Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bubbly Pear Cupcakes

Merry Christmas! My mother asked for cupcakes for our Christmas dinner, but she was specific about what kind of cupcakes to make: Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream Cheese Frosting. Since it is a duplicate recipe,  I wanted to make something new! I decided to make that plus a new recipe that I found here. I wanted to make this recipe for my birthday at work, but was specifically told that I am NOT allowed to make my own cupcakes for work by my co-workers. (I guess they have something planned for me!) I thought the recipe would be perfect since my birthday is the day before New Year's Eve and this recipe has champagne!

Beef Brisket - Guinness & Brown Sugar

This recipe has been used multiple times within the last month due to the holidays and the demand for this meat! Every time I make this, the meat comes out so tender a knife is not needed and the vegetables still have integrity. This is based on my previous post, Homemade Beef Brisket, with some changes. I thought I would post the new recipe, which I have been using so frequently.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Makes: 4-6 servings

1 beef brisket - 4-5 lbs
1 medium sweet onion
3/4 whole garlic
6-8 carrots
6-8 red skinned potatoes
12-16 mushrooms
2 cans of Campbell's Golden Mushroom soup
3 bay leaves
4-5 tbsp dried thyme
1 bottle Guinness beer
1 1/2 C brown sugar
5 dashes of Tabasco sauce
8-10 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
4-5 tbsp pepper
4-5 tbsp salt

1. Wash all vegetables! Washing the inside of an onion will keep down the strong smell and eye stinging.
2. Chop vegetables. Onions: 3 inch pieces; garlic: peeled, whole - not minced; carrots: 2-3 inch pieces; potatoes: quartered, or smaller if you want; mushrooms: quartered
3. Put the Golden Mushroom soup in a large bowl.
4. Add the bay leaves, thyme, water,  Tabasco, Worcestershire, pepper, and salt to the soup and mix until incorporated.
5. Add the vegetables to the soup mix and mix until the vegetables are smothered in the soup.
6. Cut the brisket along the grain of the meat. Cut into 4 or 5 strips.
7. Put half of the vegetable mix into the crock pot.
8. Lay the brisket strips on the vegetables, leaving enough room on the sides and in between the beef to let moisture mingle.
9. Lay the rest of the vegetables on the top of the beef. Make sure every part of the beef is covered in vegetables.
10. Cook on low for 9-10 hours.
11. Serve when the meat is as pink as you like.

********** The changes from the original are not major changes, but they do make the brisket taste differently, a sweeter and richer flavor. These changes are: don't add the water, instead add the Guinness and brown sugar    .........      That's it. Remove one ingredient and add another? It sounds so simple, at yet the flavor is more complex and full - robust, almost. I've gotten more compliments on this recipe than some of my better cupcake recipes!!! I love this recipe and will continue to use it until I swap out more ingredients, in which case I will definitely keep you posted as to the new changes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Another birthday at work, and as requested, I have made a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. The search for the perfect chocolate cupcake continues. Every time I make a chocolate cupcake, the cupcake comes out bad or doesn't bake all the way. My husband thinks it has something to do with the type of baking chocolate I'm using (standard Albertson's brand). For all I know, he could be correct. I knew I had some Dutch cocoa powder on hand, so I found a Dutch cocoa powder recipe here, and decided to try it. The cupcakes rose just like normal cupcakes, they were a perfect looking cupcake. And then you eat it.... And your tastebuds get up and start DANCING!!! OH MY STARS this cupcake is moist and sweet and absolutely perfect! I have found my "go-to" chocolate cupcake recipe! From here I can add ingredients, flavors, and play with the look and taste of these cupcakes. I'm so excited for this recipe, and I'm really glad it's a simple recipe that uses all the same ingredients and nothing special. 

The frosting recipe is my "go-to" recipe. I didn't have any milk on hand, so I used 2/3 half and half. My husband said he could taste the difference, but it was slightly better - a richer, creamier texture. He loved it! 

Monday, December 06, 2010

Eggnog Cupcakes with Eggnog Cream Cheese Frosting

My husband just loves Eggnog and can't get enough of it come the holidays, so I decided to make a treat just for him (and the youth at my church). I Googled the recipe and found it here. The recipe came out great, though a little gooey in the frosting department, but otherwise great! Some of the youth at church were saying "Wow, this tastes just like Eggnog!" My response was "Then it came out perfect!"

Friday, December 03, 2010

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes - Christmas Style!

I was asked to make mini cupcakes for a church event and attempted to make vanilla and chocolate. (Again the chocolate did not turn out) but the vanilla came out great! The recipe is a duplicate, I admit, but it just tastes sooooo good, even I gobble these up! I don't normally eat cupcakes because they are too sweet for my taste, I prefer a fruit or a vegetable. Some people think it's weird I don't eat my own cupcakes, but the truth is: I don't eat anyone's cupcakes, store bought or not. It's just not my thing. But I love to bake and smell the goodies I bake!

The cupcake recipe is the same as the Confetti Cupckes. I didn't use the sprinkles, but instead added about an 1/8 of a cup of sugar to compensate, since sprinkles are basically sugar.
The frosting recipe is my go-to Vanilla Frosting. I used a lot of red (more than you'd think) food coloring, and quite a bit of green food coloring on two different batches of frosting. I just cut the frosting in half and colored one side, then the other. The red came out kinda swirly because it didn't sit right with the powdered sugar, but I think it looks cool! Like a poinsettia, perfect for Christmas!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I love the holidays! More reasons to bake, and an introduction of spices that tend to be too "powerful" for spring and summer flavors: allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and ground cloves! I just love the aroma of fresh baked holiday goodies! This recipe comes from the need to make a dessert and bring it to a staff Christmas party at church. Since it's a Christmas party, I decided to go with a Christmas flavor: Gingerbread! I Googled, I Yahooed, and I SwagBucked my way through recipe after recipe that would produce the flavor and look for what I wanted. I found it at Epicurious, which is a site I've used a bit for recipes. My husband has only had bits of cupcakes from this recipe but couldn't get enough and cannot WAIT to try the whole cupcake on Friday. A few modifications: the recipe from Epicurious calls for candied ginger, but just as a topping, so I ditch that because it's kind of pricey around here... Also the recipe on Epicurious tends to jump around, so remember: this is the way I did it!! One more thing: read the directions all the way through before attempting. As contrary to almost all of the recipes on this site, the baking soda DOES NOT go into the flour mixture!!