Saturday, January 8, 2011

Orange Cupcakes

It's almost time for me to go back to school so I thought I would squeeze in a recipe or two before I head back to dorm life. I have enjoyed my time home but I am anxious to get back into routine...even though I do not have unlimited access to my kitchen supplies. I wanted to make something I have not made before but also something that was not too difficult. I had a craving for cupcakes so I was looking at what flavor combination I have not made yet. I came across a recipe for orange cupcakes and thought it was the perfect choice considering I had orange juice and fresh oranges on hand. I was so pleased by the cupcakes. I think they could have been more orange-y but they were good for the first time. Also, I whipped the egg white by hand, which is something I have not done before. It took a lot of arm muscle but that justified why I could eat multiple cupcakes later!

In the past, I have had difficulties folding in egg whites but I did it perfectly this time. The only problem is that I baked the cupcakes too long. I do one thing right and I mess something else up...isn't that how it is always is? Next time, it'll be a delectable cupcake, I just know it! Two key things that I did in this recipe: not overfolding the egg whites and sifting the dry ingredients. The cupcakes came out nice and airy with a hint of orange! I am a fan!

I was debating whether I wanted to make a buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting and since I had some cream cheese on hand, I made an orange cream cheese frosting. It was so good, it's like eating orange cheesecake (my latest obsession is cheesecake)!

 I love the specks of orange zest in the frosting!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Drizzle


I will be the first one to tell you that I am an avid peanut butter fan. I eat peanut butter practically everyday. I think I mentioned that I eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich everyday for breakfast. This past summer, I went on an European cruise and the selection for breakfast is enormous. It had everything I wanted, English muffins, banana, plain yogurt...everything but peanut butter. I thought it was absolutely crazy and then I forgot that I was on an EUROPEAN cruise so what do they have instead? Jam, butter, and Nutella! I went a week without peanut butter, it was hard but I survived. 

Anyways, as much as I like peanut butter, I am not a fan of peanut butter cookies. There's something about the balance of sugar and peanut butter that makes the cookie unappealing to me. On top of that, whenever you go somewhere and there is a selection of cookie, the peanut butter cookies are always the one left behind. I have been on a baking craze since I have been home so when I thought of the idea to make cookies for a friend, I remembered he likes peanut butter cookies. I whipped out my Better Homes and Garden cookbook and found a peanut butter cookie recipe. To my surprise, the cookies turned out well and I would not mind eating these cookies. Granted, I would not pick this cookie over a chocolate chip cookie but it was one of the better peanut butter cookies I have had. There's a first time for everything and surprisingly, I don't think it's going to be my last time making these cookies. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chocolate Florentine

 I have always enjoyed eating florentines but never thought to make them. Florentines are thin and crispy and typically has nuts or fruit in the batter. Other times, florentines are plain and dipped in chocolate or chocolate is sandwiched between two florentine to make a sandwich. I had two inspirations to make florentines. Every year, my friend gives me a tin of holiday cookies and one of my favorites is the florentine. Also, this cookies has a lot of oatmeal and my dad likes cookies with oatmeal in it (If you do too, check out Oatmeal Cookies).

Florentines are similar to lace cookies but there are some notable differences, one being the fact that florentines use a lot more oatmeal and uses corn syrup while lace cookies uses just butter and has a chewier consistency. Since there are no leavening agents in the cookies, it is easy to play with proportions of certain ingredients such as sugar. I used 3/4 cup of sugar instead of the 1 cup this recipe called for. I felt with corn syrup and chocolate, the cookie would be overwhelmingly sweet so I cut the sugar and I think it is the perfect balance for a cookie. Of course it's not overly sweet but for the individuals with a palette that cannot handle really sweet cookies, use 3/4 cup of sugar. I know my dad will enjoy these!

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