February 22, 2011

German Chocolate Cupcakes!

Cupcakes part 2!
In addition to the chocolate wonders I made last week, I also made these little gems.  For those of you who have never tasted German Chocolate Cake frosting, it's kind of like if pecan pie were a frosting with some coconut...  I can't get enough of this combination.   I use the Baker's Chocolate recipe, the same one that my mom has used ever since I remember.  

Coconut Pecan Frosting
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 can  (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups  sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 1 pkg.  (7 oz.) Flake Coconut (about 2-2/3 cups)
  • 1-1/2 cups Chopped Pecans 
BEAT egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
ADD coconut and pecans; mix well. Cool to room temperature and of desired spreading consistency. 

German Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1 pkg. (4 oz.) BAKER'S GERMAN'S Sweet Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup  water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups  flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp.  salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups  sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup  buttermilk

Make It

HEAT oven to 350°F.
Place cupcake liners in pan. Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
BEAT egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
ADD egg whites; stir gently until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
BAKE 20 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately loosen cupcakes. Cool cakes in pans 15 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting on each cupcake.

February 20, 2011

Veggie Soup for Meatless Monday

Last week while watching the news I heard about "Meatless Mondays".  Apparently I'm late to the party because it seems like it already has a huge following.  There is already a site www.MeatlessMonday.com where you can find out lots of reasons to participate.  
They say: "Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel."
Last week, I made this veggie soup one night to have the next day (and the day after that).  Soup is one of those foods that tastes better the next few days after it is made.  There are SO many ways to make soup, and SO many things you can put in it.  Here is my quick version.  Since there are so many veggies and I added a whole grain pasta at the end, the soup turns out to be very hearty & filling
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 -3 carrots roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery roughly chopped
  • 2 potatoes cubed into bite size pieces
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes 
  • 1/2 bag mixed frozen veggies (mine had corn, peas, lima beans and string beans)
  • herbs whatever you like & have - I used lots of oregano, thyme and Italian season that I had
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups of water (or reduced sodium chicken stock if you're wanting a different flavor)
  • salt, pepper & red pepper flakes - to taste
  • pasta, rice or grain cooked how you like to add to soup at the end
  • Parmesan for topping - totally optional

- In a large stock pot over medium heat saute the onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent 
- Add the garlic, carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes 
- Add everything else (except cheese & pasta) and bring to a boil
- Simmer for however long you have 20 minutes - and hour
- The following night I reheated and served the soup over whole grain pasta with a little Parmesan

February 14, 2011

Cupcake Love Part 1

Yesterday I had a small cupcake operation going on in my kitchen!  I haven't made cupcakes in years!! It was one of my friend's birthdays and I wanted to bring dessert.  Last year I had made a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  This year I made chocolate cupcakes with 2 different frosting flavors.  The first is with dark chocolate espresso and the second (coming tomorrow) is German Chocolate Cake!  I have a little bit of the chocolate frosting left over and I've been eating it by the spoon for breakfast.
Dark Chocolate Espresso Frosting:
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2/3 cup of the darkest cocoa powder you can find
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup STRONG espresso
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Melt the butter almost fully and stir in cocoa & vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and espresso alternating until fully incorporated.

The recipe comes from Martha Stewart
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
  • Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.