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Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Mini Fruit Tartlets

Happy Friday! 🙂

I personally am very grateful that this work week is hours from being over. To celebrate this, I got baking last night! Okay fine, it was partly for stress relief as well, but I also wanted to celebrate TGIF, I swear! 🙂
I saw this wonderful recipe for French Tart Dough earlier this week. And I am not going to lie, the fact that the blogger, David Lebovitz, was learning this from a French cooking instructor, Paule Caillat, was a draw. But then she said as her instruction for adding X amount of flour “Oh…you know, enough to make it right” — and I was sold on this recipe. A cooking instructor who cooks like me without really measuring, but eyeballing and going off of looks, smell and experience?!?! Ding!Ding!Ding! We have a winner. And thus I decided I needed to make a tart, a French tart. But not be one, of course… 😉 Teeheehee, you know you laughed a little inside, so don’t even try to act like you didn’t.

So I was thinking about what kind of treat I wanted to make into a tart, but I was leaning heavily towards Kiwi-Strawberry-Banana incorporated somehow. And then I read a comment from David’s blog about using a pastry cream and fresh berries to top the tart. So I found a very awesome blog about “How to Make Pastry Cream”, which I’ve never done before, and decided that I would make Mini Fruit Tartlets! Woohoo!

Keep in mind, please, that I absolutely loved the dialogue from David’s blog in his learning from Paule, so I was definitely channeling that in my cooking of the French Tartlets!

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Browned Butter


First I preheated the oven to 410. Then I put 3/4 stick unsalted butter, 2 quick shakes of salt, 1.5 tbspn sugar, little under 1/8 cup water, and about 1 tbspn of canola oil into a glass baking dish. Put in the oven for 15 minutes (set your timer!), until the mix is melted and browning on the edges.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cream & Sugar


While the butter browns, pour 2 cups/16 oz of heavy cream into a heavy saucepan on medium heat. Add rounded 1/2 cup sugar and 1 dash salt, whisking occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. Keep on heat until simmering.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Yolk For You


While the cream is heating, separate 5 eggs, reserving the whites for later, and whisk egg yolks with 1/8 cup sugar until the sugar dissolves, about 15-20 seconds. Then add in 1/8 cup flour (not cornstarch, yes I was out and decided to improvise, don’t be too shocked!) and whisk until fully incorporated. You should have a light yellow creamy mixture by now.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Frothed Milk


Once the cream has started to froth & boil, remove from heat (don’t turn off), stirring constantly for 1 minute, and then slowly pour into the egg mixture whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Milk & Eggs


Once the cream & eggs have been combined and whisked to creaminess, pour the mix back into the saucepan and set back on the heat. Whisk continuously until starts to bubble a bit, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat immediately.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Vanilla Butter


Once removed from heat, add a half stick butter (I broke mine in half, but 4 pieces would be quicker to melt) and 2 tspn vanilla extract. Okay, okay, I did more like 2.5, you caught me. 🙂 Stir this with a spatula occasionally to help this incorporate the butter and vanilla evenly.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Browned Butter + Flour


About this time, your butter should be fully melted in the oven and slightly browned. Remove ***will be hot and splatter a bit*** from oven (keep the oven on) and let cool on the side for 1 minute. Add in 1 1/2 cups of flour, or just a little under, and stir until pulls away from sides and is a buttery sticky ball. Let sit and cool. I learned the hard way – remove the ball from the bowl and let cool on a surface that wasn’t just in an oven. 🙂 I used the butter paper wrapper. 🙂

Mini Fruit Tartlets: That's A Wrap of Pastry Cream!


Once your butter and vanilla have been fully incorporated, and your mixture has cooled some, pour the pastry cream into your egg-mixing bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the cream, which will keep a skin from forming on the cream. Fridge this at least 2 hours, or overnight. I did overnight.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cupcake Dough


Once your dough has cooled, pinch off pieces and drop into greased (Pam to the rescue!) cupcake foils and spread evenly along the bottom of the foil/paper cups.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Stick A Fork In It


Once the dough is evenly spread in the holders, poke a fork in the bottom of each so that it just is vented. Don’t make holes, just a slight, light poke with the fork in each cupcake. Bake (still at 410) for about 12 minutes, turn the oven off and let sit in the oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: A Loaf Of Leftover


I actually had enough dough leftover for a small loaf pan to have on the bottom as well. I poked the fork in the bottom of this dough as well, but didn’t go too overboard. Bake this same as the cupcakes. 🙂

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Baked Tartlets


Once baked, the tartlets will be slightly browned (like our butter earlier), and I will say – the foil cupcake wrappers browned way quicker then the silicone-and-paper-wrapper tartlets. Just so you know. Also, since I was going to assemble in the morning, I covered the tartlets with a towel (okay fine, I used my baking apron that I rarely actually wear, cuz it is longer than my dish towel) and let sit overnight.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cream of the Tart


When you are ready to assemble, stir your pastry cream a few times, then drop dollops on top of the tartlets. Once they are all covered (and the excess on top of your loaf pan tart if you have that), let sit while you slice the fruit. I did a veritable rainbow of fruit…

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Green Fruit


I sliced 1 peeled kiwi into tiny pieces. Placed in a bowl.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Purple Fruit


Then I quartered about 1/2 quart of blackberries and added to the kiwi.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Red Fruit


Then I sliced up 1/2 a quart of topless strawberries and added those to the mix. Ooh la la.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Yellow Fruit


Finally I sliced a banana (halfways, then halfways again, then diced), and topped that on the fruit mix.

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Sweeten the Deal


Finally, I added in 1/4 cup of brown sugar and mixed that evenly with the fruit, until well mixed but not abusing the fruit.

And last on the list – topping the tartlets with the fruit!

Mini Fruit Tartlets: Fruity Tart Loaf


Mini Fruit Tartlets: Side View of the Loaf


Mini Fruit Tartlets: Cupcake Tartlets, assembled!

Word of warning though – once you remove the paper holders from the silicone, I recommend you be careful because, as one victim — **ahem** coworker — found out, they are slippery like oysters if you’re not careful picking them up! 🙂

So that is my Mini Fruit Tartlets, and I must say, my coworkers really seemed to enjoy them. Even the ones who don’t like sweets, or didn’t like the idea of fruit on top of a custard-tart. And they made me, personally, a fantastic breakfast, too! 😉

So let me know if you like these if you try them out. Until then…

Craft You Later & TGIF!
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Oatmeal Currant Cookies

Well hello again friends, nice to see you again. Twice in one week, I know, you are impressed that I am actually back in it again, aren’t you? 😉 Gotta love baking weeks. Well, okay, at least I love them. I chose some new victims — I mean taste testers — for this week. A friend’s family graciously volunteered. Okay, that may be over-stating it. A friend volunteered their family. There, that is more accurate. I would hate to mislead you, really. So I made the Banana-Ganache Cupcakes and was actually in the mood to bake more. So I thought “Hey, why not some cookies too!”, and was trying to decide what kind to make when I saw a red box in the corner of the kitchen. Perfect! California Raisin time – woohoo! So yes, we now have a decision: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, yay! 🙂

Now about this time, you are probably thinking “Oatmeal Raisin? You said ‘Oatmeal Currant, so what is  this crazy madness talk you are going on about?” Alright, I will enlighten you. Feel lucky. So I mention that red box that we all know and love for the California Raisins, right? Yeah, turns out when I actually grabbed the box out of its hiding spot, it was a box of Zante Currants. Same brand as the raisins, so I was fooled by packaging and branding. Darnit. But that is okay, I am nothing if not adaptable, right?!? Sure, we’ll go with that. Just nod and smile for me, that’s it, I promise I won’t be upset.

So now to make the Oatmeal Currant Cookies. Are you ready with me? Are you excited? I know I am. Join me in the fun, why don’t you?

First off, we need to make our base for cookies. Now one thing you need to know about my cookies is that I do not use eggs, and it is the one time I prefer margarine to butter in baking. And yes partly because of cost-effectiveness I won’t lie. Tubs of margarine seem so much cheaper and better deals when you’re using cups of the stuff at a time, don’t you agree?

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: A Cookie Base Beat

Take 1 cup of margarine and melt it in a microwaveable mixing bowl, usually about 45 seconds works for me. Once you have the margarine nice and melted, add in 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and half a 3-oz package of instant-sugar-free vanilla pudding mix. Mix well, and make sure it is not clumpy.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Brown Sugar, Sugar

Next add in 1/2 cup of brown sugar, again mixing well so there are no lumps.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Oats In The Mix

Next add in 1 cup of oatmeal and, you guessed it, make sure it isn’t lumpy. I am sure you are tired of hearing that, but I promise the cookies taste much better if they are evenly mixed. I wouldn’t lie to you about this, I promise. It is all about baking a great cookie, right? Go cookie team!

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Flour Power!

Now we get to the binding of the cookie mixture. Add in around 2-3 cups of flour, make sure the dough is not sticky but not too dry either.
Like this:

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Plump Your Currants

Once you add the flour, set the dough aside, and pour the currants (about 1 1/2 cups worth, or half a bag) into a small bowl half filled with water. Let soak for roughly 5 minutes until they start to get a little plump. You can also add in about 1/8 cup of sugar to sweeten them up a bit while they soak. Drain the water from the currants, now they are ready to make cookie-able!

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Currant In The Cookie

Gradually add in the currants to the cookie dough, mixing until evenly distributed.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Scoop of Cookie

Now take small scoops or pinches of cookie dough like above and roll into balls to place on a greased cookie sheet. While doing this, preheat your oven to 375 F.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Cookie Sheets

I personally prefer baking my cookies on greased sheets of aluminum foil, as they seem to work better to get the cookies cleanly off in the morning. Now if you have air-bake cookie sheets this should be unnecessary. But just in case, you are forewarned.

Oatmeal Currant Cookies: Voilà Finished Cookies

Bake the cookies for 7 minutes 25 seconds (yes, I have it precisely down, have no fear, though cooking times may vary by oven about 15 seconds either side). I take them out of the oven and let them sit on the cookie tray for another 2 minutes, where they continue to bake. Then I remove to a cooling rack for the last few minutes of cooling. Now, all that is left is to enjoy!

Let me know how you like these, and until then…
Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Banana-Ganache Cupcakes

Hi Everyone, it’s been almost a week since my last post. I have been bad, and not done much crafty or cook/bake-y in the last few days. Okay, wow, that was shades of a Catholic confession there, ha-whoops! Anyways, I was looking around my kitchen Tuesday morning for breakfast and saw I had one banana left from the bunch. That one banana was in the stage of either-make-me-into-banana-bread-or-throw-me-out mushiness, and I really didn’t want to make a loaf of banana bread. Because then I have to eat it. And while I adore banana bread, I didn’t think I’d eat an entire loaf by myself this week. Plus I am trying (emphasis on that word, please) to eat healthier. Though I will say, personally I believe if it has banana in it, and not more sugar in ounces than your personal weight in pounds, then it has to be healthy….right?!? Okay, fine, WORK with me here people, just nod and smile and let me believe it, okay?!?!

Alright, moving along from my healthy-banana delusion… Upon further review of my fridge, I saw that I had some eggs, heavy cream, and a whole bunch (and I do mean a LOT) of  chocolate ganache left over from my Salted Caramel Lava Macchiatto Cupcakes last week. Hmmm, those ingredients plus one lonely aging banana?!? That seems obvious, does it not: BANANA-GANACHE CUPCAKES!!!! Okay, I’m chilling out, I promise. I just got super excited though. I looked up some basic cupcake recipes, just to see what all was used most commonly proportion wise. Then I pretty much used those as the thinnest-veiled-reference imagineable and made up my own recipe. I am sure you are shocked, really.

So here we go, with pictures illustrating the steps:

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Cream that butter!

1) Cream 2 sticks unsalted butter with 1 cup sugar. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Continue to cream them, and sometimes it helps to sing Prince’s “Cream” along with the mixer just to get your boogie on (quick soundbite here)!

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Creamed Egged Banana

2) In a small bowl (or if you want to cheat like me and use a cup, that is fine too!), beat together 2 eggs, 1 mashed banana (must be uber-ripe), 1/4 cup heavy cream, and 1 tspn vanilla extract. Make sure it is smooth.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Flour Power

3) In another small bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, 1/2 tspn salt, 1 tspn baking powder and 1/2 tspn baking soda.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Mix It On Up

4) In the creamed butter mixture, turn the beaters back on to low, and gradually add in half of the egg mixture, then half of the flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream to the remaining egg mixture (in the cup) and mix well. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture to the creamed butter, and then finally the remaining flour.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Make It Creamy

5) Once this is done mixing it was a bit dry-looking, so I added 1/4 cup of skim milk, just to moisten it up some. Make sure this gets mixed completely, no lumps, totally smooth. You will also smell banana strongly enough you will not believe you just used one banana!

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Pour It On Out

6) Now pour batter to about 3/4 full into your greasedcupcakes – either tin or the individual silicone cups like I used here. I also used cupcake papers because these are going to a group of people that don’t know me well enough to want my germs all over their cupcakes. Plus it keeps the frosting in better (later step, yes I’m getting ahead, but jeez hang with me!)… 🙂

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Baking Strong

7) Bake cupcakes about 20 minutes at 350 F, until tops start to lightly brown.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Fully Cooked!

8) Remove and let cool on top of oven for about 5 minutes before removing from silicone or cupcake pans.

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Top It Off!

9) Once cupcakes have cooled significantly, top with the Chocolate Ganache we made last week that has been sitting in your fridge (covered) just waiting for the next project! Microwave the ganache about 80 seconds, and stir until evenly softened. I use a normal teaspoon to spread this, but I spray it with Pam first, and that works wonders for going on smoothly! Oh and if you didn’t make ganache with me last week (shame on you, I hate to bake alone!), then I would just make a 1/3 or 1/2 batch unless you really want a surplus of ganache.But let’s face it, who wouldn’t want a surplus of ganache?!?

Banana-Ganache Cupcakes: Voilà

10) Voilà we have a lovely batch of Banana-Ganache Cupcakes to Enjoy! 🙂

So that is it for today, I hope you all enjoy these. Side Note: I also toyed with topping each cupcake with a dried banana chip, however wasn’t sure how banana-y that would make it, so left that for another attempt. I’m sure this will be something I do weekly in some variation, so I have faith my ideas will all be implemented…..eventually. 😉

Please let me know if you try these and how you like them. I love feedback – lets me know that a) I’m not just talking to the internet-ether, and b) whether I need to improve or change anything for public consumption. I also like guinea pigs, and you guys make perfect ones, muahahaha! Okay enough with the creepy self-sound-effects. Until next time!

Craft You Later,
Beth

Baking Is Science For Hungry People: Salted Caramel Lava Macchiatto Cupcakes

Well hello again. So I have a confession to make. I altered the recipes the other night and hadn’t yet made the stuff. **blushes** I know. I know. That is so awful of me. BUT I had bought all the ingredients! Surely that has to count for something, right?!?! Okay fine, how about the fact that I made them last night, and brought them in for my victims—- I mean coworkers— to try out…? Does that redeem me in your eyes? Even just a little? Okay FINE, then how about these pictures? And don’t hate on the deliciousness, clearly I have shared the path to it with you and cannot be held accountable for any drool on your keyboard. So there. 😉

Macchiatto Cupcakes - Give Me Three Steps

1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Cream 3/4 cup butter & 1 cup sugar together in a large bowl.
3) Brew 8 oz cup of cofee and mix with 1/4 cup cold milk, 1 tspn cinnamon and 1 tspn nutmeg, in a small bowl.
4) Mix together 2 1/2 cups floud, 2 tspn baking powder and 1/2 tspn salt in medium bowl.

Macchiatto Cupcakes - Mix It On Up

1) Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/2 of the coffee mixture to the blender. Mix well.
2) Add 1/3 more of the flour mixture and 1/2 of the coffee mixture to the blender. Mix well.
3) Add in the last of the flour mixture and 1 1/2 tspn instant espresso powder (okay, fine, yes, I used 2 tspn instead) and mix well.

Macchiatto Cupcakes - Fill

1) I used my silicone baking cups but regardless, line your cupcakes with the papers and spray with Pam.
2) Fill baking cups 3/4 full (I used a spoon to divvy the dough.) Bake for 18 minutes at 350, until just a little soft still. Remove from oven.

Salted Caramel Sauce: Prep

1) In a saucepan (I recommend NOT using a large one like I did), combine 1 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup heavy cream. I may have used an extra tablespoon of heavy cream, but SHHH! don’t tell! Have this warming over a LOW heat, gently stirring with a wooden spoon until it starts to boil (read: bubble) lightly.

Salted Caramel Sauce: Butter Makes It Better

1) Once boiling over low heat, add 3/8 cup (almost a full stick) of unsalted butter. Stir occasionally.
2) Bring caramel to a boil (read: bubble) again and let it boil (read: bubble) for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Macchiatto Cupcakes - Thumb It!

1) Once removed from oven, immediately put a ‘thumbprint’ indentation in the middle of the cupcake. Make sure it is just an indent, about 1/4″ deep should work, but don’t break it in half or anything!
2) Let cool while you finish the caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Sauce: Salt Attack!

1) Once caramel sauce is removed from heat, add in coarse sea salt, about 1 overloaded teaspoon worth. Okay, you caught me: I just shook the container 3 good times, but it’s about 1 overloaded teaspoon, I swear!!!
2) Keep stirring the caramel for about 2 minutes to ensure the salt mixes in well. If you don’t like salted caramel, just omit this whole little section aside from the last caramel step, below.

While the caramel cools, and the cupcakes continue to cool:

Whipped Cream Frosting: Before

1) In your large mixing bowl from creaming the sugar above, now cleaned out, combine 2 cups heavy cream and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Okay, yes, you got me here again – I used about 3/4 cup of powdered sugar instead. Yeesh you guys are good.
2) Once soft peaks form, add in 1-2 tspon of vanilla extract. Yes, I used 2 tspn here. Keep the mixing going this entire time as well, and then it will look like this, below:

Whipped Cream Frosting: After

3) Refrigerate until ready to build your creation, and cover it with aluminum foil.

Salted Caramel Sauce: To Go Please!

1) Now that your caramel sauce has cooled to not-boiling-piping-hot status, took about 15 minutes right?!?, you can do like I did and pour it into a “decorator bottle” with a normal tip, like mine from Pampered Chef.
2) Tip: use a funnel to get the sauce into the bottle from the pan, and I highly recommend spraying said funnel with Pam spray to keep it from sticking.
3) Note: I was able to fill the bottle twice which worked out nicely – once for the next step, and again for the final steps upon creating the final vision.

Salted Caramel Lava: Before

1) Take your bottle with nifty spout, and pour caramel sauce into your cupcake indentations, just until level with top of cupcake. Do not overfill.
2) Once completed, you will have very pretty cupcakes indeed:

Salted Caramel Lava: After

And now for the Ganache, the final ‘ingredient’!

Chocolate Macchiatto Ganache: Double Boil Me!

1) In a double boiler (or if like me you just wanted to keep reusing the same pans [cleaned of course!], you can clean out your caramel pot and fill it halfway with water, and use a small saucepan for the inner pan), combine 1 bag of semisweet chocolate chips and half a bag of bittersweet cacao chips (I used Ghiradelli for both), with 1 cup of unsalted butter.
2) Stir occasionally, and make sure the heat is set to Medium. This is key, as it will keep a) the water from boiling over into the chocolate, b) the water from using you for target practice, and c) you from having a huge mess to clean up, with a possibe ER visit from burns.

Chocolate Macchiatto Ganache: Sugar!!!!

1) While the chocolate is melting, combine 5 cups of powdered sugar with 1/4 cup instant espresso powder and 1/2 tspn of salt.
2) Whisk until evenly distributed.

Chocolate Macchiatto Ganache

1) In a mixing cup, combine 1 cup of milk and 2 tspn vanilla extract.
2) Add the milk mixture to the powdered sugar and whisk until mixed together (read: sticky).

Chocolate Macchiatto Ganache: Chocolate Rules

1) Once the chocolate has melted completely in the saucepan, and no butter chunks are left anywhere, and the entire thing is nice and smooth, remove from heat and remove chocolate pan from water pan if you’re doing like I did. Let sit about 2 minutes, then brave it.
2) Pour the chocolate mixture into the sugared milk mixture, and whisk until fully blended. Then whisk it about 2 minutes more.

Chocolate Macchiatto Ganache: Now We Drool

1) Refrigerate chocolate ganache 20 minutes until slightly firm, or overnight.
2) If compiling everything the next morning/day, you will need to microwave the ganache about 2-2:30 to get it smooth and distributable.

When Ready To Make Salted Caramel Lava Macchiatto Cupcakes Come Alive:

Cupcakes Come Alive: Ganache

Top your cupcakes with a layer of Ganache.

Cupcakes Come Alive: Whipped Cream Frosting

Top your Ganache with a dollop of Whipped Cream Frosting.

Cupcakes Come Alive

Top your Whipped Cream Frosting with a drizzle or three of Caramel Sauce. **Note: If you are assembling the next day, remove the top from your bottle and microwave caramel sauce in the bottle for 20 seconds on half power to get it pourable.

Voilà the final creation!

Cupcakes Come Alive: DONE!

One final note… I had enough cupcake batter leftover that I made an 8-inch round cake of this as well. I had enough caramel that I poked about 15 holes in the cake, just like the cupcakes, after it baked, filled them with caramel sauce, and topped the same as the cupcakes for the final creation. I still had about 1 cup of whipped cream frosting and 2 cups of ganache leftover, with just about a teaspoon of caramel sauce, most of it stuck in the bottle! Here they are, all of my creations together:

Cupcakes Can Be Cakes Too

Whew, that was a big project, but according to my victi—coworkers, it was a delicious, albeit slightly heavy, coffee sweet treat! I look forward to trying these again, though, because they got a “holy delicious” from me as well! Let me know if you try these and if you like them!

Also, disclaimer: “Baking Is Science For Hungry People” is from my favorite comic Questionable Content, and is one of my all-time-favorite shirts as well.

Craft You Later,
Beth

Splish, Splash, Caramel Lava Cupcake Making A Blast!

So I was bad and took this weekend off of blogging. I know, tsk tsk on me. But I promise it won’t happen again…for awhile at least! 😉 Anyways, I was feeling like a bum this morning because it was 25 degrees out, and so I decided to work from home. The wonders of the current age of business – we have such nice options like working from home, using cell phones as main lines, and having home internet speeds that compare nicely with work internet speeds. It is a wonder, for sure! But anways, I was sitting home, and read my friends’ blog post for today, and there was a great article on DIY Pumpkin Spice Lattés, courtesy of her husband. Which then made me crave a coffee drink myself, so I drove my craving over to Rocky River Coffee Company (my closest non-chain), whom I love because of their motto: Friends don’t let friends drink corporate coffee.

The little places seem to have way better coffee selections for those of us (**ahem**) who don’t like just a plain ol’ cup o’ joe all the time. Yes I enjoy fancy schmancy coffee, and yes I enjoy trying the weird combinations that people at coffee shops imagine, and yes I enjoy paying $4 for said imagination. Okay maybe ‘enjoy’ isn’t the best word for that last part, but “accept that this is the cost and ingenuity doesn’t come cheap, so at $4 we are still in the realm of okay-I-will-pay-that-amount” is a little long, no?!? Well anyways. I got my Caramel Macchiatto (no, this did not taste like Starbucks’ version, and yes it was delicious, and yes I had it made with soy milk for extra protein) to go, and came back home to sip and work, and sip some more. Deeeeelicious! Yum. So then I started thinking that I really need to post more on my blog. And I had no idea what to post today, but I wanted to do something baking-craft.

So then it hit me. Caramel Macchiatto Cake!!! WOOHOO! We have a winner! But how to make this delicious-sounding craved treat?!? So of course – google to the rescue! I found a couple really fun blogs, that I am going to try to meld their versions into something of my own. Because let’s be honest. Following just one recipe for the entire creation just isn’t quite as entertaining as watching someone (else) attempt to meld three recipes into one master creation. Right?!? So here are the three recipes I am going to combine. Once you look them over, I will share what I am actually doing in my own recipe. Because, yes, I am going to let you all sit back, relax, and watch me be a fool in the kitchen. Because there are fewer places I am a better fool then in the kitchen! 😉 And I am a-okay with that! 😀

Cupcake Inspiration courtesy of MyButteryFingers.

Frosting Inspiration courtesy of JavaCupcake.

Additional Inspirations courtesy of WarningSugaryGoodness.

Final Production Recipe:

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour                                2 tspn baking powder             ½ tspn salt                   
¾ cup strongly (cool) brewed coffee            ¼ cup milk                                  1 tspn each, nutmeg & cinnamon
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened                     1 cup sugar                                  3 eggs                    1 ½ tspn instant espresso

  1. Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F.Place paper liners in muffin tin.
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Combine coffee, milk, cinnamon & nutmeg in a cup and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat eggs in one at a time.
  4. Reduce speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture, then half of the liquid mixture. Scrape down sides, then beat in another third of flour mixture, then the rest of the liquid, then the remaining flour mixture. Mix in the instant espresso.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full. Sprinkle on cacao nibs if using. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely and remove from the pans.  Rather than excavate the middle out of the cupcakes to fill with caramel.  Just push the cupcake down with the bottom of a clean ice cream scoop. Fill with Caramel filling below.

Caramel filling and drizzle
1 ¼ cup light brown sugar            ¼ cup heavy cream            3/8 cup unsalted butter, softened            1 tspn salt

  1. To make the caramel, put the sugar and cream in a heavy bottom saucepan set over low heat.  Heat gently, stirring with a wooden spoon as it comes to a boil. Once it is boiling, add the butter and stir. Bring caramel back to a boil let it bubble gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Take the caramel off the heat, add the salt, and stir vigorously to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed in. Let the caramel cool and then fill cupcakes. Reserve some of the caramel to drizzle after chocolate ganache frosting layer, set this caramel aside

Chocolate Ganache Frosting infused with Espresso
4 oz bittersweet chocolate       2 oz unsweetened chocolate   10 oz semisweet chocolate
1 cup butter unsalted                 ¼ cup espresso powder             5 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt                                    2 tsp vanilla extract                     1 cup whole milk

  1. Melt chocolates and butter over double boiler.  Slowly stir constantly, until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Sift powdered sugar, espresso powder, and salt into a bowl.
  3. Combine milk and vanilla. Add milk mixture to sugar mixture. Whisk until incorporated. Add melted chocolate mixture to milk mixture. Stir until smooth.
  4. Chill it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so, whatever it takes to get it thick enough to frost.  Frost the cupcakes once the frosting is thick enough.  Keep unused portion in the refrigerator covered tight for up to one week.

Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups heavy cream            ½ cup powdered sugar            1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a standing bowl mixer whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form.
  2. Add confectioners’ sugar, to taste (not too sweet)
  3. Mix in vanilla extract.
  4. Pipe Frosting onto each cupcake & then drizzle with caramel.

Pictures to come later, but for now: g’night all!

Craft You Later,
Beth

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