Friday, February 27, 2009

YaYa Java Cupcake

This cupcake was inspired by Iron Cupcake Earth. The theme this month was Coffee and I couldn't think of a better creation than cupcake imitating life.

Step one...find a cup and saucer that is oven safe. This was not as easy as it sounds. If the bottom of a cup does NOT say oven safe, it probably is not. I found this one at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It was on sale...less than 3 bucks.

Step two...choose an inspirational recipe for the coffee cupcake. My two favorite chocolate cupcake recipes are Martha's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes and Dorie's Devils Food Cake. I baked the cupcake and shaved (and ate) top to level surface.

Step three...What toppings look like milk foam and/or whipped cream that is NOT actually steamed milk or whipped cream? My first thought was Creme Brulee. I made Creme Brulee a few weeks ago (Daryl's favorite) and without an adjustment, it would be too yellow to mimic milk foam. My second thought was to use whipping cream, but it would absorb too quickly into the cupcake...sogginess. yuk. My final choice was Vanilla Panna Cotta. I prepped the Panna Cotta, excluding the vanilla bean. After congealing in refrigerator until slightly firm, I spooned on top of cooled cupcake.

Step with a little whipping cream. Its my cupcake and to continue cupcake imitating life, I love extra foam and a dollop of whipped cream on my latte. I sprinkled with espresso powder.

These photographs were taken as the sun was setting, light beaming in my french doors.

the test...

the taste...

the fun...

the finale...

Believe it or not...I didnt get a bite of this final piece. But, I did enough taste testing during the process!

Recipe for the cupcake...coming soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is a congealed dessert, Italian for cooked cream. It is smooth and sweet and can be flavored with all sorts of ingredients. I prefer vanilla bean...very simple. This is the first time have made it, and it was for a specific of the components for my cupcake for entry in a cupcake contest. I will post it soon.

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup whole milk
1-1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 sup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

Sprinkle unflavored gelatin in 1/2 cup whole milk. Set aside. In saucepan, add sugar, vanilla and whipping cream. Stirring constantly, dissolving sugar. just before boiling remove from heat.

Add mixtures together, stirring to dissolve gelatin mixture. Strain mixture to remove and undissolved gelatin. Pour into ramekins. refrigerate until congealed.

This one is sprinkled with instant espresso powder.


Please, do your own search for Panna Cotta and let me know what you come up with!! I found one for peanut butter!! Is anyone up for it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cream of Chicken and Artichoke Soup

The weather guys were wrong. I planned a cold Sunday afternoon with lots of baking with the big girls and little girls, and soup.

Soup is one of my favorite foods. But, I do NOT consider vegetable beef soup "the soup", just like I don't consider ankle pumps an exercise. Elaboration...ground beef, a can of tomato soup, two cans of veg all does NOT equal soup. It equals three bad ingredients in one pot. Legs extended and moving your ankles is not an exercise. But, these two things are the first thing mentioned when I say "soup", and "start your exercises." yuk.

This recipe is adapted from one I received from Karen.

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
2 can artichoke hearts, rinsed well, broken apart
1/2 cup butter
1 diced onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cup fat free half and half
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
red (cayenne) pepper to taste

Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute 3 minutes until tender. Add bell peppers, garlic and artichokes. Saute 3-5 minutes until artichokes are tender. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until roux. Slowly add chicken stock, one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes. remove from heat and slowly add cream. Add chicken, lemon juice, parsley and basil. Add dry seasonings to taste. Simmer 10 more minutes.

I have used other "milks" such as regular half and half, whole milk,fat free milk and a mixture of what I have on hand. I adjustments the original recipe by adding lemon, roasted red bell peppers and basil.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Its February 8th in middle Tennessee, Its 70 degrees outside. So, what do you do with a 2 year old and a 3 year old...OUTSIDE??

Tie-dye of course.

Kristen has really developed a creative sense about her. And now that she has a daughter of her own, she has someone to share it with. I haven't tie-dyed since the 70's. But, my daughter discovered these GREAT tie-dye kits at walmart!! I couldn't believe how great these look! We will be pursuing this craft much further in the coming weeks.