Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe

October 29th, 2011  |  Published in Baking, Recipes  |  0 Comments

Happy autumn!

These pumpkin chocolate chip muffins have two cups of sugar and two cups of chocolate chips. I’m pretty sure if I frosted them, they would be called cupcakes. But since I ate a dozen of these myself in the last three days, I’m going to pretend they are somewhat healthy and call them “muffins.” That’s how it works, right?

This muffin recipe is so easy to make (you don’t even really need to break out the stand mixer) and it makes 36 muffins! I guess I should stick the remaining two dozen in the freezer before I gorge myself any more. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 16 oz pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 400*F.
  2. Grease or line muffin tins.
  3. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil until smooth.
  5. Mix dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.
  8. Bake at 400*F for 16-20 minutes. Makes 36 muffins.

Recipe adapted from


Lemon Angel Wings Cookie Recipe

December 11th, 2010  |  Published in Baking, Holidays, Recipes  |  4 Comments


Christmas cookie baking time! A friend came over today and we baked four batches of cookies. Clockwise from top left: Peanut Butter Blossoms, Pecan Cups, Lemon Angel Wings, and Cheesecake Dream Bars.

The Lemon Angel Wings were a new recipe for me, and they will definitely be added to my recipe arsenal! They are light, crunchy, and lemony. Plus they look pretty on a plate of cookies!

After baking (and tasting) the cookies, we decorated gingerbread houses (and of course sampled the decorations). Time for the sugar crash and early night.

Lemon Angel Wings

from Taste of Home magazine


  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 10 Tbsp. sugar, divided


  1. Place flour in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly.
  2. Stir in sour cream and lemon peel until well blended.
  3. Shape into a 5-1/2″ square. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Cut dough into four 2-1/4″ squares. Place one square on a piece of wax paper sprinkled with 2 Tbsp. sugar. Keep remaining squares refrigerated.
  5. Roll out dough into a 12″x5″ rectangle, turning often to coat both sides in sugar.
  6. Lightly mark center of 12″ side. Starting with a short side, roll up jelly-roll style to the center mark. Repeat rolling from other short side, so the two rolls meet in the center and resemble a scroll.
  7. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat with remaining squares, using 2 Tbsp. sugar for each. Chill for 1 hour.
  8. Unwrap dough and cut into 1/2″ slices; dip each side in sugar.
  9. Place 2″ apart on baking sheet. Bake at 375º for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Turn cookies over; bake 5 minutes longer.
  10. Remove to wire racks to cool.


Summer Shortcake

July 5th, 2010  |  Published in Baking, Holidays, Recipes  |  1 Comment

I realize it’s a bit silly to post a Fourth of July specific recipe on the Fifth of July. But I just have to share this recipe with you! It definitely doesn’t have to be Fourth of July specific – berries and cream are good on any summer day.

The first time I ever made this shortcake, I brought it to a party, cut myself a piece, and walked away to chat with friends. I turned around no more than 10 minutes later to see an old man literally scooping up the last bits of whipped cream and berries from an empty platter with his fingers. I knew then that this would be my go-to summer dessert. I make it a point to make this recipe for at least one potluck every summer.

Summer Shortcake

modified ever so slightly from Martha Stewart’s recipe

Shortcake ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 8 oz. cold cream cheese, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • Raw sugar for sprinkling

Filling ingredients:

  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled
  • 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream


  1. Make the shortcake: Using a food processor or pastry blender, mix together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Add butter, and blend until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add cream cheese, and blend again until largest pieces are the size of peas. Add buttermilk, and blend until dough comes together.
  2. Gently knead into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and let rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
  3. Preheat oven to 450* F. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time on a lightly floured work surface, pat into a disk, then roll into 10-inch round. Transfer to a baking sheet.
  4. Brush biscuits with buttermilk. Generously sprinkle with raw sugar.
  5. Bake until dough has risen slightly and is golden brown, 12-15 minutes.
  6. Leave biscuits on sheets. Using a 2.5″ star cookie cutter, cut out (but do not remove) 6 stars from one biscuit while it is still warm (careful, a metal cookie cutter can get quite hot in this process! ouch!). Let cool.
  7. Using a paring knife, carefully remove star shapes. Snack on the stars (yum!).
  8. Make the filling: Combine blueberries, strawberries, and 3 Tbsp sugar, and let macerate until juicy, 10 minutes.
  9. Beat cream to whipped cream with the vanilla and 3 Tbsp sugar.
  10. Assemble the cake: Place uncut shortcake on a large plate. Spoon half the berries and their juices on top, then spread the whipped cream over berries. Top with all but 1/2 cup berries. Make sure surface is even to support the top shortcake and prevent it from breaking. Carefully place cutout shortcake on top. Fill star cutouts with reserved berries.
  11. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 3 hours.

strawberry shortcake

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Recipe Inspiration

May 22nd, 2010  |  Published in Baking, Cooking, Recipes  |  0 Comments


Top Row: Heirloom Tomato Basil Mozzarella Salad, Cranberry Couscous Salad, Asian Pasta Salad with Beef, Broccoli and Bean Sprouts. Bottom Row: Panda Bread, Lemonade, Chocolate-Orange Cake

I decided to split the inspiration posts into two – recipes and craft/sewing tutorials. Here are all of the inspiring recipes sent in reply to the prompt “your favorite springtime recipe.” Spring is surely the season for salads, as evidenced by how many salad recipes were submitted. I have to make my shopping list for the week today, and can’t wait to try some of these out!

Main Dishes:




Come back tomorrow for a compilation of all of the craft and sewing tutorials!


Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

May 2nd, 2010  |  Published in Baking, Recipes  |  0 Comments

I was inspired by this post and the fresh organic rhubarb at the farmer’s market to make some Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies. I combined a few pie recipes I found online and used my favorite crust. The result is sweet and delicious cuteness that I can’t wait to share with my coworkers tomorrow morning!

Strawberry Rhubarb Hand Pies

Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp. cold water

Strawberry-Rhubarb Filling Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut into slices
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • Raw cane sugar


Make pie dough:

  1. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into small chunks and mix it into the flour mixture with a pastry knife or your fingertips until it resembles a coarse meal.
  3. Combine the vanilla and water in a cup.
  4. Gradually stir it into the flour mixture with a fork until it is moistened and forms a dough. (You may not need all the water)
  5. Refrigerate in plastic wrap for 1 hour – overnight.

Make filling:

  1. Combine all filling ingredients in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low, and cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain filling. This will make it so the juices don’t run out of the pies. You can save the syrup to serve on pancakes. Yum!

Make hand pies:

  1. Preheat oven to 425º.
  2. Roll out dough to 1/8″ thick on a lightly floured surface while dough is cold.
  3. Cut out 4″ circles using a cookie cutter (or the top of a glass).
  4. Place circles on cookie sheet. Put 1-2 tbsp filling in the center of each circle.
  5. Lightly beat the egg in a bowl. Brush egg around one half of the circle.
  6. Fold the circle in half, and press edges together. Use a fork to crimp along edge.
  7. Brush top of each pie with egg. Sprinkle with raw cane sugar.
  8. Make a few slits in the top of each pie with a paring knife.
  9. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until pies are golden brown.
  10. Cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container.


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Bars

March 13th, 2010  |  Published in Baking, Recipes  |  1 Comment

My mother-in-law makes these bars every time we visit. She usually makes them with refrigerated cookie dough, so they come together in a snap. Here is my version with homemade cookie dough. They are almost on the edge of being too sweet. Luckily there are always more than enough people willing to eat them so that you don’t get the chance to overindulge too much. Enjoy!


Chocolate chip cookies:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Peanut butter filling:

  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  1. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add sugar and brown sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Beat in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition.
  5. Add one-third of flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour mixture, mixing until just blended.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour or overnight.
  8. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  9. Divide chocolate chip cookie dough in half. Press one half into the bottom of a 9″x13″ pan:
  10. Beat the peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until blended.
  11. Press peanut butter mixture on top of the dough:
  12. Press remaining half of chocolate chip cookie dough on top of peanut butter mixture. To do this, break off small pieces and flatten in your hand and then lay over peanut butter until the whole pan is covered.
  13. Bake at 350º F for 28-30 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
  14. Let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Yum! How can you go wrong with chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, and sugar?

1 Comment

Best Pie Crust Recipe

December 18th, 2009  |  Published in Baking, Recipes  |  4 Comments

With the weather getting colder outside, is there anything better than a warm pie fresh from the oven? When I was growing up, my dad would always buy frozen pies when they were on sale so that we would have an endless supply of pie during the winter months. Now I strive to always make my pies homemade, and it’s not that hard to do with this super simple and extremely delicious pie crust recipe.

Best Pie Crust


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp. cold water


  1. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into small chunks and mix it into the flour mixture with a pastry knife or your fingertips until it resembles a coarse meal.
  3. Combine the vanilla and water in a cup.
  4. Gradually stir it into the flour mixture with a fork until it is moistened and forms a dough. (You may not need all the water)
  5. Refrigerate in plastic wrap until ready to use.
  6. Roll out on a lightly floured surface while dough is cold. The warmer it gets, the harder it will be to work with. Makes both top and bottom crust.


Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Pepper? Oh my!

August 29th, 2009  |  Published in Baking, Recipes  |  3 Comments

My senior year of college, one of my housemates suddenly had an obsession with finding a chocolate cookie that had pepper in it. She had tried one once and wanted nothing more than to be able to recreate it. She experimented a bit with different recipes that she found, and much to my surprise, came up with a perfect cookie. I never ever would have thought to put pepper in a cookie!! Suddenly these cookies became my best friend, Sara, and my obsession and we made them more times than I can count that year.

Then we graduated, and I somehow forgot about the magic of these cookies. Sara never did and is constantly making them and raving about them in her facebook statuses. She finally convinced me to make them again, and I can’t believe I took such a long break from them!! What was I thinking?

Try them. You won’t regret it. They’re the perfect cookie version of a warm cup of Mexican hot chocolate.

Mandy’s Mexican Double Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/8 tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I use Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips, but you could really get away with any chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 325*.
  2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate with butter in a double boiler. Let cool slightly.
  4. Combine the melted chocolate/butter mixture with the sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Mix with electric mixer on medium speed until combined.
  5. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or use a baking stone, my preferred method).
  8. Drop 1 1/2″ balls of dough onto cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes until they look flat and the surfaces crack (cookies should still be soft in texture). It is important to not over cook.
  10. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them rest on the cookie sheet for approximately 3-5 minutes before attempting to take them off.
  11. Let the cookies cool completely on wire racks.
  12. They store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

And isn’t this cake stand adorable? It’s from Whitney Smith Pottery on etsy. Just right for a fresh batch of cookies!


Summer Cheesecake Squares

June 28th, 2009  |  Published in Baking  |  2 Comments

We went to a get together last night with Dave’s fellow architecture students. It was great to spend the evening outside, around a fire, and starting to make new friends! Along with our skewers for the grill, we brought along these summer cheesecake squares. The recipe comes from Martha Stewart, and can be found here.

Martha decorated hers to look like an American Flag, but for this party I thought that might be a bit over the top. So I just topped my squares with some deliciously sweet and juicy strawberries. This recipe is perfect for summer parties. The lemon zest and almond extract give the cheesecake the most delicious flavor, and it tastes so fresh with fruit on top.

Happy summer!


Happy Birthday Alicia!

April 27th, 2009  |  Published in Amigurumi, Baking, Crafts, Recipes, Wedding  |  1 Comment

It was my niece/god daughter’s 4th birthday party this weekend, so we went home to visit my family for the last time before we move. Look at all of those little girls!

The theme of the party was “hearts,” so I just cut out some heart stencils from wax paper and sprinkled her birthday cake with pink sugar. It was super quick and easy and made for a cute presentation.

See how cute! I made the cake using my absolute favorite chocolate cake and vanilla frosting recipe. Unfortunately for all of you, it is a secret recipe from my best friend Sara’s family, so under no circumstances am I allowed to publish it. (Aren’t you jealous?) But, to make up for it, I will post the most delicious carrot cake recipe ever at the end of this post. It is also a recipe that comes from Sara, and she somehow can always find the best cake recipes in existence. Dave and I made it for my birthday a few weeks ago, and it is delicious!

I made this little lamb for Alicia as part of her birthday gift. She asked for a lamb on her birthday wish list, which I imagine meant she wanted a real lamb as a pet. Since they live in a city and not on a farm, I hope she can love this little stuffed animal just as much. I used a pattern from Tiny Yarn Animals: Amigurumi Friends to Make and Enjoy.

And this has absolutely nothing to do with the birthday party, but I would love to share this with you all. My cousin/friend/bridesmaid is an amazing musician and wrote and performed this song for me at my wedding reception. It’s been stuck on my sister’s camera until this weekend, so I’m extremely excited that I can finally watch it again. I cry every time!

Okay, don’t forget to check out the amazing carrot cake recipe below. Yum!

Read the rest of this entry »

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