Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Super moist and rich double chocolate zucchini bread that tastes just like chocolate fudge cake only better!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

Did you grow up eating zucchini bread?

I for one did not and I’m pretty sure none of my fellow Pakistanis did either. I didn’t even know we had zucchini in Pakistan until just recently!

Incase you are as clueless as I am, zucchini is indeed available in Pakistan.

It’s grown all year round, called ‘maaru’ in Urdu, is pale green in color, high in water content and bland in taste which makes it the perfect addition to baked goods.

It was a no-brainer I’d pick ‘Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread’ as my first zucchini recipe because, well:

a. its chocolate

b. its DOUBLE CHOCOLATE

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

Just look at it.

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It screams deliciousness!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a huge fan of fruit and vegetable based baked goods.

^case in point

I don’t know who the crazy genius was behind the idea of incorporating vegetables in baking, but whoever it was, know that I LOVE YOU enormously.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about putting in a mound of shredded green vegetable in a chocolate bread but the result blew.me.away!

It was deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

And the zucchini completely disappeared!

You can’t tell the zucchini is in there unless you’re looking for it. Which is why even my super picky, non-vegetable sisters went for seconds and thirds. We ended up devouring the entire loaf in a matter of minutes. ^.^

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

This double chocolate zucchini bread is perfect for anytime of the day, in any season and pairs wonderfully with a cup of hot coffee or tea.

I like it best when its fresh out of the oven. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and warmed in the microwave for a few seconds or until all the chocolate bits are melty and gooey…Mmm.

Go buy some zucchinis and make this bread right now!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 1 loaf
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
Ingredients:
1 cup (125g)  all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (42g) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled1
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (225g) packed shredded zucchini
¾ cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips, divided
Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
2.      Grease a 9×5 or 8×4 loaf pan. Set aside.
3.      In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4.      In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, oil, vanilla extract, and brown sugar until smooth.
5.      Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over-mix. Stir in the shredded zucchini until just combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips.
6.      Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the bread. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean. All ovens vary so keep an eye out after about 50 minutes. Mine takes 60 minutes to cook perfectly.
7.      Remove the pan from the oven. Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and carefully remove from the pan. Let the bread cool until slightly warm before cutting into slices and serving.
Notes:
1.        I use salted butter. If using unsalted butter, increase the amount of salt by just a smidgen.
2.       Shred the zucchini with the peel on.
3.       Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Recipe source: Two Peas & Their Pod

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: deliciously moist, intense and chocolatey  #moist #chocolate #zucchinibread #delicious

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{small batch} CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Craving chocolate chip cookies?
Don’t want to make a lot of effort?
Don’t want to end up with dozens of cookies?

Well this recipe, my friend, is just for you!

 

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts.
A recipe so simple, you’ll find yourself making it again and again. 10 minutes of mixing, 10 minutes of baking. That’s it! There’ll be a cookie in your hand in no time.
And trust me when I tell you, you won’t be able to stop at just one. You might end up eating all six, jussayin.

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

A FEW RECIPE NOTES:

  • The chiller the dough; the less it spreads. That’s the rule: if you want thick cookies, chill the dough in the refrigerator. It’s cold right now so I don’t chill it but if you live somewhere hot, chill the dough prior to baking!
  • The walnuts are optional. I just love the way they give more texture to anything they’re added to especially cookies, making them richer and fuller.
  • If you can’t afford to go buy a bag of chocolate chips, don’t! Add in chopped up Dairy Milk, Bournville…any chocolate!
  • This recipe requires a baking tray lined with parchment paper or wax paper. You never grease the tray for cookies! Parchment paper is the way to go.
  • When the timer goes up, you may think that there is no way these cookies are cooked. They’ll look extremely soft and under-baked. But trust me, you do not want to over bake these. They will set with time.
  • Also >> the cookies will slightly deflate as you let them cool.

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookiesSix perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

(notes my sister wants you to know)
  • Never offer just one cookie to your sister. 3 or maybe even 4 will do
  • Eat all of the cookies the day you bake them, otherwise they will become brittle and crumble away
  • If you can’t eat them all yourself don’t hesitate to give them to your sisters
  • Make sure the dough has been chilling in the fridge overnight before you tell your sisters that you’re about to make cookies

Six perfect chocolate chip cookies. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. Loaded with chocolate and walnuts. #smallbatch #chocolatechipcookies #cookies

With that out of the way, let’s bake some cookies!

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes                                                                        Yields: 6 cookies
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Ingredients:
·         3 tablespoons (42g) butter, softened
·         1/4 cup brown sugar
·         2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
·         1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
·         7 tablespoons all-purpose flour (1/2 cup minus 1 Tablespoon)
·         1/8 teaspoon baking soda
·         1/4 teaspoon salt
·         1/4 cup chopped walnuts *optional
·         1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and line a baking tray with parchment or wax paper.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside .
In a medium bowl, add the softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Next, add the egg yolk and beat until combined.
Finally, add in the dry ingredients and beat till just combined.
Fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips using a spatula or a wooden spoon.
Divide the dough equally into 6 balls, and space evenly on a baking sheet.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown on the edges and the surface begins to crack.
Let cool completely. Dig in!
Notes:
I use and recommend Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Chips.
If you live somewhere hot, chill the dough prior to baking!
If using salted butter, omit the salt.

Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie

Happy 2018 everyone!
(let’s just pretend the last 10 days didn’t happen :p)
I hope you guys had a wonderful winter break. My sisters are back in school and I’m home alone again in an early-January post-resolutions funk.  I hope you are having better luck keeping track of your resolutions. My ‘eating healthy’ one got stumped on day one.
No surprise there.
I have been trying to get back into a somewhat balanced diet routine after gorging on waffles and carrot cake all of last week, and I have started going on regular walks with my mother, so that feels good.
My work/study perspective still needs sorting out and I still need to decide on what I want to do with my life.
.
.
But other than that it’s going okay.
I have a good feeling about this year. I really do. 😀
 This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish.  #Pie #ShepherdPie

 

This bleak and dreary weather calls for some serious comfort food and starting off the blank slate of the year with something rich and indulgent just feels right.

And what could be more indulgent then a bowl of creamy mashed potatoes + macaroni + rich meat filling all together in the form of a pie.

 

 

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. #Pie #ShepherdPieThis Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. My family loved it and I’m sure yours will too.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my over-the-top version of the classic British Shepherd’s Pie

It has three parts to it:

  1. The meat sauce

  2. The mashed potatoes

  3. The macaroni

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. My family loved it and I’m sure yours will too.

It does take time to put the entire pie together but the end result will be well worth the effort, trust me.

And it’s super customizable too! You can:

  • Add in sweet corn, mushrooms, olives, jalapenos

  • Make it more/less spicy

  • Use chicken mince instead of beef

  • Leave out the macaroni layer entirely and you’ll be left with a traditional shepherd pie instead

 

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. #Pie #ShepherdPie

This Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish. My family loved it and I’m sure yours will too.

If you do make it, don’t forget to share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #spatulainmypocket

Cheers!

Shepherd’s Macaroni Pie

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Meat Sauce
¼ cup cooking oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
½ kilo ground beef (Qeema)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
4 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoon ketchup (optional but I like it saucy)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
Mashed Potatoes
2 large potatoes, boiled till tender
1 Tablespoon butter
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Macaroni
1 ½ cups boiled elbow macaroni
2 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
½ cup chicken stock or water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder
2 Tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese

 

Directions

Meat sauce:
In a pan, heat the cooking oil and fry the chopped onion till golden brown.
Add in the carrot and beef. Cook, stirring constantly till the beef turns pale.
Add in the salt, black pepper, and red chilli powder. Mix well.
Cook on high heat for another minute then add in the tomato paste, flour, cornflour, and 1 ½ cup water. Mix well.
Cover the pan with a lid and leave to cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until the beef is fully cooked, and is thick and saucy.
Mashed Potatoes:
Mash the two boiled potatoes along with the butter and milk.
Mix in the seasonings.
Add in more milk if needed to reach a smooth consistency.
Macaroni:
In a saucepan, melt the butter.
Add in the flour, salt, black pepper and mustard powder. Mix with a wooden spoon.
Add in the milk and stock and mix constantly on a low heat.
As soon as the sauce starts thickening and bubbling, turn off heat and add in the cheese and the cooked macaroni. Mix well
Assembling:
Grease a large oven-proof casserole dish. Pour in whole of the meat sauce.
Ladle on top the macaroni.
Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the macaroni layer or you may pipe the potatoes with a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
Top with a little cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes or until the top is a lovely golden brown.

This Shepherd Macaroni Pie is warm, hearty, and super comforting: the makings of a perfect wintertime comfort dish.  #Pie #ShepherdPie

Banana Nut Muffins

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

Kindly excuse my sporadic blogging schedule. I have been all over the place this year; the first half of which went by so quickly and the rest…excruciatingly slow.

Nothing remotely exciting happened in 2017 apart from the fact that I graduated from my university and was left at a tailspin of what to do next. Bouts of depression, tears, and heartbreaks is what tainted the last couple of months.

To say I’m looking forward to 2018 would be an understatement.

I hope it brings the much needed miracles, smiles, and opportunities.

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

It’s fitting to end with a blog post featuring a recipe I found and fell endlessly in love with this year.

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

A combination of sheer boredom and moldy bananas is what led me to first make these muffins.

I’ve gone on to make these many more times since then, and I can safely say my family and I are hooked!

They’re soft, not overly sweet, full of nuts and O so moist! There is simply no other way to describe how soft and delicious these banana walnut muffins are.

You won’t be able to have just one.

 

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

 

And they’re highly adaptable too. Add in a swirl of peanut butter, a giant dollop of Nutella

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

…or leave them plain.

They’re delicious either way!

anana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat.

These muffins are best served fresh out of the oven with a cup of tea.

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and warmed in the microwave before serving.

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If you make these muffins, do share a picture with the hashtag #spatulainmypocket on Instagram. I’d love to see your creations 🙂

Banana Nut Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 12
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Ingredients:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt1
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4-5 bananas)
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup milk, at room temperature2
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners, set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, brown sugar, granulated sugar, melted butter, milk and egg. Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add half of the chopped walnuts to the batter and fold gently until just combined
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining chopped walnuts.
Bake until golden brown about 20-25 minutes. They should spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in the muffin pan before devouring.
Notes:
1.       If using salted butter, omit the salt
2.       Make sure that the milk is at room temperature or even slightly warm. Cold milk will cause the butter to solidify.
Recipe adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker

Banana Nut Muffins. The squishiest, most delicious muffins you’ll ever eat. #muffins #bananamuffins #banana #breakfast

CUPCAKE MASSACRE {Halloween Special}

Happy Halloween errybady!

It’s not that late to whip up a batch of these scary yet cute cupcakes.

Cupcake Massacre. This would make for a perfect centerpiece for a Halloween celebration!

 

Halloween or not, these cupcakes make for an adorable treat minus the blood splatters.

And they’re super easy too.

Cupcake Massacre. This would make for a perfect centerpiece for a Halloween celebration!

Here’s what you need to make this cupcake massacre for your Halloween party:

Cupcakes

I posted a recipe of my favorite chocolate cupcakes just a few days ago. You can find the recipe HERE. They’re super moist, fudgy and will make for the perfect base for all the spooky décor on top.

Frosting

I used my recipe for Buttercream frosting I posted years ago for all the cupcakes. Buttercream is light and creamy and holds its shape perfectly for piping.

Recipe: HERE and HERE

Owl Cupcakes

 

These wide eyed Owl Cupcakes make for an adorably gory Halloween treat!

You will need:

Chocolate Frosting

Red M&Ms

Chocolate chips or chocolate M&Ms

Oreos

Method:

  1. Spread chocolate frosting on top of the cupcake.

  2. Push two Oreo wedges into the top edge of the cupcake to make the ears.

  3. Top with two whole Oreo halves, icing side up for eyes. Dot the bottom of two chocolate chips or chocolate M&Ms with frosting and place on top of Oreo halves for eyeballs.

  4. Place a red M&M in the center for the nose.

Cookie Monster Cupcakes

 

Gashed up cookie monster cupcakes

You will need:

Blue tinted Frosting (using Americolor Sky Blue Food Coloring)

Plain White frosting

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mini Chocolate Chips

Multi-Opening Decorating Tip (Wilton Cake Decorating Tip 233)

Plain round piping tip

Disposable Piping Bag

Method:

  1. Spread a thin layer of blue frosting on top of the cupcake

  2. Fill a piping bag fitted with the multi-opening piping tip and fill it with the remaining blue frosting

  3. Make the Cookie Monster’s fur by applying even pressure to the piping bag and pulling directly up. (Watch this tutorial for a better idea) Cover the entire top of the Cookie Monster Cupcake with blue fur.

  4. Pipe small dots of plain white frosting as the two eyes. Place a mini chocolate chip on each as eyeballs.

  5. Stick one half of a chocolate chip cookie into the frosting to represent the Cookie Monsters’ mouth.

(on some cupcakes, I used the white part of an Oreo as the base of the eyes. But I think the white frosting looks better)

Bloody Broken Glass Cupcakes

*Inspired by the awesome Scran Line

Broken glass cupcakes with gashes and dribbles of blood.

You will need:

Grey tinted Frosting (using Wilton Black Food Coloring)

Edible Blood

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 M Wilton round Piping Tip

Disposable Piping Bag

Rice Crispies

Method:

  1. To prepare the sugar glass, melt the sugar in a pan over medium high heat till it starts changing color (do NOT stir). Pour onto a greased dish, throw on top some sugar crystals for a jaded effect and set aside to harden.

  2. Transfer the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip. Pipe swirls of frosting onto the cupcake.

  3. Using a knife, make gashes into the piped frosting. Drizzle the edible blood on top and let it trickle down the gashes.

  4. Top with shards of the prepared sugar glass.

Bloody cupcakes with maggots and gashes.

Or throw on some maggots aka Rice Crispies.

Bloody cupcakes with maggots and gashes.

Group them together.

Drizzle spatters of blood on top and there you have it!

Your very own cupcake massacre.

Cupcake Massacre. This would make for a perfect centerpiece for a Halloween celebration!

 

This would make for a perfect centerpiece for a Halloween celebration!

It’s definitely an attention grabber.

Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

I’ve made a lot of cupcakes in my time. Some using one egg, two eggs, some with no eggs. Some with butter, some with oil. Some with coffee, some without.

I’ve tried all kinds of variations in the hope of finding the perfectly moist, melt-in-your mouth chocolate cupcake.

And trust me when I tell you, I have finally found my favorite version to share with you.

This is it!

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting

This ridiculously easy, no mixer-needed recipe takes literally minutes to put together. And the result you ask? Sheer perfection.

Rich, moist, indulgent, and deliciously chocolatey; the perfect base for a big swirl of frosting.

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting

 

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting

These cupcakes pair well with all kinds of different flavors;

  • Peanut butter

  • Oreos

  • Peppermint

  • Salted caramel!!

But chocolate on chocolate is my favorite way to go.

 

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting

This frosting is a Chocolate Fudge Buttercream: rich, fudgy whipped buttery goodness. It’s making my mouth salivate just writing about it…

Its dark, creamy and o’so dreamy.

This frosting will BLOW. YOUR. MIND.

The chocolate cupcakes are made with cocoa. The flavor is very dark, but not bitter in the least.

Then the combination of oil, coffee & buttermilk makes these cupcakes super moist. The cupcakes in no way taste of coffee. The hot coffee just helps the cocoa “bloom” and develop the intense chocolate flavor making them darker and richer.

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting

Important tip!!
Make sure you fill the cupcake liners only 2/3 of the way full. Not ½ or all the way to the top.

Cupcake conundrums

Overfilling will lead to overflowing of the batter and result in flat mushroom tops.

Underfilling will result in tiny cupcakes with an unappealing overhang of the cupcake liner

If you want the perfectly risen cupcake…2/3 is the way to go!

 

Moist chocolate cupcakes topped with a fudgy chocolate frosting

Everyone should have a classic chocolate cupcake recipe in their life.

This is mine.

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Hope you love it as much as I do.

If you do try it, post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #spatulainmypocket

I love to see all your creations 🙂

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Prep Time: 5 minutes                                                                        Yields: 12 cupcakes
Cook Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Ingredients:
Chocolate Cupcakes
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cornflour, leveled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
1/4 cup hot coffee2
3 Tablespoon oil
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Chocolate Frosting
6 tablespoons (90g)  butter, softened to room temperature
2 and 1/2 cup icing’ sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
4-6 Tablespoons milk

 

Directions:
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line a cupcake pan with liners.
In a large bowl; whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cornflour, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, coffee, oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry while whisking vigorously; batter will be thin. (Pouring batter into a measuring jug makes it much easier to distribute into the cupcake pan.)
Portion out batter into cupcake tins.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until springy to the touch.
Allow to cool completely.
For the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy. Turn speed to low and slowly add the sugar, and the cocoa powder. Add tablespoons of milk in between. Beat until sugar/cocoa are absorbed into the butter, about 2 minutes. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat till frosting is smooth and shiny. Add more milk if frosting is stiff. Add more sugar if frosting is too loose.
Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes. Top with sprinkles if desired.
These cupcakes are best at room temperature and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Notes
1.      Homemade buttermilk: ¼ tsp vinegar + 1/3 cup whole milk.
2.    I use a ¼ cup boiling water mixed with a ¼ tsp of instant coffee granules.

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

The time has come when mangoes and peaches have made their final descent and hot sweaty days of slaving in the kitchen are officially a distant memory.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

 I may have found it hard saying goodbye to my summer desserts but I am loving fall and everything it has bought with it.

The cool crisp air. The warm brown orange hues. The piles of beautiful autumn leaves on the pavement.  The early sunsets. Halloween!

Pumpkin muffins. Warm tea. And apples. Lots and lots of beautiful apples and with it an endless list of things to make.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.  Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

I can’t think of a better way to welcome fall with open arms than with these warm cinnamon-ny apple pie bars.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.

The perfect fall dessert!

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

These bars struck me in the middle of a caramel cinnamon autumnal daydream.

I was craving apple pie but had neither the patience nor an audience to feed an entire pie. This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction proved to be a Godsend!

A quick version of the classic apple pie without all the hassle.

These apple pie bars taste even better than the original and they’re much easier to make.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel.  Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

They richness from the shortbread crust, the sweetness of the apples, the nuttiness from the crumble and the saltiness of the caramel together create magic in your mouth.

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

These nutty apple pie bars consist of 4 delicious components:

  1. The shortbread crust is flaky and buttery and takes literally seconds to put together

  2. The apples are warm and gooey and they make your entire house smell of cinnamon a smell so deliriously good, it makes me want to bottle it up and wear it as perfume.

  3. The crumble is made up of oats, brown sugar, walnuts and more cinnamon. It has to be my favorite part of these bars. This crumble topping has infact been featured on the blog before. Remember this beautiful peach pie from last summer? Yup that’s the same crumble on top. The same bits of crumbly buttery deliciousness.

  4. The salted caramel to balance the richness and sweetness. You can skip it out completely but I mean why would you? Its salted caramel!! Edible molten gold! *swoooon*

You may think that all these layers and components would take a lot of time to put together but trust me when I tell you, this recipe is super quick. There’s no chilling or blind baking involved. It takes no more than 20 minutes to put the whole dish together and bang it into the oven.

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

A note about the original recipe:

Sally‘s version calls for 115g of butter and ¼ cup of sugar for the crust. I found the crust too greasy and sweet the first time I made this recipe and so I used less butter and also reduced the sugar the second time around. This ratio works out perfectly.

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

 

Have it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and I guarantee they’ll become one of your favorite fall treats as soon as you take the first bite!

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

See you soon with some spooky treats. 😉

 

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars

 

Ingredients:
Shortbread Crust
90g (6 Tablespoons) butter, melted
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Apple Filling
2 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick, makes 3-4 cups)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
Crumble
1/2 cup quick cooking or old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped *optional
60g butter, cold and cubed
Salted Caramel
I use this recipe.
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.
For the crust: In a bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the flour and stir until everything is well combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes while you prepare the rest of the components.
For the apple filling: Combine everything in a large bowl, and mix until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.
For the crumble: In a bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and flour. Cut in the chilled butter using two forks or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Assembling: Remove the crust from the oven. Evenly and tightly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. Press them down to make them fit. Sprinkle with the crumble topping and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown. Meanwhile prepare the salted caramel using this recipe.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20-30 minutes at room temperature before slicing. Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I cut them into 8 large bars for the pictures but usually cut them into bite size pieces since they are quite rich. Once cut, salted caramel sauce. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and enjoy.
These apple pie bars are best served warm but they taste amazing cold too. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Shortbread crust. Cinnamon apples. Crumb topping. Salted caramel. Apple pie bars...The perfect fall dessert!

Iced Lemon Pound Cake

October has begun and so has fall. The avalanche of pumpkins, apples and cinnamon has already hit us. And here I am…still hanging onto my summer desserts.

This super tender, delicious lemon pound cake makes for a perfect evening snack.

 

I’m not ashamed of it. Not one bit. I would gladly eat a slice of this moist, buttery lemon cake any day of the year.

 

This super tender, delicious lemon pound cake makes for a perfect evening snack.

 

I love my monstrous frosted layered cake creations but sometimes, just sometimes, I crave the comfort of a simple, homely, fresh out of the oven cake. A cake that doesn’t ask for planning or fancy detailing. A cake that can be whipped up in minutes.

This lemon pound cake is just that.

Simple, delicious, and ridiculously easy to make.

 

This super tender, delicious lemon pound cake makes for a perfect evening snack.

It has a soft, fluffy, moist texture with a bright lemon kick from the tangy glaze on top. It’s buttery and lemony and it literally melts in your mouth. And it couldn’t be easier to make.

This super tender, delicious lemon pound cake makes for a perfect evening snack.

Here are some tips to remember:

  1. A pound cake gets its fine, dense (not heavy) texture from the all the mixing. The mixing incorporates air, creating volume, which then levels the loaf. So make sure you beat the sugar and butter well and again after the addition of each egg.

  2. Buttermilk gives you a moist, flavorful cake. The acidity in the buttermilk reacts with the baking powder making the cake lighter in texture. To make homemade buttermilk; combine ½ cup whole milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice.

  3. The cake gets most of its flavor from the lemon zest so make sure you do not skimp on the zest. Only use the thin, yellow zest layer of the lemon, which contains the lemon oils, and avoid the white layer which tastes bitter.

  4. Grease your loaf pan very well. I like to oil the pan, line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper, and then coat the pan with flour. This ensures that the cake will pop right out of the pan in one piece.

Once the cake is slightly cooled, I like to top it off with a thick lemon glaze. The glaze gives the cake a burst of citrus flavor and takes on a beautiful almost matte finish once it hardens.

 

This super tender, delicious lemon pound cake makes for a perfect evening snack.

It has become go-to lemon pound cake recipe. Maybe it will become yours too. 🙂

Lemon Pound Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: one 9 inch loaf
Cook Time: 45 to 55 minutes
Ingredients:
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon (around 1 teaspoon)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature (see notes below)
For the glaze:
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon milk
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Dust with flour, shake off the excess.
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar. Add in the butter and beat with a hand mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
With the mixer on low, add about one-third of the flour mixture and mix until almost combined, then add half the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of flour mixture and then the last half of the buttermilk, ending with the last third of the flour. Beat until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 45 – 55 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for about 10 – 15 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan to finish cooling before glazing.
Meanwhile make the glaze; combine all the glaze ingredients, start with 1 tbsp lemon juice and milk and add the remaining lemon juice as needed. The icing should be thick and smooth. Add more lemon juice or powdered sugar if needed to get the correct pouring consistency. Slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Let it dry before slicing the cake.
Notes
1.       Homemade buttermilk: ½ cup milk + 1 tsp vinegar
2.       This cake will keep about 4 days at room temperature or upto one week in the refrigerator.

This super tender, delicious lemon pound cake makes for a perfect evening snack.