Easy Valentines Day Blondies

blondies

Hey Friends! It’s been a while. I wanted to share a super easy recipe that can be customized for any holiday or celebration. I am excited to share my easy Valentines Day Blondies with you today 😀

This recipe calls for pantry and fridge staples, which is why I love it. This is an easy go too recipe for all occasions. The blondies are basically a large

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

chocolate cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream

 
Nothing screams celebration quite like cupcakes! I love making cupcakes for parties, as they are easy to serve and everyone gets the perfect portion (or two). These chocolate cupcakes are rich and decadent and are topped with a smooth swiss meringue buttercream.  chocolate cupcakes amandas plate Generally, I stick with an American buttercream for its ease. However, I wanted to try something different and a few months ago, I began making swiss meringue buttercream on a regular basis. It is absolutely delicious, smooth and worth the extra effort! It does require egg whites, but they are heated and are safe to eat.  swiss meringue chocolate cupcakes We will be enjoying these cupcakes, as we celebrate the new year, so I used gold cupcake liners, gold sprinkles and I topped them with a gold star! 
5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 cupcakes
 
Ingredients
Cupcakes
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners
  3. In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together vegetable oil and sugars, until light in color.
  4. Add in the vanilla extract and eggs and continue mixing.
  5. Sift in the cocoa powder, all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to your bowl.
  6. Pour in the milk and mix until combined. *Do not overmix*
  7. Pour batter into cupcake cups and bake for about 18 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool completely.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Whisk the egg mixture constantly by hand until mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat and attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
  4. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until glossy and smooth about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla.
  6. Switch to the paddle attachment, and continue beating on low speed until all air bubbles are eliminated, about 2 minutes.
  7. Scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula and continue beating until the frosting is completely smooth.

 Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart! 

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I share this recipe today, as I plan to gather with my loved ones this evening to reign in the new year. As I reflect on the past year, I want to thank all of my lovely friends and family for their continued support of Amanda’s Plate. Without you all, there would be no reason to blog. I do this for you all <3 I wish you all the best in 2017!

Happy New Year ♥

Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate or #CreateAmandasPlate 😀

chocolate cupcakes with swiss meringue cupcakes

 

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Cinnamon Cardamom Snikerdoodles

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As I get into a new routine with my job, I am getting on more of a schedule for blogging. I hope to share my take on favorite holiday cookies! 

When I was growing up, my aunt and uncle lived just a few homes down from us. We spent winter break baking holiday cookies to share with our cousins on Christmas Eve. One of the cookies we made were snickerdoodles! As a child, the name made me smile 😀 I created my Cinnamon Cardamom Snickerdoodles last winter, when I was experimenting with cardamom pods. 

snickerdoodle cookies, recipe amandas plate, snickerdoodle recipe

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Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

chocolate walnut chunk cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a classic treat, that everyone I know loves and enjoys. They were invented in 1938, by Ruth Graves Wakefield, who owned the Toll House Inn at the time. There are so many ways to put your own spin on them! My salted brown butter chocolate chip cookies , pumpkin spice chocolate chip cookies and  chocolate chip cookies (that have the addition of milk powder I learned this from Chef Christina Tosi) are a few of my favorites!

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Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving sides

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I have been receiving many requests for easy side dish ideas. Here I have complied 4 sides that will make the perfect addition to any menu! In this post, I will share the recipes for four Thanksgiving side dishes that can each be made in less than 25 minutes! I begin by sharing my favorite homemade cranberry sauce, the ultimate silky smooth mashed potatoes, garlic-parmesan green beans and roasted delicata squash! 

 

Cranberry Sauce

I start with the ever classic, cranberry sauce. If you plan to serve cranberry sauce, please do not use that stuff out of a metal jar. Its SO easy to make fresh and you won’t have that weird tin taste. 

I infused my cranberry sauce with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and topped it with mint for freshness! 

cranberry sauce

Here is my recipe:

4.3 from 3 reviews
Cranberry Sauce
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 ounce) bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 nutmeg pod
  • ½ tablespoon fresh chopped mint
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combined cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 8-10 minutes, until mixture thickens.
  3. Remove cinnamon stick and nutmeg pod.
  4. Allow to cool completely and top with fresh mint.
  5. Enjoy!


Mashed Potatoes 

One of my favorite side dishes are mashed potatoes. I love mashed potatoes that are rich, creamy and smooth! I first learned about mascarpone while watching Giada DeLarentes on Food Network. She added them to her potatoes and I had to re-create them immediately. There are a few important steps to take with mashed potatoes.

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4.3 from 3 reviews
Mashed Potatoes
Author: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for topping
Instructions
  1. Boil potatoes until soft and tender
  2. Drain water off potatoes.
  3. Add in the butter, mascarpone, heavy cream. Using an electric mixer, mix the potatoes until smooth.
  4. Taste for salt and add additional to your liking
  5. Top with chopped chives, freshly ground black pepper and remaining butter
  6. Enjoy!

  1. Potatoes must be cooked properly. Inserting a knife into the center of the potato, it should come out easily and clean. 
  2. Be sure butter, mascarpone and cream are at room temperature. 
  3. Use a mixer to mash the potatoes, this ensures they are smooth and even throughout. 

thanksgiving side dishes

I mean look at this *drools over keyboard*


Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

With the oven being occupied with the turkey, a casserole and maybe some roasted sweet potatoes, I like to make veggie sides that can be made on the stove top. These are super easy, yet delicious green beans, that can replace a heavier side and provide a crisp, bright, side dish to the table. 

The key to making the perfect textured green beans, is blanching. This means placing the green beans in boiling water, then immediately immersing them in ice water to stop the cooking process. 

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4.3 from 3 reviews
Garlic Parmesan Green Beans
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • ½ teaspoon malton flake salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
Instructions
  1. Bring 5 quarts salted water to a rolling boil
  2. Prepare a bowl of ice water along side the pot
  3. Place the green beans into the water and boil for 3 minutes
  4. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and place immediately in the ice water
  5. Heat olive oil in skillet and sauté garlic
  6. Add the green beans to the skillet and heat for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat
  7. Top with parmesan
  8. Enjoy 🙂


Roasted Delicata Squash 

Delicata squash is great for many reasons. One being is you can eat the skin, making preparation very easy. For this dish, I sliced the ends off the squash, spooned out the seeds and roasted the squash. 

4.3 from 3 reviews
Roasted Delicata Squash
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large delicata squash (2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils
  • ¼ cup goat cheese
  • micro-greens for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut ends off squash and spoon out the insides.
  3. Slice squash into ¼ inch rings.
  4. Place on lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Roast until tender and golden, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and top with pomegranate, goat cheese and micro greens
  7. Enjoy 🙂

delicata squash

 

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Make any of these recipes? Put your own twist on them? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate #CreateAmandasPlate 

I am so thankful for all of you who continue to read and support Amanda’s Plate! I appreciate that you trust in my recipes and make them in your homes for your loved ones! THANK YOU <3

 

 

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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue Topping

pumpkin cheesecake, amandas plate pumpkin cheesecake

Cheesecakes are my absolute favorite desserts! They were the first recipe I learned to make on my own. I was in fourth grade and was looking for a book to purchase at the book fair. I selected a cookbook and I couldn’t wait to get home and start baking!

I made my cheesecake first at age 11 and ever since then, I have been tweaking and perfecting the recipe. I created this pumpkin cheesecake after multiple requests from Hussein! 😀

pumpkin cheesecake with marshmallow meringue topping

Tips For Cheesecake Baking: 

  1. Start with room temperature ingredients, this includes the cream cheese! It will be easier to mix your batter into a smooth, silky texture.
  2. Whip your batter far on low speed. You want the batter to be super smooth, but you do not want to introduce a ton of air in. The air will create pockets that will crack when cooling. 
  3. Pre-bake your crust! This helps ensure it is the proper texture and maintains its shape.
  4. Bake in a water bath. This means placing your cheesecake pan in a large pan and surrounding the cheesecake with water. *be sure to wrap your spring form pan in foil to prevent the water from ruining your crust.
  5. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven, with the oven door cracked. Do this for about 20 minutes for a slow cooling process to prevent cracking.

The cheesecake can be made a day ahead of time. Make the marshmallow meringue the same day you will be serving it!

marshmallow meringue pumpkin cheesecake

I mean, look at that topping!!!! 

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Marshmallow Meringue Topping
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
Pumpkin Filling
  • 3 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
  • 1¼ cups white sugar
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
  • 3 whole eggs
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of salt
Ginger Snap Crust
  • 2 cups finely ground ginger snap cookies
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
Meringue Topping
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wrap 9 inch spring form pan with heavy aluminum foil. Be sure that the entire pan is covered in the foil and that there are no openings to the pan.
  3. Combine ginger snap crumbs, flour, brown sugar and melted butter.
  4. Using back of measuring cup, press crumbs onto sides of your pan.
  5. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Cheesecake Batter
  1. Mix cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla and spice on low speed until smooth.
  2. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix in flour.
  3. Pour batter into crust.
  4. Place spring form pan onto a large cookie sheet and surround with 3 cups of water.
  5. Bake for 55 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles when you shake it.
  6. Allow to cool in the oven, with the door open for 15 minutes.
Make your Meringue
  1. In your stand mixer, mix the egg whites until fluffy.
  2. Add cream of tartar. Continue whisking and increase speed.
  3. Add in vanilla extract.
  4. Add sugar and continue to whisk mixture until shiny, stiff peaks form.
Assemble
  1. Be sure to cool cheesecake completely.
  2. Pipe or scoop meringue onto the top of cheesecake.
  3. Torch the marshmallow meringue
  4. Enjoy 🙂

pumpkin cheesecake

Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate or #CreateAmandasPlate

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Mini Pecan Tarts

mini pecan tarts

I absolutely love pecan pie. However, it is not a pie I grew up eating. Our family enjoyed pumpkin, sweet potato and apple pie during our Thanksgiving gatherings. It was not until I saw an episode of the Pioneer Woman where we baked a pecan pie, that I decided to try it and immediately loved it. 

pecan tarts

I created my mini pecan tarts as a spin off of the classic pecan pie. I really love individual desserts, as they make serving so easy! 

For the crust, I used a short pastry that I have been using in my lemon bars for years. I love this crust because it is a few simple ingredients, is fool-proof and it is absolutely delicious. 

mini pecan pies

I will be making these for my family this Thanksgiving. I love that they can be made ahead and will keep for two days at room temperature stored in an air tight container 😀

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mini Pecan Tarts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • pinch of salt
Filling
  • 2 whole eggs
  • ⅔ cup Light Corn Syrup
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine butter, 2 cups AP flour, brown sugar and pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture begins to come together. Add in the ice water and pulse a few more time, until the dough comes together.
  3. Divide the dough evenly into each tartlet pan. Press the dough up the sides. Prick the dough with a fork.
  4. Place the tartlet pans on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  5. While the dough is blind baking, make the filling.
  6. Whisk egg, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
  7. Remove the crusts from the oven. Place1 tablespoon pecans in each tartlet.
  8. Pour the filling over the pecans. Return tartlets back to the oven for 12-15 minutes, until they are just set.
  9. Remove from oven and enjoy!

amandas plate mini pecan pies

 

Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Tag me @AmandasPlate or #CreateAmandasPlate

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Candy Corn Cupcakes

candy corn cupcakes

One of my favorite Halloween candies are candy corn! I know many people dislike them, but when they come around I can’t resist their super sweet marshmallow like flavor! And they are perfect color trilogy of colors in my Candy Corn Cupcakes!

 

candy corn cupcakes

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

peanut butter oatmeal cookies

If you have worked with me, you know I love to bring treats in to work, especially for meetings. It’s a great way to make meetings more enjoyable for all 😀 And I get feedback on the recipes, as I work to develop them 😀 It’s a win-win for all <3

In preparation for a few meetings this week, I wanted to create a new cookie. After seeing some peanut butter M&Ms I decided to try

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Roasted Delicata Squash & Couscous Salad

delicata-squash

One of my favorite things about fall is the cool air that allows for slow roasting in my kitchen! A few weekends ago, my family and I spent the day at the Birmingham farmer’s market. We picked up a ton of beautiful squash and I set out to making some new dishes! 

One of favorite ways to prepare squash is by roasting them. The roasting intensifies the sweetness of the squash making it the perfect addition to any meal.  

delicata squash and couscous salad

I’m also really excited because I will be working on more video recipes for you all! Please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions or ideas! Eventually, I hope to do full recipes with me talking you thru step by step 😀 If you have not already, please subscribe to my YouTube Channel @AmandasPlate

Here is the recipe: 

Roasted Delicata Squash & Couscous Salad
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
Squash
  • 2 medium sized delecata squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Pecans
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sage Leaves
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Dijon Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons whole seed dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper
  • ½ cup pomegranate ariels
  • ¼ cup goat cheese
  • micro greens, for garnish
Instructions
Squash
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cut delicata squash length wise and remove seeds.
  3. Slice into ½ inch pieces and arrange on parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender.
Pecans
  1. Melt butter in a skillet. Allow butter to melt and stir in the pecans, brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture thickens. Spread on parchment paper and allow to cool.
Couscous
  1. Bring broth to a boil. Add in 1 cup dry pearl couscous. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
Sage
  1. Melt butter in a skillet. Add the sage in and cook until crisp. Remove from heat and drain from butter.
Dressing
  1. In a mason jar, combine dijon mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake until evenly combined.
Assemble
  1. Place couscous on bottom of serving plate. Top with roasted squash, candied pecans, fried sage, pomegranate, goat cheese and microgreens. Drizzle dressing over the top.
  2. Enjoy!

 

delicata-squash

 

Make this recipe? I’d love to see! Take me @AmandasPlate or using #CreateAmandasPlate

 

Happy cooking,

 

Amanda

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