Growing Out On A Limb


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Coconut Cupcakes

Another Easter dinner dessert.

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I had a craving – coconut cupcakes.  I had a perfectly good coconut cupcake recipe that I used for Emery’s birthday and they were delicious.  But I stumbled on this one and it had rave reviews and I’ve never made an ‘Ina’ recipe I didn’t like so … here’s coconut cupcake recipe number two.  This one puts flaked coconut right in the cupcake which gives them a slightly crunchy texture.

What I didn’t count on was this recipe making like 28 cupcakes and enough cream cheese frosting for that many cupcakes and a dozen more pumpkin ones I had to make just to use up the icing.  I would have realized if I had read the ingredients list carefully ahead of time.  Fair warning for next time.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

5 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp almond extract

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

14 oz flaked coconut

Frosting

2 x 8-oz pkgs cream cheese

1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 pounds icing sugar, sifted

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter.  Mix until just combined.  Fold in 7 ounces of the coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners.  Fill each liner to the top with batter.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then put on a baking rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and extracts.  Add the icing sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.  

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Fruit Flan

A good friend of mine gave me this recipe a few years ago and I had forgotten about it until I needed something for an Easter dinner dessert.  It’s not the best time of year for fresh fruit but I managed to find strawberries, blueberries, and kiwis that worked fine.  (The original recipe says you can use canned fruit but personally, I wouldn’t make it if all I had was canned fruit to work with).

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INGREDIENTS

Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp icing sugar, sifted

1/2 cup butter, softened

Filling

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup whipping cream

3 cups fruit

Glaze (optional)

1/2 cup apricot jam, filtered through a sieve (other jams can be used, making sure it goes with the fruit you have chosen)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Crust

Combine flour and icing sugar.  Cream butter in a bowl and gradually blend in the flour mixture.  Use your hands to form a smooth dough.  Press evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch fluted flan pan with removable bottom.  Prick well with a fork and chill for 15 minutes.

Bake on bottom rack of oven at 425 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Cool completely in pan on rack.

Filling

Beat cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Whip cream until stiff peaks form; fold into cheese mixture.  Spread evenly in baked crust.

Arrange fruit attractively over filling.

Glaze

If desired, melt jam and lemon juice together until smooth and brush over fruit.  I forgot this step for Easter dinner (hey, it’s easy to do with two kids running around) and it was very yummy even without the glaze.

Serve at room temperature.

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Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made these cupcakes for Emery’s birthday party.  The cake was so moist and fluffy and the choice of cream cheese frosting, it is definitely a keeper and therefore making it to my recipe book (i.e. my blog).  The original recipe is from Joy of Baking, a site that I have used before for great recipes.

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon or lime zest (optional)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare muffin tin with paper liners (12 muffins).

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.

Beat the butter until soft.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (3-4 minutes).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Beat just until combined.

Evenly fill the muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp milk, if needed

Garnish:  2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING DIRECTIONS

Beat the butter until smooth.

Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and well blended.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the icing sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy and good spreading consistency.  Add a little milk if frosting is too thick.

Pipe frosting on cupcakes.  Garnish with coconut.


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Fresh Peach Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

For Ali’s baby shower, I wanted something other than the plain chocolate, vanilla, or red velvet.  And I wanted something seasonal so my first thought went to peaches.  It turns out there aren’t a whole lot of cupcake recipes out there with fresh peaches but I didn’t need to look further than the first one google took me to … this one from smittenkitchen.com.

I wish I had got a picture of one of these cupcakes broken open.  The peaches were cute quite small but big enough that every bite had a chunk of fresh peach in it.  Yumm.  And they were so moist.  Definitely a keeper.

I went with this brown sugar cream cheese frosting though, one I have used before, because the one at smitten kitchen is thinner and I worried about how it would stand up to presentation.  I’ll try it another time.  The only thing I changed about the frosting recipe was to use less almond extract… I remembered it being a really strong flavor the first time so just cut it back a bit.

 

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

pinch nutmeg

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3 large peaches, chopped quite finely (the original recipe says to peel them but I don’t think I did)

 

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Cream the butter and sugars together.  Beat until fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.  Add vanilla. Gently mix in the buttermilk.  Stir in the dry ingredients.  Fold in the peach chunks.

Divide the batter among the cupcake liners.  I think I got 27 cupcakes out of this recipe.  Bake for 18 to 22 mins.  Cool for a few minutes, then turn onto a wire rack.

 

BROWN SUGAR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 Tbsp honey

 

BROWN SUGAR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING DIRECTIONS

Melt butter and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but the honey.  Beat until mixture starts to stiffen.  Stop mixer and add honey.

Continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Do not over mix or it will collapse.

Spread immediate.  Store in refrigerator.


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Eggnog Cupcakes

Holy.  These are good.  Like, super good.

I was skeptical.  I was even more skeptical when I realized there are no eggs in the batter – obviously there are eggs in the eggnog but it’s not the same binding consistency of an egg, right?  And the only fat is 1/4 cup of oil and what is in the eggnog – it didn’t seem like enough.

But holy.  These are good.  Like, super good.

I made these with a certain co-worker in mind.  One that I have never seen even try the baked goods I bring into the office.  He’s just not a sweets person.  Okay, fine, but I still made it my mission to find something that would peak his interest.  Enter rum – when I mentioned that these had rum in them, he said, “Hand one over” without hesitation.  Then he ate a second one.   Mission accomplished.

The cupcake is so so so moist.  And eggnog-y.  And, though the rum flavor might not hit you right away, it is there  to the point where they should probably be called eggnog and rum cupcakes.  It is definitely the right compliment to the eggnog.

Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as the original recipe so click over there to see her pic too.  I already have a second batch of these in mind.

 

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcakes:

1 1/3 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup rum (I used spiced rum since it was in my cupboard)

1 cup eggnog

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

 

For the frosting:

20 Tbsp (1 1/4 cups) butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Pinch of salt

Pinch of nutmeg (maybe a little more?)

2 1/2 Tbsp eggnog

1 Tbsp dark rum

Optional garnish:  grated nutmeg

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with liners.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  In your mixer, beat the rum, eggnog, oil, vinegar, and sugar together until well blended.  Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake 22 – 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat butter on medium-high until smooth (20-30 seconds or so).  Add in the icing sugar, salt, and nutmeg.  Mix until smooth (make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl).  Add in the eggnog  and whip until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes).  Then blend in the rum.

Note:  To get the consistency I wanted with the rum added, I had to add another 1/4 cup or so of icing sugar.  

Decorate the cupcakes with the frosting.  Sprinkle with the nutmeg for garnish, if desired.


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Emery’s birthday cupcakes

On Emery’s actual birthday, we made cupcakes.  I know he wouldn’t know the difference but I just couldn’t let the day go by without doing something special on his special day.

We still (STILL!) have apples left over from apple-picking season so I looked for apple cupcakes.  I found this recipe, copied below, and it was really moist and delicious.  Martha never seems to fail.

Oliver helped me decorate and that is always fun.  We stuck a candle in one and Emery devoured it so we’ll call this venture nothing less than successful!

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups apples, coarsely shredded

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt).

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.

Mix in apples.  Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until just combined.

Line muffin tins with paper liners and fill halfway with batter.

Bake until tops are springy to the touch or toothpick comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.

When completely cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.

 

For cream cheese frosting:

Beat one 8-oz package of cream cheese until smooth.  Add 1/2 cup softened butter until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Gradually mix in 4 cups of sifted icing sugar.  Add vanilla.  Mix until smooth, about 1 minute.

 


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Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Fall means pumpkin and pumpkin means yummy!

I’ve had monkey bread on the brain for a while now and I’m not sure why.  I’m also not sure why monkey bread is called monkey bread but it ended up delicious so I’m not going to worry about it.

I always go searching for pumpkin recipes this time of year and came across this one.  I didn’t get any pictures of the finished product but I did get a few of my little helper coating the dough in sugar.

He loves to help and looks so proud when he sees the finished product and relates it back to us making them.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup warm milk

1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, beaten

2 Tbsp melted butter

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Approx. 3 cups flour

 

For coating

1/3 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

For glaze

1 cup icing sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 Tbsp half & half (or milk)

1/8 tsp vanilla

 

DIRECTIONS

Stir milk, water, sugar, and yeast together.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to proof yeast.

Stir in salt, egg, butter, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half the flour.  Mix.  Continue to add remaining flour bit by bit until dough pulls away from the sides and is sticky to touch but doesn’t stick to hands.  At this stage turn mixer on for 4-5 minutes to knead.  Lightly grease dough and bowl and cover to rise for 1 hour.

Lightly grease a pan and set aside.

For coating:  Put melted butter in one bowl.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.  Once the dough is risen, coat it by rolling about 1 Tbsp of dough into a ball, coating with butter and then rolling in sugar.   Place it in the pan.  Continue until the dough is gone.  Cover with plastic wrap and let raise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25 minutes or until browned slightly.  Remove from over and cool for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare glaze by mixing icing sugar, maple syrup, cream, and vanilla together until smooth.  Drizzle over monkey bread.