The New Adventures of Old Shortbread & the Arrival of Adulthood…


…but mostly upperclassman-dom and off-campus living. Welcome to my new living abode, and more importantly, my new kitchen. It’s quite small; I feel a bit like Smitten Kitchen, minus a few years and a book tour. This little thing is shared among 4 girls. The home of new creations, old family recipes, and college-edition Chopped competitions…we’ll see about that one.
I’ve already made some meat stew for my rice, for the first time all myself. It…tastes great! But I’m gonna have to refine the texture a bit, making fewer chunks and thicker soups. So once I’ve made it to my satisfaction you can expect a post on that, hopefully soon.
But, of course, in the first week of my habitation in an APARTMENT OOOO, I’ve baked cookies. And I…wait for it…created another recipe!…though it’s hard to screw up shortbread. Crunchy, buttery, flaky! What could be better? I know! Add peanut butter, naturally. I got really excited when I tried Wegmans’ organic peanut butter because it was just as peanut buttery as inorganic peanut butter. If you’ve ever tried organic peanut butter expecting the same texture as Skippy’s, you likely experienced a rude shock when you had trouble unclenching your teeth. In short, organic peanut butter is thick as fudge and the point of any of this is that I added peanut butter to your basic shortbread recipe and it was great. The end.
Due to short-notice/impromptu dinner guests, I was stuck to figure out what to make with what was in the kitchen already. This is what went through my head and hands for 20 minutes upon entering the kitchen:

  1. It’s me we’re talking about, if I present a baked good, people will neither be surprised nor complain
  2. No chocolate chips again, no problem. Time for that handy dandy peanut butter!
  3. Ok, sugar and butter in bowl…why do I have a feeling there’s no baking powder…
  4. …there’s no baking powder. Okay, okay…cookies without baking powder?
  5. Shortbread. Done. Wait that’s boring. Peanut butter.
  6. Honey.
  7. Bag of pretzels on fridge…yeah let’s use that.
  8. Should make double this….nah.

They were a massive hit (as if the combo of shortbread and peanut butter weren’t completely revolutionary!). In the meantime, I’ll be needing some baking powder. Look forward to more baking and cooking adventures of Carmen and circle apartment xxxxx. Here are some mean peanut butter pretzel shortbread cookies while we wait.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Shortbread
Makes about 45 cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
5 large twist pretzels, or 10 mini twist pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 and grease two baking sheets
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour.
Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
Flatten the dough onto baking sheets. Crush pretzels and press into dough. Cut dough into pieces with a knife. Or, roll out onto flat surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutter(s), then press in pretzel pieces.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until top of dough browns.

I had the foresight to write out a recipe that was already doubled;
don’t worry about small masses of dough like this one!
I’m getting excited about the windows in this apartment and their positioning
relative to the sun. #photonerdprobs #cantdealwithartificiallight
This is a cookie dough you I need extra self-discipline to not eat
because there’s no egg


So I may have burnt them a bit…keep an eye on them because I’m not 100%
on the 10 minutes…someone try them and let me know (this was 15).
A nice golden hour comes through our dining room every night.
Very okay with this (may need to work on this lighting for food, however)

Incredibly Whole Wheat Apple Crisp Muffins

I need to think of shorter names for my creations.

 I also need to think of a way to make money off of these creations, because they’re coming, they’re awesome, and they’re trying to compete with my picture taking for time. Culinary school gap year, anyone?
(Joking!) (I think!)
We had a lot of apples the week I was home after returning from Nigeria, and I wanted to do something with them. I combined the Fannie Farmer muffin recipe and Joy the Baker’s apple crispiness (I’m getting all food bloggy as of late…but really just Joythebakery) and voilà! Apple crisp muffins – with only whole wheat flour, because healthy lifestyles are the best lifestyles. Also, I have to make up for the diet that is Nigeria: meat n’ starch. So here! Replace the healthy with white, if you must.

Incredibly Whole Wheat Apple Crisp Muffins
Inconveniently makes 15 muffins…sorry

Apple filling
2 large apples, chopped into large pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1 dash ground cinnamon

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 dash ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 handful crushed walnuts
2 tablespoons rolled oats

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease 2 muffin pans

Cut the apples and place in a small bowl. Ad the sugar and cinnamon to coat all pieces. Set aside

Mix the dry topping ingredients together in a second small bowl. Add the butter and work into dry ingredients with hands until evenly distributed. Set aside

Place the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg, milk and oil, only enough to dampen batter, not making it smooth. Incorporate apples to batter.

Spoon batter into muffin pans, filling each cup two-thirds of the way. Top each muffin with brown sugar mixture, then place in oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Cookie cameo
The world needs less hunger and more scrapers
I had a fun time juggling the apple pieces with the muffin batter due to their large size but it was quite worth the struggle, as I happily encountered an acceptable ratio of apple-to-muffin. But the size you cut the apples into is ultimately up to you…
I could totally make a living off of this right
Super healthy AND super tasty!

Facebook Responds: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Ok who has the same plates as we do?

     I was running low on flour, yet I had the baking itch. Some timing that was. Too indolent (yay vocab words) to figure out what to make while my dad stopped at the too-far-and-too-lazy-to-go co-op just for me, I used all the resources at my fingertips at the time (all nine). When faced with the request “Aaaah quick someone tell me what to bake.” in the form of a Facebook status, Facebook really delivered. I went with former classmate Mandy’s Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, from Post Punk Kitchen, on their game once again (recall the college-ified chocolate chippers)! Excellent choice. There was definitely more chatter than I was expecting on that status. About eight people’s worth. I think I could make this work to my advantage. Might make it a new theme: mandatory recipe usage from comment of Facebook status…uh oh.

Get your nutmeg ready! Because yours is probably whole too
(it’s the hipster thrifty thing to do)

Molasses is important!

     Since this was a vegan recipe, there’s no egg or butter. But you can change this if you want, though the texture without is just fine. Key players are now canned pumkpin, molasses, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Still playing with my food…

     I omitted a lot of extra crunchies that the recipe had, but I’m sure the cookies are still fairly nutritious…

You should probably keep the oatmeal (rolled/old-fashioned!)

Ok here’s my version
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup half melted butter (it’s not like you don’t do that by accident anyway right?)
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup canned pumpkin, or cooked pureed pumpkin (ain’t noobody got time fuhdat)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Have ready 3 greased baking sheets.
Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a seperate bowl, mix together sugar, butter, molasses, pumpkin and vanilla until very well combined. Add dry ingredients to wet in 4 batches, folding to combine.
Drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. They don’t spread very much so they can be placed only an inch apart. Flatten the tops of the cookies to press into cookie shape. Bake for 16 minutes at 350
Remove from oven and get cookies onto a wire rack to cool. These taste best when they’ve had some time to cool and set. They taste even better the next day! ( <– Ha what?)

Here’s the real one…

Let’s do this again, social media outlets.

Speaking of, my Instagram feed’s been killin it as of late, check it out for pre-blogging snaps @ …#shamelessplugging.
While we’re at it, send me your favorite cookie recipe! Maybe it’ll show up here. Till next time!

How Many Different Ways Can You Spell Doughnut?

How about with some Fs? You know, like duffin! That’s what Torey, Tommy and I made one or two busy weekends ago. This adventure is proof that inspiration can come from anywhere – in this case, instagram. Yes, I do in fact shamelessly take pictures of my food and share with the world ( Don’t be envious of my food and picture snapping skills, there’s a good chance whatever you find in there will end up here so you might as well think of it as a preview of lovely recipes to come.
     So doughnut muffins. A doughnut or a muffin? I’ll give you a hint: You can usually go by the last word. So when you add nutmeg and muffin stuff to muffins, and glaze them, they’re gonna taste like muffins. With some doughnut…essence. I think we were envisioning light and fluffy “muffins” that were really doughnuts in disguise…more like muffins disguised as breakfast. Except they were also breakfast. Uh anyway, they’re pretty easy to make, and as long as you’re expecting muffins, you’ll likely enjoy them. The glaze was definitely the best part.

I promise I helped – there’s even proof
Look at that texture
Is that me? In my own blog?! The scary things that happen
when I share the camera
Per the request of Torey
Wasn’t lying about the glaze…
Next time we’re making doughnuts…no Fs included

Glazed Doughnut Muffins

For the Batter

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 to 1 ¼ teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste (I used 1 ¼)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

For the Glaze

3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper muffin cups.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
  3. Add the eggs, beating to combine.
  4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
  5. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
  7. Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
  8. In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth.
  9. When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. As recommended in the adapted recipe, I glazed my muffins twice.
  10. Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day.

Brought to you by one SemiSweetie