Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene's Funny Bone

Hurricane Irene, please go away! Windows are boarded, sandbags have been bought, precautions are all set. This has not been a good last weekend before school starts. I should be basking in the day sun, getting my tan (okay, freckles) on. Instead I'm sitting inside watching the weather channel. At least we're safe. School officially starts this Wednesday. I'm hoping for a good year, a nice quiet year with angels for all 125 students. A girl can dream....

Funny Bone Cupcakes
adapted from
Oven 350        Makes 15-17 cupcakes
1 stick salted butter, room temperature
2 ounces dark chocolate chips
½ cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup buttermilk

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Filling:
½ cup whipping cream
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
¾ teaspoon vanilla
Up to 1/3 cup whipping cream

Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.In a bowl, combine butter, chocolate and cocoa, and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.
Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder together into a bowl.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until fully mixed.

Add the cooled chocolate mixture, and beat on medium. Add a third of the flour mixture followed by half the buttermilk. Beat well, and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add another third of the flour and the rest of the buttermilk, and mix. Add the rest of the flour, and beat until just combined.

Divide batter evenly between muffin cups (I filled 17 with this much batter). Bake 15 minutes or until cakes test done in center. Cool on rack.

In a pan over medium heat, stir together the cream, chocolate chips, butter and sugar until mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in peanut butter until melted and combined.Hollow out center of cooled cupcakes with an apple corer.

Fill centers of cupcakes with ganache. Let ganache cool before frosting cupcakes.

Beat together the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter,  and vanilla until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add about half the cream, and beat in at high speed. Beat in more cream as needed to make a spreadable icing.Frost cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Has it been that long?

  My husband and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on Thursday. It's hard to believe that it's already been four years. We've been together for about 10 years now, 12 years if you count the first time we dated. I love him more everyday and I couldn't imagine being with anyone else. In the past, we've travelled to Paris, Ireland, and Disney World for our anniversaries. This year we had a "we-just-bought-a-house-and-it-has-a-pool"-cation. We went out to dinner, but we both agreed that it was very strange to not be travelling anywhere. Maybe next year.
  This week is my last week of vacation before school starts again. This summer was different since we didn't travel anywhere, we bought a house, we took down massive amounts of flower wallpaper, we painted almost every room, and I got my master's degree. It's been a very busy and productive summer. Is it too early to be counting down to next summer?!?!

Lemon Blueberry Bread
Oven 350
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.

Gently fold in the blueberries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring a 1/4 cup of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze.

Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. This bread is best served on the day it is made

Sunday, August 14, 2011

.....and Done!

I finished my last master's class yesterday at 11:00am! It feels so good to be done! It's a bit short lived since I'll start classes in the fall for my 6th year (Administration Certification). However, I'm very proud to say that I was able to finish getting my master's degree in less than a year. I hope the 6th year goes just as quickly.  I technically would have walked in the May graduation, but I opted not to since I wasn't officially done then.  Short entry today, but I wanted to say Happy Birthday to my father-in-law!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
Oven 350

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In a another bowl, combine the egg, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full (1 large cookie scoop). Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Hello Handyman, Goodbye Flamingo

August is the month for birthdays and celebrations in my husband's family. My husband's birthday was on Thursday. He decided he wanted to go out to eat and so I had made last weeks dessert (cookies and cream brownies) for him. We went out to eat at the Dog Watch Cafe in Stonington, CT. Great food, great company, great time! We loved the "dog pound" (outside bar with a great view)where we waited for our seats. My husband ended up getting a lot of tools and home depot-esque gifts. That way he no longer has to borrow it all! Happy Birthday to my Handyman!


We've been working on the house still. The flamingo pink room is now Behr Chinese Jade green. This weekend we also went furniture shopping. We had high hopes for finding something but it just didn't work out. We even came home and mapped it out in the den with masking tape. Unfortunately, the measurements originally given to us were incorrectly quoted. So the sectional we had wanted will not fit. Maybe next weekend....

This cake was a request for my sister-in-law's boyfriends birthday....
Marble Cake with Chocolate Frosting
from Grace Parisi June 2007

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk (optional)
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1.MAKE THE CAKE Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter and flour the paper, shaking off the excess. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. In a cup, mix the milk with the vanilla extract.


2.In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until light and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the milk mixture.


3.Transfer 2 cups of the batter to a small bowl. Scrape the remaining cake batter into the prepared cake pans. Stir the melted chocolate into the reserved batter; dollop the batter over the plain batter and swirl it in with a butter knife.

4. Bake the cakes in the lower third of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack. Peel off the paper, turn the cakes right side up and let cool completely

5.MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FROSTING In a standing mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the butter and egg yolk at medium-high speed until creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar at low speed. Beat in 6 tablespoons of the cream, the vanilla and the salt, then beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes..

6.In a small saucepan, bring the remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the chopped chocolate and let stand until the chocolate is melted, about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth, then transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Beat the chocolate into the frosting.

7.Spread 1 cup of frosting over a cake layer and top with the second layer; frost the top and sides.
Let stand 1 hour; serve.