Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blackberry Buttermilk Cupcakes

When I see a cake recipe I like, I always ask myself, "Can I turn this into a cupcake?" 

And that's my life. Finding recipes and wondering, "How can I make this recipe smaller?" Haha

Well that's exactly what went through my head when I saw the recipe for Blackberry Buttermilk Cake in my Bon Appetit magazine. I wanted to make something really special for my boyfriend and my 2 yr anniversary. A milestone for me. My first, in fact. So it had to be perfect. I made an app, a fancy main course, and then busted these bad boys out. And then I waited for the reaction.

Of course, as I expected, the cupcakes were BRILLIANT! They were moist and delicious. And muffinized! He totally loved them. Loved them so much so he gave me these...

He totally showed up my wimpy ol' dinner. I opened the box up and I was stunned! They are so beautiful and sparkly! Haha I will tell you all, my faithful readers, that I was a bit more stunned with the box closed than open. Just take a look at it... imagine it closed. A huh. Exactly! You might freak out too haha. Rob said the color drained from my face. I held the box out and just shook my head "no". We laughed so hard after that haha

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes, cupcakes. My favorite part was the berries on the bottom. So yummy. You could probably get away with using other kinds of berries as well. Anything in season. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. Oh raspberries! Yes!

As a bonus, I saved a whole tray of them for a friends birthday and decorated it to show my birthday love. Vanilla Sugar icing and rainbow sprinkles. Festive.

She loved them too!

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes about 20 cupcakes

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 1/3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups (10oz) freshblackberries
1/4 cups plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 cup well shaken buttermilk

(*New) Hardware: 
2 12-cup muffin pans

1. Position two racks as close to the center as you can. If you find it difficult to do, or you'd rather work one tray at a time, position the rack smack dab in the middle. Preheat to 350*.

2. Place liners in 20 cups. Arrange 2 or 3 berries at the bottom of each. Here's where it gets tricky. You can either distribute all the berries into the 20 cups and if you have too many, just eat them. Or make some without berries. It just depends on how many berries and how much batter you have. Sprinkle the berries the 1/4 cup of sugar. Don't skip this part! The berries will be bitter without it.

3. Moving on, place the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix with a whisk. For me, it takes the place of the sifting. I'm lazy. Next, beat the butter and the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar in a large bowl (or in the mixer) on medium-high speed, occasionally scarping down the bowl until pale and fluffy, about 2 mins. Add the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each one. Add vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in two additions. Begin and end with the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. Divide batter up among the cups.
4. Bake until cupcakes are golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 40 mins for me. Keep an eye on yours. Let them cool for 15 mins.

5. Toppings: You can go traditional and use powdered sugar.  A homemade light whipped cream or a simple icing: 2 cups powdered sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, 2-4 tbsp milk, and dash of vanilla.

6. Eat at 20+ at once, if you dare. Or share them with a friend. But you don't have to. :0)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jumbo Burger Cup

After a long hiatus of not cooking, I imagine my muffin pan is feeling a bit lonely. 
But have no fear, little pan, I have lots of special recipes in store for you in the coming weeks!

But in the meantime, just to keep you all occupied (and not with Instagram photos) here is one of the more clever recipes I have found recently for the muffin pan. And just in time for those summer BBQs!

 Jumbo Burger Cups
 Recipe from Pillsbury Bake Off

1 1/2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup dill pickle relish
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
4 oz cream cheese (half of 8-oz package)
1 teaspoon McCormick® Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Black Pepper
1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Flaky Layers Butter Tastin’® refrigerated biscuits (8 biscuits)
1 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons sesame seed
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in ketchup, relish, mustard, cream cheese, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted and mixture is creamy. Reduce heat to low. 
2. Separate dough into 8 biscuits. Using serrated knife, split each biscuit in half horizontally. Press 1 biscuit half into about 4-inch round. In ungreased non-stick jumbo muffin pan, press round in bottom and 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up side of muffin cup. Repeat with remaining biscuit halves
3. Divide beef mixture evenly among biscuits in cups. Top with remaining biscuit halves, stretching slightly to cover beef mixture and slightly pressing edges to bottom biscuits to seal. 
4. In small bowl, beat egg and water until well blended; brush on top biscuits. Sprinkle with sesame seed. 
5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes before serving. 
6. Bon Appetit! Here is someone who has actually tried it and had good results, just in case you needed some proof!

P.S. I miss you guys! Keep those comments coming :0)

Father's Day

To My Biggest Fan,

* Thanks for trying every one of my creations and telling me it's the best cupcake/pasta/sandwich you've ever had, even if it wasn't.

* Thanks for telling me I can be what ever I want to be and then, in turn, letting me do what ever I want to do... like getting a tattoo at 16.

 *Thanks for introducing me to all kinds of different and exotic foods and then accepting, in the rare cases, when I don't like them, like spam & mayo salad.

*Thanks for telling everyone you know how proud you are of me for what ever my latest endeavor was, even when what ever I did wasn't that exciting.

Thank you, Dad, for being my biggest fan.

I love you! 

The Oldest

Monday, June 6, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Braid

"I might have a reckless streak, At least a country-mile wide
If you're gonna run with me, It's gonna be a wild ride."
                                                   - Real Good Man by Tim McGraw

Summer is here and I'm letting lose!

I made a braid!
No muffin pan. Just pure reckless abandon. And boy does it feel (and taste) good!

The madness started yesterday. I went to a Tim McGraw concert. *swoon* A big group of us had decided to get there really early so that we could tailgate and get a good spot for the concert. I was super excited because this was my first official tailgating. I know, what planet am I from! It just never happened before, concert or sporting event. So needless to say I was really looking forward to this.

I thought about all kinds of recipes I wanted to try and then what would travel well.
I had seen these "braids" before and thought they would make a perfect snack before the hot dogs.

So I went for it. With gusto.
And boy was it easy!

Buffalo Chicken Braid
1. Unroll Pizza Dough and measure 3'' in on either side 2. Add about a cup of cheese: mozzarella, blue cheese crumbles, swiss & gruyere for me 3. Add blue cheese dressing 4. Chopped red onions

5. Mix 1 10oz can of chicken meat (just accept's a time saver!) with about 1/4 a cup of Frank's Red Hot Wing Sauce. 6. Spread it out on top of the cheese 7. Add more sauce if you love it!

8. Cut 1 inch thick strips on either side 9. Start braiding 10. Pick up one strip and fold it over, pressing it against the opposite strip, close to the filling 11. Don't take pictures of it half way through or you'll miss a step and end up with a funky looking bottom half of your braid (hehe oh well)

 11. Sprinkle a little grated parm on top and place in an 425f oven for 11-15 mins 12. If you're sharing it, let it cool a bit and then slice it into pieces. I swear the filling stays inside, I just don't have a picture to show you. But keep it whole until the last second. The braid effect really impresses people!

And there you have it! It was so yummy, everyone was talking about it *blush*. No muffin pan but something else that can be made with little to no effort. And if you're lucky, you can use all ingredients you already have in your fridge. Wouldn't that be handy!?

Now, for those of you who maybe don't like buffalo wing sauce (shame on you) here are some other filling suggestions Ive been thinking of trying:

- Broccoli Cheddar Ranch
-BBQ Chicken
- Hawaiian Pineapple and Ham
- Sausage Apple Cheddar

Get creative and then send me lovely photos so I can admire them!

P.S. Tim McGraw is sexy. The End.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Strawberry-Pretzel Pie Bites

This dessert may be the perfect combination of all the major dessert groups.
It's sweet.
It's salty.
It's creamy.
It's crunchy.
It's fruity.
It's flaky.
I'm no poet (although technically I am but that's a story for another time) but I think that is the start of a beautiful verse.

I got this recipe from Pillsbury's recipe emails. As soon as I opened it up, I knew I had to make it.
It spoke to me.

However, I got really mixed reactions when I first discussed this dessert with friends. I fully support the combo of salty and sweet but not everyone shares my affection for it. At least, they don't think they do.

Well this pie has changed some minds. That's how powerful it is. 

We had a couple friends over the night I made these. When I said the word pretzel to one, he said "Ehh, really, pretzel? I don't think so." My other buddy jumped right on it. He wasn't afraid. He had one and started dancing around. "Make me 5 million thousand of these please." Hehe not likely.

But that's all it took for the non believer. I put the treats in the refrigerator, only 1 or 2 treats down from the 24 I made and I kid you not, when I woke up the next morning I had 7 left! ONLY 7!


Not the most beautiful looking things but that didn't stop the guys from devouring them. The wary one told me after I went to sleep he tried one and just couldn't stop eating them. Haha I guess so!

After the photos, I saved one for a girl friend who was coming over and my BF and I split the rest. You MUST try these for yourself. Seriously.

I'm still thinking about them. I might have to make another batch... not 5 million thousand, but at least another 24.

Strawberry-Pretzel Pie Bites
Adapted from Pillsbury

1 box Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1 cup crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup homemade whipped cream*
1 bag (16 oz) frozen unsweetened strawberries, partially thawed, sliced
1 cup boiling water
1 box (8-serving size) strawberry-flavored gelatin
*Whipped Cream: 1 pint whipping cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3 tbsp powdered sugar. Beat on high until stiff peaks, about 5 mins. 

1. Heat oven to 450°F. Unroll 1 crust. Using a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter slightly larger than the opening of the muffin cup, cut out 24 circles. You will have to roll the dough out a couple time to get enough circles. Place the circles in each cup, pressing the dough up along the sides as best you can. Prick the dough with a fork for air bubbles to escape.

2. Combine crushed pretzels, 1/4 cup sugar and the melted butter. Press into bottom pie crust. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Cool completely.
3 Stir together cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until sugar is dissolved. Carefully fold in whipped cream. Spoon or pipe into mini crusts. Place a flat layer of strawberry slices on top of filling. Mix boiling water and gelatin (with a few ice cubes) to make about 1 2/3 cups gelatin. Thicken slightly and carefully pour over strawberries on pie. This part is tricky because the bites are so small. Don't worry about spilling. Just try and get a bit on the top. Refrigerate pie 8 hours or overnight.
4. You will have left over everything, except probably the dough. That happens sometimes when you shrink desserts. I just took the extra pretzel mix, pressed it in a ramekin, covered it with the rest of the cream mixture, topped it with some of the frozen strawberries, left over jello and refrigerated it as well. And then I hid it in the back because I knew when that tray was gone, however fast, I'd still want a big treat for me. :0)
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