Browse Category by Baking

Fall Baking Pantry Basics

Last week while driving home along the hilly, curvy road I saw something that made me smile. I’m talking about a big, big smile. I spotted leaves turning!!! First, I’m thrilled to see another sign fall is on its way. Second, I’m excited that this year thanks to all the rain we’ll have a beautiful, colorful fall. I’m ready for sweaters, boots, and socks. And I’m ready to bake.

Chilly autumn weather is not that far away and it makes me want to get all cozy and bake. The last thing I want to do is to have to dash out to the grocery store because I’m missing one ingredient for the recipe I want to bake. I just want to tie on my apron and get baking.

Now is a great time to review my baking pantry and make sure I have everything on hand so when I make a spur-of-the-moment decision to whip something up I have everything I need on hand. This is where Hope Early, my fictional character and food blogger in THE UNINVITED CORPSE, are very much alike. I know she’d approve of my list.

Twenty Must-Haves For My Fall Baking Pantry

  1. Flours: Unbleached All-purpose flour, Whole-Wheat flour, Cake flour, Oat flour, Gluten-free flour
  2. Baking Powder
  3. Baking Soda
  4. Sugars: White granulated sugar, powered sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar
  5. Unsweetened cocoa powder
  6. Evaporated Milk & Sweet Condensed Milk
  7. Pure Vanilla extract
  8. Dried fruit: Raisins, cherries, apricots, dates
  9. Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cardamom, cloves, vanilla bean
  10. Maple syrup
  11. Honey
  12. Molasaaes
  13. Corn syrup
  14. Cornstarch
  15. Unflavored gelatin
  16. Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
  17. Baking chocolate: unsweetened, bittersweet, milk chocolate, white chocolate
  18. Unflavored gelatin
  19. Nuts: almonds, pecans, walnuts
  20. Canned pumpkin (many, many cans)

Those are the must-haves in my kitchen for my fall baking. I know with these staples I can whip up something yummy on the spur of the moment. What are some of your must-haves in your kitchen?




Blueberry White Chocolate Scones

Do you feel like summer is slipping away? Are you looking for a way to prolong it just a wee bit more? I’m not, but I know people like summer. And I think this variation to my White Chocolate Scones has a summery vibe to it – blueberries. When it was peak blueberry season, I had a bunch of blueberries for muffins and pancakes and cereal but I still ended up with leftover blueberries and I also had a yen for scones so I thought – substitute the raisins for blueberries. What’s the worse that could happen? Well, the answer to that question is me eating too many scones, that’s what.

When to scones came out of the oven I had a pretty good idea I made the right decision in tossing the blueberries into the batter. When they cooled just a bit and I took a bite – the brightness of the blueberries mingling with the melty-yumminess of the white chocolate chips – I knew I made the right decision. Heaven. And from my friends who I gifted some scones I’d heard the same feedback. These scones will be on a staple on baking list .

The scones come together quickly and easily, just be careful when combining the blueberries to the batter. This little extra love when mixing is well worth it when it comes time to eat one. 🙂

Ready for the recipe? I’ve made these scones a few times over the summer and I found that anywhere from 3/4 cup of blueberries to 1 cup of blueberries works, the more the better. 🙂


Baking, Christmas in July, Cookie Recipes, Kitchen Snapshots

Double Chocolate Crescent Cookies

Merry Christmas in July!!!

Today is July 25th and I thought I’d bring a little merriment to the day and share a cookie recipe I bake at Christmas. I bake several types of cookies for Christmas but this one is a favorite.

I’m not going to waste time. It’s like a zillion degrees today with matching humidity so I’m going to get right to the recipe.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie? Stay cool & bake on!

Baking, Holidays

Mini-Eggnog Cranberry Pound Cakes

Once upon a time there was a writer who was in the midst of writing a manuscript while working a full-time job and caring for an injured dog at Christmas, and just when she didn’t think her to-do list could get any longer, it did. She had to bake for her 20-plus co-workers. She needed something quick, easy and had a high yield because she was short on time. The countdown to Christmas day had begun and she needed her own little baking miracle. Then a flash of inspiration hit and within a couple hours she was packing up the cargo space in her SUV with treats for her co-workers. What saved the day? Cranberry Eggnog Mini-Pound cakes.

That is the year I traded my made-from-scratch pound cake batter for a box mix and it was the best decision I made that holiday season. Billy has major surgery, he’d fractured his jaw and he needed care 24/7. He was droggy from the pain meds, he really couldn’t eat so I had to serve him pureed pumpkin with water (a soup only a pup could love) several times a day to keep him hydrated. And it was Christmas!

I looked through what I had on hand and that’s when the inspiration sparked and I quickly gathered all the ingredients—eggs, vanilla, eggnog, cranberries. I used the eggnog in place of the milk. Add in some chopped cranberries and a plain pound cake became festive. Bake them in pretty molds and they become giftable (is that a real word? probably not but you know what I mean).

I always have a large roll of cellophane on hand and various ribbons stashed away for any occasion. I did have a stack of cake boards that I cut into small discs for the cakes. But that was a little time-consuming so now I just wrap the cakes in the cellophane. If you’re really short on time you can bake one large cake or a couple of loaf cakes according to the directions on the box. I do love the smaller cakes though. They’re just so pretty.

These little cakes showed me that simple sometimes is the best thing we can do. We get so caught up in all the things we think need to be done for the holidays and yet these very easy treats have become one of my most requested desserts and I’m happy to whip up a batch.

Ready for the recipe? There really isn’t one. But here are the basics and don’t be afraid to experiment. I’ve made mini-petite cakes and added Bailey’s Vanilla Cinnamon to the batter.

You’ll need: 1 box of pound cake mix along with the ingredients listed on the box but you’ll replace the milk with eggnog and you’ll add 3/4 cup finely chopped cranberries to the batter along with a dash of vanilla. In addition, confectioners’ sugar to dust each cake.
For the mini-cakes pictured above I bake them for 18-22 minutes, it all depends on your oven.
I typically get 6-9 mini-pound cakes from each box.
If you’re using mini-bundt pans be sure not to overfill each mold with batter or else you’ll never get the cake out. (Been there and it wasn’t pretty.)

Merry Baking!


Baking, Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn. There’s a cool breeze, no humidity (thank you! thank you! thank you!) and the leaves are starting to become more intense in their color. Thanks to a storm on Monday night the walkway is covered with fallen leaves so when I walk to the street, there’s the comforting sound of rustling leaves.

Awe. Fall.

I had the urge to bake the other day and I wanted to make cupcakes. But I didn’t want to make the usual. I wanted something different. When I was in the grocery store I saw boxes of Pumpkin Spice cake mix and I thought “that’s it! I’ll make Pumpkin Spice cupcakes and the perfect frosting would be cream cheese”. I bypassed the boxes of mix because I’d make my own when I got home after putting the groceries away. And I did!

Biting into these cupcakes was like taking a bite out of autumn. Everything I love about the season was packed into this tiny little package of yumminess. The spices swirled with the pumpkin and the flavor burst in my mouth as the cream cheese frosting added a creamy richness. In a nutshell, these cupcakes were sweet, simple and very seasonal.