Main Dishes

recipes I’ve shared elsewhere

Who else is *thrilled* with this Daylight Saving thing? Yes, seriously. I love it. Obviously the whole getting up in the dark thing (without being able to just sit with a cup of coffee and watch the sky fill with light) is mostly terrible. But I can’t express how happy I am to get off the train at 7pm and not have it look like the middle of the night. As much fun as it is to watch the day begin, happen, and disappear from the windows of the office–or NJ Transit, it’s more more preferable to feel like I actually have some semblance of a day post-work.

Speaking of which, I have a new gig, and there are a lot of snacks. And by a lot, I mean on Thursday we tasted five grilled cheese sandwiches. FIVE. Speaking of snacks, I’ve shared some recipes on the internet recently, and you should probably check them out…and maybe even make some yourself!

Sweet Potato Tater Tots

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How to Make Homemade Cocktail Bitters + Low-Intensity Bitters Cocktail

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Matcha Hi-Hat Cupcakes

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Banana-Oat Blender Pancakes

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Quinoatmeal with Honey-Roasted Oranges

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Looking for more pictures of food (I know you are!)?

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Desserts

seventy

Semi-Mini Post: Doctored Mix Chocolate Cupcakes with Homemade Peanut Butter Filling/Frosting

If there’s anything in this world I like to shame-eat in large quantities, it’s chocolate. And if there’s anything I like to do that with and pretend I’m being healthy, it’s peanut butter. So naturally this recipe involves both of these vices. A lot of the parties I go to (of which there are obviously many because I’m so #popular) are potluck dinners/barbecues, and I’m usually asked to bring dessert because, well, duh. I have a couple of rules when bringing dessert to parties: 1) This dessert will have a 97% chance of involving chocolate 2) It will not be store-bought, no matter how many times the host hints that they love Entenmann’s 3) Unless it’s a dinner party consisting of less than 20 guests, there is an 80% chance the dessert will be semi-homemade (e.g., doctored cake mix, doctored brownie mix, ice cream sundae bar with homemade sauces, etc.) So I’m here to present you with a great partially-mini post (in that it involves cake mix AND homemade frosting) that is sure to please at a party of fifty or five! My favorite part to this recipe is the frosting: instead of cream, I use plain yogurt. It makes an incredibly delicious and lighter-than-air frosting, VERY different from my buttercream frosting.

Cupcakes

– 1 box chocolate cake mix (I love this one, it tastes really pure and chocolatey AND only has 7 ingredients, all fully pronounceable. You can find it at Whole Foods)

Prepare the cake mix according to the directions. The box I used called for eggs, vegetable oil, and milk (I used buttermilk; it makes for a more homemade taste. Don’t ask me why it works, but it does!) Spoon the batter into a lined cupcake pan about halfway for each cup. My trick for getting even cupcakes: this ice cream scoop measures the perfect amount of batter every time. (And just in case you were wondering, no I’m not getting any sort of endorsement from Crate & Barrel, I just link to them all the time because they have the greatest kitchen stuff!) Bake according to the directions and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before letting them cool completely on a wire baking wrack.

Frosting (covers and fills about 20-24 cupcakes; recipe is my own creation)

– 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter, room temperature

– 1 1/4-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

– 1 stick butter, room temperature

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

– pinch of kosher salt

– 1/3-1/2 cup plain yogurt

With an electric mixer, beat the first five ingredients on medium low speed, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every 30 seconds or so, until creamy. Add the yogurt a little at a time, beating on high speed until light and fluffy.

Assembly

Once the cupcakes have cooled, spoon some of the frosting into a 12 oz. squeeze bottle. Insert the nose of the bottle into the cupcake and fill the inside with a bit of the frosting. Repeat this four times all around the top of the cupcake. Do this to every cupcake. (Theoretically, that step isn’t necessary, you can simply frost the tops and move on, but filled cupcakes are just so much better in my opinion, and the agonizing wrist pain is totally worth it). Once the cakes are filled, top each one with an additional dollop of frosting and smooth to your liking. Top each cake with a generous drizzle of honey or agave nectar for another level of flavor. Crushed honey roasted or plain peanuts work great too!

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Desserts

thirty two

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes with not-at-all-vegan Raspberry Cream Cheese filling and Buttercream Frosting

Now there’s a mouthful of a recipe! But #srsly, these are worth it. Don’t be frightened by the v-word titling the recipe: I pinky swear, you wouldn’t have known they were vegan unless I told you. Okay, if you’re still wary, the amount of dairy that consumes the other 2/3 of this dessert will certainly make up for it! The cupcakes themselves are incredibly light, not too sweet, and pretty much amazing on their own, then with the filling and frosting they basically become out of this world decadent. I made these to try to convince all my favorite people not to move away for the summer while I hang in my hometown crying and alone independently exploring my passions. Wouldn’t you hang out with me for a few months if I showed up at your door with these? Lemme know.

Cupcakes (adapted from A Beautiful Mess, a blog so trendy I almost can’t take it. They’re amazing.)

– 2 1/2-3 cups all purpose flour (the batter gets super liquidy, so first add the 2 1/2, then slowly add more as you see fit)

-2 cups granulated sugar

– 2 tsp. baking soda

– 1/2 tsp. salt

– 2/3 cup canola oil

– 2 cups water

– 2 tsp. vinegar

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin or cupcake pan with paper liners. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine all wet ingredients in a large bowl, then transfer the dry to the wet and mix well until all lumps have disappeared. Fill cupcake pan most of the way full and bake 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Filling

– 6 oz. whipped cream cheese

– 1/2 raspberry preserves

Combine cream cheese and preserves with an electric mixer until smooth, then store in the fridge until the cupcakes have cooled.

Frosting

– 1 1/2 cups softened unsalted butter

– 1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar

– 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine butter and 1/2 cup of sugar at a time with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth and at your desired sweetness. Add vanilla. Store in the fridge until the cupcakes have been filled.

Assembly

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely use a knife to cut a small cone in the center of the cupcake. Spoon the raspberry filling into a pastry bag (or ziplock storage bag with the tip cut off) and fill the cupcake until they’ve just overflowed a bit. Use a spatula or a butter knife to cover the top of the cupcake with the filling. Then spoon the filling into another pastry bag (I also decided to use a festive piping tip*) and frost the center top of the cupcake so a little pretty pink is still showing. Store in the fridge to avoid a melted buttercream situation unless you’re planning to devour immediately!

Sorry for the weird yellow lighting that seems to have happened in the pictures..my kitchen is apparently not a photo studio nor is my iPhone a d3000….

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*comme ça: closedstar_tip

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Desserts

twenty one

German Chocolate Cupcakes

According to The Food Timeline, historians have placed German Chocolate cake in 1957 Texas. A recipe for the cake was sent to a Dallas newspaper by a housewife (I love when that happens) calling bakers to use a brand of dark baking chocolate developed by American Sam German. So, German Chocolate cake in fact has nothing to do with Germany! Who’d have thunk it?

I have adapted this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s German Chocolate Cupcake recipe. The coffee, sour cream and buttermilk mixture make the cakes perfectly moist and not too sweet, which is perfect because the topping (a fantastically sticky mixture of coconut, butter, and nuts) takes care of any sugar cravings immediately. In short, these non-German desserts are so good you probably need to stay in America to eat more of them after the first batch is finished……….and on to the recipe!

Cupcakes

– 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

– 2/3 cup granulated sugar

– 2/3 cup dark or light brown sugar

– 2 eggs at room temperature

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 cup buttermilk or appropriate amount of dry buttermilk and water (as I said in a previous recipe, use dry buttermilk as it is much easier to always have in the fridge than real buttermilk, which I don’t believe anyone actually drinks.)

– 2 tbsp. strong coffee or espresso

– 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

– 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Ghirardelli)

– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

– pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking pans with 28 liners (Fact: this recipe says it makes 14 cupcakes. Fact: I made 28 perfectly sized cupcakes out of this recipe. Fact: the barefoot contessa is clearly making some ridiculously large cupcakes. Fact: you can make your cupcakes as big as you want) In an electric mixer combine butter and sugars and blend on high speed for about 5 minutes for prime fluffiness. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, coffee, and the buttermilk (if you are using dry buttermilk, add the water at this time instead). In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt (AND the dry buttermilk powder if you’re using it! It’s very easy to forget this step! Don’t!) On low speed alternate adding mixtures in thirds, starting with the sour cream mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides occasionally and to make sure batter is completely blended. Divide the batter between cupcake pans (I used large soup-spoonfulls) Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Topping/Frosting

– 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

– 1 12 oz can evaporated milk

– 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

– 5 large egg yolks lightly beaten

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 tsp almond extract

– pinch of salt

– 2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut (you can use sweetened, but I think that tends to be too much sugar)

– 1 cup sliced blanched almonds

– 1 cup chopped pecans

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the milk, sugar, egg yolks, both extracts, and salt with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a simmer on medium heat, stirring constantly. Lower heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Don’t let it boil! If it gets lumpy whisk vigorously off the heat. Take mixture off the heat and pour through a sieve (there’s an 87% chance a few lumpy bits of cooked egg are hiding in this mixture) then add the coconut and the nuts. Let cool for about an hour, then frost cupcakes. Warning: Do not try the topping before frosting the cupcakes. It will be too delicious and you will probably eat it all.

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