post off: what’s your favorite baking mix?

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I always like to have a few baking mixes handy for the days when I am lazy and Isadora is restless. Lately I have found myself seduced by the pretty packaging of Barefoot Contessa‘s mixes, which seem to be placed near the checkout aisles, where we are all more vulnerable to impulses. Today I gave her Gingerbread Cupcakes with Maple Frosting a try. Unlike good old Betty Crocker mixes, this one required an additional trip to the grocery store when I realized that cream cheese was needed for the frosting. It was worth the extra trip. The cupcakes are moist and have little pieces of crystalized ginger in them, and the frosty smells maple-y but tastes creamy and not too sweet. Last week I made her Peppermint Brownies and they were great too. — Angela M.

What’s your secret baking mix favorite?

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real life test kitchen: oatmeal flax chocolate chip cookies

flaxcookies

Bless Food Network magazine. They think that adding a little ground Flaxseed to an oatmeal cookie recipe constitutes as health food for the New Year. And you know what? I am right there with them. When I spotted this recipe in the January issue, I knew I had to make it because a) it includes my favorite add-to-everything ingredient, chocolate chips. And b) it gave me a way to use the under-used ground flaxseed in my fridge. I bought it thinking I’d sprinkle it in oatmeal in the mornings. I do so occasionally, but have been on a Greek yogurt kick lately… I digress.

So these cookies have everything you want in a yummy cookie: butter, two kinds of sugar, vanilla, cinnamon. The twist is you mix in ground flaxseed in with the dry ingredients, which also includes quick cooking oatmeal. The results were tasty, but I only cooked them for 10 minutes and they got a little burnt. My oven is testy. Perhaps it doesn’t like health foods.

If you’d like to give it a try, you’ll find the recipe here. Let me know how it goes. — Angela M.

More cookie recipes I heartedly recommend:

The Best Oatmeal Cookies

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ever (Honest)

From our partners

real life test kitchen: bourbon sweet potato bundt cake

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I am just getting this one in under the gun: It’s November 15th — National Bundt Cake Day! I knew it was this week, but thought perhaps it was Thursday after watching the video this Martha Stewart link. I’ve been seeing Bundt cake recipes everywhere lately, like this delicious collection at the Kitchn, but ultimately decided to celebrate the season with this one I spotted on MSL: It’s a sweet potato bourbon Bundt cake from Bundt Classics by Dorthy Dalquist, the grand dame of Nordic Ware. I had never baked with sweet potatoes before, and was curious how this would turn out. The texture was moist, and a little dense (perhaps I over mixed?) but super yummy. A touch of pumpkin pie spice makes it taste like, well, pumpkin pie. It’s the syrup — made from sugar, butter and bourbon — that really throws this one into the stratosphere. It was amazing the first two days but quickly got stale by day three. Any suggestions on the best way to store? — Angela M.

Click here for the recipe at Martha Stewart Living.

More Shelterrific Bundt cake posts:
Chocolate Spice Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Chocolate Fire Cake

Pear Persimmon Pudding Cake with Whiskey Cream Cheese Icing

Chocolate Walnut Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Traditional Chocolate and Zucchini Cake

Quick Sherry Cake

From our partners

real life test kitchen: peanut butter & chocolate buckeyes

buckeyes

One of the best things about marrying a man from Ohio is that he introduced me to buckeyes. The state sweet, they are creamy, peanut-buttery chocolate balls of joy. They resemble the nut that falls from the state tree and bear the same name as Ohio State’s beloved college football team. I don’t know how I lived 35 years without them. Recently, we introduced some neighbors to buckeyes by bringing a spooky version to Halloween party. I was talking to the hostess when someone came over and urgently asked “Where are those chocolate peanut butter balls?! They are amazing!!” I beamed with pride and decided we’d make them for a bake sale we had coming up at our child’s preschool. Recipe to follow on the next page. Don’t eat them all once! — Angela M

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From our partners

real life test kitchen: holly’s perfect pumpkin muffins

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The other day we had the pleasure of crashing at the home of our dear friend Holly in Richmond, VA. A baker extraordinaire, she always has something delicious to offer. On Sunday she sent us on our way with a plate full of the best pumpkin muffins. They were moist, light and had a subtle complexity due to a mix of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamon. But what really made them extra devourable was some dark chocolate chips hidden inside. Needless to say, all the pumpkin muffins are gone now. Holly was kind enough to share her recipe, so I will try to replicate over the weekend. Even if they’re just half as good as hers, they’ll be heaven in a paper cup. — Angela M.

Click through to the next page for the recipe. (more…)

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