bird’s nest cookies

bird’s nest cookies

These cookies would be a great addition to any spring get together, Easter or just for fun. 


zucchini carrot muffins

zucchini carrot muffins

carrot & zucchini muffins


1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
1 cup white whole what flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare a pan with 6 standard muffin cups (or 20 mini-muffin cups) with paper liners or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, salt, and egg. Add zucchini, carrots, cinnamon chips (if using) and pecans.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the batter. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Let the muffins rest for 10 minutes before placing them into the oven.

Bake the muffins until the edges are lightly browned and they feel firm if gently pressed, about 18 to 25 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes; transfer to a rack, and cool completely.

Makes 6 standard muffins, or 20 mini muffins.

Ali’s Tip:

If you only have zucchini or carrots on hand, you could just include 2 cups of the one vegetable (instead of 1 cup of each)


pumpkin coconut bread recipe

pumpkin coconut bread recipe


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup sweetened coconut
2 (3 oz) packages coconut pudding (not instant)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
5 eggs, beaten
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 9×5-inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, coconut, pudding mixes, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, and add the vegetable oil, eggs and pumpkin. Mix just until combined, and pour evenly into the loaf pans.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then turn out to cool completely.


peekaboo pumpkin pound cake

peekaboo pumpkin pound cake

For the pound cake
1 (14-ounce) box pumpkin bread mix
1 (16-ounce) box pound cake mix
Orange food coloring
For the icing
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Prepare pumpkin bread
Mix up pumpkin bread ingredients according to the directions on the box. Add orange food coloring to make it more “pumpkin-y” looking (less brown).
Bake and cut
Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan according to directions. Remove from oven before completely done, about 8-10 minutes less than instructed. Let cool, remove from pan and refrigerate for up to four hours. Cut cold pumpkin bread into large slices. Cut pumpkin shapes from slices.
Align them down the center of a lightly greased and floured 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Make pound cake
Mix up your pound cake batter according to the directions on the box. Pour over your pumpkin bread cutouts in the pan, making sure to cover the tops of the pumpkins. You may have more pound cake batter than you need. Try not to overfill the pan. Bake according to the directions on the box. Let cool when done.
Prepare icing
Meanwhile, prepare the brown butter pecan icing.
Put powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan, melt butter and boil, stirring until it starts to brown and form dark flecks on the sides and bottom.
Remove from heat. Pour the melted brown butter and flecks over the powdered sugar. Add the evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir until combined and creamy. Add more powdered sugar if it appears too runny or more evaporated milk if it seems too stiff.
Ice cake
Remove baked and cooled pound cake from pan and top with brown butter icing. Add chopped pecans, if desired.
Cut into slices and delight your guests with the pumpkin-shaped surprise that peeks out from inside!

Reflection Assessment

Reflection Assessment 2

For this week in the basic principles course, I learned more than I thought, also busier than I thought. At the beginning of the course, I was exciting and had a little bit nervous, because I’ve never seen those machines before, I was afraid of I can’t handle it, but, during this week, we learned how to safely use those mixers and ovens in right way, so I don’t worry it any more.

This week, we learned lots of information about baking, there are three concepts very important to me; firstly, the power of attitude, I’ve heard someone said that our attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards us, so does work, our attitude determines how much we succeed in work. For example, when we baked scones, we used baking soda instead baking powder or double baking powder, the result were diverse, a little bit change will make big different. So, as a baker, we have to always be careful; be conscientious; be professional. Secondly, the power of teamwork, we’ve discussed a lot about teamwork, everyone knows that two heads are better than ones, teamwork not only can develop interpersonal communication skills, also bring out people’s potentials. Especially in kitchen, we baking goods full cooperation, we trust each other, I had wonderful time with my classmates, but my question is how to steady in your own opinion while teamwork? How can I become a better member? If my teammate passes me a bowl of flour, he or she said that is bread flour, but the flour looks like cake flour, it is pure white not creamy white. In this case, how can I do? Trust but with judgment! I tried my best to figure it out, as a team, I’ll valuing the ideas and opinions of others even when they are different from my own thoughts; and I ‘ll be respectful to my teammates. Finally, the power of time, in baking, different time causes different fermentation; different browning; different aeration…and so on. So do I, manage time becomes a serious problem than before in my life, my challenge is done homework at home, so many things and people interrupt my work, fortunately, VCC has a perfect learning centre, there have every resource what I need.

For the next course, I hope everything goes fluently, prepare well before class. Yes, I’m ready!!!



From The Mailbox: 5 Tips on Baking The Perfect Scones (Recipe: Nutella Scones)

These tips are helpful and important to me! Now I know why my scones are neither tender nor flaky! But I’m pretty sure I’ll make perfect scones next time!

:: epicurean escapism ::

Ever since I started baking, I’ve grown to realise that one of my favourite breakfasts and tea-time treats to eat and make are scones. Nothing quite hits the spot like a soft and tender bake enjoyed quietly alone on a lazy day, and to have this comfort food on your plate in under an hour, without the hassle of butter softening, or yeast proofing (yes, I’m looking at you, yummy-yet-time-consuming cinnamon rolls), is surely an added bonus, if not an impetus. Yet, each time I blog or tweet on scones;– I must admit I bake them more than I can blog;– I will almost always receive either laments on differing results, or questions on my ‘secrets’ to baking them. This post certainly is a long time coming, but here’s sharing some of my tips on baking perfect scones, and pssst, even if you’re not interested, there is a great recipe…

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