Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Vanilla Buttercream

As Promised


As promised, the non-sugar free counterpart to last post's Sugar-free Lemon Berry Cupcakes. I actually did not try these. I took half to work and Zack took half to work and they were gone before I knew it. I was told they were delicious though. You may have noticed that I think lemon and berries go extremely well together based on these posts: Lemon Cupcakes with Blueberry Buttercream and Lemon Glazed Triple Berry Scones. As Autumn is around the corner there will likely be less lemon berry combinations for a while on Baked Perfection, so I have to enjoy it while the last few warm days are here. I hope you enjoy my latest creation.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling

Lemon Cupcakes
from Baked Perfection

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
3/4 cup raspberry preserves

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool completely.

Once cooled, fill a piping bag with a small round tip and raspberry preserves. Insert the tip into the the cupcakes and squeeze until a little bit of jam pops out the hole on top. Frost with vanilla buttercream.

My Favorite Vanilla Buttercream
from Baked Perfection

2 sticks butter
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 tbs milk

Cream butter and vanilla. Gradually add one cup of sugar at a time, adding the milk in between each two cups. Beat until fluffy, adding more milk if needed.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Sugar Free Lemon Berry Cupcakes

A different kind of post.


I know sugar free baking is not something I normally post about. In fact I have never posted about it because I have never attempted it. There are 23.6 million Americans living with diabetes, and two of those Americans are members of my family. I just heard on the radio this morning that 40% of Washington D.C students are overweight. These statistics are scary. This year I decided to participate in the "Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes Walk" and fundraise for the American Diabetes Association. If you would like to make a contribution to my fundraising effort please visit my site here:


Risa's Fundraising Page.

As I have said in previous posts, I believe desserts are fine in moderation and that has worked for me. But for some people they just can't have all the sugar in a cupcake. My co-worker, who is diabetic, had a birthday a couple weeks ago. To celebrate his birthday I wanted to try to attempt some sugar-free baking. I found a recipe for Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes on the American Diabetes Association Website and it sounded perfect. Now, these are not 100% sugar free. They have a light dusting of powdered sugar on top, but that is completely optional as the original recipe suggests. You know what...people loved these cupcakes. I have posted the recipe below. For those of you who have no interest in sugar free baking, I also prepared some Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Vanilla Buttercream that I will be sharing next.

Lemon Berry Cupcakes
adapted from the American Diabetes Association

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Splenda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp fresh lemon zest
3/4 cup nonfat milk
1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt (preferably Greek-style)
1/3 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup frozen mixed berries, thawed
Confectioner’s sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Add paper liners to a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, Splenda, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice and lemon zest. Add in the milk, yogurt, and oil. Beat at medium speed for 1 minute. Add in one egg, and continue to beat for 1 minute. Add in some of the flour mixture, and beat for 1 minute. Add in another egg and the vanilla, and beat for 1 minute. Add the remaining flour, and beat for 1 minute. Gently fold in the berries by hand. Pour the batter into all the muffin cups. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a tester inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. Allow them to cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes, place on a cooling rack, and cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

Perfection!


I started working with a new team this summer and they have been appreciating my baking. I asked them what they would like me to bring in next and it was unanimous that they wanted something with chocolate and peanut butter. In my opinion, chocolate and peanut butter are the perfect dessert combo so I had no objection to their choice. I was on a mission to determine how you could make the two even better together and I think I found their perfect companion, pretzels. These tasty little treats are the perfect candy. They are sweet, salty, crunchy on the outside, and creamy in the inside. They are easy to make, but definitely time consuming. I think they would look great on a dessert table at a party or shower, and definitely would be a perfect gift boxed up with a pretty bow. I am already planning on making these again for the holidays. This recipe makes anywhere from 80-100 treats (depending on how much of the filling you eat a long the way), so Zack and I both brought them to work and people LOVED them. There have already been requests for me to make more.


Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
recipe by Baked Perfection

1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened
3 cups
confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb bag square shaped pretzels

Assorted candy melts:
1/2 package white chocolate candy melts
1/2 package chocolate candy melts
1/2 cup pink candy melts
3 tsp shortening, divided

In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, butter, vanilla, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Roll into 1/2 tsp balls and place on a pretzel; top with second pretzel and place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Chill in freezer until firm, about 20 minutes (See picture below to see what they look like during this step).

Melt candy melts, one color at a time, in the microwave per directions on package, adding 1 tsp shortening with each color (30 sec intervals, stirring in between). Using a fork, gently dip the pretzel bite into the candy coating rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap/shake until the excess chocolate falls off. Place back on wax paper to dry.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place excess melted chocolate in a sandwich bag. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smaller the drizzle. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the pretzel bite until you reach the desired look.

A work in process:




The finished product: