On Saturday, my first ever order for cupcakes was due. The birthday girl requested "purplicious" as a theme, so I obliged. Not really knowing what purplicious meant other than an excess of the color purple, I put different shades of purple everywhere I could. First, I made the batter using my new favorite vanilla cupcake recipe...
Billy's Vanilla, Vanilla Cupcakes
1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising*
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes (Room Temperature)
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*Since the grocery stores in this area don't carry cake flour (and as far as I can tell, there are no specialty baking stores either) I make my own cake flour - For every cup of cake flour required, take one cup all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons, plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat cupcake pans in nonstick spray with flour; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour. Consistency will be crumbly.
In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
Divide batter evenly among pans, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting, I used Culinary Institute of America's recipe again:
Place 2 sticks butter (soft) in bowl of electric mixer.
Turn on mixer. Add 4 c SIFTED confectioners sugar. Keep speed on low.
When all sugar is in, add other ingredients:
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 c milk or heavy cream
Let mix for 5 minutes.
I placed light purple frosting on one side of the piping bag, and a darker shade of purple on the other to create a variegated color.
And they were a hit, I was very relieved. The kids loved them, and were amazed: "they're purple on the inside, too!" The parents told me they were the best cupcake, and the best frosting they've ever had. My first order was a success!
But the bakestravaganza did not end there... after I cooked a beautiful dinner of lemon chicken and rice, I had to break in my brand new food processor that my mom bought us as a house warming gift. From Cuisinart's website, I found these Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies. I scaled the recipe down, since it was already 9:30pm, and I had no need for 3.5 dozen cookies.
Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies, from Cuisinart's website:
3/4 tablespoons instant coffee granules or instant espresso powder
3/4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon hot water
1-1/8 cups all-purpose flour
A little over half a teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
.5 cup unsalted butter, cut in 8 pieces, at room temperature
.375 (half way between a quarter and a half) cup firmly packed light brown sugar
.375 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup pecan halves (may be toasted) [though I left these out]
3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels [I used half semi-sweet and half bittersweet]
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine instant coffee granules, cocoa and water in a small bowl and stir to blend; reserve. Combine flour, soda and salt in a small bowl and stir to blend; reserve.
3. Place butter and sugars in the Cuisinart® Food Processor fitted with the metal "s" blade. Process until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Scrape work bowl and process 30 seconds longer. Add coffee/cocoa/water mixture, eggs and vanilla. Process 30 seconds, scrape work bowl. Process 20 seconds longer, scrape work bowl. Place flour mixture on top of creamed mixture, top with cooled pecans and chocolate chips. Pulse until flour, nuts, and chocolate chips are just blended in - do not over process - there may still be a sprinkling of flour showing, stir this in with a spatula.
4. Drop by rounded spoonfuls about the size of a walnut, 2 inches apart, on prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes. Cool slightly on baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
My cookies flattened out and spread a LOT. Perhaps I should have chilled the dough first, but I didn't feel like waiting until midnight to start baking. The result, though, was perfect. They were SO soft, lightly crisped on the outside. They just fell apart in your mouth. I definitely recommend this recipe, and will be going to Cuisinart's website in the future for other things to do with my new cool food processor.
Happy Daylight Savings time spring ahead day!