Apple Cider Muffins {Recipe}

Apple Cider Muffins | Lil Miss CakesI’m really excited about this recipe. It’s perfect for this time of year, and really any time of year actually. But these definitely do remind me of fall, when the leaves are changing and the sweaters and boots come out.

Apple Cider Muffins | Lil Miss Cakes

I got a frantic call from a devoted mom trying to pull off the perfect autumn themed bake sale. She was planning to have warm cider and spiced apple cider donuts, but couldn’t source the perfect donuts anywhere. She had 2 days until the event when she called me. I told her there was no way I could pull off making 100 fresh donuts, but how about muffins? Perfect-muffins will be great! The only problem was I had never made apple cider muffins. I scoured the internet for a recipe and came across this one from New England Today’s Food section. It sounded like a winner. With a few tweaks I adapted the recipe to be dairy-free, perfect for my needs. These muffins promised to be better the next day and they sure do deliver!

Apple Cider Muffins {Recipe}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-18 Regular Sized Muffins
 
Ingredients
Muffins
  • 2 cups sweet apple cider, reduced to 1 cup
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Topping
  • ½ cup margarine (I like Earth Balance)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Measure the apple cider and pour into small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the cider is reduced to 1 cup. Allow to cool. This can be done in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Spray regular or mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil, apple sauce, and sugar until blended.
  5. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until blended.
  6. Add in the vanilla.
  7. In a separate bowl combine the flour, fresh nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients to combine.
  8. With the mixer running on low add the dry ingredients to the mixer alternating with the reduced and cooled apple cider, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  9. Once the batter comes together, spoon the batter into prepared muffin pan. I like to fill mine half way (for 18 regular muffins) but you can go ¾ of the way up for a larger muffin (12 regular muffins). You can also make minis, just reduce the baking time.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes until the muffins spring back to the touch. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before adding the topping.
  11. In small bowl melt the margarine. In a second bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  12. Once the muffins are cool enough to handle, brush the muffins with the melted margarine on all sides, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
  13. Store in an airtight container. They are perfect right away but are even better the next day.

Cookie Butter Crispy Treats {Recipe}

Cookie Butter Crispy Treats

Cookie butter is all the rage right now. I love the speculoos cookies, but the cookie spread is a little too sweet to eat on its own. I know that’s not the popular opinion, but it’s mine and I’m sticking to it! So I keep trying to use it in different desserts. Some have been successful and some have flopped. This recipe is a definite success. It’s also a no bake recipe, which is why I tried it in the first place. I was preparing dinner, pot roast. I was so proud of myself, I prepped early! But as I was putting my roast in the over for 3-4 hours on 275 degrees F, I realized I couldn’t bake anything else! Cookie butter crispy treats to the rescue.

Cookie Butter Drizzle | Lil Miss Cakes

This recipe is super easy and quick. You need a bit of patience to get it right, but it’s worth the minimal effort! I used to use marshmallow cream to make traditional crispy treats. Don’t get me wrong, they taste great, but they were always gooey and messy. Plus they would fall apart, and I wanted these to hold their shape. I asked my friend Rebecca of I Want That Dessert fame, for her tips and tricks. She always posts these perfect looking treats and I just had to know how she does it! Cookie Butter Treats | Lil Miss Cakes

Rebecca had a few very key points for success. In order to make perfect looking dairy free kosher marshmallow treats: use Paskesz brand mini marshmallows. According to Rebecca, these are the best ones to use, they melt really nicely. (This is not a sponsored post, I’m just sharing my preferred brand with you!) Also, use the microwave! Melt the margarine (or butter) in a large bowl in the microwave. I added the cookie butter in  at this point as well. Then dump in the marshmallows and stir. Heat the marshmallow mixture for 10 seconds at a time mixing in between. It will take some time here. You may think this will never work. You may want to give up. DONT! Do not give up. Keep heating and mixing. The marshmallows will melt. As soon as the mixture is smooth and gooey pour in the rice cereal. Mix quickly and carefully, this will be hot! Pour the mixture into a prepared pan and press flat. I lined a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and got flatter treats. For thicker treats use an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch square. To help press into the pan, spray your hands with cooking spray so the treats won’t stick. Once the treats are firmly packed, allow to cool and then cut into squares. Easy, amazing, dairy-free, no-bake perfection! Cookie Butter Crispy Stack | Lil Miss Cakes

The cookie butter crispy treats are perfect as is, but my husband needed more cookie butter intensity. In that case, just melt some extra cookie butter and drizzle it down on top!

Cookie Butter Crispy Treats {Recipe}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 squares
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbs. margarine
  • ⅔ cup crunchy or smooth cookie butter (such as Lotus Brand)
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 oz. package of Paskez mini marshmallows
  • 5 cups crispy rice cereal
Instructions
  1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. For thinner treats use a 9x13 inch pan. For thicker treats use an 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan. Set aside.
  2. Measure out the rice cereal and set aside.
  3. In a large microwave safe bowl (large enough to accommodate all the cereal), melt the margarine, cookie butter, and salt.
  4. Once melted, pour in the marshmallows and stir to coat.
  5. Continue microwaving on high for 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between. This process could take 2-3 minutes but will ensure success.
  6. Once completely melted, pour in the cereal and quickly stir to combine.
  7. Pour cereal mixture into prepared pan and press firmly into place.
  8. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies {Recipe}

Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

When a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies from Handmade Charlotte showed up on my Instagram feed, I knew I had to try it. I’ve been craving a chocolate sugar cookie for as long as I could remember and this cookie looked perfect.. But if you have been here before you know I specialize in dairy free desserts so I had to adapt the recipe to fit my needs. I also added a pinch of cinnamon for a bit more of a complex flavor. You won’t really taste it but it gives a nice background flavor that pairs nicely with the chocolate.

Chocolate Sugar Cookie Bite | Lil Miss CakesThese cookies are chocolate heaven. They are intense but also sweet. The sugar coating adds a really nice crunchy coating while the inside is chewy and tender. To get the cookies this really deep almost black color I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa. It’s a combination of regular cocoa powder and dutch process cocoa powder and I’m kind of obsessed with it lately. I find it in my local supermarket but I’ll include an affiliate link in case you can’t find it locally: Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, 8-Ounce Container (Pack of 2). You can probably use regular cocoa powder but your cookies will look a lot lighter in color. They also freeze well! Here is my dairy-free recipe adapted from Handmade Charlotte.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies {Recipe}
Author: 
Serves: 36
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbs. flour
  • ¾ cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 Tbs. margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar for rolling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set asode.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the shortening, margarine, and sugars until smooth.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time making sure to combine well after each addition.
  5. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix to combine.
  6. With the mixer on low add in the flour mixture and mix until the cookie dough comes together.
  7. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, form balls of batter. Roll in the sugar and set each cookie on the prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are flat and cracked on top.
  9. Allow to cool on wire rack before enjoying!

Here’s an affiliate link to my favorite cookie scoop and the size I used in this recipe:

Our Table Cookbook {Review and Giveaway}

Our Table by Renee Muller

 

 In Our Table, food stylist and recipe columnist Renee Muller shares her simple and delicious kosher family recipes. Each recipe calls for everyday ingredients, all easily accessible, and is accompanied by full color photos. Both of those components as well as the easy to follow directions and tips make this cookbook perfect for a beginner in the kitchen as well as a great resource for the seasoned chef. The cookbook is not only for the kitchen, it makes a stunning coffee table book. Renee brings her expert food styling skills to each and every photo. This is something I really look for in a great cookbook. I love looking at beautiful food and love seeing what the recipe will look like.

The book is filled with recipe tips, suggestions, and techniques to help in the kitchen. Some of the recipes also include links to online video tutorials. As Renee was writing she wished she could be there with her readers in the kitchen. “Many times while writing down recipe instructions, I wished I could just invite my readers to join me in my kitchen and cook with me.  That thought led me to create a variety of videos of some of the recipes so you can view them as you want and see some of the techniques I use when cooking my recipes.”  I love this idea, it’s like getting personal cooking classes with Renee Muller!

The categories in the cookbook include Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Fish & Dairy, Meat, Chicken & More, Snacks & Sides, Bread, Cakes & Cookies, and Desserts. Each recipe is labeled as Meat, Dairy,  or Pareve as well as Freezer Friendly or Gluten Free. There is even a Pesach (Passover) guide with substitutions so many recipes can be used over the holiday as well.

I have already made the Belgian Birthday Waffles  and My Most Favorite White Flour Challah which were both a huge hit! I cant wait to try Mommy’s Stuffed Cabbage,  Mushroom Barley Soup Done Right,  Lo Mein, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, Sweet and Tangy Spare Ribs, Oven Baked Honey Mustard Chicken,  Babka Swirls, Just Right Cookies, and Malky’s Old Fashioned Apple Bake.

Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins | Renee Muller

I am delighted to share this recipe for Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins from Our  Table by Renee Muller reproduced with permission from the copyright holder, ArtScroll Publications, October 2016.

Apple and Honey Rosh Hashana Muffins
Author: 
Serves: 48
 
At our house, Rosh Hashanah cannot happen without honey muffins. At least, that’s the way my kids see it. It’s a family project, and by now, a family tradition, too. This recipe was given to me by a relative in Israel who bakes them all the time and claims that no matter how many batches she bakes, there are never enough. She’s absolutely right. We once baked a quadruple batch of these (sans the apples) for a bake sale on our block and we were left without a crumb!
Ingredients
For The Apples
  • 2 Tablespoons butter OR margarine
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the muffins
  • 2 cups prepared tea, lukewarm
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups oil
  • 2 cups honey
  • 12 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Prepare the apples: In a saucepan, melt butter over a medium-low flame. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon; cook until apples are fragrant and soften a bit, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare the muffins: In the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed, combine tea, sugar, oil, honey, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Reduce speed; gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter. (I like to use a cupcake pen for this; I find it very helpful.) Top with a teaspoon of prepared apples. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost dry with some moist crumbs attached.
note: The apples are optional; I find that some children prefer the muffins plain. We add the apple for Rosh Hashanah (very loudly singing, “Dip the apple in the hooooneeeyy” as we do so) but throughout the year, we bake them plain.
tip: I recently discovered an amazing gadget called “The Cupcake (or Muffin) Pen.” It really removes the whole messy aspect of filling cupcake pans with batter. Look for it in specialty equipment stores.

Want to win your own copy? Artscroll has graciously offered to give one copy of Our Table to one of you! Head over to my Instagram @lilmisscakes and enter for a chance to win! US mailing addresses only-sorry!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies {Recipe}

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

Summer is winding down and Fall is in the air! It’s time for cozy sweaters, boots, and apple recipes! I love apple picking this time of year, and I always pick way too many. Here’s one great way to incorporate apples into a delicious dessert. This is also a great alternative to oatmeal raisin cookies. They are sweet and full of cinnamon for that delicious Fall flavor.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

 

These cookies are sweet and full of cinnamon to satisfy your Fall flavor cravings. My recipe is simple and dairy free! I shared it with my friend Melinda of Kitchen Tested fame. You can find my Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie recipe there!

If you are looking for more apple desserts try my Spiced Apple Cider, Apple Honey Crumb Muffins, Apple Pie Bundt Cake, or Mini Apple Pies.

Chocolate Meltaway Cake {Recipe}

Chocolate Meltaway Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

Have you ever craved a chocolate babka or kokosh cake, but just didn’t have the time or energy to make one? I’ve got you covered! This simple cake is full of deep chocolate flavor and tons of crumbs. I like this crumb to cake ratio, but you can even double the crumb topping if that is your thing. I have shared this recipe on Busy In Brooklyn while Chanie takes some time off to enjoy her new daughter. Head on over there for the full recipe and details!

Looking for a cinnamon version? That’s where it all began! Try my cinnamon roll cake, you won’t be sorry!

Sriracha Cake

Sriracha Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

Now this cake doesn’t actually contain any sriracha…that would be weird. This is a grooms cake I made to look just like a bottle of the popular hot sauce. The sriracha bottle was carved out of cake before I covered it in red fondant. Red is a really difficult color to achieve out of fondant so I always buy red fondant. I hand piped all the lettering onto the bottle with royal icing and the help of my pico projector (affiliate link).

Sriracha Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

This is technically a two tier cake. The bride wanted the cake to look like it was on a wood board so I made the bottom tier into a wood plank cake. I carved all the grooves and notches into some brown fondant. Then I painted on some darker brown color to create some variations in the wood. To finish it off, I airbrushed dark brown/black in some spots to really bring it to life. I’m totally impressed by how this cake came together!

Two Tier Planes, Trains, and Automobile Cake

2 Tier Planes Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

I still love this cake design. I have made it in a single tier version (see it here and here) and now this is the two tier version. I made the cake topper the same way as the oter cakes. I designed an airplane cutter set  (purchase here) and just customized the colors to match this color scheme. You can catch the airplane topper tutorial here. I used my standard car cutter to make the line of cars, but I also have a groovy car cutter available. To make the windows on the cars I hand cut some white fondant and glued them on with some water or tylose glue. All the tires were cut out of black fondant with a small round piping tip and attached the same way. I designed a train cutter to use for the front car. The rest of the train cars are just hand cut out of matching fondant. The clouds were cut using my fluffy cloud cutter. I cut all the pieces including the airplane topper ahead of time. When it was time to assemble the cake it all came together really quickly. Happy 3rd Birthday Shmuel!

Modern Upsherin Cake

Modern Upsherin Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

I think this is one of my favorite cakes to date. Birthday cakes for boys are harder to design than girly ones. But I really like how this one turned out! I designed the wavy chevron cutter (available to purchase here) to cut out the stripes and used the color scheme I was given to create this amazing pattern. The candles match the waviness of the pattern which tie in really nicely. The other elements: the scissors, kippah, and tzitzit are all elements of the Upsherin-a hair cutting ceremony some boys have when they turn 3 years old.

Funky Chevron Stripe | Lil Miss Cakes

I really just wanted to highlight the funky chevron design. I would love to use this design again, it can be used in all sorts of colors for all sorts of occasions. Thanks for looking!

Fashion Birthday Cake

Fashion Birthday Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

This was a really fun cake to make. It was made to celebrate a 30th birthday. The birthday girl wanted some of her favorite things in cake form. The bottom tier is a Louis Vuitton suitcase. The top tier is a Jimmy Choo shoe box. I didn’t get a good picture but I hand painted the logo on top of the shoe box. On top of the cake is an edible Valentino sugar shoe. This shoe was a challenge! The straps were basically suspended and every stud was shaped by hand. I hand painted the animal print on the front of the shoe. I’m so happy with the way that sugar shoe tuned out! I added some roses to the cake to match the flowers at the party and to give the cake a little softness and a girly flair.

Louis Vuitton Suitcase | Lil Miss Cakes

Here is a better look at the suitcase. I used light brown fondant for the suitcase and then airbrushed it with darker brown to give it that worked in leather look. Then  I used a stencil to airbrush the logo all around the cake. The suitcase was trimmed with thin strips of fondant and detailed with a stitching tool.  The hardware was made out of fondant. I made my own molds for the latches and handle and I have used it a few times now. Making my own molds was well worth it. The gold hardware was airbrushed in gold before attaching to the suitcase. The corners were painted gold after attaching to the cake. Happy 30th Birthday!