Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


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Pumpkin Cupcakes {with vanilla buttercream frosting}

In honor of Halloween — here’s a quick and easy recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting!

PumpkinCupcakes

They are super easy to make and they taste incredible. Not only that, they are a perfect treat to eat while you are sitting at home handing out all that Halloween Candy! So get ready to take a bite and enjoy your night!

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Pumpkin Cupcakes
(from Trader Joe’s)

1 box Trader Joe’s Pumpkin muffin and bread mix
Eggs, water and oil according to box
Mix and bake according to package directions. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
(adapted from C&H Sugar)

1 1 lb. box (approx. 3-3/4 cups) C&H Powdered Sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In large bowl with electric mixer at low-speed, combine sugar, butter, milk and vanilla. Beat at medium speed 1 to 2 minutes until creamy. If desired, add more milk until frosting is spreading consistency.

Frost cupcakes liberally with the buttercream frosting. Decorate the tops with M&M candy pieces and Candy Corn.

PumpkinCupcakes-2

Enjoy your Halloween and these soft and sweet Pumpkin Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting!

Sheila

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Cinnamon Sugar Apple Strudel

There’s nothing my husband likes more than desserts baked with fruit – especially apples. Apple strudel and apple pie are his all-time favorites. So for his birthday this past weekend I decided to made him a scrumptious Cinnamon Sugar Apple Strudel, and believe me, it was enjoyed by all — especially him!

AppleStrudel

Mind you, I am not an expert in making pastries — however I found that using store-bought phyllo dough and puff pastry is a good place to start for a beginner (like me). So to please my strudel-lovin’ man, I quickly pulled out my notes on two different strudel recipes I made last year. One of these was the clear favorite and my husband had even told me I made the perfect Cinnamon Sugar Apple Strudel.  However I somehow forgot to jot down which version we liked better!  Was it the one where I used the puff pastry or phyllo dough? I racked my brain trying to remember, however I could not. And he could not remember either! When I got to the store I looked at both and decided on the puff pastry. Of course, as soon as I came home I doubted myself. I was super frustrated as I wanted my husband to love his special birthday dessert. Well, I think I made the right choice, as this strudel was gobbled up in no time flat!

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Cinnamon Sugar Apple Strudel
(recipe adapted from Pepperidge Farm)

2 sheets Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed to room temperature
4 granny smith apples, pealed, cored and sliced into thin pieces
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon butter, melted
cinnamon-sugar mixture for topping

Heat your oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl add the apples, raisins, lemon, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon and flour and stir to coat. Let this mixture rest about 15 minutes to allow the juices release and raisins soften.

In a small bowl combine the nuts and brown sugar.  Add to the apple mixture and gently toss.

Sprinkle some additional flour onto your work surface (I used my large wood cutting board).  Unfold one of the pastry sheets roll out into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle.

With the short side facing you, spoon 1/2 the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet about 1 inch from the edge.  With the edge closest to you, pull the pastry up and over the apples and roll up like a jelly roll.  Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Tuck the ends under to seal.  Brush the pastry with the melted butter and sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon-sugar topping — this will allow for a nice crunchy top. Cut several slits in the top of the pastry to allow  the steam to escape. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and remaining apple mixture, butter and topping.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are bubbling. Cool the pastry on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

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Warm, soft in the center with a crunchy topping and not too sweet…all I have to say is this Cinnamon Sugar Apple Strudel is all that my husband is talking about these days! I guess I will have to make it again soon. It really is quite easy and quite delectable too!  Next time I may serve it with some fresh whipped cream or homemade vanilla ice cream! Enjoy!

Sheila


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Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce

Is your ice cream screaming to be covered in something dark, rich and divine? If so, it’s time to make this quick and easy Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce. Get ready to turn any cold confection into something dazzling and completely satisfying as it’s doused with this warm and thick chocolate decadence. You see, my husband has been begging me to make homemade hot fudge for a while now. He is a traditionalist and likes things pure and simple. He constantly reminds me of his fond childhood memories of the most incredible hot fudge sauce from a place called Rumplemeyer’s that was located in the Saint Moritz Hotel on Central Park South, he used to go there with his dad when they visited New York. So I found this simply divine recipe, and let me tell you from the very first spoonful, he was hooked.
DarkChocolateHotFudge
Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce
(adapted from Averie Cooks)

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (I used Hershey’s)
3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a medium heavy saucepan, add cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and half the dark and bittersweet chopped chocolate. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Turn off the heat and add butter, vanilla, remaining dark and bittersweet chocolate, and stir until smooth. Cool slightly before spooning over your favorite ice cream!

This sauce can be made in advance, cooled and stored in a jar with a lid or in airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. However it probably won’t last that long! You can reheat the sauce by scooping out the desired amount in a microwave-safe bowl and heating for about 10 to 15 seconds, or you can reheat on the stove top then pour or spoon onto your dessert. Yields about 16 ounces.

So what are you waiting for? Take the plunge now and dive into this Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge Sauce, you’ll be glad you did!

Sheila


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A Sweet Look Back: July 2013

July was an amazing month for me…and the weather was a key factor in deciding to make new and delicious no-bake recipes.  We experienced one week straight of temperatures reaching over 105 degrees, it think it was about 8 days, so turning my oven on was the farthest thing from my mind!  We stayed cool by spending the hot summer days and very warm summer nights in the pool and enjoying my refreshing sweets! And now I have to laugh when I hear myself saying to friends, “I’m so happy it’s only going to be in the 90’s today!”

Just in case you missed any of my recipes, here is a a look back at July 2013.

I made 6 super scrumptious no-bake desserts that included…

All American Berry Parfait – light and airy whipped cream with fresh fruit and crunchy shortbread.
AllAmericanBerryParfait

Sweet n’ Salty Patriotic Bark – a delicious and fun candy treat!
SweetSaltyPatrioticBark

Frozen Lemonade Pie – a sweet yet tangy cool dessert!
FrozenLemonadePie

Ice Box Eclair Cake – heaven on a plate!
IceboxEclairCake

Vanilla Ice Cream – simplicity at its best!
VanillaIceCream

Lemony Cheesecake {with a lemon cookie crust} – creamy with an outstanding crust!
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I  ventured in creating 3 thoroughly refreshing beverages…

Cool Berry Spritzer – sparkly fresh!
CoolBerrySpritzer

Dry Vodka Martini {with 3 olives} – a wonderful classic cocktail!
DryVodkaMartini

Pink Power Cosmo – my favorite cocktail that packs a punch!
PinkPowerCosmo

I did turn my oven on only just twice to bake these 2 tantalizing treats…

Retro Twinkie Snack Cake – in honor of the comeback, with a much better version!
RetroTwinkieSnackCake

Milk Chocolate Macadamia Blondies – tropical adventure come to life!
MilkChocolateMacadamiaBlondies

And I even made 1 savory, ok sweet too, succulent dip…

Sweet and Spicy Salsa – great for dipping with corn chips or even put on top of grilled fish!
SweetandSpicySalsa

In total I made 12 yummy things in July.

Did you try any of these? And if you did what was your favorite?

For me, I would have to say that the Milk Chocolate Macadamia Blondies were my favorite!

So, good-bye July and hello August!

Sheila