I’ve often been asked to create a vanilla scone recipe. At first I thought vanilla scones seemed a bit uninteresting, but the perfectly tender texture combined with the fragrant addition of vanilla bean and luscious vanilla icing, changed my mind completely. They’re truly delicious and much better than any vanilla scones I’ve tasted in any coffee shop or bakery. The classic vanilla flavor pairs perfectly with all of the warm, cozy drinks of the season.
Although we have access to apples year around, apple season is my favorite time to bake with apples. I love the opportunity to go apple picking or choosing fresh apples from the abundance of apples available at farmers markets. Baking with apples makes your home smell cozy and delightful, especially when paired with cinnamon. These Caramel Apple Crumble Bars have the autumn flavors you’re craving. They’re the apple version of my popular Blueberry Crumble Bars and they’re equally delicious.
This recipe requires multiple steps, but the steps are all very easy. The apples are cooked briefly on the stovetop to achieve the perfect texture. The crust is blind baked to keep it crisp. The caramel is drizzled over the apples which helps keep them juicy and we all know what a perfect match apples and caramel are! Adding the caramel to the apples, rather than drizzling it over the top of the crumble topping also keeps the topping crisp.
I like using green apples for this recipe, such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious, or a combination of green and red apples, but you can use any baking apples that you prefer. The caramel sauce recipe is one that I would consider a shortcut. I used caramel candies melted together with heavy cream.
This banana bread was a happy accident. One morning, I started to make banana bread. My recipe called for three over-ripe bananas, but I realized that I only had two. So I changed my recipe, and then I added blueberries, toasted pecans, a pecan crumb topping and a brown sugar cinnamon glaze. The results were so tender, moist and delicious that I can confidently say this is the best banana bread I’ve ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot of banana bread. I’ve tried many different recipes and tasted loaves baked by other people. I also like picking up a slice of banana bread at bakeries and coffee shops sometimes, alongside my coffee or tea.
The three biggest problems I typically see with banana bread are rubbery texture, dry texture or bland flavor. Over mixing can cause a rubbery loaf, so when you add your dry ingredients to the batter, mix it just until the flour is incorporated, to avoid excess gluten formation. To avoid a dry loaf, make sure not to over bake it. Test it before you think it might be done. When measuring your dry ingredients, weigh them for the best results. Sometimes people inadvertently add too much or too little flour when using measuring cups.
For the best flavor and sweetness, make sure to use very ripe bananas when making banana bread. I like to use bananas that are soft and covered with brown spots. I avoid the black, oozing bananas, even though you may see people on social media recommending them for use. These are technically rotten bananas and can give your banana bread an unpleasant fermented flavor. The toasted pecans in this recipe add texture and a rustic nutty flavor. Even people who don’t like nuts tend to appreciate them in this banana bread. But if you have a nut allergy you can certainly leave them out. The addition of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla also add lovely flavor to this loaf. This banana bread is quite delicious on its own, but the crumb topping and brown sugar glaze take it over the top!
To watch the Blueberry Pecan Banana Bread Instagram video, click here.
I couldn’t decide whether to call these cookies or pies, so I made a compromise. They’re about the size of cookies, but they taste like little peach crumble pies. The base is tender like shortbread or pie crust and the filling is made with fresh peaches. I’ve seen people make something similar with jam and call them cookies, but since I used fresh fruit for these, they deserve to be elevated to pie status.
The peaches are macerated to draw out the excess juices, to help avoid making your cookies soggy. If you’re impatient, don’t be tempted to skip this step. It’ll go by fast as you prep the crumb topping and the remaining ingredients.
When I first made these, I used cupcake liners because I was worried that they might stick to the pan. It turns out that they stick to the cupcake liners more than the pan. So the next time I made them, I opted to lightly spray the pan with nonstick spray instead of using liners. I ran a small thin offset spatula around the perimeter of the cookies to loosen them from the pan and they popped out nicely.
I love topping these little peach delights with caramel sauce. Salted caramel is also a delicious addition. Or you can simply sprinkle them with powdered sugar if you prefer.
I have strong opinions about muffins. Maybe a little controversial too. When baked correctly, muffins should be soft, fluffy and tender. I get a little sad and disappointed when I buy a big, domed bakery muffin and the inside is rubbery. Many of the pretty muffins I see on social media are painfully rubbery too, as the creators break open a muffin in a dramatic moment of triumph. The muffin recipe I’m sharing here is tender and delicious if baked correctly.
One of the most important ways to achieve tender muffins is by not over mixing your batter once the flour is added. Muffins are technically cake, not bread, so we don’t want gluten formation. Another way to get tender muffins is to use an acidic ingredient such as sour cream, yogurt or buttermilk. Lastly, and very importantly, don’t over bake or under bake your muffins. Baking times in recipes are a guide and not necessarily exact because everyone’s ovens and baking pans are different. Keep an eye on your muffins and test them for doneness with a cake tester or a toothpick. My grandma used to say that when you start to smell them, they’re probably done or close to being done.
Soggy muffins also make me run the other way. Muffins loaded with too much fruit or fruit that hasn’t been macerated can make your muffins soggy or dense. In this recipe, I macerated the peaches to draw out some of the moisture, so it helps to avoid creating soggy spots in your muffins. The waiting time goes by fast as you prep the rest of your ingredients.
Do you ever feel like a three year old child who doesn’t want to share? That’s how I feel about this crumb cake. I didn’t want to share so I made six 4-inch personal crumb cakes. You’ll understand once you taste the soft, fluffy lemon scented cake with juicy blueberries, a ton of sweet crumb topping and a lemony cream cheese icing. You’ll want every bite for yourself! I was also hesitant to share the recipe. But I was taught to share recipes by my two grandmothers who were amazing cooks and bakers. They shared their knowledge and recipes with anyone who asked. Recipes are a legacy that should be passed on to family and friends. If you’re reading this, I consider you a friend. So enjoy this recipe that’s especially dear to me because it’s based on my Grandma’s Apple Crumb Cake recipe.
I used a six serving shallow jumbo muffin pan to bake the cakes. The muffin cups are 4 inches across by 1 inch deep. To find the pan, click here. A hamburger bun pan for 4-inch buns will work too. If you happen to have six 4-inch cake pans, those work nicely. I used jumbo muffin liners to line the muffin cups, which fit perfectly by pressing them in around the inside bottom edges.
Once there was a blueberry scone. She was good and reliable. One day she felt bored and tired of her soggy blueberries. She thought about her friend, the other blueberry scone. The one with the dried blueberries. The shriveled up blueberries reminded her of raisin bran. “It’s time for a change,” she thought. So she grabbed her friend, and they headed over to Brownie Mischief for a makeover.
That’s how Blueberry Ripple Scones were born, at least in my imagination. These scones are the new and improved, elevated version of blueberry scones. They have a ribbon of sweet blueberry compote swirling through the tender vanilla dough, making them look beautiful and taste delicious. Although the blueberry compote is quick to make, it requires a little more effort than simply folding blueberries into the dough. But it’s definitely worth it. I like to make my compote the night before, then it’s ready to go when I make my scones in the morning.
The weeks following the winter holidays always feel peaceful to me. The rush is over and it’s time to catch my breath and rest. When it’s chilly and raining outside, I love spending time at home curled up in my coziest fluffy pajama bottoms and fuzzy socks. Give me a blanket, 75 pillows, a warm cup of tea and these Cinnamon Crumble Scones for ultimate coziness!
The crumb topping on these scones will remind you of a cinnamon crumb cake, which makes them extra nostalgic and comforting. The technique of folding the dough over itself gives them a flaky layered texture. For the tenderest scones, make sure not to over work your dough.
I remember my grandma making coffee cakes and sweet muffins for breakfast, along with eggs, sausages, hot coffee and a big pitcher of milk on the table. The older generation really loved their coffee cakes. I’ve noticed that many Millennials and Gen Z’s think coffee cake contains coffee. Maybe some coffee cake does contain coffee, but in general, coffee cake is called that because it’s typically eaten with coffee. A classic coffee cake is usually a subtly sweet cake with cinnamon, crumb topping and maybe some icing. The Apple Crumb Cake recipe I’m sharing with you has the elements of a classic coffee cake, but so much better! The cake is fluffy and soft, the crumb topping is chunky and plentiful, and the apples are perfectly tender. And don’t get me started about the icing!
Why do most of our grandmothers cook and bake so well? Because they’ve had decades of trial and error to perfect their recipes, tweaking them here and there until they’re approved and loved by their families, neighbors and friends. This cake has had its share of trial and error. She has earned her place as a well-loved, delicious, beautiful queen of coffee cakes.
Even though the weather is warm where I live at the moment, I’m dreaming about all the delicious fall treats I’ll be baking this year. Let’s look forward to cool, crisp weather, the smell of pumpkin or apples baking, and sipping a warm mug of something spicy while we wait for our bakes to come out of the oven.
Inevitably, every fall, the Harry Potter movies come on at my house and it’s nice to have some popcorn and sweet treats to enjoy while watching the movies. And these Harry Potter Inspired Pumpkin Pasties are perfect for that! If you’ve read the Harry Potter books, you may remember the Pumpkin Pasties being mentioned. There are many interpretations out there, but I imagined them to be crispy and flaky on the outside with a sweet pumpkin filling. I included a delicious flaky pie crust recipe here, but feel free to use store bought pie dough if you want to streamline the process. I sprinkled mine with raw turbinado sugar before baking which provides a sweet delicious crunch. You can also use maple sugar or sparkling sugar. To find the sugar I used, click here. And as a magical touch, I added some edible gold star glitter. To find the edible gold stars, click here.
Pot pies belong to everyone. They date back to ancient times and many cultures worldwide have various versions of savory pies. It’s a very popular comfort food dish here in the U.S. and many people already have a favorite recipe. The recipe I’m sharing here isn’t the only way to make a pot pie, but it’s one way to do it that happens to be delicious! I usually bake pot pies in a casserole dish, and you can certainly bake this one in a casserole dish if you want to. But I thought it would be nice to save a step and try baking one in a skillet. I love baking other things, such as cornbread, in a skillet so I had a feeling it would be good. I used an 8-inch cast iron skillet. Click here to find the skillet I used.
I had a ton of fresh herbs on hand, so they ended up in my pie crust on a whim. I was very pleased with the results. Feel free to switch up the herbs and use your favorites. Typically when you bake or roast something with fresh herbs, they tend to turn black and crispy. But don’t worry, they’ll be safely nestled inside the crust. And speaking of the crust, this one is tender and flaky due to my grandmother’s method of working the fat into the dough with your fingertips. You want to end up with flat dime size pieces throughout. A little vegetable shortening helps to add structure and flakiness and the butter makes it taste good. A touch of vinegar helps to inhibit gluten formation, so you’ll have a tender, flaky crust rather than a chewy one. And if you’re one of those people who tends to over work your dough, the vinegar can help with that. But please do yourself a favor and don’t over work your dough!!
Now I’m going to give you the best piece of cooking advice my grandmother ever gave me: Taste as you go! Taste everything as you are preparing it, not just when it’s done. So when you’re making your filling for this pot pie, add the herbs, salt, pepper and sage a little bit at a time until it tastes good to you.
I had pineapple smoothies two days in a row. There’s something so vibrant and refreshing about pineapple. It feels sunny and tropical. Should scones ever feel sunny and tropical? I’m going to say yes! Scones deserve a summer vacation too. They can take a break from tea parties and coffee shops and enjoy a little sunshine.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you experience your first bite of a scone with a burst of pineapple flavor. I immediately thought, “Why isn’t this a thing?” There are probably other pineapple scones out there in the universe, but they’re definitely not well known, like the very popular blueberry scone for example. I’m going to go so far as to say, pineapple scones are better than blueberry scones. There, I said it. (And this is coming from a person who loves blueberries.)