Saturday, August 27, 2011

Delectable Eid Cupcakes

S'morEid Cupcakes

This cupcake is nothing short of extravagant.  A bottom layer of graham cracker batter supports a big marshmallow which is covered by a decadent and rich chocolate batter.  The cupcake top is enrobed in a semi sweet chocolate ganache and at this point could be topped with a marshmallow.  But why stop there?  It is Eid and we only get two of these celebrations a year, so go big!  This cupcake is topped with a marshmallow frosting and then lightly browned with a kitchen torch.   Happy Eid!

S'morEid Cupcake Recipe
Makes approximately 18 cupcakes


Cupcake batters
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup valrohna cocoa
3/4 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup oil
6 halal marshmallows cut in half, plus more for decorating if desired

Graham Cracker Crumb topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup brown graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together with a wire whisk.
Separate the mixture in half into two bowls.
Stir cocoa into one bowl and the graham cracker crumbs into the other.
Add 1/2 cup milk, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup oil to the cocoa mixture and beat on medium until combined.
Repeat adding the same ingredients to the graham cracker crumb flour mixture.
Prepare the graham cracker crumb topping.
Add the brown sugar and crumbs in a small bowl and pour on the melted butter. Stir until combined.
Pour a little graham cracker cake batter into the bottom of your baking cups and then sprinkle the topping mixture lightly on the surface.
Place a marshmallow half on top and then cover the marshmallow with the chocolate cake batter until it is about 3/4 full.
Sprinkle with more topping mixture.
Bake cupcakes for about 30-35 minutes. Place a cookie sheet underneath when you bake just in case.

Let cool and top with ganache.  Heat the butter and cream on the stove. Heat until just before it boils. Remove and pour over chocolate. Stir until completely melted and smooth.
Dip cupcake tops and add more marshmallows if you desire.

For the frosting place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.  Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or star tip. Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.
Adapted from Bakerella

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Easy Cupcakes

People always ask for an easy cupcake recipe.  They are looking for something that will give them good results and taste amazing.  Simple cupcakes, tasty cupcakes, special cupcakes, kid friendly cupcakes...whatever you want can be customized with this recipe.  Also there is a recipe for an easy buttercream recipe which can also be customized to your favorite flavor. It doesn't get any easier than this.   This cupcake recipe is courtesy of Georgetown Cupcake.  This is a re-post from the Good Day Cafe.

For the cupcakes
1-1/4 cups flour, sifted 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, sifted 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter 
1-1/4 cups sugar 
2 large eggs 
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 cup whole milk 
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
For the buttercream frosting
16 tablespoon (8 oz.) unsalted butter 
4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted 
1 teaspoon whole milk 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or seeds from one vanilla bean pod 
1/8 teaspoon salt
Note: If you like your buttercream extra sweet, add more confectioner's sugar! If you like it less sweet, you can decrease the sugar!
For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard cupcake pan with 12 baking cups.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer.
Beat on medium speed until fluffy. Stop to add the sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
Combine the vanilla extract and milk in a large liquid measuring cup.
Reduce the speed to low. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one-third of the milk mixture, beating until well incorporated. Add another one-third of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the milk mixture. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk mixture, and beat just until combined.
Add the cocoa powder, beating (on low speed) just until incorporated.
Use a standard-size ice cream scoop to fill each cupcake paper with batter, so that the wells are two-thirds full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes (start checking at 15 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the buttercream frosting
Place the unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer. Add the confectioners sugar; beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
Add the vanilla extract, milk and salt and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Place frosting in a disposable piping bag with a large round tip and frost cupcakes with Georgetown Cupcake's signature swirl!
Flavoring the Buttercream
To switch up the buttercream flavor, try these easy ingredient additions:
1. For a milk chocolate buttercream, add 1/4 cup of melted (and cooled) chocolate chips 
2. For a strawberry buttercream, add 1/4 of diced fresh strawberries 
3. For a lemon buttercream, add 1/4 cup of fresh lemon zest 
4. For a lime buttercream, add 1/4 cup of fresh lime zest 
5. For an orange buttercream, add 1/4 cup of fresh orange zest 
6. For a mocha buttercream, add 1/4 cup of freshly brewed (and cooled) coffee 
7. For a toffee buttercream, add 1/4 cup of crushed toffee bits 
8. For a cookies and creme buttercream, add 1/4 cup of crushed Oreo cookies 
9. For a caramel buttercream, add 1/4 cup of dulce de leche 
10. For the adventurous - try a maple bacon buttercream, and add 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup and 1/4 cup of finely chopped bacon (extra crispy, tossed with a tsp of granulated sugar) 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Wonderful Pistachio

Pistachio-Orange Cookies Dipped in Chocolate

Recent research suggests that pistachios have antioxidants, unsaturated fats, many vitamins and minerals that help in maintaining a balanced diet.  The pistachios in the recipe have been toasted to bring out their nutty flavor and have been combined with orange to create a balance.  If that weren't enough the entire cookie is dipped in dark chocolate.  A late night snack you can't feel too bad about.

Pistachio-Orange Cookies Recipe
Makes ~24 cookies

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yummy Pluots

Upside Down Pluot Cake
The pluot is a cross hybrid of plum and apricot. It looks like a plum but it is known for it's sweetness, intense flavor, and very juicy pulp. Pluots are also rich in vitamin A.  The fruit is tart and sweet and covered in a delicious syrup.  The light and airy cake compliments the intensity from the fruit which makes this dish perfectly balanced.


Upside Down Pluot Cake Recipe

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rise and Shine

Wake Up Muffin

There's nothing better than a wholesome but delicious muffin that's not too sweet and not too dry.  Mashed bananas, espresso powder and dark chocolate combination sets this muffin apart from the rest.  I just put in one packet of espresso but for my taste it could have had another packet.  Anyone who knows me, knows I've either got a cup of coffee in my hand, going to get coffee or thinking about when I can get some coffee.  Add just one packet if you want the coffee flavor to be subtle or add two for it to be more prominent.  The secret to this muffin is the whole wheat flour and nonfat greek yogurt. 

Wake Me Up Muffin Recipe
Makes 12 muffins

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