Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Little Bit Of Christmas Tree: Gingerbread Cupcakes And Cookie Dough Fudge

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How fun you are to decorate!
So a few weeks back, you know, before all this Christmas stuff was over, we decided to have a few friends over to help decorate our tree. I love tree decorating! It's one of my favorite times of the season. Ron and I went out and bought our first Christmas tree and some new lights, only to get home to find out that the lights didn't work! I decided to put some fuzzy pink lights on until I could take them back and get new ones.

As always, I topped the tree with one of my Angel Barbies, Golden Angel Barbie, to be exact. (She's one of my favorites!)

Doesn't out tree look pretty?

It looks even nicer in the dark

With just the light of the tree and the fire...

I love my new house...
Anyway, I digress.... again...

The whole point of this was to tell you all about the awesome treats that I made for our tree decorating guests.

First off, Gingerbread Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice

As you can see, I got this recipe out of Taste Of Home, which is the first time I've used another cupcake recipe since I started the Icing On The Cupcake Challenge.  I'm totally loving these magazines and have been buying them as guilty pleasures. I have to laugh at this because a few years ago, guilty pleasures would've consisted of buying things like shoes; now it's cooking magazines :P

Anyway, In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg and beat well

I just wanted to point out that molasses and water don't mix. weird...

stir in water and molasses

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Add to the creamed mixture; beat on low until combined

Beat on medium for 2 minutes.

My mom bought me these cute baking cups and I thought that they would be perfect for this recipe.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full.

Bake at 350' for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

By this time your mouth will be watering, the smell will be amazing!

Now, onto the maple frosting

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
dash salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla exatract
1 cup icing sugar

In a small bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and salt until fluffy. Add the maple syrup and vanilla.

Gradually, beat in the icing sugar until smooth.

Frost cupcakes.

I could believe how good these cupcakes were. The cake itself tastes like a moist gingerbread cookie, and the icing is to die for. Now, usually I'm more interested in the baking than the tasting, but I couldn't help, but lick the icing off the beaters, the spatula and maybe even out of the empty bowl!!
They were also a big hit at the party, and when I took some to my parents the next day, my mom had me make a double batch for her to take to a potluck, where they were also a hit!

Now, onto the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge! I got this recipe from Bake At 350 who in turn, got it from Sweet Confections. Obviously, it's a recipe worth passing on.

1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp corn syrup
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bring the sugar, dark brown sugar, cream, milk, syrup and salt to a boil in saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally with a heatproof spatula. (in this case, I used my spider spatula from Williams-Sonoma)

Using a candy thermometer boil to 242', stirring frequently.
I've got to say, this was an exciting, yet boring step. Exciting because I finally had the chance to use my candy thermometer (which I've had forever!) and boring because it seems to take forever to get to 242'

Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and flour.

Pour the syrup into a pan and let sit undisturbed at room temperature about 20 minutes, or until it reaches 110'

Scrape the syrup into a bowl. Beat on medium speed until the fudges thickens and holds its shape, 3 to 5 minutes. 
Did you know that it's really hard to take pictures while using an electric mixer? I took a bunch and this was the best one that came out. I wanted to show how thick the fudge is at this point. it's quite hard to beat.

Scrape into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, lightly pressing them into the fudge. I used fudge, caramel and peanut butter chips instead of regular chocolate chips, just for something fun to try.
Let the fudge cool and set, at least 2 hours

This fudge was fantastic and quite easy to make. My guests were quite impressed with how soft the fudge turned out. Apparently making fudge can be quite difficult, I don't know if it was the recipe or if I just expected it to be harder, but I wouldn't call it difficult at all.

Doesn't it look good?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Show Me Where Your Noms At

Have you ever heard of My Drunk Kitchen? If not, you are totally missing out on some wonderful drunken cooking. I for one, try not to cook drunk, but on the rare occasion that I do, I really hope I'm this funny.

Well, Hannah Hart, who I assumed you just watched make ice cream, got together with SongsToWearPantsTo

They joined their awesomeness together and came up with this great song about food "Show Me Where Your Noms At"

And in case you were curious, here are the lyrics!

well i’m a cereal killer
like my ice with vanilla
and i always take my meats dried

we need to have a serious taco
don’t touch these chips, they nachos
well i don’t even really mind
(why not)

’cause i got a chip on my shoulder
i guess i’m getting older
your sweet is turning into a spice

so let’s go and get some curry
nobody’s in a hurry
watch out, i’ll put my white on your rice

you know i never stop nommin’
put spaghetti in my chow mein
lock it down with a key lime (pie)

now this track is straight urban
we better put some herbs in
you know that it’s about thyme

for you to show me where your noms at
show me where your noms at
baby gotta palm that

ice cream cheesecake batter up
fatten up, saddle up
if you’re with me, can i have a what?
what! whatcha do with your favorite food
i boast the most toast and got that gravy too
i’ve got no ice here around my neck
but i’ve got spice that’ll make you sweat
so play nice ‘cuz you better better bet
i’m not quite finished yet
now let me double this, you could be covetous
of my bread butter being how i come up with this
but the trouble is, nobody gets
cooking like me, just show me where the oven is
loving this drunk in this kitchen best
cutting up some of this chicken breast
rubbing it up and then down
shove it in now at 350, press start
and then we chill until it’s done
where’s my drank? baby you wait and just maybe i’ll get you another one
it’s such phenomeNOM, join us fu’tha nomathon
think of it as the opposite of when you stop nutrition like it’s ramadan
gotta get your nomming on while i’m dropping bombs to the calmest song
i’m dancing with hannah eating bananas like she’s donkey kong
let’s have a food fight, it’s morsel combat
i see your cream pie on a plate and raise you a straw hat
i’m like a wombat, just wanna get all fat
so if you want that, show me where your noms at

I’ve got some fantasies
and they all involve the cheese
girl it’s you and me
and I wanna please
with my gouda swiss and havartis

oh baby just wait and see
i’ll shred cheddar like it’s real money
it’ll be so cheesy, just lemon squeezy
when it’s you and me


Thanks Channel Apa for that!

Challenge #9: Moving Blues Banana Caramel Cupcakes

Ron wanted me to make cupcakes; not for any specific reason, just because he wanted some and felt that I hadn't made any for awhile. (awhile being a couple of weeks)
Who am I to say no, when
A) I love my Man
B) I love making cupcakes
C) I get to use a recipe to further my challenge
D) I get to be the awesome girlfriend that everyone loves and is jealous of, when he takes them to work with him 
E) I have an excuse to blog about it

So I read off the recipes in The Icing On The Cupcake and he chose Moving Blues Banana Caramel Cupcakes.

1/2 cup (or 1 stick) unsalted butter, room tempurature
2 room temperature eggs, separated (will use the yokes in the frosting)
3 tbsp whole milk
1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp potato starch (corn starch)
1/2 tsp finely ground salt
5 pieces of soft caramels

Preheat the oven to 350'. Place 10 paper liners into cupcake trays.
Cream butter and sugar (1/2 cup only) together with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Add bananas, baking powder, potato starch, and salt and beat until smooth. Fold in the flour with a rubber spatula

 Add milk and mix until combined.

Beat the egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Do not overmix. It's better if the peaks are slightly soft than too stiff. This takes about 3 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add the 2 tbsp of sugar.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter until combined. Scoop into lined cupcake pans. Fill each cake 3/4 of the way to the top. Cut 5 caramels in half and submerge one piece into each cupcake.

 Note: you'll probably want to push the caramels in deeper than I did.

Bake 25 minutes and then move to baking racks.

Caramel Frosting

6 caramels
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup banana
1/4 tsp finely ground salt
2 egg yolks, room tempurature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup (or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, room tempurature

Place the caramels, milk, banana and salt in sauce pan over medium heat. 

Remove from heat when caramels are melted.

in a separate bowl beat egg yolks and powdered sugar with an electric mixer until thick, about 3 minutes.

Slowly add the yolk mixture to slightly cooled caramel mixture. I suggest placing the caramel mixture into a cool sauce pan to aid in dropping it's temperature. (I just put the whole thing in the fridge for a few minutes) If the caramel is too hot, it will cook the egg. But we don't want to completely cool it because the mixture is about to be heated on the stove again. Place the combined mixture over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Beat 2 sticks of butter, room temperature, at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, slowly add cooled caramel mixture. Once caramel is added, beat at high until frosting is fluffy.

I adorned the tops of each with a banana chip

These cupcakes were pretty good. I'm not a huge fan of banana bread, but the caramel helped a lot. The icing was good, but very buttery. Just a little on top would've been better than the big swirl. (so much for presentation) I think I would've preferred a nice banana caramel sugar glaze. Perhaps I will give that a try next time.