Tag Archive for AbbiGail Adventure

#81: Day of the Dead Chocolate Cinnamon Cupcakes

In September 2009, I started a cupcake adventure. (At this rate, I may never finish! And, I’m not sure I even want to, so, ha!) If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Would you look at that? Yummy! I can still smell the cinnamon/chocolate combo!

I made the icing first…butter and powdered sugar.

Milk, Mexican vanilla, and cinnamon were then added to round out the icing, which was set aside until later.

The base of the batter was (used guessed it), butter and sugar.

Four eggs were separated and the yolks were added to the cake batter.

More Mexican vanilla…this time in the batter.

Then, Mexican chocolate was added. This was something I’d never purchased before, so it was exciting to try something new.

Mexican chocolate comes in disks like this:

The chocolate was then melted (I used the microwave) and added to the batter.

Dry ingredients were added next…

And the whites I saved earlier were beaten until they formed stiff peaks.

So fluffy!!

The beaten eggs were then mixed into the batter.

And baked! These cupcake papers were a birthday gift from a friend. She found them at IKEA and they are designed in such a way that you don’t need a muffin tin…just a cookie sheet. Very cool!

They made cupcakes bigger than regular sized, but not quite “jumbo” sized.

Next, the icing I had set aside earlier was added to the top.

YUMMY!!!

If this recipe (or any other from the Abbi/Gail Adventure) intrigues you, I highly recommend getting Gail’s book. Your local library may even have it. This recipe is on page 138!

 

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#50: Creme Brulee

In September 2009, I started a cupcake adventure. (At this rate, I may never finish! And, I’m not sure I even want to, so, ha!) If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Doesn’t that just look yummy?! You can almost taste that sweet caramel on top, can’t you? Mmm!

These cupcakes start with dry ingredients mixed together and set aside while the butter and sugar get creamed together.

Egg yolks are added and whites are saved for later.

That makes the base of our batter.

Milk comes next…

and alternates with dry ingredients…

…to form a more complete batter:

Then the real excitement begins! Grab a tube of caramel ice cream syrup.

And add it to the batter.

Nom nom!!

Remember those eggs whites we set aside earlier? They are going to come into play now.

Whip it…whip it good!

Until the whites form stiff (but not dry) peaks like so:

Fold the beaten egg whites gently into the batter.

Portion out your batter into cupcake papers and while those are baking, mix together the ingredients for the frosting.

Over low heat, melt together the frosting ingredients.

It’ll start to get frothy as it warms up.

We want to slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring non-stop, for one minute.

We allow that concoction to cool a bit, add vanilla, and beat until it’s thick enough to spread.

Now that these beauties are done baking, it’s time to top them off!

I wouldn’t necessarily call this “frosting”…probably more like a glaze. It took several tries to figure out how much to put on top of each cupcake. Too little and they didn’t get adequately covered (and a cupcake frosting shortage is a shame!); too much and it dripped over the edges.

But there were some, like this one, that were p-e-r-f-e-c-t!

Here they are, packed and ready to go…off to the home of a hungry family!

If this recipe (or any other from the Abbi/Gail Adventure) intrigues you, I highly recommend getting Gail’s book. Your local library may even have it. This Creme Brulée recipe is on page 93!

 

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#106: Dessert Cups

In September 2009, I started a cupcake adventure. (At this rate, I may never finish! And, I’m not sure I even want to, so, ha!) If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Need a simple way to make a dessert that doesn’t require many ingredients? You’ve come to the right post!

Ingredients:

  1. Candy Melts by Wilton or Make’n Mold wafers or other baking chocolate (regular chips in chocolate, white chocolate, mint, etc. work fine, too.)
  2. Cupcake papers (save your cute ones for another project…this is a good chance to use up those out-of-season or mismatched ones!)
  3. Fruit or other “filling.” I chose to use thawed, frozen strawberries from my grandparents’ farm. Yummy!

You start by melting the wafers in a microwave or double boiler.

You then use a pastry brush to get a dip of chocolate…

And “paint” a layer of chocolate all over a cupcake paper like so:

Here’s what a single layer looks like. You can tell by the transparency of the chocolate in the bottom that it’s important to do several coats! At least with candy melts. I’m not sure you’d have the same problem with chocolate chips or other baking chocolates.

I did a total of three coats and had some issues getting a smooth coating. The first coat was a little tricky to get on, and after that, subsequent coats of warm chocolate kept melting the previous coats.

So…they looked a little globby, but since they were going to be covered up, it wasn’t a problem! :) I refrigerated them for 15-20 minutes to make sure the chocolate was nice and set.

Once the chocolate had cooled and hardened, next came the really fun part! Peeling off the paper! The three coats made them nice and sturdy, but I still worked carefully to remove the wrappers.

Here they are peeled and ready to be filled!

I drained my strawberries and placed a scoop in each cup. I wish I had had more berries to go around and some whipped cream to top them off!

The original recipe suggested drizzling the fruit with raspberry sauce, but I just sprinkled each one with a pinch of sugar instead.

Darling!

Since making these, I’ve thought of so many fun ways they could be used! Mini ice cream bowls, “baskets” for Easter treats, pudding cups, yogurt parfaits.

You could even use them as mini serving bowls to hold nuts, mints, sprinkles, garnishes, and other small party foods.

And since Candy Melts come in so many colors, you could even make these bowls in pink or blue for a baby shower or in a bride’s wedding colors.

The best part? No dishes to wash…just serve and eat!

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#96: Strudel Cups

Seventeen years ago, THIS was how we celebrated my sister “Sonny’s” (Allison’s) birthday:

Well, today she’s the big 1-8, and I would be remiss if I did not give her a

birthday shout out!

Since she’s living in Nebraska for the next month (though SOON to become an Okie transplant, like moi!), and I can’t be there to celebrate her today, I’m doing the next best thing (cyberly speaking): PHOTOS of cupcakes!

The following cupcakes are from my “Abbi-Gail Adventure.” Yeah, remember that? It’s been awhile. These are recipe #96, Strudel Cups:

The ingredients for Strudel Cups are pretty basic: (that’s melted butter in the bowl)

Phyllo dough is a funny thing. It’s pretty much like edible tissue paper. Very strange. I’d never worked with it before, and that was my first impression of it while it was raw…it’s Kleenex-like.

First, you cut the phyllo dough into fourths, cram a piece of it into a sprayed muffin tin, and brush a layer of melted butter on it.

And repeat.

And repeat.

And repeat several more times, in several more muffin cups.

Add some lemon juice to your chopped apples,

…some cinnamon,

…some sugar,

…some chopped walnuts,

some ground almonds and golden raisins, and give it all a good stir!

Fill each muffin cup with a heapin’ helpin’ of the strudel filling.

And bake until golden.

Once these were baked, I removed them (carefully!) from the tins and placed each one on a bright red muffin paper to give them a little pizzazz! Easy, though, not many of us would consider this truly a “cupcake.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SEESTER!! I LOVE YOU!!!

When I see you again, we shall bake! :)

#41-Piña Colada Cupcakes

In September, I started a cupcake adventure. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Today is my dear friend Megan’s birthday!! It’s been 9 years since we first met in a Survey of Western Arts history class in college. We hit it off immediately and it didn’t take us long to become close pals, especially when we figured out our apartments were just one mile apart! So many of my fond college memories (and beyond!) include Megan. She has such a sweet disposition and is the kind of friend a friend would like to have. Despite the several states that separate us now, she has continued to put forth the effort to keep in touch and continue our friendship…including traveling to Oklahoma to be one of my bridesmaids!

0484

After nearly a decade, Megan remains one of my favorite people to talk to and spend time with. She’s an incredible artist and if she were here, I would make here these cupcakes! :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGAN! These are for you! ((After this baby is born, we should get together for REAL piña coladas…and maybe some turkey/spinach tacos! haha))

***

The first step was to cream together butter and sugar and then add eggs one by one.

01butsugegg

Next, pineapple juice and rum combined to make the ‘liquid’ part of the batter.

02pineapplerum

Dry ingredients and the pineapple/rum mixture were alternately added to the butter/sugar/egg mix.

03stir

Pretty yummy looking batter, huh?

04batter1

Next, a scoop of coconut was added to increase the Piña Colada effect. :)

05batter2

Then, egg whites were beating within an inch of their lives…

06eggwhite

…until they formed stiff peaks:

07stiffpeak

The beaten egg whites were gently folded into the batter.

08foldwhites

And the little suckers were ready to be baked.

09ready

Mmmm.

10baked

Then, there was more beating of egg whites…

11beateggs

to which powdered sugar was added…

12powsug

to create the icing.

13icing1

And, yup, more coconut.

14icing2

Then, these morsels of sunny goodness came into play. Oh man, do I LOVE dried pineapple!

15pineapple

Each cupcake was iced and topped with a wedge of dried pineapple.

16group

Yes, ma’am. This round’s on me!

17cupcake

And just to be sure they were tasty enough to share, I took one for a test drive.

18yum

All that’s missing is a little paper umbrella!

One Third Behind Me

In September, I started an adventure. The goal was to work my way through an entire cupcake cookbook, one recipe at a time. The whole book features 113 recipes, and to date, I have baked, tasted, and posted about 38 of the 113 types; roughly one third of the book.

Done Cupcakes

Some have been extra-tasty-ooh-let’s-make-these-again-sometime recipes while others have been ‘never-agains’. No matter how they taste once finished, each batch has taught me a little more about cooking (and myself). I’m telling you, there are life lessons to be learned in the kitchen!

You can find the corresponding post to each one of these batches here. Thanks for following along and commenting as I make my way through the book. The feedback I get from you makes this crazy idea all the more worthwhile. :)

Cheers,

Abbi

#102: Cupcake Kabobs

In September, I started a cupcake adventure. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

What, you’ve never heard of a Cupcake Kabob before?!

00intro2

The first thing I did to prep the kabobs was grab a bunch of these:

14skewers

And a bunch of these:

06fruit

If I could help it, I didn’t want to repeat colors on each kabob, so I skewered the candied fruit slices on the sticks so I could get a feel for how things would pan out.

00sticks

The next several steps are the same ones I followed to make the Lamington Mini-Cupcakes. In fact, the same mini-cuppies were used, so I just repeated the photos here in case you missed the Lamingtons post (shame on you, by the way).

01butsug

02wet

03batter

04mold

Like I mentioned before, it made a BIG batch…which is good when you have lots of kabobs to create!

05many

The icing was a simple paste made of warm milk and confectioner’s sugar.

07fondant

Each mini cupcake was hand-dipped in the icing,

08dip

and the excess was given a moment to run off.

09excess

Here’s the tricky part…you have to refrain from just gobbling these up after they are dipped. It’s difficult, let me tell you! Especially since they are so miniature and cute!

10dipped

Since I managed a sliver of self-control long enough to add some sugar sprinkles, this was the final result:

11sprinkled

Now, repeat a million times with various colors of sugar sprinkles.

11sprinkled2

Okay, maybe not a million, but MANY times nonetheless.

12many

Mmm. If you are the impatient type, you could just stop here, slap these babies on a plate, and call it a day. You just wouldn’t be able to call them “kabobs.”

13many

I then added one cupcake of each color (orange, yellow, pink) to a skewer, alternating fruit slices in between.

15kabobs

And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat….

16kabobs

Since these were for a bake sale, I wrapped each one in cellophane, tied the ends with cheerful yellow ribbon and called it a day.

17wrapped

They were absolutely darling.

18set

And I was absolutely spent.

#79: Halloween Orange Juice Cupcakes

In September, I started a cupcake adventure. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Halloween?! Yes, I know it’s April now. I didn’t choose the names for the cupcakes I make…I’m just working my way through the book. Never mind the timing, or the title for that matter, if it bothers you that much. :) Besides, the finished product doesn’t look Halloweeny at all. So there.

First, of course, I creamed together butter and sugar.

01butsug

If you EVER need to zest something, get yourself a microplane zester. It will change your life (at least in the kitchen). Promise.

02microplane

I zested the living daylights out of this orange, being careful not to shave down into the bitter pith.

03zest

Then, I squeezed the juice from the zested orange,

04oj

added some lemon juice,

05lj

and then added some water to make 2/3 cup.

06wet

I gathered together my dry ingredients, including the orange zest.

07dry

Dry and wet ingredients were alternated into the mixer with the butter/sugar combo to make the batter.

08alternate

The zest was folded in,

09addzest

and red food coloring was added to make the batter a deeper orange color.

10batterdye

Now, if these aren’t the most fun papers…makes me feel like singing and dancing around in the summer sunshine! (oh, wait, it’s only April.)

11papers

The final batter reminded me so much of the orange sherbet push-up-pops from my childhood.

12creamsicle

And the color was so pretty after the cupcakes baked, too.

13baked

Next, orange juice and powdered sugar formed the basis of the “icing”, which you’ll soon see isn’t much like a frosting at all.

14syrup

In fact, after it boiled, it was more like a jelly.

15cooked

Few things make a cupcake cuter than a jellied fruit slice.

17orange

Each cupcake had a corresponding slice and they waited to be merged using the jelly topping.

16slices

Again, to deepen the orange color, food dye was added.

18syrupdye

THAT’S more like it!

19orangesyrup

A dollop here, a dollop there, here a dollop, there a dollop, everywhere a dollop dollop.

20dollop

Ta Da! Looks like a tropical drink of some sort!

21single

So many neon orange cupcakes…

22set

and they just looked so cute, I couldn’t stop myself from posing with one of them.

23cutie

Nor could my husband avoid jumping in the shot after I peeled the paper in preparation for the “bite shot”. Ha!

24hubs

25bite

The jelly topping definitely made for a different experience, but if you like orange-flavored foods or jelly-filled donuts, you’d probably dig these.

Boo! (had to get some sort of Halloween reference in there!) :)

#86: New Year’s Eve Confetti Cupcakes

In September, I started a cupcake adventure. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Now that 1/4 of 2010 is behind us, it’s a good time to remind you of the fun and excitement that came with ringing in a new year! What better way than with a batch of confetti cupcakes?!

14set

First…you get to take out some aggression on a bag of Jolly Ranchers. :)

01aggression

Aren’t they pretty? All those little candy bits look like pirates’ treasure! Jewels!

02jewels

Then…guess WHAT!…you cream together butter and sugar to start the base for your batter.

03cream

Eggs and other such ingredients round things out.

04batter

Then the pretty candy pieces are thrown into the mix.

05mix

Sorta looks like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles that sat in milk too long, huh?

06batter

The yellow (and red) papers complemented the confetti batter quite nicely.

07baked

Next, sugar and egg whites are combined to form the icing.

08sugarsyrup

Once that mixture is a bit frothy…

09frothy

You use another pan to continue beating the eggs/sugar over boiling heat (definitely not for the faint of heart).

10boil

Once that process is finished, the icing resembles fluffy divinity.

11divinity

Slap some of that sugary goodness on each cupcake and you’ll have something that looks a little something like this:

12iced

Naturally, you can’t have “confetti” cupcakes without confetti sprinkles!

13single

Cute!

15setb

The Jolly Rancher chunks melted in the oven and gave the whole cupcake an interesting fruity flavor. There were no hard bits left and since the color blended, there were no bright, concentrated bits like you might expect from those commercial “Funfetti” cake mixes.

16insides

Overall, a fun way to ring in the new year (Or a new month. Or a birthday. Or for no particular reason at all.)

#75: July 4th Red Velvet Cupcakes

In September, I started a cupcake adventure. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Whenever I have several batches of cupcakes to make, I start by measuring out my dry ingredients into labeled containers. It saves me a lot of time measuring and dividing.

01tubs

As with most every recipe, you start by creaming butter and sugar, and then add the egg(s):

02cream

With Red Velvet cake, you use an obscene amount of red food coloring…this recipe called for 2 TB!

03red

Obviously, all that coloring give the batter a killer shade of maroon:

04RED

Then, the dry ingredients are added.

05adddry

As is the milk. You’ll notice that the dry ingredients include cocoa…Red Velvet cake is essentially just chocolate cake with a boatload of dye in it.

06addwet

Here’s our batter, ready to be baked!

07batter

And here they are, fresh out of the oven!

08baked

The icing the author suggests for these cupcakes is similar to the one I use for most of my cakes: a buttercream made from shortening, powdered sugar, water, and flavoring (vanilla used here).

09icing

Once that was whipped up, I prepped my piping bag to make decorating a snap.

10pipe

LOVE LOVE LOVE rosettes. They are so simple and so elegant all at the same time. And what’s NOT to love about sugar sprinkles?!

11white

I also made some red buttercream and accented the rosettes with large white heart sprinkles.

12redswirl

When the icings started running low, I mixed the two together to create a swirl effect.

13twist

They looked pretty cute as a set, too. These did very well at my cousin’s bake sale. I guess everyone loves Red Velvet!

14set