Archive for ‘Spring’

May 17, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

If you give a nine-year-old, six-year-old, and four-year-old a lot of pretty sprinkles and a lot of very tasty frosting, after letting them help make the frosting and therefore taste the frosting (a lot of it), you might have a good time. I did. I love my nieces.

Easter Cupcakes

This part I made aforehand, so that we, as a group, didn’t have to wait around while the cupcakes baked. We started with the fun stuff. So, here’s the “aforehand” stuff for you.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Inspired by: Smitten Kitchen

2 c + 2 T cake flour
2 c whole white wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt, small grained
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c sugar (I used demerara sugar and pulsed it in a spice grinder until finely grained.)
2 t vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
4 eggs, large, at room temperature
2 c buttermilk (which I didn’t have, so I used milk + lemon juice. Because I used too much lemon juice, these cupcakes tasted a little bit like lemon, but not in a bad way.)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees F.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add vanilla.

Add eggs one at a time. Beat until incorporated.

Add buttermilk or milk mixture. Mix. Incorporate.

Then, add the flour mixture.

There it is. The flour mixture. Now, add it in three batches to the batter. Mixing after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake cups.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack.

Use your favorite frosting recipe. Go to town. Have at it.

Why, yes, I did put plastic wrap on the counter to ease in clean-up. What’s that? Applause? Applause for brilliance? Oh, thanks. Thanks.

We washed our hands a bunch of times.

A lot of sprinkles were used in the making of these Easter Cupcakes.

Tada.

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April 26, 2011

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cookies are textured, tasty, and, most importantly, chocolatey.

I needed cookies. I needed chocolate. This is more than a solution. This is the beginning of a problem. A delicious, wonderful problem in which I eat too many cookies then need to sit down and think about what I’ve done.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c Demerara sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t vanilla bean paste (or extract. I actually found out I had no vanilla extract when trying to create these cookies, but the vanilla bean paste was awesome.)
1 1/2 c AP flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 1/2 c milk chocolate and 1/2 c semi-sweet or 1 c milk chocolate)

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars together with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla. Mix.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

With the mixer on low, add flour mixture to butter mixture incrementally. Mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Form 1 1/2 inch balls of dough. Place on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake until the tops crack, about 12 minutes. Allow to cool on the sheets for five minutes then remove to cooling racks.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. After that the cookies get sad and hard, and you’ll miss out on the good thing you had.

April 20, 2011

Green Bean Salad

This was my lunch three days in a row. And it felt great. Tasty with a zing and a pow. Maybe zing isn’t, exactly, the right word. But it’s good. And I will come back to this dish over and over again. Forever and ever.

If you currently don’t like onions, this dish could change your life permanently. It’s that powerful.

Green Bean Salad 
1 lb haricot verts
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 T lemon juice
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1 T kosher salt
1 1/2 t Demarara sugar

Whisk cider, sugar, lemon juice, and salt together in a large bowl. Add thinly sliced onions and set aside. The longer the onions marinate, the better. At the very least, let the onions hang out about 45 minutes.

While the onions marinate, boil two and a half quarts of water. Add the green beans and allow to boil for about three minutes until they’re crisp-tender. Drain. Add to cold bath. Drain again. Pat dry.

Add green beans and celery to pickled onions. Add fork.

April 19, 2011

French Silk Pie

I made this on Pi Day. Do you know about this holiday? 3.14. Pi. Get it? I hope your March 14th was delightful. And Pie-full. If not, there is always next year.

Some forewarning: 1) This pie is delicious. I mean it. So good. Oh, my lordy. Amazing. You’ll love it. You’ll wonder when you’ll have another excuse to make it. You’ll figure it out. I promise. Because tomorrow seems like a pretty good excuse to me. 2) This recipe requires a lot of beating. A lot. Your electric mixer will be tired.

But, oh, the good. The good that will come!!

French Silk Pie
Inspired by The Pioneer Woman

4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 c butter, softened
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 c sugar
2 t vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 Pie Crust

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave-safe dish. Set aside to use.

Now begins the beating process. Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. This will take a few minutes.

 Pour in cooled chocolate, and add the vanilla. This is the second stint of mixing. Mix until incorporated.

Add each egg one at a time. After each addition, beat five minutes.

Keep going.

Pour well-mixed filling into baked pie shell. Smooth top.

Refrigerate for at least two hours. Truth be told, over night is even better.

To make the whipped cream topping:

Take whipping cream and powdered sugar. Mix on high for a couple of minutes. Add a touch of vanilla. Mix until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until you’re ready to top each slice.

Add chocolate curls.

Take a bite.

Take another. And pretty soon,

April 19, 2011

Indefectible Pie Crust

Now, confessions. This is only the second time in my whole life. First? Second. Hm, I’m not sure. I think it’s the very first time I’ve ever made pie crust from scratch. Success!!!

Pie Crust
Yields 3 pie crusts

3/4 c vegetable shortening
3/4 c butter, cold
3 c AP flour
1 egg
5 T cold water
1 T white vinegar
1 t salt

Use two knives or a pastry cutter to work the flour into the shortening and butter. It’ll look coarse and mealy and a little bit like pellets. At that point, form into one mega ball of dough.

Beat the egg in a separate bowl before adding it to the flour mixture. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, then the white vinegar, then the salt. Stir until incorporated.

Divide into three separate balls. Place into individual zip-top bags. Slightly flatten each ball, seal the bags, then place in the freezer. If you plan on using any of these immediately, get the necessary crust(s) out after 20 minutes.