Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blood Orange Mimosa Cupcakes

Recipe Review: The prefect brunch cupcake! You'll have some leftover champagne so pour a glass and enjoy with your cupcake!

Last year I made my good friend Amber champagne cupcakes for her birthday. This year I took it one step further and made blood orange mimosa cupcakes. They use the champagne cake and buttercream recipes that I followed last year- along with a blood orange filling, and candied blood oranges for garnish.

Champagne Cupcakes
yield: 15 cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup champagne

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer (or in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment) until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition.  Add vanilla and mix. 

In a medium sized bowl mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together champagne and sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble). Add flour 1/3 at a time, alternating with champagne and sour cream mixture. 

Fill cupcake liners with level 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 17-20 minutes until tops are just beginning to brown. Cool completely before frosting.

Champagne Buttercream Frosting

1 cup champagne plus one tablespoon
1 cup butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Place 1 cup of champagne in a small saucepan, and simmer over medium high heat until it has reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

Cream softened butter. Add confectioners sugar in three batches, using a medium high speed. Add in reduced champagne and additional tablespoon champagne and mix well.

Blood Orange Filling

1.5 cups chopped blood oranges, with pith removed
1/4 cup blood orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp corn syrup

Add orange pieces, sugar and orange juice to a saucepan. Cook on medium low for 5-10 minutes until a syrupy mixture forms. 

Mix corn syrup and water together with a fork or small whisk to make a slurry. Add to the pan, and stir constantly for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will go from opaque to translucent and thicken considerably. When the mixture is thick and goopy, remove from head and allow to cool to room temperature. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. Can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight, if desired.

    Sugared Orange Slices

    2 oranges sliced thin
    2 cups sugar
    1 cup water

    Bring a pot with 2 cups of water to a rolling boil. Thinly slice lemons, add to water and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain lemons and place in a cold water bath.
    Add sugar and water to pan and stir until sugar dissolves completely. Add lemons to sugar water and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, and cook for 1 hour.
    Spray a cooling rack with non stick spray. Transfer lemons to rack to set for 24 hours. 

    A few notes- 

    I added a little bit of the filling to the frosting to turn it light pink, then piped it own using a IM wilton tip. I also melted some filling and drizzled it on top. The pictures don't really show it that well but there is also edible disco dust glitter that I got at a local baking supply store- Do it with Icing.  I used these adorable baking cups from bake it pretty that I picked up last year but haven't really known what to do with. I really liked the look and think I'm going to have to use more baking cups like these in the future!

    The birthday was great. We took the ferry to Coronado Island and had lunch then walked around a little. The day started out clear- (see pic above) but then got rainy towards the end of the afternoon. It worked out perfectly for me as I sometimes secretly enjoy rainy afternoons and curling up with a cup of tea and a book. I'm currently re reading Hunger Games after seeing the movie reminded me how much I loved the books.

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Rave Review: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix

    Gluten Free baking is still a pretty scary thing for me. Luckily I don't have to do it that often, but last week I was going to a dinner where the hostess is gluten intolerant. I didn't want to bring something to her house that she couldn't eat (that seemed like a faux pas) so I turned to Bob's Red Mill.

    I used the recipe on the back of the bag for cheddar rosemary biscuits, (which I can't type up here because I tossed the bag without thinking) except left out the cheddar and threw in some extra rosemary. The kitchen filled up with this incredible rosemary smell while it was baking. These took only about 10 minute of prep time, and most of the heavy lifting was done by my Kitchenaid. Everyone loved the biscuits. They went great with our mixed green salad and salmon. Kudos to Bobs Red Mill for making a tasty, easy to whip up gluten free mix.

    I have to say- a dinner party can be stressful but we did a great job of diving up duties so that no one was overwhelmed. The hostess made the main dish, then the rest of us brought the sides. Easy!

    Friday, March 2, 2012

    Thin Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

    Warning- these are super duper chocolatey- so if you go into a heavenly chocolate mint coma after eating one, don't blame me. You were warned. 

     The thin mint themed recipes continue with thin mint cupcakes! You know I couldn't resist this one right?? The breakdown of what we have here is, chocolate and mint frosting, on a chocolate cupcake. I used some left over thin mint truffles and popped them in the batter- but honestly that didn't work that great. The fudge was a little too dense. If you want a surprise in the cupcakes I would suggest putting a whole cookie at the bottom of each cupcake before pouring the batter in. That's what I'm gonna do next time! If you can't get your hands on the cookies this will still replicate their classic chocolate mint flavor.

    For the base I used my standby Martha one bowl chocolate cake recipe. Its an easy recipe with constant results, but what really makes it is the frosting. Also I've noticed that with this particular recipe the cake is yum day of, but the quality declines rapidly after. This is a great recipe to use for cake pops since its simple and only uses one bowl.

    Thin Mint Cupcakes
    adapted from- Martha Stewart
    yield- 18 to 24 cupcakes

    3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/ 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs
    3/4 cup warm water
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    24 thin mint cookies

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line pan with cupcake papers and place a cookie in each one.

    Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk & vinegar mixture, oil and vanilla to bowl and mix well until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bottom of the bowl to ensure batter is well mixed.

    Pour batter into muffin cups, over cookies, filling 2/3rds full. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before frosting.

    Chocolate Mint Frosting
    yield- enough for 24 cupcakes. 

    adapted from: allrecipies.com
    yield: enough frosting for 2 dozen cupcakes

    1/2 cup butter
    4 oz unsweetened chocolate
    4 cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup milk
    1 tsp peppermint extract

    Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in the top of a double boiler. In a large bowl combine sugar vanilla and 1/2 of the milk. Blend in the chocolate mixture. Whip on medium high setting of mixer with whisk attachment. Add peppermint and remaining milk a little at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

    The best part about this frosting is that you can make it as minty as you want. Be careful. Peppermint extract is really strong. I only used a small amount in because I really wanted the taste to be mostly chocolate with a hint of mint.

    In other news... Kevin finished my thin mints. Yep. I woke up last week to find the empty sleeve sitting on the kitchen counter. He claims that he had low blood sugar in the middle of the night and they were the only thing we had. Hummph. While I guess that is sort of a pretty good excuse for eating the last 4 thin mints it still sucks. I still haven't had a chance to make thin mint brownies, so I guess those girl scouts are gonna be getting more of my money.