Fall Baking

I’ve been baking up a storm lately!  (I guess I shouldn’t use the “s” word so lightly in the wake of Hurricane Sandy… but regardless, I have been baking a lot.)  I was so excited to make cupcakes for a Halloween party last weekend, and I decided to repeat my St. Patrick’s Day cupcake recipe because those delectable delights are just too delicious for one holiday.  I bring you: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes.

Side note:  My mom laughed when I told her what I was making.  I didn’t realize an Irish Car Bomb was a real thing (beside the drink, of course).  My generation can be so naïve.

You start with chocolate cupcakes made with Guinness.

 Then you mix of some ganache (a fancy name for filling) with Jameson.

Scoop the middle out of the cupcakes and spoon in the ganache.

Last comes the icing.  Buttercream frosting with Baileys.  This is by far the best part!  (Especially if Baileys happens to be a staple in your diet during the colder months.)

Add some yummy decorations….   

 The finished product.

Unfortunately the ganache turned out too hard this time around, but I think the frosting made up for it.  These little cuties are perfect for any holiday!  You can find the full recipe on this amazing blog with an amazing name: Brown Eyed Baker

In addition to cupcakes, I baked my first pie completely from scratch!  Coconut Sweet Potato Pie from The Boozy Baker:

 Coconut Sweet Potato Pie Recipe:

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 pound unsalted butter; well chilled and cut into cubes
1 tsp coconut rum
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

For the Filling:
2 large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons coconut rum
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt 

1.  To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and coconut in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the cubes of butter and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand.  Add the coconut rum and then the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough comes together in large clumps.  Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for one hour.
2.  Roll the dough out on a floured work surface into a 12" circle.  Transfer to a 9" pie plate and crimp the edges with a fork.  Transfer the crust to the refrigerator and chill while you make the filling.
3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  To make the filling, pierce the potatoes several times with a fork.  Bake the potatoes until they are tender and yield easily when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly.  Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees, and position rack in the lower third of the oven.
4.  Cut open the potatoes and scrape the flesh into a large bowl.  Discard the skins.  Mash the potatoes with a fork until very smooth.  You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
5.  Whisk the brown sugar, coconut milk, coconut rum, eggs, cinnamon and salt into the mashed sweet potatoes.  Pour the mixture into the chilled crust and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pie is barely set in the center.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool. 

The crust got a little burnt and my sweet potatoes were not quite ripe enough, but overall the flavor and texture were great.  

Kua also got lucky during my baking craze with some exquisite little PB dog biscuits.  She finished her first one in about 11 seconds.  I think she’ll be giving these to all her doggie friends for Christmas this year!

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits Recipe:
½ cup water (add more water later if required)
½ cup oil
2 eggs
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup oats 
Blend wet ingredients together. Whisk dry ingredients together and mix into wet mixture to form a ball of dough. Roll out and shape. Put onto a non-stick cookie tray or lightly greased one. Cook 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn off oven and allow the biscuits to cool in oven until crisp and hard. Store in airtight container.



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