Mojito Cupcakes

I know, I know – it’s been far to long since I’ve posted, but don’t fret, I’m still alive! It’s just been a crazy few weeks…

In the last few months I’ve returned to the United States after more than 7 months abroad, I moved to a new apartment in the awesome Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn and I started my senior year of colleges. It’s been quite the adventure these last 2 months settling into a new place, a new routine, a new life. So in the spirit of this new life, I am working on a new banner with my roommate and I am planning on posting a lot more in the future!! I promise! In fact, I already have many posts a brewin’ in my head, especially as the leaves turn and my favorite ingredient – PUMPKIN! – is starting to hit the shelves!

So to start things off, here are some cupcakes that I made a few weeks ago.

It was my friends 21st birthday, and in the spirit of all things alcoholic, I made some mojito cupcakes! I think I’m going to start adding alcohol to everything I made now as the addition of rum made these super tasty. Now all my roommates and I are big fans of mojito’s. So much so that when we walk into a party, we bring everything that is needed to make them – rum, limes, mint and sugar! We are walking bar. The cupcakes and the frosting both had copious amounts of rum and lime and I added some crushed mint to the frosting to give it the classic mojito taste.

MOJITO CUPCAKES

(Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

INGREDIENTS:

Cupcakes:

  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup mint leaves, bruised
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • Zest and juice of 1½ limes
  • 2 tablespoons white rum
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons white rum
  • Bunch of crushed mint

DIRECTIONS:

1) Combine the buttermilk and the ½ cup mint leaves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm until just starting to steam (do not simmer), then remove from the heat and cover. Let steep for 15 to 30 minutes. Once finished, strain the milk into a bowl using a fine mesh sieve. The milk may appear curdled or clumpy, but don’t worry, it will come back together. Press on any milk solids and mint leaves to extract all the liquid possible. Give the milk a quick stir to smooth it out and set aside.

2) While the mint is steeping in the milk, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

4) In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

5) Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

6)  Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and rum. Mix until combined. (The mixture may start to look curdled at this point, but don’t worry, it will all come back together, power on!)

7) Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.

8) Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pan at the halfway point.

10) Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. B

11) To make the frosting, whip the butter on medium-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.

12) Add the lime juice, rum and mint and mix on medium-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears a bit too soft, add some additional sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached.

13) Frost cupcakes and garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of fresh mint.

July 4th in the Desert

Last night, we had a 4th of July cookout here at Al Ahkawayn. As I made my way over to the tennis courts where we were told to meet at 6 pm, my nose was greeted with the wonderful smell of coals burning on a grill. I was excited at the prospect of a good ol’ American style BBQ, but unfortunately, while the coals were certainly real, the food was not. Okay, it was real food of course, but not what you’d expect on 4th of July! On the grill they had some chicken kebabs, beef kebabs and some big black hunks of meat that looked rather suspicious. I was told that it was liver and having never seen grilled liver before and after having heard so many horror stories about the food here at school this past week, I decided to steer clear. 

Even without the usual hots dogs and hamburgers, we still had lots of watermelon to make up for it, a star spangled banner and some old fashioned (and new) American tunes to keep us going. Some people even started a session on the electric slide!

Moroccans are very proud of the fact that they were the first country to recognize the United States as a new nation when it was created all those many years ago. We were reminded of this fact several times throughout the day by the teachers. I was amazed to learn that this little African country would want to recognize the US so quickly. Apparently, the Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship is the longest unbroken treaty the United States has with any country. Who knew!!

While it was no New York and we had no fireworks, although some of us pondered starting a bonfire, it was a far cry from last year when I was too sick from chemotherapy to really do anything that monumental except decorate patriotic cupcakes!

Sugarplum Cake Shop

I know what you’re saying, why on earth would I ever want to go to an American style bakery when I’m in Paris and delicious French pastries and sweets can be found at every corner shop? Well, for one, David Lebovitz said it was good, and anything he says must be true 😉 Second, while I was in Marseille, Charlotte kept telling me that having a bakery in France with all the cookies and things I like to make, such as snickerdoodles and pumpkin cake, would be something out of the ordinary in France, so I had to go check Sugarplum out.

On a side note, the street numbers in Paris are so confusing. I’m walking down the street with the numbers going up and I notice that number 63, where the bakery is supposed to be, but it is not there. Hmmm… I say to myself. I kept walking and good thing I did as for some reason, 63 was two blocks past 61 and 65 on the other side of the street. HOW CONFUSING! Anyway…

Inside is cute and similar to many bakeries back in NYC that I like so frequent, such as Cupcake Cafe and Butterlane. They have miss-matched chairs, a huge chalkboard with the extensive coffee and tea menu and a lovely counter full of all sorts of traditional American treats. They had cupcakes and scones, a huge tray of rice krispies and towering cakes that are reminiscent of the cakes from BAKED in Brooklyn. 

I was so happy to be able to sit down a write for awhile while enjoying my oreo cupcake and espresso. I still haven’t quite gotten down the whole coffee ordering thing yet. I really need to remember that I like cafe au lait here, not just straight espresso. Whoops! In my usual snooty cupcake ways, I thought the cake itself was a little dry, but the frosting was delicious. And they use mini jars for their drinks – my favorite! My bakery will absolutely have mason jars for drinks and miss-matched plates and silverware for all the cookies and other things I decide to make. I will definitely come back to try the rice krispies – one of my favorite treats.

And I found this little treasure on my way out…

Sugarplum Cake Shop
68, rue du Cardinal Lemoine (5th)
Tél: 01 46 34 07 43

Long forgotten, but still remembered

I must apologize for my lack of updates in the recent months. I’ve had a few recent bumps in the road in terms of my health that have kept me from updating as often as I would have liked (take a look here for more information on that side of my life – http://abvdinnyc.wordpress.com/) I’ve been baking a bit here and there still, but with summer upon us, I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things baking-wise!

Instead of backtracking to find all the recipes I’ve used in the past month, I thought I’d just share some pictures that I have taken of my creations. We’ve had a few birthdays in the apartment, Passover, and the usual baking adventures. I also hosted a baking birthday party for some 6 and 7 year olds along with my roommate. It was loads of fun and if anyone is interested in having a baking party, let me know!  With school over in just a few days, my time will be opened up once again to try some new things this summer!

Coconut brownies made during a ski vacation in Vermont. 

Chocolate cake with caramel butter cream, chocolate ganache, and salted praline for my grandfathers birthday. 

Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for my grandfathers birthday. 

Adventures in juice making with our lovely new juicer. 

Carrot, pineapple, and apple juice made at home. 

Lemon cheesecake cupcakes with glazed blueberry topping for a roomies birthday party. 

The birthday spread. 

The start of the most amazing meal I had while on spring break in France. 

The most perfect steak. 

Leading a six and seven year old baking birthday party. 
A sugar cookie baking adventure at a birthday party. 

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

It has been far too long since my last post – I apologize! I’ve just been really really busy with the end of school, finals, moving out, etc… But now I’m all done and ready to start baking all summer long! Once again, I’m living uptown at my uncle’s apartment while I work and volunteer in the city over the summer.  New York City in the summer is so much fun. There is always stuff going on – like free concerts and movies and amazing fairs and festivals. I plan on getting to the beach often as well to work on my tan and to start running again, which I’ve completely stopped doing. ahhhh!!!

Anyway, last week, for our final suite meal of the semester, I obviously decided to make a dessert. I settled upon oreo cheesecake cupcakes because a) they seemed delicious and b) they didn’t require many ingredients that I didn’t already have. Cheesecake has definitely become my new favorite thing because it’s just so easy to make. Basically, you dump all the stuff into the bowl of your mixmaster, turn on and wait for beautiful, airy, light, cheesecake to ensure. Obvisouly it takes a bit more work than that simple description but it’s close. It was a wonderful meal and a nice way to start the goodbye process to all my suite-mates. Three are headed back to California, one to Connecticut and my own roommate is staying in NYC with me!

I used my old valentines and halloween cupcake liners that I had laying around. After cleaning my dorm room for the move, I found all sorts of goodies – such as meringue powder, missing parts to my cake decorating set, and my long lost lemon zester that had fallen behind my bed. I think it’s safe to say that I had far too much baking stuff for my tiny little kitchen.

OREO CHEESECAKE CUPCAKES

(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 42 cream-filled sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

2) With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3) Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4) Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

Sweet Revenge

Now I like to think that I’ve tried my fair amount of cupcakes in my time here in New York City, and I’ve even had one from Sweet Revenge before, but something about the cupcake I had there on Friday night was just OUT OF THIS WORLD! My roommate and I had just been to this a small show down in the West Village and we decided upon Sweet Revenge since it was only a few blocks away. For those of you who have not been in New York City the past few days, let me just say that it has been very cold as of late, and Friday night was no exception. It was honestly one of the coldest nights I can recall in recent history. I’d say it was hovering around 5 degrees because of the wind chill. Anyway, enough about the weather. As we entered into Sweet Revenge after our mad dash from outside, we were struck with how sophisticated yet cute it was. With only a about 6 tables, an exposed metal bar, and a small selection of cupcakes, Sweet Revenge is definietly not your childhood bake shop.

I started with a Fleur de Sel cupcake and my roommate had a Dirty – which was basically all ridiculously dark chocolate. Both of them had a dark chocolate cake which was so moist and delicious, they tasted like they’d just been baked even though it was 10 o’clock at night. I find that often times the cake of cupcakes itself can tend to be a little dry, but this cake was on a whole different level. It was an actual mini cake, instead of a cupcake trying to impersonate a cake. The frosting on mine was a mix of caramel, butter, and the slightest hint of the most delicious salt. As I got to the center, an oozing ball of caramel drizzled down from the inside of the chocolate cake. It was outstanding. The Dirty cupcake has the same cake component, but a dark, rich, and creamy icing that was out of this world. If you are a fan of dark chocolate, this is the one for you. Often times, chocolate icing can become overwhelmed with the taste of butter, but this was all chocolate. It was liking biting into a piece of fudge on top of the most amazing cake ever. On the menu, it even had wine and beer pairings to go with all the different cupcakes they had. I’d say this would be the perfect place to go on a first date 🙂

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty successful trip to the West Village. We saw a very funny play and were treated to the most amazing cupcakes. As we exited the shop, I’d say it was once again about 5 degrees outside and we ended up taking a taxi back to the East Village because it was just SO cold. I’m sure that the next time I find myself on that side of town, I will also be finding myself at the bar of Sweet Revenge.

Monster Cookies & Birthday

So yesterday was my birthday! I’M 20 YEARS OLD! I can’t believe  it. I feel so old, but at the same time, no different then I did last week. I guess it will just take a little time to settle in the fact that I’m now in my 20’s. My dad joked that he doesn’t think I’ve changed in 20 years, except for maybe a little more hair and my grandfather said he wasn’t sure I’d make it this long 😉


Saturday night, my roomies threw me an incredible party! My lovely roommate took it upon herself to go to four different cupcakes shops in the city to get different cupcakes so that we could have a sampling. It was so much better then cake. Instead of one type of cake, we all got to try chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, mocha, s’mores, and many many more. She got them from Butter Lane, Crumbs, Cupcake Cafe, and Chikalicious. It was amazing! We played a massive game of charades and then broke out the karaoke machine and sang some amazing songs. There was a slight damper on the evening when the fire alarm went off at 1:30 in the morning, but once we got back inside, I got to open all my presents! All and all, I’d say it was one of my most memorable birthdays.

Now of course, even I couldn’t go without baking for my own birthday. I decided on some cookies that I had planned on making weeks ago, but couldn’t because the dough has to be fridgerated for hours. Basically a mix of oatmeal, peanut butter and some M&M’s, monster cookies are bound to become my new comfort cookie. Except for the fridge time, they were incredibly easy to make and to add to the peanut butter, I decided on peanut M&M’s instead of plain ones. The 5 cups of oatmeal lends to many many cookies – I’d say about 40 cookies. I gave a bunch away to my family because there was no way we could finish them all. Hopefully they’ll enjoy them 🙂

MONSTER COOKIES

(Adapted from BAKED)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 ¾ cups rolled oats
  • ¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¼ tsp light corn syrup (I didn’t have any, and didn’t feel like venturing out to get any, and they seemed to turn out fine without)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chunky peanut butter (I used smooth)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) milk or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) M&M’s (Decided on peanut M&M’s instead to give it even more peanuty flavor – used three packages)

DIRECTIONS:

1) In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the oats and stir until combined.

2) In the bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and pale in color.

3) Add the sugars and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

4) Scrape down bowl and add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth (about 20 seconds) and scraping down bowl after each edition.

4) Add the corn syrup and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

5) Scrape down bowl and add peanut butter. Mix on low speed until just combined, add the oat mixture in three additions, mixing on low speed until just incorporated.

6) Use a spatula or wooden spoon and fold in the chocolate chips and M&M’s.

7) Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate for 5 hours.

8 ) Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

9) Use ice cream scoop to scoop out dough into 2- tablespoon size balls on two baking sheets – 2 inches apart. (I just used my hands)

10) Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time. Let cool on pans for 8-10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine

On Sunday afternoon, my roommate, another suite-mate and I decided to venture out into dreary New York City on a little adventure that would finally take us out of the dorm room after being tucked inside all day. Even in the first weekend back at school, I had loads of homework, but was luckily able to finish almost all of it by Sunday afternoon. Anyway, recently I found an article in TimeOut magazine that has a map of all the cupcake shops that are worth trying in NYC. Now, I like to think that I know quite of few of these shops already and have frequented many of them myself, but I thought it would be fun to take the map and try to cross of as many of the shops as possible that I’ve been to. Here is an account of our first stop…

So Sunday afternoon the three of us made our way to Sugar Sweet Sunshine down on the Lower East Side. Ironically enough, as we made our way past Houston and into Soho, we commented on how close this section of town actually is to our dorm, but how rarely we even walk the few blocks down there. It really is a whole different world. Cobblestone streets, cute little shops, many more things in Chinese (as you make your way towards China Town), and just an entirely different ambiance than the East Village. I’ve decided that I really must go down there more often, given how incredibly close it actually is.

From my impression of the website, I expected some pink and flower filled little shop playing classical music while serving cupcakes and tea. This was not the case, but what I saw was so much better. With mismatched wallpaper across the walls, vintage cushions and chairs, polaroids across the wall, exposed kitchen, and hand written signs, Sugar Sweet Sunshine is the kind of bakery I would want to go and hang out at any day. Although it was a little crowded and the line flow was not the most practical set up, it was still a fantastic looking place. It all came together with bakery thongs that they were selling next to the register.

On to the cupcakes! Between the three of us, we shared two classic (white cake, white frosting) and one red velvet. I would rate these as some of the better cupcakes I have had in NYC. Not only were they super cheap – 1.50 – by New York standard, but they had the perfect texture and taste. The frosting was deliciously buttery and the red velvet had some flavor in it that I still can’t put my finger on, but was absolutely mouthwatering. I gobbled my halves up in all of two minutes, because they were just so GOOD! As we sat at our table, we noticed that they also sold tiramisu in a cup. They had big bowls of tiramisu and would take a big spatula and put a whole hunking heapful into a cup for your enjoyment. I will have to try that the next time I go, which I’m hoping is very soon 🙂

Banana Cupcakes

First post of the New Year!! I know it’s already two weeks into the 2010, but I’ve just returned to North Carolina where I have a full service kitchen and supplies. I spent the past three weeks visiting my mom in Israel. It was loads of fun, but her kitchen is nothing to write home about. She had a baby oven, a hot plate, and well, that was just about it. I was able to make a few different dinner meals with our limited appliances, but no baking. Needless to say, I still ate lots of delicious things during my visit. In my opinion, food – especially dairy products – are just better in Israel. I guess that’s why they call it the land of milk and honey. 😉 I had a hot chocolate almost everyday from either Aroma or Cafe Hillel. Both for superior than any hot chocolate you can get at an American cafe. I could go on and on about all the food I ate in Israel, but I’ll spare you my rant.

Now that I’m back in Raleigh – I head back to NYC tomorrow – I’ve jumped into baking once again. Last night, we had the whole family over plus a few extra friends for our usual Saturday/Sunday night meal together. Instead of actually cooking a meal though, we ordered thai. I guess when I think about it, we order Thai food more often than regular meals. Okay, that’s not true at all, but sometimes it feels like order food from them all the time.

Anyway, for Chanukah I got a new cookbook – Baked – and I decided to make banana cupcakes. My original intention had been to make monster cookies, which resembled kitchen sink cookies with peanut butter, but after realizing that they had to be put in fridge for 5 hours, and guests were coming in about 2, I come to the conclusion that those were a no go. And then when my dad pointed out to me the 4 incredibly blackened bananas sitting on the counter, banana cupcakes seemed like the way to go.

The cupcakes themselves were very yummy. Much lighter then banana bread, and a little sweeter as well. (Side note – my dad made banana bread the other day and FORGOT to put SUGAR in it. He tried to hide his error by saying you could just put jam on it to sweeten it up, but there was no lying, it was lacking sweetness). Back to the cupcakes – they were easy enough to make. Given the bananas, they were a little thicker than basic cupcake batter making them easier t scoop into the tin. My dad was in charge of the icing. It was actually a vanilla pastry cream. It was a rather tedious thing to make – heating half & half, whisking for 6 minutes, and straining through a sieve. Once it was strained and in the fridge, it seemed to be thickening up nicely, but the first time we took it out of the fridge to try and frost them, it was just like pudding, falling everywhere. So we put it back into the fridge for another 45 minutes or so and it thickened up nicely. I’m not sure I’d make it again – it was much more like pudding than frosting – but for the banana cupcakes, I think they actually complemented each other well.

BANANA CUPCAKES WITH VANILLA PASTRY CREAM

(Adapated from BAKED)

INGREDIENTS:

CUPCAKES

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (I used 4)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

PASTRY CREAM

  • 3 cups half & half
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

CUPCAKES

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.

2) Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a large bowl and set aside.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.

4) Add the sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl, add eggs, and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bowl again and add the bananas.

5) Turn the mixer to low, add the flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, in three addition, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.

6) Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 way full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes our clean.

7) Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let for 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pans and place them on the rack to cool completely.

PASTRY CREAM

1) Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl.

2) In a medium saucepan, bring the half & half to a simmer and keep warm.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt together until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. Whisk half of the warm half & half into the yolk mixture, then pour mixture into the remaining half & half in the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 6 minutes.

4) Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through the sieve and press and piece of plastic wrap directlcy onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.

5) Put in the fridge for about 1 hour, or until chilled. (I’d say more like 2 hours).

ASSEMBLY

I simply took the cream, put it in a plastic bag, snipped off the end, and attempted to frost them presentably. Since the cream is simply that – more cream like than thick frosting like – it tended to pour over the sides of the cupcakes, but with a slice of fresh banana on the top, they looked okay. Depending on how thick your cream turns out, I think there are countless ways to frost them – whatever floats your boat 🙂

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Am finally back in the lovely city after spending some quality Thanksgiving time in New Mexico. Why was I New Mexico you might ask? Well, my mom has some really good friends out there who she hadn’t seen in ages, so she decided that was where we had to go. Don’t get me wrong, Santa Fe was beautiful – old pueblo houses, lots of open space, and it even snowed! – but I was still the slightest bit bored. I spent a lot of time reading, which was really nice, since I never get to do that anymore. Other than reading and eating an obnoxious amount, I did just about nothing. In retrospect, I guess that’s what having a break is all about, so I can’t really complain. The food we had for our Thanksgiving meal was classic – turkey, gravy, stuffing, veggies, mashed potatoes, and a lovely apple spice pie. A learned a new trick from the pie maker – freeze the butter or shortening and then grate it into the flour to incorperate. I will have to try it next time I make a pie, since testing out different types of dough is one of my favorite things to do. 🙂

Last Sunday, before we all parted our separate ways, my suite-mates and I all decided to have our own Thanksgiving dinner. We all signed up for the classics – turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, green beans, etc. I of course, had to make a dessert. Sadly enough, on the Sunday of our meal, I was required to stay at work for a horrible little meeting to go over holiday sales. It was one of the worst two hours of my life. By the time I got back to the room, everyone was finished eating, but as amazing as they always are, all my suite-mates saved me a bit of everything. And let me just that it was all AMAZING! There was so much food – delicious apple yams, filo dough balls, mixed veggies and more! I gullped everything down in a matter of minutes.

I made pumpkin pie cupcakes, which were exactly as the title puts it – mini pumpkin pies. Thankfully, knowing I was going to be late getting home from work, I made them the night before so they were ready when everyone sat down to eat. They were quite simple to make – just like real pumpkin pie but with a bit of flour and cupcake liners instead of a pie tin. They definitely sink a little bit once they have cooled off, which is why adding a dollop of fresh whipped cream on top is a must. These will definitely go down in my holiday recipe cache for next year.

PUMPKIN PIE CUPCAKES

(Adapted form bakingbites.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice

3) In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk until well combined.

4) Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.

5) Fill each muffin cup with approximately 1/3 cup of batter.

6) Bake for 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan. They will sink as they cool.

7) Chill cupcakes before serving. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.