpot Bakery. I was so glad that they let me take some photos of all their little sweet treats. If you live around that area, be sure to check them out: their cake balls are fabulous. Seriously, the banana cake is to die for. I should have bought all of them right then and there actually.

It was quite the relaxing weekend, a much needed relief to all of the studying and writing and cramming of the last few weeks. I also tested out this apple muffin recipe via Tracey's Culinary Adventures and Baking and Boys! I must tell you; make as many of these as you have apples becasue they go quick. I brought them with me to work one morning and they were subsequently inhaled by all of my fellow college students, and when I got home my roommates had polished off the ones I left in the kitchen!

Hope you enjoy the recipe! I am in a muffin sort of mood as of late, so expect another post (hopefully on s'mores muffins!) in the near future! Happy Baking!

Apple Muffins
Via Baking and Boys!/Tracey's Culinary Adventures (makes 12-16 standard muffins)

1/2 cup whole milk +1/2 cup apple cider
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1  3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cut into small dice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease one 12-cup muffin pan.
2. Combine dry ingredients (including sugar) in large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in separate medium bowl.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
4. Pour into greased muffin cups, each about 2/3 cup full. Sprinkle streusel over top just before baking.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until toothpick comes outs clean.

1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
1 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tbsp butter, melted

1. Stir the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl. 

2. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is crumbly. More flour may be needed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweet Escapes - Halloween Goodies Pt 1

It is OCTOBER everyone!

I know you are all as excited about this month as I am. Not only is it the month of changing leaves and crisp, cool weather; it is also the month of my birthday AND Halloween! Like I said, best month ever.

So, since this is the best month ever, I decided that every Sweet Escape this month will be Halloween-themed (with maybe some other fall favorites sneaked in too!). If you plan on having any event this month, these are desserts that are sure to impress and get everyone into the Halloween spirit.

1. Candy Corn Cupcakes via Our Best Bites

I just love how vibrant this little cupcake is. The coloring is perfect and just screams Halloween. I don't even like candy corn but I love this. Why can't I get one of these instead of real candy corn for Halloween?

Now this is an inventive idea. Take a rice krispie (either homemade or store bought) and flatten it slightly. Stick a lollipop stick in melted chocolate the pierce rice krispie. Dip in chocolate and sprinkles, then add a split Halloween-themed peep on top. Ta-Da! An adorable treat full of marshmallow and rice krispie treat goodness!

3.  Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse Via Glorious Treats

Cheesecake Mousse? Halloween themed? Absolutely. What a great way to keep to the theme with a delicious cheesecake in candy corn colors. Again, if we have all these great ideas that look like candy corn, but are way better than candy corn, why not just avoid the candy and go for the dessert?!

I love Bakerella's bite-sized treats, and this is adorable for both Halloween and Thanksgiving. She gives a great tutorial on how to make these teeny tiny pies, and they are cheap AND impressive. Leave off the jack-o-lantern face for tiny pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, or keep them on for a ghoulish treat. :)

Okay, I know what you're thinking. "She doesn't even like candy corn! Why so many links to candy-corn themed treats?!" But really, you can't have Halloween without candy corn. Even if I don't personally like the little candies, they inspire fabulous desserts and goodies, just like these sugar cookies. So simple, yet so adorable and impressive. These are definitely on my "to-bake" list.

This has been this week's Sweet Escape! I hope you enjoyed this first segment of fun Halloween treats. Keep an eye out for a new post on Apple Crumble Muffins in the near future!