Thursday, December 18, 2014

mini pecan tarts

Mini Pecan Tarts via design. bake. run.

it’s been a while, i know. months and months. well, i'm sort of back, at least for one post. it's the happiest most wonderful time of the year again! and i love it. and i’ve been baking like crazy (but too lazy to post them here). well... here’s one i'll share because i actually have a photo for it. this has become one of my favorite holiday treat and will for sure be a regular come this time of the year. it is so good and that's probably because i’m a pecan pie fan.

so if you're up to some baking this weekend, feel free to make these. you never know, these may become one of your favorites too, if not already! enjoy and happy baking! :)

mini pecan tarts
recipe adapted from better homes & garden


cream cheese pastry:
  • 1/2 (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

pecan filling:
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans


  1. preheat oven to 325 degrees F. for pastry, in a mixing bowl beat the 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese until combined. stir in the flour. press a rounded teaspoon of pastry evenly into the bottom and up the sides of 24 ungreased 1 3/4-inch muffin cups.
  2. for pecan filling, in a bowl beat egg, brown sugar, corn syrup, and the 1 tablespoon melted butter until combined. stir in pecans. spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of filling into each pastry-lined muffin cup. bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is puffed. cool slightly in pan. carefully transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

makes 24 cookies.

Friday, April 25, 2014

martha stewart's outrageous chocolate cookies

Martha Stewart's Outrageous Chocolate Cookies via design. bake. run.

i'm always a fan of a good cookie (recipe). this one here is for sure a keeper. plus, it comes from good old martha, which is a major plus. and on top of that, it's chocolate! what i love most about this recipe though is the fact that i don't need any fancy ingredients. everything you see here are items you pretty should have in stock already (assuming you are the occasional baker). or even if you don't, you can get these items easily with a quick trip to the grocery store.

these chocolate cookies are great. i love how soft and chewy they are. it's almost like eating a brownie, but in a cookie form. they make for great gifts as well. i actually made these for a girls night in event and we all loved it. well, i know i did. ;)

so if you're craving for some chocolates, or (chocolate) cookies.. why not give this a try? you won't be disappointed. :)

Martha Stewart's Outrageous Chocolate Cookies via design. bake. run.

Martha Stewart's Outrageous Chocolate Cookies via design. bake. run.

martha stewart's outrageous chocolate cookies
recipe from here

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks

  1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat.
  3. in another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. in a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. mix in flour mixture until just combined. stir in chocolate chunks.
  5. drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets.
  6. bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. or if you prefer (which is what i do) you can eat them after they've cooled a little bit. typically that's a few minutes out of the oven. they taste best warm, i think.

note: don't worry if the batter seems thin. it should look more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough. oh, and do not bake the cookies to a crisp; they are meant to be soft and chewy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

vanilla cupcakes

Sour Cream Vanilla Cupcakes via design. bake. run.

you know me. okay, maybe not really. but what i was going to say here was, i never like throwing any leftover ingredients out if it's still good and i know that i can make use of it. so as usual... you know, the typical mexican dinner night that calls for sour cream, well, there was a bunch leftover. so, what did i do with it? of course, bake with the leftovers!

what we have here is a super moist, waaaay delicious and perfectly sweetened vanilla cupcake; and nicely decorated for easter sunday (yes, this was our easter meal dessert – of course you can decorate it anyway you like for any occasion). i say you can skip the frosting if you want, because the cake out of the oven is seriously a yummy bite already. the sour cream in this recipe is superb. for sure better than your buttermilk or good ol' milk. the cake comes out perfectly baked and not dry at all. i love that the taste and texture stays true even a couple days later (yeah, sitting out on the counter... and so not in an airtight container! my bad).

this recipe is for sure a keeper in my opinion. if you’d like to see it for yourself, i say go ahead and give it a try. it's super simple to make. you can't mess up. i've made it two times in the last week and loved it every time. the only thing i wasn't too crazy about was that although the cake puffed up (rise) while baking in the oven, once you take it out and it cools, it falls back and dips just a tad. not totally crazy about that, but hey, i guess that's okay when it's so good. not too big of a deal especially if you're going to frost it. you won't be able to tell.

okay, enjoy! :)

Easter Cupcakes! via design. bake. run.

vanilla cupcakes
recipe from here

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin/cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
  3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting. For frosting ideas, you can check out these recipes.

makes 12 standard size cupcakes. enjoy and happy eating. :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

apple crumble granola

Apple Crumble Granola via design. bake. run.

hello there! it's been a good while and i finally got around to editing some food photos from a while back. i had actually meant to post this up about a month ago but i accidentally deleted the edited photos and had to re-edit them again. anyway, here's a recipe for a breakfast granola, apple crumble granola, that is. sounds pretty awesome, eh? i think so!

i've never made granola before and so this is for sure a first. how did it turn out? ahhhh... okay, i guess. i didn't know what to expect so i can't really say a whole lot. what i can say is that it's not really sweet. or as according to m, not at all! so if you like it a little sweeter, i recommend adding more honey or possibly even sprinkling in some brown sugar (note: i have not tried this). another thing was either i totally did this wrong, mine didn't clump together the way i thought granola should. you see, i found this recipe on some random sight online and from the pictures i saw, it came out perfectly fine. so maybe i did something wrong? who knows.

well, below's the recipe should you be interested. i'm sure you'll have better luck with it than me. regardless, i still thought it tasted alright. i do love the apple and cinnamon flavor that comes through. and what better way to dress up a bowl of non-fat greek yogurt in the morning than some granolas and fresh fruits?

Apple Crumble Granola via design. bake. run.

Apple Crumble Granola via design. bake. run.

apple crumble granola
recipe adapted from here

  • 300g (3-1/3 cups) oats
  • 1 apple (with or without skin)
  • 30g (2 tbsp) butter
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins

  1. preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. first, pour the oats into a mixing bowl, and grate the apple over the top. or for a chewier granola, finely dice the apple instead for large chunks. stir it into the oats quickly to prevent the apple from browning as it comes into contact with the air.
  3. pop the butter in a microwaveable dish and ping on a high heat for 20 seconds to melt. add the honey and cinnamon to the melted butter and stir through. pour into the oats and apple mixture, and stir well to coat lightly and evenly.
  4. lightly grease a baking tray or roasting tin (i actually just used a silpat on a baking sheet), and tip the oat mixture in. roughly even out with a spoon, but don't press down as you want it to clump together in chunks, not make a flapjack! pop it into the center of the oven at 30 minutes, removing to shake gently halfway through.
  5. allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. it will keep for a few weeks if stored in a cool dry place.

FOR VEGANS: replace the 30g of butter with around 40ml oil, and the honey with either sugar, golden syrup or agave nectar, whichever you prefer.

TO MAKE IT GO FURTHER: add half a handful of raisins, cranberries or other dried fruit to make it go further.

you can eat this slightly warmed up, or thrown into plain yogurt... pretty much anything. it's perfect for breakfast or as a snack anytime throughout the day.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

white chocolate biscotti

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.

lent started yesterday. my MIL is giving up cookies for lent. as a little cookie send-off, i baked her some of her favorite cookies, biscotti, monday night and finished it tuesday morning; so she could eat the entire batch to her heart's content. hehehe ;)

i don't make biscottis very often. i've only made it a few times and always with the same recipe. but this time around i decided i'd try a different recipe. after a quick search online and going through multiple recipes, i settled on one from myrecipes. theirs seemed simple enough (and it was!).

as i said above, i've only made biscotti with one recipe in the past. this one from myrecipe was slightly different and uses no butter. i have never made biscotti without butter before (never even knew that traditional biscottis were made without butter!). anyway, these biscotti are so, so good. must be because they contain no butter, the way they should be made. this recipe produces the most super crunchy biscottis ever, especially if you eat it soon after they've cooled. i absolutely love the white chocolate-vanilla combo because it is like the perfect little bite of sweetness in your mouth. and the added lemon zest is a wonderful little surprise too. it's like a hint of freshness, refreshing and delicious.

so what are you waiting for? if you're a fan of biscotti, why not bake some today?!! and if you're not, you'll instantly become a fan. m doesn't care for biscotti, but he absolutely loves these. :)

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.
this biscotti recipe is so simple to make and produces the most crunchiest biscotti ever.

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.
these are insanely good. i've never thought i'd love biscottis this much. i seriously ate 3 in a row.

White Chocolate Biscotti via design. bake. run.
i absolutely love how these contain only 55 calories in one serving. i could have 2 biscottis and not feel guilty at all!

white chocolate biscotti
recipe adapted from myrecipes.

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (6-ounce) bar premium white chocolate, chopped or 1/2 bag of white chocolate baking chips

  1. preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until well blended. stir in chocolate.
  3. turn dough out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. shape dough into 2 (12-inch-long) rolls; pat to 2 1/2-inch width.
  4. bake at 300° for 35 minutes. remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  5. cut rolls diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. place, cut sides down, on baking sheet. bake at 300° for 10 to 12 minutes. turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

makes 24 (or however many depending on how thick/thin you slice it). these taste most delicious on the day they're baked, but will keep in an air-tight container for a few days.

55 calories per serving.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

observing lent and the no junk food challenge

being that tomorrow is lent, is anyone observing it? i'm not catholic but m & my MIL are and they'll be giving up something for lent. i've done it several years now with them. this year, i can't seem to think of what to give up so i've decided to add on. and in doing so, i'm hoping that it will help me give up or eliminate some things i really shouldn't be doing or eating.

this year i've decided that i will eat more fruits and vegetables. at least the daily recommended amount, which is 5 servings. you see, i don't get enough fruits and vegetables in my diet. i'll go days and days without eating a single serving of fruit. vegetables are easier to come by since we do eat a proper dinner at our house everyday. apart from that, it's pretty bad. of course, there will be times when i eat nothing but fruit. i'll go on a giant fruit binge and eat like a whole 1-lb thing of strawberries or a 6-oz thing of raspberry and some kiwis. there's even been times when i ate like 10 nectarines in one day (over the course of a few hours). i know, my fruit and veggies eating is all out of whack. i need to be better at it.

my trouble is that i don't care for your typical apples, oranges, pears, bananas, etc that you can can get just about any time of year. i like to think that the fruits i like are more tropical, seasonal… more exotic? hahaha, something like that. i love fruits that are crunchy with lots of hints of sour/tartness to them. yes, like super firm and crunchy nectarines or peaches. or very green mangoes. pineapples are good too, and for sure passionfruits but those are hard to find here. and all the berries you can think of is definitely a go too. but all of these are hard to come by sometimes, especially when they're out of season or just isn't readily available (or too expensive). regardless, i've told myself that price isn't the issue here and that i should just suck it up and eat more. so, starting tomorrow, we shall see!

also starting tomorrow is this new thing m and i are going to try. it's really 21 days but we've decided to cut it short to only 20 days since we're taking off to europe by that time. so what do you think? want to do it too? why not! no junk food for 21 days (or 20 days for us). i saw this on pinterest and decided to give it a go. :)

No Junk Food Challenge via design. bake. run.

Monday, March 3, 2014

motivational monday: one thing at a time

take care of your body

i wrote this long blog post last week thinking i'd post it, but i never did. what was it about? umm... about m and i, running for 30 days straight. actually, i think it was 32 straight since we started on january 26 and ended on february 26. yeah, pretty crazy, i know... and we actually did it too! we set out to run for a whole month with 1 mile being the bare minimum and we did it. like for real, no crazy excuses thrown in, nada, zilch, period. was it hard? you bet it was. it was insanely hard, especially during the first week. but as the days went on, it got a tad easier. i'm not saying it was easy towards the end or in the middle or at any point. every day we fought the urge to skip our daily runs. and each day the running won. we went out and ran. period.

32-day nike plus running data

last month i personally covered 67 miles (see graphic above) – the most i've ran in a long time. i think if i look back at my nike+ history, there are definitely months that i've ran more than the 67 i did last month. but 67 miles last month was a big accomplishment for me, especially lately anyway. i haven't been running a whole lot the last several months so it's a big deal to me. i'm just so proud of myself for sticking it through and so thankful to have m around who inspires me everyday to keep at it and stay positive.

with a few days of rest out of the way, this week is the start of a new challenge. i look forward to conquering another fitness goal. i'm just hoping that my eating habits will be better and that the number on the scale will actually reflect that. okay, maybe not the scale entirely, but other areas such as loose clothing, etc. you get the point.

below is the new challenge i hope to conquer by the end of the month. feel free to pin it for later, do it now, or whatever you like. and here's to us all getting fit, being healthy(ier) in our own body, our way. :)

30-day plank challenge

i want my body

Friday, February 28, 2014

strawberry-banana cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting inspired by sprinkles cupcakes

Sprinkles-inspired Strawberry-Banana Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting via design. bake. run.

happy last day of february!

to close out the month, here are some (mini) strawberry-banana cupcakes with strawberry frosting. sometime last week we had a lone banana going brown. instead of making some banana muffins again or something else with banana i decided to do a take on a strawberry cupcake. i mean, add banana to it. a quick google search later, i landed on good old martha stewart's website. sprinkles strawberry cupcakes recipe, to be exact.

so here you have it. a take on their recipe, but with the pureed strawberries out for strawberry jam and some mashed bananas in, all topped off with a super simple strawberry buttercream frosting. you can't get any easier than this. no fancy blender required! this is my kind of recipe when it comes to using very minimal equipments. ;)

below's the recipe should you want to make some. it's quite good, i should say. you get both the strawberry and banana flavor in the cake. and the added strawberry buttercream frosting on top? that just makes it even better. i know the photos don't show much since you lose out the color once you mix the frosting together, etc... but the flavor is definitely there. i guess you can top it off with some strawberry and/or banana slices if you like. i personally couldn't be bothered to. so go ahead and make yourself some. enjoy and happy baking! :)

Strawberry-Banana Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting via design. bake. run.
strawberry and banana are two fruits that pair well together. the strawberry frosting really balances out the strong banana flavor in the cake and makes for one sweet bite.

Strawberry-Banana Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting via design. bake. run.
i love making one-bite cupcakes. these mini versions of a full-size cupcake gives you the same yummy taste and satisfaction of a standard size one, but for way less the calories.

strawberry banana cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting
inspired by sprinkles' strawberry cupcakes


cupcake batter:
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam or preserves
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites

strawberry frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam or preserves
  • milk or cream as needed


for the cupcake batter:
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. in a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, mashed bananas and strawberry jam; set aside.
  3. in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
  4. with the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
  5. divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes (or 15-16 minutes if making mini cupcakes). transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before frosting.

for the strawberry buttercream frosting:
  1. in a good size bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until somewhat combined.
  2. then add in the strawberry jam and mix until fully incorporated and resemble the right buttercream consistency. if it's too thick, add a tablespoon of milk to the mixture at a time and blend it some more until you've reach the right consistency. if it's too thin, add in more powdered sugar.
  3. frost the cupcakes and enjoy! :)

makes 12 regular size cupcakes or about 45 mini cupcakes.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

mini apple crumbles

Mini Apple Crumbles via design. bake. run.

i was going through my stacks and stacks of magazines sometime last week and ran across a recipe for mini apple crumbles. yes, i've got piles of shape, marie claire, better homes & gardens, 7x7 and ca home & design magazines just to name some that i've left it piled on (and some i have yet to go through them). i guess i'm still one of the few left who appreciates actual printed materials over those ebooks or e-zines. okay, going off topic here. yes, as i was going through one of my shape magazines from a few months back, i noticed a recipe for mini apple crumbles. i think it must have been shape's november 2013 issue. leafing through the pages and seeing that, a lightbulb went in my head. well, hello… we've got a bunch of oatmeal lying around, i could actually put some to use with this recipe! so off i went with it.

okay, i've actually adapted the recipe a bit because i didn't have any maple syrup on hand or couldn't be bothered with the spices that were in it. but overall, the recipe was pretty straight forward. so go ahead and bake some. these make for perfect little one-bite treats and are great for parties or any occasions. :)

One-Bite Mini Apple Crumbles via design. bake. run.
these one-bite mini apple crumbles make for the perfect little party treats and has only 95 calories.

Mini Apple Crumbles via design. bake. run.
this recipe is super simple to make. i love how you get many different kinds of texture, crunch and flavors from just one tiny bite.

mini apple crumbles
recipe from shape magazine's november 2013 issue

crumble topping:
cooking spray
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
1/3 c maple syrup
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

apple filling:
2 firm apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons maple syrup

preheat over to 350°F. lightly coat a 12-cup mini muffing pan with cooking spray and set aside.

to make the crumble topping, combine oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. stir in maple syrup until well coated. use a fork to smash the butter pieces into the oat mixture until crumbly. Set aside.

to make the apple filling, add apples, maple syrup, and 1/2 cup water to a small saucepan. cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. remove from heat and let cool slightly.

meanwhile, place 1 teaspoon of the oat mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. see your fingers to gently press down to form  a solid crust. Place 1 tablespoon of the apple  mixture over each and top with remaining crumble distributing evenly among all muffin cups.

bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. remove from oven, let cool to room temperature, then use an offset spatula or a butter knife to gently remove from pan. serve at room temperature.

makes 12 mini apple crumbles. enjoy!

nutrition facts: 95 calories; 3 g fat; 18 g carbs; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 22 mg sodium; 20 mg calcium

Friday, February 21, 2014

blood orange cranberry scones

Blood Orange Cranberry Scones via design. bake. run.

i was in trader joe's the other day and noticed they had bags and bags of blood oranges. well, duh me! it is the season. i've just never bothered to look around for them or noticed them in the past. this time, it was so obvious, i couldn't have missed it if i wanted to. i decided to pick up some up thinking i could bake with it, or at least eat them. we don't typically eat blood oranges in our household, but who's to say why not this time?

knowing i'd bake something with these blood oranges, i decided i'd make some scones. lately i've been treating myself to that morning cup of coffee at starbucks and noticed the cranberry orange scones that they have on displayed. i've yet to try one of theirs, but i figure i know how to bake so i may as well make my own. not having oranges on hand, what better alternative than blood oranges?!

below's the recipe for these blood orange cranberry scones inspired by starbucks cranberry orange scones. how were they? pretty good. i accidentally added too much sugar to the scones but i think the mistake was actually a perfect one. i really think you get the right amount of sweetness with the orange flavor. and the dried cranberries give you something chewy and a tiny bit of tartness when you bite into it. overall a great treat with that morning coffee or afternoon tea. now of course, you can drizzle some glaze on top (i was too lazy and couldn't be bothered) or spread it with jam and butter (or clotted cream) and it would just elevate this scone to the next level. very. good.

Blood Orange Cranberry Scones inspired by Starbucks via design. bake. run.
these blood orange cranberry scones inspired by starbucks are the perfect little treat with any morning coffee or afternoon tea.

Blood Orange Cranberry Scones inspired by Starbucks via design. bake. run.
a little blood orange glaze would go so well with these scones.

blood orange cranberry scones
inspired by starbucks' cranberry orange scones with recipe adapted from here.

2 cups all-purpose flour
10 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon raw sugar (or regular sugar works fine too), for sprinkling

glaze: (optional)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon blood orange juice

in a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt and baking soda. cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. in a small bowl, combine the cranberries, orange juice, buttermilk and egg. add to flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.

on a floured surface, gently knead 6-8 times. pat dough into an 8-in circle. cut into 12 wedges. separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. note: this is the part where i like to stick the wedges in the freezer for a good 15 minutes or so before i bake it. i've read that by doing this it gives the butter time to harden so when you bake it, it makes the scones a bit more flaky and delicious. and is that true? i guess so. i do this almost every time when i have time to spare, otherwise i just skip this part.

brush with milk; sprinkle with raw sugar. bake at 400 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. remove to a wire rack to cool.

for the glaze (optional): combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over scones.

if you like, you can even split it, spread some butter and jam and oh my, what a yummy-looking treat! enjoy. :)

makes about 12 wedges (more or less depending on how you cut it).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

oatmeal-raisin cookies

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies via design. bake. run.

what do you do when you have a bunch of rolled oats around? umm... like A LOT!?! well, you make oatmeal cookies, of course. what else? okay, maybe a lot more other stuff… but oatmeal cookies will do for now.

i'm actually not a fan of oatmeal cookies because traditionally it's got raisins and cinnamon in it. both things i don't always care for when combined together. but m loves the classic oatmeal cookie so i went ahead and made some anyway. actually, i divided the dough and threw in some butterscotch chips for half the lot and kept the other half classic.

the recipe is super simple to make and makes a ton if you drop them by the teaspoon or tablespoon size. so if you've got some rolled oats or even quick-cooking oatmeal around, why not bake some today?! :)

The Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies via design. bake. run.
this recipe makes a lot and are perfect for gift-giving or sharing with others.

Classic Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies via design. bake. run.
i'm not a big fan of raisins, but this recipe is a classic for any oatmeal-raisin cookie fan and super versatile with different stir-in options (i also used butterscotch chips). m loves the classic taste, but is also a big fan of the other butterscotch version.

oatmeal cookies
recipe from better homes & gardens

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup raisins*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in oats and raisins.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons or tablespoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Or drop dough using a cookie scoop or 1/4-cup measure 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven about 8 minutes for spoon-size portions (bake about 12 minutes for cookie-scoop or 1/4-cup portions) or until edges are light brown and centers appear set. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.

to store:
Layer cookies between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

*note: if you're not a big fan of raisins, you can certainly substitute a different stir-in option here. chocolate chips is one option, or butterscotch chips (like i did) or even nuts, dried fruits or coconut flakes. whatever your little heart desires. i'm thinking white chocolate chips with some coconut flakes would be perfect. i'll have to make this again with that variation. just keep in mind that whatever you do, you keep the substitute ingredient(s) to 1 cup.

Friday, February 14, 2014

the best banana bread muffins you'll ever eat

The best banana bread muffins, like ever! via design. bake. run.

happy valentine's day! :)

and hehehehe... that's some title eh? yes, the BEST banana bread muffins you'll ever eat (and make... according to m and me). seriously. it's loaded with tons of bananas, chocolate chips, and hints of vanilla and cinnamon flavor. oh, and to top it off, you've got a crispy cinnamon-pecan-cookie-like topping. O. M. G. i know! these guys disappeared like that. it was that good.

last weekend we finally had some rain in like forever! as you all know, we northern california folks have been enjoying quite the unseasonably warm winter (with high 60's and low 70's and no rain in sight at all!) until this past weekend. yup, it sure rain. and what's the best way to stay cozy and warm when it's awful and wet outside? well, none other than baking to warm up the house. and the bonus is the delicious smell throughout and goodies that you can actually eat! i think i ate like 5,000 calories this weekend from all the baked goods. must be my body telling me to fatten up for this stormy cold weather.

okay, so let's cut to it. below's the recipe should you want to make some. seriously, so good. i literally inhaled one right after a minute or two of it coming out of the oven. i told m it would make for a yummy dessert with a little ice cream next to it. the cold/hot combo would be perfect. m had one soon after it cooled off and said i could sell these. that's quite the compliment being that he's such a tough critic when it comes to me and my baked goodies.

alright, go bake some for your lovebugs today (or this weekend or whenever) and let me know what you think! enjoy and happy eating. :)

Banana Bread Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Crispy Cinnamon-Pecan Cookie Topping via design. bake. run.
these banana bread muffins are amazing. it's loaded with tons of banana, chocolate chips and a cooke topping... so good you cannot just eat one.

Banana Bread Muffins with Chocolate Chips and Crispy Cinnamon-Pecan Cookie Topping via design. bake. run.
instead of your typical banana bread loaf, why not make muffins? this recipe is super versatile, quick and easy to make, you can leave out the chocolate chips or cookie topping if you like. or throw in some nuts and you've got a crunchy muffin. yum!

banana bread muffins with chocolate chips & cinnamon-pecan cookie topping

for the banana bread muffins:
  • 4 brown medium-size bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cup chocolate chips (any kind, i used dark and semi sweet)

for the cookie topping:
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans, broken
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

preheat oven to 350°F. line cupcake muffin tins with paper cups.

for the cookie topping: in a medium-size bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar until fully incorporated. reserve a tablespoon or two and set them aside. then add in the pecans to the cinnamon sugar mixture and toss until they're coated. now add in the softened butter and mix until all the ingredients are blended together. lastly, add in the flour and mix until dough forms. set cookie dough aside (preferably in the fridge while you make the muffin batter).

for the muffins: in a good size bowl, mix everything but the chocolate chips together until combined. then throw in the chocolate chips and fold until fully incorporated. spoon out the mixture into the paper cups, about 2/3 full. top it off with the cookie batter and sprinkle some of the cinnamon sugar on top. note: you may want to use a fork and kind of break the chilled dough a little bit so that it resembles crumbs, etc. otherwise, just put in bits on top of the muffin and that will do just fine too. if you run out of the cinnamon sugar, you can always make more by combining 1 part cinnamon to 2 parts sugar (or equal parts if you like).

bake muffins for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you insert it into the muffin. let the muffins cool a little bit before taking them out of the tin and cooling on a wire rack. eat shortly after while still warm because they taste delicious or you can wait until they are completely cool. it'll still taste just as good. of course, i prefer it warm. ok, enjoy! :)

makes about 16-18 standard size muffins (you know, the regular cupcake kind).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

chocolate-cinnamon cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting

Mini Chocolate-Cinnamon Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting via design. bake. run.

is it february already? and valentine's day is around the corner?!! alright, i haven't baked cupcakes in like forever. it's only fitting i make some (mini) chocolate cupcakes again, just in time for valentine's day. yes, i made some last year as well, in addition to the super popular (on pinterest) mini creme brulee cupcakes. those are pretty awesome as well.

to change it up a bit, i decided to add a little cinnamon to the usual (eggless) chocolate cupcake recipe. according to m, the cinnamon didn't come through a whole lot. i guess you could sort of tell it's there, but not really because once it's baked the chocolate and coffee flavors overpower the cinnamon? i don't know. so if you really like cinnamon, i say add in another teaspoon or so. otherwise, the recipe the way it is below will do just fine. and if you're a coffee fan, the mocha frosting is perfection. chocolate and coffee? done.

alright, below's the recipe if you'd like to bake some for this upcoming valentine's day or any day. i say it works for any occasion. so go ahead. they're super simple to make and the end results are always stunning... delish! enjoy and as always, happy baking!

The Perfect Valentine's Day Sweet! Chocolate-Cinnamon Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting via design. bake. run.
who doesn't want to get some mini chocolate cupcakes this valentine's day? these are the perfect little gifts. we gave some away to c's teacher as an early valentine's day gift.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Cupcakes with Mocha Buttercream Frosting via design. bake. run.
i love how festive and valentine-y the added heart sprinkles are in these mini cupcakes.

chocolate-cinnamon cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting

chocolate cupcakes:
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp vinegar

mocha buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk

for the cake: mix all ingredients together until moist and well blended. put in mini cupcake cups (1/2 full) and bake for 17-18 minutes at 350 degrees F.

for the mocha buttercream frosting: using a handmixer or in a stand mixer, mix all ingredients together until you've reached the right consistency for buttercream. if it's too thick, add in a little bit more milk. if it's too thin, you can add more powdered sugar. once everything looks good, pipe/frost and enjoy!

chocolate cake recipe makes about 16 regular cupcakes (or 45-50 mini cupcakes). buttercream frosting should make enough to frost all cupcakes (well, at least when i did it).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2014: make it count

make it count!

fittest ever. 2014

try hard every day

just a little reminder to keep chugging at it. july isn't too far away. must. do. it. gotta do it. just do it!

Monday, February 3, 2014

coral french macarons with citrus buttercream filling

Coral Macarons with Citrus Buttercream Filling via design. bake. run.

okay, i finally got around to posting the recipe for these coral shell french macarons with citrust buttercream. yeah, as mentioned before... i've just been busy with life in general. ;)

a few weeks ago i test baked some coral color macarons for a friend's baby shower (that's the link for the awesome photos she took of the baby shower) she was hosting. i haven't made any in that particular color before so i wanted to make sure i got the color right before doing the real thing. well… the test macarons turn out fantastic! the coral color was spot on and super vibrant. the shells were baked perfectly and the whole cookie flavor combination was pretty good (i only say pretty good because i'm not that fond of citrus buttercream or citrus baked goods too much). if only the ones i delivered was just like these test versions, i wouldn't have had to bake 3 consecutive nights just to get them to par. yeah, it sucked the first two nights getting hollow cookie shells after hollow cookie shells. on the surface they look perfect… yeah, until you break into them and all you see is an empty shell. boo. so yeah, i tried correcting them as much as i could and finally was able to get some decent ones. just sucked it took so long and so many batches. a lot of macaron shells ended up in the garbage. some, i did save and kept them as is (without filling) to have them available for a sweet treat.

alright, here's the recipe. now, just don't over whip the egg whites or fold too much okay? that way your shells will come out perfect and not crazy hollow or spread like crazy and have no feet. good luck and enjoy! :)

Coral Macarons with Citrus Buttercream Filling via design. bake. run.
for any citrus flavor fan, these should hit the spot. try adding in some marmalade and it's even better. the ones i delivered for the baby shower had a little spread of kumquat marmalade on top of the buttercream.

Coral and aqua shell macarons for Hot Air Balloon-Themed Baby Shower -- photo via Sabrina Ko Photography
here's a photo of the macarons (vanilla, mint-chocolate and citrus) i made for the baby shower. notice how the coral color isn't as vibrant as the test ones above? yeah, i did try! photo via sabrina ko.

Coffee Nutella French Macarons -- photo via Sabrina Ko Photography
here's a shot of the coffee nutella french macarons. these are always a hit. photo via sabrina ko.

coral macarons with citrus buttercream filling


macaron batter:
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup almond meal
1/8 tsp pink and 1/4 tsp orange gel food coloring (or any food coloring of your choice)
1 tbsp citrus (orange, lime & lemon) zest
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar

citrus buttercream:
1 tbsp citrus zest
2-4 tbsp citrus juice
1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
2 cups of powdered sugar


to make the macaron batter/shells:
  1. line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready.
  2. sift together the powdered sugar and almond meal so there are no lumps. add in the citrus zest and stir it to make sure it's fully incorporated with the sugar and almond meal mixture. set aside.
  3. in the bowl of a standing electric mixer (or if you prefer, you can use a bowl and hand mixer), beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. while whipping, beat in the sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.
  4. add in the gel food coloring.
  5. carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. when the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white and the colors have combined, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).
  6. pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1.35-inch circles evenly spaced one-inch apart.
  7. rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. then let it sit for at least 30-60 minutes depending on humidity before baking them in the oven. about 10-15 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. bake for 15 minutes.
  8. once macaron shells are out of the oven, let them sit for 30-60 seconds before removing the hot baking sheet underneath. let the macarons cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper.

for the citrus buttercream filling:
  1. in a medium bowl combine the butter and sugar and mix until incorporated.
  2. then add in the citrus juice (1 tablespoon at a time) and zest and mix until combine and you've reached the right consistency for buttercream. if it's too thick, thin it out with a little bit with more juice or milk or cream. if too thin, add in a little more powdered sugar.

to assemble the macaron cookies:
  1. before assembling these cookies, make sure to pair up all the cookie shells so they are as close as possible in size.
  2. using a knife, spread a good amount of the buttercream on the inside of the macarons then sandwich them together. note: you can certainly put the buttercream in a piping bag and pipe the buttercream onto the cookie. it's a lot easier i think and less mess. but i can't be bother to do this so i almost always just spread it with a knife.
  3. let them stand at least one day (keep them refrigerated) before serving (serve at room temperature), to meld the flavors.

store in airtight container for up to 5 days. makes 20-24 macarons.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

caramel popcorn

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.

i have been eyeing homemade caramel popcorn for the longest time. i think i've had these down for the little kiddies birthday party 2 years ago but never really got around to it. well, i finally made some a couple of weeks ago for m's birthday party. and i have to say, they are so easy to make! why have i not just done it then? i don't know... but what i do know is, once you've got the caramel made (you'll need a candy thermometer for this), the rest is easy peasy. and besides, who says you have to use the popcorn kernels and not regular microwavable popcorn? i just went ahead with the classic microwavable bags of popcorn (because you can't beat an easy cleanup) and these sweet treats still turned out delicious. plus, doing the whole popcorn kernel thing with oil in a pot is just too much work! oh, and this recipe uses apple juice so it's even better. it gives you a nice hint of apple flavor which you cannot beat. and for sure a great way to use up those half gallons or whatever size of apple juice bottle that's been sitting in our fridge for days and days (maybe weeks even?) – because we can't drink it all!

alright, the recipe for this caramel popcorn is below if you'd like to make some yourself. i say go ahead because it's really that good. you'll literally eat half of it in one sitting if you don't stop yourself already. hahaha... that's what m and i did the night i made these. we had to remove ourselves away from the sheet pan while these goodies rest.

okay, enjoy! :)

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.
this recipe is super easy to make. i never thought it was this simple!

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.
simply made paper cones are a great way to distribute these sticky but super yummy treats. who says you can't have a bouquet of caramel popcorn?

Caramel Popcorn via design. bake. run.
make these sweet stuff for your next birthday party or any occasion. they'll sure to be a hit. these definitely were for m's birthday party.

caramel popcorn
recipe adapted from the food network

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup popcorn kernels (or you can use two bags of microwave popcorn and omit the oil above)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • kosher salt

  1. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or a silpat will do too). if using popcorn kernels, heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat. add the popcorn kernels; cover and cook, shaking the pan, until the popping subsides. remove from the heat and let any remaining kernels pop for 30 more seconds. if using microwave popcorn bags, follow the directions on the package. once popcorns are popped, divide the popcorn between the prepared baking sheets, discarding any unpopped kernels.
  2. make the caramel: bring the apple juice, brown sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. cook without stirring until the mixture is deep amber and a candy thermometer registers 280 degrees F, about 30 minutes (the caramel will bubble vigorously toward the end of the cooking time).
  3. stir the butter into the caramel until melted. add 2 teaspoons salt and cook for another minute. remove from the heat. pour the hot caramel over the popcorn mixture and carefully toss with two rubber spatulas. let cool slightly, then separate the mixture into clusters while still warm. let cool completely.

note: i actually pour all my popcorn into a large bowl instead of putting them on the baking sheets. once the caramel was made, i pour those over the popcorn and tossed them while still in the bowl (kind of like making rice krispy treats). but the above method works too. i guess you can pick whichever is easiest. :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

Bourbon Sea Salt Caramel-Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies via design. bake. run.

happy new year! yes, it took a whole 20 days after the new year for this post. i've been busy and lazy (yes, both at the same time) therefore that's why i haven't posted any new recipes or any entries here. plus, i haven't been baking a whole lot. haven't had the effort or energy to since the holidays. and also the fact that i've been trying to cut down on my sweets intake. decided that if i didn't bake, i wouldn't have any around. the only things i've made so far are some macaron cookie samples (testing out shell colors for a baby shower – post and recipe to come later) and your classic, chocolate chip cookies. i made some a few weeks ago. anyway, i've made some again, except for this time i decided i would try to use up those bourbon-sea salt caramels i made during the holidays. yeah, we didn't really eat all that caramel. it was a lot. plus, they didn't quite hold at room temperature. maybe i took them off the heat too quickly or who knows what. but anyway, i still got some pretty tasty caramels out of it.

alright, below's the recipe for these delicious-looking chocolate chip cookies. i made these goodies over the weekend for m's birthday party. and yes, it was a hit with all the cookie and non-cookie lovers. i've been limiting my sweets intake and i couldn't help it. i ate at least 1-1/2 cookies in one sitting. i had to stop myself. so if you're up to baking some cookies or changing up that good ol' chocolate chip cookie recipe a bit, add in some of these bourbon-sea salt caramels (or any soft caramels) to that recipe for a brand new cookie!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies via design. bake. run.
how can you not dig in and eat at least one, if not two, or three or four of these deliciously caramel filled cookies in one sitting? they are ooey gooey good, especially right out of the oven and cooled slightly.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies via design. bake. run.
i love how the caramel makes an appearance once they're baked. depending on how you cover up the caramel with the cookie dough, you'll get some like this and some all covered up. you won't see the caramel until you break into it, a really nice surprise.

bourbon-sea salt caramel-filled chocolate chip cookies

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 oz (or 1 bag) chocolate chips, any kind is fine
  • 18-24 pieces of bourbon-sea salt caramel or any soft caramel of your choice

  1. preheat oven to 350°F. line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone sheet.
  2. cream softened butter (or melt butter in microwave safe bowl) and sugar together. then add in the egg. once mixed, add in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour. mix until incorporated, then add in the chocolate chips.
  3. scoop out a tablespoon portion (ball-like) and make an indent in the middle and place (or push in) the soft caramel. then spoon out a little bit more dough and cover the caramel. shape the cookie dough into a ball and place it onto the baking sheet. make sure to spread them out at least 2 to 3 inches apart. these cookies will spread so you may just want to put 9 cookies on a sheet versus say a typical 12.
  4. bake for 10-12 minutes until golden but still soft in the center (baking time varies depending on how chewy or crunchy you like your cookies). let the cookies cool down a little bit on the cookie sheet before transfering them onto a cooling rack. after a few minutes, they're ready to eat! best eaten warm when the caramel is still gooey. yum. enjoy. :)

makes 18-24 large cookies. enjoy! :)

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