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Friday, August 21, 2009

Back To School Cupcakes




It's really a fun time of year when the days start to get a wee bit cooler, fall is just around the corner, and the kids are finally back in school! Summer has been great, but regular routines are a much needed element in our kids busy schedules.

I remember walking home, with my two sisters, from North Heights Elementary School in the Levy area of North Little Rock, Arkansas. We were always ravenous after a long day at school, even though we did have great school lunches back in the 50s. Sadly, school lunches have slightly gone awry these days, but one thing that never changes is...all kids come home from school hungry!

So, Moms, with this in mind...bake your special kid(s) some cup cakes today! Try these Cookies n' Cream Cupcakes which may be baked 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Keep some frosting in the fridge and frost the day they are eaten. Your kids will love to help you with this little chore if you promise to let them lick the bowl! My kids still beg for this honor!
Cookies n' Cream Cupcakes
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12 paper liners
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
15 Oreo type cookies (half for batter and half for frosting)
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a 12 cup tin with paper liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder , and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer on med-hi speed, beat batter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat briefly until smooth on lo-med speed after each addition.
Chop up the cookies with a rolling pin and add half of these to the batter.
Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pan on racks for 5 minutes, then remove cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with Classic Confectioners' Sugar Frosting with Cookie Crumbs.
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Classic Confectioners' Sugar Frosting with Cookie Crumbs
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1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more if needed
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Remainder of the Oreo type cookies
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In a large bowl with an electric mixer on med-hi speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of confectioner's sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice, Add 1 more cup of sugar and about half of the milk and beat until smooth and creamy. Add 1 more cup of sugar and remaining milk, and beat well, scraping down sides of the bowl. Add remaining 1 cup of sugar and vanilla and beat on high speed until very light and creamy, about 5 minutes. If too soft, add more sugar.
Frosting is ready to use or may be stored in fridge. Bring to room temperature and re beat after storing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cupcakes for a Cause...Trucker Buddies for Alzheimer's


A while ago, #3 and me signed up to raise awareness and money for a great cause...Alzheimer's Annual Memory Walk on September 12, 2009. This year the Northwest Arkansas Chapter will hold the event at the Arvest Ballpark on Interstate 540 in Springdale, Arkansas. Participants are encouraged to gather at 7:30am in order to start the walk at 9:00am. Check it out at the following website. http://www.nwawalk.kintera.org/truckerbuddies

Prior to the big walk, we have been asking for donations from just about everyone we come in contact with. The response has been good and we hope to reach our goal of $500 soon! We recently had a hot dog and cup cake party at #3's place of employment, MHCKenworth/Volvo in Springdale. Generous friends and coworkers helped us raise $170.00. Many thanks to all who participated, and below is a recipe for some of the cup cakes we shared.


Carrot-Ginger Cup Cakes
1 cup pecan halves
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pound large carrots, peeled
3 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 Tb grated, peeled fresh ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard 12 cup muffin pans with paper liners. Spread pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; Toast until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate; let cool completely. Chop pecans finely, and set aside.


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. Using the smallest holes of a box grater, grate carrots (you will need a total of 2 1/2 cups.) Place grated carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, and ginger in a large bowl; whisk until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined. Fold in the chopped pecans.


Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack. Invert cupcakes onto the rack; then reinvert and let them cool completely, top sides up. Spread tops with Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting. Cup cakes can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter
3 packages (8ounces) cream cheese
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 T plus 1 tsp grated, peeled fresh ginger
Pinch of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on med-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the remaining ingredients, and beat for 5 minutes. Frosting can be kept at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 hours.