Tuesday, August 18, 2009

cupcake pops!

so i've made them a number of times before, but this is the first time i've documented it: bakerella's cupcake pops! they're delicious and sweet and a little time consuming but so worth it, because people love them. i'm not going to recount the steps, as bakerella has fantastic instructions on her site (there's even a video!), and if you look through what she has you'll see some for nearly every occasion. anyway, here they are:

this is the ooey, gooey stage of the process: mixing the cake with the icing. your hands get full of cake, but it's also delicious to lick off. eric helped me with this stage, i think he found it weird.

so bakerella is real good about using cookie cutters and forms for the shapes, whereas i kind of roll ball/oval type shapes and hope for the best. then after they've hardened in the freezer dip the bottom half in the melted candy melts and then insert the stick, all on wax paper. also, it helps to dip the stick in the candy melts first, as not doing so can sometimes lead to poor adhesion.

i like to buy plain old white candy melts and then add in my own colors, i think it's a little more fun.

a finished product drying, out of focus and everything! woot!

the whole bunch. note: styrofoam blocks work perfectly for drying, because it's sturdy yet also very easy to make new holes.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

scrumptious blueberry muffins

it's been awhile, i know. and so i'm about to assault the blog with a number of posts. mainly, i'm procrastinating. i'm supposed to be packing right now. and i don't want to. hence, blog posts. a few weeks ago, i felt like baking, and happened to have picked up some blueberries at the store. so i went with blueberry muffins. so i took to tastespotting.com and, after perusing the recipes, settled upon this recipe via the bitten word. what i liked about it was that it was different from most in that you cook some of the blueberries first and then end up with more blueberry flavor throughout. only thing is that somehow mine ended up way more purple than bitten word's, but they were still delicious. so here are the pics, followed as usual by the recipe.

cooking the blueberries on the stovetop. warning: whatever spoon you use is most likely to turn a bluish purple, so choose wisely.

the ever easy dry ingredient stage

adding the milk. i'm a skim drinking, but in baking you can't hold back. full fat all the way.

folding in some of the blueberries

in the muffin tin, ready to go in the oven. or are they?

deliciously goopy blueberries on top of the muffins. but wait, they're still not ready...

delicious goopy blueberries swirled throughout the muffins... notice how purple they are.

and of course topped with a sugar/lemon zest mixture. in reprospect, i should have done more of a crumble topping.

so many dishes to clean while they were baking!

mmmm hot, oozy and delicious. really enjoyed this receipe.


Lemon-Sugar Topping

1/3 cup (21/3 ounces) sugar
teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon


2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (see note)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 11/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

4. Following photos above, use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

Note: Our preferred brands of frozen blueberries are Wyman’s and Cascadian Farm.
Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, substituting 2 cups frozen berries for fresh. Cook 1 cup berries as directed in step 2. Rinse remaining cup berries under cold water and dry well. In step 3, toss dried berries in flour mixture before adding egg mixture. Proceed with recipe from step 4 as directed.

Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, omitting Lemon-Sugar Topping. Prepare streusel by combining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, pinch table salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons (3½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Proceed with recipe as directed, sprinkling streusel topping over muffins before baking.

Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, omitting Lemon-Sugar Topping. Add 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest to egg mixture in step 3. Proceed with recipe as directed, sprinkling 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar over muffins before baking. While muffins cool, whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1½ tablespoons orange juice until smooth. Drizzle each cooled muffin with 2 teaspoons glaze before serving.

Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, omitting Lemon-Sugar Topping. In step 1, combine 1/3 cup finely ground almonds and 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar; set aside. In step 3, add 1/3 cup finely ground almonds to flour mixture. Proceed with recipe as directed, adding 1 teaspoon almond extract with vanilla extract in step 3 and sprinkling almond topping over muffins before baking.


1. MAKE BERRY JAM Cook half of fresh blueberries into thick jam to concentrate their flavor and eliminate excess moisture.


Stir 1 cup of fresh blueberries into batter to provide juicy bursts in every bite.


Scoop batter into muffin pans, completely filling cups.


Place 1 teaspoon of cooled berry jam in center of each batter-filled cup, pushing it below surface.


Using chopstick or skewer, swirl jam to spread berry flavor throughout.