Sunday, February 15, 2009

v day icing overload

In honor of valentine's day, me and a couple friends went over to play Wii and experience the loving feelings of competition (wii boxing) and embarrassment over the game Boogie. Not unlike real, bonified, cupid -inspired love, the beginning parts were nervous and polite but ended up resulting in various members of the party pairing up and trash talking others.

Since it was a friend's birthday as well, i made some snacks to keep up our energy. Because i'm really weird- i didn't like the way the first icing turned out. the butter was slightly too cold- and it was grainy textured.... so i started over and ate some of the reject icing- which felt really great later when i was drinking off the v-day haze with friends and new friends. Note to self- do not mix sparks and reject icing. Let your roommates lick the beater.

Chocolate Cupcake Surprise with milk chocolate butter cream (2.0)
i used the joy of cooking recipe- with some changes in green. I think the caramel truffle addition really added something special to the cupcake. Even though it was valentines day, i only received 1 marriage proposal because of the cupcakes. significantly lower than my usual number, but I'll chalk it up to their nervousness from my extreme wii skills.

Cocoa Devil's Food Cake, from Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary edition © 2006
2 c sifted cake flour
1 tsp baking soda ( i used an extra 1/2 a teaspoon-- because I've had that box for a while. i don't really know if that's what you're supposed to do-- but i figured what harm could it do)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 c sugar
1 c buttermilk or yogurt (I used buttermilk powder- and instead of 2 tbl to 1 c water- i used 3 tbl to 1 c water for an extra creaminess)
1/2 c non alkalized cocoa powder ( I used dutch process cocoa)
1 tsp vanilla ( i used 2 tsp vanilla)
1/2 c unsalted butter
2 large eggs ( i used organic eggs)
28 frozen caramel truffles or your favorite candy

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together in small bowl: cake flour, baking soda, and salt.
Whisk together in a separate bowl: 1 cup of sugar, buttermilk or yogurt, cocoa powder, and vanilla.
Beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 30 seconds.Gradually add the other cup of sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 parts, beating until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Spoon into baking cups. Insert 1 frozen truffle into each cupcake and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Makes about 28 cupcakes.

Milk Chocolate Frosting
3 ounces melted good quality milk chocolate chips at room temp
2 sticks room temp butter
2 tsp vanilla- but i bet a nice liquor would be tasty too.
2 tbl whole milk
about 3/4 of a pound of powdered sugar
pinch salt

in a mixing bowl, whip the butter until its creamy and smooth. add melted chocolate, milk, salt and whip. With the beater on low, slowly add the powdered sugar. taste the icing frequently. depending on the kind of chocolate you use- it could go from yummy to cloying in an instant.

Easy white bean and garlic dip for a crowd
2 cans white cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
1 lemon- zest ed and juiced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 tbl dried mint or 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped finely chopped
salt and pepper
bag of your favorite corn chips or unseasoned pita chips-- i like the lightly salted variety.

put everything in a blender or food processor (except the chips) and blend. taste- adjust flavor if needed and serve. if it gets too thick- add a little water. This dip is equally nice with the addition of goat cheese, avocado, hot sauce, artichoke, peas or even roasted red peppers.

happy cooking. don't forget the bread.

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