Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting

Our warmer Spring like weather here in the Northeast has everything blooming so much earlier..which is so nice! And it puts me in the mood for something baked with coconut, so I made these cupcakes into jumbo sizes rather than the standard size, which I tend to do a lot.  Definitely a taste of Spring in every bite!

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart and the only change I made was to add a bit of coconut extract to the batter to up the coconut flavor. I also decided that the frosting recipe probably was going to make too much so I not just halved it this time, but I made one fourth of the amount and it was perfect. But keep in mind that we don't like lots of frosting on our cupcakes so you may want to make the full amount.

Coconut Cupcakes with Toasted Coconut Frosting ( adapted from Martha Stewart)
Makes 12-14 standard size cupcakes or 6-7 jumbo cupcakes

1 3/4 cup (8.0 ozs.) AP flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter-room temp.
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. coconut extract ( my addition)
2 large eggs plus 2 egg whites- room temp.
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
Preheat oven to 350. Fill muffin pans with paper liners.
1. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Place the shredded coconut into a food processor and pulse til finely ground, then whisk into the dry ingredients.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar til pale and fluffy on medium high speed.
4. Gradually beat in whole eggs, egg whites, vanilla and coconut extracts, scraping bowl occasionally.
5. On low speed, add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with coconut milk, beating after each addition, til well combined.
6. Scoop batter into muffin liners, filling about 3/4 full.
7. Bake approx. 20 minutes, or til tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Note: I thought this amount of frosting makes a lot so I actually made one fourth but I think if you halve the amounts you'd have enough, but giving you the full recipe and let you decide.
 2 sticks unsalted butter-room temp.
1-2 tsp. coconut extract
approx. 32 ozs. confectioners' sugar
3-4 tbsp. cream or milk or coconut milk
1. Cream butter, then beat in sugar and extract.
2. Add milk til the frosting reaches desired consistency. If too thin, add more milk, if too thick add more sugar.
Sprinkle the tops with toasted coconut flakes or chips. Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Whiskey Cake

I had a request to make something for one of my customers for a few St Patrick Day's parties they would be going to this weekend so after we agreed on Irish Soda Bread , I researched online for another idea...and that's when I came across an Irish Whiskey Cake.

I checked out a few different recipes and decided on one called Grandmother Monahan's. It is the same as a few others I found so I'm guessing someone just wanted to make it more Irish with that name, but call it after whomever you wish, this is one delicious and boozy cake!

I used the real thing, Jameson's Irish Whiskey, which is available at every liquor store in these parts.

One step you'll need to do the day before is to soak the raisins in the Irish Whiskey with the lemon zest so there's a little prep to do. Other than that, this is really a very simple cake to make and your guests will love it. It is a nice dense yet moist cake and the whiskey glaze is definitely gilding the lily!

I made this cake for us first to be sure it was a keeper of a recipe...which it is...and the first step should be to beat the egg whites til stiff. Unlike what I did, I suggest you beat them with a hand held beater in a large bowl to keep the standing mixer bowl free.

Once the batter is mixed together, add in a scoop of the beaten whites and stir by hand to lighten the batter, then fold in the remaining beaten whites gently.

Scoop the batter into a parchment lined tube pan and spread the top to even it out.

It gets a nice browned top but only rises about halfway up.
Let it cool about 20 minutes in the pan, then lift out and place on a wire rack and poke holes into the top and brush with..what else..more whiskey!  After it cools completely, then drizzle on the glaze.

Irish Whiskey Cake ( adapted from allrecipes)

1 1/2 cups golden and  dark raisins combined (the original recipe calls for 2 cups but I think this is too much)
3 tbsp. lemon zest
1/4 to 1/2 cup Irish whiskey
12 tbsp. (6 ozs.) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (I used light brown)
3 eggs, separated, room temp.
1 1/2 cups (6.8 ozs.) AP flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Juice of one lemon
Enough whiskey and a little warm water to make the correct consistency.
*Note: This is the original recipe amount for the ingredients for the glaze but I halved the amounts above and it made plenty of glaze.
The day before: Place the raisins and lemon zest in a shallow bowl and pour the 1/4 to 1/2 cup of whiskey ( depending on how strong you want it) over the raisins and zest and stir. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight.
The next day:
1.  Preheat oven to 350. Line a tube pan with parchment paper by cutting a square piece large enough to fit down into the tube pan, cutting out a circle for the center of the pan. Press the folds as best you can to make the parchment stay in place.
2. Beat the egg whites til stiff. Set aside a minute.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar til light and fluffy.
4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, cloves and baking powder.
5. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with a fork or whisk.
6. Gradually add the egg yolks to the butter mixture, alternating with the flour and raisin/whiskey mixture.
    Mix well but don't overmix.
7. Add a few scoops of the beaten egg whites to the batter to lighten it up a little, then fold in the remaining beaten whites gently.
8. Scoop the batter into the pan and using an offset spatula, even the top.
9. Bake til cake is nicely browned on top and a tester comes out clean.
10. Cool the cake in the pan about 20 minutes, then lift out and place on a rack. Poke holes in the top with a toothpick and brush a little more whiskey over the top.
Cool completely before drizzling on the glaze.
*To store:I found this cake kept well for several days in a covered tin.
To make the glaze:  
Combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice, then add the whiskey and warm water, a little at a time til you get a nice smooth glaze consistency. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day! Well, I bet you would have thought I'd make a sweet pie rather than a savory one...but Chicken Pot Pie can be so delicious and this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa is just a great one.
The crust is light and flaky and the filling is rich and creamy...real comfort food!

I decided to have some fun decorating the crust so I cut out the "Pi" symbols with the left over dough and cut out the word "Pi".  It actually turned out so cute that we hated to dig in to it...but dig in we did and we managed to finish the entire pie.

I have to mention a few notes. I did halve the original recipe and still wound up with about one cup of filling left over and I even omitted the whole small onions. I used leftover chicken I had from the night before. Also, Ina's recipe was for 4 individual pies and I made one big one, using a glass pie dish.

So, here's hoping you have a great "Pi" Day! ( And Happy Birthday Einstein!)

This crust is really easy to make and so delicious...light and flaky. See those tiny bits of butter in the dough? That's what makes a great crust.

I almost left the pie like this...then I got the brilliant idea to add the "Pi" symbols.

Comfort food at its best.

If you're going to make a pie about this one!


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