Sunday, 18 September 2011

Early Grey Cupcakes

I've been dreaming up a new concept in cupcake baking for a while. I haven't seen it much out there, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It just means I don't spend enough time trolling on the internet. They are cupcakes baked right into teacups. And of course they would have to be tea flavoured to make it really authentic. I chose Earl Grey because all other teas pale in comparison and I didn't want to make a wussy cupcake. Then I added some honey-lemon buttercream to top it off:

Earl Grey Cupcakes (from Surprised by Joy)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 Earl Grey teabags, cut open and leaves emptied

1. Beat the butter until creamy. Slowly, while still beating, add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between each addition.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together.
3. Add the flour to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. (I always use soy milk or almond milk and it turns out just fine)
4. Fill your tea cups to about the 2/3 line. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes.

Honey-Lemon Buttercream (Tart to Heart)
*I just want to preface this by saying that I found this recipe to be ridiculously sweet and it overpowered the delicate flavour of the Earl Grey. Next time I may just do a lemon glaze and call it a day. You decide.

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
6 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1. Cream butter, honey, lemon zest, vanilla and salt until combined.
2. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time, tasting between each addition. In order to get it to a good piping consistency you have to add in all three cups.
3. Pipe, dollop, and glob away to your heart's content.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Champagne Buttercream

I recently found out that one of B's distant cousins had gotten engaged and that him and his family were throwing a celebratory picnic. I already knew I was going to be bringing cupcakes, but what kind was a different story. The part of my mind that hasn't been fried by five years of university and substance abuse (haha, only partially I'm sad) came up with the brilliant idea of doing champagne cupcakes. I thought, heck, don't people use that shit to make toasts or something? I wouldn't know, it's too classy. At any rate, the hamster began to run on it's rusty ol' wheel:

Champagne Cupcakes:
- 1 box of yellow cake mix - you can use the "good" quality stuff, but I used the PC brand and it was a-okay. (good is in quotations because how good can box cake mix really be? NOT. Until Martha Stewart starts designing the stuff)
- 1 c. champagne

1. Now follow the directions on the box, but instead of using milk like they suggest, use the champagne. That is all. Bake according to directions. It's really that simple.

Strawberry Buttercream:
- 1 c. butter or margarine
- 1/2 c. pureed strawberries (or, as I sometimes call them, strawbies!)
- 2 c. icing sugar

1. Cream you butter or partially hydrogenated butter like spreadable product thing.
2. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, tasting between for sweetness and texture. Add more or less accordingly. Remember, this can change based on climate.
3. Add the strawbie puree and beat until combined.

Champagne Buttercream:
- 1 c. butter or margarine
- 1/2 c. champagne
- 2 c. icing sugar.

1. Same as above for the other buttercream, but with champagne.
Bonus: There is enough champagne left over to help the maker finish the product. Well done. Now stop crying and wipe that buttercream off of your face, drunko.

To pipe, fill one side of your pastry bag with the strawberry buttercream, and one side with the champagne buttercream. The champagne stuff will be a little bit softer than the strawberry stuff, so perhaps avoid using the Wilton 1M tip and just use the open end of the pastry bag? It worked okay for me, but resulted in a sloppy finish. Either that or it was the champagne...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

I love peanut butter cookies but I somehow, inevitably overcook them every time. I pull them out, they look terribly undercooked so I put them back in and in a matter of two minutes, blamo - hokey pucks that may have once resembled cookies. Somehow I did not totally destroy these ones. I'm going to chalk it up to the recipe, and me following the instructions regardless of what they looked like when they came out. Thanks 52 Kitchen Adventures.

The Glorious Recipe:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Cream butter and peanut butter. Add sugars and beat until dissolved. Add eggs, then milk and vanilla. (I used almond milk and margarine, of course).
3. Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Stir into the wet ingredients, mixing until combined.
4. This is the point at which you could (theoretically) add chocolate chips. I wanted the chocolate to be present in a little more of an nontraditional form, so I used it to decorate the cookies.
5. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Use a fork to make the criss-cross pattern on top. Tip: dip the fork into water before using it each time - it prevents it from sticking to the cookie and pulling at the top, thusly destroying your design.
6. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. I found 12 minutes to be just the right amount. They did look quite under baked when I pulled them out but I let them cool and they hardened up just fine. They freeze well too.
7. As you can see, I decided to finish these beauts by dipping them in dark chocolate and then rainbow coated chocolate sprinkles. Do whatever you like with them when you're done! Well, maybe stick to slapping some sort of edible dip product on them and eating them, but whatever floats your boat...