Monday, April 27, 2009

Mascarpone Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze

I made these for Mister's birthday party a few weeks back, and they went faster than a Friday afternoon. I got the recipe from an episode of our favorite teeny Italian girl, Giada DeLaurentiis... of the "Mmmm! This boiling water is so flavorful in my mouth!" and her high-horse Italian pronunciations. These would be Mass-Car-Poh-Nay cupcakes. Not Mascarpone-rhymes with phone.

The only thing I think I would do differently is that the recipe is made as a mini cupcake... and I made these full size. The mascarpone makes these literally melt in your mouth, and it's hard to do that in a three- bite cupcake. If you do make them into a full cupcake, try filling them truly 2/3 full. Not to the top. The one there on the lower right is one that was over filled.

The strawberry glaze is what totally makes these... but you could easily do a raspberry or even a peachy/mango glaze. Whatever frozen fruit you can find. Strawberry makes a perfect lovely shade of pink though. The don't end up very cakey... they will kind of have a batter taste to them. But in a good way. Again, they totally melt in your mouth. Dang.

For my first contribution, I am going to give these our top rating... 5 Stars, or Ridiculous. Make them now. Go. Do it. You will be the hero of your family, your office, your book club, your baby shower, your Edward Cullen appreciation meeting... etc.

Here's the link --------> Giada's Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's Black and White and good all over?

When I was 5 years old my grandmother came for a visit. She came all the way from Pennsylvania and she wore a bun in her hair. She must have been close to 80 years old, but she still loved to cook. I distinctly remember her letting me help her make chocolate chip cookies, and I've been baking (mostly cookies) ever since.

Having said that, I will admit this: while I consider myself an experienced baker, the idea of baking Black and White cookies scared the bananas out of me. I was born and raised in California, but I have a fascination with all things New York, so clearly these infamous cookies caught my attention the first time I saw them in a picture. Pretty soon they were all I could think about, and they've haunted me ever since. Recently I felt brave. I scoured my cookbooks, the internet, magazines. I weeded out recipes until I found this one from Smitten Kitchen. It took me a while until I finally worked up the nerve to dive in, but dive in I did.

Allow me to introduce you to my cookie sheet. It's battle-scarred and well-loved. Notice how the batter is mounded up in the middle? That's because on the first round the cookies spread all over. I put the bowl of batter into the fridge for about an hour, and then heaped them up a bit on the pan. It worked like a charm.

Here are some cookies baking. See how they spread out? These are cookies #157-#263. This recipe makes a lot of cookies.

Ooo la la! I did it! The frosting is honestly the only part of these that I'm iffy about. I did add extra unsweetened cocoa (as suggested)to darken the chocolate frosting, but my dark chocolate tasted almost burnt, while the white side was pretty much tasteless. Overall the flavor wasn't awful, but it definitely could have been better, in my opinion. Other recipes call for dark/white chocolate ganache, and next time I may try a little bit for comparison.

So there you have it. I conquered the Black and Whites. And it was totally worth it. They were soft and scrumptious. They were kid pleasers and crowd wowers. They were even better the next day.

4 stars... (Repeatable! See star scale to the left...)

Monday, April 20, 2009

And now a word from the sponsors...

Name: Alison (left).

Location: Victorville, CA.

General likes: Nutella, trashy books, polka dots.

General Dislikes: clowns, interruptions, being late.

Signature recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Beverage of choice: Iced Tea (Lipton only, please, unsweetened).

Foods that scare me: okra, gefilte fish, cheesecake, peas.

If I were an ice cream I would be: Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch.

Food Network Crush: Ina Garten.

Quirky food rules: Cold drinks must be accompanied by a straw and sandwiches or toast must be cut in half diagonally.

Last Meal on Death Row: In-N-Out cheeseburger animal style, fries well done, Coke.


Name: Heidi Joe (right).

Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma by way of San Diego California.

General likes: 90210 reruns, Cherry Chapstick, Design and decor blogs, Etsy, orange Tic Tacs, magazines, Edward Cullen and squirrels.

General dislikes: Clowns and Mimes and people that call me Heidi Ho.

Signature recipe: Any kind of cupcake.

Beverage of choice: Homemade Lemonade with frozen strawberries or Sofia champagne in the pink can.

Foods that scare me: Variety meats (i.e. Spam, Potted Meat, Pimento Loaf, Bologna, et al) Squid, Octopus, and anything that's not a body part you're supposed to eat. Oh yeah, and Ham.

If I were an ice cream I would be: Strawberry and Pistachio Gelato, divided equally in one bowl.

Food Network Crush: The Deen Brothers.

Quirky Food Rules: Eating Triscuits by the row, never eating the top two pieces of bread in a loaf (the heel=sick, the 2nd piece=impenetrable cap of freshness), sucking on Hot Tamales until they are clear and eating trail mix in a designated order.

Last meal on Death Row: Crinkle cut french fries with ranch dressing and a red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles.

(P.S. Alison, really? Peas? Who knew?)

(P.P.S. Heidi, yes. I don't know why. I enjoy split pea soup very much, and raw peas, but cooked peas - eeek. And isn't Pimento Loaf a given? I mean what is that stuff, anyway?)

I know we just got started, but...

Is it too early for a Rick Roll?

Sunday, April 19, 2009