Friday, January 31, 2014

Cupcakes for the Office - Round Two

Wayne's co-workers requested a repeat of the cupcakes I sent last year, but I didn't particularly care for the texture of the cookie dough version. So, I decided to try out another new recipe. I really don't think they'll mind!

I looked at this one - Almond Wedding Cake Cupcakes - and this one as well - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes - but decided to go with this one - Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes. We'll see if it was a good choice!

Here's the recipe:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

For the filling:
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.

To make the filling, combine the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Roll the mixture into 3/4-inch balls (at least 24, although I made 36) and set aside on a baking sheet. (It helps if you chill it a bit first.)

To make the cake batter, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together and set aside.  In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix just until incorporated.

Spoon a tablespoon or two of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Place a ball of the peanut butter filling in each cupcake well and top with the remaining batter so that all the cups are filled. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Butter Cookies

The other day Wayne made a Sour Cream Sauce to serve over peaches for dessert, and I thought it would be nice to offer a nice light cookie as well (particularly since we were having guests for dinner that day). So, I went looking for a new recipe and found the perfect one.
Butter Cookies

8 ounces butter (2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour

Cream the butter and sugar. Mix in everything else and knead gently. Roll into a log, wrap in plastic, and chill several hours. Pre-heat oven to 325°. Slice cookies into 1/8-1/4" slices and place on cookie sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, just until turning golden at the edges. Frost or decorate as desired. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

Note: I didn't have time before church to mix the dough and chill it, so I made it afterwards and stuck it in the freezer for about 45 minutes and they turned out just fine. I also sprinkled them with sugar crystals before baking so I wouldn't have to frost them. They complemented the peaches perfectly!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Curried Pumpkin Soup

I imagine I wrote this up over a year ago when I discovered the recipe, but when I went searching for it yesterday, I couldn't find it. I guess I never took a picture of this yummy soup. So, I've rectified that, and even though it isn't autumn, I'm posting this today anyway. Enjoy!
Curried Pumpkin Soup

1 cup chopped onions
 4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
dash nutmeg
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups milk or cream (or evaporated milk)
cornstarch, optional

Saute onion, garlic and curry powder in the butter until soft.  Stir in pumpkin, broth and spices and cook for 10 minutes.  Add milk and heat through.  If too thin, thicken with cornstarch.