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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: May 2009

Coffee Cupcakes with Coffee Liqueur Buttercream

These cupcakes are so good that I can’t think of much else to describe them besides this: utter bliss. They are pure cupcake utopia. They taste like the most perfect version of a latte. They are sweet, but not overly sweet, with the wonderful flavors and aroma of fresh coffee.

As a side note, this is my 100th blog post. I can’t belive I made it to 100! I’ve learned so much since starting this blog, and I appreciate all of your comments, advice and encouragement!

Coffee Cupcakes
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dark roast coffee grounds
1/2 cup strong brewed, dark roast coffee
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon milk
1 Tablespoon Coffee Liquor or milk if non alcoholic

-Preheat oven to 350°.
-Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
-Add sugar. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
-Add eggs one at a time, beat until incorporated.
-Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and coffee grounds in a bowl.
-Measure out coffee, milk and liquor together.
-Add about a fourth of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
-Add about a third of the milk coffee mixture and beat to combine.
-Repeat above, altering flour and coffee, ending with the flour mixture.
-Scoop into cupcake papers about two thirds to three quarters full. These cupcakes well shrink a bit once they are cooled.
-Bake 20-25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.

Note: Be careful when adding the coffee/milk mixture to the batter. If you add it too quickly, the batter will look curdled. Add it slowly and you’ll be just fine!

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Source: Joy the Baker, originally from Cupcake Bakeshop

I’m normally not a fan of buttercream, but this one can’t be beat. Coffee? Yes. Coffee Liqueur? Oh yes. This made a ton of buttercream, so if you’re making it to go with these cupcakes you will definitely want to half it. I’m submitting this recipe to Joelen’s Tasty Tools Blogging Event for hand and stand mixers. I can’t think of a better way to showcase the power of a stand mixer than showing what it does to six sticks of butter.

Coffee Liqueur Latte Buttercream
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1/3 crushed espresso or french roast coffee beans (I used coarsely ground coffee, slightly less than 1/3 cup.)
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup salted butter
1/2 3 ounce package of white chocolate instant pudding mix
1/3-1 cup powdered sugar, depending on taste

-In small sauce pan, bring cream and coffee to a high simmer.
Once simmering, cover, remove from heat and allow to cool.
-In a stand mixer, beat butters and pudding mix on high until butter is light and fluffy.
-While the butters are beating, strain the cream/coffee mixture into a glass measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer.
-Add the coffee liqueur to the cream.

-Reduce speed on mixer to low and very slowly add the cream/liqueur mixture.
-Increase speed to medium once the liquid has incorporated and blend 3-4 more minutes.
-Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar, starting with 1/3 cup and adding more to taste.
-Once all the sugar you want is added, beat on medium high for an additional 3-5 minutes.

Source: Adpated from Fields of Cake and Other Good Stuff

Roasted Garlic Risotto

Risotto is a wonderful dish because of the many variations that can be made to it. Eric and I, as serious garlic lovers, couldn’t resist a dish that combined creamy risotto with the sweet, caramelized flavor of roasted garlic. That sweet and subtle flavor of roasted garlic lends itself perfectly to almost any dish. In this case, it paired well with the nutty flavor of Parmesan and helped to create a side dish that could really stand alone.

Roasted Garlic Risotto
4 whole garlic heads
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup water
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/4 cup finely minced fresh Italian parsley

-Preheat oven to 375°.
-Cut whole garlic heads in half crosswise.
-Place halves, cut sides up, on a pie pan lined with foil.
-Drizzle with oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.
-Place a second sheet of foil over the pan and secure foil edges.
-Bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until garlic is tender and carmelized.
-Cool. Squeeze out the roasted garlic from the papery skins, mash with a fork and set aside.
-Bring broth and water to a simmer in a large saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.
-Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, until hot.
-Melt butter in pan.
-Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned.
-Reduce heat to medium.
-Add rice and mashed roasted garlic; sauté 1 minute.
-Stir in wine and 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.
-Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes or until all broth has been absorbed and rice is tender).
-Stir in cheese, pepper, salt, and parsley.
-Serve immediately.

Source: Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

Perfect French Fries

Eric and I generally bake our french fries, but every now and then we allow ourselves to splurge on fried ones. We’ve tried many methods in our attempt to make the perfect french fry, and this is by far the best method we’ve come across. There are two key steps to this method: soaking the fries and double frying them. The combination of these two steps leads to fries that are perfectly crispy on the outside while remaining softer on the inside. These fries are the perfect side for goat cheese turkey burgers topped with Pinot Noir caramelized onions.

We used our mandoline to slice the potatoes and may try this technique with waffle fries next time.

Perfect French Fries
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch sticks
2 quarts peanut oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

-Rinse cut potatoes in a large bowl with lots of cold running water until water becomes clear.
-Cover with water by 1-inch and cover with ice.
-Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.
-Heat the oil in a deep-fryer to 325°.
-Drain ice water from cut fries and wrap potato pieces in a clean dishcloth or tea towel and thoroughly pat dry. -Add fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil.
-Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft and limp and begin to turn a blond color, about 6 to 8 minutes.
-Use the basket to carefully remove fries from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towels.
-Let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.
-When ready to serve the French fries, reheat the oil to 350°.
-Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until golden brown and puffed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
-Transfer to a paper towel lined platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
-Serve immediately.

Source: Emeril Lagasse

Caramelized Vidalia Onion & Goat Cheese Grits

When I saw that Ellie was hosting a Vidalia onion contest on her blog, Vintage Victuals, I just knew I had to enter. Being from the south myself, I have a special place in my heart for Vidalia onions. I also have a special place in my heart for grits, so it was only natural to want to combine the two. After all, it doesn’t get more southern than that! So, inspired by the contest, I decided to create my own Vidalia onion recipe combining two of my favorite southern ingredients. If I was able to get my hands on some Conecuh sausage, I probably would have found a way to include it, too.

My main goal with this dish was to let the sweet flavor of the Vidalia shine through, and it definitely did. Goat cheese goes wonderfully with caramelized onions, and this dish was no different. The wonderful background flavor from the creamy goat cheese was a perfect layer on which to build the sweet flavor of the Vidalia.

Caramelized Vidalia Onion & Goat Cheese Grits
2 tablespoons butter
1 large Vidalia onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup quick-cook grits (not instant)
3 cups water, or according to package directions
2 ounces fresh goat cheese (The kind I have is a log covered in peppercorns.)
salt and pepper to taste

-Heat a medium skillet over medium heat.
-Add butter to skillet and swirl to coat.
-Add onions, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
-Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions reach a deep, golden brown color. This should take about 25 minutes, but will depend on how thinly the onion is sliced.
-Remove onion and add water to skillet, scraping up any brown bits that may have formed.
-Bring water to rapid boil and gradually stir/whisk in grits, making sure to prevent any clumps from forming.
-Cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
-Cook until grits are thickened, no more than five minutes, adding more water if necessary.
-Remove from heat and stir in onion.
-Crumble in goat cheese and stir to combine.
-Add salt/pepper to taste.
-Serve immediately.

Source: Cook Like a Champion original

Almond Joy Cupcakes

Eric’s boss recently celebrated his birthday, and I wanted to send something to his office that everyone would love. Who doesn’t love cupcakes, right? If you like Almond Joys, these cupcakes will not disappoint.

These cupcakes were phenomenal. I mean out-of-this-world, knock-your-socks-off phenomenal. The cupcakes were moist and chocolatey. The coconut cream cheese filling added texture and just the right amount of coconut flavor, and the ganache put these over the top.

Almond Joy Cupcakes
For chocolate cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-Preheat oven 350F.
-Prepare cupcake pan with liners.
-Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. -In another medium bowl with an electric mixer on high, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
-Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
-Beat in the melted chocolate.
-Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until blended.
-Stir in vanilla.
-Fill the cupcake liners about 1/2-2/3 full.
-Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes. -Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For coconut cream cheese filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

-Beat the cream cheese and butter in a mixer bowl until light and fluffy.
-Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with heavy cream.
-Beat in the salt, coconut flavoring, and vanilla extract.
-Continue beating until mixture is smooth and spreadable.
-Add additional confectioners’ sugar if necessary to thicken the frosting, or more cream to thin. -Fold in the shredded coconut.

For chocolate ganache:
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

-In saucepan bring whipping cream to boil over high heat.
-Pour hot whipping cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate melted.
-You can add more cream if your ganache is too thick to spread.

To assemble the cupcakes:
-Remove center of cupcake using the cone method.
-Set cone aside.
-Trim the excess tip of the cone.
-Fill the cupcake with coconut cream cheese.
-Replace cone.
-Frost with ganache and garnish with almond.

Source: Hello, Cupcake! and I Heart Cuppycakes