Thursday, January 21, 2010

Champagne Cupcakes for New Years Eve

It has become a tradition for Alex and I to stay in on New Years Eve. We have a few reasons for this.

1. It's cheaper than going out and drinking at a bar.
2. It's safer.
3. We are homebodies.

Number 3 being the biggest one. We are not big party, dancing all night kind of folks. I guess we are old souls. :)

I found this recipe in Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella.

This book has been my "go-to" book for quite some time now. I think it may have even been my first cupcake cook book! Ah, memories!

These cupcakes were fairly simple to make, and both the cupcake and the frosting had actual champagne in them, not a flavoring. The only thing I didn't like about this frosting was the fact that it had shortening in it. I don't really enjoy working with shortening, it is so greasy and gross! But despite the shortening, the frosting still tasted great.

Everyone enjoyed these cupcakes after our lasagna dinner. We celebrated New Years Eve with friends, and it was a great evening.

The next day, however, the cupcakes were NOT good. The cake tasted like stale beer! I guess these cupcakes should really be eaten within a few hours of being made. Oops! :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

MSC: Coconut Cupcakes

I was so excited to select this month's cupcake challenge, the Coconut Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book. I am having such a great time doing this challenge, and there are so many bakers participating!

I love, love, love coconut. So these were an obvious choice for me. I didn't experience any trouble baking these cupcakes, and I thought they were relatively simply to bake. The recipe called for pure vanilla extract, and although I don't usually like to use pure vanilla extract (I prefer the fake kind!), I used it anyway. I could tell a difference in the cake. I want to make these again, but use imitation vanilla to see if the cake taste would change dramatically.

But then, I got to the recommended frosting, which was the coconut version of the 7 Minute Frosting. I almost skipped the recommended recipe and went with a MUCH simpler Coconut Buttercream, but I decided to be true to the book and went with it.

Well, the 7 minute frosting turned into 15 minutes. It took SO long to set up, even though it was being made in my stand mixer. And making the syrup, ugh, I didn't really enjoy that, either. But, the end result did product a pretty, shiny, rich frosting.

I took the cupcakes to work the next morning for my co-workers to enjoy. They went over well, except for with our video editor, who is allergic to coconut! Needless to say, he didn't partake in the cupcakes. :)

I would probably make these cupcakes again. But without the 7 Minute Frosting. And I would use imitation vanilla instead of pure vanilla extract. So I give this one a 6 out of 10 in terms of overall goodness.

Next month we are making Smores Cupcakes! I am so excited about this one. Thanks to Mary Anne from Meet Me in the Kitchen for selecting this one. And of course, head on over to our Challenge Website to see all of my baking buddies work as well. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Merry Christmas?

A digression from cupcake talk:

So this is what my husband and I got for Christmas....

Whether we wanted it or not. This Christmas Eve, North Texas got some unseasonable weather. I think the region was very unprepared for the weather that occurred that day.

My husband Alex and I closed our store, Reef Remedies, early that day, and picked up Alex's grandparents. We began our journey to Fort Worth, where Alex's Mom and Stepdad live. About halfway there, the roads had gotten terrible. We almost made it to their house, when this happened. Thankfully no one was hurt, including the family in the other truck. Needless to say, I am currently on the hunt for a new car. I loved this little car, but it is JUST a car. And I am so thankful that we still managed to have a Merry Christmas despite our achy necks and backs. :)

And by the way, the cupcakes in the car somehow escaped unscathed. But I was so frazzled by the entire experience, I completely forgot to take pictures. :(

Banana Nut Bars

My Mom recently got me this amazing cookbook, the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, Bridal Edition. I loved reading it from the beginning, because there is so much information. Even though this book is geared for the new bride, one that has never cooked before or even lived with her significant other, I still enjoyed it. My husband Alex and I lived together before we got married, so we had a well established kitchen long before we got married.

So I had a bunch of bananas that needed to be used up, and I thought the recipe for the Banana Nut Bars would be a perfect way to go.

I thought this recipe was very simple and easy to make. The icing glaze on top really made these bars great. Since my co-workers are usually my baking guinea pigs, they got to enjoy these the next day. I would certainly make these again.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pumpkin Pie cupcakes for Thanksgiving

Okay, so I'm a few months behind on this post. Not having internet service at home is kind of a bummer! We are waiting on Clear to become available in our neighborhood....hopefully it will be soon.

This year for Thanksgiving, I made the Martha Stewart Pumpkin Pie cupcakes. Aside from Wilton's Red Velvet cupcakes, this is the recipe that I have probably made the most times.

Alex and I spent Thanksgiving at his Mom and Stepdad's house in Fort Worth. My Mom had to work that day, it was kind of a bummer not spending Thanksgiving with the entire family. But, there is always next year!

Here is a cute shot of my husband Alex with his sweet grandmother, Carol.