Monday, November 29, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate and peanut butter. Can't have a better combo than that! I made these for my 4 year old's cowboy birthday party, and the cupcakes just flew off the cupcake tree! Fluffy icing atop a chocolatey cupcake, you will be in heaven!



1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).  Line muffin cups with paper liners.
In a small bowl stir until smooth the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder. Let cool to room temperature.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated. Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.
Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full with batter and bake for about 16-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost with icing.
Icing
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed (depending how fluffy you like it)
2 cups confectioners' sugar

1.Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

Cowboy Cupcakes

My sweet little boy recently had his 4th birthday and we had a wonderful cowboy themed party for him.  Along with his cowboy hat shaped cake, he HAD to have cupcakes too. Upon searching the internet and adding my own tweaks, here is a great recipe! These have such a fallish-holiday taste to them! 
• 3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1 TBSP cinnamon
• 5 tbsp. cocoa
• 4 tbsp. finely grated coconut
• 2 1/3 cups orange juice
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
• 1 tbsp. vanilla

Position rack to bottom third of oven. Preheat to 350 degrees. Place 24 large sized cupcake holders in 2 cupcake tins.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients. Pour the wet into the dry and stir just until the flour is moistened. Do not over stir or you will reduce the bubbles and your batter will not be as light.
Immediately spoon the batter evenly into the cupcake holders. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the cupcakes from the oven and place them on cooling racks. Meanwhile prepare your icing.

ICING
• 5 cups powdered sugar (icing sugar)
• 1 cup butter
• 1 tbsp. vanilla
• 5 to 8 tbsp. orange juice

This makes enough icing to spread quite generously on top of each cupcake. Cream the sugar, butter, vanilla and 1 tbsp. of orange juice in a food processor, or a mixing bowl with beaters. Slowly add the orange juice one tablespoon at a time until your icing is creamy enough to spread easily, but thick enough that it will hold it's form.. Be very careful not to add too much liquid.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Indian Pudding






During their early years in the New World, the colonists could only dream of the plum puddings of Old England. Even a simple milk pudding or bread pudding seemed out of the question because of the absence of wheat flour. But there was, of course, Indian cornmeal.  With the increase in the number of dairy cattle brought to Plymouth Colony from England during the late 1620's, milk and milk products became somewhat more plentiful and the Pilgrims could begin to approach the idea of an English-style milke pudding. Wheat flour was still scarce, of course, so they used cornmeal instead and called the new creamy, baked dessert "Indian" pudding, even though it contained such non-Indian ingredients as milk, eggs, butter, molasses for sweetening, and pinches of such exotic spices as cinnamon and ginger. Thick cream, when available, was poured over the pudding - another non-Indian and distinctly English touch. The molasses that went into the New England Indian pudding was a special case, for it was neither British nor American Indian in origin. It was the product of Yankee business enterprise as expressed through the New England sea trade.
Growing up in New England, this is one of my mom's favorite desserts. I made this for her birthday dessert and it came out so perfect! Absolutely something for you to try...especially on Thanksgiving!!
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Lightly grease a 6- or 8-cup soufflé or baking dish with butter (you can use margarine, but DON’T use non-stick sprays).

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat, scald the milk.

While the milk is heating, pour the cream into a medium to large bowl, add the cornmeal, sugar, molasses, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Add this cream/corn meal/spice mixture to the scalded milk. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-low heat until the pudding has thickened to the consistency of syrup (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat.

In a bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Temper the eggs by adding 1/2 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs while whisking rapidly. Vigorously whisk the egg mixture into the remaining cornmeal mixture. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring until melted.

Pour mixture into the prepared soufflé dish, and place dish on a shallow baking pan on the center oven rack. Pour enough HOT water into the shallow baking dish to come 2/3 of the way up the outsides of the soufflé or baking dish.

Bake until pudding is set, a tester inserted close to (but not in) the center comes out clean, usually about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove from oven and remove from the water bath and let cool slightly.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or heavy cream.

Makes 8 to 16 servings (depending on your sweet tooth)