Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Give Books this Holiday!


I’m hosting a fun giveaway today from my publisher, Chronicle Books. Last year they launched a GIVE BOOKS holiday campaign to encourage people to share the love of books during the holiday season, to support local bookstores and to help promote literacy. And I’m excited that they are doing it again this year. But this year they are doing it bigger. Giving bigger. They’ve joined forces with First Book, a non-profit organization that provides access to new books for children in need. And for every #GiveBooks tweet, pin, and online pledge, Chronicle Books will donate a children’s book to First Book.

Here’s how you can help them reach their goal of giving 10,000 books this holiday with a simple tweet, pin or pledge.

#GiveBooks this Holiday

And now let me show you ten books I picked out from Chronicle that I want to give this holiday. They’re cookbooks of course. Sweet ones.

Top Pot Doughnuts

Top Pot Hand-forged Doughnuts
Secrets for the Home Baker


Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth! Every one of the recipes in this book are calling my name.


Cake Pops Holidays by Bakerella

Cake Pops Holidays
Hmmm… this one looks familiar. I couldn’t resist : )


Pretzel Making

Pretzel Making at Home
Make your own crunchy, chewy, savory or sweet artisan pretzels. Fried Pretzels with Cinnamon Sugar? Why yes.


Hand-crafted Candy Bars

Hand-crafted Candy Bars
From-Scratch, All-Natural, Gloriously Grown-Up Confections


Snoopy and Friends Cupcake Kit

Snoopy and Friends Cupcake Kit
Okay, this isn’t a cookbook but you do get to make cupcakes. That counts, right. Besides … it’s Snoopy with adorable liners and flag toppers. Chronicle has the cutest gift items too.


Flour, too

Flour, too
Joanne Chang shares recipes for her Café’s most loved sweets and savories.


Tarting Book No 3

Tartine Book No. 3
This soon-to-be-released cookbook is third in a series of collectible titles from Tartine Bakery & Cafe in San Francisco. We’re talking bread baking and pastry making.


The Model Bakery

The Model Bakery Cookbook
Sensational artisan baked goods including Peach Streusal Pie, Brandied Pumpkin Pie, Amber Ale Bread and their famous english muffins that I can’t wait to try.


The Little Kitchen in Paris

The Little Paris Kitchen
Rachel Khoo shares simple, classic French recipes in her cookbook that’s just as charming as she is. Plus there’s French desserts. Win! Win!



Speaking of win. How would you like to win these 10 awesome books? I’m giving them away to one lucky reader and it might be you.

To enter for a chance to win all ten:

  • Leave a comment on the blog post and tell me which of these books sounds fun to give or which one you’d like to get the most.
  • Deadline to enter is 8:00 pm ET on Saturday, November 9th, 2013. Sorry, time’s up. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Sunday… just in time to receive them for the holidays.

Good luck and of course, I hope you can help #GiveBooks to children this holiday.

P.S. – Receive 30% off + free shipping at (*excluding personalized products). Promo code GIVEBOOKS (valid through 12/31/13).


Okay – time to announce the winner! And time to give away a bunch of sweet books. Congratulations Katie Z!!!


Cute kitty cat illustration by Gemma Correll.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Butterscotch Apple Mini Galettes

Butterscotch Apple Galettes

We’re talking personal pies. Flat little freeform pies that are full of charm. They’re casual and fancy at the same time. And you can make them with all kinds of fillings. But today we are all about apples bathed in butterscotch. I’m not complaining.


The recipe for these is from my friends, Todd and Diane’s new cookbook, Bountiful. The recipes inside are inspired by the things they grow in their garden. It’s an absolutely beautiful book, but that’s a given with these two. They are amazing photographers and videographers. You may remember that I worked with them last year on a fun little holiday video. But, If you aren’t familiar, check out the White on Rice Couple Blog for more of their beautiful recipes.

Okay … Galettes! Let’s go.

Butterscotch sauce ingredients

Butterscotch sauce ingredients: sugars, butter, heavy cream, vanilla, scotch and salt. P.S. Yay for heavy cream and brown sugar.

Butterscotch sauce

Because it all comes together to make glorious butterscotch sauce.

A little scotch

And you can kick it up a notch with a little scotch. Like my airline size bottle? If I bought anything bigger, it would most likely just go to waste.

Filling ingredients

Filling ingredients: Apples, apples, apples and a little sugar, flour and lemon juice.

Sliced apples

Peel, core and slice those babies so they are nice and thin.

Pie crust ingredients

Then we’re on to the pie crust.

Pie dough

Prepare the dough and divide into four small discs.

Pie circles

Roll it out into an 8 inch circle. Use a cake pan pressed in the dough as a guide if you want a more perfects. Then just cut off the excess.

Butterscotch sauce

Fill the center with apples and spoon on the sauce.


Then just fold the edges, creasing as you go and bake until golden brown.

Apple Galettes

And dress them up a little bit if you want, too. I used these cute little leaf pie crust cutters I found at Williams-Sonoma.

Butterscotch-Apple Mini Galettes

Servings: 4 mini galettes



  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons Scotch or Whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • heavy cream for brushing on crusts


For the butterscotch:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Before butter is completely melted, stir in both the sugars. Gently cook stirring occasionally for about five minutes, until the sugars transform from grainy to smooth.
  2. Add the cream and whisk until completely combined. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 8 more minutes, whisking occasionally. Let cool for 10 minutes. Then stir in vanilla, salt and whiskey. Set aside.

For the filling:

  1. In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour and lemon juice. Add the sliced apples and toss together until mixed evenly. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, use your fingertips to pinch together the flour, butter, salt and sugar until the mixture is crumbly. Make sure any large pieces of butter are flattened or broken apart.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with ice water until combined. Add yolks to the flour mixture and incorporate until the flour binds together and forms a rough ball, kneading if necessary.
  3. Divide dough into four equal pieces, flatten into disks and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up.
  4. Roll out dough into an 8-inch circle on a lightly floured work surface. Use a cake pan as a guide to cut a more perfect circle. Then transfer disk to one of the prepared pans. Pile apples in center of disk about 5 inches and wide and three layers deep in apples. Pour a couple of spoonfuls of butterscotch sauce over apples and spread evenly. Then fold dough up and over apples, creasing every inch or so. Repeat with three remaining dough disks. Brush crusts with a little heavy cream.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate sheet pans and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15-20 more minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Note: I forgot and baked them at 350 the whole time and they were fine that way, too.
Source: © 2013 Bountiful by Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Butterscotch Apple Galette

Now normally I would lather something like this up with ice cream because you know fruit isn’t my first choice in a dessert, but after the first bite – oh my…so good – it didn’t need anything else.

Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to check out Bountiful. It’s beautiful.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Quick and Easy Creepy Cupcakes

Easy Creepy Cupcakes

I can’t believe Halloween is just around the corner. It always sneaks up on me before I get to make all the treats I have sketched out in my head. But since we’re just a few days away I thought I’d slip in a quick last minute treat I made Sunday that’s as much creepy as it is cute.

And it’s pretty easy to boot. There’s hardly any decorating, so you can whip them up super last minute.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Just bake up your favorite cupcakes. I used this easy chocolate cupcake recipe.

Orange frosting

You’ll totally need some frosting, too. Color it orange, purple, black, green or just leave it white.

Plastic Spiders

And then you’ll need the creepiest plastic spiders you can find.


I like these long-legged little guys a lot. Eeek!

I’ve been dying to use them on something since I bought them a while ago. Of course, Halloween cupcakes were perfect.

Unfortunately, I have no memory of where I picked them up, but if you’re looking for some plastic spiders – start with dollar stores or craft stores. Or any of those pop-up Halloween shops. They’d probably have something.

Chocolate cupcakes

Now you can make your cupcakes super easy by just frosting them with one color.

Spider Cupcake

And perching your creepy spider right on top.

I think they’d look pretty sharp in solid white frosting, too.

Easy Creepy Spiders

But I wanted them a little snazzier – so I made them with white sugared webs.

Decorating Cupcakes

Reserve some of your frosting before tinting it a color and use it to pipe three circles on top of the cupcake.

Just use a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off to pipe if you don’t have a decorator bag or icing tip.

A. Then drag a toothpick through the icing starting from the center and moving towards the edge of the cupcake to create the web.


B. Dip the top of the frosted and piped cupcake in a small bowl of white sanding sugar to coat and then drag a toothpick through. I think this makes them a little prettier and it flattens the web into the frosting so it doesn’t look like it’s sitting on top of it. If you need to adjust the web shape, you can do so easily by nudging the sprinkle coated surface a bit.

Spider Cupcakes

So cute!

I mean, so totally creepy.

I hope you guys have a happy and safe candy-filled Halloween!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Fall is in the air and that means cinnamon rolls are in my mouth. But not just regular cinnamon rolls, but these pumpkin pecan cinnamon rolls frosted two ways. Half with maple and the other half with good ‘ole cream cheese frosting… because I’m really indecisive.

Or maybe because I’m just really smart.

Dough ingredients

Who’s ready to whip up some pumpkin yumminess?

Active Dry Yeast
Red Star Yeast

You’re gonna need some yeast … and then you’re gonna want to keep some extra packets on hand so you can make cinnamon rolls to your heart’s desire.

I’ve made 5 batches this fall already. Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t keep packets so handy. My hips might thank me.

Making the dough

The steps are pretty simple to get this party started. Sift your dry ingredients. Add yeast to melted butter and milk. Add to sifted ingredients. Mix in egg and pumpkin.

Dough rising

Shape into a dough ball and place in a coated bowl to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size.

I found using my oven with the lights on inside keeps it warm enough. I’ve also turned the temperature to the lowest setting for a few minutes and then turned the heat off so I could place the bowl inside. Leaving the oven door open will keep it from getting too hot.

Dough simple.

Filling ingredients

Ahhhh… the good stuff. The filling.

Brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter and cinnamon.

And what about the pecans. Let’s roast them. Yes, lets.

Toasted Pecans

Pecans… coated with a little melted butter and toasted in the oven. They’ll totally make you glad you toasted them.

Chop them finely and the dough will be easier to roll.

Doubled dough

Oh look. Doubled in size dough. It’s like magic… or sweet science.

When it doubles in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a floured work surface so you can roll it out.

Making Cinnamon Rolls

Layer on the goodness. My favorite part.

Butter. Cinnamon. Sugar. Pecans. Perfect.

And then roll it up and cut into equal sections.

Cinnamon rolls

Here we go now.

Rising Rolls

Let the swirls of cut dough rise again before baking.

See how they are touching each other now. Nice.

Pumpkin pecan cinnamon rolls

Then bake away. You may notice I did half with pecans and half without. You know, I couldn’t commit to one way or the other.

Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Maple Icing

Servings: 15-18 cinnamon rolls


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pecans (toasted and then finely chopped), if desired
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk


  1. To make the dough: Sift flour, sugar, salt and spices with a wire whisk in a medium bowl. Transfer three cups of the flour mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and set the remaining one cup aside.
  2. Heat butter and milk in the microwave and set aside until warm. You can use a thermometer to measure the temperature needed according to the directions for the yeast you are using.
  3. Sprinkle yeast on the surface and let rest for about 5 minutes. Then gently stir together and add to the flour mixture. Mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Add egg and mix until combined and then add pumpkin and mix until combined.
  4. Change to the dough hook and add the remaining one cup flour until the dough separates from the side of the mixing bowl and forms into a ball.
  5. Spray a medium bowl with non-stick spray. Then remove dough from mixing bowl. Knead a couple of times, shape into a ball and place in coated bowl. Turn over to coat both sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. If it reaches the top of bowl, punch down.
  6. Add the filling: Prepare a buttered 9 X 13 dish or two 8-inch round baking dishes. Disposable aluminum pans are perfect.
  7. Turn out dough onto a well floured work surface and roll into a roughly 12 X 18 inch rectangle until it's about 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Spread melted butter on the dough. Then sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar and chopped pecans until the dough is covered. Note: if you want to use toasted pecans, lightly coat pecans in melted butter and place on a parchment covered baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle a pinch of salt on top and toast them for about 15-20 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Gently stir and turn pecans about halfway through baking time. Watch closely so they don't burn.
  9. Start from the long side farthest from you and start rolling the dough toward you to form a log. Roll tightly and shape as you go if necessary. Then turn the dough log seam side down and cut into 15-18 equal sections using a serrated knife.
  10. Place on prepared baking dish and let rise again in a warm spot for about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven and bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes.
  11. To make the Brown Butter Maple Icing: Sift powdered sugar. Melt butter over medium heat until it turns golden brown. Watch closely so it does not burn. Be careful because it can change quickly. Whisk butter into sugar until combined. Whisk in maple. Add milk and whisk until completely smooth.
  12. For cream cheese icing: Beat 4 oz softened cream cheese and 2 tablespoons softened butter until smooth. Add 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Then add 3-4 tablespoons milk until smooth.
  13. Remove rolls and spread icing over cinnamon rolls while still warm.

Maple icing

Cover them with Brown Butter Maple Icing…

Cinnamon Rolls

Or Cream Cheese Icing if you’re indecisive like me and then…

ENJOY them warm!

Monday, October 14, 2013


October baking is on! Who has already made some super cute treats or perfectly pumpkiny desserts? Do you like fall baking as much as I do? I hope so because I pulled together some fun baking projects in case you want any ideas or inspiration. It’s time to break out the butter.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Pumpkin Pie Bites >
Aaaah! These little pie bites are one of my favorite projects. They make me smile every time. I love how easy they are to make, too. They happened when I thought about reusing a pumpkin cutter to make mini pumpkin pie shapes by stuffing the dough in a mini cupcake tray. Too cute.


Spider Bites

Spider Bites >
These are not so cute. Creepy comes to mind. And fun. Creepy is fun. I can’t help but squirm when I see these little guys with brownies inside.



Pecan Pumpkin Butter Squares >
Oh my gosh I forgot about these sweet squares. I had them over and over during October 2010 on my Williams-Sonoma Book tour. I totally need to go out and get some pumpkin butter right now. Or maybe I’ll just head to the mall and hope for some free samples at the store.


Candy Corn Cake Pops

Candy Corn Cake Pops >
These are the happiest Candy Corns I ever did see. At least until I bite their cute little cheeks off.



Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake >
I originally made this deliciousness around Thanksgiving time, but it’s calling out to be made in October.


Dangling Spider Cake Pops

Dangling Spider Cake Pops >
I’m so in love with these happy little spiders. Use a longer lollipop stick to really pull off this adorable dangling look.



Hi Hat Cupcakes >
If you’ve never made these cupcakes before, do it right now. There’s something super satisfying about successfully dipping swirly marshmallowy tops in chocolate. Plus they are crazy good. Okay, these don’t really have anything to do with October other than this cupcake looks so good on orange.


Frankenweenie Cake Pops

Frankenweenie >
Zombie Doggies. Enough said.


Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Maple Brown Butter Frosting >
These cookies are all about comfort. Please don’t skip out on the frosting. It’s Aaaahmazing!!



Creepy Crawly Cake Pops >
As much as I dislike spiders, I sure do like decorating with them. These creepy crawlers are cute as can be.


Itty-Bitty Bat Cupcakes

Itty-Bitty Bat Cupcakes >
Sink your teeth into these bite-size bats.



Spooky Spider Cake Pops >
More spiders. You know… those big bodied, pudgy, don’t you dare get near me kind of spooky spiders. Well, these totally taste better.


Trix Cereal Spider Cookies

Spider Cookies >
I love how graphic these are with chocolate frosting and piped white spider webs. Super easy doesn’t hurt either.


Ghost Cake Pops

Trick-or-Treating Ghost Cake Pops >
Look at those tiny candy buckets. I can’t stand the cuteness. Oh yeah, there’s also Trick or Treat tags you can download.


Kitty Cookies

Kitty Cat Oreos >
Meow. Meow. Me…yum…yum! Homemade oreos get in my tum!


Halloween Cupcakes >
There’s not really a recipe for these, but there are a few more pics if you want to see… or if you want a chuckle. These were the very first sweets I made and posted on this website. I realized right away how much I enjoyed baking and creating and I haven’t been able to stop since.



Eye Ball Cake Pops >

So… Do you see anything you like?

I hope so and I hope you have fun baking this Halloween.


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