Everyone who knows me is well-aware I am a summer-creature all the way. But there’s something about the colors of autumn that fascinate me. I suppose they fascinate all human beings. Growing up in Brazil, I had never seen trees turning color, but used to marvel at photos from Vermont or other places famous for having the most spectacular color change in their trees. Now I enjoy them in our own backyard, Phil planted a beautiful maple tree that is thriving nicely, each year more magnificent, with a more intense red tone in the leaves. Gorgeous. Today I share with you a series of recent bakes inspired by the season.
I will start with the Maple Leaf Chocolate Sugar Cookies, because I loved making them.
for the cookie dough:
227 g (1 cup) slightly softened unsalted butter
43 g vegetable shortening (43 grams)
300 g granulated sugar
2 large eggs ( about 100 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
80 g unsweetened cocoa powder
490 g all-purpose flour
(if saving the dough to roll at a later time, use 420 g flour)
for the Royal Icing:
80 g egg whites
420 g powdered sugar
food dye (brown, red, orange, and yellow)
Heat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream butter, shortening and sugar together in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer with the paddle attachment. Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder and salt and mix well.
Stir in the cocoa until well blended.
Add flour and mix until the flour is completely incorporated and the dough holds together in a ball. Roll out on lightly floured surface, cut in the desired shapes.I like to place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes or in the refrigerator for 15 min before baking. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, cool completely before icing.
Make the Royal icing: whisk the egg whites and powdered sugar using a KitchenAid type mixer until fully smooth. Adjust if needed with sugar or a little milk. I like to have it at around 15 second-icing consistency, because it works both for piping the edge and flooding, which is all I need for this design.
Pipe the four colors starting with brown, finishing with yellow, but feel free to play with them in other arrangements. Pull the colors with a needle or toothpick, watch the tutorial online for details. Allow the icing to fully set at room temperature.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: I urge you to visit Salt and Serenity and watch Cindy’s video explaining how to make this eye-catching design. It is one of those things that seem very complicated until you see how it’s done. Basically, if “I” could do it, you will be able to do it also. Trust me. It is important to use a cookie recipe that holds its shape well, and I was happy with the one I used, especially because you can roll the dough without resting it in the fridge. You know I am not the most patient baker out there.
Moving on to Halloween Brigadeiros…
Brigadeiros are the most typical candy from Brazil, and totally addictive. I used my default recipe and simply coated them with orange and black non-pareils. For the recipe and to read more about them, visit my old post with a click here.
(adapted from many sources)
for the cupcakes:
170 g granulated sugar
130g brown sugar
225 g all-purpose flour
1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
320 g canned pumpkin (about 3/4 of a small can)
150 ml grapeseed oil
3 large eggs
for the icing:
120g unsalted butter, softened
190 g cream cheese, at room temperature
675 g powdered sugar
sprinkles to decorate
Heat the oven to 375 F. Place both sugars in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and blend with the whisk so that no lumps remain in the brown sugar. Sift all other dry ingredients and mix well with the sugars.
In another medium bowl mix well the pumpkin, oil and eggs. Add to the KitchenAid bowl and mix with the paddle attachment until smooth. Place paper liners in a 12-muffin baking pan, and fill each about 3/4 of the volume.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 18 minutes.
Make the icing while the cupcakes bake and cool. Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until pale and very smooth. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, then add to the butter mixture in three additions, beating well each time.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost them using the icing tip of your choice. I used Wilton 1M. Decorate with your favorite sprinkles.
to print the recipe, click here
Comments: These are deliciously soft cupcakes, with the perfect amount and combination of spices. I used two different styles of piping trying to change things a bit, but the traditional swirl still gets my vote. I suppose if you want to go the more austere route, these cupcakes will shine with just a dusting of powdered sugar, so keep that in mind.
And finally, how could I possibly make a Fall inspired baking post without French macarons?
I used my default recipe, which you can find here, but added orange and brown food color at 4:1 proportion.
PUMPKIN MACARON FILLING
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canned pumpkin pureed
2 cups powdered sugar (220 g)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of allspice
White Candy melts (about 3/4 cup)
black gel food dye
sprinkles of your choice
Cream the butter and pumpkin puree with an electric mixer. Add in the sugar and spices. Mix well and scrape down side of bowl. If needed, thin with a very small amount of milk or heavy cream.
Add a small amount of buttercream to a macaron shell, top with another shell. Melt the Candy melts in a microwave or double boiler. Add black food dye. Place in a piping bag, cut a very small hole in the plastic. Pipe lines on top of the macarons, immediately add sprinkles before the drizzle sets.
As always, leave the filled macarons in the fridge overnight before serving them.
to print the filling recipe, click here
Comments: This is my second version of a pumpkin macaron, and I like this filling better, it has a more complex flavor. For the drizzle with black candy melts I did something a bit different, and unfortunately I am not quite sure how reproducible it is. You are welcome to try it, but if it does not work for you, don’t get mad at me. A couple of months ago I was heating candy melts and used too high power in the microwave. The suspension kind of broke, and I simply tossed it and started all over. Later I learned that you can recover the broken suspension if you add a bit of oil such as grapeseed or safflower. Something mild in flavor, obviously. This time I made the suspension break and brought it back but not to the point that it was fully smooth. I wanted some texture, and I think it worked well, at least it was close to what I had in mind. So, next time Candy Melts play a trick on you, consider using it to your advantage…
I hope you enjoyed my quartet of bakes. Since summer is over, I might as well embrace what’s good about cooler weather: BAKING WITH ABANDON!
ONE YEAR AGO: On a Halloween Roll
TWO YEARS AGO: Pumpkin Macarons
THREE YEARS AGO: Zucchini, Lemon & Walnut Cake
FOUR YEARS AGO: Paleo Energy Bars
FIVE YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Dressing
SIX YEARS AGO: Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Burgers
SEVEN YEARS AGO: Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps
EIGHT YEARS AGO: Clay-pot Pork Roast
NINE YEARS AGO: Panmarino
TEN YEARS AGO: A Classic Roast Chicken