May 26, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing

Posted by Susan at 10:00 AM 20 comments
Last week I was in NYC for a meeting with a client and stopped in at Chelsea Market. I went in specifically for saffron and cocoa, but once there realized I needed lots of stuff that I did not really need. So while I did purchase my saffron threads and cocoa, I also walked out with milk and white chocolate curls, various chocolate blocks, various chocolate chips and some blood oranges!

When I get home all I can think about is what I should make, after all I need to prove to my husband that I really needed all of this. I decided to make dark chocolate cupcakes with blood orange cream cheese icing. I used my stand by chocolate cake recipe and added the juice and zest of one blood orange for my cream cheese icing. The result was amazing, the hint of orange in the icing complimented the very chocolaty cupcake perfectly.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (makes 12)
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Dark-Chocolate-Cake-I/Detail.aspx

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup and 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon white sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line muffin tins. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spoon mixture into muffin tins, 1/2 full.

  3. Bake in preheated oven for 18 - 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
2 Tbs juice from one blood orange
1 tsp zest from one blood orange
3-4 cups of powdered sugar (sifted)
1 tsp of orange extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing.

  2. Add the orange extract, blood orange juice and zest and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness.

  3. Either spread on with a blunt knife or spatula, or spoon into a piping bag and decorate your cupcake.

May 14, 2009

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Posted by Susan at 12:00 AM 15 comments
When I was a kid my parents owned and operated a small pharmacy in Brooklyn, me and my brothers and sister were practically raised there. We have tons of old photos of my mom pregnant, with one of out of the four of us, behind the counter. Photos of us kids playing in the back room, or sleeping in a playpen. That old Brooklyn pharamacy has so many great memories for me.

My dad used to go to this one bakery in the neighborhood and get us the BEST sugar donuts. To this day when I think of the pharmacy I think of the donuts and vice versa.

The other day I was looking through a blog I had just come across, http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com/ and came across this recipe for Sugar Donut Muffins. I knew immediately that I had to make these. I tweaked it a bit based on some of the suggestions on the blog and I loved them. So simple and the perfect reminder of our Brooklyn pharmacy.

I took it a step further by spreading Nutella on a few of these, giving it an extra kick of flavor.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
adapted from http://vanillakitchen.blogspot.com/2009/01/sugar-donut-muffins.html


Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking power
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
Zest of ½ an orange
¼ cup plus 1 tbs vegetable oil
¾ cup plus 2 tbs buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For topping:
4 tbs butter, melted
½ cup sugar, for rolling
1 tbs cinnamon, for rolling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar and egg until light in color. Add in all the vegetable oil, all the buttermilk, vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg; add this to the wet mixture.Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. While muffins are baking, melt butter in one bowl and in another bowl pour in the ½ cup sugar, plus 1tbs cinnamon.
  5. When muffins are done, take muffin one by one and brush top of muffin with melted butter then dip into cinnamon sugar mixture. Cool on a wire rack.Makes 12 muffins.

May 11, 2009

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Posted by Susan at 10:00 PM 10 comments

I travel alot for my job, all within the US, but all so different from each other. I've seen the cows in Arkansas and the freeway in LA. I've eaten at trendy places in Chicago and enjoyed comfort food in Texas.

Last week I had a client to visit in Upstate New York. Even though I live in a borough of New York City, I had never been Upstate. Me and a co-worker drove were driving around the little town on the way to visit my client and I couldn't help but just stare out the passenger side window and take in the quaint town. The weather was warm and the sun was shining, we passed beautiful tree lined streets and Old Colonial houses.

I love Old Colonials, I love the elegant look to them, the history they must have, the quality workmanship that is so hard to find today. But its the beautiful porches that stand out to me the most, especially the wrap around porches. As we passed house after house I kept thinking what a great day it was to just sit on the porch and have a nice pitcher of pink lemonade with friends.

That thought stayed with me until I came home the next day, and I was inspired to make Pink Lemonade Cupcakes. I found a recipe on http://castsugar.blogspot.com/ and they tured out perfect.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Ingredients:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 egg whites
1/3 c. thawed frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate
1/4 c. buttermilk
Pink food coloring

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with liners. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg whites and lemonade concentrate. Alternately whisk in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until just smooth.
3. Add just enough food coloring to turn the batter a light shade of pink.
4. Scoop batter into liners (fill about three-fourths full). Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting (see below).

Lemonade Buttercream:
3 c. + 3 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. pink lemonade concentrate
Pink food coloring

1. Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemon juice, and a few drops of food coloring to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined.
2. Turn the speed to med-high until the buttercream is fluffy and uniformly pink. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

May 8, 2009

Chocolate and Lemon Madeleines

Posted by Susan at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Sometimes you just wake up craving something sweet. Sadly this is more usual than not for me. Last weekend I woke up with this craving and asked my husband for suggestions for what I should bake, he replied "madeleines". He always replies madeleines or pie, and I always end up walking away frustrated. Don't get me wrong, I love both of these things, but not ALL the time!

I ended up walking over to my cookbook disaster area, I really need to stop buying books but I can't help myself, and picked up Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme. As I flipped through it I found a recipe for Chocolate and Lemon Madeleines, PERFECT. My husband can get his madeleines and I get to try something new.

These were delicious, chocolatey, cake-like cookies with a hint of lemon.

Chocolate and Lemon Madeleines
Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tbs Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 1/2 tbs unslated butter, at room temperature

DIRECTIONS
1. Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and set aside. Put the sugar, salt and lemon zest in a medium bowl and rub everything together until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic.
2. Using a whisk, beat the eggs into the lemon-sugar mixture is blended. Squish the butter through your fingers or smear it under the heel of your hand to create a pomade. Still working with the whisk, beat in the butter to get it evenly distributed. Gently whisk in the sifted flour mixture, stirring only until the flour is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
3. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and chill it overnight before baking. The overnight rest helps the cookies develop the characteristic bumps on their backs; if you don't have time for an overnight rest, try to give the batter at least an hour in the refrigerator.
4. When you are ready to bake the cookies, center a rack in the oven and oreheat the oven to 425*F (220*C). Butter a 12 mold madeleine pan, then dust the molds with flour, tapping out the excess.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the madeleine molds. Don't worry about flattening the batter, the heat will do that). Place the pan in the oven, insert a wooden spoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar, and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 350*F (180*C).
6. Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, or until they are domed and spring back when lightly pressed. Unmold the cookies onto a work surface - then transfer them to a rack to cool to room temperature.

May 6, 2009

Juicy Strawberry Scones

Posted by Susan at 8:00 AM 0 comments
As I've said on here before, I love anything strawberry. When I was a kid I was Strawberry Shortcake for Halloween one year (remember when plastic masks and a plastic tie back dress were the ultimate Halloween costume?). This is me, I don't even know how old I was here, 6 maybe 7? I look so happy with my plastic mask and dress, posing in front of the blue floral wallpaper in our old house.
Maybe thats when my love for strawberries started. Maybe I just love how pretty and simple and sweet they are all on their own. Maybe I love that they go with so many different foods, you can have strawberries in your healthy spinach salad or in a (somewheat unhealthy) strawberry cupcake.


When I came across this recipe on goodthingscatered.blogspot.com I was a little bit sceptical, see while I love strawberries, I do not like scones. I had only hada scone once, years ago and I hated it. It could have just been that I had a not so great scone, but for some reason it stuck with me and I never had one again. After ready some of the comments on Katie's blog I decided to give this recipe a try. She staed that these are a morebiscuit like scone, as opposed to a crumbly texture (which is what I had tried before and didn't care for).

The result was amazing, so soft and juicy. A great morning treat!


Juicy Strawberry Scones
(http://goodthingscatered.blogspot.com/2008/05/juicy-strawberry-scones.html)

Ingredients
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour (depends on how ripe your strawberries are)
1/4 c. granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/4 c. yogurt
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp orange zest
1 c. fresh strawberries, diced


Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment
- In small bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk, zest, whisk to combine thoroughly and set aside.
- In large bowl combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and whisk to combine.
- Using pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour until all pieces are smaller than pea-sized.
- Add strawberries, and toss to coat.
- Add wet ingredients to dry and mix in lightly with fork until dough just comes together.
- Turn dough out onto well floured work surface and pat into large ball.
- Cut dough in half.
- Shape half of dough into flat disk shape and cut into 8 slices.
- Place on baking sheet and repeat with other half of dough.
- Sprinkle tops of scones with sugar and place in the oven.
- Bake until turn slightly brown, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

May 3, 2009

German Apple Pancake

Posted by Susan at 3:02 PM 0 comments

My husband loves apple pie, how could he not, its a classic! Usually when I bake we'll enjoy the goods, then bring whats left to work or to one of our parents. But when I bake an apple pie, its not going anywhere, Samer loves eating it for breakfast. So when I came across this recipe for a German Apple Pancake in the All American Test Kitchen book, I figured why not. It was a cross between an apple pie and a pancake. It was simple enough to make and I had all the ingredients on hand.

It was lighter than I'd expected, but filling at the same time, I used granny smith apples, so it wasn't overly sweet, just sweet enough for breakfast.

German Apple Pancakes
The All-American Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup half and half
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 1/4 lbs (3 0r 4 large) apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
Confectioners sugar for dusting

** Be sure to use half and half, if you use milk or heavy cream the pancakes will have a slight egg-y taste.

1. Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and heat the oven to 500*F. Whsik the flour, suagr and salt together in a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk the half and half, eggs and vanilla togther. whisk the half and half mixture into the flour mixture until smooth, with no lumps.
2. Melt the butter in a 10 inch oven proof non stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon ad cook, stirring often, until the apples are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Off the heat stir in the lemon juice.
3. Quickly pour the batter into the skillet, then over the apples. Place the skillet in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 425*F. Bake until the pancake is brown and has risen above the edges of the skillet, about 18 minutes.
4. Loosen the pancake-edges from the hot skillet with a spatula and flip the pancake onto a large plate. Dust with confectioners sugar, cut into 4 wedges and serve immediately.




April 29, 2009

I wish someone would send me a box of cookies!

Posted by Susan at 12:18 PM 1 comments
A couple of posts ago I mentioned my friend Maria, and how she's asked me to make her some cookie favors for her step-daughters wedding. Well, she told me everyone loved the cookies and as a way to thank the vendors for all their great work she wanted to send them each a dozen cookies.
I baked the same 3 types that were made for the wedding, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and chocolate, chocolate chip and boxed them up in these great boxes I found by Martha Stewart.




 

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