Fairy Puffs

Fairy Puffs sugared mini muffins wtih edible flowers

My dad used to take me on walks in the woods to look for fairy rings when I was a child. I wanted to see a real fairy so badly! I got a book about fairies, hoping to learn more about them. Fairies love little cakes, milk, honey and butter so I’m sure these Fairy Puffs would be fairy approved.

My Fairy Puffs recipe is loosely based on an old favorite mini muffin recipe. I tweaked it quite a bit, including the addition of pink dragonfruit powder. Dragonfruit has a subtle flavor, so the bright fuchsia powder is mostly for color. But oh what a beautiful color it is! You can find dragonfruit powder in healthy food stores or online. To find the dragonfruit powder , also known as pink pitaya powder, I used, click here.

fairy puff muffins

Decorating these little cuties was so entertaining! After sampling multiple variations of sparkling sugar and cinnamon sugar, I decided that dipping the bottoms of the muffins in butter and cinnamon sugar, then dipping the tops in butter and sparkling sugar gave them the perfect balance of sugar and spice. I had purchased some edible flowers a couple of days prior, and they added a pretty, magical touch. The flowers I used are called bachelor’s buttons and I got them at a local gourmet flower seller.

sugared mini muffins with edible flowers

Print Recipe
Fairy Puffs
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword cake, muffins
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
Fairy Puffs
Topping
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword cake, muffins
Servings
mini muffins
Ingredients
Fairy Puffs
Topping
Instructions
Fairy Puffs
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 24 serving mini muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, dragonfruit powder, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg and beat until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in two additions and mix just until combined.
  6. Fill wells of prepared muffin pan with batter.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Be careful not to over bake. Small muffins can dry out easily.)
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove puffs from pan and transfer to cooling rack. (Loosen puffs with a small offset spatula or butter knife if necessary.)
Topping
  1. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  2. Place colored sparkling sugar crystals in another shallow bowl.
  3. Dip the bottoms of each puff in melted butter, then into cinnamon sugar mixture.
  4. Dip the tops of each puff in melted butter, then into sparkling sugar.
  5. Decorate with edible flowers if desired.
Recipe Notes

*To purchase dragonfruit powder, click here.

 **To purchase pink sparkling sugar crystals, click here.

 

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Orange Slices

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Every winter, when blood oranges come back in season, I start keeping an eye out for them at grocery stores and farmers markets. This year was different. I’ve been at home, having my groceries delivered instead perusing the local produce aisles. If you’ve been entrusting strangers to do your shopping like I have, then you know delivery produce selections are hit and miss. So I was elated when a bag of perfectly beautiful, ripe blood oranges landed on my doorstep. This simple joy made my day. There was no choice. I had to make something worthy of the gorgeous red beauties!

I didn’t get enough of gingerbread this holiday season, so I decided to make a gingerbread cupcake recipe that I created a few years ago when I was experimenting with blood oranges. I used blood orange zest in the cupcake batter and brushed the warm cupcakes with the blood orange syrup left over from making the candied oranges. If you don’t make the candied oranges, you can easily make a batch of the syrup* or skip this step altogether. They will still be delicious. I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese icing made with more orange zest and some blood orange juice mixed in. The juice makes the icing turns a soft shade of pink.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Candied blood orange slices are so stunning, that I can’t bring myself to just lay them on top of a dessert. They remind me of stained glass windows. I like to place them on toothpicks so they can stand up in regal style! Many recipes out there will instruct you to boil the orange slices, then let them air dry. This is perfectly fine if you don’t mind floppy candied oranges. For this recipe, boiling the slices, then letting them dry in the oven on low heat will give them enough stiffness to stand up.

If you can’t find blood oranges where you live, here’s a link to get blood oranges shipped to you. This recipe will also work with other types of oranges. You won’t get the deep scarlet color and the flavor will have a bit more tartness, but it will still be beautiful and delicious!

Print Recipe
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray the wells of a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth.
  4. Add brown sugar and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add molasses and beat until combined.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  7. Mix in dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat just until combined.
  8. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling wells 2/3 full. (If you have any remaining batter, prepare an additional muffin tin.)
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan.
  11. Place cupcakes upside down on cooling rack and brush generously with orange simple syrup. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed, until smooth.
  2. Add butter, orange zest and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  4. Add blood orange juice and beat, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Candied Blood Orange Slices
  1. Slice oranges into thin 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a shallow saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add orange slices to saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain oranges, reserving syrup.
  5. Heat oven to 175ºF. Place on a large baking sheet lined with a baking mat in a single layer and bake until orange slices begin to stiffen, about 2 hours.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. If desired, insert toothpicks when slices are cool enough to handle. The slices will continue to stiffen as they cool.
Recipe Notes

*To make orange simple syrup,  combine the juice of one orange with enough water to make 1/2 cup. Combine mixture with the zest of one orange and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and transfer to a glass container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Brownies

pumpkin cheesecake crumble brownies

It’s Fall 2020. We need chocolate! We need pumpkin spice! And we need it drenched with caramel! These satisfying brownies check all of the boxes with multiple layers of comfort. A rich chocolate brownie is the base. The next layer is heavenly pumpkin cheesecake. The topping is a buttery crumble that rivals the best crumb cake. Finally, as if that isn’t enough, it’s drizzled with caramel sauce!

If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, it’s not. Each layer is super easy to make. You can use your favorite store bought caramel sauce to top it with. Vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream are optional, but highly recommended toppings also. Just saying.

The layers go unexpectedly well together and make the perfect dessert for Halloween or Thanksgiving. I’m even going to add these beauties to my Christmas dessert table this year. Enjoy! You deserve it.

Print Recipe
Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumble Brownies
Chocolate brownies with pumpkin cheesecake and crumb topping, topped with caramel sauce.
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Topping
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
Brownie Layer
Course Dessert
Servings
Ingredients
Crumb Topping
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
Brownie Layer
Instructions
Crumb Topping
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until well-combined and crumbles are pea-sized. Press crumbles together to make large quarter-sized chunks.
  3. Set aside in refrigerator.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Add pumpkin, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and beat until well combined. Set aside.
Brownie Layer
  1. Melt 1 stick of butter in a large microwaveable bowl.
  2. Stir in sugar until combined
  3. Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add the eggs and beat until smooth
  5. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Spread brownie batter into prepared baking pan. Smooth with a spatula.
  7. Spread pumpkin cheesecake batter over the top of brownie batter. Smooth with a spatula.
  8. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the top of pumpkin cheesecake layer.
  9. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into pumpkin cheesecake layer comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve with caramel sauce.
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