Pumpkin Spice Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Streusel Muffins

Sometimes life just runs away with you. I had met up with a friend recently who lives in Australia, and he said he hadn’t seen many recipes from me lately. I realized that I had been neglecting this little blog. Not out of any malice, but just for the fact that I have been so busy with life. All my teacher friends know that the beginning of a new school year is absolute crazy town. So busy with so many new things to set up for the new year. Oh, and did I mention the fact that in August the hubby and I traveled around Cuba for 3 weeks? Yeah, NBD.

But, this time of year had me missing baking, missing blogging, and missing my kitchen. So, if you’re out there reading this: I’m back! And what better way to break back into blogging in Fall than to bake something  PUMPKIN! Oh how I’ve missed this!
Pumpkin Spice Streusel Muffins

If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I enjoy a good streusel/crumb topping. On muffins or cake, I don’t discriminate, and a streusel works SO well on top of a spiced pumpkin cake, which comes together to make these Pumpkin Spice Streusel Muffins. These muffins are literally a little parcel of Fall, scented with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. My kitchen STILL smells amazing. Pumpkin Spice Streusel Muffins

There really is nothing better than a moist, spiced pumpkin cake batter. I had to put the bowl straight into the sink to stop myself from licking the bowl clean (which stopped me- just!). One of the best things about these muffins really is that gorgeous orange muffin batter. But I didn’t stop there: on top of that irresistibly moist muffin comes that cinnamon scented crumb topping and finally a vanilla laced glaze. Talk about the perfect accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee!

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Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies

Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies

These cookies are an acquired taste: now don’t run away! I mean that these cookies are not your normal, run-of-the-mill, tooth-achingly sweet morsels that we all know (and love!). These Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies have a sort or savoriness that comes with using tahini- a paste made from sesame seeds. The honey gives a natural sweetness, without being sugary, and the sesame seeds that encrust this short, buttery cookie toast slightly while in the oven and deliver a nutty, creamy flavor. They also give the cookie a great crunch, an amazing contrast to the crumbly, soft interior.Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies

I have enjoyed greatly experimenting with Middle Eastern flavors over the last few months. I was really excited when I purchased Anne Shooter’s book, Sesame & Spice, which puts a twist on classic baked goods. These cookies intrigued me because of the nature of using tahini (something I have never before used in baking) but also the sesame seeds. I can smell the cardamom-scented beauties as I type this; the memory lingers vividly in my mind. But that’s what delicious food can do, create life-long memories that become part of our own narrative. So, without further adieu: the recipe for Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies; perfect with tea!Sesame and Tahini Honey Cookies

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Riga in an Instagram

Riga

Here are some snaps from our trip to Riga, the capital city of Latvia. It was an incredibly different experience to some of the other European countries we’ve visited. Riga is much more subdued and much less touristy: which made it a great city to explore and discover. Until the next adventure!

The Perfect Creme Brûlée

Perfect Creme Brûlée

One of the dishes that I thought I’d probably never make was Creme Brûlée. It’s one of those desserts that is just perfect to have in a restaurant after a fancy meal: creamy, vanilla-scented with a crisp caramel coating that almost tastes bitter. A dish that I thought that couldn’t be made any better at home. Let me tell you now, I was so wrong. I have made the Perfect Creme Brûlée.

Perfect Creme Brûlée

Now I know what you may be thinking: how is this creme brûlée any better than any other one I’ve had? Believe me, I don’t say something is ‘perfect’ without it being downright the best homemade version I’ve ever had. This dessert is so creamy, the custard is smooth and silky and is studded with flecks of fragrant vanilla bean. It is topped with coarse sugar and caramelized using a blowtorch (you can also use the broiler!) to give the dessert a thin, glass-like ceiling that is oh-so-satisfying to crack with your spoon. But I haven’t even gotten to the best bit yet, which you may not want to tell your friends, it’s incredibly simple to make (GASP!).
Perfect Creme Brûlée

Making a good creme brûlée is actually much easier than I thought. There are only a few simple steps between you and the Perfect Creme Brûlée! You simply have to infuse some heavy cream with a vanilla pod. Then, you pour the hot cream on top of some egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Next, you pour the custard into ramekins or brûlée dishes and bake in a water bath for 40 minutes. Finally, you allow the brûlées to chill in the fridge until you are ready to caramelize the tops right before devouring!

Perfect Creme Brûlée

Just look at the crack of the crust! Make sure you use a coarse sugar (not fine) as it allows for a crisper topping that is less likely to burn. No black brûlées here!

Perfect Creme Brûlée

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France in an Instagram: Paris Edition 2

Paris

I remember so clearly my first time in Paris. I was backpacking around Europe with my best friend, so young and ready to experience everything the world had to offer. Paris, my friends, was ever so generous. It started my love affair with all things French, and I have been back to Paris a few times since, and it has never let me down. Looking back through some old photos on my Instagram, and I had to share some of my most recent Parisian experience with you. So here it is: France in an Instagram: Paris Edition 2.

Blood Orange Meringue Pie

Blood Orange Meringue Pie

One of my favorite things about this time of year is some of the different produce that you see in the supermarket. From rhubarb to leeks and venison to goose, this time of year is all about the produce that gives us some of our most comforting dishes. Walking into a store to see all these wonderful ingredients in abundance is heart-warming, but there is only one thing that truly makes my heart skip a beat: a blood orange.

There is just something so special about an ingredient that is familiar, an orange, that when sliced reveals a surprising red-tinged flesh that makes the tart, subtly sweet juice it is known for. Whenever I see them, I always leap to grab as many as I can. I love them so much one of my first recipes on this blog was for Blood Orange Mimosas (which are still a MAJOR fave).Blood Orange Meringue Pie

The other week I picked up a lovely bag of blood oranges and knew that I needed to make something special. I instantly thought of some sort of pie to really show off the flavor of the blood oranges. But what better way to top a pie than a billow of pillowy, marshmallow-like meringue? Blood Orange Meringue Pie? Turn on your ovens, it’s time to get baking!Blood Orange Meringue Pie

This Blood Orange Meringue Pie is absolutely delicious. The filling has a great orange flavor and is flecked with pink from the pulp of the blood orange. The custard is as smooth as silk and is a great partner to the fluffy meringue and the crumbly crust. This pie is different than most in that it  has a graham cracker crust rather than a traditional pasty crust. I really enjoy the graham cracker here with the addition of cinnamon which gives the crust a subtle spiciness. If you’d prefer a pastry crust, you can make your favorite pie dough, blind bake, then pour in the filling and bake as directed in the recipe.
Blood Orange Meringue Pie

One note when making any kind of meringue pie: if your filling is cold when adding the meringue, your meringue may weep (leak! Yuck.). To prevent this, add the meringue on top of the pie whilst the filling is still hot to help cook the meringue from beneath. You could also try an Italian meringue, where the meringue is cooked by adding a hot sugar syrup to the egg whites while whipping. Either way, you don’t want a weepy meringue.Blood Orange Meringue Pie

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Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes (& my 4th Blogiversary!)

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

There’s just something about sprinkles that just makes me smile. Especially rainbow sprinkles. They just remind me of birthday parties and childhood and about eating cake without any guilt (and loads of frosting on your face). Last year I made a Homemade Funfetti Cake that went down a storm with the teachers at school, so I’ve decided to share the recipe for these gorgeous, portable, single-serving Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes which are not only ADORABLE but super moist and delicious.Sprinkles

But this post is not just to celebrate these delicious Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes, no matter how irresistible the may be. This post is to celebrate 4 YEARS of this little blog I have been writing. There’s not many things I can keep going for more than 4 years! So I’m going to do a little dance and look forward to what the year ahead brings. Ok, back to the reason why we’re all here: the cupcakes!

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

These Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes are great because they are SO easy to whip up and taste so much better than any *cough, cough* boxed version. They are super moist and packed with that cake batter vanilla flavor. These little beauties also hold up incredibly well when topped with dollops of whipped buttercream frosting and tons of rainbow sprinkles. Makes sure you don’t skimp on the frosting or sprinkles, though. They totally make these cupcakes shine!Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Don’t you just want to take a big bite? I love the first bite of this cupcake the best, because it reveals the surprises inside. The speckled interior is enough to blow anyone’s mind! But to get that great, confetti-like surprise inside, make sure you don’t mix your sprinkles too well into the batter as they may bleed their color. You want to keep that vanilla cake white, with pops of color throughout.

Top tip: when decorating cupcakes, make sure they have cooled completely before topping with any frosting. If they are still warm, the frosting can melt! I have definitely had some good piping work go to waste as it has slowly slid off the top of a still-too-warm cupcake.

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

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