Sunday, November 22, 2009

Iron Cupcake: Apple

Yes... I joined another online baking competition....

Iron Cupcake is a monthly challenge to bake cupcakes around the monthly theme, November happened to be Apples. Below you'll find the recipes...
Our Generous IronCupcake:Earth Prize Providers:

Vanilla Cinnamon Cupcakes found via Baketastic
(FYI mine turned out more like muffins. Chewy, hard, muffins. Not happy.)

- 2 cups regular white sugar
- 2 sticks of butter (unsalted & room temp)
- 1 1/2 cups milk (I did about 2 tbps less...)
- 2 tbsp applesauce (this is why I did less milk)
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups flour (sifted)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 tsps cinnamon

I creamed the butter and suagr together in my kitchenaid, I recommend cutting the butter into smaller pieces and not trying to cream or mix it while still in sticks. Trust me.

While the butter/sugar are mingling, whisk the eggs in a seperate small bowl, then when butter/sugar is mixed, add the eggs about one at a time. Once one egg is incorporated, add the next. When all 4 eggs are mixed in add in the vanilla.

In a seperate bowl, add the flour and add in the cinnamon, baking powder, and a small pinch of salt.Slowly add in the milk to the flour mixture. You now fold in the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Don't overmix! This is where I went wrong and it created more gluten and made the cupcakes chewy! If you need to, the recipe said you can add more milk to get your desired consistency. Then I took a 1/4 cup measuring cup and scooped into muffin tins with paper muffin wrappers in them. The original recipe didn't have a baking time or temp, so I tried them at 350 for 15 minutes, but then they weren't ready so they actually took about 25 or so minutes. When you can insert either a toothpick or a clean knife into the center of one and it comes out clean, then they are ready.

While the cupcakes were baking, I made my Applejack Caramel Sauce and Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting from Sweetest Kitchen

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened and cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
12 pecans (I did not use these)

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating continuously until smooth and creamy. Cover and refrigerate icing for 2 to 3 hours, but no longer, to thicken before using. Frost cupcakes then top each cupcake with a pecan.

Applejack Caramel Sauce from Kitchen Bliss
Applejack-Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Bobby Flay's recipes found here

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons apple brandy (recommended: Calvados) (I also used Applejack)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat (do not stir), swirling the pot occasionally to even out the color, until amber in color, 10 to 12 minutes.
While the caramel is cooking. Place the heavy cream in a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and keep warm.

When the caramel has reached the desired color, slowly whisk in the heavy cream and salt and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the apple brandy and vanilla extract. Keep warm.

*This happened all so fast for me, so try to have the applejack & vanilla pre measured into a small bowl so you can just dump it in when the caramel is ready. This stuff is ridiculously good.

After cupcakes are cooled, frost them, and I drizzled the caramel sauce on top. Delicious!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Black Friday and Cyber Monday and what-nots...

Hi there.

'Member me?

Yeah, it's been awhile....

Sorry. To show I'm sorry, I thought I'd let my blog readers first know of my next sale going on.
Yup, it's that time of year again, Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales galore.

Now, if you're anything like me (and I'm assuming you are, since you read blogs), you hate going out in public on Black Friday. And I mean hate-hate. So why bother getting up at 4am, driving around in traffic, getting screwed on the last good parking spot, and stand in line for aticket when you can just go make some coffee, cozy up to your computer in some flannel PJs and shop online?

That's how I roll, and this is how you should too.

So, my Etsy Shop will be having another Black Friday thru Cyber Monday sale:
Buy One Get One Half Off (plus free US shipping.)

My items are now all made with the new style with the removeable (and washable) exterior cover for the bags and eye pillows. Yes, the sale will apply to custom orders as long as the order is place between Friday November 27 and Monday November 30th. The sale will not apply towards gift certificates. Sorry, it's just a pain, and I'm all about pain-free Thanksgiving Weekend.

Speaking of November 30th....

Have you heard of 30 on 30?

No? Oh. Well, let me enlighten you. It was started on the Etsy forums (I think) and I have decided to join the movement.

Basically, you spend $30 on November 30th to help support Handmade items. What better day to make a pledge of support then on Cyber Monday? The one day of the year that is notorious for online sales!
Simply go to Etsy and search for "30on30" (no " " needed), then have fun shopping while in the comfort of your home :)

Any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments!