Archive | April, 2013

Mini vanilla bean cupcakes with buttercream frosting

22 Apr

This one’s for my mom.

Not because she loves cupcakes, or because she taught me to bake (though both of those are true), but because she sends me sprinkles all the time.

I’m not even kidding. Valentine’s Day? Four containers of pink sprinkles. Christmas? Mini Christmas tree sprinkles. Fourth of July? You guessed it, red, white, and blue sprinkles.

As you might imagine, I’ve amassed quite a sprinkle collection, so every now and then, I make cupcakes just to make some progress on reducing my sprinkle stash. This is one of the more delicious forays into sprinkle-using I’ve found — and they’re awfully cute!


Vanilla bean cupcakes (adapted from DamnDelicious)


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • Seeds from one vanilla bean (instructions here)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Mini cupcake wrappers


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare two mini muffin pans with mini cupcake wrappers. If you can’t find any, you can also spray with PAM, but it definitely works better with wrappers.

2) In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder).

3) In a medium bowl, mix the yogurt, milk, and egg whites.

4) In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Gradually stir in the vanilla bean seeds and the vanilla. Once it is well mixed, alternate adding the dry mixture and the wet mixture until fully combined. Do not over mix.

5) Pour batter into mini muffin pan, filling each 3/4 of the way full. Cook for 9-14 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

6) To make frosting, mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer and whip until fluffy. Wait until cupcakes cool completely to frost. Dip in whatever sprinkles you have handy!

Snickerdoodle muffins

17 Apr

When I was growing up, my mom used to make snickerdoodles pretty much once a week from November through January. They weren’t ever my favorite cookies, but I found them hard to resist while warm. Then one day I tried a snickerdoodle muffin, and knew that I’d found my own preferred method of snickerdoodle consumption.

ImageSnickerdoodle muffins

2 sticks salted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 1/4 cups flourFor rolling: 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixed together in a separate bowl

1) Preheat the oven to 350F.
2) Cream the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer. Add vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
3) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tarter, and nutmeg.
4) With the stand mixer on low speed, add alternating amounts of flour mixture and sour cream until completely mixed, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then.
5) Scoop out muffin batter one at a time, and roll in the cinnamon sugar until covered completely. Place muffin in greased muffin tin. I usually get about a dozen and a half.
5) Bake for 20-22 minutes. Eat while still warm.

Strawberry shortcake with homemade whipped cream

15 Apr

Though I may be a picky eater, I’ve never met a strawberry I didn’t like. So when I had to whip up a quick dessert for an impromptu dinner party tonight, it only seemed right to make strawberry shortcake with some berries I’d gotten earlier this week.

Warning: These disappeared really quickly, so make more than you think you need.


Strawberry shortcake

1 pound strawberries, washed with greens/tops cut off

1/2 cup sugar

1 quart heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

For the biscuits:

3 cups flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

First, make the biscuits.

1) Preheat the oven to 425.

2) In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter until it is in pea-size pieces.

3) In a separate container (I just used a pyrex measuring cup), mix together heavy cream and vanilla, then slowly add to the dry ingredients. If this isn’t enough liquid, you can add heavy cream gradually until you are able to incorporate all ingredients.

4) Place waxed paper or parchment paper on cookie sheet, then roll out the dough to 3/4″ and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5) Using a glass, cut out round biscuits – should create about 12. Cook for 14 minutes at 425, then let cool before eating.

Then, prepare the strawberries.

1) Wash strawberries, then cut off tops and greens.

2) Slice thinly and mix with 1/2 cup of sugar. Let sit for 20 minutes, then stir/mash gently.

Next, make whipped cream.

1) In a stand mixer, combine powdered sugar and heavy cream, and blend on high until whipped cream consistency. Add vanilla, mix, and transfer to another bowl.

Finally, assemble your dessert and enjoy!

Blueberry scones

14 Apr

Spring has definitely sprung in Washington, D.C., as shown by the tourists, the tulips, and the sudden reappearance of berries at the grocery store.

While I’m usually not too much of a berry fan, these scones seemed like the perfect blend of sweet and seasonally appropriate. In fact, the first time I made them, they disappeared so quickly I didn’t get a single picture, so I had to make them again!


Blueberry scones

2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 T baking powder

6 tablespoons salted butter (cold)

5-6 ounces fresh blueberries (tip: smaller blueberries work better)

2 large eggs

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

One lemon’s worth of grated lemon zest

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and grease a scone pan or a cookie sheet.

2) Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut in the cold butter until the mixture is somewhat sandy. Gently mix in blueberries.

3) In separate bowl, combine yogurt, lemon zest, almond and vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix well.

4) Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and mix gently. Pour in half cup of heavy cream, and mix until just barely incorporated.

5) Shape into triangles (either in scone pan, or by rolling out and cutting into wedges). This should yield 8-12 scones. Cook at 375 for 22 minutes.

Vanilla cupcakes with Meyer lemon curd and blackberry buttercream frosting

10 Apr

Sometimes when I go to Whole Foods, I end up buying random ingredients that I haven’t ever used on the theory that it will force me to be creative. That’s how I ended up with a bag of Meyer lemons and a container of blackberries this week.

With the help of some friends on twitter, I decided that both would pair perfectly in a summery cupcake — and with DC’s high of 90 degrees today, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Warning: this recipe uses a LOT of eggs and a LOT of butter. Make sure you have plenty before you start, because the usual dozen eggs and 2lbs of butter you keep on hand just won’t cut it.


Vanilla cupcakes with Meyer lemon curd and blackberry Italian buttercream frosting

For the cupcakes:

2 3/4 cups cake flour

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

12 tablespoons butter (salted)

4 large egg whites, plus one whole egg

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (1%, 2%, and whole all work fine)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

For the Meyer lemon curd:

6 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

4 Meyer lemons (though I’d have an extra just in case)

1/2 cup butter, salted, cut into 1 inch pieces

For the frosting:

2 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

12 egg whites

8-12 oz blackberries

1 1/2 lbs salted butter

1 tsp vanilla

First, make the cupcakes.

1) Preheat the oven to 350, and prepare two cupcake pans with cupcake liners.

2) Combine the cake flour, sugar, and baking powder in a stand mixer. Then, add butter and mix until fully incorporated.

3) Add the egg whites, one at a time, and scrape down the bowl after each addition. Then, add the whole egg, and beat well.

4) In a separate, small bowl, add the greek yogurt, milk, vanilla, and almond extracts. Add this mixture to the batter, and mix until fluffy.

5) Pour batter into the cupcake pans, and bake 18-20 minutes. They’ll be done when a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

6) Put cupcakes on a wire rack to cool while you make the frosting and lemon curd.

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 12.59.04 PM

Next, make the lemon curd.

1) Mix egg yolks and sugar in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir in lemon juice, and heat over medium heat for 15 minutes, making sure curd does not boil.

2) Stir in butter until melted.

3) Strain the curd using a fine mess strainer, then add lemon zest. Set aside to cool.

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 1.00.19 PM

Then, make the frosting.

1) Put the egg whites in a stand mixer, and whip until stiff.

2) In a medium sauce pan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Do not stir. Boil for seven minutes over medium heat.

3) Pour the sugar mixture slowly into the egg whites, and beat until the bowl is cool to the touch (approximately 15 minutes).

4) Cut butter into small pieces, and add them slowly to the sugar/egg white mixture.

5) Once the butter is all mixed in, add vanilla and blackberries. I used 6 oz, which wasn’t quite enough – taste and add berries until you like the flavor.

6) Beat frosting until light and fluffy.

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 1.01.17 PM

Lastly, assemble the cupcakes.

1) With a cupcake corer or knife, core the cupcakes (and save the pieces!)

2) Spoon a small amount of lemon curd into the center of each cupcake.

3) Put the small piece of cupcake back on top of the lemon curd, and cover with frosting.

4) If you have remaining blackberries, top each cupcake with a blackberry.

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 1.02.05 PM

If you have leftover lemon curd, it will be fine in the fridge for a week or so (if it lasts that long!) If you have leftover frosting, I’d recommend freezing it. When you’re ready to use, thaw and whip in a stand mixer until it’s at the desired consistency.

Double chocolate muffins with salted whiskey caramel frosting

8 Apr

Now, I suppose that technically, if you’re frosting them, these are cupcakes. That said, muffins you can eat for breakfast, and cupcakes you can’t, so I’m hereby declaring them muffins for all morning eating purposes.

There’s really not much more to say, now is there.


Double chocolate muffins with salted whiskey caramel frosting

For the muffins:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 dutch process cocoa powder (you can also use unsweetened cocoa powder, but splurge for the dutch process if you can)

1 3/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup salted butter, very very soft

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup coffee

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

5 tablespoons butter (salted)

1 cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup whiskey (I used Knob Creek, but Jack Daniels and Makers also work well)

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ cups white sugar

¼ cup light corn syrup

¼ cup water

1 tsp sea salt

2-4 tablespoons milk

2 lbs powdered sugar

First, make the cupcakes.

1) Preheat the oven to 350, and prepare the muffin tins (I used cupcake baking cups, but you can also just grease).

2) Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and cocoa in a large bowl — I recommend using a stand mixer.

3) Add butter, and mix at low speed for 30 seconds. Then, add vegetable oil, and mix at low speed until the batter is a sand-like texture.

4) In a separate bowl, combine coffee, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla. Slowly add to the flour mixture.

5) Add eggs while mixing on low speed, and mix until fully combined. Don’t forget to scrape down the edges of the bowl.

6) Add mini chocolate chips, and mix for another minute or so, then pour into cupcake pan. Bake for 21-23 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

1) Heat the heavy cream, butter, whiskey, and vanilla over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove immediately from heat, and set aside.

2) In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, water, and corn syrup. Heat over medium-high heat, but DO NOT STIR. Bring to a boil, and continue to cook until it is golden brown.

3) Once the sugar mixture is golden brown, stir in the heavy cream/butter mix. Careful: it will bubble up violently. Stir occasionally over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 235 degrees. This usually takes 5-10 minutes, but will depend on temperature/humidity/etc. Once it reaches that temperature, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes.

4) In a stand mixer, mix the slightly cooled salted caramel sauce with 1.5 lbs of powdered sugar (no need to be exact) and one teaspoon sea salt. Add powdered sugar or milk until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Wait for cupcakes to cool before frosting them. Once frosted, sprinkle a bit of additional sea salt on each cupcake.

Coffeecake muffins

6 Apr

Most weekends, I have brunch plans, which means I avoid cooking breakfast at home.

This weekend, though, I had a slow Saturday morning, and figured I’d use the time to make one of my favorites – coffee cake. I only made it in muffin form so that I wouldn’t accidentally eat the whole thing…but I’m surprised by how well they turned out.

Screen shot 2013-04-06 at 9.23.23 AM

Coffee Cake Muffins (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe)

1/4 cup brown sugar (I used light, but dark would work just as well)

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 stick salted butter

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

6 oz greek yogurt (I used 0% fat but 2% also works)

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan.

2) Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium size bowl, set aside.

3) Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour/sugar mixer. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor. You want the butter to be in very, very small pieces, almost a sandy texture.

4) Add 1/2 cup of the flour/sugar/butter mixture to the brown sugar, and mix thoroughly. Set aside again.

5) Put 3/4 cup of flour/sugar/butter mixture in a small bowl, and set aside.

6) Add baking powder and baking soda to remaining flour mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the greek yogurt, egg, and vanilla – mix well, then add to the flour mixture in the large bowl. Stir until just barely mixed.

7) Take the small bowl of flour/sugar/butter mixture, and incorporate into the large bowl of dough. Just barely mix. Spoon mixture into 12 muffin tins.

8) Top the muffins with the brown sugar strudel. Bake for 18 minutes.

Note: At this point, you might be tempted to make a basic sugar glaze (one cup powdered sugar, 2 tsps water) and drizzle it over the coffeecake muffins. This would be a great decision.

Beer muffins, part 2 – Guinness and Sharp Cheddar

3 Apr

After my first successful adventure with beer muffins, I decided to try my hand at another recipe, this time with a beer I’m much more likely to have around the house – Guinness. I paired it with a sharp cheddar, and tossed in some green onions for a little extra kick.

Like the other beer muffins, these are best served warm – and I won’t judge you if you eat them for dinner.


Guinness and Cheddar Muffins 

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, plus extra for sprinkling

2 green onions, chopped (whites and greens)

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (separate)

6 oz Guinness

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a muffin pan with Pam.

2) Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3) Add shredded cheese and green onions and mix.

4) Melt 1/4 cup of butter, and add to dry mixture. Add beer, and stir until just barely mixed.

5) Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way full. Melt the additional two tablespoons of butter, and drizzle over the muffins. Top with shredded cheese.

6) Bake for 18-20 minutes, then eat while still warm.

Beer muffins, part 1 – Corona and Monterey Jack muffins

2 Apr

This all started earlier this week when a twitter follower of mine suggested making beer muffins.

Beer muffins you ask? What are those?

Well, they’re basically muffins, but using beer instead of yeast, and adding cheese. As you might imagine, my response was a combination of “um, what?” and “YES PLEASE.”

So this was my first attempt – using Corona and Monterey Jack. Don’t worry, there will be plenty more to come.


Corona and Monterey Jack Muffins 

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded, plus extra for sprinkling

2 green onions, chopped (whites and greens)

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (separate)

1 Coronita (or 7 oz Corona)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a muffin pan with Pam.

2) Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

3) Add shredded cheese and green onions and mix.

4) Melt 1/4 cup of butter, and add to dry mixture. Add beer, and stir until just barely mixed.

5) Fill muffin tins 2/3 of the way full. Melt the additional two tablespoons of butter, and drizzle over the muffins. Top with shredded cheese.

6) Bake for 18-20 minutes, then eat while still warm.

Apple Cider Caramels – fall flashback

2 Apr

I realize that it’s no longer fall, and that as the cherry blossoms start to bloom here in DC, that it’s time to start making more spring and summer treats.

But that doesn’t stop me from thinking back to these delicious apple cider caramels I made this fall, and wishing that apple cider was available year round.


Apple Cider Caramels (Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen)

4 cups (945 ml) apple cider
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick salted butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark works)
1/3 cup heavy cream

1) Boil the apple cider in a medium saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to a thick syrup and is about 1/2 cup in volume. This took me about 45 minutes, but will depend on your stove/humidity/etc. You can stir occasionally, but don’t need to stir constantly.

2) While the cider is boiling down, butter a 8×8 inch glass pan and set aside.

3) Once the apple cider has boiled down, remove it from heat and add the butter, brown and white sugars, and heavy cream. Return to medium-high heat, and boil until a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees. This shouldn’t take more than 7 or 8 minutes, but trust the thermometer.

4) Pour caramel into the prepared glass dish. Mix cinnamon and kosher salt together, and sprinkle over the prepared caramels.

5) Let caramels cool completely, then slice into desired sizes. If they are a little gooey, stick them in the fridge for an hour or two to make slicing easier.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: