Ginger and Lemon Cupcakes

 These birthday cupcakes were created by an 8-year-old head dessert chef, with me as sous chef. Get cupcake recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I celebrate Twice as Tasty’s birthday every June with special treats and reflections on the past 12 months. But October is a big personal birthday month in my family. My niece Hayley celebrated her 8th birthday last week, and she and her dad made vanilla cupcakes with pink frosting and sprinkles for the occasion. For my birthday this week, Hayley was head dessert chef and I was sous chef, creating a new cupcake recipe inspired by one in American Girl Cupcakes.

If you peruse the Twice as Tasty recipe index, it’s clear that I love ginger desserts. You’ll find recipes for gingerbread pancakes, quick bread, and cookies. I also bake triple-ginger cookies and cake and use ginger in many other sweet and savory recipes. So when Hayley stopped browsing recipes on a page for gingerbread cupcakes, we knew we’d found this year’s Auntie Julie birthday dessert.

Our recipe brings in more ginger and spices, swaps some of the butter out for homemade applesauce, and makes other improvements. Hayley then helped me write the instructions and provided tips and tricks. The results are delicious.
Learn to make Very Ginger Cupcakes and Lemon and Sugar Glaze

Cooking Fall Meals

Learn more about my latest work on and off the blog at TwiceasTasty.com.
Several of my projects for The Spruce Eats have gone live in recent days. Even though I tested and researched these pieces earlier this year, the timing of their release works quite well: just in time for cooking up autumn’s last bites.

Of the two cookware sets that I reviewed, one has moved permanently into my kitchen and become our daily-use pots and pans. For the roundup, I dug deeper into the original author’s top picks, answered several common questions about slow cookers and pressure cookers, and interviewed Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, co-author of Best of Bridge: The Family Slow Cooker, for tips on choosing a slow cooker—and what to put in it.
Read more about cooking fall meals

Last Bites

A portion of my end-of-season harvest lands in my favorite fresh meals. Get the recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
It’s that time: Time to savor the last fresh bites from the garden. With the first new moon of October, I begin closely watching the forecasted nighttime temperatures. One clear night is all it takes to zap the remaining outdoor vegetables and threaten even the greenhouse goodies. Even though local weather stations recorded 79°F on Tuesday, I could be frantically harvesting before a potential freeze tomorrow night.

Fall’s weather swings are always unexpected, and every year I try—and fail—to time each plant’s final harvest just right. Instead of bemoaning the last round of beans that froze on the vine, I look instead to the boxes of produce all over my little cabin, ripening and waiting to be eaten and preserved.
Read more about enjoying the garden’s last bites

Preserving Onions

Preserving onions. Get the recipes in The Complete Guide to Pickling by Julie Laing.
Until I wrote the The Complete Guide to Pickling, I rarely pickled onions on their own. I dropped slices into other pickle jars, from refrigerator zucchini to canned bread-and-butter cucumbers to fermented kimchi. They weren’t just garnish and always ended up on sandwiches or in breakfast potatoes. But I rarely devoted pantry or fridge space to jars of pickled onions.

Once I started creating just such onion-focused recipes for the cookbook, I couldn’t stop. There were so many fun variations, flavors, and uses. Now I’m simply making the book’s recipes for my own enjoyment, and if you open my fridge today—you’ll find plenty of onion pickles.
Read more about preserving onions and learn to make Apple-Sweetened Yellow Onions