April 16, 2010

Strawberry Cupcakes II

I guess I'm obsessed with strawberries.  I've made a lot of strawberry recipes lately.  Here's another strawberry cupcake recipe.  This one was very light and airy, probably in part due to the cake flour.  The frosting is lovely, but not my favorite tasting frosting, though it's received rave reviews from others.  At least try it once for it's unconventional ingredients and method.

April 5, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I make cinnamon rolls about twice a year. They're a little labor intensive, but mainly it just takes several hours for all the rising and baking. Totally worth it, though. I also enjoy these with cream cheese frosting (see below for recipe).

Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from an Internet copycat recipe for Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 c. warm water (105-115°)
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. warmed milk or almond milk
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 c. flour
3 Tbsp. melted butter, divided
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. chopped walnuts, optional
1/3 c. raisins, optional
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. hot water
Cream Cheese Frosting (use instead of Glaze)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 cups powdered sugar

In a small bowl mix together warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp. sugar and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix milk, 1/3 c. sugar, melted butter, salt and egg; stir well and add yeast mixture. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour until dough is slightly stiff (dough will be sticky). Turn out onto a well-floured board; knead 5-10 minutes.

Place in well-buttered glass or plastic bowl, cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts, until doubles in bulk, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. When doubled, punch down dough and let rest 5 minutes. Roll out on floured surface into a 15x20” rectangle.

Spread dough with 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Mix together 1/3 c. brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts and raisins, if desired. Roll up jellyroll fashion and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 1-inch thick slices with a serrated knife.

Coat bottom of jelly roll pan with remaining butter. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in pan. Let rise in warm place until dough is doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until rolls are nicely browned. Cool rolls slightly.

For Glaze: In medium bowl, mix melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla; add hot water until glaze reaches desired spreading consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

For Cream Cheese Frosting: Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to a small food processor. Blend until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well mixed and desired consistency is reached. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.

April 4, 2010

Chocolate Puddle Cookies

I had to try them just because they were chocolate.  Oh, and because they were flourless and so I was intrigued by what their texture might be.  They were very rich and chocolately, and the pecans were amazing.  They were also a little gooey and tricky to remove from the parchment paper, but now that I'm typing up this post, I see I put in too little cocoa powder.  I'm sure more dry ingredient would have helped them out.  I had them crumbled over homemade vanilla gelato - very tasty.

Chocolate Puddle Cookies
from Heidi Swanson, 101cookbooks.com

3 cups walnut halves, toasted & cooled
4 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon real, good-quality vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 320F / 160C degrees and position racks in the top and bottom third. Line three (preferably rimmed) baking sheets with parchment paper. Or you can bake in batches with fewer pans.

Make sure your walnuts have cooled a bit, then chop coarsely and set aside. Sift together the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Stir in the walnuts, then add the egg whites and vanilla. Stir until well combined.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared sheets in mounds of about 2 tablespoons each, allowing for PLENTY of room between cookies. These cookies are like reverse Shrinky Dinks - they really expand. Don't try to get more than 6 cookies on each sheet, and try to avoid placing the batter too close to the edge of the pan.

Bake until they puff up. The tops should get glossy, and then crack a bit - about 12 -15 minutes. Have faith, they look sad at first, then really blossom. You may want to rotate the pans top/bottom/back/front.

Slide the cookies still on parchment onto a cooling rack, and let them cool completely. They will keep in an airtight for a couple days.

Makes 18 large cookies.

April 3, 2010

Strawberry Cupcakes

I was tempted to buy strawberries, even though I knew it was too early in the season and that they probably wouldn't be very flavorful.  And, yep, they weren't that good.  But hidden in these cupcakes and enhanced by sugar, I couldn't tell the strawberries lacked flavor.  I made these into mini cupcakes because I wanted to share them, so I wanted more than the regular size yield of 12.  I made my own strawberry puree by washing and hulling strawberries and processing in a food processor until chunks disappeared.  I added the leftover puree to plain yogurt - yum!

The original frosting recipe made way too much and was very runny. (see photo below).   Since making these cupcakes the first time, I have experimented with the frosting recipe.  My version is more firm. 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream-Cheese Frosting
Recipe from Deborah Mele (Adapted from Martha Stewart) - italianfoodforever.com

2/3 cup strawberry puree
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted, softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs

For the Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 Tbsp. unsalted, softened butter
1/2 8-oz. package cream cheese (4 ounces)
2 Tbsp. strawberry puree
2-3 cups confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper muffin liners in a 12 piece cupcake pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each. Add the milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree. Add half the sifted flour mixture and mix on low speed. Add the remaining flour and continue to mix until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cupcake liners and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in a center cupcake comes out clean. Cool.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the strawberry puree, and begin to add the confectioner's sugar until you reach desired consistency. Frost the cupcakes and enjoy!