Tag: baking

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins Please

Hey Em,

So, I know you’re out there in sunny California, so you may not have heard … but here in the Midwest it’s Fall!  Let me just rub that in a little, before January rolls around and I can’t type this because it is too cold to feel my fingers.  Hope you have a lot to blog about that month …

Anyway, yes, here it’s time to start dreaming about fall colors and scarves …

Screen Shot 2013-09-16 at 6.56.31 PM

(I am way overdue for a trip to Hot Mama)

Crunching leaves in these …


styled by Pink Peonies

And wishing this exact sweater would magically show up at about 80% off at Nordstrom Rack because we sure as heck cannot pay $238 for a sweater …

grey sweater

(if you have it in the budget, please, dig out those skinny jeans then immediately click here )

But anyway, back to my request.

Dear Em, in the spirit of Fall, can you please make these?

pumpkin cheesecake muffin

via Give Peas a Chance

I came across this recipe and pretty much think the only thing that might make it better is a chocolate swirl.  So if I had the energy, I would take the above recipe, divide the pumpkin batter in half, add roughly 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips (I like these because they’re from a dedicated nut free facility), and then swirl the 3 delicious concoctions together.   It’s not that I don’t like to bake, but I know that:

  1. you actually LOVE to bake,
  2. you probably need some help getting in the Fall spirit with all those ocean breezes and avocados everywhere, and
  3. every aspiring chef needs lots of practice with pastries (I know this because on Top Chef they always fumble on the desserts).

So naturally, I thought this was an opportunity to do you a favor.

Anyway, please package 10 of them up and send them my way, so I can sit back and have one of those, with one of these:

cafe con leche

Thanks bunches.

Laura Sig

PS – Emily humored Laura and made these!  You can read about it here.

Homemade Graham Crackers


If you have little kids, then you might have an entire section of your pantry devoted to crackers.  There are graham crackers, animal crackers, saltine crackers, and don’t forget the goldfish crackers!  We ran out of crackers before naptime the other day, and I thought, “I bet I could make some crackers!”  This was followed by a list of reasons why making my own crackers would be so much better than buying them:

  • Healthier
  • Better tasting
  • Cheaper
  • More fun (the most important in my book; kitchen experiments are a major source of enjoyment)

Google took me straight to the do-it-yourself diva, Martha Stewart, for the recipe Homemade Graham Crackers.  It didn’t take long to realize that graham crackers, while being whole grain, cannot be considered healthy.  Store bought or homemade, any recipe with 2 sticks of butter is sure to be called tasty, but it would be hard pressed to be healthy.  Oh well, it might not be a healthy recipe, but I love baking and love butter!  Onward!

The recipe was super simple and quick.  I ran out of honey after 1 Tbsp (are you sensing a theme here?  I run out of things often because I 1) forget to write them on the grocery list when the supply gets low and 2) neglect to buy things on the list while at the store due to distraction by my handful of a toddler).  Well, I wasn’t about to abandon the recipe halfway in, so I substituted molasses.   Fabulous addition btw. :)

The dough was delicious.  You do need to wait 20 min while it sets in the freezer.  This is a great time to wash dishes and fold laundry.  Also, it’s just enough time to text a few friends.


(notice that these are nowhere near perfect rectangles.  I rolled these out, not Martha.   Not perfect.  Fortunately, taste has nothing to do with right angles.  Also, if you read the recipe, who has a fluted pastry wheel??  I used a pizza cutter)

Ok, these were worth the trouble and the grand total of 30 minutes active time mixing, rolling and cutting.  Unfortunately for my justifications, I’m not sure the reasons panned out.

Healthier?  Certainly less ingredients and preservatives than store bought.  Probably nix the idea of healthy cracker altogether.

Better tasting?  Definitely.  Hands down.  Y-U-M-M-Y.

Cheaper?  Nope.  The nerd in me had to fact check.  So with some excel work (Laura isn’t the only one who uses excel!) Here’s the breakdown:


This comes out to $5.20 versus $3.49 for a batch of regular graham crackers.  For me, homemade is totally worth the small added expense because it was fun, satisfying (to fill the cookie jar), and tasty.  I’ll still buy crackers at the store.  After all, they are so easy, and obviously more budget-friendly for those of us who pinch pennies.

Homemade doesn’t always win against store-bought when it comes to logic, but my taste buds are here to tell you, homemade is worth a try!  Definitely good.  If you want to see perfect crackers, check out homemade-wheat-thins by Smitten Kitchen.  Or this other recipe by her, whole-wheat-goldfish-crackers.  She seems awesome.  I bet she has a fluted pastry wheel, and I want her to invite me over for dinner.

Next time I’m going to make savory crackers.  This recipe seems simple and is not meant to be picture perfect.  Just my kind of recipe.

Ta-ta for now!

Emily sig