Sunday, October 14, 2012

Gluten-Free Muffins and a Natural Phenomenon








This summer, my family and I witnessed thousands of migrating Vaux swifts flying into a chimney in Healdsburg for the night. The sight was truly spectacular and I was gratified that the gluten-free birdwatching treat I brought along went over very well with the whole family! Unfortunately the pictures of my siblings together were hit-and-miss (it's hard to coordinate 4 kids all smiling at once!) but this little guy had some sweet pictures that were too cute not to include in this post!

Birdwatching is better with a sweet treat.
The birds began to form a funnel in the sky, in front of a gorgeous sunset.
The sheer numbers were astounding.
The thousands of swifts all bedded down for the night in this small chimney.
 These gluten-free muffins were a happy kitchen accident that I whipped up right before leaving for the swifts. The flavors are earthy and autumnal and I love the texture of the sorghum and brown rice flours in the final product.

Gluten-Free Cardamom Apple Muffins~ makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup almond milk (any kind of milk will do)
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 cup brown rice flour

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a muffin tin with cupcake papers and spray the edges of the pan lightly with oil to prevent any "muffin tops" from sticking. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add the vanilla, apple, spices and egg and mix. In another bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients and add them to the wet mixture. Fill the muffin cups about 2/3-3/4 of the way full and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until baked through. The tops may be quite dark, but keep checking with a skewer or cake tester before removing them. Serve warm.

Icebox Pumpkin Pie


This recipe has been moved to tiramipursuit's new website. Find it here.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Tea Party in a Cookie.

How do you take your tea?
With sugar and lemon, perhaps?

These buttery cookies are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and comprise a complete tea party, without you ever having to put the kettle on.



Tea with Sugar and Lemon Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
about a Tbs Earl Grey loose leaf (I prefer Taylor Maid)
the juice of half a lemon
a generous pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Prep a cookie sheet with parchment or use a clean, nonstick pan without oil. Cream together your butter and sugar. Crush the tea leaves so that they are a fine dust and add this to your mixture. Add the lemon juice and stir. Add the pinch of salt and flour and stir until the mixture is incorporated. Using clean hands, roll the dough into golf-ball sized rounds and place on the cookie sheet, patting them down so that they are flat, 3/4" thick discs.
Once you have filled the pan, bake for about ten minutes or until the bottom and edges are a deep golden brown.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wild Blackberry Pavlova

This post has been moved to tiramipursuit's new website. Find it here.
Thank-you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

tipsy eggs and forest fries

My dad has been making cottage fries since I was a little kid. He used to make all kinds, from spicy cubes doused in salsa, to salt and vinegar potatoes that tasted just like chips.
The trick to perfect cottage fries every time is to use baked potatoes that are chilled overnight in the fridge. The potatoes take on a firm, but tender consistency that holds up perfectly in the frying pan.
These cottage fries are of the salt and vinegar variety but are also full of sweet, spring shallots and studded with succulent portobello mushrooms.
Serve with tipsy eggs for a well-rounded vegetarian breakfast.


Forest Fries~ serves two
2 baked potatoes, kept in an airtight container overnight in the fridge
1 portobello mushroom, gently washed and diced
1 spring shallot, fine julienned
apple cider vinegar
salt
black pepper
olive oil

Start a pan with olive oil and toss in the shallots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the mushrooms. Keep the oil on hand in case they dry. Once the mushrooms begin to darken, cube the potatoes (skin on) and toss them in with a generous splash of apple cider vinegar. Be sure to add a little more oil if it looks dry so that the potatoes will brown properly. Stir to let all sides of the cubes become crisp. Taste a fry and add vinegar and salt to your preference. Serve with tipsy eggs.

Tipsy Eggs~ serves two
2 eggs
white wine
water
butter
salt
hot paprika

Start a pan with a pat of butter on medium heat, being careful not to let the butter darken. Whisk the eggs with a few Tbs of water and a Tbs of white wine. Add a pinch of salt and a sprinkling of paprika. Scramble the egg with the butter. Serve with forest fries and fresh, chopped 'flatleaf' parsley.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Yerba Mate soda and Tamarind Teacakes

Our local purveyor of yerba mate (Guayaki) has become very popular; not sure if they're national yet, but it's getting up there. A while ago, my dad was messing around with their loose leaf tea, trying to make a cheaper, homemade version of their delicious canned teas. He has also started using the tea leaves to brew his own kombucha, which is an acquired taste, plus you NEVER want to ask to see the process before you've tasted it, as it involves a kind of fermentation that uses a lot of disgusting-sounding terms and has the appearance of a giant mushroom floating in muddy water. And yet, the beverage is actually very refreshing and good for you, so don't knock it til you try it.


I was driving home from knife skills class this morning, feeling kind of morose and wondering if it was too early to go back to bed (at noon) when I thought I'd try making a Guayaki/yerba mate soda. Of course I am of the mind that tea should be accompanied by treats whenever possible...

I started trying to think of what flavors would go well with the delicious yerba mate. It's a very delicate flavor and from my experience at tea shops and cafes, green tea does best paired with light, citrusy or floral accompaniments. I had a jar of tamarind paste from my godmother that has been neglected for months, so I started experimenting and got lucky.I also got a chance to use my cute mini-bundt pan, although I am sure the batter would make very good mini muffins. I thought that the tamarind would make the cakes a bright orange, but they turned out kind of a dull golden brown, although the flavor is sweet and tangy.

tamarind cake, 1) dusted with cocoa and sugar and 2) glazed with orange glaze and topped with candied orange peel


mini bundt pan


Green Tea Syrup
1 1/2 Tbs loose leaf yerba mate
cheesecloth
3 cups water
1 2/3 cup sugar- the syrup will keep its color better if you use processed, white sugar although I used unprocessed sugar for this recipe
Tie the loose tea with the cheesecloth and brew in a saucepan with 3 cups of water. Once the tea has a deep, golden color (but is not bitter), add the sugar and whisk until dissolved. Allow the syrup to reduce on low heat, then transfer it to a heatproof bowl to cool. Use it in mineral water to make an Italian soda, adding juice if you like.

Tamarind Teacakes
4 Tbs unsalted, softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs tamarind paste
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375F. Prep your mini bundt pan liberally with oil, so that every surface has a light coating (you can use a mini muffin pan instead). In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Scrape the vanilla bean into the mixture and add the tamarind, mixing thoroughly. Add the egg, then the dry ingredients. Whisk in the milk thoroughly. Fill the molds or cupcake cups 3/4 way so they don't overflow. If you are using a mini bundt pan, rap it on the counter to keep your cakes from getting air bubbles like mine did! Bake until lightly golden and a skewer comes out cleanly. The cakes can be served plain or glazed (1:2 orange juice to powdered sugar) or dusted with a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Midnight Linzer Pie

I'm sorry, this post has been moved to my new website! Find it here!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Potatoes Two Ways- the Irish cure-all

Perhaps one wouldn't think of potatoes as the "Irish cure-all", but rather of some stout brew that could numb the most terrible of pains or sorrows. My grandmother, who is of Irish descent, taught all of us grandchildren how to prepare potatoes many ways. For me, potatoes are the ultimate comfort food, impossible to resist and healing at the soul level.


I was thinking about rainy days, as I said on my previous post today and an image of a mound of potatoes came up, swimming in gravy, topped with crispy fries. I went to the store, assembled my ingredients and got to work. The zesty, vinegar fingerlings offer a contrast to the sweet, earthy, mashed Yukons.



The perfect snack for a cold, gloomy day.

Potatoes Two Ways
approx 6 Yukon Gold potatoes
10 fingerling potatoes, preferably purple or red-skin
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
salt
pepper
unsalted butter
olive oil
Start a pot of water boiling with a pinch of salt and boil the Yukon gold potatoes. While they are boiling, get your gravy started and wash the fingerlings. Using a potato peeler, peel the fingerlings into little oval strips, forming a pile until there is just a small nub left, which can be saved for soup or compost. Once the fingerlings are reduced to small peelings, toss them in a bowl with the apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a frying pan with some oil and brown the peelings in the bottom of the pan, so they form a kind of sheet. Flip once they are golden and repeat on the other side. Once the Yukons can be broken easily with a fork, drain the pot and mash the potatoes (with the skins on) with a few tablespoons of unsalted butter, salt and pepper to taste. Mound the mashed potatoes onto a plate, garnish with the fingerling sheet and dress with the mushroom sauce to taste.

for the mushroom sauce
olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
approx 10 crimini mushrooms, diced
1 Tbs white wine
salt
pepper
boiling water
cornstarch, approx 2 tsp
Start a saucepan on the stove with some olive oil. Soften the onions in the oil on low heat, until translucent and soft. Add the garlic and the mushrooms, being sure to add a little oil if the mixture looks dry. Allow the mushrooms to reduce slightly, adding the wine and some boiling water if necessary. Add the salt and pepper and slowly whisk in some cornstarch a bit at a time so clumps do not form. This should thicken the liquid in the pot. If it becomes too thick, simply add more boiling water. Once it has reached the desired consistency, it is ready to be added to your potatoes.

Bijoux aux Gingembre~ ginger gems

This page has been moved to a new location! Find it here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Southern Decadence Cupcakes


Tonight is the reading for the social action essay class that I took this semester. We are all bringing food for the reception, so I opted to make cupcakes.
I should explain something first: My room is always messy and living in a tiny dorm room this semester didn't help matters. This is due in large part to the fact that I decided to start the baking club and have therefore been the keeper of every supply, gadget, ingredient and implement that we have used for our meetings. Every week, I would take bags and bags of these items back and forth between home, the kitchen, and my quickly filling room. Needless to say, although I will miss the meetings, I am glad that the semester is almost over and I will have a few months off!
That said, since the baking club was drawing to a close, I haven't been bothering to replenish my supplies of interesting ingredients, so I was left with a dwindling pile of basic necessities (which doesn't take up as much room, thank goodness). After agreeing to make the cupcakes, I thought "I need to use up the last few ingredients I have, what do I have left?"The most obvious hanger-on was a large bag of brown sugar.
Brown sugar never seems to get the love it deserves. It is often overlooked for the cloyingly sweet caramel, the flavorful, albeit bitter molasses or the standard, pale, granulated sugar. As for me, I love brown sugar and determined to send this bag of lonely sweetener out with a bang.
A while back, I experimented with a brown sugar frosting recipe and fell in love with it. But this icing recipe didn't include the grittiness of the brown sugar (and I think I may have undersalted it a little). I also really like See's butterscotch squares, so I thought that I would pair my latest attempt at brown sugar frosting with chocolate cake to emulate those delicious confections. The result was absolutely phenomenal if I do say so myself. For such a quick and easy recipe, the result was sophisticated and dangerously addictive. If you do get a chance to try this recipe, please let me know how it goes in the comment space below. Enjoy!



yum!

Southern Decadence Cupcakes
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prep two muffin tins by filling the cups with cupcake papers and spraying the surface lightly so that any spills or "muffin tops" won't stick.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, oil, water and vanilla and mix until just combined. Fill your cupcake papers 2/3 of the way and bake the cupcakes for 10-15 minutes or until the tops bounce back up when pushed lightly.
Allow to cool completely and then frost.

Brown Sugar Buttercream
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar in increments. It will start to look clumpy, like cottage cheese. At this point, add the brown sugar. Be sure to break up any clumps so that your frosting will be smooth. Add the salt and vanilla while you can still see dry patches of brown sugar in the mix. Whip until light and creamy. I used a spatula to frost the cupcakes, to give them a homey look, but it could also be piped onto your cooled cupcakes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Orange Crisps

I made these cookies for a jazz concert reception tomorrow. I have experimented with using orange, cinnamon and chocolate together before and had great results (check out this recipe). I hope you enjoy these crisp, flavorful treats.


Chocolate Orange Crisps
1 cup softened, unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs roughly grated orange peel (a cheese grater would work better than a fine grater for this)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
for the glaze:
the juice of one orange
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the butter and sugar with the zest in a mixing bowl until creamed. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, until all ingredients are incorporated.
Roll the dough into ping-pong sized balls and press them onto a prepared pan with at least 3/4" of space inbetween each one. They will spread slightly. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy. Let cool on a drying rack and then glaze.
To prepare the glaze, fill a measuring cup most of the way with powdered sugar. Squeeze the orange into the powdered sugar. stirring until you have reached the desired consistency. A ratio with more powdered sugar will be thicker and will look more opaque on the cookie. A thin glaze will just leave the cookie looking glossy. Once the glaze looks right, I like to set my drying rack over a cookie sheet with parchment on it (the one I just baked with usually) and pour the glaze over the cookies. That way, the glaze will drip onto the parchment, which makes cleanup much more manageable.
Allow the glaze to set and enjoy.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Rustic Rosemary Twist

Last night was our last baking club meeting for the semester. We had a lot of fun, I will miss baking with everybody this summer. I arrived early to prepare several batches of cornmeal pizza dough, which everyone then decorated and baked. Our pizzas turned out really delicious and I also ended up with extra dough!
Building off the dough recipe from Martha Stewart, I decided to make a cheesy, rosemary braid as an afternoon snack to share with my hall. The dough is rolled out into ropes which are in turn stuffed with cheese. The rolls are then braided together and sprinkled with crunchy salt. Although the dough recipe is not my own, I have provided it here for your convenience in making the rosemary twist.




Rustic Rosemary Twist

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
2/3 cups warm water
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 cup cornmeal, plus more for pizza peel or baking sheet
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
2 tbs dried rosemary
1 tsp coarse salt
Oil for the pan
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved and mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and add the yeast mixture and oil. Mix the ingredients just until the dough starts to come together. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 10 minutes. Place the dough in a shallow oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.


Preheat the oven to 400F. Knead the rosemary into your dough until incorporated. Cut the dough into three balls and roll each into a rope. Spread each rope flat onto the work surface and make a line of cheese down the center. Carefully pinch the sides up around the cheese filling and roll the rope out a little longer. 
Once all three ropes are prepared, braid them on your prepared pan, pinching the ends together. Sprinkle your twist with coarse salt and bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden.
The twist turned out amazingly soft, with a crunchy exterior and cheesy center; I'm so glad I decided to try experimenting with it. Enjoy!




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some Cool Sites to Check Out! Sharing Inspiration.

The last few days, I have been pondering the importance of reading in writing. My major is creative writing and I have been taking notes on speeches given by successful authors and also thinking about books that I loved reading and what about them was so enjoyable. I know that these practices improve writing ability and awareness of your own voice. This inspired me to look around and find what I enjoy about other people's work with food, what inspires me and what I can share with others that might inspire them! So here are some links to photos, blogs, recipes and menus that I find interesting.

Canelle et Vanille is always gorgeous and full of incredible recipes. Her work is what inspired me to try blogging about food and to improve my photography skills:
http://www.cannellevanille.com/

The description of this dessert menu is phenomenal. The restaurant Trace in Austin is reviewed here on "epicuriosities".  Here is a picture of their coffee panna cotta:
http://epicuriosities.com/tag/dessert/



I am so in awe of chefs who put this much detail into their presentation. To me, the most engaging presentation is not always something that is set before you looking beautiful, but can be something that undergoes transformation before your very eyes. Or even better, if you get to make that transformation happen on your own! (Fondue, anyone?) Check out this Hong Kong Restaurant and the blog, "bon vivant". The strawberry dessert in this post also looks incredible.
http://www.jasonbonvivant.com/2011/09/mandarin-grill-bar-hong-kong.html


Cakespy is one of the most awesome things in existence. This woman posts the most amazing recipes and is honestly who inspired me to share with you some of my favorite blogs and menus, because she is constantly supporting other bloggers and chefs by showing their work on her site, as well as artists and authors. An incredibly cute recipe she recently shared is for these Cinco de Mayo pinata cookies:
http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/958083/cinco-de-mayo-pinata-cookies

But be sure to check out her website too!! Here's a link of hers that I really like for sushi cake truffles:
http://www.cakespy.com/blog/2012/1/12/sushi-cake-truffles-recipe-from-crazy-for-cake-pops.html


Alinea Restaurant in Chicago is a temple of molecular gastronomy and modern cuisine. (I emailed them a few months ago asking if they could accommodate a vegetarian menu and they said they could.) The head chef at this restaurant actually lost his sense of taste due to cancer and created this menu as his sense of taste slowly returned. Check out their gallery and you might find yourself booking a flight to Chicago! I can't wait to go there someday:
http://www.alinea-restaurant.com/pages/gallery/gallery_cuis.html


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Oranges in Blossom Syrup

I have a presentation in French class tomorrow morning. My group is doing a 35 minute presentation about Morocco in French. Since I'll be talking about music, fashion and food, I offered to do a Moroccan recipe. Another girl in my group will be making an orangey cake, so I opted to make these oranges in blossom syrup to add to our sweet Moroccan breakfast.
I got the recipe from this gorgeous book that I bought a while back. It's called "Made in Morocco" by Julie Le Clerc, who I have since realized is a prolific food writer. The book not only has great recipes, but facts about different towns and regions and the foods and spices that each region is famous for. I increased the recipe slightly for my presentation and for future use since I have a large family!
I got the cute spoon in the picture a month ago at a cute shop in Berkeley, called Maison d'Etre.
Orange flower water often tastes very strong and perfume-y, but this delicate syrup only heightens the floral notes in the oranges.




Oranges in Blossom Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs orange flower water
1 1/2 cups cold water
6 oranges, peeled and sliced

Place the sugar, honey, water, cinnamon and blossom water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Simmer gently until reduced by half.
Place the orange slices in a bowl and pour over the hot syrup. Set aside to cool and infuse the oranges with flavor.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Giant Birthday Cookie!

This recipe has been moved to tiramipursuit's new website. Find it here.
Thank-you!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

Daisies, Spring and...cookie butter?

Hi all!
Tonight, my baking club is making crêpes with some other resident students. It is going to be a big party and after we make the crêpes, we are going to watch a French-themed movie. I am very excited! For tips on how to throw a crêpe party, check out this link!

I went to Trader Joe's yesterday to get ingredients and found this amazing and mysterious item: cookie butter. It is exactly what it sounds like; it is a spreadable cookie! wait a second....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven't opened it yet because I am saving it for tonight, but I can't wait to see how it tastes. I hope it is one of those things that tastes as good as it sounds. The label describes it as "A deliciously unusual spread remniscent of gingerbread and made with crushed [speculoos] biscuits" and promises, "All you have to do is taste it to understand", so I have high hopes.


I also went on a fun walk/improv jam session with a woman from my improv class through the beautiful Mills campus. I had never realized that the trail existed and was full of wonder at the stands of towering eucalyptus and clouds of wildflowers along it. I had forgotten how many native plants I knew since I have been in a city setting for a while. I immediately started sampling native wild mustard seedpods, "sourgrass", honeysuckle and fennel. It was very therapeutic. At one point we sat down and started chaining daisies. I found one special daisy that was more petalled and therefore fluffier than the rest, that I think is so beautiful. The chain became part of my hairstyle for the day!



Tomorrow, my baking club is taking our first fieldtrip to San Francisco, to the bakery Miette, the ferry building and to a tour at TCHO chocolate factory! I'll be posting about it tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cooking at Home

This post has been moved to tiramipursuit's new website. Find it here.
Thank-you!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chocolat Movie Night!

Hi everyone!
This week, my baking club is going to have a movie night and we're watching "Chocolat"! Before the film starts, we'll be making a number of delicious chocolate recipes from the movie, so check in later this week if you're a fan of the film or of chocolate!
<3 Lauren

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day from Tiramipursuit!
Yesterday the Baking Club hosted a bake sale by the Mills tea shop. I made vegan brownies and cookies, gluten free cupcakes and purple velvet cupcakes to sell. We definitely made a profit, which is exciting!
I had some great help from two of our club members, Ryan and Emily, not to mention the support of my friends who are awesome and tasted the desserts for me without complaint ( ;
The bake sale, with Ryan and Emily.


I made these with a gluten-free mix, then whipped up an icing using butter and powdered sugar.

A happy accident...I guess "mauve" is more purple than pink. They turned out cute though!

Vegan cookies with dream chips!

The vegan brownies!
 Shannon and I fed some brownie to a squirrel and he loved it!
The recipe is squirrel-approved.
Sinful Vegan Brownies
I slightly adapted this recipe from a recipe by SANDYWIFEY31S at Allrecipes.com. The brownies taste rich and chocolatey but are also cakey.

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A handful of vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Prep a 9x13" pan by spraying it with canola or vegetable oil and pressing a sheet of parchment into it. This will make it easier to remove the brownies afterwards.Spray the parchment lightly too.
 Sift together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, oil and water and mix well. Spread evenly into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the vegan chips. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is cooked through.
Let cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting into even squares. I recently learned that brownies are actually a form of caramel, which is why they can fall apart when cut too early and refuse to be cut once they have cooled. You learn something new every day!
Enjoy with your sweetheart, with friends or keep a secret stash just for yourself!
Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

I have finally braved the kitchen here at Mills, even though the oven is about 60 years old and is on a completely different floor from the prep space...I did it because Valentine's day is coming up and I had to share some recipes with you all and get back in the kitchen! I had a bunch of buttermilk and cream cheese frosting left over from baking club, so I got to work making these tasty cupcakes.


The weather today was perfect for taking pictures: overcast and bright. I was so delighted to discover that the creepy little kitchen has these awesome old windows and I have finally, for the first time ever, been able to bake in a room with amazing lighting. So, I had fun taking pictures of the baking process as well.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, I adapted it from the buttermilk cake recipe in "Super Natural Every Day" which you can find on my books page. I didn't have some of the same ingredients, so I tweaked it a bit. I will admit that 16 strawberries were smuggled out of the Mills cafeteria in my bag this morning, but at least I shared the final product with the other people in my dorm, so hopefully I won't have any bad karma!




Ready for the oven!

The old oven.

Little cupcakes going in.

I took the cupcakes all around campus. I am in love with the blossoming trees right now.


Vanilla speckles.

One cupcake looking for love.



The other cupcake is sad and lonely until...

...they find each-other! And they live happily ever after.


Needless to say, they were gone when I came back!
Strawberry Buttermilk Cupcakes (with vanillabean cream cheese frosting)
2 1/2 cups unbleached pastry flour
1 tbs baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
grated zest of two organic oranges
approximately 16 strawberries, chopped
some large-grain or turbinado sugar for decoration

Preheat your oven to 400F. Prepare a muffin tin by spraying the tops and filling 18 cups with cupcake papers.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together the eggs and buttermilk. Add the butter and zest and whisk. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Pour the batter into the cupcake cups until each is 2/3 full. Sprinkle the cupcakes lightly with chopped strawberries, then with the large-grain sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Be sure to rotate halfway through to ensure even baking. Let cool and serve with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. Decorate with remaining strawberry slices.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
It was an accident that we used vanilla beans in baking club last night because I forgot to buy vanilla at the store. The speckles are so pretty though, I didn't regret it.
1/2 vanilla bean
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Whip the cream cheese and sugar together with a hand-held mixer. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the frosting. You can save the pod for flavoring another dish. Whip until light and fluffy. Pipe onto your cooled buttermilk cupcakes.