Thursday, August 05, 2010

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes with Cherry Preserve Butter Cream

it's hot outside.

i don't just mean warm summer days with a cooling breezy night.

I mean, it's hot. Like a 100 degrees in the shade. even the light breeze feels like heat from the oven. it's almost uncomfortable to breathe. like the heat hurts your throat.

this heat makes me think of one thing- ice cream.

i know, a little unsettling. but i love ice cream. unfortunately i don't have an ice cream maker.

**reminder to future emily, get an ice cream maker**

but i do have the neccessary ingredients for cupcakes. since my favorite flavor is cherry vanilla....let's try that in a cupcake.

Cherry Vanilla Cupcakes

1/2 c butter, room temp
2/3 to 1 c sugar( depends on how sweet you like it)
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond
zest of one small lemon
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c milk

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts and lemon peel. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder, stir in and then beat in milk.
Pour into lined muffin cups and bake 18-20 minutes at 350.
let cool before frosting

Cherry Preserve Butter Cream

3 cups powdered sugar
1.3 c. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tblsp. milk
1/4 c. cherry preserves

With an electric mixer at low speed, mix the powdered sugar and butter together. Once combined, add vanilla and milk. Increase speed of mixer to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and of spreading consistency. Add the cherry preserves and beat on low speed until incorporated.

To make these extra special, pipe some extra cherry preserves into the center of each cupcake. it makes them extra cherry and leaves a special surprise for the lucky eaters :)

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

so i've been busy. a lot has been going on. I'm currently switching jobs, my husband is deployed, and i might be moving soon. i've been preoccupied with life for the moment. so the regular stresses of the day lead me to bake. i know, why bake when you can't think straight? because when i'm baking i forget about everything else. its enjoyable to know that when everything around me is uncertain, i know that i can put a few regular ingredients together and make something beautifully delicious.

like chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes.

these little beauties were a hit at the office. the dark chocolate cupcake with that fluffly PB frosting? What more could a girl want.....except for a tinier waist.....these certainly aren't going to help.....

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
makes 24

2 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour
2 cups organic cane sugar
1 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract
2/3 cup organic canola oil
2 teaspoons organic white vinegar
2 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, vanilla extract and vinegar.

Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients being careful not to overmix. The mixture will be quite wet, but that’s ok.

Pour the batter until the cups are two thirds full and place in the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cup comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then place on a wire rack until completely cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar (depending on your desired consistency)

1 tablespoon milk (or water will do too)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, beat butter and peanut butter until creamy and virtually no butter lumps remain. Scrape down the bowl. Add three cups of powdered sugar and beat on low for 1 minute. Add milk and beat on medium high for 1 minute. Add the remaining cup of powdered sugar if you’d like your frosting a bit thicker.

Slather frosting onto cooled cupcakes and top with coarsely chopped peanut butter cups.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

pumpkin pecan chocolate chunk cookies with maple brown butter frosting

it is a wonderful thing to know that on days when my phone rings off the hook, i spill coffee on my way to work, get caught in a thunderstorm and stub my toe as i finally stumble home - that i can take simple things like butter, sugar and flour and make something a little like sunshine on my cloudy day.

that something today was the mouthful that is pumpkin pecan chocolate chunk cookies with maple brown sugar.

after braving the monster thunderstorm and restocking my fridge with essentials, i opted to skip dinner and take out my stress on my mixer, oven and counter top. i feel so accomplished when i've taken the last batch of beauties out of the oven and finally finish cleaning up the kitchen. then as the hum of the washing machine continues, i enjoy the first and best cookie out of my masterful batch.

i have to say that there is little wrong about these cookies. they are soft and cake like with the perfect combination of chocolate, nut and icing.

so take the frustration out of your day and enjoy a cookie.

pumpkin pecan chocolate chip cookies

2 1/4 c. self rising flour
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 c. butter, room temp.
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chunks

3 c. sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. maple syrup

whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice and set aside. cream butter in a large mixing bowl. add brown sugar and regular sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. add vanilla. add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternating with pumpkin. you should combine everything in two additions and ending on flour. stir in chopped pecans and chocolate chunks. drop on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. makes about (4) dozen cookies. let cool on baking sheet and then on a cooling rack.

for the icing:

sift sugar and set aside. melt butter in a pan over medium heat until golden brown. pay close attention and be careful not to burn the butter. add the butter to the sugar and make sure to scrape all the butter in the bowl. add milk and maple syrup and stir until smooth. spread on top of cooled cookies with a knife or offset spatula.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

i've been in hiding

well not really.

but i have started a new job and have had very little time for baking. i know its very sad and i'm trying to fix that. in the mean time, i've found something really sweet that i thought i'd share with anyone that might still be interested in my blog.

while searching for some nifty things to buy i found these edible icing decals for cupcakes.

hello frosting makes cute, pretty and adorable edible icing decals for your home-baked cookies and cupcakes. take a look at some of them:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

biscuits and gravy

there are few things that make my husband happier than a cool fall day, a great bowl of chili and a WVU football game. if we haven't quite got to that fall weather here at the beach, there's no WVU game on and chili is out of the question, i know that a large and delicious homemade breakfast is his other love. ....besides just spending time with me of course :)

i learned early in our relationship that breakfast is our passion. we love large breakfasts filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and sausage gravy and biscuits. we rock at breakfast. we can do it up gourmet style and feel loaded for the day. we each have our talents. my husband can make scrambled eggs that are creamy and delicious. every time i attempt them they taste like rubber. i make the sausage gravy and the bacon. apparently my bacon is perfectly crispy. we make the biscuits together because baking is much more fun with two.

saturday we didn't have the fixings for an enormous breakfast, but during our weekly grocery run my husband covertly slipped a roll of sausage in the basket as a preemptive move on a big breakfast weekend. after a long night on the ship friday night he came home, slithered into bed, kissed me and asked me if i'd make him sausage awesome, as we affectionately call it. how do you say no to that, I ask.

biscuits supreme
*from the better homes & gardens cookbook

3 c. ap flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cream or tartar
3/4 c. butter or 1/2 c butter and 1/4 c. shortening
1 c. milk

preheat oven to 450 degrees.
in a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar. using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add milk all at once. using a fork just stir until the mixture is moistened.

turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. knead dough by folding and gently pressing it for four to six strokes or just until dough stays together.

pat our lightly roll dough until 3/4 inch thick.

cut dough with a floured 2 1/2 in. biscuit cutter (or a glass if you don't have one); reroll scraps as necessary and dip cutter into flour between cuts.

place dough circles 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden.
remove biscuits from baking sheet and serve warm with sausage gravy!