The tradition of enjoying the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmastime is another thing the pandemic took from us. I’m not sure when I’ll ever feel safe sitting close to people in a theater for ballets, plays or movies. In the meantime, I can enjoy the music at home and share some Nutcracker inspired treats with you.
The Nutcracker Land of Sweets is a magical theme that has me mesmerized. Gingerbread, candy canes, gumdrops and billowy clouds of pink frosting are what dreams are made of. And that’s exactly what these dreamy cupcakes are made of. The cupcake flavor is a subtle spice cake. The recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart cake recipe I made last summer. The original cake was paired with blackberry jam, but I knew plum jam would be perfect for these cupcakes. I topped them with a mildly sweet, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream.
Part of the fun of making these cupcakes began at the store as I collected the sweets to decorate the cupcakes. Another perk of the job is taste testing the candy. I discovered that purple spice drops are licorice flavored and red spice drops are cinnamon. Who knew?
The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes
Spice cupcakes filled with plum jam, topped with fluffy pink frosting, gingerbread men and Christmas candy, and dusted with sugar snow
Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of gently simmering water.
Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixture with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing the butter to fully incorporate each time before adding more.
Switch to paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla, salt and food color. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
Any respectable autumn baking recipe needs to have the three C’s. Cozy. Comforting. And of course, cinnamon! Would pumpkin-spice-anything even exist without the three C’s? I think not! These Apple Spice Cookies understood the assignment. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie.
The apples in this recipe are cooked briefly on the stovetop to bring out the flavor and create the perfect texture. Dropping raw apple chunks into cookie dough or cake batter is never a good idea. If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know that apples release liquid as they’re cooked and that liquid will end up in your baked cookies, creating soggy spots. So definitely don’t skip this step!
These gorgeous, golden brown cookies are perfectly delicious on their own, but extra credit goes to the Brown Butter Icing for taking them over the top!
Make sure to head over to TikTok to watch the video of these Apple Spice Cookies being created.
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.
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.
We’ve all needed a little cheering up at times, especially this past past year. These cute, happy tarts won’t take your problems away, but they can certainly make you smile, especially if you make them for someone else. They’re super easy to make and they taste better than the ones in the box we ate as kids. You can use store bought pie dough if you want to streamline the process. Any flavor of jam or preserves you have on hand works too!
Feel free to have fun decorating these little cuties. The possibilities are endless. You can use edible glitter, purchased candy eyes or even add mustaches. Happy baking!
I was seriously happy when I started seeing donuts appearing at weddings, bridal showers and occasions other than work meetings. I’ve always felt those sweet, fluffy rings of dough had a higher calling. They had such potential! And honestly who doesn’t love donuts? They’re delicious, but they can also be beautiful. These Lemon Buttermilk Donuts could certainly win a beauty contest. They would make a gorgeous edition to any breakfast, brunch or dessert table. The fresh lemon zest and the earthy flavor of honey will bring springtime right into your kitchen.
If you’re on the lookout for a Mother’s Day recipe, any mom will love these pretty, fragrant treats. This is a very easy recipe and the donuts bake up quickly, so you’ll have time to fix mom a cup of her favorite tea. If you don’t have a donut pan, and you’ve been reluctant to buy one, I can honestly say I love mine. It was very affordable and I’m pleased with the performance and ease of clean up with the pan I purchased. To find the donut pan click here.
In keeping with the springtime feel, I decorated my donuts with pesticide-free edible flowers. I used pansies, but if you’re unable to find them, you can substitute pesticide-free rose petals. I found these edible pansies at my local food market in the produce department, near the fresh herbs. You can also find edible flowers at farmers’ markets and online. For a list of edible flowers, click here.Note: The above pictured orange ranunculus flowers on the table are not edible.
Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Honey Cream Cheese Icing