Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes topped with Chocolate dipped Strawberries

I think I am on a theme here of making wonderful cupcakes. I modified a cake recipe to create this outrageous cupcake.  A dense chocolate cupcake frosted with a sinful chocolate ganache topped with a chocolate dipped strawberry.  Combining two favorite flavors chocolate and strawberry into a heavenly treat!

Cup Cakes

1/2 cups sem- sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla

Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in microwave at high for 30 second intervals until melted, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
Beat brown sugar and butter at medium speed in an electric mixer 5 minutes or until well blended. The time really depends on the type of mixer you use. The stronger the mixer the less mixing time.
Add eggs one at a time mixing just until blended. Add melted chocolate mixing just until blended. Don't over beat the batter.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to chocolate batter alternating with the sour cream. Always start and end with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add hot water beating at low speed until just blended. Stir in vanilla. Batter will be thin, don't panic you didn't do anything wrong.
Pour into cup cake pans with a paper liner. Makes about 20 cup cakes.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until wooden tester comes out clean ( I use a bamboo skew)  I like to use a soup ladle to spoon the batter into the prepared cup cake pans. Poor slowly into the cake liners. Cool cupcakes completely before frosting with Chocolate Ganache. Dip strawberries in left over Ganache and set on top of cake. If you are not serving with in the next hour, dip strawberries and put in refrigerator.  When you are ready to serve melt 1-ounce semisweet chocolate, cool until room temperature about 5 minutes.  Dip side of strawberry that you are placing on cupcake( think of using the chocolate as a glue to hold the chilled strawberry on top of the cupcake), then gently place strawberry on top of cupcake.

Chocolate Ganache
1 (12 -ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoon butter

Microwave chocolate and whipped cream in 2-quart glass bowl at 50% power for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in butter, let stand 30 minutes. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 to 4 minutes. ( An electric hand mixer works very well)

When I was making these cupcakes I was thinking how far cupcakes have come from the ones I used to make for my childrens' birthday to bring school to share with their classmates. Cupcakes are now revered and elevated to loft hights, lusted after, elaborate creations, even fancy enough for an elegant wedding. Who knew!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Curried Chickpea and Tofu Salad

I love chickpeas, adding to salads, stew, sauces and a plus is that chickpeas are a good source of protein.  Combining tofu with chickpeas not only adds interesting texture to this salad but added protein. As I've always shared I love to find healthy recipes that also taste good, low in fat and high in protein. My Curried Chickpea and Tofu salad fits all my requirements.  I've enjoy tofu dishes in oriental restaurants unfortunately I haven't incorporated tofu into my home cooking. Looking for a way to add more tofu in my diet I came up with this recipe. What I like about this recipe is it is easy to make, can be made ahead, looks wonderful and fits well into summer meals.


Curried Chickpea and Tofu Salad

3 15 to 15 1/2-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon curry or to taste
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bunch green onions, sliced, just white bulbs
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1 cup firm tofu, cubed
Romain lettuce

Put chickpeas in mixing bowl. In a small bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, curry, and garlic.
Add carrots and tofu to chickpeas.  Toss lemon juice mixture with chickpeas and carrots.  Line dish or glass bowl with lettuce. Place chickpeas and tofu mixture on top.  Chill for four hours or more to allow flavors to combine.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Taking Tea with the Dedham Juniors with wonderfull tea sandwiches

Each year my woman's group, the Dedham Junior Woman's Club, holds a lovey English tea complete with china, silver and  fabulous tea accouterments to celebrate the woman in our lives.  A proper English tea is one of my favorite rituals that I love to sample where ever I travel. I've taken tea in London, Bermuda, the Huntington Library, the Ritz and more. When my daughter was little we had a Mother/Daughter holiday tea and cookie swap with everyone wearing their party best. Still the Dedham Junior Woman's Club Tea is my favorite!  Held at the colonial Allin Congregational Church in historic Dedham, the location sets the mood for a elegant tea. The tea is served on club members cherished china with one club member sharing her amazing collection of silver to serve delectable delicious dainty tea sandwiches and delicate petite pastries.  A highlight of the tea is the raffle table brimming with an assortment of gift baskets, plants, items for children and more, raffled at the end of the tea.
Since this is to fete woman all the funds raised go to woman's issues, this year donations will be made to Team Mind Out over Matter(a team in the Boston Komen three day walk for the cure) and the Woman's Lunch Place in Boston. What could be more perfect celebrating woman by donating to two wonderful woman's causes.
Not only do I love to take tea but to make tea sandwiches. Each year I find more wonderful recipes to whip up for my favorite tea.  Tea sandwiches are fun to make, especially adding embellishments to decorate.  I am sharing three great recipes with you all to try and encourage you to have your own wonderful tea even if it is just for two or four!

Roast Beef Sandwiches with Kalamata Mustard Butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/8 teaspoon ground  black pepper
10 slices whole wheat bread*
1/4 pound thinly sliced deli roast beef
Garnish: fresh chives, blanched

Using food processor, combine butter, olives, mustard, parsley, and pepper. Pulse until mixture is combined but still chunky.
Spread Kalamata Mustard Butter on each bread slice. Top half of bread slices with thinly sliced roast beef. Place remaining bread slices on top of roast beef. Trim crust from bread, and cut into finger sandwiches.
Wrap each sandwich with blanched chive and tie in know. Trim ends of chives if necessary.

Freeze bread before use to make it easier to cut.

Shrimp Mousse with Saffron Aioli in Phyllo Cups
1/2 pound large shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined, tail removed
1 ( 8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 butter, softened
1 cove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 (2.1) package frozen phyllo shells, thawed
baby shrimp for garnish

Using food processor, combine cream cheese, butter, garlic, chives. Pulse until combined. Add shrimp and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Spoon mixture into phyllo shells. Drizzle with Saffron Aioli and garnish with baby shrimp.

Saffron Aioli
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of saffron
1 clove garlic, minced

In a small bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.

Watercress and Goat Cheese Tea Sandwich

16 thin slices cinnamon-raisin bread*
2 (5 1/2-ounce) logs soft fresh goat cheese, softened
1/2 cup chopped watercress leaves
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

*Freeze bread for easier cutting

In a medium bowl, mix goat cheese and watercress. Spread mixture evenly over 8 bread slices. Top with remaining  sliced bread.
Carefully cut the crust from each sandwich. Cut into tea sandwiches or use decorative cookie cutters.
Roll cut edges of each sandwich in the softened butter. Dip butter edges of sandwiches into pecans, gently pressing the pecans into the butter.