Vanilla Flan

After gobbling up a double batch of chips and guacamole followed by Sam Sifton’s Middle School Tacos, we ate this flan as our celebratory Cinco de Mayo dessert this year.

A while ago, my son read a book that mentioned flan and he really wanted to make it. We actually made it together at that time. 🙂  It really is quite simple to prepare, and he felt like he had achieved a great accomplishment when it came out well. He’s been asking to have it again ever since!

I think that it is particularly delicious served with strawberries. This recipe is a blend of multiple flan recipes- including one from my grandmother.

Yield: One 8-inch flan

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (low fat can be substituted)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • strawberries, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, occasionally swirling, until amber, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Pour into a 1 1/2 to 2 qt (8-in) ceramic baking dish or 8-in cake pan, tilting to cover the bottom surface and halfway up the sides of the dish.
  5. Place the prepared dish on a dish towel or a silicone pot holder (to prevent it from shifting) inside a roasting pan. (I used an enameled cast iron lasagna pan.)
  6. Place the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt in a Vitamix. Blend for 20 seconds. (Alternatively, mixture can be whisked in a bowl until combined.)
  7. Pour through a fine strainer into the prepared pan.
  8. Slide the oven rack out and place the roasting pan on the hot rack.
  9. Fill the outside of the pan with HOT water halfway up the sides of the flan dish.
  10. Bake for 60-70+ minutes, or until the center is wobbly.
  11. Remove from the oven; let cool to room temperature.
  12. Remove flan from the water bath. Cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  13. Dip the bottom of the dish in warm water, then invert onto a rimmed platter. Serve.

One Year Ago: Cheesy Enchilada Skillet

Two Years Ago: Cinco de Mayo Chicken-Chipotle Tacos

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

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Banana Honey Muffins

I loved these wholesome, naturally sweetened muffins more than everyone else in my house. The cookbook described them as “a great alternative to a heavier banana bread.” Agreed! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southampton’s Favorite Bakery for Homestyle Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Muffins, and Breads by Kathleen King, founder of Tate’s Bake Shop. I substituted whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour and wheat bran for the wheat germ.

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ or wheat bran
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed, fully ripe bananas (about 4 medium)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with cooking oil spray.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flours, wheat germ/bran, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter. Add honey, vanilla, and mashed banana.
  5. Add butter mixture to flour mixture and mix lightly.
  6. Spoon mixture evenly into prepared muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

One Year Ago: Applesauce Oatmeal Bread

Two Years Ago: No-Knead Bread from Sullivan Street Bakery

Three Years Ago: 

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Vanilla Cupcake Ice Cream Sandwiches

Who isn’t a fan of an ice cream sandwich? We love every variation in my house, so, naturally, I had to try this version using vanilla cupcake tops.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Candace Nelson. I made the cupcake tops using a muffin top pan to give them more surface area- genius, right?

We gobbled up these all-American treats for dessert during the Super Bowl this year. I filled half with salted caramel gelato and half with vanilla bean ice cream. The vanilla ice cream-filled sandwiches were our favorite.

Yield: Serves 6

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°, preferably on convection. Coat a standard muffin pan or a muffin top pan with cooking oil spray.
  2. 
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the milk with the vanilla.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar 
at medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. At medium-low speed, beat in the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  6. At low-speed, beat in the dry ingredients and the milk mixture in 3 alternating additions until smooth.
  7. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into each prepared cup.
  8. Bake the cupcakes for 15 minutes if using a muffin top pan, or about 18 to 25 minutes in a standard pan, until a toothpick inserted in 
the centers comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then cool 
completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.
  10. Working with 1 cupcake at a time, carefully slice off the cake top. Reserve 
the cupcake bottom for another use.
  11. Arrange the top smooth side down 
on a platter. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Freeze the tops for 1 hour.
  12. Spread 1/4 cup of the ice cream 
onto each of 6 cupcake tops.
  13. Close the sandwiches with the remaining cupcake tops and gently press together. Wrap individually in plastic wrap.
  14. Freeze for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Note: The ice cream sandwiches can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 week. Let soften at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Two Years Ago: Country Apple Fritter Bread

Three Years Ago: Soft Baked Snickerdoodles

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Butterbeer Cupcakes

My son was blessed with a snow day on his 13th birthday! We were able to load him up with his favorite meals all day long. 🙂

After having Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins for breakfast, some sort of meaty concoction involving kielbasa, sliced sourdough baguette, melted cheese and garlic powder prepared by my husband for lunch, and his ultimate favorite, Thai One-Pot, for dinner, we topped off the day with these Butterbeer Cupcakes. ❤

He is such a Harry Potter fan; he has read the series over fourteen times, now losing count. After visiting both Harry Potter Worlds at Universal Studios in Orlando, he is a HUGE butter beer fan as well. (We tried every version available. 🙂 )

This recipe is from PastryAffair.com, adapted from Amy Bites. I added cream to the frosting and halved the ganache recipe. I halved the recipe below with success; I weighed one beaten egg to use “half” of an egg.

I can’t believe that I have a teenager in my house! So sad to make “13” Number Cookies

Yield: 18 cupcakes

For the Butterbeer Cupcakes:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • generous pinch of coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cream soda (I used Dr. Brown’s)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), preferably on convection. Line a cupcake tin with baking cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Beat in the vanilla extract and butter flavoring.
  6. With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, 1/3 of the flour mixture, cream soda, and then the remaining flour. Mix just until incorporated. Do not overtax!
  7. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15 minutes one tin at a time, or 16 minutes for 2 trays (rotating halfway through baking), or until the cupcakes are golden and spring back when touched.
  8. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Butterscotch Ganache:

  • 5.5 ounces (1/2 package) butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the butterscotch chips into the heavy cream, stirring until smooth.
  2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using.

For the Butterscotch Buttercream:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch ganache (recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter flavoring
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 T heavy cream (as needed)
  1. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Mix in the butterscotch ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt.
  3. Beat in the powdered sugar for 2 to 3 minutes, until incorporated.
  4. Add the cream a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved (I used 4 tablespoons).
  5. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.

To Assemble:

  1. Pour butterscotch ganache into a plastic squeeze bottle. Stab the tip of the bottle into each cupcake, completely immersing the tip, and fill with butterscotch ganache until it starts to overflow.
  2. Fill a pastry bag with butterscotch buttercream and pipe onto the top of each cupcake.
  3. Drizzle on the butterscotch ganache, as desired.

Notes:

  • If you have any leftover butterscotch ganache, it can be used as ice cream topping.
  • Store cupcakes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

I’m sharing my birthday treats at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #207 this week, co-hosted by my friends Judi @Cooking with Aunt Juju and Lily @Little Sweet Baker. I also brought these cupcakes to What’s for Dinner Sunday! Enjoy! 🙂

One Year Ago: Crème Brûlée

Two Years Ago: Eleventh Birthday Longboard Cake!

Three Years Ago: Black Hole Birthday Cake

Four Years Ago: Minecraft Enderman Cake

Five Years Ago: Birthday Cake Gallery

Crumb Cake Muffin Tops

I have another special summer breakfast recipe to share- although I’m sure I’ll be making these year-round. 🙂 I have to make sure that I put my Mother’s Day muffin top pan to good use!

Everyone in my house absolutely loves crumb cake. The genius of making crumb cake in a muffin top form is portion control (which we need!) as well as a reduced baking time. This recipe was slightly adapted from Serious Eats.com; I incorporated whole wheat flour. This recipe would also work in a standard muffin pan, of course. Fabulous!

Yield: 12 muffin tops

For the Cake:

  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1 percent milk)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional

To Make the Cake:

  1. Adjust rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F, preferably on convection. Grease muffin top pan with cooking oil spray.
  2. Whisk sugar, salt, melted butter, and oil in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk in egg, milk, sour cream, and vanilla.
  4. Stir flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl.
  5. Whisk into wet mixture until just combined.

To Make the Crumb Topping:

  1. Whisk flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until combined.
  2. Add melted butter and vanilla, and toss with fingers until the mixture forms moist crumbs.
  3. Spoon 2 tablespoons batter into each cup and spread evenly.
  4. Sprinkle with crumb mixture.
  5. Bake until light golden and cakes are just firm, about 15 minutes.
  6. Let cakes cool in pan 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool.
  7. Dust with Confectioners’ sugar, as desired.

One Year Ago:

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Crème Brûlée

My son wanted a dessert that he could “light on fire” to celebrate his 12th birthday. I hope that this is age appropriate. 😉

After rejecting my suggestion of Bananas Foster, he chose a classic crème brûlée. andyes, with close supervision, he torched his dessert!

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten, via Food Network.com. I used large eggs, Cointreau instead of Grand Marnier, slightly adapted the method and increased the baking time. Special and delicious.

Yield: Makes 6 ramekins/servings

  • 1 large egg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together on low-speed until just combined.
  3. Meanwhile, scald the cream in a small saucepan until it’s very hot to the touch but not boiled.
  4. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the cream to the eggs. (I transferred the hot cream to a liquid measuring cup to ease adding it into the mixer bowl.)
  5. Add the vanilla and liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins until almost full.
  6. Place the ramekins in a 9×13 pyrex baking pan (I placed a square silicone pot holder underneath the ramekins so that they didn’t shift in the pan.)
  7. Glide the oven rack out of the oven cavity and place the pan on the rack. Carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (I used a tea kettle.)
  8. Slowly glide rack into the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken.
  9. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm. (I refrigerated them overnight.)
  10. To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and heat with a kitchen blowtorch until the sugar caramelizes evenly.
  11. Allow to sit at room temperature for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

and…

Of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday in our house without also having Number Cookies. 🙂 I had to make a couple of numeric “12’s” to go along with my son’s Roman Numeral “XII’s”. 🙂 They were swimming pool blue for my swimmer this year. ❤

One Year Ago:

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Churro Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

My kids had friends over for a taco dinner the other night, and we “needed” a special dessert. These churro cupcakes were perfect for our theme!

This recipe was adapted from Lady Behind the Curtain, via Sweet Carolines Cooking. I loved the cinnamon-sugar topping underneath the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Although we did debate whether or not these cupcakes were more “churro” or “snickerdoodle,” we all agreed they were tasty. 🙂

I’m sharing this party food at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #140 this week, co-hosted by Julie @Hostess at Heart and Linda @Fabulous Fare Sisters. Enjoy!

Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes

For the Cupcake Batter:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1½ T ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ granulated sugar, plus 2 T for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups milk (I used 1 percent)

For the Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. (1 brick) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp milk, if needed to thin consistency

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line 2 muffin pans with liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract.
  5. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until just combined after each.
  6. Fill each cupcake liner three-quarters full. Bake 17-20 minutes, or until cupcakes bounce back at the touch of a finger.
  7. Remove cupcakes from oven and place cupcakes on wire racks to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, make the cinnamon-sugar topping: Place the butter in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, or until melted.
  9. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  10. When the cupcakes are completely cooled, brush melted butter on the tops and dip into the cinnamon sugar mixture, making sure to entirely coat the top of the cupcake.
  11. Make the frosting: Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
  12. Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, until incorporated and desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add a teaspoon or so of milk to thin.
  13. Using a pastry bag with a fluted tip, frost cupcakes. Be careful not to coat the outer edge of the cupcakes so that the cinnamon sugar can shine through.
  14. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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