Well, folks, it's that time again. Friday is glorious for many reasons, but today is especially special for a few reasons. First and foremost, it's my BIRTHDAY! (yay!) which means that I headed up to CT for the weekend, took the day off to do and eat whatever the heck I please and am spending a long weekend with my family and friends.
Despite being a terrible sharer, I don't want to hoard all the fun. I'm bringing along some cupcakes AND presents for you in the form a GIVEAWAY! (woohoo!) More on that at the end of the weekly love. (You'll want to read on. Trust me, it's a good one!)
This week's Pocket App has been jam-packed full of greatness. I will preface this list with something I'm NOT in love with--the end of Google Reader. Despite using Pocket to bookmark links to read later, I've done the majority of my blog reading using GR for the past 5 years or so. To say I'm sad to see it go is an understatement!
Ok... onto a happy note. This week I'm in love with...
THIS QUESTION from Monica Bhide.
THIS PODCAST about the history of Bad Boy Ent. Because if I could go back and do it all again, I'd obviously be an East Coast rapper.
And now for the birthday fun! (insert emoji balloons/cake/confetti here) 27 was not a particularly stellar year in my book, so I'm looking forward to getting a whole new year and starting from scratch. With that mindset, I'd like to give you an AUTOGRAPHED (!) copy of Casey Barber's Classic Snacks Made from Scratch.I was lucky enough to meet Casey last week and she's just as fantastic as I thought she'd be. We bonded over cats, messy baking and how we're both pisces. As if that wasn't great enough, her book is phenomenal. F'real. I rarely buy pre-packaged junk food because of all the unmentionables and unreadables on their ingredients list. Casey's book changes all that. She has recipes for everything from Milanos (!!) to Cheetos to Butterscotch Krimpets (New Englanders, rejoice!) to Sour Patch Kids and Animal Crackers (my absolute favorite!). The pictures are straightforward but inviting. The ingredients are pronounceable and recognizable. I rarely come across a cookbook where I want to make every recipe, but this one is that cookbook for me. It can be for you too!
Giveaway rules: Leave a comment below telling me about your favorite birthday memory--it can be a present, a party, a party snack (cheetos, anyone?) or anything else that made that year stick out to you! You have until 11:59 pm on Tuesday, March 19th to enter! I'll choose the winner (US residents & Canadian friends to the north, only please!) using a random generator and announce it here.
Hostess (Birthday!) Chocolate Cupcakes
Author: Casey Barber, from Classic Snacks Made from Scratch
Prep time:2 hours 40 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 3 hours
1 1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used natural)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (ok, ok...I used 4 because it's my birthday)
White Doodle Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake papers (or spray pan with baking spray).
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder in a large bowl, sifting if you encounter lumps. Pesky lumps.
In a large bowl with a handmixer (or a stand mixer--I was at my mom's house and kitchenaid-less!), mix the butter and sugar together and beat until the butter is light and fluffy (in a handmixer, this takes longer). Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low until incorporating before adding the next. Add the vanilla and stir to thoroughly combine.
Add 1/3 of the flour/cocoa mixture, mixing on low until just combined. Next, add 1/2 the milk. Beat until combined. Repeat this process with the next third of flour and last half of the milk before adding the final third of the flour and stirring to combine.
Using a scoop or large spoon, divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the pan and allow to cool on a rack.
Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. In the top pan, place egg whites and sugar and whisk constantly over the simmering water for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the liquids are "opaque, frothy and warm to the touch."
Transfer egg whites to a mixing bowl and whisk on medium-high for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid becomes opaque and glossy and lovely. Add the cream of tartar and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes or until the mixture forms stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted from the bowl. Transfer mixture to a bowl
In the top of the (now clean) double boiler, place powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and milk. Stir the mixture over simmering water and cook until it is warm to the touch. Add chopped chocolate, cook and stir constantly until mixture is melted. Remove from heat.
Using a small knife or a fancy cupcake corer, cut a deep hole in each cupcake. (Think of this as a filling well... mmm. filling.) Spoon the filling into each hole and using a small offset spatula, smooth the top filling so that it is flush with the cupcake. Dip each cupcake into the chocolate frosting, letting the glaze drip back into the bowl... or onto your finger. I don't judge. Place cupcakes on a wire rack to allow the frosting to set up.
Pipe the Doodles!
Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and corn syrup until a thick glaze forms. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #2 tip with the icing (or you can use a plastic storage bag and snip a tiny bit off the corner). Pipe squiggly circles down the center of each cupcake. Wait impatiently for 30 minutes while the icing sets. Or, eat now. Again, I WON'T JUDGE. :)