Monday, October 29, 2012

My Hurricane Prep Priority---Baking

With Hurricane Sandy en route to the northeast, the past few days have been mayhem. The supermarkets have been flooded with people flocking to to stock up on water and canned goods in anticipation of this major storm system. What did I do to prepare? Yes, of course I made sure that I have enough food and water. But the top items on my grocery list? Pumpkin and chocolate chips. 
In anticipation of a power outage, I made sure I took care of this item on my checklist ASAP. Sure enough, we still have power (can't imagine it will last that much longer as this storm gets closer), but now we have enough pumpkin chocolate chip bread and muffins to last us for the next few days. Such an easy hurricane-proof breakfast or snack that requires no reheating (although, if you do have power, they are quite delicious warmed up!) 

This recipe makes two loaves (or if you'd like some options, it makes about 6 large muffins and one large loaf), so its sure to keep you stocked! Or, if there's no hurricane coming your way and your electricity is sure to be in working order, this recipe freezes wonderfully. Not only is it an easy recipe, its fairly quick to throw together, especially the night before the anticipated hurricane. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread & Muffins
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe (

2 1/2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups granulated sugar (I know this sounds like a lot, but this recipe really makes a lot!)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup canola or vegetable oil (To reduce the amount of calories, I used 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce and 1/2 cup vegetable oil) 
4 large eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans (or one loaf pan and one large muffin tin, or even three 8x4 inch loaf pans). 

In a large bowl, mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together canned pumpkin, oil (and applesauce, if substituting), eggs, and 2/3 cup water until well combined and stir into dry ingredients, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and no dry spots remain. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pans. 

FOR BREAD: Bake the bread for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

FOR MUFFINS: Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Remove the bread/muffins from oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife gently around the edge of the bread and turn the bread right side up onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

TO FREEZE: After cooling, wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of tin foil. Freezes for up to 2 months. 

all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

One Last Taste of the Summer

Despite the fact that my fall baking adventures are in full swing, the summer is technically not over until this weekend. I do love my fall and holiday treats, but there is just something so refreshing when it comes to summer cooking and baking. I think it's still acceptable to grab that one last taste of summer while you still can.
One of my all time favorite summer treats does not come in dessert form, rather as a salsa. Yes, I have only posted desserts on here, but I think it's time to branch out a bit and share some other recipes as well. I may or may not have scraped every last bit of this salsa from its serving dish on numerous occasions, so trust me--- its quite dangerous. But on the bright side, it's much better for the waistline than scraping every remnant of my Oreo truffles from the bowl after mixing the cookies with cream cheese...and for that, I am more than guilty!

Be warned, however--- if you put this salsa out at a party or gathering, make sure you have another bowl of it set aside somewhere because it will probably be gone before you even have the chance to blink. I've put this out at a few family gatherings and it was gone by the time I went to get myself a drink. It's refreshing, flavorful, and just absolutely irresistible. And with all those characteristics, you have to be thinking that it MUST be bad for you. Luckily, you can eat this last taste of summer guilt free.
So hurry and round up that last bit of summer corn and those avocados, because you definitely don't want to be waiting a whole year to try this. I've made a few minor changes from the original recipe from The Pioneer Woman---she calls it "Fresh Corn and Avocado Salsa" and she just cooks up her corn, versus roasting it like I like to do. She also keeps her avocado cubed, but I prefer incorporating mine a little more. Whichever way you prefer, it is absolutely delicious. Serve it with tortilla chips or use it to top anything from eggs, an omelet, or even grilled chicken. Or, if you're like me, just a spoon will suffice! 

Roasted Corn & Avocado Salsa
adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Fresh Corn & Avocado Salsa

4 ears of sweet corn, cooked or roasted
1/2 red onion, diced (I didn't have any red onion on hand at the time, but it definitely adds some nice color!)
2 large, avocados, diced (you'll want to get them on the firmer side if you're planning on keeping them cubed)
2 jalapeƱos, seeded and finely diced 
Juice of 1 lime
Plenty of chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Slice the kernels off the corn after cooking or roasting. Combine with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate. Repeat process after you've devoured the entire bowl by yourself (have no shame, I could totally do it!). 

all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Apples, Coffee, and Betty Crocker

Dear Bunhead, I miss you. Just like the last time I went on an involuntary blogging hiatus, here I am again---months of abandoning the kitchen for real life and now, I'm eagerly attempting my return. The fall is here and I just could not resist. 

My dad's birthday happens to fall in September and I had my first opportunity to get back in the kitchen. My first thought was to start with apples, since my dad can't get enough of my mom's famous apple pie. Since my mom was a little busy planning the dinner we'd be making him, I volunteered to make the birthday dessert.
So obviously, my dad likes apples. And cinnamon, of course. And instead of attempting to recreate my mom's pie without her assistance in executing her secrets, I immediately remembered a cake I had made in my initial post-college baking extravaganza--- the Apple Upside Down Streusel Coffee Cake. No combination of words have ever sounded better together. My dad and I also share a love of coffee, so I knew any kind of treat that would marry perfectly with our caffeine addiction would be the perfect choice. 

This cake is unbelievable. The combination of streusel and the baked apples (that have bathed in butter and brown sugar, might I add) puts the average coffee cake to shame. And its a classic---I found this recipe a few years ago in my mom's Betty Crocker Cookbook from 1987 (5th Edition). I couldn't pass it up when I first came across the recipe and I knew it would be perfect for this occasion, especially with my coffee the next morning!
Apple Upside Down Streusel Coffee Cake  
adapted from Betty Crocker 

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 3 tbsp firm butter
Mix all ingredients until crumbly. Set aside. 

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 
  • 2 medium apples, thinly sliced 
Heat oven to 350 degrees. While preheating, heat butter in 9x9x2 in pan until melted. Sprinkle with brown sugar and arrange apples in pan. Make sure the sides of the pan are greased.

Coffee Cake 
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 3 tsp baking powder (omit if using self rising flour)
  • 1 tsp salt (omit if using self rising flour)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk for some extra flavor)
Make sure oven is heated to 350 degrees and that streusel and apples are prepared. Beat remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes. Spread half of the batter in the pan on top of the apples, sprinkle with half of the streusel, top with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining streusel. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Immediately invert the pan on a heat proof serving plate. Let pan remain a minute for drizzle from the apples. Eat with coffee or tea, or by itself, & enjoy! 

all photos © Bunhead in the Kitchen, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Real Life - 1, Kitchen Time - 0

Ok, so I lied. I was all ready to start back up with baking and blogging again and all of a sudden, life got in the way...again. Not too long after I posted my last blog entry, my parents sold our house, I moved into my own place in August, my boyfriend got a new job and moved back here (yay!), work got crazy, design projects piled up, and then Nutcracker season happened. Phew. I barely even baked for the holidays. Naturally, I had to make truffles, but my teeny little kitchen doesn't suffice for extensive holiday baking. My parents' old kitchen was a baking haven, so this is quite an adjustment. I actually ended up having to finish making my truffles at my parents' new house and ended up making half the amount I usually make. Needless to say, my lack of counter space is a serious detriment to my baking adventures. Don't get me wrong---although my kitchen is quite inconvenient for baking, I won't let that stop me. Lack of counter space and all, my KitchenAid stand mixer takes precedence and did in fact score a spot on my counter. On top of it, I have countless recipes and photos that have piled up from right before I moved and now that it's a new year, I'm ready-- more than ever-- to pick up where I left off.
I did promise to share my new favorite cupcake recipe...well, it's not so 'new' anymore. But it's still my favorite and I'm going to fulfill my promise. This cupcake is by far, one of the best cupcake recipes I've ever tried. The Swiss meringue buttercream icing was a challenge at first since it was a little time consuming, but it was a piece of cake the second time around. I am usually not the biggest fan of buttercream icing or just icing in general, but this is the exception. The extra work to pull it together is more than worth it. It's super light and the hint of fresh strawberries in it is perfection. And the cake itself... I won't even go there. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

It's been quite some time since I made this recipe. I originally tried it during the peak of strawberry season with unbelievably fresh was out of this world! I also made them for one of my best friends' bridal shower and they were a huge success. I may not have as many comments as I normally do since it has been a while, but it's pretty straight forward. Enjoy!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
adapted from & Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

yields approximately 34 cupcakes
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (8 oz.), rinsed, hulled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

*Set some additional fresh strawberries aside to use for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with liners. In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and egg white one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the milk, mixing each addition just until incorporated. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with a spatula.

Divide the batter between the liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake until light golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-38 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Allow to cool in the pans a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the Swiss meringue buttercream, place the strawberries in a food processor or blender. Puree until completely smooth. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F and the sugar has dissolved.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer---that method will just take a lot more time and arm strength!) fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. The bowl should be cool to the touch.

Reduce the sped of the mixer and add the butter (2 tablespoons at a time). Add more once each addition has been fully incorporated. Do not worry if the frosting looks curdled or too watery---it will come together! Continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth (about another 3-5 minutes). If you need to beat it longer, do not worry---that is completely fine! Blend in the strawberry puree until the frosting is smooth and the puree is completely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip with the buttercream. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired, and garnish with fresh strawberries or strawberry slices.