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Mini Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

22 Jun

Mini cupcakes are the most dangerous food. They just pop into your mouth and, before you even realize it, you’ve eaten 54 of them. Which is why I recommend them only for the most important of occasions, say, for example, a very special girl’s fourth birthday.

It was a great (although very, very hot) day, filled with shopping and slushies and even the best birthday surprise ever if you’re four: a pedicure! She was so amazing at sitting still and getting her nails done that she even got a beautiful flower with a rhinestone center on each big toe.

Everyone had such a good day, even though we all weren’t able to have a nap on the way home. And there’s no better way to top off having your toes bejeweled than a tiny cupcake (or four) with a cute little dab of marshmallow frosting on top. But don’t get carried away!

Mini Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

Adapted from Beth Michelle

Printable Recipe

3 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a mini muffin pan with paper wrappers. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs one at a time. In a small bowl, mix together vanilla extract and buttermilk. With the mixer running on low, add about half of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk mixture. Divide batter into the prepared pans (in many batches–by my count this recipe makes at least 90 cupcakes) and bake for about 10 minutes, until just barely golden brown.

Marshmallow Frosting

1, 16 ounce jar marshmallow creme

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup powdered sugar

7 drops red food coloring

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and marshmallow creme together until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, food coloring and vanilla and beat until frosting reaches the right consistency for piping. Pipe as desired onto the cupcakes.

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Strawberry Basil Scones

23 Apr

This, my friends, is a post of celebrations.

First, thanks to all of you, this blog has reached 1,000 views! This seems like  a small milestone–but it truly feels awesome to share my love of all things baked with the world. So: thank you, thank you, thank you!

Secondly, I’m off on a baby vacation this week, which means finally (after 100+ days, ouch!) laying my eyes on the person I wish I could bake for every single day.

And lastly, for my birthday last week I got a new scone pan! (Thank you, Kathy!!) It’s amazing–I don’t feel like I have tons of crumbly scone waste like I have in the past. So, to christen my pan I decided to go for a combination that’s a little out of the box, but it totally works. Try it out, and please, keep reading!

Strawberry Basil Scones

Adapted from Happyolks

Printable Recipe

2 1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter, grated or cut into cubes

1 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons basil, minced

1/2 buttermilk

2 eggs

heavy cream

sugar

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in butter, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Mix in the strawberries and basil. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs until well-combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and mix until thoroughly moistened.

Turn the dough out on to a parchment lined baking sheet and pat into a disk about 1″ in thickness. Cut into 8 wedges. Alternatively, divide the dough between the sections on your brand-new scone pan. Brush each wedge with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes, until just lightly golden brown.

On Try, Trying Again

2 Mar

Sadly, there is no recipe to share today. Im fact, I’ve been having a disastrous time in the kitchen lately. Like knock ’em down, drag ’em out disasters. It’s enough to bring a grown baker to tears.

There was the attempt to make homemade ladyfingers:

The mountain pile of half-done crêpes I failed to flip:

And these seemingly easy coconut palmiers that I overstuffed:

Granted, there were all yummy even though they were not beautiful or functional. They made for good snacking even if they weren’t useful in any way but snacking.

It’s all a little much, really. I mean, what gives? Did I dream too big? Did I admire one too many tart pans in the kitchen store? Never in my baking life have I had so many things go wrong so often. I can’t say I’m enjoying my slice of humble pie (and humble lady fingers, and humble crêpes, and humble palmiers), but there they are.

Needless to say, I’m a little wary to get back on the baking horse. The coconut palmiers recipe seemed simple enough: frozen puff pastry, shredded coconut, some sugar, a hot oven. It bothered me to use the frozen puff pastry, but sometimes a person just feels too crazy to ride the Totally From Scratch train. And even that didn’t work!

So what’s a baking girl to do? Throw in the kitchen towel? I mean, we just got that new mixer–seems a shame to only make one thing with her before being brought to my knees by unruly recipes.

But you know, I don’t really have a choice. It’s not like I’d be down with giving up something I love so much just because a few afternoon’s worth of work didn’t go my way. I don’t know what’s different now, but it’s just something I’m going to have to power through, hopefully learning a little patience and grace along the way. Because sometimes, if everything goes according to recipe, you end up with something delicious. And that makes it all worth it.

(I can’t stick to my claim of no recipe, so…here you go!)

Coconut Palmiers

frozen puff pastry, thawed

granulated sugar

shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 425°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats. Unfold puff pastry on a piece of parchment paper, and lightly coat with sugar. Sprinkle a thin layer of coconut over the sugar, and, using the parchment paper to help, roll the pastry up into a pinwheel. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 1/4″ slices. Bake 5 minutes, flip the cookies, and return to oven to bake for another 5 minutes.

In the end, I did get these to work, I just needed to remember that more isn’t always better. Sometimes that can be a hard lesson to learn.