Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I couldn't agree more!

I am a big fan of cooking this way: If its healthy, keep it that way. If its not, don't try to change it. I hate when people look at one of my MINI cupcakes and talk about it ruining their diet. No one could have said all of this better than Bronwen Weber:

Recently someone asked us to create a low cal/low fat cupcake. I had to draw the line...... Here is my response.

My cupcakes are healthy. (I can justify anything, just wait) A cupcake (as delectable as our chocolate caramel cashew variety) is healthy….on occasion…on special occasion. I am in the business of special occasions, or rather, making occasions special: so to make a cupcake that is low fat (read yucky) would hurt our business. It would only bring attention to the fat content of real cupcakes. Cupcakes are not breakfast food, nor should they come out for a dinner plate, but they do have their place in our lives. We live for celebrations. We count down the moments to our next one. This is where cupcakes belong. Do not blame the cupcake for being delicious- blame the consumer for being too eager to add the cupcake to our daily menu and remove the celebration and luxuriousness from our frosted little friend.

Perhaps it is an unnecessary rant. But....I sure did feel better afterwards. I almost felt good enough to celebrate....with a delicious cupcake.

Reason #975398437 why she is awesome!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Bagels Are Bad!

I decided to try making bagels. I never have before, and thought it would be fun to try... Fun? Yes. But they came out awful! After retracing my steps and trying to determine where I went wrong, I realized I think the water that was mixed with the yeast was probably too hot. They looked cute, and were fun to make, but it ends there.
I would say that my favorite part of this was trying to think up new bagel flavors. For about two weeks prior to making them I asked people "If you were to make up a new bagel flavor, what would it be?" I got some very interesting replies.In the end I decided to create bagels with a hint of citrus. The flavors were : Lemon Pepper, Lime and Chili, and Orange Curry. I only tried them out on one bagel each, and topped the rest of the bagels with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Awesomely Orange!

I just stumbled upon How About Orange's blog and LOVE it! I have definitely found some fun ideas to try. My favorite by far it the Jello filled orange wedges. I always want to make jello shots to bring to a party, but have a hard time finding good containers to put them in. This idea is much cuter anyways!
The recipe and instructions are on Food Network.

Trixie Delicious

I have loved Trixie Delicious' "Vandalized Vintage" plates ever since I saw them on Oh Joy about a year ago. When we decided to decorate a wall in our dining room with vintage (and vintage inspired) plates, I knew we had to add one of hers to our collection. It adds humor and you can see who is really paying attention to the decor!
Although, it will definitely have to be taken down when Grandma comes to visit!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Room Inspiration!

Lately, my roommate and I have been working hard to make our apartment more homey and personal. This weekend we decided to decorate our dining room. We chose to paint it bright pink! I was very nervous about painting a small room a bold color, but we both love it! I used this picture as inspiration and insurance that a bright pink room can be a very cool idea!

Monday, February 11, 2008

If you like pina coladas...

I went to a fish fry yesterday and decided to make pina colada cupcakes to bring. I have never made anything like them before, but I knew I had all of the ingredients at home and wouldn't need to run to the store. I used a yellow cake recipe and topped each cake with crushed pineapple before baking them. Then I poked holes in each cake and poured spoonful of a rum, butter and brown sugar mixture in each. Finally, I topped each with coconut flavored icing. I wound up not liking how much icing was on each cupcake. It took away from the other flavors. I scraped off about half of the icing, but did not take pictures.

Yellow Cake:
6 large egg yolks
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
1 can of crushed pineapple

In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup milk, and vanilla extract.

In a large bowl sift together dry ingredients. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 2 minutes. Gradually add the egg mixture, in 3 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg.

Fill each cupcake paper about half way. Then add a little bit of crushed pineapple. Try to keep the pineapple in the center of the cupcake. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes (if making mini cupcakes).

While the cupcakes were baking, I made the butter sugar mixture that I added to rum. The mix I made was WAY too much, but I am saving and will make a cake with it soon! I used one stick of butter and about 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon. First I let the butter melt, then added the sugar and cinnamon. Once all of the ingredients were combined, I removed the pan fromt eh heat and let it cool a little. Then I added 1 cup of light rum and 1 cup of dark rum. Then mixed them well. I will definitely be making this again and when I do I will cut all of the rum mixture ingredients by at least half.

Coconut Icing:

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons coconut extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

This has definitely become one of my favorite recipes. I may change a few things and use fresh pineapple or use toasted coconut in the icing next time, but for this occasion I was making what I had work. The two plates I brought over were gone in about an hour!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tiramisu Cupcakes

I found a recipe for tiramisu cupcakes on Flickr a few months ago. They have been at the top of my list of things I am dying to make since! This weekend my mom and I made them together. They surpassed my expectations! This recipe will definitely be one I keep and make again and again.

I made a few very very small changes and clarifications to the recipe:

Sponge Cake:

6 eggs, separated (separate when cold; allow to come to room temp)
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoon water, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted, all-purpose flour (measure after sifted)
In large mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add half of the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks. Rub just a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger to feel if sugar has dissolved.
In small mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, water, vanilla and salt (if desired) untilblended.
To add remaining ingredients sift in flour on top of the whites (do not mix or fold yet!) then fold in egg yolk mixture combining flour and yolk mix to the whites at the same time. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 min or until done.

Espresso Syrup

½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2/3 cup water
5 teaspoons espresso powder or 7 teaspoons of instant coffee

In a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the water, the remaining 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and the espresso or coffee powder. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.
Use a fork or toothpick to poke a few holes into cupcakes so that they will absorb liquid. Pour approximately ½-1 teaspoon of syrup onto each cupcake.


3 c mascarpone
1 c confectioner’s sugar
¼ c marsala wine
¾ c heavy cream, chilled

In a medium bowl using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat together the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar and marsala until well blended. Add the cream and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Frost cupcakes with mascarpone/whipped cream mixture. Dust tops with cocoa powder (I used unsweetened) and then sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Paul & Joe

A few days ago Oh Joy, one of my favorite bloggers, posted about Paul & Joe wall papers and screen savers. I immediately downloaded the screen saver on my work and home computers. I love it! I do not have a clock in my room (where my computer is) so its great to have one around.

Friday, February 1, 2008

This always makes me happy...

"I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle in your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." -- Billy Crystal, When Harry Met Sally