Homemade Small Batch Pretzels

For me, soft pretzels conjure up happy memories of snack stations in the local mall of my childhood and sunny days at the State Fair.

While they are mostly a nostalgic food for me, soft pretzels are one of my mom’s favorite salty treats. A few days ago, my mom came over to my house to spend an afternoon together. When the time came to consider a snack, the subject of soft pretzels came up. Since we live several hours from the nearest mall that sells soft pretzels, we decided to make our own.

These soft pretzels are easy to make and delicious! They have a rich, chewy texture, with a pleasant, golden crust. A brush of butter and dash of kosher salt adds some wonderful, salty flavor to this decadent treat.

A few notes on the recipe:

Shaping the Pretzels:

Forming a pretzel is EASY! This recipe should result in four pretzels. Cut the dough in four relatively equal pieces. Starting with one piece, roll it until it is about 18 to 20 inches long (step 1). Then, form a circle with the two ends overlapping (step 2). Next, overlap the ends (twist them) one more time (step 3). Finally, fold the ends toward the circle and press the ends down to form the traditional pretzel shape (step 4). Repeat the process to form the remaining three pretzels.

Baking Soda Bath:

Soft pretzels should be given a baking soda bath prior to baking. This should result in a chewier pretzel. To complete the baking soda bath, combine three cups of water and 2.5 tablespoons of baking soda in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, dip the pretzels in the mixture for 20-30 seconds, and remove with a slotted spoon or spatula.

Cost Analysis:

I was, frankly, shocked when I did the price analysis for this recipe. Pretzels are a great inexpensive snack at $0.09 a piece!

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Homemade Soft Pretzels (Small Batch)

  • Difficulty: Easy
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This small batch pretzel recipe results in four delicious, buttery soft pretzels in about half an hour.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • kosher salt or sea salt, to taste
  • cooking spray
  • For the baking soda bath you will also need:
  • 3 cups water
  • 2.5 tablespoons baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine warm water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Allow the yeast to dissolve for about one minute. Then, add sugar and table salt to the yeast mixture and stir until dissolved.
  3. Gradually add flour into the yeast mixture. You can use a dough hook on a stand mixer, or mix with a wooden spoon. Continue adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky, form the dough into a ball, and cover it with a thin towel or cloth. Allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. While the dough is resting, combine water and baking soda in a saucepan to create the baking soda bath. Heat the baking soda mixture on medium heat. It will need to reach a boil before you can “bathe” the pretzels. Also, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. (Alternatively, you can use a baking mat.)
  5. After the dough has rested, cut the dough ball into four relatively equal pieces. Starting with one piece, roll it until it is about 18 to 20 inches long. Then, form a circle with the two ends overlapping. Next, overlap the ends (twist them) one more time. Finally, fold the ends toward the circle and press the ends down to form the traditional pretzel shape. (There is a tutorial with pictures available on the website post). Repeat the process to form the remaining three pretzels.
  6. After the pretzels are formed, they will need a quick (20-30 second) baking soda bath. Carefully drop a pretzel into the boiling baking soda mixture, allow it to soak for 20-30 seconds, and remove it with a slotted spoon or slotted spatula. Allow the excess water to drip off, and place it on the lined baking sheet. Complete the same process for the remaining three pretzels.
  7. Top the pretzels with kosher salt and bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Once the pretzels are baked, melt a tablespoon (or two!) of butter and brush butter on top of the hot pretzels.
  9. Top with additional kosher salt, if desired, and serve warm! These pretzels are great plain, but can be served with nacho cheese dipping sauce. Enjoy!

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Summer Strawberry Cupcakes (Small Batch)

Few flavors are more evocative of summertime than strawberry. These light but moist cupcakes are a unique, all-natural celebration of warm, sunny weather.

(Ironically, I baked them on a rainy afternoon!)

Sunny cupcakes – perfect for a rainy afternoon!

Hoping to expand my baking repertoire, I decided to spend a rainy afternoon perfecting a small batch of strawberry cupcakes.

The idea appealed to me for several reasons: (1) I love the flavor of strawberries; (2) I find pink cupcakes attractive; (3) I had a bowl of fresh, chopped strawberries that were starting to get a bit too mushy to eat on their own.

Notes on the Recipe:

Whipping Your Egg White: This recipe calls for one whipped egg white. I use a handheld electric mixer to beat my egg white to medium peaks. To do this, separate the egg white from the yolk and pour the white into a mixing bowl. Begin mixing your egg white on a medium-low speed, until the egg white forms a foam. Then, switch the speed to high and whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. (The peak should hold its shape when you lift the mixer out of the whipped egg white). If you don’t have any electric mixer, you can whip your egg white by hand with a whisk. This works fine, but will take much longer (and require more work) than using an electric mixer.

Strawberry Puree: A fresh strawberry puree is added to both the cake batter and the frosting. I blend the strawberries (with a little bit of water) in a small blender. After the puree is mostly smooth, I strain the strawberries through a fine mesh strainer.If you don’t use the strainer, you may have a few seeds in your batter and frosting. You may also use frozen strawberries in this recipe. Simply allow the strawberries to reach room temperature before using.

Frosting: This butter-based frosting uses strawberry puree instead of milk. If you don’t want the additional strawberry flavor, use 1/3 to 1/2 tablespoon of milk in place of the strawberry puree. If you use the strawberry puree, add it gradually. If you add too much, your frosting will be runny.

Color: Fresh strawberries will naturally turn your cake and frosting a light pink color. If you prefer a deeper color, you may want to add a bit of food coloring.

Cost Analysis:

Vanilla, butter, and strawberries are the most expensive ingredients in this recipe. Frozen strawberries are a cheaper alternative, but might not have the same level of flavor provided by fresh strawberries. The full cost analysis is provided below.

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small batch fresh strawberry cupcakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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Few flavors are more evocative of summertime than strawberry. These light but moist cupcakes are a unique, all-natural celebration of warm, sunny weather.

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white (whipped to medium peak)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries (about two large strawberries)
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 8 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 fresh strawberry for strawberry puree (made during preparation of the cake)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream the softened butter, granulated sugar, and oil together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Combine milk and vanilla extract in a separate small bowl.
  3. Gently beat flour mixture and milk mixture into batter until it is smooth. It is easiest if you alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  4. Create the strawberry puree for both the cake and the frosting. To make it, add three strawberries (or about 3/8 cup of sliced strawberries) and 1 teaspoon of water to a small blender. Mix until well combined. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the puree through the strainer (to remove seeds).
  5. Set aside 1/2 tablespoon of strawberry puree and refrigerate. (You will use this when you create the frosting). Add the remaining strawberry puree to the cake batter and gently mix it in.
  6. Whip your egg white to medium peaks in a separate mixing bowl. To do this, separate the egg white from the yolk and pour the white into a mixing bowl. Begin mixing your egg white on a medium-low speed with an electric mixer, until the egg white forms a foam. Then, switch the speed to high and whip the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. The peak should hold its shape when you lift the mixer out of the whipped egg white. See additional pictures of the process above.
  7. Gently fold the egg white into your cake batter. Do not over-mix!
  8. Line a muffin tin with four paper liners (or grease). Pour batter into the liners until they are filled about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full. The cupcakes will rise in the oven, but not as much as other recipes I have made. If you fill 1/2 of the way full with this recipe, the baked cupcakes will not reach the top of the paper liners.
  9. Bake for 14-18 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out clean when the cupcakes are done.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
  11. For the frosting:

  12. Mix softened butter, powdered sugar, strawberry puree (made earlier), and vanilla with a mixer on low speed. It should form a thick buttercream. Make sure you add the puree slowly, starting with 1/3 tablespoon. If you add too much puree, the frosting will be runny. If the frosting is too thick, add a little bit of milk until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
  13. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  14. Enjoy!

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Eggless Devil’s Food Cupcakes (Small Batch)

You need at least a few good eggless baking recipes in your repertoire. You may be short on eggs, or you may need to consider a friend or loved one with an egg allergy.

The lack of eggs won’t be what you are thinking about when you bite into these luscious treats. These cupcakes are rich and dense, with a pleasant and unusual texture that falls somewhere between a dense cake and a fluffy brownie. In fact, they may remind you of a grown-up version of some of your favorite childhood packaged snack cakes, but without all of the artificial flavors and preservatives…

Notes on the Recipe:

Soured milk: Combining vinegar and milk is a quick way to create “sour milk”. If you have sour milk that you would like to use up, you can use it in lieu of the vinegar and milk mixture.

Batter: This cupcake batter is very thick. The batter will not pour easily, and you will need to spoon it carefully into the muffin tins.

Cupcake Texture: These eggless cupcakes are drier than traditional cupcakes and have a texture similar to a cake brownie. They are very good, but taste differently than a traditional cupcake.

Cost Analysis:

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Eggless Devil's Food Cupcakes (Small Batch)

  • Difficulty: easy
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These eggless cupcakes are rich and dense, with a pleasant and unusual texture that falls somewhere between a dense cake and a fluffy brownie.

Ingredients


For the cake:
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon softened butter
– 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
– 2 tablespoons milk
– 3/8 teaspoon white vinegar
– 5/8 cup (or 10 tablespoons) flour
– 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
– 2 tablespoons boiling water
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/8 teaspoon table salt

For the frosting:
– 4 tablespoons softened butter
– 7/8 cup (or 14 tablespoons) powdered sugar
– 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease.
  2. In a small bowl, combine milk and white vinegar. Set this aside for 5 minutes to “sour” the milk.
  3. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and water in a separate small bowl and set aside.
  4. Add butter to a medium-sized mixing bowl and cream it with a mixer on medium-low speed.
  5. Add brown sugar and oil to the butter. Mix on medium-low until the mixture is combined.
  6. Combine boiling water and baking soda. Add this to the brown sugar mixture and mix until well combined.
  7. Gradually stir flour mixture and “sour” milk into the brown sugar mixture. Alternate between adding the flour and milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Stir until well combined, but don’t over-mix the batter!
  9. Fill 6 cupcake liners about 1/2 of the way full.
  10. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out relatively clean when the cupcakes are done.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
  12. For the frosting:

  13. Mix softened butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed. It should form a thick buttercream. If it is too thick, add a little bit of extra milk.
  14. Frost cooled cupcakes.
  15. Enjoy!

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Oven Baked Black Bean Quesadillas

Black bean quesadillas are a staple in our household. They are easy-to-make, cheap, quick, and tasty. Plus, you only need four ingredients to make this recipe! Well – perhaps five ingredients because I rarely eat a quesadilla without good salsa!

Why make quesadillas in the oven?

I frequently make quesadillas in a frying pan (click here for that recipe). A frying pan does get a quesadilla nice and crispy, but there are two major reasons to bake your quesadillas.

  1. It is easier to make a batch of quesadillas. If you want to make multiple quesadillas at once, you can prepare all of your quesadillas and bake them in one or two batches. If you use a frying pan, you will need to prepare and bake each quesadilla separately.
  2. All the quesadillas will be ready at the same time. Unlike preparing quesadillas in a frying pan, all of your quesadillas will be hot and ready to eat at the same time.

The only noticeable difference between oven baking and pan frying is the texture of the tortilla. The oven baked tortilla is much crispier, while the pan fried tortilla has a crunchy yet chewy exterior. Both are good.

Cost Analysis:

Black bean quesadillas are a nice and cheap meal or appetizer. A basic black bean quesadilla will cost about $0.88 to make. This doesn’t include the cost of salsa.

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Oven Baked Black Bean Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2 quesadillas
  • Difficulty: easy
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This quick and easy vegetarian quesadilla recipe is the perfect no hassle lunch or party appetizer!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 flour tortillas (preferably taco size)
  • 6 tablespoons of shredded Mexican cheese
  • a few drops of olive oil (or other oil neutral oil if preferred)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Lay your tortillas on a baking sheet. Place a few drops of oil on one side of the tortillas. Lightly rub the oil into one side of each tortilla.
  3. Flip the tortilla on the baking sheet so that the oil side is DOWN.
  4. Add three tablespoons of shredded cheese to one half of the tortilla (non-oil side)
  5. Add a quarter cup of black beans to the same half of the tortilla (non-oil side)
  6. Fold the tortillas in half
  7. Place into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, and flip halfway through the baking process.
  8. Slice tortilla into four pieces (I use a pizza cutter)
  9. Serve with salsa, preferably pico de gallo!

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Oatmeal Granola (small batch)

James is the granola-maker in our house. He used to make it frequently, and we would eat it by the handfuls. It is salty, crunchy, and naturally sweetened with honey. Plus, the baking process makes your house smell great!

This is James’ go-to granola recipe. It is simple, but absolutely delicious. It is so good that I usually eat it plain, but it is also a great topping for yogurt.

It is also relatively cheap to make, especially compared to specialty pre-made granola that you find at the grocery store. This granola costs about $0.21 for a quarter cup serving.

Cost Analysis:

The cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

A few notes:

Granola (especially in a small batch) can burn easily! You need to check and stir it frequently. For this batch, we stirred it at the 3-minute mark, 6-minute mark, 8-minute mark, 10-minute mark, 12-minute mark, and then every minute for the final three minutes.

Allow the granola to cool completely before eating. It is worth the wait.

We prefer small batch baking because we are a family of two. However, this recipe can easily be multiplied if you need more granola!

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small Batch Oatmeal Granola

  • Difficulty: easy
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This small batch granola recipe is easy-to-make and sweetened naturally with honey.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons uncooked oats (we use old fashioned)
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • a pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine oats, flour, almonds, and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Melt butter in a small container and stir vanilla and honey into the butter mixture.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until it looks evenly combined. Try not to over-mix.
  5. Pour granola onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Push the granola together into a lump and gently push the granola down until it is 1/2 to 1/3 deep.
  6. Bake granola, stirring often, for about 15 minutes. The granola will brown around the edges of the lump, so you need to mix it often so that new pieces will brown. For this batch, we stirred it at the 3-minute mark, 6-minute mark, 8-minute mark, 10-minute mark, 12-minute mark, and then every minute for the final three minutes. It can burn quickly, so it is best to check and stir it often.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely before enjoying!

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Grandma’s Vienna Sugar Cookies (small batch)

While flipping through a very old community cookbook that I inherited from my grandmother, I noticed a recipe for a cookie that was unfamiliar to me. I had never put yeast in a cookie, so I was interested to try them.

Not wanting to commit to a large batch of unfamiliar cookies, I reduced the recipe to yield a dozen. The resulting cookies were thin, crispy, and buttery with a sweet sugary coating.

Vienna Sugar Cookies

I served the cookies to a few friends who noted they tasted a lot like “elephant ears”. If you are unfamiliar with elephant ears, they are a form a sweet, fried flat bread usually topped with sugar and cinnamon sold at every fair or carnival in the United States.

These cookies are also great for a tight budget. As the cost analysis shows, the cookies cost approximately $0.05 a piece. I used a name brand butter, so you could further reduce the cost with a generic butter.

Cost Analysis:

The cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Notes about the recipe:

The dough is very soft and sticky. I originally tried rolling the cookies with a rolling pin, but found pressing the dough with a flat-bottomed cup or mug resulted in more uniform cookies.

Next time I make these cookies, I may experiment with adding some cinnamon to the sugar coating.

The cookies bake quickly and brown around the edges. Watch carefully after the 10 minute mark.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Vienna Sugar Cookies (Small Batch)

  • Difficulty: easy
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Thin, crisp, and buttery with a sweet sugary coating, these cookies are an indulgent compliment to a good cup of coffee or tea.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread granulated sugar on a smooth surface (like wax paper) and set aside.
  2. Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Cream butter and granulated sugar together in a separate medium mixing bowl.
  4. Beat flour into the butter mixture.
  5. Add yeast and water mixture to the sugar and flour mixture, and beat until combined.
  6. Form dough into walnut sized balls (the dough should make about a dozen balls).
  7. Press dough ball down in the sugar mixture until flat. Flip and coat the other side. Continue flipping until you have a very thin cookie. Continue this process with the remaining dough balls.
  8. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the cookies are lightly browned and crispy.
  9. Allow to cool for a minute on the baking sheet and move to cooling racks.
  10. Enjoy!

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Banana Muffins (small batch)

A lonely brown banana seems to be a staple in most kitchens. I often throw my brown bananas into quick fruit smoothies (click here for an easy recipe), which is an easy way to get them off of the counter. But, sometimes you have to cave and make banana bread.

I enjoy a good slice of banana bread. There is something almost comforting about it. However, it is hard for James and I to finish a full loaf by ourselves. So, I prefer to make a small batch of banana muffins.

This recipe is quick, easy, and only makes four muffins. It also uses up one brown banana, and costs about $0.22 per muffin (see below for full cost analysis).

Cost Analysis:

Note – costs are what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small Batch Banana Muffins

  • Difficulty: easy
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This small batch recipe results in four fluffy banana muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 overripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a muffin pan with liners (or grease).
  2. Cream butter and granulated sugar together in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Mash the banana in a small bowl.
  4. Add the mashed banana and egg white to the sugar mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Sift remaining dry ingredients together and mix into the sugar mixture.
  6. Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  7. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full (about 2 to 2.5 tablespoons each).
  8. Bake for 18-25 minutes, until muffins are lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool and enjoy!

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Vanilla Cupcakes (small batch)

Sometimes you just need something sweet! I have a sweet tooth, so my sometimes may be more often than yours. However, I think you will want to save this recipe as it is quick, inexpensive, and only make half a dozen cupcakes!

James and I live in a divided household regarding cupcake flavors. He is a chocolate fan and I am a vanilla fan. If you are like James, you may prefer our recipe for small batch chocolate cupcakes (click here for recipe). If you are like me, or don’t have cocoa powder on hand, continue on with this recipe!

A few notes on this recipe:

You can use oil or butter for the batter. I find that oil mixes in a little bit better, and results in a slightly more moist cupcake. It is also usually less expensive.

Only use 1/2 of an egg for this recipe. If you use the full egg, the cupcakes will taste like eggs! I tried and was not a fan… A simple way to split the egg is to lightly mix it in a bowl and use half of it.

For six cupcakes, only fill the cups 1/2 way full. This will result in regular-sized cupcakes. If you fill beyond 1/2 of the way full, you will need to cook them a bit longer and the recipe will only make 4-5 cupcakes.

Add the milk slowly when making the frosting. If you add too much milk, the frosting will be a bit runny. If it is too runny, add more powdered sugar.

Cost Analysis:

These cupcakes are pretty inexpensive to make at about $0.20 a piece.

Note: The costs are based on what I paid for ingredients in 2020 Your total cost may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Small Batch Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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These vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream frosting are easy-to-make and delicious. The cupcakes cost about $0.20 a piece, and the recipe only makes six cupcakes!

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil (or softened butter)
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 large egg (gently mix egg and use half of it – or about two tablespoons)
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 8 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Mix granulated sugar and oil together. Add 1/2 of the egg to the mixture and stir until combined.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly stir into the oil mixture, and beat until combined.
  3. Stir in milk and vanilla extract. Gently beat batter until it is smooth. Be careful not to over-mix the batter.
  4. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or grease) and pour batter into cups. Fill 1/2 of the way full. If you would like over-sized cupcakes, fill 2/3 of the way full and the batter should make 4 cupcakes. Otherwise, it should make 6 regular-sized cupcakes.
  5. Bake for 14-18 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out clean when the cupcakes are done.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove from muffin tin and allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
      For the frosting:

    1. Mix softened butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla with a mixer on low speed. It should form a thick buttercream. Make sure you add the milk slowly, starting with 1/3 tablespoon. If you add too much milk, the frosting will be runny.
    2. Frost cooled cupcakes.
    3. Enjoy!

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Roasted Breakfast Potatoes with Easy Homemade Seasoning

Crispy, salty breakfast potatoes are a key component of a lazy morning breakfast. This recipe combines a few basic spices and seasonings with some oil and a potato. The result is our favorite roasted potatoes.

A few notes:

This recipe is for one generous portion of breakfast potatoes, but can easily be multiplied to create more servings.

I used a yellow potato for this recipe, but I sometimes use russet potatoes. Either is fine. If you use russet potatoes, make sure to peel them first. I do, however, leave the skin on my yellow potatoes.

I use Kosher salt for my roasted potatoes, but you can substitute table salt. Sometimes the Kosher salt will give the potatoes a bit of a gritty texture (which I like), but you may not.

If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can substitute a different dried herb of your choice. Perhaps parsley or rosemary.

Cost Analysis:

Note: The costs are based on what I paid for ingredients in 2020. Your total cost may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Roasted breakfast potatoes with easy homemade seasoning

  • Difficulty: easy
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These crispy, roasted potatoes are the perfect side dish for a great breakfast. This recipe makes one generous serving, but can easily be multiplied.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow potato with the skin (or a medium peeled russet potato)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika powder (sweet)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (or table salt)
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Dice potatoes into quarter cubes.
  3. Combine garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Add olive oil to the bowl and mix until a runny paste forms.
  4. Add diced potatoes to spice mix and toss until combined.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread potatoes on baking sheet.
  6. Bake potatoes for 25-30 minutes in oven. Check halfway through and flip.
  7. Enjoy! (I eat mine with tomato ketchup)

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Chocolate Cupcakes (small batch)

My sweet tooth has been a little out of control lately. Since James is a chocolate fan, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes with a chocolate buttercream frosting. If you prefer vanilla, you may like our small batch vanilla cupcake recipe.

As a family of two, large batches of baked goods can be problematic. We either eat all of the treats (bad for the waistline) or don’t eat all of the treats (waste of food and money). So, this recipe is perfect for us. It makes four cupcakes that cost about $0.37 a piece (see below for a cost analysis).

Cost Analysis:

Note: The costs are based on what I paid for ingredients in 2020. Your total cost may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

For the cake:

For the frosting:

Recipe:

Small batch chocolate cupcakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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These dark chocolate cupcakes with thick chocolate buttercream frosting are rich and delicious. The recipe only makes four, so you could eat the whole batch…

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg (at room temperature)
  • For the frosting:
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 7 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder
  2. Beat softened butter into the mixture of dry ingredients.
  3. Beat in water and vanilla for 2 minutes. If using a hand mixer, set it to medium speed.
  4. Beat in egg for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or grease) and pour batter into cups. Fill the cups 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. If you would like over-sized cupcakes, the batter should make 4 cupcakes. Otherwise, it will make 5-6 regular-sized cupcakes. Note: filling beyond 1/2 of the way full may cause your cupcakes to form a muffin-like top. If you prefer cupcakes without this, only fill 1/2 of the way full!
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Check with a toothpick. It should come out relatively clean when the cupcakes are done.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 1 minute. Remove cakes from muffin tin and allow them to cool completely before frosting.
    1. For the frosting:

      1. Combine softened butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl and mix with a mixer. After a minute or two, it should form a thick buttercream. If it is too thick, add a little bit of extra milk and mix until smooth.
      2. Frost cooled cupcakes.
      3. Enjoy!

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