Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Nutella deep dish chocolate chip skillet cookie

Another super satisfying deep dish chocolate chip skillet cookie - this one is filled with Nutella for a fun, melty surprise inside! Serve with a scoop of ice cream for maximum happiness!
Skillet cookies have to be one of my new favorite things to bake. Essentially, I create a cookie dough and press it all into one pan and bake it. No rolling, no cookie sheets, and no cookie scoops required. It's a wonderful way to enjoy a cookie and get to eat AN ENTIRE SLICE of it in one sitting.

How big you cut your slices is totally up to you. So if you need more cookie, give yourself a bigger piece. (and let's be honest - who doesn't need a bigger slice of a cookie?)

As with all skillet cookies, this is best served slightly warm and with a scoop of ice cream. Don't over bake this because the cookie will firm up and set as it cools. You don't want a crunchy cookie, unless that's your thing.

If you don't like Nutella, you can substitute with your favorite peanut-butter like spread (Biscoff, anyone?).

Nutella deep dish chocolate chip skillet cookie
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips of choice
  • 1/2 cup Nutella or other hazelnut spread
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a standard 10" cast iron pan (or a round baking pan if you don't have a cast iron pan). Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix well. Then add the egg until well incorporated.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until everything is well blended.

Turn the mixer off and fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Spread a little more than half of the cookie dough onto the bottom of your pan. I found that using an offset spatula was very helpful here. Spread a layer of Nutella on top of the cookie dough. Then top with the remaining cookie dough.

Bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top starts to turn golden. The cookie may look a bit underdone, and that is OK. It will firm up as it is cooling. Top with additional chocolate chips if desired. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, or whatever else makes you happy.

Yield: About 8-12 servings, depending upon how big you cut your slices

Source: Barely adapted from Cafe Delites

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Carrot cake muffins

Want carrot cake for breakfast? Now you can! These lovelies come from Bouchon Bakery and can easily be topped with a streusel or even some cream cheese frosting. Now we're talking!

Carrot cake. Is there anything more perfect for spring than carrot cake? I think not. I like to think of carrot cake as a perfect vessel for vegetables.

My 7 year old is a good eater, but sometimes she doesn't want to eat her veggies. She'll eat carrots if and only if there is ranch dip involved. Or, if there is carrot cake.

Here's where these muffins come in.

I found out that these muffins were a great carrot-cake like breakfast item to throw in a ton of shredded carrots. You are welcome to top these with cream cheese frosting to make it even more like carrot cake, but I didn't do that. I kept these pretty simple and only sprinkled on a little bit of coarse sugar for a crunchy topping. I also decreased the sugar and swapped out the oil to make these slightly better for you. If you wanted, you could also swap out the flour for whole wheat flour.

My daughter adored these muffins and happily ate these for breakfast. Next time, I will be packing in more carrots and possibly doubling the recipe.

Carrot cake muffins
  • 1 and 1/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon (3.11 grams) baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 and 3/4 cups shredded carrots
  • Coarse sugar for topping, if desired
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix together the sugar and applesauce on medium speed until well blended, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and mix well.

Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until a few dry streaks remain. Turn the mixer off and fold in the shredded carrots with a spatula.

Transfer the batter to a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight or up to 36 hours.

When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Distribute the batter evenly into a greased or lined muffin pan. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar if desired.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 25 minutes, but start checking around the 20 minute mark to see if they are done. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Allow muffins to cool slightly before serving. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for a few days.

Yield: About 10 muffins

Source: Barely adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Sebastian Rouxel

Friday, February 23, 2018

Skating Fridays


This past weekend I skated in an all-adult competition. There were 14 very strong ladies in my event. In years past, I would have been analyzing my start order, the list of competitors, and just about everything else you can imagine.

This year I did not.

My new mental focus was to only concentrate on the things that I could control and to be in the present. I did my best not to worry about others around me and past or future outcomes. This strategy worked.

For the first time in my competitive career, I was not nervous. I was in the present and did not think 2 steps ahead. I "dumbed down" my program since my knees were still badly bruised and I didn't want to take any chances to further injure myself. Since I wasn't putting pressure on myself to get a certain placement or land a certain element, my mind was at ease.

I skated a good, clean program. My protocol reflected that too. I ended up with a 25.57, which is the second highest score I've received to date. My component scores rose by at least 2 points from the last competition. And I even got a dash of doom (0 points) for my last spin since I apparently did not hold the camel position for 2 full revolutions (I have reviewed my video and think it's right on the border, but the controller did not call it in my favor). Had I received full credit for that spin, I would have earned at least 27 points and gotten a new personal best. I wound up placing 9th, but only by a fraction of a point.

Regardless, I will call this a win. I am working towards a new mental state and am building up the confidence that I can do this and belong here.

Here is the video.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Salted caramel triple chocolate skillet cookie

When you're having a cookie craving, make yourself this giant salted caramel triple chocolate skillet cookie. It's the perfect solution and requires no cookie sheets!

This has been a crazy start to 2018. I was sick for about a week after I got my flu shot. Then, after I got better, my daughter got pink eye and a sinus infection. As she was recovering, my husband got a tickle in his throat. And people at work have been dropping like flies (from the flu and other illnesses).

One thing I have been craving since shaking off my virus was a nice, warm chocolate cookie. You know the kind - one with a crispy exterior and nice melty center. Well, I wanted one but didn't want to do all the work of having to scoop dough balls and clean a messy cookie sheet.

So rather than bake traditional cookies, I made myself another skillet cookie. But this time, I added some salted caramel sauce to the middle. Because I could. I made my sauce from scratch but you can certainly use pre-made sauce if you're strapped for time.

This is probably the first dessert that I've made in a while that wasn't shared outside of my family. We totally hoarded this one and kept it to ourselves because it was that good!

Salted caramel triple chocolate skillet cookie
Salted caramel
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, plus more for topping
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, plus more for topping
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a cast iron pan if isn't seasoned already.

Make the salted caramel sauce: In a small saucepan set over medium heat, mix together the sugar, butter and cream and cook for about 10 minutes. The mixture should start to bubble. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. Turn off the stove and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and salt and set aside.

Make the cookie: In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Then add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to low and slow add in the dry ingredients. Mix until everything just comes together. Turn the mixer off and fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.

Spread about half of the dough on the bottom of your cast iron pan. Make sure you smooth it out and spread everything into an even layer (an offset spatula will be helpful here). Bake in your preheated oven for about 13 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and drizzle on the caramel sauce. Then top with the remaining cookie dough. It might be hard to spread, so do your best. I found it easiest to break the dough into chunks and spread them out onto the pan and gently use my offset spatula to even everything out.

Bake in your preheated oven for an additional 15-20 minutes. The top should be done but the cookie may appear slightly underdone. This is OK because the cookie will continue to Harden as it cools.

Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top and gently press them into your pan if desired. Allow the cookie to cool slightly before serving.

This is best eaten warm, preferably with a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream. Any leftover cookie (ha!) should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep for a few days.

Yield: One 10" cookie; about 8-12 servings, depending on how big you cut your slices

Source: Decadence Baking Co.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Intense chocolate brownies

If you love chocolate - and I mean really love chocolate - then these brownies are for you. They are supremely intense, fudge-like and come from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery!
A few weeks ago,  I hosted my annual chocolate tasting party (those of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen a post about this). Seven ladies, myself included, all came together for a wonderful evening of food and most importantly, chocolate.

Each person brought at least one chocolate bar for all of us to taste. We had chocolates from all around the world and from milk chocolate to fun mix-ins like ginger and turmeric to intensely dark chocolate with 85% cacao. The favorite varieties of the evening were from a local chocolate shop in Raleigh to the 85% dark chocolate from Israel.

These intensely chocolate-y brownies contain an entire half a pound of chocolate. I used all bittersweet chocolate, but if you want to sweeten things up a bit, you can mix in some milk chocolate or even use unsweetened chocolate.

Make sure you don't bake these up too long or else the brownies will become too cake-like (unless that's your thing). Your brownies should be soft and fudge-like, with a nice crackly top and a tender crumb. Don't be surprised if a bunch of crumbs start clinging to your knife when you cut into them.

My friends would probably have really enjoyed these brownies since they contain so much chocolate.  The brownies weren't too sweet, either, and would be even better with a scoop of ice cream on top. I think adding a teaspoon of instant espresso powder would have made these brownies even more over the top.

We only tasted 18 bars of chocolate that evening - there were still another 5 that we didn't even open! Maybe I'll need to host a mini chocolate tasting party in a few months so we don't have to wait another year for the next party.

Intense chocolate brownies
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (can replace half of it with unsweetened chocolate), finely chopped
  • 12 Tablespoons (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a 9"x13" baking pan and set aside.

In a medium sized microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the sugar. Beat for another 1-2 minutes or until the mixture looks thick and frothy.

Turn the mixer off and fold in the melted chocolate and butter mixture with a spatula. The mixture should be smooth. Slowly fold in the flour mixture and continue to fold until everything just comes together.

Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and smooth out the top with a spatula - the batter will be thick. Bake in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes. Start checking around the 20 minute mark to ensure that your brownies don't over bake. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with some moist crumbs. If it is still liquidy, bake longer. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the brownies are overdone (but will still be amazing).

Cool the brownies and allow them to firm up before serving.

Brownies should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will keep for several days.

Yield: About 16-24 brownies, more or less, depending on how big you cut your pieces

Source: Barely adapted from Flour by Joanne Chang

Friday, February 16, 2018

Skating Fridays


What a week. During my last lesson, Coach and I were working on a change edge swing roll when I hit my heel and took a bad fall. I stayed on the ice for a little while because it stung. I bruised my right knee pretty badly and it's now a beautiful palette of blue and purple.

Then I traveled for work one day and took a huge spill while walking into the parking garage. I was with a coworker and my manager when I didn't notice the step down from the curb (to be fair, it was not clearly marked and my manager had almost tripped as well).

I tripped and landed on both knees and my hands. I sat there for at least a minute before I even attempted to get up. Both knees were throbbing in pain as I remained still and completely embarrassed about what had just happened. It was all such a blur, as the tripping felt like it happened in the blink of an eye. I don't even remember how I got on the concrete floor.

As I got up, I realized that it was difficult to bend my knee. The three of us headed to dinner with the rest of our team shortly afterwards, and I found it very hard to climb the stairs to the second floor where our teammates were. I then realized that I was bleeding.

To make matters worse, I had a fainting episode at dinner while I was seated. They called an ambulance and the EMT came to take my vitals. They said that proper protocol was to whisk me away to the hospital but I refused. I felt fine and didn't need to go.

My manager and I left shortly afterwards and drove the 2 hours back home. Thankfully I got home safely. I have a doctor's appointment next week to get a quick checkup.

Needless to say, it's been a trying week. I'm competing this weekend and my ego and confidence are badly battered. Not to mention my injured knees. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spanish seafood and chicken paella

A fantastically beautiful and flavorful Spanish paella that will 'wow' your friends and family. Filled with rotisserie chicken, shrimp, and mussels, this recipe will feed a crowd!
My brother and sister-in law gifted me a paella pan and some saffron for the holidays. I was super pumped about this because I absolutely love paella. There is a restaurant in Baltimore that my husband took me to (called Tio Pepe) that had the most amazing paella. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Since I didn't own a paella pan, my paella attempts to date have not be awesome. The rice was always too soggy, and the recipes I've used just weren't good enough.
This recipe, although a bit more labor intensive, was phenomenal. I didn't have cockles so I replaced them with more mussels (I mean, can you see the mussel love in these photos??).

I used frozen shrimp and wished that I would have splurged for fresh shrimp because they were a bit rubbery. I used a rotisserie chicken as a shortcut and loved the flavor that it brought into this dish.

Oh, and this feeds at least 4 people, so it could be a great meal to share with your guests.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Spanish seafood and chicken paella
  • 4 ounces chorizo, casings removed
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • Pinch of saffron dissolved in 2 Tablespoons of water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth (can substitute with water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken stock or broth
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 pound mussels, de-bearded and cleaned
  • 1/2 pound cockles, cleaned
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked chicken, preferably dark meat (I used rotisserie)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a 10-inch paella pan, cook the sausage over medium heat. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the sausage. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add in the tomatoes, rice, saffron water, and the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring everything to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat, without stirring, for about 15 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

In a separate non-stick skillet, sautee the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the shrimp to the paella pan with the rice.

In the same skillet, add the wine and lemon juice. Add in the mussels and cockles and cover. Shake the skillet a few times and cook until the mussels and cockles open, about 3 minutes. Add everything in the skillet to the paella pan.

Finally, add the cooked chicken to the rice. Cover and bake in the oven for about 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with fresh parsley and/or a thinly sliced scallion and drizzle additional olive oil over the top.

Serve immediately.

Yield: About 4-6 servings

Source: Slightly adapted from Food and Wine

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chinese egg waffles (雞蛋餅)

These cute little egg waffles are one of my favorite snacks from my childhood. These little spheres require no syrup and are best eaten hot and shared with a friend!
You guys - I am so excited to share this recipe with you! This is a snack that gives me great memories of my childhood, and I couldn't wait to tell you about these.

When I lived in New Jersey, my family and I would drive to New York City at least once a month to go to Chinatown. We went there to eat a good meal and go grocery shopping at the Asian market. My brother and I would go to town in the snack aisle and walk away with at least 10 different snacks every trip. We'd consume about half of them in the car on the way home, provided that we were still awake after filling our bellies with a warm meal.

Before we got into the car to go home, we'd usually stop by this little Chinese egg waffle stand near Mott Street. There would be a line about 20-30 people deep, each waiting patiently for a bag of egg waffles. The vendor sold 20 egg waffles (one "waffle" equating to a golf ball-sized sphere) for $1, which was such a bargain that most people would buy at least $2-$3 worth. Each batch was made to order, so we'd have to wait a good 5 minutes per customer.

Although my brother and I were young, we were more than happy to wait in the egg waffle line. We knew that our patient would pay off, as we would get to eat freshly made treats. My parents usually bought 20 spheres worth, but as time went on, they knew to buy at least another 20 if they wanted to be able to eat some.

A few years ago, Williams-Sonoma sold an egg waffle pan, which apparently they don't carry anymore (it does look like Nordic Ware sells it on their own site, which you can find here). Although the waffle indentations in the pan are much smaller than the ones the Chinatown lady used, the premise was the same. I saw these in the Williams-Sonoma store and immediately bought one for myself and another for my parents.

I searched high and low for the perfect egg waffle recipe. The one I used below seemed to be the best of the bunch, as the original author did a ton of research to find the most authentic recipe and tested ones from multiple sources.

So how does one eat an egg waffle? By breaking each little sphere apart and eating them by hand. I like to eat them one at a time, while my daughter likes to stuff a few in her mouth like a chipmunk. The recipe below makes 3 large waffle irons full, which equates to at least 60 little spheres you can enjoy.

I hope you like this recipe from my childhood. My parents were beyond the moon when I got them their own egg waffle pan and have enjoyed making these on occasion. Nothing beats the egg waffle lady from Chinatown, but at least I can make these on my own now.

Chinese egg waffles (雞蛋餅)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Heat both sides of the egg waffle pan and grease well on both sides (I usually turn my burners to medium and put each half of the waffle pan onto its own burner. When ready to make, I turn one of the burners off).

In a mixing bowl, preferably one with a spout, beat the eggs. Slowly whisk in the sugar until well blended. Then add the milk and mix well. Fold in the cornstarch, flour and baking powder. Finally, add in the melted butter. The batter should be fairly lump-free so make sure you beat everything together well.

Once your waffle pan is hot, pour some into the middle and cover it with the other half. Give the pan a few shakes to distribute the batter. After 2-3 minutes, flip the pan over and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Open the waffle pan and remove the waffle. Allow it to cool slightly on a wire rack and eat immediately.

Waffles are best eaten the day they are made but will keep if you store them in an airtight container.

Yield: About 3 large waffles

Source: Nom Nom Panda

Friday, February 9, 2018

Skating Fridays

Axel and Axel-Loop Videos

You guys. I am truly humbled. Several of you sent me messages that you enjoyed watching my videos, and that a few of you actually use and/or study them to apply to your own skating.

Goodness. Never in a million years would I ever think that I'd be in this position. I've been told countless times that I was never good enough, never smart enough, and never talented enough. And now I'm being used as a positive example? This just blows my mind.

Here are the Axel and Axel-loop videos that I sent my coach last week. Things to keep in mind as you watch these:
  • I learned this jump as an adult
  • I first landed it 10 years agoo
  • It took me 8 years to learn how to cross my legs
  • I have yet to land a clean Axel in competition
We're still tweaking it so it looks more like a kid's jump, but it's come a long way. I hope that it continues to progress and become even more consistent.

I'd love to hear about your skating journeys - whether you're trying to master skating on one foot, conquer the backspin, land an Axel or something else. We're all in this together. Let's learn from each other.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Key lime pie cupcakes

Got the winter blahs? Brighten up your gloomy days with these key lime pie cupcakes! The bottoms contain a graham cracker crust and then are topped with a luscious key lime cream cheese frosting!

Ugh, this feels like the winter that will never end... and it's only February! After winter break ended, Addie went back to school (hooray!). But, my happiness was short-lived, as we got snow two days later. While the 2 inches of snow wouldn't normally be a problem, it was for us. Why?

School was cancelled for the next full week. A WEEK.

See, the temperatures were below freezing, so the snow did not get a chance to melt. Then when we finally got rain to wash away all the snow, it froze overnight so the roads were icy. Day after day, school kept getting cancelled.

Once school finally opened again, I was in need of something to cheer me up. Something that would help me think of warm weather and sunny beaches. Like these key lime pie cupcakes.

These wonderfully bright cupcakes start with a graham cracker crust, like a good key lime pie should.  Then they're topped with a light and zesty white cupcake and dolloped with some key lime cream cheese frosting.

I brought these to a friend's party and they were gobbled up in no time. Seemed like everyone at the party was feeling the winter blues so these cupcakes were the perfect solution to uplift their spirits.

Key lime pie cupcakes
  • 1 and 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons key lime zest (can substitute with regular lime zest if you can't find key limes)
  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons key lime juice
  • Key lime zest, optional
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

Make the crust: In a food processor (or a high powered blender, or in a large bowl if you're using your amazing arm muscles), pulse the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together until well blended. Add the melted butter and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Place about 1-2 teaspoons in each cupcake liner and press down with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 5-7 minutes or until set. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the crust to cool completely.

Reduce the oven to 325 degrees F.

Make the cupcakes: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and zest and beat well.

Alternately add in the flour mixture with the Greek yogurt until everything comes together.

Transfer the batter into your prepared cupcake liners, filling each one about 3/4 full. Tap the pans on the countertop so the batter is even. Bake in your preheated oven for about 26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat. Add the key lime juice and zest if using. If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, you can add a splash of milk of your choice.

Once the cupcakes are completely cool, frost with the key lime frosting. I used a round piping tip for my cupcakes and decorated the tops with additional key lime zest.

Store the cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. They will keep for a few days.

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Source: Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Sunday, February 4, 2018

One bowl gingerbread muffins

Gingerbread season is not over yet - keep the spiciness from the holidays alive in these one bowl gingerbread muffins. Cleanup is such a breeze!

Why is it that gingerbread is normally only eaten over the holidays? I'm here to change that, starting with these muffins.

I say holiday flavored things (peppermint, gingerbread, etc) should be able to be enjoyed year-round. When you're having a bad day and need a little holiday spirit, bake up some gingerbread muffins like these.

They are soft, fluffy and full of gingerbread flavor. These muffins won't shed crumbs everywhere so no worries about getting little bits of muffin all over your floor (or your shirt - I'm not judging).

Want to dress these up a bit? Add some frosting on top for an even more decadent breakfast or snack. And as an added bonus, these are all mixed in one bowl and contain no butter or oil.


One bowl gingerbread muffins
  • 1 super ripe small/medium sized banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
  • 1/3 cup milk of choice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease or line a standard muffin pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the banana and egg. Add in the vanilla and mix well. Add in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and mix thoroughly. Add in the applesauce, molasses, and milk and mix well. Then add the sugars and mix well.

Slowly fold in the flour, and mix until everything just comes together. Do not over mix.

Transfer the batter evenly into your muffin pan, filling each well about 3/4 full.

Bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then turn down the temperature to 375 degrees F, rotate the pan, and bake an additional 7-9 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool before serving.

Muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several days.

Yield: 12 muffins

Source: Barely adapted from Fork Knife Swoon

Friday, February 2, 2018

Skating Fridays

The Ultimate Compliment

I was having a lesson the other day when my coach asked me to do an Axel. I went and executed one, and he said, "That jump is looking so much more comfortable. It's looking effortless. It actually looks like a kid's."


A kid's??

He then proceeded to ask me to demonstrate an Axel-loop combination. I went and did one.

"Wow, that was really good. It's forcing you to land with your free foot crossed in front."

<insert shocked face here>

After the series of surprising (and totally flattering) comments, the coach asked me to send him some more Axel videos. Apparently he uses my Axel as an example for other adult skaters.

This is all so exciting and humbling. To know that a National, International and World coach uses videos of little old me for others as an example... WOW. I mean, just WOW.

Call me speechless.


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