Archive for September, 2010

September 30, 2010

Chili-Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cocoa Buttercream

by horseradishsauce

You can't see how fluffy and wonderful the frosting is...

I found this recipe a while ago and I decided to make it last night because (1) I had a cup of buttermilk left over and I wanted to use it and (2) we had a Brigade Run today so I brought them for post-run morale noms. Nom nom.

Anyway, while I was writing the list of ingredients at work, I realized that she used a BOX CAKE! Oh noes. Inconceivable! But I didn’t have a list of other cakes using buttermilk, so I just looked through some chocolate cake recipes and they all called for freshly-brewed coffee and I don’t have coffee so I found a chocolate cake recipe on Annie’s Eats that I decided to use. Cos she uses espresso powder. So I used that recipe and added in the chili powder and cayenne pepper. Then I went to actually MAKE the cake and realized that, as usual, Annie was using sour cream instead of buttermilk. I don’t know how replacing buttermilk with sour cream changes it, so long story short and 24 cupcakes later, there’s still a cup of buttermilk in my fridge.

Now, I also mixed up the baking soda and salt measurements, so they had an extra 1/4 tsp of salt, which I countered with 1.5 tbls flour, which probably made no difference.

Anyway, everyone loved them but all the girls said there was too much cocoa powder, so maybe take it down 1/3 a cup.
This was the first frosting I made that didn’t come out more like glaze! It was stiff! Hoo-ray. Anyway, it wasn’t a LOT for each cupcake, but I think it’s a good amount just because it’s a lot of chocolate, all around. And by the way, I like to sift my powdered sugar first. I think it mixes better.

Chili-Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cocoa Buttercream
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats and Gimmesomeoven)

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or 2/3 cup)
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total).  Combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a small bowl.  Add the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  Once cool, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and chili powder in a small bowl.  Stir together with a fork to combine; set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.

Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternately with the cocoa-sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat each addition just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cinnamon-Cocoa Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (more or less to achieve desired consistency)

Beat the butter, cocoa and cinnamon. Gradually add the milk and sugar, alternating to get the right consistency. Beat til it’s fluffy. Frost your cupcakes.

September 25, 2010

Hot Chocolate

by horseradishsauce

I woke up this morning and it was fall outside!

When I opened my fridge, I saw a carton of milk I had bought this week to use in the red velvet cake. I bought it at Wal Mart because I was in a hurry, and Wal Mart milk always goes bad. So I figured I should drink some of it before it rots. Before I poured the glass, I thought I’d see what a little cinnamon in milk does. Then I remembered one of my friends asking me if you could make hot chocolate from cocoa powder. I’ve seen recipes before but I’ve never really tried. So I added some cocoa powder to the cinnamon, and a bit of honey and chili powder. I poured in the milk and heated it up and out came hot chocolate!

I bet it would be good with a lil cardamom.

Hot Chocolate (single serving)

  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 – 2 cups milk–regular, soy, rice, almond, etc

Put everything but the milk in your mug. Add about 1/3 cup milk to the mug. You can stir it a bit; it probably doesn’t make much difference. Heat it on High for 30 seconds. Sir it vigorously until all the clumps are gone and it looks like thick chocolate milk. Now, if you want hot chocolate, add the rest of the milk and heat it up for another minute. If you want chocolate milk, add the rest of the milk, stir and enjoy!

By the way, you might get some clumps on the bottom just like if you use instant cocoa. You never know…

September 23, 2010

“Meaty” & Delicious Stuffed Tomatoes (or Peppers)

by cillefish

vegetarian stuffed tomatoesFor a dinner with friends tonight, I signed on to make some kind of side using the fresh tomatoes that finally are coming in by the bucketload this summer. After trying a few different options earlier this week, I picked this one, which required almost no adaptation to make vegetarian — I doubled the egg and used Morningstar sausages, but that’s about it. (Meat eaters out there can reverse that to get to square one… or try the original recipe, here.)

This was a good side dish for a 3-person meal (we halved 3 larger, round tomatoes), along with fresh pasta one friend made; he topped the pasta with some stir-fried veggies and we were set.

  • 10-12 Morningstar breakfast sausage links, defrosted and cut up small (or 3/4 lb sweet Italian sausages, casings removed)
  • 3/4 cups to 1 1/4 cup coarsely grated zucchini (about 1/2 a normal-sized zucchini)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 c minced fresh (or 1 1/2 T dried) parsley
  • 1/8 cup fine dry breadcrumbs (I used panko and not the seasoned Italian stuff – cut back on the other spices if you go for the crouton-esque type)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper (don’t be stingy)
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh (or 1/4 t dried and crushed between your fingers) rosemary
  • 3-4 largish medium-size tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350° F and set rack close to top.

Halve the tomatoes, top-to-bottom, slice them just inside the side that was the top to separate the inside structure from the stem area, and scoop out the middles with a spoon (you can set these aside for tomato soup). Set empty tomato halves in an un-oiled baking dish so that they just touch.

Mix all other ingredients in a bowl. Spoon mixture into the tomato halves, tamping the first bits down a bit and mounding the toppings about half again as high as each tomato half is. Cook 10-15 minutes on upper rack; remove when sausage looks darker brownish and any spilled egg is looking like done, poached egg.

September 23, 2010

Simple Couscous Take-Along Lunch

by cillefish

I was looking up stuffed peppers recipes and I came across this couscous filling. I didn’t jive super well with it IN peppers, but I ate the leftovers on their own for lunch the other day, and it was pretty great as a light lunch. My mother does something similar with quinoa where she adds a little tomato and onion and celery, tosses it with olive oil and lemon juice, and that’s it. This one is almost as simple:

Makes: 2 lunches’ worthcouscous

  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/3 c couscous
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3-6 oz each zucchini and a little yellow squash, quartered lengthwise then sliced thinly
  • 1/4 to 1/3 c chopped onion (I used sweet yellow onion)
  • 1/4 tsp each fennel seeds and dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved; or 1/2 a large red bell pepper, diced pretty small
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 oz / 1/2 c crumbled feta, or the same of mozzarella plus about a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, raisins, whatever

In a small saucepan, bring the broth to the boil, mix in the couscous, and immediately cover and remove from heat. Set aside. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil and lightly sauté everything else except the tomatoes/pepper, chickpeas and cheese, just until barely soft. Remove from heat. Toss in a bowl with everything else (add cheese last). Refrigerate.