Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mistakes can still have happy endings

My friend Amy invited me to borrow her kitchen for a little "away from home" baking. So I looked in the book for a simple recipe that didn't require frosting. And alas, I discovered the Blondie Cupcakes! Super simple to make, no fuss, and no frosting. PERFECT! So I went to the local Hy-vee (greatest place on earth) and got my ingredients.

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
1/4 cup toffee bits

Yay for fun ingredients! Wait... what? Peanut butter chips? DANG IT! Yes, it's true. I was on the phone with my mother, and was very distracted, and grabbed peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch. Okay. So sue me. The cupcakes still tasted great and the world didn't explode, so I think all is going to be okay.

Also, the batter looked a bit thick. So I added a couple of tablespoons of milk to wet it down a bit. We then got more cupcakes than the recipe said we would, but who is going to throw a fit about TOO MANY cupcakes? I thought not. They still were amazing. I'm a huge recipe changer today... sorry guys. They were still awesome, so I'm not too worried about it. I promise.

Fresh out of the oven! The baking time was less than what the recipe says, be forewarned.

Doesn't that look sweet?

These cupcakes are wonderful, because of the different chips and nuts in them. I loved the cashews. Great idea!

Amy definitely approved. These cupcakes are super sweet and super simple. THESE are the ones to make when you have to bake for a bunch of people. They are a great idea. However, if people don't like nuts, I can't guarantee that they'll be huge fans. Take these to meetings, functions, school parties, potlucks. They are a real winner. Happy baking!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yogurt makes everything better!

Lemon-Yogurt cupcakes with Raspberry Jam are elegant and simple to the pallet. It's really interesting how you don't need super crazy flavors to make a tasty cupcake. The lemon is powerful and almost makes you pucker, and the raspberry is sweet and really kick the cupcakes up to another level. You can't taste the yogurt in the batter, but it makes the cupcakes tender and moist. However it was still really easy to slice then when adding the raspberry jam. They appear fancy, but take no time at all. I love recipes like this!

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature plus more for tins
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for tins
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs separated, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (FRESH!)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup seedless raspberry jam or preserves
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
I don't think I can emphasize enough how much of a difference FRESH lemon juice and zest make. These are the two ingredients that make these cupcakes, so do it right. It takes no time at all, and is so worth it.

YUM. And that turns into THIS!

Well... I guess I'm missing a few steps. First, the slicing.

Then the Raspberry-ing.

After fruit comes the dusting!

Of course the last step is the delicious-ing!

Don't they look all fancy with their sugar dusted tops and raspberry layers!?

These little guys were a total hit. They were simple flavors dressed up with pretty layers and a delicate presentation. They were a little time consuming with all the slicing and the spreading, so I don't know that I would recommend making these in mass quantities. However, I think they would be very lovely at your next tea party or coffee break. They really let people know that you went the extra mile to make something look almost as wonderful as it tastes! Happy baking.

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