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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Comfort means comfort food too!

It is FINALLY cooling down a little, well a lot!  Today was our first non 90 degree day so with comfort in the air, being able to open the doors and windows and let fresh air come in I decided comfort food was on the menu.  OK well not food exactly.  *laughs*  
It did bring me back to a conversation I had last night with my baby sister.  When I say baby I mean she IS the baby of the family.  I happened to have a pink lemonade cupcake left over and gave it to her.  She mentioned she's cheating on me by having cupcakes made by someone else. *snickers*  She had a cinnamon french toast and bacon cupcake with a maple butter cream frosting.  I don't know if she told me that the cupcake was dry so as not to hurt my feelings or not.  But as I sit here thinking I can do something better.  Then I thought ... what brings hubby comfort.  Seeing as he's the only one working right now, I try to cater to him a little bit more.  So I KNOW I wanted to do something with a "maple frosting" but wasn't sure what to go with it.  So I started looking and found the ABSOLUTE perfect comfort for hubby.  

Carrot Cupcakes with a maple cream cheese frosting!

Hubby LOVES carrot cake!  It's one of those cakes that he will always ask for .... always try to pick up at the store.  It's his comfort cake.  Well at least it always seems to be. *smiles*   So that's the cake to make with the maple frosting.  But not just maple frosting ... but maple cream cheese frosting.  With tweaks of course.  It wouldn't be something I made if it wasn't tweaked.   
Carrot Cupcake Recipe
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg (I only use fresh grated nutmeg.)
1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar (I used light this time.)
1 1/4 Cup Canola Oil
4 Large Room Temperature Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
3 Cups Grated Carrots (About 4 - 5 medium)
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts (Optional)
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds (Optional - I used dry roasted for a bite of salt with the sweet of the cake.)
1/2 Cup Raisins (Optional)
Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tin with liners.  Makes 24 regular or 12 - 14 large.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice in a medium bowl.
Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended.
Whisk eggs in 1 at a time until each one is blended.
Ad flour mixture into wet mixture and stir/whisk until blended.
Fold in carrots, nuts, and raisins.
Fill cup 2/3 the way and bake.  For regular 14 - 18 minutes for jumbo/large 20 -28 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool about 5 minutes before removing and placing on baking rack.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz Room Temperature Cream Cheese
1 8oz Room Temperature Mascarpone
1 Stick Unsalted, Room Temperature Butter
2 Cups Powdered Sugar, Sifted
1/4 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
Cream cream cheese, mascarpone, and butter until smooth.
Add maple syrup and beat until smooth and blended.
Add sifted powdered sugar and beat until well blended.  If texture is not to your liking you can add additional powdered sugar until your satisfied.
Refrigerate for 15 - 20 minutes until frosting sets up.  If frosting is refrigerated for longer than 20 minutes let frosting loosen up a little until it will be easy to frost with.
I shared these with my family.  I won't expect a good comment from my Dad as I forgot he doesn't like raisins. *giggles*  Mom and younger brother LOVED them.  "Definite keeper!"  Older brother's comment "Primo! And I don't like carrot cake!"  Younger sister ... the one you had the really dry cupcake .... this is good .... REALLY good!  Hubby .... YUM!  And hmmmm ... and oh yeah!  Don't think there are any better words to hear.
Play with the ingredients as much as you want.  If you don't like a lot of cinnamon you can cut it down.  You can use all cream cheese instead of mixing but I always have mascarpone in my fridge and it adds a different taste.  Don't use maple FLAVORED syrup.  It is NOT the same thing. Use all walnuts, don't use raisins.  But whatever you do, try these.  They are yummy, moist, and not overly sweet.  But remember whatever changes you make ... the best ingredient is you .... Enjoy!!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Yummy Treat ... it's been a good day!

Sorry it's been a while ... Been busy with organizing things I've done and things I want to get done.  Let's start with dessert because it was so darn good.  It's FINALLY cooling off again so it was the perfect day to bake something for dessert for family dinner.  Lately we've been eating at home, which we TOTALLY enjoy.  But today Mom was making stuffed cabbage and THAT can't be passed up.  So dinner was at the family home.  I made creamy polenta, at Mom's request, but then thought dessert would be good.  So what better to make now that it's cooling off is a summer favorite.  
Pink Lemonade Cupcakes with a Cherry Lemonade Frosting
These were SO yummy!  I don't know how many of you have Dads that don't really comment on good something is but when my Dad says it's "Really Good", you know it's a keeper. *winks*
Pink Lemonade Cupcakes Recipe
(Adapted from Half Baked recipe)
2 Sticks unsalted, room temperature butter
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
4 Large, room temperature eggs
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon Pink Lemonade Mix (I used Country Time)
1 Cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degress.  Line 24 cup muffin tin.  (This recipe made 12 jumbo and 12 mini for me.)
Sift together all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and lemonade mix.
Cream together butter and sugar.
Add eggs 1 at a time.
Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients and milk, alternating starting and ending with dry ingredients.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 the way full and bake for 15 - 17 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool about 5 minutes and place on cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cherry Pink Lemonade Frosting
1 Stick Unsalted, room temperature butter
3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Cup Pink Lemonade Mix that has been pulverized (Can use food processor, I use my Magic Bullet.)
12 Maraschino Cherries, pureed
1/2 Maraschino Cherry Juice
Cream butter.
Sift together powered sugar and pulverized pink lemonade mix.  Slowly add dry mixture to butter.
Add lemon zest.
Add cherry puree and cherry juice, whip for about 2 minutes.
Refrigerate for about 15 - 20 minutes before frosting.  If you will be making this ahead of time, make sure to bring frosting to room temperature before frosting.

Try these!  These are TOTALLY delish!  Cherry can definitely be omitted but be prepared as the cupcakes will be tart like drinking a glass of pink lemonade.

So as everyone knows Sunday morning breakfast is an important weekly tradition for hubby and me.  So this week it was simple yet so good.  So good we took left overs to Mom and Dad's.  Remember me asking about Dad telling you how good something is ... that happened to me TWICE today.  And I might add it was more special the first.  Dad is a TOTAL connoisseur of biscuits and gravy and will NOT have any shame in tell you if it STINKS or when in a restaurant sending it back.  I will be the first to admit that I don't like making biscuits.  It probably has something to do with all the good recipes have you rolling them out and I am more of a free spirit and do not like the precision of roll to 1/2 inch thick and cut them in 2 inch diameter.  So not my thing, so can grands biscuits works for us.  We happened across the honey butter ones and have fallen in love with them. *laughs*  So breakfast was biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and fruit salad of peaches, plums, and blackberries topped with fresh ground cinnamon and sugar.  Coffee and orange juice to wash it all down and it was a wonderful was to start the day.  Good breakfast, good company, and an unexpected compliment!  So remember you are the best ingredient ... Enjoy!!!!