Posts Tagged ‘jganvil’

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

The sweltering Virginia summer heat is finally over (for the most part) and Fall has officially arrived. This is my favorite time of year, when the air become crisp, instead of moist, and the temperature cools into the 70s and 80s. This time of year, Virginia displays some of the most brilliant blue skies and if your lucky enough to take a trip into the mountains, the Autumn colors are simply amazing. And lets not forget about Pumpkin…pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies and I could go on and on. This is pumpkin season! So I couldn’t wait any longer, I just had to make something with pumpkin and so here are some delicious pumpkin muffins. They have chocolate chips in them, which my husband is happy as a clam about. Me on the other hand, think the chocolate chips take away from the wonderful pumpkin flavor. So if you are a pumpkin lover, like myself, you may want to consider substituting the chocolate chips for some chopped walnuts or pecans. Or if your loved one is a chocolate-chippaholic then the chocolate chips will be perfect ūüėČ

On another note, I wanted to share these videos with you. A couple of weeks ago, Joe and I went on a weekend getaway to Ocean City, Maryland to visit with family. On one evening, we had seen a fox in the dunes below the fourth floor condo we were staying at and when I got up at dawn to capture the sunrise with my camera, I was able to film a family of three foxes playing with one another. It was a magical moment to watch them play while the sun was rising. I never imagined that foxes would be living by the beach.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 12 muffins)


195 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

113 grams unsalted butter (1/2 cup) (at room temperature)

200 grams sugar (1 cup)

2 large eggs (at room temperature)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

180 milliliter solid packed canned pumpkin puree (3/4 cup)

175 grams semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)


Preheat oven to 177 degrees C (350 degrees F). Place baking rack in the middle of oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, spices and salt, set dry ingredients aside.

Using your stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl as you go along. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add sifted dry ingredients and pumpkin puree. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups evenly with batter. Place in the middle of oven and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean. Place on wire rack to cool.

Source: Joy of Baking

Print Friendly and PDF


Read Full Post »

Anvil Cookies

My husband Joe asked me if I could make cookies in the shape of an anvil. I said “sure, but I don’t think you’ll find an anvil cookie cutter in the stores”. Of course I should have known that it wouldn’t stop him on his¬†quest for anvil cookies. And so he proceeded to make an anvil cookie cutter…is there anything that man cannot make?

Gentile Forge Cookies

The cookie cutter is nice and sharp and it worked like a charm. I choose a delicious chocolate sugar cookie and to make sure the dough does not spread out during baking it’s important to let the cut-out cookies chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking.

Anvil Cookies

Anvil Chocolate Sugar Cookies (makes 44 cookies)


For the cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (355 grams)

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder (75 grams)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams), at room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (350 grams)

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Icing:

2 cups powdered sugar (220 grams)

1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder (15 grams)

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (can use other extract flavors if desired)

1/4 – 1/2 cup warm water (60 – 120 ml)

food color, if desired


To make Cookies: In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder and set aside. In the bowl of an electrical mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 3-4 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract, mix until combined. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients. As dry ingredients becomes incorporated you can increase speed. Mix only until it forms a homogeneous dough. Divide dough into two portions, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).

Remove one half of dough from refrigerator. Lightly flour your work surface and roll dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch (6 millimeters). Keep turning the dough so it does not stick to counter. Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Transfer cookies to baking sheets. Place baking sheets in refrigerator for 15 minutes (to prevent cookies from loosing their shape during baking). Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until firm around edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Frost with Icing if desired.

To make Icing: Note – for these particular cookies I only iced along the edges of cookies. If you plan on filling in cookies with icing, I would recommend doubling the icing recipe.

In a medium bowl sift together powdered sugar and meringue powder. Add almond extract. Add warm water in increments, while mixing with your electrical mixer. Add food color if desired. Beat on medium speed until smooth and glossy. Proper consistency is when a ribbon of icing falls into bowl and remain on surface for a few seconds. Add more confectioners sugar if icing becomes too thin. Use icing immediately or store in an airtight container covered with plastic wrap directly on the surface.

Be sure icing in completely set before storing cookies in an airtight container. It could take several hours for icing to set.

Source: adapted from Joy of Baking

Print Friendly and PDF

Read Full Post »

Pasta Salad with sun-dried tomatoes

I was looking for a good Pasta Salad to serve for the “BurleyMen Club”¬†ūüôā aka Artist Blacksmith Group of Tidewater for their monthly meeting held at Gentile Forge. I came across this Pasta Salad and thought it sounded super delicious. Sun-dried¬†tomatoes and Kalamate¬†olives, what a winning combination. And it was delicious!….but….I’m now thinking that it might have been the wrong type of food to serve for all those MEN. Don’t get me wrong, they liked it, but the wrong type of food nonetheless. The sun-dried tomatoes may have been too refined, too¬†delicate and too modern. This Pasta Salad would fit-in much better at my work with¬†all the GIRLS there.¬†I’ll try it out there for our next potluck.

Sun-dried Tomato Dressing

If your not able to find pitted olives use a Cherry Pitter, it works great. 

Pasta Salad



7 oz Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, drained

2 small or 1 large Garlic Clove

3 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


8 oz Spiral Pasta

20 Kalamata Olives (a good handful), sliced or chopped

1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, cut in halves

10 Basil leaves, julienned

1 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated


In a food processor combine sun-dried tomatoes (drained), garlic, red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. Start the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady stream. Continue blending until a homogeneous mass. Store in an airtight container for 1-3 hours or preferably until the following day to allow flavors to marry. Note: this dressing recipe makes enough for 2 pasta salads.

Cook pasta in salted water until desired consistency, rinse under cold running water and drain. Add about 1/4 of dressing to pasta and stir. Add cherry tomatoes, olives, Basil and about 2/3 cup Parmesan, stir gently. Continue to add more dressing and Parmesan cheese to your liking. Note: reserve a small amount of Parmesan for topping. Enjoy.

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Print Friendly and PDF

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: