Aww, mini cupcakes!

When regular cupcakes just aren’t small enough, it’s mini cupcakes!
I made some spicy chili-chocolate mini cupcakes… and they were a disaster. So then I made some vanilla bean cupcakes instead and they turned out great. I actually didn’t get too discouraged after the first incident, and the vanilla was a great idea.

3 Vanilla Cupcakes
Recipe by Chokylit
3/4 cup (1-1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-2/3 cups vanilla sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2-2/3 cups flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Alternately add in the dry ingredients and the milk.
Bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes
(or bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes for mini cupcakes)

For the frosting I tried mascarpone cheese for the first time and fell completely in love with it. If you’re a poor student and can’t afford nice ingredients, buy some anyway. My small tub cost about $12, but I still have lots left, had a bit on a croissant this morning, mmm. Anyway, this is the best icing I’ve ever made and it’s my new favourite. My mom requested it for her birthday. I also already had chocolate icing, so I blended in some leftover strong coffee for a mocha icing and put that on a few cakes.

Vanilla Mascarpone Icing
recipe by me
1/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 vanilla bean *
2 oz white chocolate (2 baker’s squares), melted
2- 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
splash milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend the butter and the cheese, scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the mix. Add the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Mix in the icing sugar about 1 cup at a time, alternating with a bit of milk and a touch of vanilla extract. Try not to eat it all before you ice the cupcakes.

* for this recipe I used 1/2 a vanilla bean for the cakes and 1/4 of a bean for the icing. I used the remaining 1/4 bean to make a bit of vanilla sugar. It’s in a little mason jar with some granulated sugar to be used later. I’ve still got one Madagascar vanilla bean left, I’ll have to save it for something special.

April 28, 2008 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

Mexican-style Dip

It’s Mexican because… um… salsa?

I remember my mom made this dip a lot to take to family gatherings, and I’ve tasted lots of versions of it over the years. I think most people have had something like it at least. Here’s my standard version. I used to scrape everything else off with a chip and just eat the cream cheese bottom, but all of it is really good.

Mexican-stylee dip
my variation

Bottom cream-cheese layer:

1 cup light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Fat free miracle whip (How is it fat free? What’s it made of?)
1 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

Blend together the softened cream cheese and miracle whip (electric beaters make this easy), add spices.

Then pour on any kind of salsa and spread it around with a spoon. Then add:

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper
about 2 tomatoes, chopped
1-2 green onion, finely chopped
(I don’t think I had onion last time but it’s good).

Serve with tortilla chips. Really great for having at a party, or all by yourself watching movies.

April 21, 2008 at 5:03 am Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Blondies

A Year of Crockpotting is one of the food blogs I check every day and this recipe (click) for peanut butter brownies caught my eye. (She got the recipe from this blog before that – (click) ) Stephanie cooks everything gluten-free and in a slow cooker, but not having gluten free ingredients or a slow cooker, I made my own version which came out great anyway. I also added pecans, and called mine blondies because they’re not chocolate-based… although they are brown, I guess

Peanut Butter Blondies

Variation by me (original versions linked above)

5 tbsp butter, melted (measure THEN melt)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chip
Handful of roughly chopped pecans (optional)
Mix everything together, then spread into a greased brownie-type pan (square or rectangular, not very deep). Bake at 350 F for about 25-30 minutes or until the edges are firm and turning darker brown.

I served these warm out of the oven with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, but that’s absolutely not necessary, they’re amazing on their own. Make these for anyone who likes peanut butter and chocolate. They’re a little crisp on top and perfectly fudge-y in the middle.

April 10, 2008 at 7:23 pm 1 comment

Trio of cupcakes part 2


Cream cheese frosting
1 cup light cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
about 4-5 cups sifted icing sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla
splash of milk

Variations: For the chocoalte, I added some melted semi sweet chocolate and a bit more milk. For the strawberry, I stirred in strawberry jam. Very easy and it tasted amazing.
The Strawberry was my favourite overall, but the chocolate – chocolate cupcakes might have been the crowd favourite.

Study Snacks seemed to go well this week and all the cupcakes were eaten quickly and well-received.

Here’s Liam eating one of my cupcakes with a mini cupcake on top.

And here’s Sam enoying one

February 12, 2008 at 9:18 pm 1 comment

Study Snacks 2 – a trio of cupcakes

For this Sunday I made strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla cupcakes. I also made strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla frosting, and gave some of each frosting to each type of cupcake. So there were nine different combinations.
I made the cupcakes at home, brought them back to school and frosted them here.
Saucy Strawberry Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup strawberry sauce (see below)

Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla and combine. Whisk or sift the flour, baking powder & soda, and salt in another bowl, then alternate adding the dry ingredients and the strawberry sauce into the butter mixture.

Strawberry sauce
1 1/2 cups of frozen strawberries
1-2 tbsp vanilla sugar
Cracked black pepper to taste

Let the strawberries sit with the sugar for about 5 minutes, then gently heat for about 15 minutes. Add the pepper (no, really. It’s amazing, use lots). Pour into a food processor or blender and puree.

Vanilla Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of milk

For the chocolate cupcakes, I added 2 tbsp of sifted cocoa, that’s all.


Tah-dah! That’s chocolate, strawberry and vanilla (left to right). Coming up next: The icing!

February 11, 2008 at 5:13 pm 1 comment

Azteca Fire

My mom got this new tea for Christmas from my brother. There are a few other kinds as well but Azteca Fire was the one I tried. It smells amazing, it’s a herbal tea with strawberries, chilies, apple, cocoa and chocolate pieces.

It’s really delicious, the flavour isn’t overly fruity or strong but really pleasant, and it has a touch of tingly heat in the back of your mouth after each sip. I added a bit of honey and it really brought out the sweet chocolate and fruit flavours. As for the cost, I got to try it for free but it is a bit pricey (the website’s below, you can see the cost per ounce). If herbal tea is really your thing, though, I would strongly reccommend it, it’s one of the nicest I’ve had.

My brother ordered the tea (and this teapot and cups) online from Teavana.

February 10, 2008 at 8:44 pm 2 comments

Welcome home salad

I went home over the weekend for the first time since Christmas. The first thing I did was make this salad.Then I made three dozen cupcakes and supper, but that’s for another post (or two).
This was just a side salad for supper (we had pasta that my mom made), but I made it interesting by adding warm toasted pine nuts right before serving. Everyone loved it and there wasn’t any left, so I’d say it was a pretty successful salad.

Spinach Salad
with pine nuts

Some baby spinach, washed
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 english(seedless) cucumber, chopped
pine nuts, lightly toasted

I toasted my pine nuts by putting them in a 350 F oven for just a minute or two until they were lightly browned.

February 10, 2008 at 1:48 am Leave a comment

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