Friday, December 19, 2008

Milk and Cookie Cupcakes

As I have mentioned before, Iheartcuppycakes is one of my favorite blogs. I always enjoy reading about and seeing the new creations that CB has to share. When she posted about these beauties, I instantly wanted to try them out. As if she heard the tinkerings in my brain, CB recently posted a giveaway for her first blogiversary. To receive and extra entry, you could make and blog about an IHC cupcake. PERFECT!

They turned out great. I ended up with 19. Also, I only used 1/2 the frosting mainly because I was saving my heavy cream. I should have whipped it more, but I was finishing them off in the early morning for my hubby to take to work. My testers (my husband's co-workers) loved them!
Here is what whipping the eggs and sugar like crazy looks like....
Letting the cupcakes soak in the milky goodness....
The finished product!













Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy National Cupcake Day


Today has been crazy and not for any one specific reason. Time was never on my side. Now that I am finally able to catch up on my emails and favorite blogs what do I discover but that it is National Cupcake Day! I totally let it pass me by. Every day I think about making cupcakes and this should have been the one day that I did it. Argh.

I even had plans to work on my next Iron Cupcake: Earth cupcake. With two little ones nothing ever goes how you "plan" on it so my day was not spent baking as I would have liked. My sous chef was severely disappointed that we didn't make anything, but I did promise that tomorrow would be filled with confections.

I promise, dear cupcake, I have been thinking of you. Please accept my apologies for not celebrating your day properly.


Friday, December 12, 2008

BB: Coq Au Vin

Where has the time gone? When I started this blog, my intention was to write something at least three times a week. Now, more than week and has passed with no new posts. I have been cooking; I swear. I make dinner at home every day. I've also squeezed in some cupcakes here and there. I didn't even make my entry for the Barefoot Bloggers on time! I made this a week in advance so that I would have "time" to blog. Argh!


This week's recipe was Coq Au Vin, as chosen by Bethany of this little piggy went to market,
which can be found in Back to Basics, on page 116.


I was apprehensive about preparing this recipe for a couple of reasons:
  • I tried making Coq Au Vin years ago using this recipe. It was HORRIBLE. The chicken was dry and red from the wine. Since then, I have always been nervous of trying it again.

  • It required using an entire chicken, cut into 8 pieces. While I have attempted to cut a whole chicken before, I always lacked confidence.

There are some things you should note: In the book, the recipe is double what it is online. However, the amount of cognac (brandy) remains the same. Online reviews on the Food Network site indicated that the liquor taste was too strong, etc. Therefore, I used the cookbook recipe and cut the hard stuff in half. If you don't have the book...um, why don't you have it? Well, if you don't have the book, just take the online recipe and use just 2 tablespoons of cognac (brandy).

Once I started carving the chicken, I just channeled Ina. In a recent Back to Basics episode, she carved a chicken with ease, so I kept that image in mind while wielding my blade. Having a SHARP knife is definitely key. I wish that I had pictures to show my triumph....it was masterful. Next time, I'll have my sous chef man the camera.


I served this with egg noodles and a crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Even though I halved the recipe, it serves a boat-load of people. We still have leftovers in the fridge. We are pretty much white meat people, so when I make it again, I will reduce the recipe even more, and only use chicken breasts.

Click here to see what other Barefoot Bloggers thought!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Yeah for Caramel: Part Two

The Daring Baker challenge for November was so good; it tasted even better the second day. I had to make it again!
This time, I made cupcakes.
The recipe appears here, but since I made it twice I thought I would also include it in this post. I encourage everyone to try it out! There is the extra step of making the caramel syrup, but it is totally worth it.

CARAMEL CUPCAKES

this recipe makes 24 cupcakes

  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 Cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 Cup caramel syrup (recipe follows)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • splash vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Cup milk (I used skim), room temperature

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.

2. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

3. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl.

4. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

5. Sift flour and baking powder.

6. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dries.

7. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time.

8. Add another third of the dries, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dries. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

9. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds. making sure batter is uniform.
Fill 24 cupcake liners 2/3 full.

FOR THE CARAMEL SYRUP

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup water for (stopping)

1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand.

2. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.

3. Turn on heat to highest flame.

4. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

5. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and prepared to step back.

6. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}
For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

One of the complaints regarding the cake for some of the DB's was that it was too tough. I didn't have that experience at all. In saying that, I do let my butter and sugar cream together for at least 5 minutes. I think that the key to a fluffy light batter is this step.
For the frosting, I made a buttercream and added more of the caramel syrup.

Enjoy!
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