Hearty Harvest Autumn Bread

The perfect blend of banana bread, zucchini bread, and carrot cake; a simple taste of fall in a slice of bread!

It’s finally beginning to feel like fall! The weather is getting colder, days are getting shorter, the holiday season is here! Have you ever thought about combining your favorite fall flavors? My Hearty Harvest Autumn Bread is the perfect blend of banana bread, zucchini bread, and carrot cake. The loaf is super airy, moist, and delicious. The flavors all compliment each other very well, and the cinnamon pulls all the flavors together perfectly! This bread will be a crowd favorite!

Shout out to my non-pumpkin lovers because this recipe is perfect for you. My family is a big apple and banana-loving family, so our normal go to’s are my Dad’s Apple Pecan Crumb Bread or my Brunching Banana Muffins. I wanted to try something different this fall, but it’s so hard to find recipes without apples or pumpkins! This bread was the perfect idea from Shelly at Cookies and Cups!

This bread is so simple to make, anyone can do it! The recipe will make 2 loaves, or you can make one loaf and 6 muffins. I personally like to make the one loaf and 6 muffins so I could share the muffins with my neighbors and share the loaf with my family. However, you can choose which combination works best for you. I wouldn’t suggest combining everything into one loaf, though, because the batter will rise over and out of the pan.

Begin by preparing your 9×5 loaf pan(s) and/or cupcake tins. Grease the loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang over the sides for easy removal, and line the cupcake tins with cupcake liners. To begin, I like to mash my banana and shred my zucchini and carrot to set aside. Then, in a large bowl combine the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder until just combined. Next, fold in the flour, mashed banana, shredded zucchini and carrot, and chopped pecans until just combined. Make sure to not over mix the batter or the loaf will be tough and dry. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan(s) and/or cupcake liners. Bake the cupcakes for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Bake the loaf for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Keep an eye on the loaf during baking and cover with foil if the top becomes too dark to preserve the beautiful golden brown top.

This loaf can be served warm or at room temperature, for breakfast, or for dessert! Store in an air-tight, sealed container and enjoy! I would love to see your Hearty Harvest Autumn Bread creation! Tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane with your pictures!

Hearty Harvest Autumn Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves or 1 loaf and 6 muffins
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup banana, mashed (about 1 medium size banana)
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded (about 1 medium size zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded (about 1 medium size carrot)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2-9×5 loaf pans and line with parchment paper leaving excess hanging over the edge (or grease and line 1 loaf pan and line 6 muffin tins).
  2. Mash the banana and shred the zucchini and carrot. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder until combined.
  4. Fold in the flour, banana, zucchini, carrot, and chopped pecans until just combined, being careful not to over mix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake loaves for 45-60 minutes (if the top begins to brown too much, finish baking with a piece of foil covering the bread), and bake the muffins for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let cool on a wire rack.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

One Pot Chocolate Gooey Brownies

Fudgy yet cakey, rich chocolate brownies. Perfect for every type of brownie lover.

Over the years, I have started to perfect my brownie recipe. I have to admit, I used box brownie mix for a while because I thought that the box mix was comparable to homemade. Oh how very wrong I was. I liked the box mix because it was easy and fast, but I finally made a simple homemade brownie recipe that made me not want to use the box ever again.

This is a one-pot recipe that you do not want to miss. This brownie is neither 100% fudgy nor 100% cakey. It is a perfect mix of both and will satisfy all preferences, perfect for the holidays! I just recently perfected my recipe, and it was by accident. I was making brownies for my friends and me to snack on while we were catching up, but I did not have enough chocolate chips to stir into the batter like I used to do. So, I chopped up 4 oz. of milk chocolate and folded that into the batter. Something about it made these brownies to. die. for. The chopped chocolate bar is better than plain old chocolate chips because when you chop chocolate the chunks are all going to be different sizes. The small pieces melt throughout the brownie adding more richness while the larger chunks are large pockets of gooey chocolate. This chocolate adds a little bit of a fudgy texture to the cakey brownies. This is why it is so perfect.

It doesn’t matter what type of chocolate bar you decide to chop up. I just use whatever is around the house. I prefer to use milk chocolate because it adds a little more sweetness, and I have a huge sweet tooth. I also like to spice things up with flavored chocolate like milk chocolate hazelnut bars, caramel milk chocolate, and dark chocolate almond.

Overall, this brownie recipe is super easy and basic, but the chopped chocolate brought this recipe to a whole new level. You only use one pot and mix everything together. It takes less than 20 minutes to make the batter and you bake it for another 20. I can’t wait for you all to try it!

I would love to see your brownies! Tag me in your pictures @beyondbakingwithamandajane on Instagram and use the hashtag #beyondbakingwithamandajane!

One Pot Chocolate Gooey Brownies

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 ounces chocolate bar of choice
  • Chocolate chips to top

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, grease an 8 x 8 in. pan. Place your 4 ounces of chocolate in the freezer.
  2. In a medium-large size sauce pan, melt butter until just melted (if butter is hot, let it cool before adding ingredients).
  3. Mix in sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix until just combined.
  5. Remove the chocolate bars from the freezer and chop into small chunks. Fold into the batter.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips, If desired. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Ruby Red, Red Velvet Cupcakes

Vibrant red, moist, and delicious cupcakes, just like the famous Magnolia Bakery’s in NYC.

July 4th was just last week, and what better way to celebrate than with red white and blue cupcakes? Every year, I make my famous Ruby Red, Red Velvet Cupcakes! They’re perfectly festive, and they’re also a huge hit with the crowd for any occasion.

I’ve been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. It’s a copycat recipe for the delicious Magnolia Bakery red velvet cupcakes. My mom clipped the recipe from a newspaper a while back, and there’s no better recipe. These cupcakes are so perfect. They’re light and fluffy, yet so moist. And even better, they’re so simple to make!

The most important part of this recipe is to not over mix otherwise the cupcakes will be too dry. To help with this, it’s important to make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature. I would also suggest using real buttermilk as opposed to making your own with vinegar or lemon juice and milk.

For this recipe, you will need several bowls: a bowl of a stand mixer, two small bowls, one medium bowl, and a liquid measuring cup.

Begin by sifting the cake flour in a medium-size bowl and set it aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter until smooth then gradually add the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the liquid food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. This will appear to not come together at first, but keep whisking, it will come together. In a liquid measuring cup, mix the buttermilk and salt together.

Beginning with the buttermilk, add in three parts, alternating with the flour. Be sure not to over mix. Lastly, in a small bowl, stir together vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well.

Fill lined cupcake tins for 3/4 of the way full and bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Make sure you don’t over bake these cupcakes or they will be dry. Keep a close eye on them while they bake as every oven bakes differently.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, you can frost these cupcakes with anything you like ermine frosting, cream cheese frosting, or American buttercream. I personally top my cupcakes with American buttercream because my family and I are not big fans of cream cheese frosting, but you can cater these cupcakes to what your friends and family like! I like to decorate my cupcakes with blueberries so there can be red, white, and blue which makes it more festive!

I would love to see how you decorate your Ruby Red, Red Velvet Cupcakes! Share your creations on Instagram and tag me @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Ruby Red, Red Velvet Cupcakes

  • Servings: 36 Cupcakes
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 Tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and line 36 cupcake tins.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift cake flour. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. In a liquid measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add this to the batter in three parts, alternating with the cake flour. Do not overbeat.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Stir into the batter until combined.
  8. Fill cupcake tins 3/4 full and bake for 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Let cool completely on wire racks. Frost with the frosting of your choice.

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cupcakes

Flavorful, rich, and creamy Oreo crumb buttercream frosting with a decadent and moist chocolate cake.

I am so excited to be sharing this recipe with you! I am officially back from college and can’t wait to share some of my delicious recipes with you all this summer! I’m kicking the summer off with Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cupcakes because who doesn’t love Oreos?! It is a crowd favorite, so it is perfect to bring to a summer BBQ.

I started making these cupcakes because my house always seems to have a half-eaten box of Oreos that get stale and then nobody wants to eat it. So, I had to find a way to repurpose these cookies to make them more enjoyable. Cookies and cream is one of my favorite flavors paired with chocolate. For these cupcakes, I use my chocolate cupcake recipe from my Peanut Butter Lover’s Chocolate Cupcake recipe; feel free to view that post for tips and tricks on how to perfect these cupcakes!

Bake the chocolate cupcakes first and set aside to cool completely. When the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. For the cookies and cream frosting, I suggest you use single stuffed Oreos to reduce the sweetness of the frosting from the Oreo cream. I generally use Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s which are Trader’s Joe’s versions of Oreos, but any brand of Oreos will work perfectly.

Make this frosting like any other traditional American buttercream. Using a food processor, process the Oreos until very fine crumbs. I find that the fine Oreo crumbs produce a better product because the frosting will easily come out of the piping tip. If the Oreo crumbs are too large, then you will have problems with the Oreo crumbs clogging the piping tip. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Slowly add the powder sugar and vanilla extract. Then, add heavy cream. At this point, the frosting may seem a little thinner than what you would expect. Add the Oreo crumbs. This will thicken the frosting to the perfect consistency for piping. If you still think the frosting is too thin, then add more powdered sugar. On the other hand, if you think that the frosting is too thick, add more cream. The frosting should form soft peaks. Transfer the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a Wilton 4B tip, or something similar.

These cupcakes are a huge hit, and I hope you give them a try soon! I would love to see pictures of your cupcake creations! Tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 Cupcakes
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the Cake:
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup very hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup very hot milk
  • For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powder sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Oreo crumbs (about 20 Oreos)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions

    For the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line 24 large cupcake tins with a paper liner.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, 1 cup milk, oil, and vanilla.
  4. Make a small well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently mix until just combined. Don’t over mix.
  5. Mix together the hot coffee and hot milk. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the batter and stir until it is well combined. The batter will be very thin.
  6. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes, then fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. Clean any excess batter around the pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool to room temperature, then put the cupcakes in the refrigerator while making the frosting.
  7. For the Frosting:
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the powder sugar, then the milk and vanilla.
  9. Add in Oreo crumbs and whip on medium speed for 1 minute.
  10. Add more milk or powder sugar, if needed, to obtain soft peaks.
  11. Put the frosting in a large piping bag fitted with your desired tip, and decorate!

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

Homemade Original Chex Mix

Better than the pre-packaged! Flavorful and perfectly spiced homemade Chex Mix with a wonderful and buttery crunch.

When I was younger, my family and I would go on yearly road trips from New Jersey to places like the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and this homemade Chex Mix would make the car rides a little more bearable – except that one year when, two hours into the ten hour car ride, I spilled the whole container while my sibling and I were passing it back and forth. After that unfortunate experiance, my mom packed a few big containers of it in the car so my siblings and I could all munch on our own.

On top of being the perfect road trip snack, it is also the best study snack. I have about four more weeks of my semester until summer. I depend on this homemade Chex Mix to keep me awake and energized to study. Yes, the pre-made, pre-packaged Chex Mix is delicious, but the homemade Chex Mix is on a whole different level. Whenever I make this Chex Mix, it is gone within a few days! Although, I am the one who eats most of it anyway.

My favorite thing about this homemade Chex Mix is the light and buttery crunch that the Chex and add-ins have after baking. It is also amazing because it is so customizable, and you can add or remove anything that you like or don’t like. I prefer to eliminate the Wheat Chex because they’re too hard to chew and eat, so in my Chex Mix, I like to put Corn Chex, Rice Chex, pretzel sticks, Goldfish crackers, and peanuts, and I season it with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and Worcestershire sauce.

The options for add-ins are endless. You can add anything! You can add bagel chips, cheez-itz, different types of seeds or nuts, any cereals like cheerios, potato chips, or anything else that is bite-sized. You can even change up the proportions of the different kinds of Chex, just make sure it totals to 9 cups. I like to do half Corn Chex and half Rice Chex. For the add-ins, I like to add 1 cup of everything (but 1-1/2 cups for mini pretzels or pretzel sticks) to get the perfect proportion of add-ins to Chex.

Begin by placing the butter in a large roasting pan (16×12) and placing it in the oven as it is preheating. While the butter is melting, place all the Chex and add-ins in a large bowl and mix well. In order to prevent the Chex from breaking up, take two large wooden spoons and toss all the ingredients together gently.

Once the butter is melted, add the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and Worcestershire sauce to the melted butter and mix well. Then, pour the Chex and add-ins into the large pan, be careful the pan will be really hot. Taking the two wooden spoons fold and gently toss the Chex so the butter and spice mixture is evenly distributed. Bake for a total of 60 minutes, but every 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and fold and gently toss the mixture. After 60 minutes, line your counter with paper towels and pour the mixture on top of the paper towels. This will prevent the Chex Mix from getting soggy. This is a critical step to achieve that perfect airy crunch that makes homemade Chex Mix so much better than the pre-made stuff. Once cooled, place in an airtight container, and enjoy!

I would love to see your homemade Chex Mix! What did you add into your Chex Mix? Tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane.

Homemade Original Chex Mix

  • Servings: ~12 cups
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups Rice Chex
  • 4 1/2 cups Corn Chex
  • 1 cup Goldfish crackers
  • 1 1/2 cups pretzel sticks (or mini pretzels)
  • 1 cup unsalted peanuts
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place butter in a large roasing pan (16×12) until melted.
  2. While the butter is melting, mix the Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Goldfish, pretzels, and unsalted peanuts together.
  3. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the oven and add Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix well.
  4. Pour the Chex mixture into the large pan with the butter and spices. Gently mix until the butter and seasoning are well distributed.
  5. Bake for a total of 60 minutes, but every 15 minutes, take the pan out and gently stir everything then put the pan back in the oven.
  6. After 60 minutes, pour the Chex Mix onto the counter lined with paper towels until cooled. Place in an air tight container.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

Quick and Easy Irish Soda Bread

Soft, hearty, and moist Irish Soda Bread with the perfect sweet and crunchy crust.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This year St. Patrick’s Day is going to be a little different with the pandemic, but that can’t stop me from eating my special Irish Soda Bread! I do have to admit that Irish Soda Bread is a year-round bread for me though, I just love it so much! I can literally eat a whole loaf on my own in a single sitting!

Growing up, my mom used to get Irish Soda Bread from a bunch of different places near our house around St. Patty’s. I’ve always been super picky with my Irish Soda Breads. No store bought or any bakery had the Irish Soda Bread that I really really loved. If I had to choose, my favorite was from Shoprite, but it had to be freshly made or the crust wouldn’t have that characteristic crunch to it. Some loaves were too dry, some used caraway seeds, and some were flavorless. And more importantly, they all had raisins, and I am not a huge fan of them. I would sit down at the counter, unwittingly preparing myself to eat the whole loaf, but I would spend more time picking out every single raisin than actually eating the bread (which is a good and bad thing)! I knew I could make a better loaf, plus, I could choose if I wanted to add raisins or not!

Irish soda bread is traditionally made with four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and sour milk (what we know as buttermilk). Traditional yeast was not always available, so when baking soda was introduced in Ireland, they used this to make their bread. The combination of baking soda and buttermilk creates little air bubbles in the oven which will enable the bread to rise. It is important to have the buttermilk in this recipe as its acidic properties will enable the baking soda to do its job as a leavener.

After years of trying to create the perfect recipe, I have finally got it down, and it finally satisfies all the criteria I have for the perfect Irish Soda Bread. It is flavorful, moist, hearty, and has an amazing sweet crunch to the crust. It is also a huge hit with my family especially as an appetizer at our family gathering (before COVID-19, of course). This recipe is super easy to make too! There’s nothing not to love about it! The most important thing to remember while making the bread is to not over mix. If you over mix by even just a little, the bread will be dry and tough.

Begin by mixing all of the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry blender or two sharp knives, cut in a stick of cold butter into the dry ingredients until very small pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout. This will make the bread have a flakier crust and texture. Next, add in the raisins, if desired, and for my chocolate lovers, you can add chocolate chips instead! Mix until well combined. Then, whisk the buttermilk and eggs together in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms and everything is just combined. Do not over mix! Divide the dough in two, and place each half into two-8-inch greased cake pans. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/4-inch deep cross across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with a little granulated sugar for a sweet crunchy crust. Bake until golden for 60 minutes.

This bread also freezes very well. Once completely cooled, cut the bread into desired size. Wrap well with aluminum foil, and place in a large zip lock bag to freeze. Now, whenever you want a warm and delicious slice of Irish Soda Bread, you can always toast one up! I love to bring back a loaf (of two) from home to freeze when I am at college because warm Irish Soda Bread is the best late-night studying snack there is. I would make a loaf with raisins to leave at home for my family to enjoy, and I would bring the plain loaf back to school with me. It’s the best of both worlds!

I would love to see you make my favorite and delicious Irish Soda Bread! Tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane! I can’t wait to see your creations!

Quick and Easy Irish Soda Bread

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2-8in cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cut in cold butter until small pieces with a pastry blender, or two sharp knives.
  4. Add raisins or chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Add to the dry ingredients, and mix with wooden spoon until just combined.
  6. Divide the dough in two. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/4-inch cross across the top of the dough balls. Sprinkle sugar on top.
  7. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

Grandma’s Specialty Chinese Steamed Dumplings (Fun Gor 粉果)

Better than any dumpling from a restaurant, Savory Chinese Steamed Dumplings. The taste of home.

Happy Chinese New Year! Happy Lunar New Year! I am so happy to share my grandma’s Fun Gor recipe to celebrate the new year! My grandma has been making these dumplings for decades. It is made with a thick wheat starch skin that becomes translucent after steaming, and it has a pork-based filling. These dumplings are made in large batches, perfect for a quick couple of meals.

The beauty of these dumplings is that once you get the shell down, the filling is up to you! For example, as a want-to-be vegan, I like to fill my dumplings with glass noodles, mushrooms, and vegetables, and I use the same seasonings when it comes time to stir fry everything together. Today, I am going to share my grandma’s traditional recipe with no alterations, but I look forward to sharing alterations in future posts.

Grandma’s dumplings remind me of home. Every time we visit her, she always sends my family home with boxes of dumplings that we steam and eat for the next morning’s breakfast. From a young age, I always wanted to help make them, but most of the time, she would make it before I got to her house. Little did I know, this was her plan all along because I made a huge mess and some ugly dumplings. Luckily, as I have gotten older and took a bigger interest in learning how to make them, my grandma waits and wants me to help her.

To make them, begin with making the filling so it can cool while you make the dough. Dice all of the ingredients for the filling into small pieces and keep all ingredients separate because you will be stir-frying ingredients in a specific order. It is easiest to put each ingredient into a food processor to mince into small pieces, but my grandma says it is better to dice everything up by hand. You can decide how ambitious you want to be.

Once everything is chopped, heat a wok with oil, and stir fry the ingredients. To the hot oil, add in the scallions, shrimps, sausage, ham, ground pork, sugar, add about 1/4 cup of water. Stir around and use the spatula to break down any large pieces of filling. Add salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper to taste. Then, add the mushrooms, water chestnuts, mustard greens, pickled white radish, and kohlrabi. Add oyster sauce to taste and cornstarch. Cover for 5 minutes. Stir fry until everything is well combined and the taste is to your liking. Put into a bowl and set aside to cool.

To make the wrap, you will need a large pot with the cover. Pour the wheat starch and tapioca starch into the pot and mix well. Add oil and slowly start adding the boiling hot water while mixing. Once the flour is mostly absorbed, cover and let sit for 15 minutes, or until cool enough to touch with your hands. (Note: depending on the humidity of your kitchen, you may not need all the water at this stage, you can always add more water to reach the right consistency while kneading) Knead the dough until it all comes together and the dough is very smooth and not very tacky. The dough should not be too dry where it can’t stick to itself, and not too wet where it is sticking to your hands excessively.

Roll 1 Tablespoon balls of dough and press until 1/8-inch thick in a plastic wrap covered tortilla press. If you don’t have a tortilla press, use a rolling pin that is well covered in corn starch. You may also use corn starch on your hands to make working with the dough a bit easier. Crimp the circle of dough into a cup-like shape and fill with a spoonful of filling (see images below). Seal the top of the dumpling. Either place dumplings in containers or metal plates with oil to steam right away. If you are placing these dumplings in a container, they can be stacked on top of each other as long as they don’t get pressed down when you put the cover on.

It definitely has taken a lot of practice to learn how to make these dumplings without my grandma looking over my shoulder. Once you get more comfortable with the texture of the dough, you just have to perfect the crimping. This was especially difficult for me, but, I promise, it will come to you in time. Worse comes to worst, you can just put the filling in the middle of the circle and fold the dumpling in half and press the edges together. No matter the shape, they will still taste delicious!

When you are ready to steam the dumplings, set up a steamer. Once the water starts to boil, place the metal plate of dumplings (arranged as shown below) and steam for 15 minutes. These dumplings are delicious on their own, or you can dip them in soy sauce, oyster sauce, or even sriracha. Enjoy!

It would make my grandma and me so happy if you make her dumplings! We’d love to see your dumplings! Tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the hashtag #beyondbakingwithamandajane.

Grandma's Specialty Chinese Steamed Dumplings (Fun Gor 粉果)

  • Servings: 50 dumplings
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the Filling:
  • 4 Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 70 g cooked ham
  • 32 g pickled white radish
  • 3 Chinese sausages
  • 3 Water chestnuts
  • 1lb Ground pork
  • 60 g Dried shrimp
  • 123 g Kohlrabi, cooked
  • 63 g Scallions
  • 12 g Mustard Greens
  • 1/2 Tablespoon corn starch
  • oil for stir frying
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Soy sauce to taste
  • Sesame oil to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Oyster sauce to taste
  • For the shell:
  • 1 lb Wheat starch
  • about 790 g hot water
  • 87 g Tapioca starch
  • 12 g Oil

Directions

    For the filling:
  1. Dice all ingredients into small pieces. Keep ingredients separate.
  2. Heat up wok and oil to stir fry the filling.
  3. Add scallions, shrimp, sausage, ham, pork, sugar, and 1/4c water. Stir.
  4. Season with salt, soy sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper to taste and mix.
  5. Stir in mushrooms, water chestnuts, mustard greens, pickled white radish, and kohlrabi.
  6. Mix in oyster sauce to taste and corn starch and cover for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir one last time and put in a bowl to cool.
  8. For the shell:
  9. Boil water.
  10. In a large pot, mix the wheat starch and tapioca starch together.
  11. Slowly add water to flour until most of the flour is hydrated, stir continuously (you may not need all of the water). Once the majority of the dry ingredients are absorbed, cover and let sit for 15 minutes, or until cool enough to touch.
  12. Add oil and knead dough until a smooth dough ball forms. You may have to add some more hot water to reach this consistency.
  13. Assembly:
  14. Roll dough into Tablespoon balls and press balls 1/8-inch thick in a taco press, or use a rolling pin sprinkled with corn starch.
  15. Crimp half of the circle to create a cup and fill with a spoonful of filling. Seal the top. (Note: you may need to coat hands in corn starch to prevent sticking)
  16. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or steam for 15 minutes.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

The Best and Richest Chocolate Lava Cake

Decadent gooey, warm, and rich chocolate lava cake, perfect to share on Valentine’s Day.

T-11 days until Valentine’s Day! If you’re struggling to decide what dessert to make, here you go! This is the best lava cake recipe I have ever made, better than any you could get from a restaurant! It is so rich in chocolate with a sweet and gooey center that just melts in your mouth. It is the perfect dessert for any day, especially Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate lava cake was actually accidentally created. The first-ever chocolate lava cake was just a chocolate cake that was taken out of the oven too early which caused the ooey-gooey center we all know and love. As for who made the first-ever lava cake, it’s heavily disputed between Jacques Torres and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. They both claim to be the creator, but it is unclear who truly made it first. Speaking of Jacques Torres, have you checked out my Fabulous Famous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies? They’d go perfectly with these cakes!

This recipe is perfect for a small batch to share with a loved one on Valentine’s Day, and they are incredibly easy to make!

The main source of flavor comes from the chocolate, so it is important to get good quality dark chocolate. I like to use Ghirardelli or Trader Joe’s chocolate. Additionally, you will see that there is minimal flour in this recipe which contributes to the decadent, fudgy, rich cake.

Begin by melting the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. While the butter and chocolate are melting, whisk the whole eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until very pale and thick. The idea is to get as much air as possible in the batter in this step to create a slightly lighter cake. This should take about 4-5 minutes.

Then, fold in the flour and chocolate into the egg mixture until just combined. Divide into 4-7-ounce greased ramekins and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the edges are just set and the center is still very soft. It took 6 minutes and 30 seconds for mine to be perfectly done. Do not over bake the cakes or there will be no fudgy center and you will be left with essentially a brownie. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 minute. Cover with an inverted plate and flip everything over. Let sit for 15 seconds and then unmold. Serve while hot with ice cream, and enjoy!

This dessert is meant to be served hot out of the oven, but they can also be baked and then warmed up in the oven when it is time to eat them. Warm up in the oven upside down, out of the ramekin. Be sure to keep a close eye on the cake to prevent the lava from baking through otherwise, you will not have any lava left! You can also let the batter sit in the refrigerator for several hours (in prepared ramekins), just let the batter come to room temperature fully before baking. Again, keep a close eye on the cakes when baking to make sure you have lava when you bite into it.

I hope you give his recipe a try! I’d love to see your chocolatey lava cake creations! Tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane so I can show you my support!

The Best and Richest Chocolate Lava Cake

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 oz. sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease 4-7 oz, 20 mL ramekins.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate. Whisk occasionally until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until very pale and thick. About 4-5 minutes.
  4. Gently and quickly fold the chocolate mixture and flour into the egg mixture.
  5. Distribute the batter between the 4 ramekins and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still soft. Timing will depend on your oven and ramekin size, check often.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 minute. Cover ramekin with an inverted serving plate and flip everything over. Let stand for 15 seconds, then remove the ramekin. Serve hot. Garnish with powder sugar, berries, and/or hot caramel, if desired.

Tasted tested with love by friends and family.

Sour Cream Coffee Crumb Cake

Rich pound cake filled with a sweet and nutty cinnamon swirl topped with soft crumbs.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. It reminds me of the Drake’s coffee cake that my mom used to buy for after school snack but WAY better. I remember thinking the cake was made with coffee and there was no way I would ever like or try it, but my mom assured me there was absolutely no trace of coffee and it was only called coffee cake because some people like to have it with a cup of coffee. Sure enough, the first time (and second and third and fourth…), I ended up eating like three slices, and my parents had to stop me from eating more! You just can’t not eat it!

I’ve added my own twist to my mom’s recipe by adding a buttery crumb topping. The cake is so rich and moist which goes perfectly with the cinnamon sugar pecan filling. Then, it’s topped off with a beautiful crunch from the yummy crumbs. If you’re not much of a coffee drinker like me, this cake is even better with vanilla ice cream.

This coffee cake is so easy to make, and it is even more delicious. The cake itself is like a pound cake with the sour cream making the cake very moist and velvety. Begin by making the filling in a medium bowl, making sure you use a food processor to chop up the nuts, set aside. Make the crumbs next. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt together. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl and combine with a pastry blender until crumbs form, set aside.

To make the cake, first and foremost, be sure to not over mix, otherwise, the cake will be dry. Begin by creaming the butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined. Again, do not over mix.

To assemble the cake for baking. Put half the batter on the bottom of a prepared 9-inch Bundt pan. This will be about 425 grams of batter, but I’d advise you to weigh out your own batter when assembling for the best results. *Note: If you rather eye-ball half the batter, err on the side of putting less batter on the bottom. I always think I divide the batter in half perfectly, but I have way too much at the bottom in the end.

Once you have the batter at the bottom, traditionally, you would put half the cinnamon pecan mixture in the middle of the cake then the other half on top, but I have found that the cinnamon sugar pecan mixture always falls off the top when you cut into the cake. Therefore, I suggest you put most of the cinnamon pecan mixture inside the cake rather than splitting it between the center and top of the cake so the yummy mixture doesn’t go to waste. And with my change to my mom’s recipe, the buttery crumb topping is a perfectly delicious replacement that won’t fall off.

Then, pour the rest of the batter over the filling, and sprinkle the rest of the filling mixture on top. Place the buttery crumb mixture on top. When doing so, first create large crumbs in your fist and push them about 1/8 an inch in the batter to give more texture. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top, gently pushing them into the batter.

When baked and cooled, dust the top with powder sugar to create a beautiful presentation. Serve warm or at room temperature for dessert or brunch. It is best with vanilla ice cream and whip cream, in my opinion, but it is also great with coffee (so my family says)!

I hope you try out this recipe. I would love to see your Sour Cream Coffee Crumb Cakes, tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Traditional Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the filling
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • For the crumb topping
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • For the cake
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, make the filling. Combine the coarsely chopped nuts, cinnamon, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, make the crumbs. Stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter to make crumbs, and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until just combined. Do not over mix.
  7. Evenly spread half of the batter in the prepared Bundt pan (about 425 grams of batter) and sprinkle 3/4 of the filling. Then, spread the rest of the batter on top. Sprinkle the remaining mixture on top.
  8. Using your hands, press together 5 large crumbs and gently push them into the batter. Then, sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top, gently pushing them down.
  9. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
  10. To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the cake. Serve with vanilla ice cream or coffee and enjoy!

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

Melt-in the mouth and flakey crust with a moist and buttery bread, filled with a rich chocolate hazelnut crunch filling.

Happy New Year’s Eve! To celebrate, I am making a Chocolate Babka! Over the past couple of months on Instagram, I have seen many baking bloggers making babka. The intricate twisting pattern caught my eye, and I wanted to learn how to do it! I did not expect this twist to be so simple! Babkas are an Eastern European Jewish Bread/Cake that is made from a buttery and eggy dough, and is traditionally filled with cinnamon or jam. However, the chocolate lover in me wanted to try the chocolate version.

Little did I know, making babka is a pretty intensive process. I began by making the filling because it is important for the chocolate filling to completely cool before rolling it into the bread dough. If the filling is not completely cooled, the picture perfect babka twist will not turn out and the chocolate will smear all over the bread dough. The filling is made by melting together the butter, sugar, and chocolate in a double boiler. Then, you remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Transfer into a separate bowl to cool. While I was waiting for the chocolate mixture to melt, I toasted hazelnuts in the oven until golden and then I coarsely chopped them. This will add a nice crunch to the final product.

While the chocolate filling is cooling, make the bread dough. This is the typical process for making very buttery, flakey bread, like brioche. Make the sponge with instant yeast, sugar, and milk (at about 110 degrees F) and set aside until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and salt together. Add the eggs and sponge to the stand mixer and mix on slow speed for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be very firm at this point. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time. Between each tablespoon, mix well. It may take some time for the butter to incorporate fully. This long process of incorporating the butter is what creates the flakiness of the bread. Once the butter is all incorporated, continue to knead until the dough is very smooth and can pass the window pane test.

Roll the freshly kneaded dough into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface (make sure the long edge is closest to you). Spread the cooled chocolate fudge filling over top, leaving about a 1 cm boarder. Work quickly because the chocolate sauce will be more difficult to spread once poured out. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on the top. As you would with cinnamon rolls, tightly roll the dough starting from the long edge closest to you making sure you are not stretching the dough any bigger than 12 x 16 inches. If stretched, the bread will not fit into the bread tin. Trim about an inch off each end to create clean ends.

To form the twist, rotate the spiral of dough 90 degrees so that the short end is closest to you. Using a large sharp knife, slice lengthways down through the middle of the dough, cutting it into 2 long pieces. Face each half upwards and gently seal the tops of each half. Begin crossing the right half over the left, then the left over the right, repeating until the ends touch to seal. Again, be careful not to pull and stretch the halves while twisting, or the bread will not fit in the bread pan. Carefully lift the twist into a greased and parchment lined bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. Proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Once proofed, bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then 325 for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the bread to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. I had to cover my babka with foil during the baking process to prevent it from getting too dark on top. The bread will be done when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the babka is baking, make the syrup. Over low heat in a small sized sauce pan, boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Let cool and brush over the babka immediately after it comes out of the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

I’d love to see your beautiful babkas! Take pictures and tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Paul Hollywood's Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Print

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 65g blanched hazelnuts
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 80g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • For the dough:
  • 275g all-purpose flour
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50mL whole milk
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • For the syrup:
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100mL water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and roast hazelnuts for 4-5 minutes on a baking tray until golden and then coarsely chop. Let cool.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the butter, sugar, and chocolate until very smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Pour into a bowl and let cool and thicken.
  3. Make the sponge. Mix the instant yeast, sugar, and warm milk (about 110 degrees F) together and let sit until frothy.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and salt together. Add the eggs and sponge to the stand mixer and mix on slow speed for 2-3 minutes. *Note: the dough will be very firm at this point.
  5. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Continue to knead the dough with the dough hook until smooth and the dough passes the window pane test.
  7. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a 12 x 16 inch rectangle, with the long edge closest to you.
  8. Spread the cooled chocolate mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 cm border all around. Sprinkle all the toasted hazelnuts over the top.
  9. Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll up the dough into a tight spiral, with the seam underneath. Be sure to not stretch the dough too much.
  10. Trim an inch off each end to neaten, and turn the roll 90 degrees so the short end is closest to you. Using a large knife, slice lengthways down the middle of the dough cutting it into 2 long pieces.
  11. Flip each half upwards and gently seal the tops of each half. Begin crossing the right half over the left, then the left over the right, repeating until the ends touch to seal (be careful not to pull and stretch the halves while twisting, or the bread will not fit in the bread pan)
  12. Carefully lift the twist into a greased and parchment lined bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. Proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  13. Once proofed, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes.
  14. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cover with foil if the bread gets too brown.
  15. While the bread is baking, make the syrup. In a small sized sauce pan, boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  16. Brush over the babka immediately after it comes out of the oven.

Tate tested by friends and family with love.