Thursday, September 29, 2011

peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate buttercream

 (I don't know why this is showing up in all caps, so excuse the yelling)

 I'm on a cupcake kick right now-they are so much fun to bake and decorate! Luckily I have lots of willing tasters. :) These cupcakes were delish-though I think I could have taken them out a minute or two early. The frosting is delectable and came together in minutes. I think frosting cupcakes has gotta be my favorite part-playing with the different tips and ways to swirl it. Ahh...cupcake bliss!


Peanut Butter Cupcakes

from Martha Stewart


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for decorating
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Mix in peanut butter. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Mix in sour cream.
  3. Spoon scant 3 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup. Bake until pale golden and a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 13 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.
Chocolate Buttercream
from Savory Sweet Life

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used half regular, half dutch process)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red Velvet cupcakes and cream cheese frosting

Red Velvet Cupcakes
from Pinch My Salt

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring (two bottles)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.  In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go.  Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda.  Yes, it will fizz!  Add vinegar mixture to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake cups with cake batter (they should be 2/3 – 3/4 full).  You may not fill all the cups, I ended up with 20 cupcakes.  Place muffin tins on the middle rack of a preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake for approximately 20-22 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check early and don’t overbake!
5. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.  Frost cupcakes with cream cheese icing. (recipe below)
6. Enjoy the cupcakes with those you love!

Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter (one stick), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract.  Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.  If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).

Recipe Notes: If you prefer a sweeter and/or stiffer frosting, more powdered sugar can be added (up to four cups). But remember, the more sugar you add, the less you’ll be able to taste the tangy cream cheese!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

One-Pot Southwest Chicken and Rice

One-Pot Southwest Chicken and Rice

From Mel's Kitchen Cafe
(can you tell I love this blog?)

*Serves 4-6
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn
4 ounces cheese (used a combination of Monterey Jack and sharp cheddar)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Salsa and sour cream for serving

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides. In a large pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. The chicken will cook more in a subsequent step. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

To the pot, add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium heat, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder and cumin and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook until the edges are just slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Return the chicken to the pot. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook at a simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter or plate. Stir the black beans and corn into the pot. Add the cheese and cilantro. Season the rice mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the rice with the chicken, adding salsa and sour cream, if desired.

This was tasty and satisfying. And I only used ONE skillet...I adore those meals.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Grilled Rosemary Buttermilk Chicken

Grilled Rosemary Buttermilk Chicken  

from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Note: this recipe is so flexible and easy you can double and triple to your heart’s delight. The idea is basic – just add enough buttermilk to cover the chicken and throw in as much rosemary as your soul can take. I like a lot of rosemary flavor. Use what you like. 

*Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 quart buttermilk
5-6 sprigs fresh rosemary
Place the chicken breasts in a large ziploc plastic bag. Pour in the buttermilk to cover the chicken. Add the rosemary sprigs. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, about 8-10 hours.
Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. With tongs, take out each chicken breast one by one, shaking off excess buttermilk and removing the rosemary sprigs. Grill for 4-6 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through but still moist. Tent with foil for about 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

This made some delicious chicken, very moist...we prefer a bit more flavor though-some salt and pepper helped, after grilling. Still, it was so easy to make! That gives it big points in my book.