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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Black Forest Cupcakes

Thursday was a bittersweet day at work. It was Kelly's last day. She has been a joy to work with since I first started at my current company. She is such a sweet person and always there to offer help when I needed.  She got a better position that is closer to her new home so even though I didn't want her to leave, I am very exited and happy for her new adventure!

For her last day, I made the crowd favorite- Twinkies Cupcakes and also Black Forest Cupcakes. These were inspired by the $2.99/lb cherries I saw at Stop and Shop earlier this week.

I posted the Twinkies Cupcakes before so this post will be about these Black Forest Cupcakes.

Black Forest Cupcakes
makes 36 cup

Cherry Filling: I made it from scratch but if you can use cherry pie filling

  • 16 oz of defrosted pitted sweet cherries with the juice
  • 1 tbs sugar 
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs cornstarch with 2 tbs of the cherry juice

Combined cherries/juice, sugar, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice ingredients into a small pot. Bring it to a boil. Add the corn starch/cherry juice mixture. Bring the mixture up to boil and reduce heat to let it bubble and thickened. Let the filling cool.



Cake:
I used the trusted Ina Garten recipe for the chocolate cake- Beattys chocolate cake.

Once the cupcakes are baked. Hollow out the center and then brush with Kirsch.

Frosting:

  • 3 cups of heavy whipping cream- keep it very cold
  • 3 tbs powdered sugar-add more if you like it sweeter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Make sure everything is very cold. From whisk to bowl to the cream. I always put the bowl and the whisk in the freezer for at least 15 minutes and only take out the cream right before mixing.
Mix the cream in a large bowl on medium speed until soft peak. Then add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on hight speed until stiff peak forms. Do not over beat. 

Assembly:
Filled the hollowed out cake with the cherry filling. Then pipe the whipped cream on top. Top with fresh cherries or leave it as is. 


Friday, July 4, 2014

New Home, New Kitchen

My life has been super hectic since I last posted. Besides being busy at work, we also bought a townhouse and renovated the kitchen. The whole home buying process was miserable, anything that could go wrong, did. We started looking at houses January of this year and finally closed on a house on June 6. 

We had 3 single family houses that fell through during these 6 months, saw like 40 houses and finally settled on a townhouse in downtown Fairfield. I really prefer a single family house but you just can't beat the location of our townhouse. J takes the Metro North Train into Manhattan for work so for him being able to walk to the train station is a huge plus. 

We knew when we first saw this place that we love the location, the townhouse layout but just weren't crazy about the 1985 bathrooms and kitchen. Most people would start with the small projects but of course being as impatient as J. We had to start with the most costly and time consuming kitchen. 

Originally J wanted to do the Ikea cabinet himself and just hire someone for the granite countertops but we decided it might be a good idea to leave it up to the professionals. I am happy with the result but will not recommend the contractor we used since they were a pain to deal with. 

For our appliances, we ended up replacing it all. We decided on all KitchenAid appliances. We bought them all from Marsillios's in Fairfield. They were great to deal with plus they price match! Our sales person was not pushy and helped us choose the ones that give us the most bang for our bucks. 




Saturday, February 22, 2014

Nutella Cupcakes

I can't believe it's been over 2 month since I last posted. It's been crazy with the holidays, work and looking to buy our first house.

My coworker Michelle sent me a pic of Nutella Cupcakes recently. I love Nutella and not sure why I never got around to making cupcakes with it. I guess it's just much easier to eat it out of the jar.

My laziness prevented me from being creative this weekend so I just made my trustworthy chocolate cake recipe with a simple Nutella buttercream.

Nutella Buttercream

  • 1 cups (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 2 to 3 tbs milk*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the butter on medium speed with your mixer until it's light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Add the powdered sugar. Start mixing with low speed and gradually increase to medium speed. Add the Nutella  then vanilla extract and continue to mix at medium speed. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the creamy consistency you desire. 


* I normally use half and half or heavy cream but today I used milk since it's all I have on hand. The frosting still tasted great!



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes

I've been seeing so many peppermint related dessert posts lately, really makes it hard to not to do the same. For my company's holiday potluck today I brought Peppermint Chocolate Cupcakes.

For the chocolate cake part, I used one of my favorite one bowl recipe. I normally alternate between the Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Cake or Ina Garten's Beatty's Chocolate Cake. This time I used the Ina Garten recipe but swamped out the regular coffee with decaf.

Below is the frosting recipe I came up with. This is enough frosting for 24 generously frosted cupcakes.

Peppermint Marshmallow buttercream

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) room temperature unsalted butter
  • 4 oz marshmallow fluff
  • 1  tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar- shifted
  • 4 tbs milk

Beat the butter on medium speed until it's light in color and fluffy. Add the marshmallow cream, salt, peppermint, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and milk. Beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Add more milk or powdered sugar pending on if the frosting is too thin (more powdered sugar) or too thick (more milk).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Homemade Chashu Pork for Ramen

Last weekend we went to Craft Butchery in Westport and came home with $45 worth of organic pork belly. Since I love the frozen ramen from Daido (Japanese market in White Plains, NY), I thought it would be fun to see if I can make homemade Chashu Pork to go with the ramen.

I came across a great recipe from Serious Eats but instead of baking it in a very low temperature oven, I just cooked the pork belly over the stove on low heat (bring it up to a boil then reduce the heat). I cooked it for almost 3 hours. There is definitely a little adjustment I have to make but overall it tasted pretty good!




Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 Recap

This year is the first year that I hosted Thanksgiving. The guest list went from 15 people to 29 people 5 days before Thanksgiving so I was scrambling to come up with a better way to cook the turkey since I knew I wouldn't have enough oven space if I have to bake the turkey for 4.5 hours. 

J's family had fried turkeys (using Butterball XL Electric Fryer) in the past so he suggested doing so since it only takes about 50 mins for a 14 lb bird. At Trader Joe's we decided to get 2 turkeys when we saw the natural, brined turkeys were only $1.99/lb. We got a 14 lb and a 15 lb. We decided on two different flavor injections, Cajun and Savory (typical Thanksgiving herbs). Both came out to be very juicy and flavorful. We are definitely frying turkey from now on!

What was on the menu (made by me and my mom):
2 Fried turkeys- Cajun and Savory 
Apple sausage stuffing
Baked sweet potatoes- cinnamon, honey, butter
Baked red potatoes
Mashed red potatoes
Roasted peppers and onion
Roasted zucchini and yellow squash
Garlic bread
spring rolls
Korean BBQ
Coconut Shrimps
Scallops wrapped in bacon
Shrimp, scallops and asparagus stir fried

Following were made by my Aunt Connie:
King crab salad
Shrimp cocktail
Stir fried lobsters
Clams casino

Desserts (mostly made by me):
Chocolate cake with strawberry filling with whipped cream frosting
Twinkies cupcakes
Cheesecake
Brownies
Pumpkin Pie from Julia's Bakery
Italian pastries from Julia's Bakery

Since I was too busy all day, I forgot to take pictures. Most of the below pictures are from my brother Cliff. 






















Friday, November 1, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Tomorrow is our Pot Luck at work and of course I'm bringing cupcakes. I found these mini Reese's Mini's while shopping for Halloween candy. Thought they would be great as cupcake toppers. This turns into making peanut butter frosting cupcakes. 

For the chocolate cake, I used the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate cake for the cake part and decided on a peanut butter whipped frosting. The only difference with the cake is that I substituted the hot water with coffee. 

Peanut Butter Whipped Frosting
24-28 cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup of room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/marshmallow fluff
  • 5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tbs milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the peanut butter, butter and marshmallow fluff in a large bowl until smooth. Add the vanilla in the mixture. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix on low until well incorporated. Add in the milk one tbs at a time until you get your desired consistency. Beat the whole mixture on medium high until it's light a fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.