For some reason I really like baking cookies. Alot. Most of the recipes I share are for cookies-they look good, are easy to bake and serve and they freeze well. For the holiday season my most popular recipe is for simple honey cookies. I also shared a recipe for honey sugar cookies and honey whoopie pies which are like an elevated snack cookie/cake hybrid. So naturally when I found an old recipe for apple honey cookies I knew it would be a perfect recipe for the Jewish New Year. After baking the first batch, the cookies were just too soft and tender to hold up as a cookie, and they were coming out all wonky instead of perfectly cute and even. I thought they would be better suited as a muffin. They needed a bit of excitement though, the batter itself was a little one note for me. So I added a simple crumb topping. Then the crumb topping really just needed a bit of icing, but that’s totally optional. My family really doesn’t like traditional honey cake so I’m always looking for recipes that work in apples and honey and this one is perfect! The muffins are sweet, spiced and tender with bits of fresh apples throughout. The crumbs give the muffins a bit of a crunch and the icing adds a touch of sweetness. There is quite a bit of honey in the recipe and these muffins go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee, but they definitely don’t taste like that old school dry honey cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin or cupcake pans with 18 liners and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the shortening, brown sugar, and honey until smooth.
Mix in the eggs and sour cream and beat until smooth.
Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Peel and core the apples and then dice them into small pieces. Stir them into the batter.
Divide the batter between the cupcake pans, filling each about ¾ of the way full.
In a small bowl, mix the xugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Pour in the oil and mix until large crumbs form.
Sprinkle about 1 Tbs. of topping on each muffin.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the muffins are golden brown and spring back to the touch.
Allow to cool before adding the icing.
In a small bowl, pour in the powdered sugar. Slowly sir in a bit of water at a time until the icing is a nice thick consistency. Use a spoon to drizzle a bit of icing on each muffin. I prefer to fill a disposable pastry bag with the icing and drizzle it that way. You can also use a Ziploc bag and snip the tiniest hole in the corner.
Some tips: I like baking with granny smith apples since they don’t break down in the oven, they really hold their shape.
Store in an airtight container, but I wouldn’t keep them at room temperature for too long, since the apples can start to go bad. Refrigerate for short term, but the fridge can cause baked goods to dry out. The best storage solution is to freeze them until ready to serve. The muffins defrost really quickly.
I absolutely love soft pretzels. They are the perfect any time snack, and they are surprisingly easy to make. Yes they start with a yeast dough, but their are only a few ingredients involved, and the dough comes together quickly. Once the dough is formed, it only needs to rise for an hour before it’s ready to be shaped and baked.
Shaping a pretzel seems complicated, but the way I twist mine is actually pretty easy. Follow these three easy steps and you will be making impressive looking pretzels too! Just make sure to roll the dough into a really thin strip because it puffs up a lot. I made mine into mini sized pretzels so they would make a lot (32 to be exact), but they can definitely be made into larger pretzels as well.
Pretzels get boiled in a warm bath of water and baking soda before they get baked. That process gives pretzels their unique tang and color. To help the pretzels brown a little more, I brushed mine with egg wash before sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar. I serve mine with a sweet non-dairy cream cheese dip (just in case you thought they weren’t sweet enough).
Here’s my son Charlie with my pretzels. He loves being part of my photo shoots. He’s always eager to help. I couldn’t say no to his cute face. Here’s my non-dairy recipe: the pretzel dough is adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe.
Mini Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels with Sweet Cream Cheese Dip
Author: Lil' Miss Cakes
1½ cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
1 Tbs. sugar
4½ cups flour
2 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. coconut oil
5 cups water
⅓ cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 Tbs. water
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Sweet Cream Cheese Dip
3 cups confectioners sugar
½ cup non-dairy cream cheese (I use Tofutti Brand)
2 Tbs. margarine
2 Tbs. soy milk or water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix warm water with the yeast and sugar. Allow the yeast to bubble and proof for 5-10 minutes.
Then add in the flour, salt, and coconut oil.
Turn the mixer on low and mix until the dough starts to form.
Switch the mixer to medium speed and mix for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth.
Remove the dough, spray the bowl with non-stick spray, return the dough to the bowl and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.
Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Fill a large saucepan with 5 cups of water and ⅓ cup baking soda. Heat the water mixture on medium heat until it slightly simmers.
Divide the dough into 8 even pieces and then divide each piece into 4 even pieces yielding 32 pieces.
Roll each piece into a long thin rope, about 18 inches long. Form the pretzel shape. Drop each pretzel into the simmering baking soda water and let it simmer for 30 seconds. Use a flat spoon or spatula to remove each pretzel onto a baking sheet.
Once all the pretzels have simmered in the water bath, mix the egg yolk with 1 Tbs. water. Brush the egg wash onto each pretzel and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until the pretzels are light brown. Serve with the sweet cream cheese dip.
Sweet Cream Cheese Dip
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the confectioner sugar, cream cheese, margarine, soy milk, and vanilla until smooth. Serve with the soft cinnamon sugar pretzels.
Pumpkin season is not over yet! I still have an exciting recipe to share with you. A few weeks ago I shared my recipe for pumpkin doughnuts with marshmallow and graham cracker glaze. Then I showed you what I did with the doughnut holes making cinnamon sugar pumpkin doughnut holes with orange cranberry jam. Those two recipes were amazing, but I was wondering what else I could do with that gorgwous pumpkin dough. I tried making them the same way I make my famous cinnamon buns, and they were amazing! Topping these buns with maple glaze put these over the top. I urge you to try this non-dairy recipe with your leftover canned pumpkin!
Here are the pumpkin buns packed with sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. They are rising and almost ready for the oven. I just couldn’t get enough of this gorgeous pumpkin orange color!
Here are the buns fresh out of the oven. I allowed them to cool before drizzling on the sweet maple icing.
Here is a behind the scenes look at my photo shoot. My son Charlie was around for this one and wanted to be a part of it! This pose was his idea, love it!