I had a Pinterest kind of day today. Since finally getting sucked into this new social phenomenon a few weeks ago, I’ve been determined not to just pin stuff, but to create or act upon some of my finds. Though today was not the first time, it was seemingly full of ‘pins come to life.’ it started with the ‘coffee bean tea lights.’ I could not find an original source for this cute idea, but since I have these beautiful teacups my friend Wendy brought me from China years ago, and a small portion of beans that haven’t been touched in ages, I had to go for it. To be honest, the aroma didn’t carry. Could be the age of the beans, I guess, but the effect is still lovely, especially with the candlelight shining on a few other ‘pins’ from today. Sharing now~

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“My” homemade hamburger buns

These have become sort of my signature recipe, and since we moved south, they’ve been called upon just about any time we gather for a barbecue. They are actually straight out of the Kitchen Aid Mixer recipe book. The only modification I’ve ever made is to increase the recipe to make 18 or 24 buns. This one makes 12:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter (real butter. Do not compromise here).
3 packages (or 6 3/4 teaspoons) of dry active yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (105F – 115F) I use hottest that comes out of my faucet
5 – 6 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
In a small saucepan, stir milk, sugar, salt and butter together. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool until lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 cups flour to yeast mixture, and using a dough hook, mix on low speed for about 1 minute. With the mixer still going, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes, or until dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all of the flour, especially if you are using wheat flour. Knead on low speed for about 2 more minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic – the dough will still be slightly sticky to the touch.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning it to grease the top. Cover the dough with a clean, dry dish towel, and let it rise in a warm place, free from draft, for about 15 minutes. (they can rise longer).

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 12 equal pieces. The pieces should be round and flattened. Put them on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with the towel. Let rise for another 15 minutes.

Bake at 425ºF for 12 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire rack.

Self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes

Source.

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola or mild vegetable oil (I substituted applesauce. Works like a charm!)
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 cup Nutella, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325F.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined.

Divide the batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Drop a spoonful of Nutella on top of each, and swirl through the batter with the tip of a bamboo skewer, knife or other pointy object. Bake for 20 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Pop onto wire rack to cool. Makes a dozen cupcakes and very smiley faces.

of note/ I was taking these to our friends’ house, and because their son has a peanut allergy, he steers clear of anything with nuts. So I made half the cupcakes this way. For the other six, I placed one jumbo marshmallow on top of each cupcake, returned to the oven for about 4 minutes, smooshed the marshmallow down with a spatula, and added a few chocolate chips. Poof! S’mores cupcakes! My husband thought the topping was meringue. Only 11 cupcakes made it to our destination…

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Easiest thing ever-

Slice however many tomatoes you want.
Spread on a baking sheet.
Cover with a drop of olive oil, a pinch of basil, and a generous covering of Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 325 for 15 minutes.
Eat!

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