June 25, 2014
Need I really say more? These are silly they’re so good.
Are you a Nutella fan? I go back and forth. As a kid I loved it, but as an adult I go through phases. I certainly don’t love it for breakfast like the commercials suggest – I’d rather peanut butter.
My Other Half doesn’t really eat Nutella, and I had a big Costco jar of it. I was going to make Nutella cookies, but these sounded like a way better idea for book club.
They were promptly gobbled up.
They photograph much better un-iced, but they taste sooo much better smothered in – wait for – more Nutella. You can’t go wrong.
Chocolate and hazelnut fans, rejoice.
Adapted from Dinner with Julie
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1 cup Nutella
Beat the butter, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt and add half to the butter mixture and beat on low speed. Add milk and the remaining flour mixture and combine. Drop the batter in 12 muffin papers. Warm half of the Nutella and drop it by the spoonful onto each, and then swirl it around. Bake at 350 degrees for about 27 minutes. Let cool (Nutella is really hot). Use the other half of the Nutella to ice the cupcakes when cool.
April 30, 2014
Welcome to amazing.
I have definitely talked about how I’m not a huge cooked apple fan on the blog before. I know, I’m weird – apple pie and apple crisp just isn’t my thing though! My dad absolutely LIVES for apple desserts and I… will always pass. Not that I generally like desserts anyway, though.
I do love raw apples as a snack, so that makes me a little more normal. Especially Fuji apples (I think that’s what they’re called?) but they’re obviously the most expensive. Dammit.
So I bought this massive bag of apples, thinking “Oh we’ll totally eat them, like, so fast” or “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” or some other lunacy. But after a few weeks, there they sat. Well, not all of them, but about half the bag.
Now, if I were a normal cooked apple-loving human, I would have made apple crisp. Or even my apple sauce (which is the bomb, by the way). But I stepped it up a notch for book club. Lucky ladies.
Behold – the most decadent apple muffins disguised as cupcakes EVER.
Salted Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Adapted from like, six places
1 cup + 2 tbsps flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated apples
Coarse salt (for garnish)
3 cups icing sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 tsps vanilla
1 tbsp milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Add apples and mix until combined. Stir in dry ingredients, half a cup at a time, until well mixed. Fill cupcake liners in a muffin tin halfway. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the middle cupcakes spring back when you touch the tops. Let cool completely before icing. To make icing, just beat all ingredients together until smooth. Keep cool and spread onto cupcakes. To make caramel sauce, mix everything in a small pot and cook down until desired thickness. Drizzle over cupcakes, and then lightly sprinkle with coarse salt.
January 29, 2013
My Other Half and I went on a buffalo chicken binge recently. We made my delicious Buffalo Chicken Dip, these low-calorie buffalo chicken rolls and finally, these adorable Buffalo Chicken Cups as an appetizer at a dinner party we hosted.
I found the recipe for the latter on one of my very favourite blogs, The Girl Who Ate Everything. We seem to have similar tastes because everything she makes looks mouth-wateringly good to me! I really look forward to her new posts and just love her food photography. I wish my photos were that good! Anyway, if you haven’t already, check her out!
I just love this cupcake-style take on one of my favourite dips. Such a great football snack!
Buffalo Chicken Cups
Adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything
½ (4 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup Ranch dressing
1/4 cup Buffalo wing sauce
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
18 wonton wrappers
Blue cheese crumbles (optional)
Mix cream cheese, ranch, sauce, chicken and half of the cheddar cheese. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Place one wonton wrapper in each of six cupcake holes. Press it in to take shape. Spoon a tablespoon of the chicken mixture and top with another wonton wrapper and add another tablespoon of chicken mixture. Do this until there are three wonton wrappers in each cupcake, ending with filling on top. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and blue cheese (if using it). Bake for 18 minutes at 375 degrees or until edges are golden brown. If the wonton wrappers are burning, cover with tinfoil. Use a knife to loosen the edges and pop each cupcake out.
If you haven’t noticed, the filling is practically identical to my Buffalo Chicken Dip. I would love to try these using a mini-cupcake pan! They’d be super cute as an hors d’oeuvre!
August 14, 2012
Remember last fall, when I posted about the best Oreo cupcakes ever?
Well, the famous cupcakes are back and better than ever! This time, with a seasonal twist.
Introducing the new, delicious and irresistible summertime favourite…
Chocolate & Berry Buttercream Cupcakes.
Just a reminder, but the cake recipe is dairy and egg-free (which means vegan, I think).
Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Canadian Living
3 all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp cider vinegar
No mixer required! In a big bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in water, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Spoon into paper-lined or greased muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean – about 24 minutes.
Berry Buttercream Icing
Adapted from Canadian Living
3/4 cup butter
3 cups icing sugar
1/8 cup whipping cream (or milk)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup blackberry jam (or use 1/8 cup seedless raspberry jam and 1/8 blackberry jam, like I did)
Beat butter until smooth and then gradually add icing sugar and then cream. Beat in vanilla. Gently stir in blackberry jam.
This recipe can easily be used with other types of jam – but beware of seeds! They’re not nice in icing. These were a big hit at our most recent book club meeting – they were all gone! The only problem is the icing can get running when warm… so keep these babies in the fridge as long as you can!
July 22, 2011
I have always been a bit of an organizational nut.
When I was little, I used to library-catalogue all my books. I put stickers on them with numbers and had a register and everything. I would colour-coordinate my drawers, re-name all my pirated songs I downloaded, made sure I had all the same types of hangers in my closet… I wanted everything to be just right, and normally that meant symmetrical, uniform and keenly organized.
This got worse when I headed to the Grammar School, where I had to juggle way too many extra-curricular activities and a really demanding work load. I had homework deadlines, texts, exams – all of which I had to prepare for while working around Girl Guides, dance classes, church stuff, soccer games, musical rehearsals, voice lessons and at one point, track & field and basketball.
I found the only way to stay on top of everything was to keep a details agenda. Our schools gave them out on the first day of classes every year and I made good use of them – to the point where I couldn’t function without it by my side. In fact, I often had bad dreams about losing it and feeling like my entire life was falling apart. My friends were like that too – you just had to be obsessively organized if you were a Grammar School student (let alone an International Baccalaureate student) who had goals to achieve.
This trend continued throughout university and ended up being a skill I was grateful to have. In the workplace it’s also been an asset. Some people find it a little weird (like My Other Half) when I re-arrange my spices and toiletries 3 or 4 times a month, but hey… it keeps me sane!
Naturally I also like planning and organizing events. Surprises, dinner parties, house parties, vacations, holidays… even my book club and soccer team. In addition, it really makes me happy to spoil the people I love. Hand-in-hand, those two qualities equal amazing surprise parties for my friends and family!
I decided to target my dear friend Sian (referred to as Xi’an in this post). We’re in a pretty similar boat – both have settled down in Ottawa as adults, but most people from our university days has moved away. We both complain about how we don’t have any friends (when in reality we probably have plenty), so I wanted to show her that she does have friends and lots of people who love her and think she’s fantastic in Ottawa.
I contacted her boyfriend, who is another one of my very favourite people, and we divulged a plan to surprise her and invited all necessary people. She thought she was being taken on a romantic birthday date alone with him when suddenly – SURPRISE! – 15 of her closest friends were there!
Here’s where the cooking aspect comes in: I made confetti cupcakes! They were Barbie pink and said “WE LOVE SIAN”… totally perfect for the occasion. Her reaction was so cute – genuinely surprised and humbled by all the love around her.
So, if you need someone to organize something – anything – I’m your girl. Especially if it’s a type of party or surprise or get-together. And if you’re lucky, really really lucky, you’ll get Barbie cupcakes too.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIAN!
November 3, 2010
I’ve mentioned my time at the Rose & Kettle Tearoom before, and explained that my domestic life really started there. One of the things we always sold by the cash register was a variety of fudge – chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla, maple. We’d make a new fudge every week or so and snack on it as the week went by. Understandably, I learned how to make it and got pretty adventurous. I made peanut butter fudge, fudge with nuts, mint chocolate fudge… it was a terrific place to work, as you can see.
One night recently I had a craving for it. I whipped it up and quickly discovered that my sweet tooth has drastically changed since I was 14 years old – I didn’t remember my fudge being that sweet, especially since I used to eat a lot of it while working at the Tearoom. It’d delicious, but sweet stuff it just not up my alley these days. However, if you love sweet things like fudge, this is an easy recipe (I suggest cutting the recipe in half because you end up with a whole 9×9 pan of it, and even at a party it’ll never all get consumed).
Julia’s Easy Fudge
4 tbsps of evaporated milk
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup margarine
4 cups icing sugar
Mix first three ingredients on medium heat until bubbles form across top. Add four cups of icing sugar once off the stove. Mix until little white lumps are completely gone. Add flavour if desired – tsp of vanilla extract, peppermint extract, cocoa powder, coconut, nuts (1/2 cup for peanut butter or cocoa). Pack into greased 9×9 pan and refrigerate. Cut.
It drives me nuts just how much sugar is in this recipe, but that’s exactly what fudge is, unfortunately.
I failed to mention the beautiful two dozen cupcakes I made for my Halloween birthday party… I had a vision and they turned out great. Chocolate cupcakes with bright orange icing and Halloween sprinkles (complete with little pumpkins). They were a hit! Minus the fact that I am still finding orange icing around my house… Aren’t they pretty? Cupcakes are all the rage!
Oh, and for those of you who were waiting on it, the Green Curry recipe is now posted here.