Gingerbread Mug Houses

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Because you get to eat tons of sweets, from Yule logs to gingerbread men, to Christmas puddings and truffle stocking-stuffers.

Here’s a recipe that I’ve adapted from this little treasure trove of a book called Gingerbread Wonderland by Mima Sinclair. There are tons of stencils to photocopy and cut out to build cookie townhouses, miniature houses, and large homes. (FYI: the book is totally worth buying).

 

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Makes 15 houses

 

Gingerbread dough

200 g butter, room temperature

60 g molasses

60 g honey

150 g packed brown sugar

1 egg

zest of 1 lemon

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp baking soda

500 g flour

½ tsp salt

 

  1. Cream the butter with molasses, honey and brown sugar.
  2. Beat in the egg, lemon zest, spices, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add the flour in increments until dough is homogenous.
  4. Roll it out as a disk between two pieces of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325 F or 160 C and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll out the dough to 5 mm (1/4 inch) thickness and cut into desired shapes (see stencil below). Place in freezer for 5 minutes so that dough retains its shape while baking.
  7. Bake for 5-6 minutes.

gingerbread stencil

 

Royal Icing

500 g icing sugar

2 egg white

lemon juice (1 lemon)

2 tsp water

 

  1. Sift the sugar.
  2. Mix in egg white, lemon juice, and water.
  3. Whisk for 2 minutes on low speed until mixture is smooth.
  4. Use royal icing as glue to hold your gingerbread house together.
  5. Put some in a pastry bag and decorate.
  6. You can thin out the icing with some water. Add a teaspoon at a time.

 

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Maple Apple Crumble

 

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Crumbles are basically inverted fruit tarts. They are so easy to make and so delicious to eat. Although you can use many different fruits to make them (think peaches, pears, raspberries), the staple is usually apple. This recipe offers the perfect balance between sweetness and butter. It takes a little more than an hour to bake, but very few minutes to make.

 

For 6-8 people

 

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Fruit Layer

5 apples, peeled and cubed

3 pears, peeled and cubed

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp salted butter, cut into small pieces

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In a baking dish, mix fruit with maple syrup and cinnamon.
  3. Dot with butter.

 

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Crumble Layer

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

 

  1. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, brown sugar and salt together. Add the cubed butter and work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the dough looks crumbly.
  2. Sprinkle the dough evenly over the uncooked fruit layer.
  3. Bake for 1hour to 1h15 minutes or until golden brown.

 

 

 

Cinnamon Banana Cheesecake

Recently, I’ve been craving cheesecake, thick, creamy, tangy cheesecake.

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While I was in New York this summer, I had the absolute best slice at a place called the Brooklyn Diner. It was heaven. I’ve looked everywhere for their recipe but I never found it. Someone told me about Junior’s cheesecake which is supposed to be amazing too and I located a copycat recipe for that one. Well, it’s not the Brooklyn Diner’s cheesecake, but it’s pretty good. I reduced the sugar, because it was really too sweet and took out all lemon flavoring (I’m a vanilla cheesecake person). Unfortunately, we inhaled it before I even had time to snap a single picture of it…so I’ll just have to make it again.

But I had some batter left over, so  I decided to be creative and invent a cake. A banana swirled cheesecake. It was really, really good!

 

FYI: I’m still on the lookout for the recipe from the Brooklyn Diner if anyone has an idea of where I can find it…

 

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Cinnamon Banana Bread

2 eggs

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1-2 very ripe bananas

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

 

  1. Line a round cake pan with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 F or 180 C.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk eggs and brown sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and bananas. Beat until homogenous.
  4. Mix in oil and flour until smooth.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan.
  6. Mix up the cheesecake batter below before placing in oven!

 

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Cheesecake

1 egg

¼ cup sugar

225 g cream cheese

3 tbsp heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cornstarch

 

  1. Whisk egg and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add whipping cream, cream cheese, cornstarch and vanilla extract and mix just until smooth. Don’t overmix!
  3. Pour over raw banana bread batter and swirl with the blade of a knife.
  4. Bake for 50 minutes.

The Perfect Gingerbread

The last time, I made this cake was a year ago. It’s the funny thing about spice cakes—they really taste better when snow blankets the ground and the temperatures drop. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s some ingrained human habit. Whatever the reason, this cake is wonderful and I’m sure it would taste as yummy with poached peaches in the summer as it does with mulled wine in the winter.

I adapted it from the Williams Sonoma Dessert cookbook, substituting the butter for oil, for no other reason that I was out of butter (it tasted delicious with oil). It is moist and springy and absolutely delicious. If you asked me what winter tasted like, I would say gingerbread.

Happy, happy holidays to all!

 

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Makes 1 loaf

1 2/3 cups (235 g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp grated nutmeg

1 tsp finely grated orange zest

¼ tsp salt

¼ cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil

½ cup (125 g) dark brown sugar

½ cup (160 g) molasses

½ cup warm water

2 eggs

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease it with non-stick baking spray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients (flour and spices).
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the oil, water, and molasses and whisk again.
  5. Mix the dry ingredients with the egg mixture. Beat until smooth.
  6. Pour in the loaf pan and bake until puffed and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, approximately 30-35 minutes.

 

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles were my favorite cookies growing up. Truly, I was obsessed with them. I find it extraordinarily surprising that I haven’t shared this recipe with you, or my children. Today, was the first time they tried it and considering how many they swapped off the baking tray and the trail of cinnamon crumbs leading straight to their bedrooms, the snickerdoodle will most probably become a weekly kitchen staple.

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The snickerdoodle dough needs to be refrigerated before shaped into little balls that are then rolled into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, so set aside some extra time to cool down your dough.

 

Inspired from Magnolia Bakery’s Snickerdoodles.

Yields 3 dozen cookies

 

Cookie Dough

2 ½ cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup of butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 tbsp of milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

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Cinnamon Sugar Coating

¼ cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the sugar. Add the eggs and beat until thick and velvety.
  2. Add the cream of tartar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla extract and beat some more.
  3. Pour in the milk and the flour and whisk until fully incorporated. You will have a sticky dough.
  4. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to harden or in the freezer 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 F or 180 C and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. In a little bowl, whisk the cinnamon and sugar together. Set aside.
  7. Scoop out half of the dough (leave the rest to harden while you prepare the first batch of cookies).
  8. Roll 1-inch balls in between your palms then roll around in cinnamon sugar until evenly coated. Space out on baking tray. Repeat. Don’t forget the rest of your dough in the fridge or freezer.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden and puffed-up.
  10. These cookies will flatten as they cool down and become deliciously crisp. Yum!

 

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Apple Butter Cake

The name of this cake implies the use of butter but don’t be fooled by the name. There is no butter. Apple Butter is like Peanut Butter only made with apples, cinnamon, and sugar. The apples are slow cooked until tender and browned, then pureed into a spread. I made mine in a slow cooker following this recipe. It made 4 pots of apple butter!

Since I had so much apple butter, I tried to find a way to incorporate it into a cake and voila. The result is wonderfully fragrant and brimming with wintry spice.

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1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ cup 2 % milk

3 tbsp oil

¼ cup maple syrup

2 eggs

½ cup apple butter

½ cup pecans, broken in pieces

 

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Leave to cool.
  2. Grease a baking pan. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  4. Pour in the milk, the oil, the maple syrup and the eggs and whisk until incorporated.
  5. Add the apple butter and mix again.
  6. Fold in the cooled, toasted pecan pieces then pour batter into your baking pan.
  7. Bake for 40 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

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Gingerbread Men

For years, I have wanted to find the perfect gingerbread cookie recipe. Yesterday, I found it—and modified it (I cut half the sugar and the molasses)—and voila! A friend of mine, who just so happens to be a professional pastry chef, told me to leave my dough rest overnight before rolling and baking. Apparently it helps the flavors bind together.

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I don’t know if that contributed to the perfect cookie, but I will do it again just to guarantee the same result.

 

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Makes 15-20 cookies, depending on size

 

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground cloves

½ cup cold butter, cut into chunks

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 egg

 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and brown sugar.
  2. Add the cold butter and whisk it in until your mixture is crumbly.
  3. Pour in the molasses and the egg and beat until smooth.
  4. Roll it into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Bring your dough to room temperature before attempting to roll it out (about 1 hour).
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Roll to ¼ inch (1 cm) thickness with a rolling pin. I leave my plastic wrap on top of the dough and roll the pin over it so that they don’t stick together). See photo below pre-baking to get an idea of thickness.

 

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  1. Bake for 13 minutes (regardless of the size-it’s the thickness that matters) or until the surface is dry when you press the cookie with your fingertip.
  2. Let cool before decorating (if you’re decorating).

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Apple Crumble Cakes

Apple Crumble Cakes | sisterbakers.com

Fall is apple picking season and no dish is more perfect to celebrate this season than these little Apple Crumble Cakes. This dessert is actually three layers: cake, cinnamon tossed apples and a buttery crumble. I’m drooling just typing this description out. *mops up keyboard*. Anyway, the individual ramequins make it the perfect dessert to serve at a dinner party. I used 4.25 inch ramequins, which is a great sharing size or a very generous single portion. You can certainly scale these down and bake them in smaller ramequins, simply scale back the cooking time. Enjoy!

Apple Crumble Cakes | sisterbakers.com

 

Recipe:

Apple Crumble Cakes:

Makes 6 cakes (in 4.25 inch ramequins)

Crumble:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

 

Cinnamon-Apple:

2 granny-smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp granulated sugar

 

Cake:

4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Butter 6 4.25 inch ramequins and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, brown sugar and salt together. Add the cubed butter and work the butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the dough looks crumbly. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. In another medium bowl, toss the diced apples with the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  5. Add the four, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Mix until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramequins.
  7. Top the batter with the diced apples, dividing evenly among the ramequins, and then cover with the crumble topping.
  8. Bake for 25-30 min until the crumble topping is golden brown.
  9. Allow to cool on a rack and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple Crumble Cakes | sisterbakers.com

 

US

Zucchini and Cinnamon Cream Cupcakes

These cupcakes are nearly healthy for you. The zucchini batter is identical to the zucchini bread I made a week ago, but instead of a cinnamon glaze, I topped them with cream cheese frosting. They were an instantaneous hit with adults and children alike (tested on a super picky eater aka my son).

Makes 24 cupcakes

Zucchini Cupcake Batter

2 cups finely grated zucchini (about 2 zucchini)

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

¾ cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)

¼ cup water

3 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup spelt flour or whole wheat

2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon cinnamon

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

½ cup toasted pine nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep your cupcake pan with liners of your choice.
  2. Combine grated zucchini, sugars, vanilla extract, and eggs in a large bowl and whisk on high speed for one minute. Add the oil and water and mix well.
  3. Beat in the dry ingredients, then fold in pine nuts, pecans, and extract.
  4. Divide batter between liners and bake until a tester inserted comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Let cool to room temperature before spooning the frosting over them.

Cream Cheese Frosting

400g cream cheese, room temp

¾ cup butter, room termp

3 ½ cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp fleur de sel

  1. Whisk all ingredients at high speed until very light and fluffy.
  2. Using an ice cream scooper, place a mound of frosting on each cooled cupcake and flatten it with the rounded side of the scoop.

EU

 

373 calories per cupcake

Cinnamon Glazed Zucchini Bread

Here is a recipe for a healthy zucchini loaf cake. I considerably reduced the amount of sugar and replaced 1 cup of white flour with spelt flour although you may use whole wheat.
I’m on a mission to lose the remaining 2 pounds I packed on with baby Gabrielle and still eat cake. 🙂

Makes 2 loafs

 

Zucchini Bread

2 cups finely grated peeled zucchini (about 2 zucchini)
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
¾ cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
¼ cup water
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour or whole wheat
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts or chopped pecans
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds or toasted pine nuts

 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray.
2. Combine grated zucchini, sugars, vanilla extract, and eggs in a large bowl and whisk on high speed for one minute. Add the oil and milk and mix well.
3. Beat in the dry ingredients, then fold in nuts, seeds, and extract.
4. Divide batter between loaf pans and bake until a tester inserted in the middle of each loaf comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
5. Let cool 10 minutes before spooning the glaze over it.

 

Cinnamon Glaze

1 ½ cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp water
1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp fleur de sel
1. Whisk all ingredients and pour over cakes. It will drip off of them, but you can scoop it back up with a spoon and pour it again. Pretty quickly, the glaze will harden.

EU

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