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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spooky Dark Chocolate Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Frosting

I've been dreaming about these cupcakes for weeks! When Kelsey found this drool worthy recipe I knew we had to make them for Halloween. The dark chocolate and peanut butter flavor combination is reminiscent of trick-o-treat fare and the little bat toothpicks add a little extra holiday flare. These wonderful treats were a big hit at the office Halloween party. Have a Happy Halloween!


Cake Ingredients:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, sliced down into 1 tablespoon
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup sour cream (full 8oz container)

Cake Instructions:

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees and line your pan with cupcake cups.
  2. In medium heatproof bowl combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder. Heat mixture over a saucepan of simmering water until butter and chocolate are melted and whisk until smooth and combined. Set aside to cool until just warm to the touch.
  3. In small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. In second medium bowl wish together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until fully incorporated.
  5. Add cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour about one-third of flour mixture over chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
  7. Then fold in sour cream before mixing in the remaining flour mixture. Note: batter should be thick.
  8. Fill cupcake cups 3/4 of the way with batter and bake until skewer inserted into center of cupcakes comes out clean.
  9. Let cupcakes cool to room temperature before icing.

Yield: 24 cupcakes (we overfilled ours so the batter only made 20 cupcakes)

Prep Time:20 minutes

Bake Time: 18-20 minutes

We had some problems with our frosting. We didn’t have cream so we subbed in skim milk, however because of the difference in consistency between the two we had trouble deciding how much to use. Our first attempt was great, but after sitting out while the cupcakes cooled it became difficult to spread. When we tried to add more milk it wouldn’t fully incorporate. Finally we had to scrap the first batch and start over. This time we used the frosting while it was still freshly mixed and it turned out great! The frosting was delicious and I look forward to attempting it with cream next time.

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (Note: We used milk because we didn’t have any cream on hand.)

Frosting Directions:

  1. Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Use an electric mixer on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work.
  3. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Yield: Enough to frost 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Easy Pumpkin Custard

Martha, you've outdone yourself again. Why would I expect any less? I read a pumpkin custard recipe from my blog subscriptions and, since I've had pumpkin on the brain, it only seemed natural that I had to make some. Since this is my first time making any sort of custard I decided to play it safe with a Martha Stewart recipe from Whole Living. I was really excited to use my new custard dishes I found at Dollar Tree (dishwasher, microwave, AND oven safe). I don't know how these landed in the dollar store but they are a gem. (Note, FSU colors!) It turned out very well, basically a crustless, personal pumpkin pie. Megan and I enjoyed some while avoiding homework. Procrastination, GO!


Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (12oz can) evaporated milk 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (heaping)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • In large bowl, whisk pumpkin, eggs, milk and vanilla. In small bowl, mix brown sugar, cornstarch, spices and salt, breaking up any clumps. 
  • In batches, add dry mixture to pumpkin mixture until well blended.
  • Pour into four 3/4-cup custard cups. Place the cups in a 9 X 11-inch baking pan. Add enough warm water to come halfway up the sides of the custard cups. 
  • Bake 40-50 minutes, or until set and browned lightly. 
  • Transfer the custards to a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Japanese-Mexican Fusion Fish Tacos

When I was assigned a remediation project on "collaboration" in my editing class I wanted to do something unexpected. So I decided to cook a fusion meal. Successful collaboration is organic and balanced, a concept which easily transfers from the classroom to the kitchen. After some searching I found an intriguing recipe for Japanese -Mexican fusion guacamole,which inspired me to attempt a full Japanese-Mexican meal. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the flavors complemented each other to create a unique dish. This was an exciting and tasty adventure into a style of cooking I've always found fascinating!

Guacamole Ingredients:
  • 2 large avocados - halved, peeled, and pitted
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • a splash of hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • The original recipe called for 10 shiso leaves, chopped (My grocery store didn't have shiso leaves, but thanks to one of the comments on the original recipe I knew basil and mint create a similar flavor. So I subbed in 5 basil and 5 mint leaves and it turned out great.)


Directions:
  • Combine avocados, lime juice, onion, jalapeno pepper, basil, mint, ginger, wasabi paste, white pepper, and hot sauce into a bowl.
  • Mash until no large pieces of avocado remain, or to your desired consistency.
  • Mix in the diced tomato and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Note: keep one of the avocado pits and put it the container with your guacamole to keep it fresh.

Fish Taco
Ingredients:
  • Three fillets of tilapia (or any other white fish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • flour tortillas
Directions:
  • Cut the tilapia fillets lengthwise into about one inch strips.
  • Place the strips of fish into a plastic bag with the spices and shake until the fish is well coated.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet and pan fry the fish strips.
  • Serve on a tortilla with guacamole and garnish with chives.
Cook time: 5-7 minutes
Makes: 5 or 6 tacos

Monday, October 25, 2010

BBQ Pineapple Tofu

I haven't done a Meatless Monday post in awhile and it's been a long time since I've cooked with tofu so I decided to kill two tofurkies with one stone (har har har) with this easy meal. Prep time was only about 15 minutes because a lot of the steps you can do while you're waiting for something else.


Ingredients
Servings: 2 large portions
  • 8oz extra-firm tofu, drained and diced
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce (I suggest brown sugar or honey)  
  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks
  • 2 servings of white rice (I suggest boil-in-a-bag rice)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
Directions
  • (Ahead of time) Drain and dice tofu into 1/2 cubes. In a medium bowl toss tofu with 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and half of juice from pineapple can. Put in fridge and marinate 15-30 minutes.
  • Prepare rice according to package directions, adding remaining pineapple juice to the water
  • In medium skillet heat olive oil. Add garlic and tofu, along with any extra liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until most of excess liquid is gone.
  • Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup water and mix with remaining 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce. Add to skillet and cook additional 1-2 minutes. Serve over rice.

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