St. Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge)

St Joseph's Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction  Delicious Italian Pastry that's traditionally made March 19th through Easter.

St Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction

Happy Easter!  The day is almost over but I wanted to share this lovely recipe with you.  This pastry can be found at any Italian bakery throughout NY city and the surrounding suburbs on beginning on March 19th for the feast of Saint Joseph’s and usually through Easter.

The filling for the sfinge is either Cannoli Cream or a pastry crème that’s similar to a custard.  It can be vanilla or almond flavored but my family and I favor Cannoli Cream, so that’s what I made.  The shells are fried most of the time but I’ve seen them baked and I opted for baking to gain a small amount of health benefit.

At first I wasn’t happy with the results of the shells because they weren’t as tall as I thought they should be but they turned out to be quite delicious when filled.  My instructions will include details about how to get a better result.

For Palm Sunday and Easter this year I made my Easter Bread (one batch for Palm Sunday and one for Easter) and Chocolate Babka in addition to these sfinge.  What special Easter recipes did you make this year?

St Joseph's Pastry (Sfinge) | Bakewell Junction

St. Joseph’s Pastry (Sfinge)

Yield:  48 pastries                 Cook Time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lard (I used all butter)
  • 6 large eggs

Cannoli Cream Filling:

  • 2 lb container Polly-O ricotta cheese, drained overnight in a 2-ply cheesecloth (it drains best at room temperature, provided it’s cooler than 70 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2/3 c mini chocolate chips; plus some additional for garnish

Topping:

  • powdered sugar for sprinkling
  • Maraschino Cherries (optional; I didn’t use these)

Directions:

Step 1:  For the filling: at least three days before serving, mix drained ricotta, vanilla and sugar together.  Move the mixture to a food processor (I used a small Kitchen Aid chopper) and mix until the filling is smooth and is the right consistency.  Depending on the size of your food processor or chopper, you may need to mix in small batches.

Step 2:  Fold in the mini chocolate chips, cover loosely and store at least overnight (better yet two nights) in the refrigerator.  When ready to fill, transfer the filling to a gallon size Ziploc bag make a 1/2 inch cut on one corner of the Ziploc bag.  Use as a pastry bag to fill the chocolate chip cookie cups.

Step 3:  For the dough:  Mix the flour, salt and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.  In a large saucepan or small stock pot, heat the water, butter and lard.  Let the mixture come to a boil and then remove the pot from the heat.  Add all the flour mixture at once and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until incorporated.  Return the pot to a medium to high heat for about 5 minutes while still mixing continuously; this will dry out the mixture and the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Remove the dough from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat into the dough to combine before repeating with the remaining eggs.

Step 4:  Using a pastry bag with a 1/2 plain nozzle (I substitute a Ziploc bag with 1/2 inch snipped off the corner), pipe 2 inch shells in circles onto a parchment lined (or greased and floured) cookie sheet and about 1 inch high, leaving 1/2 inch between each.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes until golden.  Repeat with the remaining dough until finished.  Cut a slit in the side of the shells so the insides don’t become soggy.  Transfer the shells to cooling racks.

Step 5:  For the assembly:  cut the tops from the shells and pipe the Cannoli Filling using a Ziploc bag with at least a 1/2 inch opening (so the chocolate chips don’t get stuck) into the center of the shell.  About 2 tablespoons depending on the size of the shell.  Top with the top of the shell and then add a small amount on the top of the shell.  Add a maraschino cherry if using and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with Espresso or coffee.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Ciao Italia by Mary Ann Esposito.

Tips:  Store assembled pastries in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.  The shells can be frozen in airtight Ziploc bags and then assembled at a later date.

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Man Food Linky Party #GetHimFed Fridays No. 31

I bet everyone has been as busy as I’ve been with the holidays.  Welcome to #GetHimFed Fridays!  Bring your latest food posts and join the party.  Get some recipe ideas.  Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!
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#GetHimFed No. 31 Features | Bakewell Junction
  1. Italian Sugar Cookies by Love Food, Will Share
  2. Sephardic Matzo Ball Soup by A New York Foodie
  3. Easter Menu by An Alli Event
  4. Pan Roasted Lemon Chicken by Mom’s List It
  5. Frugal Family Creamy Noodles by Lorraine’s Resources and Rewards

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Man Food Linky Party #GetHimFed Fridays No. 30

Welcome all return visitors and newcomers to #GetHimFed Fridays!  Bring your latest food posts and join the party.  Invite your friends.  Have a great weekend!
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#GetHimFed No. 30 Features | Bakewell Junction
  1. Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken by Simple Living and Eating
  2. Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream by Gator Mommy Reviews
  3. Maple Cinnamon Rolls by In the Kitchen with Jenny
  4. Zucchini Pancakes by Tumbleweed Contessa
  5. Strawberry Pecan Bars by Creative Southern Home

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Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts)

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Pastaciotti (Italian Custard-filled Tarts) | Bakewell Junction

Have you tried these Italian pastries?  They are a lovely addition to any dessert table and can be found at any Italian bakery throughout NY city and the surrounding suburbs.  Since Easter is just around the corner you may want to impress your family with this lovely recipe.

The filling for the tart is usually almond flavored but I used vanilla instead because I have some family members who won’t eat anything with almond extract.  The almond flavored filling is just as delicious as the vanilla, so feel free to use either based on your preferences.  You don’t even need to have tart pans to make these, you can make them in regular-sized muffin pans or mini muffin pans.

On another note, I’m so glad Spring has finally sprung.  How do I know, you might ask.  Some Crocus finally bloomed in the yard this week, I heard peepers in the distance and the last stubborn snow pile is almost gone – yay!  Are you ready for warmer weather and Easter?

 

Pastaciotti 

Yield:  12 tarts                 Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (I used the shortening in bar form)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (I substituted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

Egg Wash and Sprinkle:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Step 1:  For the filling:  Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan with a whisk until all lumps are gone.  Slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk the mixture.  Add the butter to the mixture.  Place the saucepan on medium heat and cook  while stirring with a wooden spoon.  The butter will melt as the mixture heats up.  The mixture will thicken in about 7 to 8 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Let cool.

Step 2:  For the dough:  In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the shortening into flour mixture until it looks like a coarse cornmeal.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix with your hands to combine.  The dough should quickly come together into a smooth ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until the filling cools completely.

Step 3:  For assembly:  You can prepare your tart or muffin pans by spraying them with cooking spray or line your muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.  I use the cupcake liners for easier cleanup.  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Divide the dough in half and transfer the dough onto the floured surface.  I usually flour the rolling pin too.  Roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.  If you’re using 3 by 1 1/4 inch tart pans, use a 3 inch round or fluted  biscuit cutter to cut the dough for the tops and bottoms.  If you’re using regular-sized muffin pans, use a 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut half the dough for the bottoms and a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter for the remaining dough for the tops.  Reroll dough scraps as needed to cut out all the circles.

Step 4:  For each of the 12 tarts, press the 3+ inch dough into the bottom and up the sides of the tart or muffin wells.  If using the tart shells, place them on a cookie sheet.  Add about 2 tablespoons of the filling in each tart.  When using muffin tins, place the smaller 2 1/2 inch dough circles on top of the tarts and pinch the edges closed.  When using the tart pans, place the remaining 3 inch dough circles on the top of the tarts and pinch the edges closed  Mix the beaten egg and milk and use a pastry brush to spread some of the egg wash on the top of the tarts  Place the tarts in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Step 5:  Bake the tarts for 12 to 15 minutes in the middle of a preheated 425 degree oven until the tops are golden brown.  Cool on racks.  If making the miniature tarts (mini muffin pans; about 24 tarts), bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and coffee or espresso.

Recipe adapted from Celebrations Italian Style by Mary Ann Esposito.

Tips:  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Man Food Linky Party #GetHimFed Fridays No. 29

Welcome to #GetHimFed Fridays!  Bring all your great posts, we love seeing them all.  Invite your friends to the party.  Have a great weekend!
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#GetHimFed No. 29 Features | Bakewell Junction
  1. Purple Butter by Horrific Knits
  2. Maple Pecan Muffins by Holi Mess
  3. Amish Beef Stew by All In All
  4. Baked Salmon Cake with Mango Yogurt by MJ and Hungry Man
  5. Chocolate Tiramisu Cakes by Jay Tried and True

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Oreo Stuffed Monkey Bread

Oreo Monkey Bread | Bakewell Junction

Oreo Monkey Bread | Bakewell Junction

I have a bit of an obsession with Monkey Bread.  I love it and it’s just so easy to make.  This time I bring you Oreo Stuffed Monkey Bread.   I’ve seen Oreos stuffed in cookies, brownies, truffles and many other treats.  I like and appreciate all of those too but I wanted to incorporate the Oreos into my new favorite dessert.

Every bite of this Monkey Bread has Oreo in it.  I think you’ll love it as much as I do.  I used the mini Oreos in the recipe but Double Stuff Oreos are a favorite.  Next time I’ll use those cut into quarters.  What is your favorite Oreo?

Oreo Monkey Bread 2 | Bakewell Junction

Oreo Stuffed Monkey Bread

Yield:  6 to 8 servings                 Cook Time:  35 minutes

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/2 cup water, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups flour, plus extra for work surface
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Coating and Filling:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 packed brown sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 8 to 12 tablespoons (1 to 1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 8 ounce bag of Mini Oreos or 16 Double Stuff Oreos quartered

Icing:

  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 or more tablespoons milk

Directions:

Step 1:  For the Dough:  Mix the milk, water, melted butter, sugar and yeast in a two cup measure.  I used a microwave safe glass measure and heated the milk and water a full power for 1 minute, 20 seconds to reach 110 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and salt.  Using the dough hook attachment, start the mixer on low.  Add the milk mixture slowly.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed until the flour is incorporated.  Increase the mixer speed to medium (raised my KA to the 5 setting) and let it knead for another 6 to 7 minutes.  If the dough looks overly wet, add 2 tablespoons of flour at a time and continue mixing until the dough forms a mass.  Spray a large bowl with cooking spray.  Transfer the dough to the bowl and spray the dough also.  Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and use my tip below to aid the rise.  Let the dough rise until doubled.  If using my tip, it will double in 45 to 60 minutes.  If not, it may take 1 to 2 hours.

Step 2:  For the coating:  As the dough rises, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Place the melted butter in a small bowl.  If you would like to dial back the sweetness and gooeyness of the recipe, use the lesser amounts of sugar and butter.  Set aside.

Step 3:  For the shaping the dough balls:  Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour.  Transfer the dough onto the floured surface.  Spread and press the dough into about an 8 inch square.  Cut the dough into 8 by 8 slices with a bench scraper or knife.  This will give you 64 pieces.  Shape each dough ball around an Oreo and shape into balls and place back on the counter.  Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Step 4:  Spray the bundt pan with cooking spray.  If any of the dough balls have reopened, pinch them together to fully enclose the Oreo and create a uniform ball shape.  Dip each dough ball into the melted butter mixture individually.  Then roll them in the brown sugar mixture until they are well coated.  Place the dough ball into the bundt pan.  Layer the dough balls so they are offset and the dough ball on top is placed on the seam of dough balls below.  Repeat preparing the dough balls until they are all in the pan.  If there’s any remaining melted butter, drizzle it over the top of the dough balls.  If there’s any remaining brown sugar, sprinkle it over the top of the dough balls too.

Step 5:  Cover the bundt pan with a clean dish cloth or plastic wrap.  Let rise until puffy and until they are about an inch or two from the top of the pan.  Mine rose to the top of the pan.  If using my oven tip below, let rise for 45 minutes.  If not, let rise for 1 to 2 hours.

Step 6:  Bake unwrapped 30 to 35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven with a cookie sheet underneath the pan.  I’ve found that at least one or two dough balls try to escape during baking and the cookie sheet prevents them from burning on the bottom of the oven and causing a ton of smoke.  When done the top should be browned and the coating begins bubbling a bit.  Let bread cool in the pan for a maximum of 5 minutes.  Any longer and it may be difficult to depan.  Invert bread onto a large plate.

Step 7:  For the Icing:  While the dough cools a bit, add butter and mascarpone cheese to a large mixing bowl.  Beat 2 minutes.  I beat them on high using a hand-held mixer.  Beat in vanilla extract and cinnamon.  Mix in the powdered sugar at a lower speed (this prevents having powdered sugar everywhere).  Mix in the milk.  If you want a thinner icing, add more milk in teaspoon increments until you reach desired consistency.  While the bread is still warm, spread the icing on top of the bread – the icing will drizzle down the sides of the dough.  Serve warm or cold.

Recipe inspired by Cooks Illustrated.

Tips:  If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven.  The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.  Leave the oven light on and it will add to the warming effect.

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Man Food Linky Party #GetHimFed Fridays No. 28

Welcome to #GetHimFed Fridays!  Love all the links and great ideas.  Look around and share the comment love on the great recipes linked up every week.  Visit the other hosts’ blogs to see their features too.  Invite your friends to the party.  Have a great weekend!
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#GetHimFed No. 28 Features | Bakewell Junction
  1. Crock Pot Carne Asada Steak Dip by The Mad Mommy
  2. Orange Creamsicle Cookies by Lou Lou Girls
  3. Perfect Pound Cake by The (mis)Adventures of a Born Again Farm Girl
  4. Chicken Penne a la Cassi by The Long and Winding Road to Wellness: Cassi’s Journey
  5. Chocolate Swirl Bundt Cake by Easy Life Meal and Party Planning

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Pignoli Cookies

Pignoli Cookies | Bakewell Junction

Pignoli Cookies | Bakewell Junction

I tried two recipes of Pignoli cookies.  I wanted to compare an old recipe I’ve made before side-by-side with a recipe that I got from my friend Chris.  The recipes are similar so the end result is also similar.  I think my favorite of the two turns out to be the newer recipe (Pignoli Cookies 1) Chris gave me.  It produces larger cookies with more pignoli (pine) nuts.  I may add the flavorings from the Family Circle recipe (Pignoli Cookies 2) to my friend Chris’ recipe and make it my go to recipe for Pignoli cookies.

Many people make this cookie for Christmas but, since Easter is right around the corner, these would be a great to finish off a special Easter dinner.  I didn’t think my hubby liked these cookies but to my surprise, he says they’re really good with coffee.

 Pignoli Cookies 2 | Bakewell Junction

Pignoli Cookies 1 

Yield:  24 servings                 Cook Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces almond paste (the almond paste in the can is still 8 ounces)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 ounces pignoli (pine) nuts (I weighted the nuts on an old scale my Grandmother had and it was about 2/3 cup),
  • additional powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sift sugars, flour and salt into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Step 2:  Cut almond paste into small pieces.  I also run the almond paste pieces through my mini chopper, so that it looks like small grains.  This will help the paste mix better and there won’t be almond paste chunks in the cookies.  In separate medium bowl, beat egg whites and almond paste together until the mixture is smooth.  Add the sugar mixture to the almond paste and stir until combined.  Separate dough into 24 1 inch balls and place onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Press dough balls into 1 1/2 inch rounds.  Divide nuts 24 portions, remove skin on the tips of the nuts, if any, and press into the tops of the cookies.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden on the edges.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature.  You can sprinkle with additional powdered sugar if using.

Recipe slightly adapted from my friend Chris.

Pignoli Cookies  2

Yield:  28 servings                 Cook Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces almond paste (the almond paste in the tube is 7 ounces)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract or 1 teaspoon dried orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup pignoli (pine) nuts

Directions:

Step 1:  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cut almond paste into small pieces.  I also run the almond paste pieces through my mini chopper, so that it looks like small grains.  This will help the paste mix better and there won’t be almond paste chunks in the cookies.

Step 2:  In a medium bowl, beat one egg white, sugar and almond paste together until the mixture is smooth.  Beat in the remaining egg white and extracts.  Add the flour and mix by hand until just combined.  Separate batter into 28 balls and place on the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  This will be a sticky batter.  Remove skin on the tips of the nuts, if any, and cover each cookie with about 1/2 teaspoon of pignoli nuts.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature.

Recipe slightly adapted from Family Circle Bonus (12/12/00 edition) insert booklet by Michael Krondl.

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Man Food Linky Party #GetHimFed Fridays No. 27

Welcome to #GetHimFed Fridays!  Thanks for bringing all your great links.  Look around and comment on the great recipes linked up every week.  Visit the other hosts’ blogs to see their features too.  Invite your friends to the party.  Have a great weekend!
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#GetHimFed No. 27 Features | Bakewell Junction

  1. Fudge Ripple Layer Cake by O Taste and See
  2. Snickerdoodles by On the Home Front
  3. Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting by Steak ‘n Potatoes Kinda Gurl
  4. Potato Pancake by Treat and Trick
  5. Ropa Vieja Tostada Pizzas by Vintage Zest

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Pecan Pie Muffins

Pecan Pie Muffins | Bakewell Junction

Pecan Pie Muffins | Bakewell Junction

Yesterday I went to a 1st birthday party and met up with an old friend for a few hours.  I had a great time but I didn’t have an idea of what I would post today nor the time to really think about it.  I have lots of recipes pinned that I want to try, probably enough to last me a lifetime.

Pecan Pie Muffins is a recipe I wanted to try for a long time.  It’s a quick and easy recipe to whip up if you have pecans in your pantry.These muffins taste great and have lots of pecans throughout.  The hubby gave them the thumbs up.  They’re great as is or you can top them with whipped cream or ice cream just as you would with Pecan Pie.

Pecan Pie Muffins | Bakewell Junction

Pecan Pie Muffins 

Yield:  9 to 10 servings                 Cook Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 additional pecan halves for muffin topping
  • whipped cream or ice cream for topping (optional)

Directions:

Step 1:  Line two muffin pans with 10 cupcake liners.  In a medium bowl, mix the pecans, flour and brown sugar until well combined.  Set aside.

Step 2:  In separate medium bowl, beat eggs and melted butter together.  Add the egg mixture to the pecan mixture and mix by hand until just combined.  Spoon into the muffin wells to about 2/3 full.  Place half a pecan on the top of each muffin.

Step 3:  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer muffins to a cooling rack to cool.  Serve warm or room temperature.  You can top with whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe from Pecan Pie Muffins on Nuts About Food.

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Made with Love Mondays, hosted by Javelin Warrior