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.

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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!

Fudgy Nutella Brownies

I have found a new favorite brownies recipe and it involves lots and lots of Nutella.

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

My love for Nutella is nothing new on this blog. (Remember these Nutella cinnamon rolls? Nutella swirl muffins?!)

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Nutella is one of man’s best gift to mankind.

Also, maybe the worst.

The eating straight-out-of-the jar habit has me looking like a beached whale. o.o

 

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

I’m obsessed, and this obsession resulted in me adding lots and lots of Nutella to my brownies.

Because why not?

 

There’s no such thing as too much chocolate. Am I right or am I right?

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

And these brownies… oh man.

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

Chewy around the edges, fudgy on the inside. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

Thick? ✓

Fudgy? ✓

Crispy, crackly top? ✓

Swirls of Nutella? ✓

Brownies to end all brownies? ✓ ✓

 

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

If you’re looking for a rich indulgent treat, these are it. Make these today, tonight, right this moment! Trust me you won’t regret it.

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I’ve ever made.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and hashtag any of your creations to #spatulainmypocket. I would love to see your creations! Also like my Facebook and other social media so we can keep in touch.

Fudgy Nutella Brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 20 squares
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:
1 cup (200g) melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup Nutella
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease a 13×9 baking dish.
In the bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, and baking powder.
Add flour mixture gradually to the wet mixture. Mix intil fully incorporated.
Microwave the 1 cup of Nutella for about 30-60 seconds to soften. Mix the melted Nutella into the batter, saving a couple of tablespoons for the top.
Pour it into the prepared baking dish.
Spoon the remaining Nutella on top of the brownie batter. Drag a knife back and forth across the batter to create swirls.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting.
Notes:
1.       The key to the fudginess: DO NOT OVER-BAKE. Bake until just firm. The toothpick test doesn’t work on this as the center will be gooey when they first come out of the oven but will set as they cool down which brings me to my second point…
2.      Let them cool completely before slicing them up!! I cannot emphasize enough how fudgy these are. You have to let them cool to room temperature to get proper squares. If you’re impatient like I first was, you’ll end up with a gooey, albeit delicious, mess on your hands :p Trust me, they are worth every single minute of the tortuous wait.

 

Recipe source: Genius Kitchen 

 

Fudgy on the inside, chewy around the edges. These brownies are the BEST brownies I_ve ever made.

Death by Chocolate Cake + World Chocolate Day!

4 years of college. Over and done with.
More on that later…

LET’S HAVE CAKE TO CELEBRATE.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

It is World Chocolate Day after all. And it’d be rude not to indulge in chocolate (not that I do it everyday? Those last 4 jars of Nutella. Nop. Not me.)

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

This is hands down the best chocolate cake you will ever taste.

It is super easy to make; no fancy equipment, no complicated ingredients needed. Just two bowls and a whisk (a mixer, if you’re me).

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

I went for the naked cake look because my family isn’t too big on frosting. Also, I think naked cakes look prettier.

I used my rusty 6-inch cake pan for a taller cake. And topped it all off with some of these beautiful flowers from the garden.

Some tips to make sure your cake turns out perfect every single time:

  • Make sure the eggs and milk are at room temperature. Makes a world of difference! Trust me

  • DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice

  • Butter at room temperature for a smooth, cream frosting is a MUST. It should be soft but not too soft that’s its melting and has an oily sheen to it

  • No, sugar crushed in a grinder will not work for the frosting

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

Try this cake for the next birthday party, anniversary, World Chocolate Day — it’s a show-stopper!

Death by Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
Chocolate Cake
·         1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
·         1 and 3/4 cup granulated sugar
·         3/4 cup cocoa powder
·         1 tsp baking powder
·         2 tsp baking soda
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
·         1/2 cup vegetable oil
·         2 large eggs, at room temperature
·         1 tsp vanilla extract
·         1 cup freshly made strong hot coffee2
 
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  • 250g butter
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3-5 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Ganache for the drip
·         1/2 cup  cream
·         1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Fresh flowers for the top

 

Directions:
1.       Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Grease & flour three 6 inch round cake pans3, and line them with parchment paper.
2.      For the cake: In a bowl, whisk together hot coffee and cocoa till a thick mix forms. Set aside to cool.
3.      Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
4.      In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar till a bit pale in color. Mix in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee cocoa mixture. Mix until combined.
5.      Divide the batter into prepared baking pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
6.      For the frosting: In a large bowl, sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder.
7.      In another bowl, using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and pale in color. With the speed on low, add in half of the sugar and the cocoa powder. Beat till combined. Then add in the rest of the sugar/cocoa mix. Turn mixer to medium speed and add the vanilla, cream and milk tablespoon by tablespoon. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for 1 minute. Add more icing sugar if too lose or add more milk if too thick.
8.     For the ganache: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a simmer (or microwave till hot). Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let sit for about 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Allow ganache to cool and thicken for about 30 minutes.
9.      Assemble the cake: Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a plate. With a palette knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, spread with frosting. Place the third layer on top, plain side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Scrape off the excess frosting for the ‘naked cake’ look I went for. Place cake in the fridge till cool to the touch. Then, pour over the top the chocolate ganache, let it drip round the edges. Top with fresh flowers, and enjoy!
Notes
1.       DIY Buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk (at room temperature) + 1 Tbsp. white vinegar or lemon juice
2.      I use 1 cup boiling water + 1 tsp instant coffee
3.      You can use two 8-inch or two 9-inch cake pans instead too

 

 

3 layers of rich moist chocolate cake, sandwiched with a dreamy creamy chocolate fudge frosting, and topped with drizzles of smooth lush chocolate ganache.

Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins

It may not feel like fall yet but summer is definitely over. College starts tomorrow and I am, needless to say, already heading towards depression.

Last year of college! Can you blame me?

Oh the jitters. Which would justify why I’ve been hankering down in the kitchen everyday all day long. Nothing like some good fall baking to make everything better.

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

 

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. Bursting with fall flavors, these muffins will make your house smell like the most glorious bakery in Italy.

 

Pumpkin and Chocolate were meant to be together and when that chocolate is in the form of luscious Nutella, you know the muffins are bound to be out-of-this-world good.

They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist.

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You won’t be able to stop at one!

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

For my fellow Pakistani peeps who aren’t accustomed to the pumpkin ecstasy, let me tell you that it is d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s!

Pumpkin puree makes everything silky, soft and extremely moist. It doesn’t have a very distinct flavor which is why you add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to amplify it.

I have yet to see pumpkin puree being sold here in the supermarkets of Islamabad, which is why I made my own pumpkin puree from scratch. I’ll do a step by step post on it if you like. It’s very simple, just slice a pumpkin up, de-seed it, and roast in the oven till fork-tender. Cool and then scoop out all the soft bits. Chopperize or blend till smooth. Fill up disposable Ziploc bags with it and freeze. It lasts for up to a year.

Be it the classic Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread or Pumpkin Fettuccine, homemade pumpkin puree can be used for all sorts of things; both sweet and savory.

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

Give pumpkin a try. You won’t regret it. 🙂

Pumpkin Nutella Swirl Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes                                                                        Yields: 18 muffins
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (read description above)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella spread
Directions:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease the tray well with cooking oil.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, and oil until well-combined. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture and milk to the pumpkin mixture alternatively, starting and ending with the flour, until everything is just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX.
Spoon batter into the muffin tray cavities, filling about 3/4 of the way full.
Place the Nutella into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 20-30 seconds or until it thins out. Using a teaspoon, drop a spoonful or two of Nutella onto the top of each muffin and swirl with a knife.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden brown. Best served warm!
*Store leftovers in an airtight container. Warm in microwave before serving.
Recipe source: Inside BruCrew Life

These pumpkin Nutella swirl muffins are the BOMB. They’re soft, tender, and extremely moist. You won’t be able to stop at one!

Baking 101

Today, instead of a recipe, we are going to do a Bake Like Noor 101. (Three cheers! Woohoo!)

Finding the perfect recipe (only on Spatula in My Pocket, yo) is only the first step in the magical world of baking. Since I know the struggle of a beginner baker, I’ll be guiding you through the basics, There is a lot to know and I am really excited to share all! So, I’ve divided it into various sessions:

  • Basic Baking Tools

  • Bakeware

  • Baking ingredients

  • Baking hacks and DIY stuff

First off, we have the basic baking tools that every single one of you should have; regardless of the fact that you’re a die-hard baker like me or just an occasional one timer. It’s a small list of relatively inexpensive items that will be an investment for years to come. You don’t need fancy equipment for baking, sometimes just a faithful whisk and a good ole bowl does the work. I still use my mum’s shaadi-wala (more than 25 years old) hand beater and cake tins. Plain and simple. Nothing fancy and over the top.

Baking 101

I am not saying that you should go all out and buy all of these tools at once. When I started baking, I admit, I hardly had any of this stuff and didn’t even know about them. It’s with time that I learnt and started investing.

All these tools are brought from either Pakistan, Saudi Arab, and America. I will give you an in-depth detail of each tool. Links to where I bought them and the prices are mentioned at the bottom. Hopefully you’ll find them or even better alternates.

Measuring Tools

Basic Baking Tools

I started off using mugs that we use for tea as the measuring cups and the normal tablespoons and teaspoons that we use to eat as measuring spoons. It is with baking over and over again that I leaned that baking is not art but more of a science. Precision and accuracy in measurements is paramount to a good baked product.

Basic Baking Tools

I used to use the measuring cup for wet ingredients too, and that is so so wrong. Liquids are different from dry ingredients. They weigh different, and if you forget that, it can all go wrong from there. So use a pyrex measuring cup for liquid ingredients. Proper measuring cups for dry ingredients. And for smaller quantities use actual measuring spoons and not the spoons you use to eat dinner with.

Basic Baking Tools

This measuring jug is plastic, which I wouldn’t recommend. It’s near to its end, doesn’t clean up that nice either. A nice pyrex one is on my to-buy-list. It should be on yours too.

Electric Hand Mixer

Basic Baking Tools

An electric hand mixer for all the mixing and beating, yielding perfectly smooth and fluffy frostings and batters. It dates back to before I was even born. It’s my mum’s and I’ve been using it for years, and it works perfectly fine.

Spaaatooolas

Basic Baking Tools

YOU MUST BUY THESE. These beautiful, magical, man-made creations. They wipe your bowls so clean that not a spick of batter is left hanging there. They glide ever so smoothly, making mixing a dream; smoothing and delicious. And they cost near to nothing! My favorite is the orange one. It broke. Split in two. Like my heart.

Silicone Brushes

tbrushes-3

Excellent for greasing pans with butter or oil, perfect for egg-washing and glazing, easy to clean; overall perfecto!

Cupcake liners

Basic Baking Tools

No you cannot grease a cupcake tray and then pour in the batter and bake cupcakes straightaway. You need paper liners. Why? Because cupcakes are not muffins. Cupcakes are soft and moist and much more delicate than muffins. They’ll stick like glue to your cupcake tray and you’ll be left with trying to scour out each cupcake out and scratching it while scrubbing it clean. Cupcake liners not only help make eating a cupcake easier, they also help the make the handling of the cupcakes so much easier. Also how pretty do they look… Tiny polka dot, bright pink ones with hearts, pink check boxed ones… totes adorbs.

Offset Spatula

Basic Baking Tools

An angled or an “offset” spatula is very useful for frosting cupcakes and cakes, and loosening cakes and cookies from their pans. I have a large 10” one for smoothly frosting large layer cakes and a non-stick one of loosening cookie and brownies from the parchment paper.

Basic Baking Tools

A palette knife like seen here is also helpful for the same reasons.

Baking pans

Basic Baking Tools

Baking pans are obviously a necessity. Round pans for cakes. Loaf pans for breads. Loose-bottom pans for cheesecakes. Muffin trays for cupcakes. Donut pan for donuts. You name it, you need it. There a pan out there for everything and IWANTTHEMALL. Baby steps. Start with a basic 8-inch round cake pan, a square 8-inch pan for brownies, and a standard 12-sized cupcake tray for cupcakes. Also, if you’re into homemade pizza, then a round pizza tray would be needed.

Prestige and Wilton are the top-notch brands for baking ware. Prestige is easily available in every big supermarket here in Pakistan. Wilton bakeware can be ordered online (link mentioned at the end of the post).

Parchment Paper

Basic Baking Tools

It not only helps prevent cakes or anything for that matter from sticking to the pan but also for stacking and storing cookies or even frozen parathas in the freezer.

Ice cream Scoop

Basic Baking Tools

An ice cream scoop is not just meant for scooping ice cream. Trust me when I say I’ve hardly ever used it for ice cream. This is the most versatile tool in my baking tool box. I use it for:

  • Scooping out perfectly proportioned cookies

  • Scooping out cupcake batter leading to same sized cupcakes

Sifter:

Basic Baking Tools

For light airy cakes, and smooth frosting without any sugar or cocoa lumps…that’s where a sifter comes in.

Piping Tips and Piping Bags

Basic Baking Tools

Wilton piping tips and plastic piping bags for those beautiful swirls and piped roses on cupcakes and cakes. Bought them from Amazon, got them shipped here through a friend. A set of four basic tips, comes with 12 piping bags. Extremely good quality. I recently bought more piping tips through a Facebook page (I’ll leave the link down below), and let me tell you that even though they are nowhere near Wilton, they are pretty darn good.

Whisk

Basic Baking Tools

One of the most inexpensive tools I reckon in my kitchen and most definitely in yours too. It is the most effective and invaluable. Perfect for mixing both dry ingredients and liquid ingredients. If you don’t have an electric beater, then the whisk is the way to go.

Basic Baking Tools

If you bake, you will need a cooling wire rack. Great for:

  • Cooling cookies and cakes

  • Catching the drips off of donuts and cookies

Wooden spoons

I swear by these. They’re hard and sturdy. Make mixing cookie dough so much easier. Perfect for dealing with hot caramels as well.

Basic Baking Tools

All these products have been bought from either:

  • Al-Fatah, Islamabad

  • Hyperpanda, Madina

  • Amazon, Seattle

  • Baking Tools, Facebook Page

Prices: all below Rs. 1500 excluding the electric hand beater (which in my mum’s time, I’m sure, cost below Rs. 1000…but they’re pretty dang expensive now)

Basic Baking Tools

 

Mini Pizza Pies

The recipe I am sharing today is a Family FAVORITE.

All families have certain dishes they love to cook and eat. Mine goes gaga for these mini pizza pockets! Put 12 dozen in front of them and they’ll still demand more.

I am sure you will face the same situation with your siblings, cousins, random guests when you try these magical pockets of dough and cheese and everything nice. (unless they are gluten intolerant. Oops)

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

This recipe is especially handy because it makes A LOT of mini pizzas pies (3 dozen to be exact). So they are the perfect, fuss-free party food. Easy to make, fun to eat.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

The chicken mixture is a scaled down version of the filling in the Chicken Bread I posted eons ago. A very simple, creamy chicken filling made with loads of butter, milk, and cheese. Divine. (calories, what calories?)

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

Also, these pies feature:

  • fresh bell pepper

  • sweet corn

  • tomato

You can customize the vegs according to your own taste. Leave out the corn if it makes you gag. Add mushrooms instead, or even olives would be lovely.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

The recipe is super fun to make. Get your kids or siblings involved and make a kitchen party out of it like we did!

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

I rolled out the dough, got my sisters to cut it out in circles, place them in the cupcake tray, and then fill em up.

First the pizza sauce or chili garlic sauce, then comes the chicken filling, then the vegetables, all topped with shredded mozzarella. Bake till the dough is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly on top.

Dip into a bowl of this sweet and sour imli chutney and I dare you to stop at one.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

If making for a party, you can prepare them beforehand, cover the cupcake tray with foil, and keep refrigerated till you’re ready to bake them. They take literally less than 20 minutes to cook. They also freeze well. Line the unbaked versions in a airtight container or a ziplock bag and freeze for upto 3 months. The day you need to use them, leave to thaw till the oven gets preheated and then bake as you would normally.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

You’ll be the Queen/King of the household after you make these… Or their pizza pie slave forever.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!

 

Try the recipe and let me know how they turn out by sharing a picture on Instagram with this hashtag #spatulainmypocket!

Happy baking!

Mini Pizza Pies

Yields: around 3 dozen
Ingredients:
Homemade pizza dough (for the recipe click HERE)
CHICKEN FILLING
1 Tablespoon butter
4 Tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1 chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 Tablespoons flour, heaped
½ teaspoon salt, leveled
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder (optional)
¼  cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry oregano
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 green chilies, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Storebought pizza sauce
TOPPINGS
Tomato, chopped
Sweet corn
Green Bell Pepper, chopped
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Directions:
Prepare the dough and allow it to rise according to the instructions mentioned HERE.
For the filling: In a pan melt the butter and add the onion. Fry till the onions become soft and transparent. Add the chicken, flour, salt, black pepper, and mustard powder. Mix till combined. Take the pan off the heat and add the milk. Turn on the heat again, at low to medium flame, and stir constantly with the help of a wooden spoon. Add the oregano leaves, ketchup, green chilies, and coriander. Allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C and grease a cupcake tray lightly with cooking oil.
On a floured counter top, roll out half the dough in a rectangle. Cut out circles using a round cookie cutter.
Fix each round of dough in the cupcake tray. Add a dollop of pizza sauce in each, followed by a spoonful of the chicken filling, the vegetables. Top with cheese.
Bake for 15-20 minutes till its golden brown.
Repeat till all the dough and filling is used up.
Notes:
·         Best served fresh out of the oven. Can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Warm in the microwave before serving.
·         You might end up with leftover dough. You can freeze it or use it to make pizza pockets filling them up with sausages and cheese.

Mini Pizza Pies. The perfect snack idea!