Thursday, April 28, 2011

Key Lime Cupcakes with Blackberry Filling and Blackberry Frosting

Fruity and delicious.


I made these cupcakes for my friend Ellen's birthday. She loves fruit in her dessert and had recently mentioned to me that she loves blackberries. For a while I have wanted to make something using both blackberries and lime and this was what I came up with. Actually, I tried making mini-cheesecakes first and they did not turn out as well as I planned. These cupcakes were my second idea. I am glad I made them because everybody loved these cupcakes. They are a little different from your everyday cupcake and are a great spring/summer cupcake. Similar to my Strawberry filled cupcakes, I made the blackberry filling ahead of time and we used the leftovers to eat with plain yogurt. I did not use any food coloring in the frosting, the color is 100% from the blackberries. For a delicious fruity cupcake you should definitely give these a try.

Key Lime Cupcakes with Blackberry Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 30 cupcakes

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons key lime juice
zest of two limes
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or paper-line 30 baking cups.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla, key lime juice and lime zest; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream (batter will be thick). Fill muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely and frost as desired.

Blackberry Filling
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 32oz container frozen blackberries
3 tablespoons sugar
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt

Place blackberries in a small bowl and sprinkle with sugar, let thaw. Drain blackberries, reserving liquid. Squish the blackberries and push through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds, set aside. Add enough water to the blackberry liquid to equal 1 cup. In a large saucepan, combine the strained blackberries, the blackberry liquid, lemon juice, cornstarch, and salt. Heat and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely.  Refrigerate until ready to use. (This can be made several days in advance and any leftovers works well on toast, on pancakes, or mixed in plain Greek Yogurt.)

Blackberry Buttercream
recipe from Baked Perfection

2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup blackberry filling (seedless blackberry jam or preserves can be substituted)
pinch of salt
6 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Mix in blackberry filling and salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramels

Wow!

A couple weeks ago my friend Ellen and I had another one of our get togethers where we make delicious treats. This time we made Sea Salt Caramels and Pralines. I always assumed that candy making was much harder than it actually is. I will post the pralines for a later day and will stick to the caramels for now (did anybody else just see my pun?). These caramels were delicious! I can't say enough about them. They are sweet, salty, chewy, and everything you want a caramel to be. We each made our own pan and it made a ton! We did not count, but each batch made at least 50. The only thing I did not like about these caramels was rolling them individually in parchment. You really can't skip this step because they will stick together, but it is worth it!

Check out Ellen's post where she has more step by step photos here.

Vanilla Bean Sea Salt Caramels
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 - 1 vanilla bean (depending on size)

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.

In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don't stir -- just swirl the pan.

In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of sea salt to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside. Skim off any excess milk solids and discard.

When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful -- it will bubble up violently. Stir in the beans from the vanilla bean with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.

Very carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate, until firm.

When the caramel is cold, pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half. Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an16-inch-long log. Sprinkle the log with fleur de sel, trim the ends and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. It's easier to cut the caramels if you brush the knife with flavorless oil like corn oil.

Cut glassine or parchment paper into 4-by-5-inch pieces and wrap each caramel individually, twisting the ends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting

I love coconut.


Zack and I both love coconut. A couple weeks ago we made coconut rice and had left over coconut milk. Of course I knew I was going to make cupcakes with the leftover. First I will tell you a little story about the coconut rice. What a lot of people don't know about me is that I am a pretty good cook. I cook more than I bake and I really enjoy it, just not as much as I enjoy baking. I have contemplated starting another blog about non-dessert items, but am really not ready to commit the time to it. Plus when I cook, I want to eat and don't want to bother taking pictures of our dinner. Anyway, over the years it seems the one thing that gives me trouble when cooking is making rice. I know it should not be that hard but it is one of those things that I just seem to screw up. When we decided to make the Coconut Rice I accidentally added 1/2 cup of water...instead of 1 1/2! The rice had great coconut flavor, but let's just say it was a bit crunchy. Zack is the official rice maker in our house and I should have let him make it.

Anyhow, I came up with these cupcakes to use the rest of the coconut. If you are a coconut lover than you will love these cupcakes. There is coconut milk and shredded coconut in the cake, coconut milk in the frosting, and topped with toasted coconut.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

makes 15 cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cups sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1 cup shredded coconut

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and egg white, one at a time. Add the vanilla and almond extract; mix well. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with coconut milk (batter will be thick). Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Coconut Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups powdered sugar
generous pinch of salt
4 tablespoons coconut milk
pinch of salt

Beat butter, vanilla, and almond extract until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with coconut milk, beating until combined.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

Who doesn't love Funfetti?


I have had the idea to make these cookies for quite some time. There is just something about Funfetti cake that kids and adults just love. I am sure there are some haters out there, but for the most part I think it is safe to say that Funfetti is a universal crowd pleaser and these cookies were no exception. I used the same basic idea and recipe that I used for my Lemon Sandwich Cookies, Creamsicle Sandwich Cookies, and Eggnog Sandwich cookies. I used leftover vanilla frosting to sandwich the cookies, but I think just about any frosting would go with them. You could even go with a can of Rainbow Chip Frosting to really make these easy. I rolled the edges in sprinkles for a little extra cuteness factor. I honestly have nothing bad to say about these cookies, they are inexpensive to make, easy, and delicious.

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes approximately 24 sandwich cookies

1 (18.25) package Funfetti Cake
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla until combined. Drop teaspoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown. Move cookies to a cooling rack, cool completely before assembling.

Frost bottom side of half the cookies. Top with unfrosted cookie. Roll edges in assorted sprinkles.

Very Vanilla Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

1 stick of butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pretty and delicious.


I did not get to try one of these cupcakes and I wish I did. I made exactly 12 for a co-workers birthday and then gave half to Zack to take to work. The night I made these cupcakes I also made coconut cupcakes (to be posted soon) and I knew if I took more than a dozen cupcakes in they all would not get eaten. So I took six Carrot Cupcakes and six Coconut Cupcakes to work. The team I work with is not that large and is filled predominately with woman who watch what they eat. Zack works with a much larger team and they apparently will eat anything :) Since I only brought in six of these, they went fast and I did not get to taste one. I hear they were delicious.

I chose not to put raisins in them because I honestly think that is gross. Don't get me wrong, I love raisins on their own or in trail mix, but I personally think they have no place in baked goods. Next time I am going to put golden raisins in half the cupcakes because I know that not everybody is a raisin hater like me. I also chose not to put nuts in the cupcakes because I really don't want them in my cake either. I did roll the edges in chopped toasted pecans which was a nice touch. I will definitely be making these again and I think they would be a great addition to the Easter table. Bunnies love carrots after all.

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

makes 12 Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin pan.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugars until creamy. Beat in the the orange juice, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Slowly add the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Bake 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe by Baked Perfection

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Beat butter and cream cheese with until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add salt and vanilla; mix until smooth.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Brownies studded with Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two worlds collide.


Don't you just want to dive right into those brownies? I know I do! I made these delicious brownies for a friend's mom (and my friend) who recently had pretty invasive surgery. My friend and her family have had quite a stressful time lately with everybody in the family getting sick (including their 10 month old baby), then her mom's surgery. They are absolutely wonderful friends and I just adore her mom so I knew I wanted to bring something over when her mom was out of the hospital.

I wanted to make these brownies as soon I saw them and was just waiting for an occasion. I got the idea of a brownie studded with chocolate chip cookies from a wonderful blog: Evil Shenanigans. I used a box mix for the brownie part and my own recipe for the chocolate chip cookie. These brownies were delicious and everybody loved them. The best part about these brownies was when my friend's 10 month old daughter grabbed her mom's brownie and then shoved the entire thing to her mouth! She could not get enough! I can tell she has great taste :)



Brownies studded with Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe inspired by Evil Shenanigans

Brownies:

1 box brownie mix and ingredients needed to prepare as directed on box

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
recipe by Baked Perfection

(You will have extra cookie dough; you can use the dough to bake cookies. Drop rounded tablespoons onto a ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375F for 9-11 minutes. If you want to do mini cookies, bake at 325F for 12-15 minutes.)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package vanilla instant Jell-O Pudding (not prepared)
1 dash of cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan, line the pan with parchment paper, then grease the paper.

Prepare Brownie mix as directed on package. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, package of vanilla pudding mix, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly. Drop teaspoons of cookie dough evenly over the brownie batter. Pushing the dough down so that it is level with the brownie batter. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until cookies are golden brown and brownies are set. Cool completely before removing from pan.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Oh so delicious!


Considering that chocolate and peanut butter is one of my absolute favorite dessert combinations, I am surprised this is the first time I have made these cupcakes. I am not one bit surprised that these cupcakes were amazing! The chocolate cupcake was the basic jazzed up box variety that has been featured on Baked Perfection multiple times and the frosting...oh the frosting! The peanut butter frosting is just divine. It is perfectly light and creamy and is everything you want peanut butter frosting to be. This is one of those frostings that you can easily eat out of the bowl. If you have a chocolate peanut butter lover in your life you should definitely make them these cupcakes. I topped them with a mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup disguised as a cupcake because it was very fitting for the cupcake and it is just plane adorable!

Chocolate Cupcakes
recipe from allrecipes.com

1 package chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (dust these in flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into 24 lined muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
4 cups powdered sugar

Cream the butter, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time alternating with the milk until you reach the desired consistency.