Friday, December 30, 2011

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

This is by no means an original recipe, although I've adapted it just a bit. This cupcake recipe is all over the internet. Sometimes it's not even mentioned as being vegan though. It's usually titled, "My grandmothers chocolate cupcake recipe." Probably because back in the day they used the most simple ingredients. This will be my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe, even when I don't need it to be vegan. They taste so good, and are so moist. Not to mention, they are super cheap to make considering there are no eggs or butter in the recipe.

The only problem I'm having with this recipe is finding an acceptable frosting. When searching the internet for vegan frosting, I felt a little let down. Every single recipe I found either contained margarine or vegetable shortening, gross! I'm sorry but I'd rather have regular butter any day over margarine or shortening. The fact that both are hydrogenated chemicals or oil totally grosses me out. I can't understand why someone being vegan (usually a healthier bunch of people) would be eating either of these things.

I did check out my favorite vegan cookbook, "Veganomicon," for ideas though. They had a few good recipes for icings or a pencuhe frosting (old school fudgy like stuff). But they list non-hydrogenated vegan margarine in their recipes. Which is fine and dandy, but where the heck am I going to find that stuff and I don't even want to imagine how expensive it is.

So any who, here's the recipe. I hope you all have a chance to try it.

Vegan Dark Chocolate Cupcakes -
(makes 8 cupcakes)

3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. Hershey's dark chocolate cocoa
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. water (I substitute room temp. coffee here, I think it brings out the chocolate flavor)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tbsp. white vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 8 standard muffin cups with cupcake liners.

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.

In separate bowl, whisk sugar, oil, water (or coffee), vanilla, and vinegar until well blended. Whisk in sifted flour mixture and mix until smooth, approx. 1 minute.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.

Frost with desired frosting or dust with powdered sugar for a simple and quick cupcake.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This years Thanksgiving menu!

I'm really excited for Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgiving in the past has been kinda hectic as we've always tried to make sure we hit up all the family's homes. It usually turned into a full weekend of Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong, that's great and all, but sometimes this girl can get a little tired of the same 'ol Thanksgiving traditional Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry, and stuffing routine.
This year, oh yeah, I'm doing things a little different.

Here's my menu -

1. Glazed spiral sliced ham (for my husband, who loves ham but never gets it any other time of year).
2. Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Gratin
3. My sisters brussel sprouts (I don't have a recipe, but these brussel sprouts rock).
4. Cheesy broccoli casserole with Ritz cracker topping
5. Mini homemade biscuits (recipe to come soon, I promise).
6. Classic stuffing with apples and cranberries

And for dessert, my favorite meal of the day....

1. Pumpkin Dulce De Leche cheesecake (yuummm, I can't wait for this one).
2. Homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

I'm only making ice cream because my husband and been hounding me to make him a plain vanilla ice cream for about 4 months now. I think I owe him. Plus, that way there will be an alternative in case someone might be a cheesecake hater out there, not sure how that's possible, but I've heard of that condition.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lemon Zucchini Bread with Lemon Glaze

Better late than never, right? This recipe was from this last summer when zucchini was coming out of my ears!

I love, love, love zucchini, but actually do not care for it to be incorporated into a sweet bread like most people. I've never come across a zucchini bread that's made me say, "Please, please give me your zucchini bread recipe!" Well, I think that's changed since finding this recipe. I've adapted it just a bit. The original recipe is actually for a Lemon Rosemary Zucchini bread. I'm not much of a fan of rosemary, it's possibly the one herb that I could do without. I don't even have the dried stuff in my pantry. I also concocted a lemon glaze to go on the tops of the loaves. I think it came out pretty darn good. The tartness of the lemon really breaks up the sweetness of the bread. I urge you to try this the next time zucchini is in season.

Continue reading for recipe....

Monday, August 1, 2011

Raspberry Meringues

So pretty and light as air. If you are wanting to make some super easy meringues, give these a try. Just follow the recipe from my Lemon Basil Meringues, omit the lemon and basil of course. In it's place add 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract and about 4-5 drops red food coloring.

Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

I got the recipe from Epicurious, one of my favorite sites for off beat recipes, nothing is quite the norm on that site, and I love it! I modified it by just one ingredient. Instead of using vanilla extract in the shortbread crust I opted for cinnamon to add a little bit more Latin flare. These got some really good reviews so I urge you to try these awesome bars.

Continue reading for recipe....

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache (AKA - The Super Manly Cupcake)

I've been trying to come up with cupcakes that could cater to a mans taste. Not some frilly girly cupcake that they couldn't possibly be seen eating in public. I've come up with a few good ideas that I haven't yet tried but will for sure post about in the near future. This one isn't one of my own idea, I've seen this done a ton of times but it's the first time I've attempted a chocolate stout cupcakes. I was a little worried about the beer taste in the cupcake, but man, it was amazing. Just the slightest undertone of stout came through the dark chocolate.

Here's a pic and the recipe is below.

Chocolate Stout cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Cupcake (makes 12) -
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa (I just use the Hersey's brand)
3/4 cup Young's Double Chocolate Stout beer (or any other good stout that you prefer)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
2 tablespoons Young's Double Chocolate Stout
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

For the cupcakes -
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with 12 liners. Place chopped chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Heat beer on stove stop until just simmering (2-3 min. on high). Pour beer over chocolate and cocoa and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool in refrigerator for approx. 10-15 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together, set aside. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until just smooth (do not over beat). Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, about 17-19 minutes. Cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

For the ganache -
Heat stout and heavy cream in microwave until simmering, about 30-45 seconds. In separate bowl mix chopped chocolate and confectioners' sugar. Pour hot stout/cream mixture over chocolate and whisk until well blended and smooth.

Finally, to complete the cupcakes just dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the ganache and let excess drip off before inverting back upright. Place back on rack until chocolate is cooled, or like me, eat right away while the chocolate is still warm and gooey.

I also sprinkled a little sea salt on top of my cupcakes, just to bring out even more of the chocolate flavor in these bad boys. Feel free to leave that out if you prefer though.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Orange Cream Cupcakes (I cheated...)

Yes, I majorly cheated on this batch of cupcakes, I admit it.

So, since I've started on this whole cupcake obsession I've only been baking from scratch. Well, about 6-8 months ago I bought a box of cake mix thinking I would have used it for something. That day never came, until today that is! Finally got ride of that box that was staring me down every time I opened the pantry door.

I ended up making a batch of orange creme cupcakes. For the cupcake batter I just followed the instructions on box and added the zest of one large orange. For the frosting I made a basic buttercream but added some orange juice and orange extract. I topped the cupcakes off with some orange sprinkles, you know, just to add in that special touch of orange (didn't want to shock people who would be thinking that it's just a vanilla cupcake).