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New Website!

Dear Friends,

I have decided to pick this little hobby back up, but in a different format. You can now follow my posts on this website. I’ll continue to post recipes, house updates and mostly happy thoughts.

With Love,

Mary

 

Apartment Therapy  I fell for this one. Hard.

Joy the Baker How to be the best food blogger of all time.

Huffington Post Office pranks, most of which include food.

Bon Appetit A nice game-day recap.

Whataya Want for Breakfast?

I ask Dan this question every Saturday and Sunday morning. I usually get the same response, “I dunno”. Overtime I have learned that in man-speak, “I dunno” means “I will eat whatever you cook because it will be better than the peanut butter and crackers that I would eat if left to fend for myself.”

This weekend I let a great banana muffin recipe be the answer to the “whataya want for breakfast” question.

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What makes this recipe so great?

  • Lots of bananas (4 total) make the muffins very moist with a strong banana flavor.
  • The recipe uses brown sugar instead of white sugar, adding even more flavor to the muffins.
  • Melted butter instead of softened butter makes a muffin with a nice, tender crumb. Using softened butter instead of melted butter would have resulted in a more cake-like muffin.

Banana Muffins

Makes two dozen muffins.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly butter 2 muffin tins.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture.

4. Whip bananas with sugar (using man power or an electric mixer). Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.

5. Fold wet ingredients into dry mixture, being careful not to over mix. Now is also the time to fold in your optional ingredients (nuts, chocolate chips, etc.).

6. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins to fill them about halfway. Give them a rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

7. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the muffins comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before turning the muffins out. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Recovering from a hard week of work with wine, cake in a cup and Jeopardy.

The Wine

NC cabernet 008

Random bottle of Merlot from World Market, surprisingly good!

The Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake in a Cup. Found this  recipe because, damn it, I wanted cake with my wine. Surprisingly, not a bad recipe.

My Date

Alex-Trebek

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The girl scout cookie situation has gotten out of hand in the Edwards’ house. Cookies have been purchased, and eaten, without sharing with the other spouse. Stashes have been secretly hoarded at the office. Entire boxes have been consumed in a day. Accusations have been made, apologetic boxes (from the emergency office stash) have been brought home. It is time to purge the house of the dark, delicious thin mint cloud that hangs over our home.

I’m giving our thin mints the boot by sneaking them in a devil’s food cupcake spiked with Irish creme.

Take a second to let that sink in.

At this point you realize that you must have this flavor combination in your life. Allow me to give you the gift of thin mints, cupcakes and Irish creme united in a tasty St. Patrick’s Day inspired package.

Devilish Irish Mint Cupcakes

Makes two dozen cupcakes.

The Cupcake – Adapted from Cook’s Country recipe

  • One box of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 2/3 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee. I used Maxwell House International’s Irish Creme Cappuccino 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened but still cool

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners. Place one thin mint cookie in each cupcake liner, as pictured below.

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2. Whisk boiling water, cocoa, chocolate, and espresso powder together in small bowl. Whisk eggs, sour cream, and vanilla together in medium bowl until well combined.

3. With electric mixer on low speed, combine flour, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl until blended. Add butter and mix on low until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add egg mixture in 2 additions, then beat at medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until combined, about 1 minute.

4. Add chocolate mixture and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Divide batter evenly among 24 cupcake liners. Bake until skewer or toothpick inserted in cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin tins for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on wire rack.

Note: Once cooled the cookie will serve as a crunchy, minty bottom to the cupcake. If you look closely you can see the cookie bottom in the picture below.

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The Frosting – Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen recipe

Double this recipe to frost 24 cupcakes.

  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  •  Pinch table salt (no more than 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder. I used Maxwell House International’s Irish Creme Cappuccino 

INSTRUCTIONS

In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds.

In separate, mix vanilla extract, heavy cream and espresso powder. Add heavy cream mixture to butter mixture. Beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

If desired, add food coloring. I used Wilton’s Leaf Green.

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Is it just me or is butterscotch pudding making a comeback?

Not that any type of pudding needs a comeback. Homemade pudding is easy to make and can be made with ingredients that are typically found in your pantry. Not to mention pudding’s velvety consistency makes it all to easy to consume an entire pot in one sitting…or so I’ve heard.

It seems that butterscotch pudding is enjoying a brief resurgence in the food blog world. America’s Test Kitchen, Saveur and Food52 have all featured recipes in 2014. Perhaps I am just late to the game since NPR’s food blog already covered Bringing Back Butterscotch in May 2013. I used Food52‘s recipe to whip up a batch of lunchtime pudding. Start to finish the process took less than 15 minutes. I will warn you now, you will not make it through the recommended 3 hour chill time.

Try out these recipes if you don’t like the one featured on Food52:

Saveur’s Recipe: Pros: Use of vanilla bean and sea salt. Cons: Cheats by using butterscotch chips and powdered gelatin.

America’s Test Kitchen: Pros: 12 tablespoons of butter makes anything delicious. Cons: In typical ATK fashion, recipe is complicated by creating a caramel base and using a candy thermometer.

Joy the BakerPros: Caramelized Bananas. Cons: Ripe bananas, when available, should always be used for banana pudding.

In hindsight, substituting egg roll wrappers for phyllo dough was not a good idea.

This weekend I tried to make chocolate and coconut filled samosas. I had the bright idea of using left over egg roll wrappers to replace the phyllo dough required in the recipe. Ironically, the egg roll wrappers came from another disastrous recipe, Avocado Egg Rolls. As a side note, putting avocados in an egg roll and deep frying it ruins everything that is good and holy about the avocado. Spoiler Alert: Fried avocado tastes like mushy canola oil.

The chocolate-coconut combination made for a delicious filling, but the egg roll wrappers created a tough, crunchy exterior that did not make for an attractive dessert.

See what I mean?

I didn’t want to spend the next hour producing dense samosas. I also didn’t want to waste that yummy chocolate-coconut filling (sitting down and eating it with a spoon wasn’t an option because of those darn eggs).

Then it occurred to me…eggs + sugar + butter + flour = cake.

Turning failure into opportunity, I took this banana cupcake recipe and added a dollop of the chocolate-coconut filling to each cupcake. Baking times and temperatures were not affected by the addition of the filling.

The addition of the chocolate, sour cream, coconut, and bananas made for a very moist cupcake. Now I just needed something to dress it up. I didn’t want a cream cheese frosting because, frankly, I didn’t have any cream cheese in the house. A chocolate frosting would be too rich, but peanut butter, that wouldn’t be too rich, would it?

OF COURSE IT WOULD. That’s why I had to do it.

Et viola, that is how you turn a samosa into a cupcake.

For those of you that want to try this at home, here are the details:

Chocolate-Coconut Filling

Ingredients

  • 3.5 oz unsalted butter, softened (7 tbsp)
  • 3.5 oz granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3.5 oz unsweetened shredded coconut (11/3 cups)
  • 1 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 oz semi-sweet chocolate (in bar form, you’ll be shaving it later)
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions

Step 1: Beat sugar and butter together.

Step 2: Stir in 1st egg.

Step 3: Stir in the shredded coconut and flour.

Step 4: Stir in the second egg. Continue to beat until smooth.

Step 5: Shave the chocolate into the filling. Once incorporated, stir in the cocoa powder.

Step 6: Incorporate to another base cake batter, such as this one. Follow baking temperatures and times from base recipe.

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar

This one is easy. Cream the butter and the peanut butter together. Add the confectioners’ sugar. Now go decorate some cupcakes!

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