Carrot Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins

Aloha friends! I am officially back from our Hawaiian adventures. Hawaii was incredible and I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to go. As far as baked goods go, we had our fair share of banana breads, pies, molten lava cakes, and the list goes on. However, one dessert that stands out the most was actually one that came in the form of an appetizer… Carrot Cake Muffins.

Funny enough, Katie actually visited this same restaurant while she was in Maui and loved the muffins as well – Kimo’s in Lahaina. The food and atmosphere were amazing! However, my favorite part was the carrot cake muffins that they brought as the typical “pre-dinner” bread. Dylan and I loved them so much we actually ate a second batch. Our waiter joked that some people come and order them by the dozen – I understand why!

These muffins were served warm with a salted butter to spread on top. As soon as I got home, I knew I had to find a recipe that was similar. Well these muffins I made were really good, but they weren’t quite “Kimo’s good” if you know what I mean. I’ll definitely keep you posted on my hunt for the official Kimo’s recipe, but these will have to hold you over in the meantime.

Anyways, these carrot cake muffins were yummy. They are pretty versatile and can be eaten as a breakfast item, afternoon snack, or post-dinner dessert. I started with the recipe here, but made some modifications that I outlined below.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar (you could probably go a bit lighter here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temp
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of finely grated carrots – this turned out to be about 2 1/2 medium carrots that I grated on a cheese grater

Instructions

  • Sit the eggs out on the counter!
  • Grate the ~2 1/2 medium carrots into a bowl and set aside – Don’t buy the pre-grated carrots, you’ll need the moisture of freshly grated.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 and prepare a 12 count muffin tin with muffin liners or cooking spray
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoons of nutmeg/ cloves/ salt/ baking powder/ baking soda, and the 1/4 teaspoon of allspice until combined
  • In a standing mixer, combine the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla on low. Then mix in the grated carrots.
  • Once combined, turn the mixer on ‘stir’ and slowly add in the dry ingredients until combined.
  • Using a small cookie scoop, fill each muffin with about 2 scoops – this should result in each liner being 2/3-3/4 full.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes – after about 22 minutes, I checked every couple minutes until a toothpick came out clean.

Enjoy! Hope these remind you of Hawaii like they did for me 🙂 Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Apple Cider Pound Cake

Apple Cider Pound Cake

This pound cake is the epitome of fall. Apples, ciders, spices, streusel… what more could you ask for?! This recipe actually makes mini pound cakes, but mini loaf pans are hard to find around me, so I made do and ended up with two extra regular sized loaves as well!

I followed this recipe from Southern Living pretty much exactly, but I made some notes below.

  • I did not have apple pie spice, so I used cinnamon and nutmeg instead. I also pretty much doubled what the recipe called for.
  • I made 10 mini loaves and 2 regular sized loaves by doubling the recipe.
  • The streusel linked in the recipe did not work out well for me. There didn’t seem to be correct ratios. My favorite streusel is from this coffee cake recipe. If I made this again, I would try this streusel. Make sure when you add your streusel it is cold!
  • I baked the mini loaves for around 35 minutes and the regular sized loaves for around 45 minutes

You should definitely try these! Hope you enjoy.

xoxo,

Katie

Paradise Pie

Paradise Pie

Full disclosure, I have never had sweet potato or pumpkin pie. I’ve only recently started to really love pies, and when I was growing up I only wanted to eat chocolate dessert. Even now, there’d have to be very few choices for me to go for either of those pies. But I have always wanted to learn how to bake them and now that I have, I don’t why it took me 26 years to do it!

This pie specifically has two layers: sweet potatoes and cheesecake. Double yum! I got the recipe from a cousin and with the recipe came the name.

Ingredients

Sweet Potato Layer

1 big sweet potato

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

Cheesecake Layer

8 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Pie

1 store bought pie crust or homemade pie crust

Directions

Bake the sweet potato until soft all the way through (baking reduces the moisture as opposed to boiling). While potatoes are baking, put your pie crust in a 9” pan and rub butter over the crust. Once potato has baked, remove the skin and put sweet potato in bowl of electric mixer. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth and completely combined. In a separate bowl, beat cheesecake ingredients until well combined and smooth, careful not to over mix. Add cheesecake filling to your pie shells and then pour sweet potato mixture on top. Bake at 400F for 50 minutes. If the crust gets too brown, cover with foil and continue baking until pie is set.


Enjoy!

xoxo,

Katie

Hello Dolly Bars

Hello Dolly Bars

I love a simple, delicious dessert that you can make and bake in less than thirty minutes. Recipes like this are good to have in your back pocket! I baked these with the intention of sending them off to work with my husband, but they ended up being too yummy to part with.

Ingredients

2 cups crushed vanilla wafers

1/3 cup melted butter

3 tbsp sugar

1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

1 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 13 x 9 baking dish. Combine crushed wafers, melted butter, and sugar. Press mixture into prepared dish. Bake 8 minutes. Sprinkle the nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips on top of hot crust. Pour condensed milk on top and do not mix. Note: the condensed milk may not cover the entire pan. Cover as much as possible but do not worry, it should spread in the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Katie

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Pumpkin Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

It’s Fall y’all! (Ok, I know that was cheesy). I was really feeling the fall spirit this weekend and decided to make 2 different Fall treats: an old favorite and these yummy cupcakes. My old favorite is this bread from Baking with Josh & Ange. It is always moist, yummy, and easy! The only edit I made this time around was removing the cinnamon since my mom is allergic.

However, the cupcakes were a different ball game all together! They were quite the endeavor (over multiple days); however, the flavor is unlike anything I’ve tasted before. They were a delicious vanilla/ pumpkin/ chai combination. The frosting is also delicious – tastes like brown sugar and butter. So if you’re like me and are looking for a unique Fall treat that is a bit of a challenge, look no further!

Since I followed the recipe from Half Baked Harvest, I’m just going to link to it here.

Couple of notes…

  • Make sure you only mix half of your spice mixture with the 1/3 cup of sugar – I had to make it twice
  • Keep an eye on the cupcakes baking, I think I slightly overbaked mine. Bake for 18 min and then watch very carefully for the tops to set.
  • If you choose to put the frosting base in the fridge like I did, you’ll need at least 30-40 minutes for it to cool.

Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

To celebrate the first day of September and the transition to fall, I thought these Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars would be appropriate! I love these because they’re a little non traditional but super easy to whip up!

Ingredients

1/2 of a 1 lb pack of Nutter Butters, crushed

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 block cream cheese

1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

Roasted peanuts, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8 x 8 in dish with parchment paper. Mix melted butter and crushed Nutter Buttera together until all cookie pieces are coated. Press the mixture into the bottom of the dish. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove crust from oven after 8 minutes but leave oven on.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until smooth, occasionally stopping to scrape down sides. Add egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix or you will be left with a too soft cheesecake. Pour mixture on top of crust and sprinkle peanuts on top. Bake until center is set and top is slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from pan.

Hope you enjoy! Looking forward to the next several months and all the fall dessert goodness.

xoxo,

Katie

Orange Sweet Rolls

Orange Sweet Rolls

I’m beyond excited to write this post because I finally broke my unlucky streak with homemade dough!! Which says a lot considering I’ve been crying in the kitchen over my failed dough before. I’m going to try to document everything I did very well so next time I make dough I can come back to this post. My next feat to tackle: rolling the dough tightly so they look like rolls when baked, not whatever below is…… Don’t be fooled, they were still delicious! I used this Southern Living recipe but have written it out below with my little tweaks.

Ingredients

1 cup warm milk

1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons fast rise yeast, which is what I used)

1 cup sugar

4 cups All-Purpose flour (+ a couple tablespoons if necessary)

1/4 cup + 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon orange extract

2 large eggs

2/3 cup orange marmalade

3/4 tablespoons cinnamon

GLAZE

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk (more if you want thinner glaze)

1/4 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Combine milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl and mix until yeast is dissolved. let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Dough tip #1: once you come back after 5 minutes, make sure your milk mixture has begun foaming. If it has not, the yeast is dead.

Combine the flour, 1/4 cup of butter, salt, extract, eggs, and 4 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of a stand mixture. Add the milk mixture and beat on a medium low speed with the dough hook until the dough is smooth. Dough tip #2: if your dough is too sticky to handle, add more flour. I ended up adding at least another 1/2 cup of flour so my dough wasn’t too sticky. I used White Lily.

Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl. Spray the top with cooking spray, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Dough tip #3: preheat your oven to the lowest temperature, turn it off and let it cool a bit, then place your dough in there to rise. The optimal temperature is 85F.

While dough is rising, make the filling. Combine 3/4 cup sugar, marmalade, cinnamon, and 1/3 cup butter in a bowl.

Once dough has almost doubled in size, punch it down. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Dough tip #4: use your casserole dish to approximate measurements. I was aiming for a rectangle 15 x 12 inches, and my casserole dish was 13 x 9 inches. I aimed for a rectangle slightly larger on all sides than my dish.

Spread the filling onto the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Roll the dough into a log, beginning on a long side. Cut the dough into 12 to 15 equal slices and place into a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish. Cover the dough and let rise again for 45 minutes.

If you are letting your dough rise in the oven, make sure to remove it before preheating your oven to 350F. Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Whisk all ingredients for the glaze together until smooth. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.


I was so impressed with how these turned out! If you make them I hope you enjoy them too, and feel free to let me know anymore dough tips you have!

xoxo,

Katie

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Believe it or not, this is the very first time I’ve made this cake combination. To be honest, I don’t even remember the last time I made a vanilla cake. But I wanted to go back to the basics this week!

Vanilla Cake

Ingredients

1 box vanilla cake mix

1 box vanilla pudding

3 tbsps AP flour

3 tbsps sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

Directions

Mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add wet ingredients and mix together completely. Split batter between 2 greased 8” cake pans and bake at 325F for 35 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

2.5 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp

5 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Beat butter on electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. With mixer on the lowest speed, add powdered sugar by 1/2 cup at a time. Add cocoa powder and mix until smooth and well combined. Mix in salt and vanilla extract. Add water until you reach the desired consistency. Frost cake once it is completely cooled.


Hope you enjoy!

xoxo,

Katie

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Happy day after the 4th of July! If you’re like us, you’re enjoying a low-key day at home recovering from the weekend festivities.

However, this weekend, I made this beautiful patriotic trifle for dinner at a friend’s house. Honestly, it was the perfect 4th of July (or 5th of July) treat. Honestly, you could bring this to any gathering and it would be a show stopper. It is light, fruity, creamy, pretty, and easy!

I started with this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but I edited it a bit so I’m going to spell out my steps below.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temp – I recommend pulling out your cream cheese a couple hours before you plan to assemble your trifle
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 lb of pound cake, cubed – I decided to opt out of making this myself and bought a 3 pack of small pound cake loaves from Costco. I only used 1 of the loaves here, if that gives you an idea of how much you’ll need.
  • ~11 oz blueberries – I opted for extra blueberries instead of blackberries
  • 1 container of strawberries (1 lb) – I actually bought a large pack of strawberries and I was glad I had extras.

Instructions

  • I started the night before by prepping my fruits and pound cake. – I washed all the blueberries and washed/ cut all the strawberries. Then, I cut each pound cake slice into 3rd’s, each way – which resulted in small 1 in. cubes. This made assembly easier the next day.
  • ~ 2-3 hr before, set out your cream cheese on the counter. For me, I have to put mine on top of the fridge to keep a furry friend from enjoying/ stealing it 🙂
  • When you are ready to assemble, mix the block of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in your standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium/ high. Mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • With the mixer on low/ medium, slowly add the 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Then switch to the whisk attachment and mix on medium/ high until soft peaks begin to form. You want the cream to not be runny and be able to stand on its own.
  • Now you are ready to assemble! It doesn’t really matter “how” you do this, just be aware of the edges looking good (if you are using a glass trifle dish). I started with a layer of pound cake, then a layer of blueberries, then a layer of whipped cream, then a layer of strawberries. You should then only have room for 1 more layer of pound cake, a layer of blueberries, then a layer of whipped cream. Then just decorate the top with whatever you have left.
  • You’re done! This needs to stay in the fridge until serving.

Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Peach Butter

Peach Butter

Baking in the summer and fall just feels different to me. It is something I look forward to most about each season. I love incorporating seasonal flavors, so naturally I was inclined to use peaches! I came across a recipe for Peach Butter and I knew I had to try it. Imagine this as Apple Butter’s summertime counterpart.

Ingredients

20-24 peaches, peeled and pitted (roughly 8 cups of purée)

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions

Place pitted and peeled peaches into a food processor or blender, and blend until you have a purée. Pour purée into a large pot and add both sugars. Heat to boil on medium high heat and boil until the purée has thickened and reduced by 1/3. Continuously stir while purée is cooking to avoid scorching. Note: my butter never really reduced, but it did thicken. I cooked it for just over 20 minutes. All extra cooking time will do is thicken your butter, so don’t worry if yours does not reduce very well either.

After the peach butter has thickened, remove the pot from the heat, add spices, and mix until combined. Spoon butter into prepared jars until 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe mouths of jars clean and place lids on. If you want your Peach Butter to be shelf stable, you must process the jars in a water bath. Otherwise, keep jars in refrigerator.

I made roughly 4 pints with 20 peaches and just less than 8 cups of purée.


Ways to enjoy your Peach Butter:

– For breakfast slathered on a warm buttermilk biscuit…

– Mixed into some vanilla ice cream….

– As a glaze on pork chops or salmon…

The options are endless! Hope you enjoy this sweet taste of summertime.

xoxo,

Katie