Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Spiked Eggnog is a Happy Eggnog...

That being said, a spiked eggnog cupcake is a happy cupcake! I am not a fan of eggnog but Laura is. I feel like she's deprived every holiday season because I turn my nose up at it. So I decided to bake eggnog cupcakes. Wow! These are delicious. The cupcake recipe makes 12. The frosting is probably enough for a little over 2 dozen cupcakes. I froze the leftover frosting to use on a future batch of cupcakes.

 Eggnog Cupcakes with Bourbon Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup bourbon
1 cup eggnog
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  In a small bowl, mix together the bourbon, eggnog, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla extract.  In a large bowl, mix together the nutmeg, sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.  Divide evenly between prepared muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed.  Cool in the pan 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar

To make the bourbon caramel, heat brown sugar, cream, butter, and salt over medium high heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved.  Continue cooking for another minute. Pour in bourbon and stir to combine. Take off heat and let cool.

Beat cream cheese and butter until soft with an electric mixer.  Add the confectioner's sugar and beat to combine.  Add the bourbon caramel and beat to combine.

Frost the cupcakes and dust with nutmeg, if desired.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Meatless Monday!

So, I started this blog with the intention of just posting my cupcakes and muffins but sometimes I'm going to share other recipes that I think are worthy. This is definitely one of them! I've been trying to convince Laura and Brennan to participate in Meatless Monday for a while now but they are both very dedicated carnivores so it was no easy task. They finally agreed, probably to get me to stop nagging them!

Laura had Baltimore Nighthawks football practice on a frigid Monday night a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to have a dinner ready for her afterward that would really warm her up. This did the trick!  I sauteed some baby spinach with a clove of chopped garlic and some onion and served that on top of the risotto with some warm, crusty bread.

Wild Mushroom and Red Wine Risotto

5 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, thinly sliced ( I used porcini mushrooms and baby bellas )
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a simmer. Keep warm.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the wine and cook, stirring until the wine is absorbed.  Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed.  Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it is nearly absorbed between additions.  The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter.  Add the mushrooms and shallot, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and brown, about 10 minutes.  Scrape the mushrooms into the risotto and stir in the cheese and parsley. Serve immediately. Makes about 6 servings.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I promise... This is my last pumpkin recipe of the year. Really, it is. This year Laura had to work on Thanksgiving so Brennan and I had dinner at my parent's house. Then we had Thanksgiving II at home on Friday. We planned our menu of ham, sauteed brussels sprouts, green bean casserole, and au gratin potato casserole and Laura went to the grocery store to get everything. But we forgot dessert! How did that happen!? She saved the day by grabbing a Keebler pie crust and everything needed for the recipe on the back of the label. It was actually pretty darn good! Super easy, too!

Fluffy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 Keebler Ready Crust Extra Serving Size Pie Crust

In large mixing bowl beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Add sugar and spices. Beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined after each addition. Stir in the pumpkin. 

Pour into crust (on a baking sheet). Bake at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is almost set. 

Cool for 1 hour on wire rack. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and a little spice. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And the Winner is...

The poll results are in and the next cupcake I'll be baking is...

Peanut Butter Cup!
Thanks to everyone who voted. Brennan is the one who gave me the idea so he'll be tickled! Laura will have to wait on those mint chocolate chip cupcakes!