Cocktail: Blood Orange Mule

Can we just forget about last year? Ok great. Thank you!

All in all, last year sucked. Like really sucked. The kind of sucked where you can’t do anything but buckle down, try and get as much done as you can, and try your hardest to enjoy the little moments of peace and stress-free calm you have. So that doesn’t leave a lot of time for personal growth or baking (let alone styling, photographing + writing blog posts). I’m trying to inch back into it. Little by little until this piece of the internet fits back into my life.

In the meantime, I’ve brought you booze. This is valentine’s day week (which doesn’t really mean that much to me, tbh) so I wanted to throw together a simple, fruity and delicious cocktail perfect for a valentine’s day dinner at home. Because who’s really got time for overly crowded restaurants and prix fixe menus.

Welcome back to my little corner of the internet. I hope we get to spend a little more time together this year.

Blood Orange Mule

Makes one drink

  • 2 oz vodka

  • 2 oz fresh-squeezed blood orange juice

  • 1-2 oz ginger beer

  • squeeze of lime juice

  • gummy candies for garnish

In a glass with ice, add vodka and blood orange juice. Stir and top with ginger beer and a squeeze of lime juice.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Drizzle

It’s starting to feel really cozy in Philadelphia these days. I can tell because not only is it chilly out, but I’m making and craving soups, drinking bold (+ sometimes funky) wines at night, and spending most of my days underneath our heated blanket wondering how I lived life without a heated blanket. PLUS I’m bringing you back-to-back pumpkin recipes because it’s the best time of year (baking-wise).

Recently I’ve found myself revisiting some of my favorite recipes, making an Apple Crisp the last weekend, as well as my favorite I’m-spending-Friday-night-in cookies: Funfetti Cookies. But I didn’t want my favorite baking season to fly by without another pumpkin recipe. I don’t usually share a recipe that I found someplace else, but this Pumpkin Bread recipe is just too good not to share. You can find it below, or on the Bon Appetit website.

Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Drizzle

Adapted from this recipe

Pumpkin Bread

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ½ tsp. grated nutmeg

  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 15-oz. can pumpkin purée

  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp finely grated ginger (from about one 3" piece fresh ginger)

  • 1½ cups plus 1 Tbsp. sugar

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cream Cheese Drizzle

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Make your bread: Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly coat a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment, leaving a generous overhang on both long sides.

Whisk flour, cinnamon, kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl.

Whisk eggs, pumpkin purée, ginger, and 1½ cups sugar in a large bowl. Stream in oil, whisking constantly until mixture is homogeneous. Gently fold half of dry ingredients into egg mixture until no dry spots remain. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients, stirring to combine but being careful not to overmix.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with a spatula. Bake bread, rotating pan once halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, for me, this took more like 90mins to 2 hours to cook thoroughly (even though you can tell from the photos that I could have left it in a few minutes longer…)

Let cool slightly. Using overhang, transfer bread to a wire rack and let cool.

While your bread cools, make your drizzle. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla. Mix in powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons on milk. Add more milk until glaze is slightly pourable. Once bread has cooled, drizzle the glaze over the cake and serve.

Bread can be kept for several days. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. A note, I know this bread looks a little undercooked in my photos. In our house, we lean for towards undercooked than overcooked. The cooking time in the recipe leaves room for your perfect doneness.

pumpkin cake 4.jpg

Recipe: Pumpkin Monster Cookies

What do you do when you make a batch of D E L I C I O U S L Y pumpkin cookies but they are looking a little boring and lackluster? Throw candy eyes on them and make them Halloween cookies! These cookies are simple to throw together and honestly I can’t stop laughing at how silly they came out. Perfect to throw into a treat bag for your loved ones on Halloween, or for you to eat the entire batch while giving out candy to trick or treaters. I’m not here to judge.

MORE ABOUT THESE COOKIES…These cookies are pillowy pumpkin goodness inside with just the right about of cinnamon and a little extra salt to get the flavors going. Originally, I thought of topping these pumpkin babies with cream cheese buttercream, but after tasting how wonderfully soft they were, I ended up doing an easy, breezy cinnamon drizzle. But try them with a little cream cheese glaze and let me know how it thrills you!

Happy Halloween 🎃

Pumpkin Monster Cookies

Yields 3 dozen

Adapted from this recipe

Pumpkin Cookies

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 2 cups AP flour

  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Cinnamon Drizzle

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (plus more if needed for thickness)

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoon milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt

  • Candy eyes (optional, but recommended)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add in vanilla extract and egg. Add in pumpkin and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add this to the wet ingredients in 3 batches, but careful not to over mix. Fold in walnuts by hand. Place dough in the fridge for 5 minutes to harden slightly.

Drop rounded tablespoons on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. This is a very soft dough so do not try to roll this into balls in your hand. Place tablespoon-sized dough babies onto the baking sheet and shape slightly with your fingers to make them rounded. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly golden on the bottom. Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to cool rack to cool completely.

While your cookies are cooling, whisk together all the ingredients for the cinnamon glaze. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cookies and stick on candy eyes. Because these are soft cookies, they need to be eaten within a day or two. Make sure they are completely cool before storing them in an airtight container or they will sweat out their moisture.

Hot tip: you need to place the eyes when the glaze is still setting. If you miss that timeframe, mix a little powdered sugar with milk to get a paste and glue each one on.

Recipe: Banana Bread Donuts with Cinnamon Buttercream

As you can tell by my lack of recipes lately, my balance skills have seriously fallen to the wayside this summer. I've been actual months since I've turned my oven to actually bake something for fun that didn't turn out a disaster. but what can I say? Sometimes you're good at balancing everything and sometimes you're busy every weekend for 3 months and that's that.

But I do have to say that today's recipe is certainly worth the wait. We're using up brown bananas. We're covering it in cinnamon buttercream. We're not making your average run-of-the-mill banana bread anymore. Break out the donut pan, because we're making banana bread donuts!

Banana Bread Donuts with Cinnamon Buttercream

Yields 18 donuts

Donuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 medium very ripe bananas

Cinnamon Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons milk
3 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a donut baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Make your donuts: In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg to combine and aerate the flours. Add the cubes of butter and using a pastry blender (or your hands), cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and sand-like. You'll want the texture to be sand-like with tiny pieces of butter throughout the mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until fluffy. Add in sour cream/yogurt and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula. Once dough comes together, mash the bananas with a fork in a separate bowl and mix in until combined.

Spoon the batter evenly into the wells of the greased pan. Before placing into the oven, lightly tap the donut pan on a flat countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Make your buttercream: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip your butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrap down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add in 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix for 4-5 minutes, beginning on slow and increasing the speed as the buttercream comes together. Add in vanilla extract, milk, and cinnamon, and the remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar and mix again. Using an off-set spatula, frost your donuts and top with a dusting of cinnamon and coarse decorating sugar.

Keep donuts in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cocktail: Strawberry Mojito Popsicles

Summer has been a little crazy this time around. We have people visiting from out of town, work travel, vacation travel, birthdays, and on top of everything: figuring out a new rental to move to. I love being busy, but it's hard for me to strike a balance between happy busy and crazy-freak-out busy. Plus, it's been like 100 degrees with 200% humidity in Philadelphia for weeks now.

So I'm bringing boozy summer popsicles to the rescue. Because it's too hot to turn on the oven to bake anything and these are the perfect post-work treat on a hot and busy day. Plus, they have fruit so they're healthy, right?

Strawberry Mojito Popsicles

Makes 10 popsicles

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
20 mint leaves
1/2 cup lime juice
1/3 cup white rum
8-10 strawberries, sliced 

In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Cook until sugar dissolves (a few minutes). Remove from heat, stir in mint leaves, and let steep until syrup is room temperature.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a pitcher (or something with a spout) and strain the leaves out of the mint syrup. Add in lime juice and rum and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into the popsicle molds until they are 2/3 full. Add 2-4 slices of strawberry to each mold, or until the molds are full. 

Place in the freezer for an hour, then remove from the freezer and add the sticks. Place back in the freezer and freeze overnight. If you have trouble removing your popsicles from the molds, try running warm water on the sides of your mold. 

FYI, the booze makes these popsicles melt QUICK so get ready to enjoy quickly!