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Fall Baking & Cooking

Chunky Apple Sugar Cookie Sheet Cake Bars

Chunks of sweet honey crisp apples surrounded by cinnamon sugar cookie dough topped with whipped cinnamon buttercream make these Chunky Apple Sugar Cookie Sheet Cake Bars a must-bake dessert for your family!

Chunky Apple Sugar Cookie Sheet Cake Bars - Chunks of apples fill this sugar cookie sheet cake that's covered in a creamy cinnamon buttercream | JavaCupcake.com

My daughter has been eating apples a lot lately… almost one everyday.  She slices them, puts them in a bowl with a spoonful of peanut butter or sometimes with a couple slices of cheese.  Emily loves apples.

Her love of this crispy fruit got me to thinking about baking with them.   How could I incorporate the crunch and sweet flavor of a Honey Crisp apple into a dessert??  Hmm… a cupcake? Naw.  I’ve done that before.  Pie?  Yup, done that too.

Cookies?  YES! Winner! I haven’t made an apple cookie yet!

But wait… how about a cookie cake?

EVEN BETTER!

This chunky apple sugar cookie sheet cake bars, have a sugar cookie flavor with a cake-like texture but are loaded with chucks of sweet and crisp apples and tons of delicious cinnamon flavor.  I’ve topped them with a thin layer of whipped cinnamon frosting.

They get their name from the way they are baked… in a sheet cake pan and from their texture.  These bars definitely have the sugar cookie texture and flavor, yet they are thicker and have a crumb like a cake.

Chunky Apple Sugar Cookie Sheet Cake Bars - Chunks of apples fill this sugar cookie sheet cake that's covered in a creamy cinnamon buttercream | JavaCupcake.com

It’s a cookie. It’s a cake.  It’s a bar.  It’s a Cookie Sheet Cake Bar!

This would make a great treat for a pot-luck or party.  It can be sliced in any size and would be delicious with a scoop of vanilla or caramel ice cream on the side!  Ooohh!  Why didn’t I think of that before I took the pictures and ate 3 pieces?   ha ha ha

Yum.  Seriously.  These sugar cookie sheet cake bars are like a slice of apple pie, but better.  You need to try them!!!

Enjoy!

Chunky Apple Sugar Cookie Sheet Cake Bars

Chunky Apple Sugar Cookie Sheet Cake Bars

Ingredients

Bars

  • 2 1/2 cups Honey Crisp apples, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 large apples)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Bars

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Spray with Pillsbury Baking Spray with flour a jelly roll pan or large, tall sided cookie sheet. Line with parchment paper and spray again.
  2. Prepare the apples by peeling, coring and dicing them into 1/4-1/2" chunks.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. While the butter and sugar are creaming, in another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
  5. Add the eggs to the butter/sugar one at a time mixing well after each. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times to make sure all the egg has been incorporated.
  6. Mix in the vanilla.
  7. Slowly add the flour to the creamed mixture and mix on high until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything has been incorporated.
  8. Add the apples and mix until they have been evenly distributed through the batter. N
  9. NOTE: The batter will be thick. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
  10. Bake 18-25 minutes or until the edges have browned and a toothpick comes out without any wet batter. You should see a few cookie crumbs stuck to the toothpick.
  11. Cool cookie bars in the pan on a wire rack until they are completely cool.
  12. Using the parchment paper, carefully lift the cookie out and place on a cutting board.

Frosting

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and mix on high until incorporated.
  3. Mix in the vanilla, cinnamon and the salt.
  4. Add the heavy cream and mix on high for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Assembly & Storage

  1. Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cooled sheet of cookie.
  2. Cut into squares.
  3. Sprinkle each square with a dusting of ground cinnamon.
  4. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Notes

Original recipe from The Seaside Baker

Chunky Potato Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Bacon | JavaCupcake.com

Chunky Potato Soup

Chunks of yellow potatoes and sweet potatoes in a creamy broth with thick cut belly bacon makes this hearty soup the perfect Fall dinner.

Chunky Potato Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Bacon | JavaCupcake.com

I’ve been making soup almost every week since it started to get really cold here in Bavaria.  Pumpkin chili, ham hock & 15 bean soup, split pea with ham and now this Chunky Potato Soup.

I need to be honest with you though… before today I had never had potato soup let alone make it from scratch.  But, potatoes are one of my most favorite things to eat since I’ve moved to Germany that it just sounded like a good idea to try!

I mean how can you go wrong with a soup that is all creamy, delicious potato?

In my world… you can’t.

This Chunky Potato soup starts with a pound of belly bacon.  Now, if you don’t know what belly bacon is let me tell you it is so incredibly delicious that once you start using it, you’ll never use any other kind of bacon, ever.  This type of bacon comes from the belly of the pig and has both strips of fat and strips meat in it and it typically cut thicker.

Chunky Potato Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Bacon | JavaCupcake.com

After the bacon is browned, onions and garlic are added then two types of potatoes.  In Germany, big yellow potatoes with thin skins called Gelb Kartoffeln are most popular so that’s what I used (Yukons would be a good potato to use in the USA) as well as one large orange sweet potato.  Seasoning, heavy cream, milk and chicken stalk with a touch of flour are the final ingredients to be added.

I had contemplated adding corn to the soup, but I didn’t have any.  I think the could would make a great addition to the soup though, adding even more great flavor to an already delicious soup.

In less than an hour, this Chunky Potato Soup can go from ingredients in your fridge to bowls in front of your family or friends.  It’s simple, hearty, creamy and just damn delicious.

Enjoy!

For more soup & dinner ideas, visit the recipe page for Meals, Soups & Snacks

Chunky Potato Soup

Chunky Potato Soup

Yield: 6-8 servings of soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1lb belly bacon, cubed
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 large yellow, thin skinned potatoes (Gelb Kartoffeln in Germany or Yukon in the USA), skin on & cubed
  • 1 large orange sweet potato, peeled & cubed
  • 2 14.5oz cans chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • salt
  • 8oz grated sharp cheddar cheese, for garnish
  • dried parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large pot on high heat. Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch square chunks. Add the bacon to the hot pot and cook until most of the pieces have browned on each side. Generously, season with cracked black pepper.
  2. Dice the onion and add it to the pot. Also add the minced garlic. Combine and cook until the onions begin to lose their color. Again, add more cracked pepper.
  3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the bacon and onions and mix until no more flour is visible.
  4. Cut the potatoes into 1/2-1in cubes. Peel the sweet potato, but leave the skin on the yellow potatoes. Add the cubed potatoes to the pot and cook for about 8 minutes or until they begin to soften and brown on all sides. Lightly salt the mixture and add more cracked black pepper.
  5. Pour in the chicken broth, heavy cream and milk and gently mix.
  6. Remove 1/4 cup of the broth and stir in 2 Tbsp flour. Mix until flour has dissolved. Add this back into the pot.
  7. Add the parsley. Taste the broth and add more salt/pepper to taste.
  8. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to low-medium, simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the broth has thickened and the potatoes are soft.
  9. Serve topped with grated sharp cheddar cheese and a garnish of dried parsley.
Witch's Cauldron Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

Witch’s Cauldron Cupcakes

These spooky black chocolate cupcake cauldrons topped with gooey bright green vanilla buttercream bubbling adorned with witch’s hats, broomsticks, black cats and scary signs make the perfect Halloween treat!

Witch's Cauldron Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

With Halloween just around the corner, my friend Kathy of Tiny Kitchen Cakes and I decided to make some super scary yet incredibly cute cupcakes!

Kathy made the fondant toppers, I made the cake and frosting and together we assembled!  They were really not too difficult to make either.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Witch's Cauldron Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

How to make Witch’s Cauldron Cupcakes:

  • Prepare the chocolate cupcakes as directed.   Add enough black food coloring to the batter to make it as dark as possible.
  • Prepare the buttercream and tint it lime green.  If you want to make some with orange swirls, reserve some white to tint orange.
  • Color most of your fondant black and shape witch’s hats, black cats, broom sticks and poles for the signs.
  • Color some of the fondant green and cut out squares for the signs and small circles for the cat eyes.
  • Color more of the fondant purple and yellow and cut out shapes to complete the witch’s hat.
  • Finally color fondant brown and make the bristles for the broom.
  • Attach all the pieces together and set out to dry overnight.
  • Make a small dollop of green frosting in the center of the cupcake.  Spread a small amount of frosting down one edge of the cupcake.
  • Cover the frosting in green sugar pearls making sure not to press them too deep into the frosting.
  • Top each cupcake with a dried fondant topper.
  • Optionally – pipe swirls of orange frosting onto the cupcakes and sprinkle with orange and black jimmies.

A few things to know…

  • The sugar pearls like to fall off these cupcakes, so make sure you have LOTS so you can pop more on when you need them.
  • Reinforce the sign poles with a toothpick inside, this will help add stability.
  • For 50 cupcakes, it took about 4 hours to make enough toppers, 3 hours to bake the cupcakes & make frosting and about 2 hours to assemble them.

Witch's Cauldron Cupcakes | JavaCupcake.com

Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies

Just in time for Fall, these chewy carrot cake cookies are the perfect treat for a crisp day, a party, with a hot cup of tea or any occasion!

Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

I made a roast not too long ago and I over estimated how many carrots would fit into the crockpot… so I had a few leftover.  I could eat them or I could figure out how to bake when them.

Baking with them sounded more fun.

Last year I made carrot cupcakes so I knew this year I wanted to try something different.  Cookies! Yes! Carrot cake cookies.  BUT… these cookies had to be chewy.  They couldn’t be puffy or cake like.  I wanted them to have substance and chew with tons of amazing carrot and spice flavor!

Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

So these cookies are made with browned butter, lots of shredded carrots, spices and amped up with white chocolate chips and shredded coconut.  They are crisp on the edges and chewy in the center.  The white chocolate chips add just a hint of sweetness!  If you wanted to add chopped nuts to these cookies… I bet that’d be awesome too.  (Although I didn’t add any because I’m allergic to nuts.)

Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies | JavaCupcake.com

If you love carrot cake…. you’ll love these chewy carrot cake cookies!

So good.  I mean it.  SO GOOD.

Enjoy!

 

Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies

Chewy Carrot Cake Cookies

Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 33 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 2 medium-large carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips (for garnish)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter, stirring occasionally. Cook the butter until it turns slightly golden brown. It will have a nutty aroma. Be careful not to burn it.
  3. Pour the browned butter into the the bowl of your stand mixer.
  4. Add the sugars to the butter and beat until combined. Scrape the bowl and beat again.
  5. One at a time, mix in the eggs and beat well after each. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape the bowl and let rest for 2 minutes. Mix again until smooth.
  6. Add the carrots and mix until combined.
  7. In two parts, add the dry ingredients and mix together on medium speed until almost all the flour has been incorporated.
  8. Fold in the coconut and white chocolate chips as well as the nuts (optional).
  9. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  11. Drop 1/4 cup size balls of dough onto the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Press a few extra white chocolate chips on the top of the dough.
  12. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the edges are golden.
  13. Allow to cool on the pan for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Recipe adapted from The Swell Quenelle

Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup | JavaCupcake.com

Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup

Fall is in full swing here in Bavaria.  The sun is shining, but it’s crisp and cold outside!  Perfect crock pot Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup weather!

Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup | JavaCupcake.com

I’ve had the ingredients for this soup in my kitchen for a week.  But, life happened and I didn’t have the time to put it all together in the morning before my day started.  So on Sunday when I woke up, I got everything in the crock pot and cooking.  By 1pm my house smelled amazing and I couldn’t wait for dinner!

This Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup recipe comes originally from Budget Bytes.  It’s a super simple recipe that packs a big flavor punch!  Cooking the ham hocks in the crock pot with all the beans and veggies brings such an added richness to the broth and flavor to the entire soup.

Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup | JavaCupcake.com

One of the things I love most about making soup is that it’s really hard to mess up.  Unlike baking, exact measurements aren’t necessary for this recipe.  When I dice the carrots and celery, I just eyeball it and throw in what looks good.  It’s the same with the seasonings.  Yes, the recipe calls for an exact amount, but really it’s just what looks good.  Use what you have in your cabinet and refrigerator.

Be creative!

If you like it spicy, add some pepper flakes or chili powder.  If you want it sweet, throw in a few tablespoons of brown sugar.  How about some bell peppers or zucchini?

Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup | JavaCupcake.com

The possibilities are endless.

So, grab a bowl and fill it up with this soup, then get a crusty piece of bread and cozy up on the couch and enjoy!

Enjoy!

Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup

Ham Hock & 15 Bean Soup

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large yellow onion
  • 4-5 stalks celery, diced
  • 4-5 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large smoked ham hock
  • 1 lb. dry 15 bean mix
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1-2 Tbsp chicken bouillon
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 1-2 cups largely diced ham (I cut up a ham steak) - optional

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, add the beans and cover completely with water. Soak for 24 hours.
  2. Turn your crock pot on high.
  3. Evenly place the diced onion, carrots, celery and minced garlic over the bottom of the crock pot.
  4. Nestle the ham hocks down into the vegetables.
  5. Drain and rinse the soaking beans. Pour them over the vegetables, being careful not to disturb their placement.
  6. Pour the diced tomatoes over the beans.
  7. Sprinkle the parsley, oregano, basil and bouillon over the top. Add the bay leaves. Salt/pepper to taste. With your fingers, gently move the beans around so the seasoning is evenly incorporated - again being careful not to disturb the vegetables.
  8. Fill the crock pot with water until the soup is covered.
  9. Cook on high 6 hours.
  10. Remove the ham hock, pull off the meat and cut into bite size chunks and put the meat back in the crock pot. If you like a lot of meat, like I do, add the additional 1-2 cups of largely diced ham,
  11. Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly. Cook another 1 hour on low or until the diced ham is hot.
  12. Serve with crusty bread.
Maple Pear Cupcakes | Spiced caked filled with maple syrup marinated pears topped with a sweet pear buttercream | by JavaCupcake.com

Maple Pear Cupcakes

Maple syrup marinated pears bring these spiced cupcakes to the next level by adding an intense amount of flavor!   Oh, and did I mention the roasted pear buttercream? It’s Pure Pear Perfection!

Maple Pear Cupcakes | Spiced caked filled with maple syrup marinated pears topped with a sweet pear buttercream | by JavaCupcake.com

I know, it’s not technically Fall yet… but the weather here in Bavaria is telling me it’s time to put the flipflops away and break out the hoodies and Chuck Taylors.   The cloudy skies and cooler temperatures also tell me it’s time to start my Fall baking!

When I think of Fall I typically go for apples… I mean, apples go with everything and everyone loves them.  But… I’ve made them before.  A couple times.

I’m so over apples.

Maple Pear Cupcakes | Spiced caked filled with maple syrup marinated pears topped with a sweet pear buttercream | by JavaCupcake.com

So, I’ve moved on to pears!  I love how soft, yet still firm pears are… it’s like they melt in your mouth when you take a bite into them!  So these cupcakes are full of giant chunks of melt-in-your-mouth pear goodness.

Oh, did I mention that those pears got a 2 hour marinade in spices and pure maple syrup first? Ohhhhhhhhhh my! Yes!

Finally, these cupcakes are topped with a roasted pear buttercream.  Yeah… you read that correct. ROASTED PEAR BUTTERCREAM!?!? Oh yeah, I went there.

Maple Pear Cupcakes | Spiced caked filled with maple syrup marinated pears topped with a sweet pear buttercream | by JavaCupcake.com

Run to the store, get 4 pears and be prepared to have the most pearlicious cupcake ever!

Enjoy!

NOTE: Ok – in an attempt to be completely transparent, I need to confess something about these cupcakes.  After I made them and put the frosting… I ate one.  It was then I realized I should have paired a different frosting with this cake.  Now, don’t get me wrong… this frosting is super yummy! It’s just a bit sweet and too heavy for this cake.  Next time I make this cake… I think I’ll pair it with a light cinnamon whipped cream.  Light, not too sweet but still delicious… a frosting that won’t overpower the deliciousness of the pear cake!

Maple Pear Cupcakes | Spiced caked filled with maple syrup marinated pears topped with a sweet pear buttercream | by JavaCupcake.com

Cupcakes liners courtesy of Sweets  & Treats Boutique!

Maple Pear Cupcakes

Maple Pear Cupcakes

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 33 minutes

Maple syrup marinated pears fill these cupcakes while roasted pear buttercream tops them. Pure Pear Perfection.

Ingredients

Maple Pear Cupcakes

  • 2 medium pears, peeled, cored & diced (1 1/2 cups diced)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (NOT breakfast syrup)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened & cubed
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pear Buttercream

  • 1 medium pear
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup (NOT breakfast syrup)
  • 1 Tbsp pure honey
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 lb + 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • Cooked pears (about 3 Tbsp)
  • heavy cream - to desired consistency
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • pinch of Green gel food coloring (optional)
  • Thin sliced pear - for garnish

Instructions

Maple Pear Cupcakes

  1. Peel, core and dice the pears and place in an 8x8 dish.
  2. Sprinkle the nutmeg and cinnamon over the pears. Pour the maple syrup and vanilla over pears also. Stir it all together until the pears are well coated.
  3. Sit on the counter, uncovered, for 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.
  5. In the bowl of your stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Turn the mixer on low and mix for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the butter, vanilla and sour cream and mix until the flour mixture is no longer wet.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time and mix after each egg until incorporated. Scrape the sides & bottom of the bowl to make sure everything has been mixed.
  8. Fold in the mainating pears and all the juices in the pan.
  9. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter.
  10. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until they are golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pear Buttercream

  1. Peal, core and dice the pear and place it in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and honey and mix.
  2. Once the pears begin to soften, press a fork into each piece of pear to break it up. You don't want mushy pears, but soft small pieces.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the sauce to thicken and turn a dark golden caramel color.
  4. Remove from the heat the pears to another bowl to cool. If you're short on time, pop the pears in the fridge to cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Once the pears have cooled, in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth.
  6. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and beat until incorporated.
  7. Add the cooked pears and mix in. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat on high for 1 minute.
  8. One teaspoon at a time, add the heavy cream. Mix well each time you add more. Add enough cream until you reach your desired consistency.
  9. Mix in the salt.
  10. At this time, add the green food coloring. Use just enough to get a light, yet bright green color. This step is optional.
  11. Beat the buttercream on high for 1-2 minutes or until it has become light and fluffy.
  12. If the buttercream is thin, chill in fridge for about 10 minutes before piping.

Assembly

  1. Using a Wilton 1M piping tip fitted on a disposable piping bag, pipe swirls of frosting onto each cupcake.
  2. Top with thin slices of pear for garnish.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Bakingdom's Pear Hazelnut Cupcakes.

 

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