Saturday, January 24, 2009

Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes

Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe from: More From Magnolia
by Allysa Torey, Photographs Zeva Oelbaum
Cookbook Heaven at

Everyone is always asking us which is the most popular cupcake at the bakery. Most people are surprised that it is what we call the vanilla vanilla - the vanilla cupcake with the vanilla icing (and the most popular color for the icing is pink).

Makes about 2 dozen cupcakes (depending on the size of your cupcake papers and muffin tins)

* 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 2 cups sugar
* 4 large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream Icing (recipe follows) or Chocolate Buttercream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. At the bakery we ice the cupcakes with either Vanilla Buttercream or Chocolate Buttercream.

Note: If you would like to make a layer cake instead of cupcakes, divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake the layers for 30-40 minutes.

Magnolia's Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from: More From Magnolia
by Allysa Torey, Photographs Zeva Oelbaum
Cookbook Heaven at

The vanilla buttercream we use at the bakery is technically not a buttercream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.

Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes*

* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
* 6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

If you are icing a 3-layer cake, use the following recipe proportions:
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
8 to 10 cups confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Magnolia Bakery Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies

***Susan's Note: On Tuesday, I visited The Magnolia Bakery at 69th and Columbus in New York City. It was my first visit, and it was "out of this world" - I had heard of their cookbooks, and they were mentioned in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. I sampled their yellow cake with yellow icing (yum) and cupcakes, and the blondies below. Wow.

Magnolia Bakery Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies

1 1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 C. smooth peanut butter
2 1/2 C. granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 T. vanilla extract
3 C. self-rising flour

1 C. peanut butter chips
3 T. heavy cream
4 coarsely chopped Health bars or chocolate covered toffee bars (about 1 cup)
1/2 C. finely chopped unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease and flour a 12 x 18-inch jellyroll pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and the peanut butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and mix well. Add the flour and beat until well incorporated. Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of pan comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool to room temperature.

To prepare the topping: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the peanut butter chips and the cream, stirring until smooth. Drizzle the peanut butter mixture decoratively over the cooled blondies. Sprinkle the Heath Bars and the peanuts on top.

Allow to cool to room temperature, or overnight, before cutting and serving. Makes 24 three-inch blondies.

Source: The Magnolia Bakery

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Orecchiette Pasta with Roasted Broccoli and Walnuts

Orecchiette with Roasted Broccoli and Walnuts

From Real Simple February 2009
See another good Orecchiette recipe here.

**Susan's note: A yummy weeknight dinner.

Serves 4
Total Time 25 minutes

12 oz orecchiette or other short pasta (3 cups)
1 bunch broccoli (1 1/2 lbs), cut into small florets
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 TBS unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parm (1 oz)

Heat oven to 400. Cook pasta according to package. Reserve 3/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli, walnuts, oil, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Roast, tossing once, until the broccoli is tender, 18-20 minutes.

Toss pasta with broccoli mixture, butter, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water (Add more water if the pasta seems dry). Sprinkle with the Parm before serving.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slow Cooker Sausage, Peppers, & Onions

***Susan's Note: I made this in the crock pot today with sweet turkey sausage instead of the "hot Italian sausage" that's listed - yum! I used red and orange peppers, potato rolls and topped with shredded mozzarella.

4-5 lbs hot italian sausages
1 jar (26 oz) spaghetti sauce (I used Francesco Rinaldi Tomato Basil)
1 large onion, sliced thin (Vidalia preferred)
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, sliced
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light)
Rolls, split open
Provolone cheese, sliced (optional)

1. Combine ingredients (not rolls and cheese) in CrockPot. Cook on Low 8-10 hours or HIGH 4 to 6 hours.

2. Place mixture on rolls, top with cheese if desired.

Mary F's Caramel Pecan French Toast

Caramel Pecan French Toast

***Susan's Note: My boss made this for a brunch at her home and it was delicious! Looking on the website, it seems it was a "Food Network Challenge" winner. Yum! My boss used half and half in place of whipping cream.

Recipe courtesy Kathy Specht, Cambria, California
Show: Food Network ChallengeEpisode: Southern Living Cook-Off

* 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
* 1/2 cup butter
* 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 12 slices honey white bread
* 3/4 cup raisins
* 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided
* 6 large eggs
* 1/2 cup milk
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
* 1/4 cup powdered sugar
* Maple syrup
* Fully cooked bacon slices (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

Pour brown sugar mixture into an ungreased 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Arrange 6 bread slices in brown sugar mixture, cutting slices as necessary to fit in dish. Sprinkle raisins and 3/4 cup pecans evenly over bread. Top with remaining bread slices.

Whisk together eggs, next 4 ingredients, and 1 cup cream. Pour egg mixture over bread slices in baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Beat remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream until foamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form.

Divide French toast evenly among individual serving plates. Top each serving with whipped cream; drizzle with maple syrup, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pecans. Serve with bacon, if desired.