Friday, October 29, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes


Martha Stewarts Cake

Saw this lemon cake recipe from Martha Stewart and wanted to try it as cupcakes, since those are so "the rage" right now. We were having family home evening with my in-laws tonight, and this gave me the perfect opportunity to make a batch to share.

Since my two older sons have been gone, making treats around here is not a good thing. I don't have my big eaters to "finish" everything off. So either it sits until I need to toss it, or "I" end up being the clean up crew.

So without further sniveling, here is the lemon cake recipe. I like that the cake wasn't to sweet and had just a hint of lemon. These would be good all by themselves with a yummy buttercream. Add the lemon curd and fluffy white frosting and you have beautiful treat to impress. Hey, you know the old saying... if life gives you lemons, make lemon cupcakes. While this looks long and complicated, it actually went together pretty quick. I would definitely make them again.

My cupcake

Lemon Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
1/r cup plus 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup low-fat buttermilk (make your own by adding 1 tsp vinegar to 1 cup milk)
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded (this is for a garnish which I didn't have time to do)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in 2 Tablespoons lemon juice. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk beginning and ending with flour mixture, mix just until combined.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides ofpans 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack.

While cakes are baking, bring remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in saucepan. Add lemon slices and simmer 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lemon slices to a waxed paper lined plante. Stire reminaing 1/4 cup flesh lemon juice into syrup.

Using a toothpick, poke holes in warm cakes on rack. Brush with lemon syrup. Let cool completely. Prepare frosting, substituting 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice for vanilla extract. Frost cooled cakes and top with candied lemon slices.

Cupcakes directions -
Pour batter into cupcake pan with liners to 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
I didn't actually make the lemon slices with the simple syrup. So I skipped that step and thought with the lemon curd it was lemony enough.

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large egg yolks (reserve egg whites for another use)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

In a medium saucepan, before putting on heat, whisk together sugar, zest, and egg yolks; whisk in lemon juice and salt.

Add butter and place pan over medium high. Cook, whisking constantly, until butter has melted, mixture is thick enough to coast the back of a spoon, and small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes (do not boil).

Remove pan for heat while continuing to whisk. Pour curd through a find-mesh sieve into a glass bowl. Press plastic wrap against surface of curd and refrigerate until cool.
(can store in refrigerator in airtight container up to 2 weeks)

Fluffy Frosting
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combined 3 large egg whites, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and 1/3 cup water. Cook over medium, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved (or mixture registers 150 on an instant read thermometer), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl (or a mixer). Beat on medium high until glossy, stiff peaks form (do not overbeat), about 3 minutes; reduce speed to low, add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and beat just until combined. Use immediately.

I put all my ingredients in a sauce pan and just kept stirring. Didn't use the double boiler technic (mostly because I didn't read the direction correctly) but it turned out great. I would also keep frosting refrigerated after applying to cake or cupcakes as I can see it might lose its fluffiness.

ASSEMBLY -
So I cut little cones out of the cupcakes like this...



Then cut the bottom of the cones off like this...



Filled the cupcake with the lemon curd like this...



Put the top back on and frosted it with the fluffy frosting. It makes for a nice surprise when people bite into it. A mild lemon flavor in the cupcake, tart filling with a fluffy frosting that doesn't over power the cupcake or filling.

Oh, and how can you really tell that these were great? My daughter offered to pose for a this shot, since she gave these 2 enthusiastic thumbs up. And when a 15 year old offers that kind of service, you know they are good.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pressed Sugar Cookies

Here is a different take on the sugar cookie. I like them because you get the sugar cookie taste without having to roll them out, making a mess of your whole kitchen. Plus these are very tastey.

I use to press them down with a glass dipped in sugar, and then I got a cookie stamp similar to the sunshine on the left, but my cookie stamp no longer resembles a sunshine since it was disfigured in a brawl with the disposal.



You have probably seen these stamps, but didn't realize how cool they were and how much you needed one. Now you have an excuse to go buy one... or you can just be the unexciting mom, and use the bottom of a glass. By the way, those are the same kind of moms that drop you off at school with their hair pulled up in a clip and in their bathrobe. Oh wait, I do that all the time.

This orginated from my friend Jeri. We love this recipe and these cookies always get gobbled up. I also like that if you want to get fancy, you can use colored sugar (just put sugar in a jar with a few drops of food color and shake). So color them to match the holidays or event. On to the recipe!!!



Sugar Cookies

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. margarine
1 c. oil
2 eggs
4 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla

Cream margarine and sugars until smooth. Add vanilla, oil and eggs. Mix again until blended. Combine dry ingredients and slowy add to creamed mixture. When combine, take about a teaspoonful and roll into a ball. Roll in sugar and put on cookie sheet. When cookie sheet is full, go back with your cookie stamp (or boring glass), dip in sugar and press each cookie down.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

These cookies are soft (thus all the 2 kinds of sugar and the margarine and oil). Give them a try and let me know how they turned out!

Mexican Chicken Chowder


Not sure where this originated, but I got it from my Mom. So, speak up if this is yours.


As we head into cold weather season, I think warm fires and soups. This one is a winner with everyone in my family. It has a very creamy texture, which comes from the cream and cheese with a hint of spice from the chilies, cumin and hot sauce. Very rich and delicious.


Mexican Chicken Chowder


1 1/2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bit size pieces (or I use my canned chicken)
1/2 cup chopped, onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
2 cubes chicken boullion
1 cup water
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups half and half cream
2 cups shredded Monterery Jack cheese
1 (14.75 oz) can cream style corn
1 (4 oz) can green chilies, diced
1 dash hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 tomato, chopped
fresh cilantro (garnish)
sour cream

In dutch oven (or pot) brown chicken in butter adding the onion and garlic part way through. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and onion begins to turn transluscent. Dissolve boullion in hot water and pour in pan. Season with cumin, cover and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Add half and half cream, cheese, corn, chilies and hot pepper sauce. Cook, stirring frequently until cheese is melted and it is all mixed together well. Stir in tomato and serve in a bowl with cilantro garnish. Can add some sour cream, tortiall chips and avocado on top.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Canning Chicken

My sister emailed me a great deal on fresh, hormone free chicken for 1.48 a lb. They are only doing delivery to Washington, Oregon and Idaho right now.

Here is the link...

Zaycon Foods

My mom, some friends and I got together last spring and canned chicken for the first time. It went amazingly well. I was always a little nervous about using a pressure cooker, but after reading the directions and doing it once, found it pretty easy.

I had thought that I posted the canning chicken directions on this website and then realized I posted it on my Mark and Lorri blog. So here is a link if you are interested in buying a 40 lb box of chicken and are not sure what to do with it.

Mark and Lorri Blog on canning chicken

I also just want to add.. it is great on a busy day, being able to grab a bottle of chicken I canned myself (so I know what is in it) and make a casserole, soup, enchiladas and so on, in half the time. I highly recommend you giving this a try if you haven't. Here is a picture of the finished product. We did pork with a sauce and chicken with just a little salt.



Any questions... please feel free to comment and I will check back and answer what I can.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Buttlermilk Syrup - YUM!

Oh my goodness! What a wondeful way to start out the day. I was actually looking for a German Pancake recipe and stumbled upon the syrup. I know my sisters have talked about how good buttlermilk syrup can be, but have never made/tried it myself. Can I just say... it was delicious. All my kids and my husband couldn't say enough good things about it. You want to just take a spoon and eat it out of the pan. But considering it has 1 cube of butter, how could it not be wonderful.



Buttermilk Syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter (or 1 cube)
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a saucepan (us one bigger than you think because the syrup will foam up from the baking soda), combine the first five syrup ingredients; bring to a boil. Boil for 7 minutes (I stirred mine periodically so it wouln't burn). Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pour over anything you would regular syrup... pancakes, waffles, german pancakes etc.

Like I mentioned, the syrup foams, so use a bigger pan that you think. I didn't have buttermilk so I poured about 1 tablespoon of vinegar in 1 cup or regular milk and let it sit for a few minutes. Then used 3/4 of a cup of that. As the syrup boils (on low temp) it will start to turn a lovely carmel brown and when it cools slightly, will thicken up.

I served mine with German Pancakes aka Puff Pancakes. So I thought I would include that recipe too.

German Pancakes
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put butter in 9 X 13 pan and place in oven just until butter melts. Mean while, place eggs, flour, milk and salt in blender; cover and process until smooth. Pour batter in 9 X 13 pan with melted butter. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve with buttermilk syrup, powder sugar or regular syrup.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crockpot Tortilla Soup

Fall has arrived! What goes better with Fall than warm soup. So I am sharing this easy, yummy soup that you can cook in your crockpot all day, that will make your house smell good.



Crockpot Tortilla Soup

1.5 lbs chicken breast cooked/shredded (I put them in with the rest of the soup ingredients whole and frozen, let them cook and shred at the end of the cooking day... much easier.
1 15 oz. can tomatoes
1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 4 oz. can green chiles, chopped
1 clove garlic, mined
2 cups water
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bay leaf
1 10 oz. package frozen corn
fresh bunch of cilantro
vegetable oil
corn tortillas
shredded cheese
fresh avacado

Throw all items except cliantro, vegetable oil, corn tortillas, shredded cheese and avacado in crockpot and cook all day. After cooking, shred chicken breasts if place in whole.

Preheat ove to 400 degrees, brush tortillas with vegetable oil, cut into strips and spread on baking sheet, crisp in ove until golden and crunchy.

Serve soup with crisp tortilla strips, chopped fresh cilantro, shredded cheese and fresh cubed avacado. We also make cheese quesadillas to go along the side with salsa/sour cream.

Notes from recipe owner: This recipe is very easy and good. I often double the recipe and place the other half in the freezer to eat at a later meal. My children also don't like chucnks so I puree the green chilies and tomatoes in the blender and add that to the soup and use onion flakes instead.

Just a heads up.... pumpkin shortage!

FYI - there was a shortage of canned pumpkin last year in 2009, because there was so much rain. This year, because of the weather, the growing season ended up being short. So word on the street is that there will be a canned pumpkin shortage again this year.

Now don't go buying pallets of canned pumpkin, but next time you are in Costco, you might pick up a 3 pack or 2. I guess Coscto has a contract with the canned pumpkin distributors, so will get first dibs on distribution.

I guess last year when it was scarce, people were selling it on ebay. I already see some of that going on. Here are some of the last few completed sales....

4 – 15oz cans $36.00 plus $14.20 shipping
3 – 15oz cans $12.99 plus $12.00 shipping
9 – 15oz cans 39.99 plus $15.00 shipping

Just giving you a heads up!

Gingersnap Cookies and Pumpkin Dip




We are headed into the holidays, which usually means parties, and taking treats to share. We scour through our recipe boxes and the internet looking for something "new", but good. Since we will be sharing with our friends. If you like pumpkin flavor, then this is a winner. Plus it makes a very pretty presentation and is also something different.

I put the pumpkin dip in a pretty dish on a platter and surround it with the gingersnaps. Make your gingersnaps smaller so you don't have to worry about people double dipping. If you are in a hurry, Costoc sells a big tub of gingersnap cookies which are yummy, and a decent price. You can also buy those wafer thing gingersnap cookies at Safeway. They can be slightly expensive though.

Pumpkin Cream Chees Dip

4 cups powder sugar
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 30 oz. can pumpkin pie filling mix
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger

Beat Sugar with cream cheese and then add everything else and whip until fluffy and combined. Pour into a bowl.

Mom's Ginger Snaps (from allrecipes.com)

1 c packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup white sugar for decoration

Preheat ove to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Roll dough into 1 1/4" balls. Roll each ball in white sugar before placing 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven, or until center is firm. Cool on wire racks.

We cut the pumpkin dip recipe in half. It makes a quit a bit. I think I would also cut out 1 cup of powder sugar and then add that back in at the end until it was the desired sweetness.
We made our ginger snaps smaller and cooked them a little less time because of the size. I wanted a one dipper size to prevent people from double dipping (which would happen with a larger cookie). Hope you enjoy.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Molly's Rolls

We all love The Lion House Rolls. Who doesn't love a light fluffy, buttery roll hot out of the oven. The one thing we don't love, is the time it takes to make them. In my search of a quicker, but just as yummy dinner roll, I found this one.

Give it a try and tell me what you think.



Molly's Dinner Rolls
(and no, I don't know who Molly is, just got this off another blog)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package yeast(2 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 1 egg
  • flour

Directions: In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and warm water; let grow until bubbly(about 5 minutes). Add milk and mix. Mix in oil and egg. Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl. Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes. Form rolls as desired and place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise and additional 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (Rotate pans after 7 minutes.) Brush hot rolls with melted butter.

I used bread flour, don't know if that made any difference, but they turned out wonderful. In shaphing them I just divided my dough into 2, rolled one half into a circle, brushed with butter, then using my pizza cutter, cut pizza shaped slices. I rolled from the bigger outside edge to the smaller end making a crescent shaped roll.

The blog's I got these off of wasThe Sister's Dish and Real Mom Kitchen.

Bacon Maple Cupcakes

I know, it sounds weird. We have been watching cupcake wars on The Food Networ, and my 15 year old daughter had to try them. You know what, we actually liked them.

You have to be prepared, and know that you are biting into a bacon maple cupcake or it might throw you, and you will not like them. But if you are open to new ideas and flavors, give it a try. I would definitely make them again.


Maple Bacon Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons of butter room temperature
  • 1/2 tablespoon of bacon drippings (left in the fridge to become solid)
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup of self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • tiny tiny pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of minced bacon cooked and drained


Maple Syrup Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • turbinado sugar (optional but recommended) - this is a raw sugar, found mine at Safeway
  • coarse grain sea salt (optional but recommended) - definitely worth adding

Directions

  • Cook some bacon in a fry pan (about 6 thick strips). Reserve the drippings and place in the fridge to solidify. Mince 1/4 a cup of the bacon. Save the rest for garnish on top of cupcakes.
  • Beat the crud out of the butter and solidified bacon fat 'till light and creamy. Add the brown sugar and maple syrup and beat well until combined.
  • Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
  • Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and powder together.
  • Add some of the flour and mix, then some of the milk, then continue to alternate the dry and wet ingredients, ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in the bacon. Taste and add more maple syrup, flour, or milk if needed for desired taste. Keep in mind the maple frosting is very sweet, and to add in very small increments for alterations as maple syrup in large amounts can break a cake batter.
  • Scoop into cupcake papers and bake at 350 F for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


I likes that these weren't real sweet. We sprinkles the turbinado sugar on top with the sea salt, then sprinkles reserved bacon cut into bits on top of the frosting. They didn't last that long in our house. Which is saying a lot, since we don't eat a ton of sweets. Even my husband was asking if there were any left. Be brave and give it a try. Or else get out the same old same old cake mix and make your boooorrrrriiiinnngggg regular cupcakes.