Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coconut Cream Cupcakes

Remember the bake sale for charity?
The fabulous one where me and other San Diego Food Bloggers raised $1,700 for the Share our Strength Foundation?

Well if you don't... read here. (But come right back!)

If you do, I'd like to share the recipe for the treat I made.
Coconut Cream Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.
Just saying it sounds decadent. 


This is one of my favorite desserts ever. My dear family friend, Judy, introduced my family and hers to this recipe in large cake form. O. M. G. It's so moist and the flavor is subtle enough to not make you sick of coconut but with enough coconut taste that you recognize it instantly. I knew it would be perfect as a cupcake.


This was the first time I had tried this recipe. I should have picked a recipe I was familiar with, but go big or go home, right? And besides, the cupcake only had to look good, no one was eating it there. Haha Also, it's for charity, people will buy anything.


Well turns out it didn't matter. It was fantastic. Just ask this lady.


When she came by the table I had just cut up a cupcake for a sample because I was very confident they were amazing. I had lots of goodies in front of me and for all she knew I could have made the cookies to my right. She picked up a sample, popped it in her mouth and "MMMMmmmmmm. OOooo. Wow!" And as she picked the first one up, right before she walked away with it, she stopped and said "Nope, gatta have two."


I waited til she walked away to sport my super goofy giant grin.
I hope enjoy as much as she did.

"Judy's" Coconut Cream Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine


Ingredients:
Cupcakes - 
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)*
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
Pinch of salt
4 cups sweetened shredded coconut ( I always have more on hand)

Frosting-
2 8oz pkgs cream cheese
1/2  cup butter (1 stick) room temp
2 c pwdr sugar
1/2 c canned sweetened cream of coconut (like Coco Lopez* - usually found in the liquor section)
1 t vanilla
*Canned sweetened cream of coconut is available in the liquor section of most supermarkets nationwide.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line your cupcake pan with liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.
2. Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites with pinch of salt in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter.
3. Divide cake batter between the cups. Bake cupcakes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. I'd check it at 15 to see how its doing. It should need a few more minutes. Cool cupcakes in the pan on rack for 10 minutes.
4. Keep the oven on so you can toast your coconut flakes. Lay them out of a cooking sheet. Toast for about 8 minutes turning once. The coconut should be just browning when you take them out.
5. While the cupcakes and coconut cools, lets make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, add butter to blend, add sugar, cream of coconut and vanilla - beat until well blended. Frost your cupcakes however you'd like cause they're just gonna get covered coconut flakes!

6. And viola! Coconut heaven! You're welcome.

Cheers!

p.s. I'll be gone until Monday. Have a very happy Memorial Day weekend folks!
 
p.p.s I'm having some SERIOUS issue with blogger and it's formatting. I apologize for all gaps and small font size. :0(

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ode to Instagram & My Family


I wrote a haiku. I want to share it. It's called Ode to Instagram.

Ode to Instagram

Awesome iPhone app
Taking pictures of fun things
Making them cooler

Not that it needs explaining now after that wonderful poem, but I would like to point out that I have a serious Instagram problem.

I can't stop!

So far it's only pictures on my phone. When I start taking pictures from my computer and moving them to my phone for Instagram, someone should call a doctor. Or the looney bin. Or my mother.

But in the meantime, since I seem to have things under control, I would like share some of my pictures of my family from Instagram with you. 

You're gonna like this. My family is pretty cool.

The Family
This is the Mama. In this shot shes picking me up from the airport. One of my favorite things to do is ride in the car with my mom home from the airport. I get to catch her up on everything I've been doing (though shes heard most of it on the phone already) and she sits and listens the whole 20 minute ride and smiles, like this.

This is the Dad. Or Pops. Or Papoose. Don't ask. He's an O.G. throwing up gang signs and wearing cool shades. He's with it.

Here's the brother, Joe, Joseph, Joey, Broseph, half of a twin set, firefighter-in-training. He looks like a full fledged adult in this picture. I don't like that. But I like the light saber he's building at Disneyland on my birthday. And that he's so handsome. Firefighters seem to have that going for them.

This is my sister, Beck, Becky or Rebecca. She's a dancer, a lover, a friend, a sister, a crier, and Victoria's secret. She's all dressed up for a show in this shot. She's the other half of the twin set. He's 6'1, she's 4'11. Don't bother to figure that out, the height difference is one of the mysteries of the universe we will never understand.


 

Finally, this is the dog and the cat.  That is Jackson. Sitting in the window hoping to be set free. Never gonna happen baby! And that's Casey standing in front of his sign, enticing folks to come check out his computer store. He's the best advertisement.

 Okay, I appreciate your sticking around for that. And now back to recipes, I promise.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not all cupcakes are created equal

Recipes are such a tricky thing...especially ones you come across on the internet.
They can either turn out fantastic or go horribly, horribly wrong.

The blame for it going disastrously wrong can lay either on the recipe creator or it's an operator malfunction.

In the case of The Mudslide Cupcake, I'm gonna share the blame.

The Mudslide Cupcake started as a great idea. They even look good. And why shouldn't they? Another cupcake I could make with booze and chocolate, like the these.
It was meant for greatness.

However greatness was never achieved. Somewhere between the recipe I choose and the final product, all I can say is... someone messed up! The cupcake was  extremely dense and didn't have much flavor.

I will be the first to admit I didn't follow the recipe exactly. But then I hardly ever do. I tweak, I substitute flavors, and usually I am met with success.

Not this time.

I had half eaten cupcakes, that's how bad it was.

I won't share the recipe with you because, well, I don't recommend it. And it may not be the creators fault so I don't want to insult anybody.
But here is a list of folks who have tried other versions and have seem to have been successful.

Choose wisely.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale Success!

I'm back!
And boy have I go a lot to share with you!

First, the Food Blogger Bake Sale this past Saturday.

What a blast!
It was so fun to meet so many San Diego food bloggers. I had been looking forward to meeting all the talented people behind the blogs on the bake sale round up.
I made some super yummy Coconut Cupcakes with toasted coconut cream cheese frosting. Get ready for that recipe soon. I packed my cupcakes in the morning and headed out to the bake sale spot, Great News in PB. BTW, you want a Great News in your town. Write to your representative. Phone the president. Beg for one. You'll be happy you did. It's that awesome.

I got to the bake sale nice and early to help set up. But by the time I got there, there was already a flurry of work going on. I put my goodies down on the table and ran back to my car for the camera. By the time I got back someone had already set up my cupcakes!
 Isn't that a lovely cupcake stand? I was so thrilled to have my treats so beautifully displayed!

Not long after I arrived, most of the folks showed up to get their food set up.
I was lucky to have Kelsey from Happyolks set up next to me. Super nice chick. Hope those finals went well!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Leanne from Three Dog Kitchen (who's tiramisu was AWESOME. We plowed through it last night), Kathy from Panini Happy, Kelly from Sass and Veracity (who offered some blog help, which I will be tapping into soon!), Kim from Liv Life Too, Lydie from The English Pantry, Heather and her sis from Bake My Day, Lisa from The Gonzo Gourmet, Jenny from The Vintage Sugarcube,  Lori from Recipe Girl (finally) and of course, Marie, our trusty organizer from Meandering Eats... just to name a few! hehe

We also had a special guest, Jenny Flake from Picky-Palate.
Remember when we first met?
 It was nice seeing her again, here with Lori as well. What a special day!

With all these great desserts it was no wonder the bake sale was a huge success!
We raised $1,700 for the Share our Strength Foundation. Not too shabby! Thanks again to Marie and Gaby for all the hard work. Again, recipe coming soon! Try and contain yourself! And now I'm getting ready for next year, how 'bout you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale 2011

I am beyond happy to announce I will be participating in a bake sale for charity with other San Diego bloggers.
I have been curious about other SD bloggers but have never met any. I am excited for this opportunity to meet some new people in SD with the same interests as me as I'm new(ish) here. 

The bake sale is country wide event organized by Gaby of Whats Gaby Cooking?  If you haven't ever seen her site, you should! Lots of folks will be participating all over the country. Check the list for a bake sale near you!
Now if you are lucky enough to live in BEAUTIFUL sunny San Diego, here are the details for our bake sale. Details provided by our fab organizer, Marie at Meandering Eats.

Come by on May 14, 10am-2pm, for the National Food Blogger Bake Sale!


The sale will take place at Great News! Discount Cookware and Cooking School in Pacific Beach.


Great News!

Pacific Plaza

1788 Garnet Avenue

San Diego, CA 92109

How to Help


If you like to bake and would like to participate, email me at moowiesqrd {at} meanderingeats {dot} com. All baking enthusiasts are welcome and a food blog is NOT a prerequisite to participating


If you like to eat delicious baked goods, join us on May 14 from 10am-2pm. Meet some amazing food bloggers, do some shopping, and enjoy the food!


If you would like to donate to Share Our Strength, please visit our team page to make a donation.


Don't live in San Diego, but want to help out? Take a look at Gaby's round-up of all participating cities.


Participating Bloggers and Bakers


Marie from Meandering Eats

Kendra from The Best Zest

Kathy from Panini Happy

Darlene from My Burning Kitchen

Leanne from Three Dog Kitchen

Jenny from Foray Into Food

Mary from foodies: a so cal food blog

Kirbie from Kirbie's Cravings

Averie from Love Veggies and Yoga

Kelly from Sass and Veracity

Kim from Liv Life Too

Amanda from Food Porn Daily

Amanda from The Cilantropist

Lauren and Chrissy from From the Little Yellow Kitchen

Lori from Recipe Girl

Heather from Bake My Day!

Melina from Graciecakes

D. aka Mr. Meandering Eats

Kelsey from Happyolks

Snehal from Foodilicious

Stephanie from Recipe Renovator

Christina

Lydie from The English Pantry

Michelle from Berrylish

Rachel from Bakerita

Heidi

Lisa from The Gonzo Gourmet

Ashleigh from Chantilly et Foie

Jenny from Vintage Sugarcube
and me! 

Come by, eat some yummy sweets, and help a good cause. Also, if you got some time, check out the other blogs. They are sure to entertain!
Cheers!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mini Banana Cream Pie: Regular, Low-Fat, & Vegan

I like to play this game called  
"Tell me the first ingredient that comes to mind."
 It's a fun game when you have an indecisive boyfriend who has no idea what he wants to eat for breakfast or lunch or dinner.

I ask him to tell me at least one ingredient that sounds delicious (preferably that we already have) and then we can come up with a recipe from there.

 I tried that today with some of the people at my boyfriend's shop to decide what kind of recipe I should try next for the blog. 
There were three people who chimed in and I kid you not this is what they said:

Rob said "Banana."
Gordon said "Chocolate"
Katherine said "Whipped Cream."

I swear that's what they said. All at once. Some how they were collectively thinking of Banana Cream Pies! It was amazing! So, obviously, I had to feature a recipe for Mini Banana Cream Pies!

And just because I love ya'll so much, I'm gonna give you THREE different recipes.

Regular, Low Fat, and Vegan!

"Regular" Mini Banana Cream Pies adapted from Jumbo Empanadas
Photo from Jumbo Empanadas

Ingredients:
Custard
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar, pressed through a sieve
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
3 ripe but firm bananas, sliced

Crust
3-2-1 pie dough
1 cup melted chocolate
chocolate shavings (optional)

Directions:
1. To make the custard, bring the milk to a boil.  In a separate saucepan, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until blended and thick.  Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about ¼ of the hot milk.  Continue to whisk while slowly pouring in the remainder of the milk.  Bring the mixture to a boil while whisking and continue to whisk for 2 minutes at a boil.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.  Let cool 5 minutes before whisking in the bits of butter until fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.  Remove from the fridge and whisk again before scooping into tart shells, alternating with a layer of sliced banana until you reach the top of the shell.
2. For the tart shells I used a 3-2-1 pie dough, fully baked and cooled.  Using a spoon, line the insides of the tart shells with the melted chocolate. Let it cool. Then, fill the custard into the tart shells, about half way. Top the mini pies with lightly sweetened whipped cream and a banana slice with caramelized cinnamon sugar on top.  Finally, if you'd like, top the pie with the chocolate shavings.


Low Fat Mini Banana Cream Pies adapted from SparkPeople
Photo from SparkPeople
Ingredients:
Crusts
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
Melt 1/2 Cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
Custard
1 Envelope Prepared Jell-O Instant Fat Free, Sugar Free Banana Pudding
Fat Free Cool Whip
Thin slices of banana
Directions:
1. First, get out a cupcake tray and a medium-sized mixing bowl. Prepare the pudding as directed and refrigerate until ready for use.
2. Preheat the oven to 400f. Mix together the flour, butter and vegetable oil with washed hands. Separate the dough into eight equal parts and form mini crusts inside the cupcake trays. Make sure that there is some crust coming past the sides, as this will make it easier later to get them out. If your dough starts to get tough, add a little water.
3. Pop them into the preheated oven for 10 minutes on 400f, then reduce temperature to 315f for up to five minutes. Check at around three. Let cool for 10 minutes or so.
4. When ready, put fingertips on the insides of the crusts and twist gently back and forth to loosen the bottom and sides. Pull the crust upwards on each side to lift out of tray.
5. Once all crusts are on a plate, get the pudding out and fill each cup with 1/8 cup or so... about half way. Fill the rest with the Cool Whip and smooth over. (About 1 tbsp. each). Place a thin slice of banana on each center
6. ENJOY!!  
 
Vegan Mini Banana Cream Pie from Alien's Day Out
Photo from Alien's Day Out
Ingredients:
pie crust baked in mini muffin tins
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/2 tsp stevia powder
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups soymilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 pound firm tofu
3 ripe bananas
a few drops of yellow food coloring (optional)

Method:
1. Whisk agave syrup, stevia, and cornstarch in a small pot, over med heat. Then add soymilk, salt, and vanilla extract, and continue stirring until it begins to thicken.
2. In a separate bowl, blend up the tofu and one banana. Then add the thickened soymilk/constarch mixture, and yellow food coloring (if using). Blend again til nice and smooth.
3. Slice up the other two bananas. Place a dollop of the cream filling into each mini pie crust, add a banana slice, then cover it with more of the filling. Finally, top it all off with another banana wedge for good measure. Let cool in fridge before serving.

There you have it, three different Banana Cream Pie Minis for my three helpful friends!
Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Here are 7 reason I know that Summer is just around the corner:

1. We had a lovely brunch outside last Sunday with yummy quiches.

2. I've turned the hot tub down to about as cold as it will go.

3. My dress collection is getting some runway time.

4. Neighbors have started barbequing, which might be the best smell ever.

5. I'm reading books! (Which, as a recent student and former teacher, you really can only enjoy doing during the summer.)

6. I'm listening to the Beach Boys.

7. I'm making summer themed cupcakes!

And here's the first!
Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from my Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cake
1 box white cake mix  (we're going for easy on these cupcakes, don't judge!)
1 1/3 cup strawberry daiquiri/margarita mix (I had it on hand and it's strawberry flavored!)
3 large egg whites
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries

Frosting
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs lemon zest
2 tbsp concentrated frozen lemonade, thawed
yellow food coloring (optional)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two dozen cupcake tins with paper liners.

2. Prepare cupcakes: In a large bowl, blend cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, and 1¼ cups of the margarita mix. Blend on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed to medium and blend for two additional minutes. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

4. Spoon the batter into cupcake liners (about ¾ full). Bake for 20-25 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

5. To make the icing: Mix all the ingredients, cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, lemonade concentrate, and lemon zest, in a bowl til completely combined and smooth. If the concentrate has made the frosting less stiff than you'd like, add more powdered sugar.
*Note: If you like it super sour things like I do, this frosting will be perfect. If you prefer less sour flavor, reduce the concentrate. 

6. Optional Food Coloring: I didn't frost the first batch but the second I thought I'd give it a try. I use Wilton gel coloring. It's really a matter of mixing and adding until you get the right color. Don't expect neon bright colors if you haven't bought neon bright colors, you know what I mean? I learned that lesson after a couple tries with this coloring. 

7. Frost these bad boys, add a halved strawberry for effect, and let the summer begin!
Happy Sunny Sunday!
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