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All Natural Cupcake

Who doesn't like a cupcake? With summer family reunions, BBQs, and birthday parties—why not make a homemade dozen rather than buying store bought version, sans the preservatives. Here's my crowd pleasing recipe for traditional vanilla cupcakes and a choice of vanilla or chocolate icings. I've been told my cupcakes go toe to toe with Magnolia Bakery.


Vanilla Cupcakes 

Recipe by George Hirsch | Makes about 2 dozen 

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter on medium speed until smooth. Scrape bowl, add the sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

Add the eggs in three stages one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three stages, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over mix. Scrape down the bowl after each addition to make sure the ingredients are well blended. 

Fill cupcake liners approximately three-quarters full. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in the muffin pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing. 

Ice the cupcakes with either Vanilla Icing or Chocolate Icing

image: David Smith 


Honey Glazed Acorn Squash as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

This is one of my long time favorite dishes! Seasonal, simple and a wow for your guests. I've prepared acorn squash several ways throughout the years on my TV shows, both indoors and outdoors. However, squash is just perfect for the grill. Tune-in to George Hirsch Lifestyle on your local PBS, public television and CreateTV episode titled --Good Eating when I take the acorn squash to the grill, a perfect dish the upcoming holidays!   

Grilled Acorn Squash from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series

Honey Glazed Acorn Squash

Makes 6 Servings | George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | Recipe By Chef George Hirsch, adapted from George Hirsch Know Your Fire Cookbook

3 Acorn Squash, split in half lengthwise, remove seeds

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 Tablespoons, honey melted

pinch of fresh grated nutmeg

Brush six halves with olive oil and place upside down on a low to medium temperature grill. Cook for 10 minutes or until the inside begins to lightly brown. In a small bowl mix melted butter, nutmeg and honey. Turn over squash and baste with butter mixture. Close cover of grill and continue to cook on a low temperature for 15 – 20 minutes or until inside is tender. 


Sour Cream Apple Pancakes

So enjoyed my time with Msgr. Jim, host of Telecare's Real Food chatting up my features from GHL and all my creative friends! Enjoy my apple pancake recipe inspired from fresh picking..

Msgr Jim Vlaun, George Hirsch on GHL set for Telecare's Real Food, image Alex Goetzfried

Breakfast? Brunch? Easy Dinner? or Dessert? ans. all 4

Pancakes are one of the earliest forms of bread and are served up geographically in different ways. Be all traditional with baking powder, or try prospecting with sourdough pancakes like the early pioneers. Flip ‘em with oatmeal or buckwheat when in Vermont; or for a Dutch Style treat serve with lemon, powdered sugar and jam. 

from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series, apple picking Halsey Farm

Sour Cream Apple Pancakes 

Makes eight pancakes | chefgeorgehirsch.com 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon pure cane sugar

3/4 cup milk, variable

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg, beaten

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

*1 cup mixed sour sweet apples, peeled cored, and chopped

Additional butter to grease griddle

In a large bowl, mix together well with a whisk all dry ingredients the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl mix all wet ingredients the sour cream milk, vanilla, egg and melted butter. Yes, use two bowls so the dry and wet ingredients blend better when combined. Add the wet to the dry and just strip with a large spoon or spatula until the dry ingredients have absorbed the wet. There may still be a few lumps, hats OK. Do not over mix, or pancakes will become tough.

Pre heat a non stick pan or lightly grease a griddle over medium high heat at 375 degrees F. Test the temperature by dropping a drop of water on surface of pan. Water will dance across the surface when at the correct temperature. You can test one cake before proceeding.

Check consistency of batter with a sample test pancake, if too think adjust with a few drops of milk. Pour one 1/4 cup scoop of batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Add apples at this time. You will begin to see bubbles form on the top side when brown on bottom, flip and brown on second side. Serve hot with syrup or favorite topping eaten immediately right off the griddle.

Finish off your stack with honey, molasses, can syrup, Nutella, or Maple Syrup.  Top with toasted nuts and powder sugar. If serving apple pancakes for dessert sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon sugar on top of sliced apples prior to flipping. 

Note: After peeling apples maybe chopped or sliced thin depending on your own preference and taste. Chopped apples can be added to the batter or placed on top of raw side of pancake while on the griddle. Sliced apples should nay be arranged on raw side of pancake while on griddle before flipping. And If making batter ahead the night before, add apples just before cooking. 

Tip: When using double acting baking powder (the most common available today) prepare my batter the night before, cover bowl and refrigerate. This not only saves time but more importantly allows the gluten to relax from mixing the batter, which makes for a more tender pancake. When you are ready to cook pancakes just gently stir the batter, do not mix too much or they will be tough. 

Test Your Baking Powder How old is your baking powder? 

Replace baking powder every 6-12 months after opening. The exact amount of time is determined by how much moisture gets into your container of baking powder. Do you immediately recover the cap; as you should, or do you leave the top off and cover it later when cleaning up? Store in a cool dry place.