Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats

September 5, 2011 at 2:58 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 6 Comments
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HAPPY LABOR DAY
… to ALL my dear cupcake freaks.

Labor Day always signals the end of summer for me. So the holiday is a little bittersweet. But it’s Husband’s 3rd most favorite holiday (besides #1 Thanksgiving and #2 Halloween). He loves any reason to get together with family, eat hamburgers from the grill and swim in Aunt Katie’s pool.

Aunt Katie is Todd’s aunt but even before we were married I was calling her Aunt Katie. When Aunt Katie told me that she loves chocolate+peanut butter (Who doesn’t??), I knew EXACTLY what I was making for her combination Labor Day-Birthday party.

I got the idea from my friend, Stef’s super delicious blog.

But you know me. I never follow directions. I always make changes. You can see Stef’s recipe (here). You know it’s bound to be delicious too.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Hi-Hats
Recipe adapted from Cupcakes by Martha Stewart and Cupcake Project

Makes 18 cupcakes

For one-bowl chocolate cupcakes
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (I used E. Guittard unsweetened red dutch process cocoa)
1-1/2 sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water

For peanut butter cream cheese frosting
2-8oz cream cheese, room temperature (I used Neufchatel 1/3 less fat instead)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

For chocolate coating
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 milk chocolate and 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate)
3 tbsp peanut oil (I used vegetable oil)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking power and salt. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract and water.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, cream the peanut butter, butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar 1/4 cup at a time until you get the desired consistency and taste. Add vanilla extract.

Using a Magic Tip 9ST round tip, pipe cream cheese frosting onto cupcake. Freeze to set frosting while making chocolate coating.

To make chocolate coating—
In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and oil and melt over a saucepan of simmering water.

Stir until chocolate melted and smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

To assemble cupcakes—
Holding the cupcake upside down by the bottom, dip the cupcake into the chocolate until all the frosting is covered. (I think it’s easier to take the liners off.) Let excess chocolate drip off.

Then let cool at room temperature for 15 minutes so the chocolate firms up.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A+
He’s a huge fan of chocolate+peanut butter like his aunt so I knew he’d love this one too.

Wifey rating: A
The chocolate and peanut butter combination is so classic and decadent esp in this cupcake. Yum!

Other rating: A+
All of my husband’s family raved between chocolate+peanut butter bites. The birthday girl loved them!

Cupcakes For Cousin Carrie

August 28, 2011 at 10:23 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 16 Comments
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My cousin Carrie is getting married on October 1, 2011 (Eek!) Actually she’s my husband’s cousin but we’re very close (she was a bridesmaid at my wedding!) so we always introduce each other as cousins. Not cousins-in-law. That sounds too forced. Just cousins. We’re use to the confused look. I can tell by peoples’ 15 second pause that they are debating if it’s rude to ask if one of us is adopted. lol

Carrie and me

So when her mom called me to ask if I’d bake cupcakes for her bridal shower, I said “OF COURSE!”

I got her bridal shower invitation and it had an understated bee theme. I remember talking to Carrie on the phone and loved when she said “I wanted a bee theme for my bridal shower b/c [fiance] is my honey!” She pretty much gave me creative license on the cupcakes. The only thing she requested was “cream cheese frosting”. So I took that idea and ran.

I immediately thought of my favorite cupcake cookbook, What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson. I consider Alan my cupcake mentor. I wish he lived closer so I could do more than just talk on the phone with him. (Hi Alan!!) So I knew their honeycomb cupcakes would be PERFECT for the bridal shower.

But you know me. I had to change it up a little.

Alan and Karen use canned frosting and cake mixes. Unlike other cupcake-ers, I have no beef with cake mixes and canned frosting but since I haven’t baked in a LONG time I decided to dig out my favorite vanilla cupcake, cream cheese frosting and sugar cookie recipes. But I don’t like black jelly beans. Blech! So I used chocolate covered almonds (bees) instead. Mmmmm!

Oh Ginger Spice, I’ve missed you…

Two days later. My kitchen is still a disaster zone.

No biggie. Oh honeyyyyyy! Your time to shine. ♥♥♥

Vanilla Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe adapted from What’s New Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson, Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski and Bake at 350

Makes 36 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For vanilla cupcakes
5 cups AP flour
6 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cup sugar
24 tbsp (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
4 large egg + 4 egg whites, room temperature
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups milk (I used half-and-half instead)

For honey cream cheese frosting*
2-8 oz package cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchatel cheese)
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted plus extra if needed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup honey** plus more for assembling honeycomb

* Depending on how much frosting you pipe on each cupcake, you may have some leftovers.
** Use the amount to desired honey taste.

For honey comb cookies***
3 cup AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 sticks (salted) butter, cold (I used unsalted butter)
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 tbsp light corn syrup
yellow sprinkles (I used Cakemate from my grocery store baking aisle)

*** Cookies can be made up to 2 days advance and stored in a air tight container.

For “bees”
chocolate covered almonds
yellow gel food coloring
almond slivers

INSTRUCTIONS

To make honeycomb cookies—
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl. Make sure you get everything that settles on the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly (That’s ok!). Knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl until it comes together.

Roll dough to 1/4″ inch thick on a floured surface and cut into hexagon shapes. If you don’t have a hexagon cookie cutter, you can print out the template I used (here). Place on baking sheet and let chill in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are firm to the touch and lightly golden. Let cool completely.


Place yellow sprinkles in a shallow bowl. Microwave the corn syrup in a microwave safe bowl for about 10 seconds. Using a food dedicated brush, coat the cookie with corn syrup and dip in the yellow sprinkles to coat.

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with flat beater, beat the sugar and butter until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and egg white, one at a time, beating on low.

Then add vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, mix the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the powder sugar until well combined. Add vanilla extract and honey. If the frosting is too thin, you can add more powdered sugar until you get desired consistency. Add yellow gel food coloring to desired shade. (I added about 5-6 drops)

NOTES: I reserved 2 cups of frosting for honeycomb cupcakes but in retrospect I really didn’t have to. Who cares if the center of the honeycomb is white frosting right? It gets filled in with honey anyways.

CUPCAKE 1: Honeycomb cupcakes
Spread the top of 13 cupcakes with frosting. Adhere 1 cookie on top of each cupcake. Arrange 5 cupcakes on a serving platter and 4 cupcakes on each side. Position the cookies to form a honeycomb.

Pipe frosting in random places along the honeycomb and attach a chocolate covered almond. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.

Add 1 tbsp of honey in the middle of each cookie right before serving.

CUPCAKE 2: Beehive cupcakes
Using a Magic Tip 9ST (or your favorite round tip) pipe the frosting on each cupcake. Add 1 chocolate covered almond on top of frosted cupcake. Fill a piping bag (or ziplock bag) with yellow frosting. Snip a small hole in the bag. Draw “stripes” on the chocolate covered almond in a zig-zag pattern. Adhere 2 almond slivers (one on each side) as bee wings.

ENJOY!

Husband rating: N/A

Wifey rating: A+
Is there anything BETTER than a cupcake garnished with a sprinkled decorated cookie? I don’t think so! Since I’m a frosting girl, I loved the honey cream cheese frosting but I might up the honey quotient next time to really get the honey punch of flavor.

Other rating: A+
Cousin Carrie and all guests RAVED about the honeycomb cupcakes. But the BEST compliment came from my Niece Allison (age 18 months).

I told you. lol

Calling all Lemon Heads!

January 7, 2011 at 8:15 PM | Posted in cupcakes, recipe | 7 Comments

[UGH! Apologies but my images don't seem to be working right now. I added a picture of the cupcakes from Spice Islands as a placeholder until I can knock some sense into my image host.]

Are you a fan? I mean a TRUE fan. Would you wear a foam cheese wedge on your head and prance around in freezing weather with your chest painted with a big ol letter b/c you are part of a group of friends that spell out your beloved football team’s name? Now that’s a fan. But if that’s the precedent then I’m a wussy fan. I grab my Snuggie when my house temperature gets to 70F. And forget putting anything that resembles food on my head.

(Right about now you’re wondering what the heck is CB talking about. Bare with me. I’m getting there!)

These cupcakes are for the TRUE lemon heads out there. The ones that would wear a big ol oblong foam lemon on their head and write their name in buttercream on their chest. Now that’s something I could get behind.

Sorry Tom Brady. You’re almost as delicious as a cupcake. Almost.

(Pssst. Tom. Call me. *making the hand phone to ear gesture*)


Triple Citrus Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Spice Islands

Makes 12 cupcakes (I got 14 cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened (I used Neufchâtel instead)
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp orange zest (I used a navel orange)
1 tsp Spice Islands vanilla extract
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup whole milk (I used half-and-half instead)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For frosting
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon Spice Islands vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel (I used a Meyer lemon)
2 to 3 tablespoons lime juice (I used key lime juice)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes—
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, orange vest and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then beat in oil. Gradually add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, ending with the flour mixture. Try not to overmix.

Fill cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire cooling rack before frosting.

To make frosting—
In a stand mixer, fitted with a flat beater, combine all frosting ingredients, until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency.

Using your favorite round tip, frost cupcakes. Garnish with a orange, lemon or lime zest. Or what about a zesty trio if you are feeling overindulgent!?

ENJOY!

Husband rating: A
He really enjoyed the cupcake but since he’s a red velvet man at heart, citrus flavors don’t get the A+ rating. lol

Wifey rating: A+
I love citrus. No, I mean. I LOVE citrus. If you LOVE citrus, you’ll love this cupcake. The “cake” is so moist from the addition of cream cheese. And the frosting… Oh baby. Pucker up!

Other rating: (will update later)

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