Green Chile and Ham Mac and Cheese with breadcrumb topping.

I have been asked to put this online. It is not hard at all. So here it is. Enjoy it! 

The Best Mac and Cheese Ever (serves 6-8)

1 package of Macaroni 

3 tablespoons butter (Mom says 3 but I always use four…)

2 cups whole milk 

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups Colby Jack Cheese (shredded)

1/2 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded)

A mix whatever cheeses you’d like. This time I used 1/4 of a cup of Parmesan  Last time I used 1/4 of a cup of Gouda, 1/4 of a cup Gruyere, and 1/4 of a cup extra sharp cheddar, and used the Parmesan on the topping. Sometimes simple is better. Sometimes it is not. It really depends on how much you want to clog your arteries. its all about experimentation. :) 

1/4 of a cup chopped green chile

3/4 of a cup cubed, cooked ham. (We always make this after we have a ham for dinner-because ham lasts forever, and you can use it in everything). 

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cook the macaroni to just under the time stated in the package instructions. (A couple minutes shy, it should be really al dente, and then drain it). It needs to be on standby and ready to go into the sauce. 

1.In a large saucepan (I used a dutch oven, this makes it easier), melt the butter over medium high heat. When it is fully melted, add the three tablespoons of flour, whisking constantly. It is going to take a few minutes, but what you are trying to do is cook out the flour (creating a roux or white sauce). When the butter flour mixture changes colors and starts to turn nutty, you’ll want to add the milk right away. This is where an assistant is necessary because the milk needs to be warm already. I would suggest throwing it in the microwave for 2 minutes. 

2. Add the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture simmers and gets thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

3. Add the cheeses, 1/2 a cup at a time ,whisking over very low heat until they have all melted into the sauce. Add the ham and green chile. 

4. Stir in the macaroni. If you are using a dutch oven, you don’t have to transfer the finished mixture. But if you are, transfer it to a large casserole dish. Set aside. 

7. In a skillet, melt the tablespoon of butter. Add the breadcrumbs over medium heat, and heat them until they appear golden brown or ‘toasted’. 

If you want, at this point, you can combine 1/4 a cup of parm with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle that over the top. Or you can just sprinkle them, whatever works for you.

8. Place the casserole or dutch oven on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes. 

10. Enjoy the cheesy goodness. I like to steam some broccoli and add it to mine. This is the best dish for leftovers ever. It’s like a fine wine. It gets better with age. 

And yes, I realize, this is terribly bad for you. You could use milk that wasn’t fatty, but it would not be as good. Trust me. 

And you can really go crazy with the cheese/ingredient combinations. 

Next time I’m going to make it with jack cheese only with bacon, and crumble up blue cheese in the breadcrumb topping. And then steam some spinach to have with it. 

Hope you guys enjoy! 

This one has ham, heirloom tomatoes, and broccoli!

 


Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

A little known fact, except to my closest friends: (And now I guess, to all of you.) I keep a container of Oreos next to my bed. Let’s face it. Sometimes, I’m lazy, and I want something sweet. And they have that super great reseal  option that keeps them super fresh for as long as I’d like, and away from Hobbs. (He would eat all of my Oreos if he were able. I’m sure of it.) I’ve been wanting to make these cupcakes for a while, and finally found the time last night. From what I hear they are really good. I have yet to taste them but my two taste testers (my coworker and my mom) really liked them a lot! Not only that, but they are super easy to put together. A little messy, but super easy. So here is an homage to my favorite cookie. :) 

Oreo Chocolate Cupcakes (Makes 36 cupcakes +, depending on the size of the cupcakes. I made normal sized ones, not jumbo, and had enough batter left for about 10 more.) 

4 cups all purpose flour

4 cups sugar 

2 tsp baking powder 

2 tsp baking soda 

2 tsp salt 

1 cup butter, softened, or shortening 

2 cups water 

4 large eggs 

3 tsp vanilla

2 cup cocoa powder 

2 packages of oreo cookies ( I used double stuff, and you’lre going to have some left over)

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees 

1. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a bowl. Set aside. 

2. cream the flour and sugar until just combined (kitchen aid works well for this. DO NOT over mix any of the ingredients)

3. Add the vanilla, and eggs, mix until just combined. 

4. Alternate back and forth between the dry mixture and the water, adding to the bowl and stirring until just combined. 

5. Put a small spoonful of batter in each cupcake liner, and on top of that, put an oreo cookie with the top half taken off and set aside. The frosting side should be facing up. 

6. Use enough batter to full these cupcakes to a little more then half full. These cupcakes rose, a lot. Which is good in theory but if you over fill them it makes a crazy mess. 

7. Bake the cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. 

8. Cool them for 10-15 minutes, and then let them finish cooling on a wire rack for an additional 30 minutes. 

Cookies and Cream Icing. 

(this is enough to frost about 30 cupcakes, depending on how crazy you want to go here. I always make 36 cupcakes and then save 6 for my mom because she doesn’t like icing)

Mini Oreos (optional) 

2 8 oz packages of cream cheese (softened for 1/2 an hour)

1 1/2 cups of butter (softened)

(this combination is up to how cream cheesy (or tangy) you’d like the icing to be. I stuck with this because I didn’t want too much cream cheese, and also because I only had two packages…and I had way more butter. So there is that. The original recipe I looked up was for 4 packages of cream cheese and 1 package of butter. As long as you end up with the right amount to combine with the sugar you should be fine)

Black Oreo Cookie ends. (the leftovers from what was placed in the bottom of the cupcake liners)

3 teaspoons of Vanilla 

Powdered sugar to taste (at least three cups)

1. Put the cookies in a ziplock bag and go to town on them with a rubber mallet or a meat pounder. If you dont have either of these, use a food processer. I’m lazy and used the ziplock bag, but honestly, I think a food processor would work better in this case. 

2. combine the cream cheese and the butter in a kitchen aid with the whisk attachment (or in a bowl with an electric mixer) , and whip until just combined. 

3. Add vanilla and cookie crumbles. 

4. Mix on high until well combined. 

5. Add powdered sugar, 1/4 of a cup at a time, to taste. This cake is pretty sweet, especially with the oreo cream at the bottom, so you’re going to want to really watch how sweet this gets. I left it pretty tart on purpose to compliment the sweetness of the cake. 

6.put into a piping bag (I would use a simple round tip, especially because the cookies did not completely get pulverized by my attempts, and the piping bag clogged a few times), and frost the cookies. 

7. Garnish with a mini oreo for decoration (if you want). It looks cuter that way, in my opinion. 

I have to confess that I’m too lazy right now to take these out of the carrier. Here is my artsy instagram shot. :) 

-Catie 


Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

It’s a known fact that cold weather just makes me want to bake more. I’ve been working so much lately that I haven’t had the time to actually get in front of an oven and bite the bullet. So last Tuesday, I finally had some spare time and was able to test out this recipe, which I found a while ago over on ambitiouskitchen.com. I changed some things, mostly because of the supplies on hand. The cool thing about this recipe is that it tastes like you spent hours on it, but in reality you can whip it up in under an hour. The browned butter makes the cookies super nutty tasting, and much richer then a normal chocolate chip cookie, and the the sea salt is the perfect compliment to the chocolate. Basically these are the best cookies ever and I’m not going to ever make normal chocolate chip cookies again. A few things: The butter takes a while to brown. That’s the most time consuming part of the recipe. I thought it was never going to happen, and then it happened all of the sudden. You really have to keep a close eye on it. It’s best to use a stand mixer because when you add eggs into slightly warmed butter and you don’t, you’re gonna get some scrambled egg-ish pieces. God bless the kitchen aid. And the last thing is that you should all own silpats (silicone baking sheet liners). I got some for Christmas and they are glorious. This recipe only made 20 or so cookies, so I’ve been hoarding them and only giving them to my very good friends at work. And the sea salt I used was from The Meadow in North Portland. It’s a great place to grab specialty salts if you live up here. If you are in Albuquerque I would just go to Whole Foods or something. And DO NOT use table salt. 

Here is the adapted recipe: 

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt (makes 24 cookies) 

adapted from: Monique of AmbitiousKitchen.com, recipe at (http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/02/brown-butter-sea-salt-chocolate-chip-cookies/)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, plus more for sprinkling ( i used more then this. A lot more. Depends on your taste for salt) 
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark or light brown sugar (I tested both)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt (honey or vanilla is fine too)
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • (mom is convinced that nuts would be good in this too….add them at your own discretion) 
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. 
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam. Make sure you whisk consistently during this process. Depending on your burner this could take a lot of time (coil or glass top), or not so much time (gas  ranges). The butter will start to turn amber in color very quickly, and the scent of the butter will change. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. (I will post a picture of what browned butter looks like after I finish posting this recipe for y’all. )
  3. With an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low-speed just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (you don’t have to do this until now because you’re about to chill the dough. If you use the freezer and you’re impatient, like me, have at it. If you use the fridge for the next step, preheat the oven after 1.5 hours of the dough being in the fridge) 
  5. Chill your dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator, or place in freezer for 30 minutes if you are super eager.
  6. Once dough is chilled measure 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. It doesn’t have to be perfectly rolled. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and sprinkle each dough ball with a little bit of sea salt.

  7. Bake the cookies 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven. Cool the cookies on the sheets and sprinkle with a little extra sea salt if desired. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets after a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. NOTE- My mom likes crunchy cookies, so I experimented with the cooking time. Cooking them for 3 minutes more (you really need to watch the cookies at this point) should result in a little darker, much more crispy cookie that is still delicious. )                                                                           Before:   After: deliciously yummy goodness. Sorry I’ve been such a slacker lately! I hope you guys enjoy this recipe! There’s plenty more where that came from! - Catie 

Emotional Chocolate Souffles.

Emotional Chocolate Souffles.

I’ve been a little slacking. So here is a little bit of awesomeness that I made (for the first time, I might add. So as we all know, we get emotional a lot. The reason why I call these emotional chocolate souffles is because they are full proof. It doesn’t matter if you are sad that Jordyn didn’t make it to the all around finals (Even though she is an amazing gymnast). The Olympics make me emotional. And I have never made souffles before. But these were perfect. Amazing, chocolately, crispy yet moist. Perfect. And I added a little bit of green chile sugar that I had laying around for some spice. It was great. I will show you guys a place where you can add some spice (cayenne) in the recipe. But here it is. I managed to make these while not trying to hard. Everyone talks about souffles always collapsing, and they are full of it. Use this recipe (its for two, which is great for date night) and be the star of your kitchen.

You’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used a 1/2 a cup, depends on how much chocolate you wanted…and I used Ghiradelli. Again, your choice)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I used a tablespoon. You know how much I love vanilla)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 2 tbsp and 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

1. Cover to ramekins with unsalted butter, and then cover them with sugar.

2. Make sure they are equally coated, dump out the excess, and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make sure the rack is about 3/4 down from the top. Nobody likes a burnt souffle.

4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave (on half power) in 30 second segments until it is fully melted and smooth. Set aside.(I did this in a pyrex measuring cup) Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. (And a pinch of cayenne to taste…if you are feeling adventurous. Trust me its delish.

5. In a large (not bottom flat bowl, seriously) add the yolk and warm water and beat until frothy. Add the 2 tbsp sugar slowly, and continue to beat for about five minutes. Then fold chocolate into the yolks. If you need to zap the chocolate for a few seconds to make it more liquid that’s okay. 15 seconds should do it.

6. Take those ramekins out of that freezer.

7.Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to whip the egg whites, combined with the salt (and a little bit of lemon juice if you’d like) and whip until frothy. Increase the speed, add the sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. Halt there. (Stiff peaks will not drip over (like a chocolate chip) but stay stiff.

8.Fold a forth of the egg whites in with the chocolate/yolk, and then gently fold in the remaining mixture. Gently. You should be able to tell that egg whites are a big part of this recipe.

9. Equally divide the batter into 2-3 ramekins. Place on a cookie sheet and bake until it bounces back slightly when you press on the top of the souffles with your fingertips. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN BEFORE THEY HAVE PUFFED UP. Wait 17 minutes.

10. Dust with powdered (confectioners) sugar, and enjoy right away.

These are meant to be enjoyed in the heat of the moment. If you wait they will fall.

This recipe is adapted from http://mysanfranciscokitchen.com/chocolate-souffle-for-two/.

Besides date night, you can always just make these for yourself and eat them both. With a huge glass of red wine. Yeah, I said it.

-Catie


Strawberry Hibiscus Cupcakes

Hey all Sara here!

Ever sick of the same old cake and icing flavors? Mix it up with some strawberry hibiscus cupcakes.

Cake

3 sticks of unsalted butter

2 cups of sugar

4 eggs

1 1/3 cup pureed strawberries  (with 1/2 c sugar)

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1tsp baing soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 c milk

2 tbs vanilla paste

Beat room temp butter and sugar for 3 minutes on medium speed

Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition and scrap down bowl

Add puree of strawberries

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl

Add flour mixture and milk alternating starting and ending with flour

Add vanilla

fill cupcakes 1/2 full and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 min

Frosting

1/2 package of creamcheese

2 cups heavy cream

4 tbsp hibiscus extract

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

 Mix softened cream cheese and cream starting at slow speed and work until high speed.  When it begins to thicken add sugar.  Once it is the consistency of frosting (thick) add the extract. 


Cookie Dough Filled Brown Sugar Cupcakes

Hey all Sara here!

Growing up my mom learned a trick from her friend Patty Aundrey, if you ball chocolate chip cookie dough and freeze it you have a yummy snack a.k.a. (stressball) when times are hard.  In honor of them, I have been inspired to try out a treat within a treat. I am currently makin cookie dough filled brown sugar cupcakes. I haven’t made the icing yet because, it’s late and I don’t want to wake up anyone else in the house. But here is the recipe thus far. 

Cookie Dough

3 cups flour

1 cup room temp salted butter

1 cup sugar

1 1/3 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

3 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp warm water

1/2 tsp salt

8 oz mini chocolate chips (aka toppers by toll house, use the minis so you don’t have one giant chip in the middle of your cupcake)

Assemble

cream butter and sugar on medium -medium high for 4 min. 

Add eggs one at a time and scrap down bowl after each one and add vanilla(may look water but, wait)

dissolve baking soda in the water (just swirl around a little) add along with salt

Mix in flour

(willbe super thick) put in fridge.

Cake

3 sticks unsalted butter at room temp

1 2/3 brown sugar packed

4 eggs

2 2/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup 2% milk

3 tsp vanilla extract

 Set oven to 350 degrees F

cream butter and sugar with a paddle attachment for 3 minutes

Mix in eggs one at a time and scrap bowl after each addition

beat for another 30 sec on high

mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl

add dry ingredients to batter alternating with the milk and ending withthe dry on low speed (if not flour flies everywhere)

Remove the cookie dough from the fridge

roll dough into marble sized balls (circumference between and quarter and nickle)

Fill cupcakes liners 1/2 way and insert dough ball.

Cover dough ball with a thin layer of batter.

Bake for 20 min

(test to see done by sticking a tooth pick slightly off center because, the not completely cooked dough will be in the center and through you off)

tops should be golden brown.

The whipped cream frosting will be up tomorrow (reminds me of milk aka milk and cookies)


Lavender lemon tarts.
The lemon curd is the same that Catie posts but with a 1/4 cup more lemon juice.  The meringue is as follows
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 tbs lavender extract
but the egg whites in a double boiler on low (or a bowl over a pot of water). Constantly whipping on high with a hand mixer add the sugar slowly after about 2 minutes.  Continue to beat  (should keep the temp low don’t want the eggs to cook).  When the mixture reached glossy and shiny stiff peaks add the lavender.  Continue to beat until it is similar to the meringue topping on a pie (pretty thick and stiff, almost like marshmallow fluff).  Remove and pipe onto the curd of your tarts. Delicious! (make sure there is no oil or water in the bowl that the egg whites will go in.  If you have bad luck with meringue add a little cream of tartar.  

Lavender lemon tarts.

The lemon curd is the same that Catie posts but with a 1/4 cup more lemon juice.  The meringue is as follows

5 egg whites

1 cup sugar

2 tbs lavender extract

but the egg whites in a double boiler on low (or a bowl over a pot of water). Constantly whipping on high with a hand mixer add the sugar slowly after about 2 minutes.  Continue to beat  (should keep the temp low don’t want the eggs to cook).  When the mixture reached glossy and shiny stiff peaks add the lavender.  Continue to beat until it is similar to the meringue topping on a pie (pretty thick and stiff, almost like marshmallow fluff).  Remove and pipe onto the curd of your tarts. Delicious! (make sure there is no oil or water in the bowl that the egg whites will go in.  If you have bad luck with meringue add a little cream of tartar.  


I’d put on my blue suede shoes and eat these:

I went to the store last Sunday, and was surprised to find all of the bananas super ripe. Way too ripe for anything but baking. At first, I thought about making the pudding I made a few months ago,but then I just thought I’d make banana bread and ended up getting six of them. Fast forward to two days later, and something had to be done. Mom was bugging me about it, and while she went upstairs to read and take a nap, I started thinking about one of my favorite cupcakes in Albuquerque, the fluffernutter (peanut butter cupcakes with Fluff filling and frosting-from Cupcakeology, which is no longer in business). The only thing missing from that equation, in my opinion, was Marshmallow Fluff. Elvis was also known for his love of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, grilled up to perfection. I knew instantly that this would be better, and began trolling the internet to find what I was working for.

And then I did. From three different recipes (which I messed with, of course. I always mess with them)…I ended up with a three part cupcake that my dog (surprisingly) didn’t eat. Marshmallows, Peanut Butter, and Bananas are basically his favorite food. The best part about these cupcakes were how you tasted when everything came together. The cupcake has roasted bananas (which is really easy to do in the oven), and was super easy to make, the filling took about two minutes to make and was equally delicious, and the Marshmellow frosting ended up all.over.me. It’s definately the most labor intensive part of the process, and reminded me that I need to jump on getting a silicone pastry bag for situations such as these (messy situations). I used a Ziploc bag because I didn’t want to ruin a pastry bag with the sticky delicious mess that is Marshmellow icing.

A few things:

1. You don’t need a double boiler. That’s just stupid. I used to have one, and I have no idea how I could have managed to whip sugar and egg whites in a boiler that was too small to have the blender.

2. I heard that someone developed a double boiler attachment for the Kitchen Aid, basically something that allows you to put an element in the bowl that heats whatever you are cooking, slowly, so that you can do this your Kitchen Aid!

3. Ghetto Double Boiler instructions: I use a large metal bowl that fits over my dutch oven, and fill the dutch oven about 1 1/2 inches full of water. Obviously, you’re going to spend half of this holding the whole thing together, but the result is awesome.

4. Spray cooking spray on anything and everything that the marshmallow might touch. Seriously.

5. When you roast the bananas, be careful to not overdo it. This actually will work with ripe or unripe bananas, so you don’t have to worry about not giving you enough banana flavor.

6. I realize you don’t all have peanut butter extract. I used about a 1/4 of a teaspoon in the filling, but you could probably just use more vanilla instead and it would be great. If you live in Albuquerque, you can go to The Specialty Shop on Central. If you live in Albuquerque, and like to bake, and you have never gone, GO. It’s an amazing place. I love the lady that works there and always spend too much money there when I visit home.

7. You could probably, emphasis on probably, throw these under a broiler on low to toast the marshmallow icing. If you do this, PLEASE be careful. Watch the shit out of your oven. Really. Broiling is so hard to do the right way. I’ve looked away for one second and something has caught on fire…

I think those are all the notes you guys are going to need, so now I’ll jump into the recipe. I made the filling first, because it was set and ready to be put in as soon as I had the cupakes cooled. You could probably do this quite ahead of time and store it in the fridge. And try not to eat it. Because it’ll be tempting.

This recipe is adapted from the peanut butter filling recipe here: http://gingerbreadbagels.com/2011/08/13/peanut-butter-cream-filled-brownie-cupcakes/ (by the way, this looks super delicious. I’m going to have to try it)

Peanut Butter Cream Filling-Adapted from Gingerbreadbagels.com

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (JIF is fine)
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I added 1/4 teaspoon of Peanut Butter Extract to this)
3 1/2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream (I used half and half, its entirely up to you)

To make the filling:

In a stand mixer (or in a bowl), mix together the peanut butter, butter, peanut butter extract, and vanilla on medium speed for about three minutes. (You can use a hand mixer for this). Slowly add the powdered sugar in. Once incorporated, add in the whipping cream (or half and half, and mix on high for 2 minutes, until everything is nicely blended. Set aside. And by the way, don’t taste this, you will not be able to stop eating it.

Roasted Banana Cupcakes(adapted from Martha Stewart Banana Cupcakes)

Before you do anything, you are going to need to roast the bananas.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil (or a silpat)                                                            3. Place the bananas, in a row, evenly across the sheet. I needed six for the amount of banana required (about 2 cups when mashed)                                                               4. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the banana skins are completely black                         5. Set aside to cool (normally they take about 15 minutes to reach the right temperature)                                                                                                                 6. Split the bananas, down the middle, and push the banana out into a bowl                 7. Mash them with a potato masher or a fork. Set aside.

The Cupcakes: 

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  •  2 cups mashed bananas, roasted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Fill the cupcakes with the peanut butter filling by creating a well in the cupcake with a small knife or a melon baller. Spoon in the filling (no pastry bag required here) equally across the cupcakes. Eat the spooned out cupcake bits and swoon, seriously these are so good. Yum. 

And now, for the grand finale. This is the simplest yet messiest recipe ever. I actually took a really simple recipe off the internet, didn’t have to change anything-so here’s the link:

http://www.cooks.com/rec/doc/0,166,159173-240204,00.html

(see my notes above, as well)

When you have frosted the cupcakes, and subsequently covered yourself in marshmellow, let the frosting set on the cupcakes and get yourself cleaned up.

Then, fire up your torch, or broiler, and toast these until they are golden brown.

And listen to your friends tell you its the best cupcake they have ever tasted.That’s the last step.

Thank you, thank you very much.


Coconut Pecan Frosting for German Chocolate Cake

Hey all Sara here!

So brief history lesson, German Chocolate Cake isn’t German at all, it’s from Texas.  The German was originally German’s, as in the brand of chocolate used for the cake.

Anyways back to baking. So, I know a few of our readers were a little up in arms about Catie’s bake from scratch post.   Sometimes baking from scratch seems frightening and out of our comfort zone.  We may make excuses like I don’t have time or actually not have time (working two jobs and going to school I understand).  If you are like me or most foodies out there you hate store bought frosting.  I thought that starting with just making the icing from scratch is a good way to get your toes wet to baking from scratch or to make a box cake taste homemade.  Some frostings are tricky and people are always asking advice on (Italian meringue or Swiss butter cream for starters). So, I thought I’d start you out with an easy one (even though it looks deceivingly difficult).

Ingredients

1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk (usually in the baking isle at the grocer)

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar (I like the extra caramel complexity it adds if you don’t just add 1 3/4 white sugar)

4 egg yolks (finally something to do with those damn yolks that I don’t use in meringue frosting)

1 tbs vanilla (OK so I add a splash and don’t measure it)

3/4 cup unsalted butter (salted works too but, it will have more of a salted caramel taste)

1 bag of shredded coconut about 7 oz

4/5 bag 1 1/2 cups of pecans (mash them up into little pieces)    

Steps

1. Add yolks, butter, sugars, milk, and vanilla to sauce pan (everything but the coconut and pecans)

2. put pan on medium heat and whisk until it comes to a rolling boil

3.  It’ll start to make a “smacking” noise when it boils and spurt hot sugary goodness one you a little. This is good. Once it reaches smacking consistency leave it on for another 5 min. Total about 12 min on stove.

3. Mix in pecans and coconut

BAM DONE! Easy of you have time to do a mix you have time to make this AND still have 15 to start doing dishes before the cake is done. 

I hope this gives some people the courage to break into real baking and get away from awful store frosting.

Munch On!


Macy’s in Flagstaff AZ

Sara Here

This past weekend I went to visit Flagstaff, AZ.  While there I researched places that claimed to have the best cupcakes in the city.  The original plan was to visit Sugar Mama’s…… but, they were closed all the holiday weekend (BOO).  So my boyfriend and I went a few streets over to Macy’s.  It is a European style bakery that serves food and is vegan friendly.  We ordered 2 of their cupcakes (coconut lemon was the only flavor), a vegan blackberry tart, and a piece of a lemon macaroon (which wasn’t a macaroon at all).  The cake was a dense yellow cake flavored with coconut and lemon. It was moist and flavorful over all 8 out of 10.  The icing tasted like the recipe off of the box of confectioner’s sugar and had no flavor.  The ratio of icing to cake was 1 to 5 and we couldn’t finish all the icing it was too sweet.  We rated the icing as a 3 out of 10.  Overall, the place received a 5 out of 10 for their cupcakes.  DO NOT let this discourage you from visiting!!!!!!!! The lemon coconut macaroon was to die for! You could taste the fresh lemon curd and the toasted coconut and cinnamon crusted on the outside really set it over the bar.  The vegan blackberry tart was flaky and did not taste vegan at all. YUM. All in all my suggestion is to definitely visit Macy’s but, stay away from the cupcakes.  BTW the Macy’s Special “coffee” was very yummy. 

Munch On!