Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I’m going to tell you something: I adore cookies. I don’t discriminate against most baked goods, bu242341_348582141899787_1762811458_ot cookies? Lord help me, I cannot control myself with them. I always think to myself, “Okay Courtney, you’re only going to have two cookies today.” This never happens if there are cookies in the house. Never. What starts off as a snack, with the good intentions of moderation, always turns into a lack of self control. Or, more often than not, I’ll walk away after two cookies and then be back for a couple more in five minutes time when the tastes and yumminess are still lingering and I have to have more.

My favourite types of cookie are pretty typical, but they’re common for a reason: they’re delicious. My first love will always be homemade peanut butter cookies. They have to be soft, and made with smooth peanut butter, and that’s if I don’t consume most of the dough first. My second, and much more newly found love, is the Snickerdoodle. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, soft, and cinnamon-y. All good characteristics in a cookie. So when I found a recipe for Snickerdoodle cupcakes on Pinterest, I had to pin it, and I knew I would find an excuse to make them. It didn’t actually take long to find an excuse, actually. My cousin was planning a surprise party for her mom’s birthday and asked me to supply cupcakes. I willingly obliged.

I found the original recipe, via Pinterest, on the Martha Stewart website. The recipe suggests a Seven-Minute Frosting, which I chose not to use. Instead I used a cinnamon cream cheese icing. Let me tell you, these cupcakes were heaven! The icing was great with the cupcake, and the cupcakes were like huge, soft, moist cookies. I reiterate: Heaven.

256157_348582121899789_1991980073_oIngredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line cupcake pans with paper liners, or use a nonstick baking spray. In a large bowl, combine the flours (I used 3 cups of all purpose flour, rather than mixing two types and had no issue), baking powder and salt. Set the flour mixture aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to incorporate them fully before adding the next egg. Once the eggs are well combined, add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in 3 sections, alternating with the milk. Beat until combined.

Once the ingredients are combined well, evenly distribute the batter in the prepared baking pans, and then bake for 18-20 minutes. The original recipe says to bake fully, remove from the oven and allow to cool, ice the cupcakes and then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon and sugar. I did not do this, since I was using an icing that already had cinnamon. Instead, I removed the cupcakes about halfway through their bake time and sprinkled with the sugar and cinnamon at that point, before letting them continue to bake for the remainder of the baking time. Then, I prepared the icing and iced the cupcakes once they had cooled completely. The icing was this cream cheese icing with the addition of two teaspoons of cinnamon.

I piped the icing using a Wilton 1A tip, and voila. Perhaps one of my favourite cupcakes ever. And, outrageously, when I offered the cupcakes to my parents to try, they asked me what a Snickerdoodle was. I’m not sure if they’ve been living under a rock or something, but they really had no idea. Needless to say, I made a batch of Snickerdoodle cookies soon after, to show them what they were missing out on.

S’mores Cupcakes

Originally posted April 16, 2012

My favourite thing about summer is obvious – campfires! And why, might you ask, do I love them? S’mores, of course. It’s not quite campfire weather yet though, so I’ve found a recipe to enjoy S’mores (and cupcakes!) throughout the rest of the year!

Now, I’ll be a first to admit that these did not turn out as I’d hoped. They were nowhere near as beautiful as the photos on theoriginal recipewould lead you to believe (but I’ve a solution for that, so fear not) and they weren’t as chocolatey as I would have liked, considering that they’re S’mores cupcakes. I think that the next time I make these, I’ll go with what was my initial gut instinct to fill them with chocolate rather than use chocolate chips in the cupcakes. Nevertheless, they were pretty tasty and a nice change from the usual. Not to mention, they’re so simple!

For the cupcakes, you’ll need:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1-2 cups mini marshmallows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a regular muffin pan with liners, as this recipe yields 12 cupcakes. In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder and salt. Set the bowl aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, oil and sugar. Beat until well combined and smooth and then add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Next, alternately add portions of the dry mixture and the milk to the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips and then fill the muffin pan with the batter.

At this point, the original recipe would have you pour a few mini marshmallows over the batter and then bake the cupcakes 18-20 minutes. However, I found that the marshmallows puffed up as the recipe indicated they would, and then melted everywhere because it was simply too long for them to be in the oven. So I’d suggest that you bake the cupcakes 10 or so minutes and then top them with marshmallows and continue baking for the remainder of the time. This should ensure that the marshmallows puff up and brown but don’t just turn into a melted (albeit tasty) mess. Also, as I mentioned briefly earlier, and because of my personal preference, I’d likely omit the chocolate chips in the future and instead fill the cupcakes with a chocolate ganache or fudge or something instead.

The great thing about these cupcakes is that, had they turned out, the marshmallows look so nice that you don’t really need icing. Mine weren’t quite as beautiful as I’d have liked, however, so I melted some butterscotch chips and drizzled butterscotch on each cupcake.

Let me know how you like these, should you try them yourself! Perhaps, like me, you’ll find that these cupcakes are the perfect solution to having S’mores year-round!

Bacon Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

Originally posted March 30, 2012 (Looking at this post again makes me wish I hadn’t become vegetarian in July, the cupcakes were AMAZING!)

While flipping through The Cupcake Diaries early this week, a recipe caught my eye – Bacon Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes. I wasn’t sure whether to cringe or not because I’d never considered bacon as a cupcake ingredient. My curiosity got the better of me though, and I knew that I had to try these cupcakes, if for no other reason than to discover whether or not they were as gross as a little part of me imagined they could be (for the record, they were most definitely not gross).

I was not exactly sure what to expect with these. They had the potential to go one of two ways – delicious, or disgusting. They fared on the delicious side, as I was pleasantly surprised to find. The flavours go surprisingly well together, the cupcakes stay moist due to the maple syrup in them, and the salty bacon is offset nicely by the sweet blueberries. I highly recommend that you all give these a try! And, in hindsight, considering my love of breakfast foods, I’m not sure how I could have doubted these little gems.

This recipe will make you 24 cupcakes, for which you’ll need:
6 slices maple bacon
1 3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or an additional 1-2 tsp vanilla)
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Maple Cream Cheese Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 oz cream cheese (1 1/2 sticks)
8 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin pans with baking cups or grease them to avoid sticking. Fry the bacon until very crunchy, sprinkle with the 1tsp of sugar, and then remove from the heat, strain the grease, and chop up into fine bits. Set the bacon aside for use later. Next, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set it aside as well.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each. Combine the vanilla, vanilla bean seeds (if using) and milk in a liquid measuring cup. Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour and milk mixtures, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Mix slowly until just combined. Add the maple syrup, mixing slowly. Then, using a spatula, gently fold the bacon bits and blueberries into the batter.

Scoop the batter into baking cups and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool entirely.

For the frosting, combine all the ingredients in the stand mixer and beat until smooth and well combined. Turn the mixer to high speed for a couple of minutes at the end to get a light, whipped icing. Ice the cooled cupcakes as desired, and voila!

Let me know what you think of these cupcakes! The great thing about them is that, you could conceivably legitimize eating them for breakfast. Bacon, blueberry pancakes, maple syrup, cream cheese – all legitimate breakfast foods. And what could be better for breakfast than dessert? I have yet to discover an answer to that. Maybe you could make these into your Sunday morning family breakfast. I’m sure they’ll thank you for it!

If you’re considering bacon in your dessert, here are a few other options if blueberry isn’t for you (and please let me know the results if you try any of these!):
Maple Bacon Cupcakes
Maple French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes 
Bacon Cupcakes: Sunny Side Up
Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Originally posted March 25, 2012
Here it is, lovelies: a long awaited (and hopefully much anticipated) post about Pink Lemonade Cupcakes! When I say long awaited, what I mean is that this post is coming to you much later in the week than usual. For that I apologize, but let me tell you that it was completely worth my while to put this post off. I read 1055 pages, or 3 books, over the course of the last three days. That’s the entire Hunger Games trilogy. Worth every minute I put the rest of my tasks on hold.

Having said that, thank you for waiting! I hope that you enjoy these cupcakes as much as I did because they were completely fantastic! I found the original recipe via Pinterest. They stayed extremely moist (although they were a bit sticky) and the glaze was a welcomed change from the usual vast amounts of frosting. These were also a great way to welcome the warm weather we’ve been having. I’m generally against using cake mix, but for these I’ve made an exception!

For the cupcakes, you’ll need:

1 package lemon cake mix
1 package instant lemon pudding mix
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pink lemonade concentrate
4 drops pink food colour (optional)
Additional 1 cup pink lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup sugar

For the glaze, you’ll need:
1/4 cup butter
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the cake and pudding mixes, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, food colour, and first portion (1/2 cup) of lemonade concentrate. Beat all of the ingredients together and then pour into the prepared muffin pans. Bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Once the cupcakes are baked, and have cooled ever so slightly, combine the second portion of lemonade concentrate and the sugar. Poke holes, using a fork, in the surface of the cupcakes and then pour the sugar and lemonade mixture over the cupcakes so that the liquid enters the holes in the cupcakes. This will keep the cupcakes extremely moist (although fair warning, they will be sticky).

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, prepare the glaze. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once it is completely melted, pour the butter over the icing sugar in a large bowl. Add the cream and then beat the ingredients together until smooth, adding the vanilla if desired. Spread a thin layer of the glaze over the cupcakes.

Once the cupcakes are ready, enjoy! They are the perfect summer cupcake. They’re a little bit sweet and a little bit refreshing and a lot delicious. This was my first time making a glaze for any sort of cake so I was happy with how it turned out, and I’ll definitely be adding these Pink Lemonade Cupcakes to my recipe book!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Originally posted March 15, 2012 (Originally titled Irish Carbomb Cupcakes, but apparently car bombing was a big problem in Ireland and the name sparked some issues for readers. To be fair, I didn’t come up with the name, it was based on the alcoholic beverage by the same name).

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to make something a little festive this week – namely, Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes. Fair warning, however, that these are probably not suitable for children. If you’re familiar with Irish Car Bombs (an alcoholic beverage), you’ll understand why. If not, I’ll take a second here to explain. An Irish Car Bomb is a shot consisting of Bailey’s Irish Cream and Irish Whiskey that is dropped into a glass of Guinness and chugged. From what I’ve been told, it is smooth and delicious if you drink it fast enough, but can curdle if you take too long. These cupcakes are based on this particular beverage, which doesn’t quite sound delicious to me in beverage format, but let me tell you that in dessert it’s a fantastic combination.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon this recipe while on Pinterest a few days ago, and you can find the original recipe on a fantastic blog, Brown Eyed Baker, but I’ll also be sharing it with you below so that you can experience these delightful cupcakes (I’ll be sure to mention the slight variations I used)! The Guiness in the chocolate cupcakes keeps them moist and delicious and provides only the subtlest flavour. The faint hint of Irish Whiskey in the chocolate ganache is a perfect offset to the chocolate, and the Bailey’s Butter Cream icing is buttery and smooth and outstanding.  These cupcakes also got rave reviews from those who tried them, so without further adieu:

For the cupcakes, you’ll need:
1 cup Guiness Stout (I used Guiness Draught rather than the Stout, as Stout generally has a stronger flavour that I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy – and they didn’t have any Stout when I shopped for ingredients)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the chocolate ganache, you’ll need:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate ( I used half unsweetened chocolate, and half semi-sweet chocolate rather than bittersweet)
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 tsp Irish Whiskey

For the Bailey’s Butter Cream, you’ll need:
2 cups butter, room temperature
5 cups icing sugar
6 tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pans with 24 baking cups. Bring the Guiness and butter to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, and add the cocoa powder. Whisk the mixture until smooth and then allow to cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl and then set it aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the sour cream and eggs until combined. Add the Guiness chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, beating briefly to combine the ingredients. Using a spatula, fold the batter to ensure everything is combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the baking cups and bake the cupcakes for approximately 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

To make the ganache, finely chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl. In a saucepan, heat the cream until it comes to a boil and allow it to simmer for about a minute. Remove the cream from the stove and pour over the chocolate. Stir the chocolate and cream until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add in the whiskey and butter and combine well. Let the ganache cool until thick but smooth enough to pipe.

To make the frosting, cream together the butter and icing sugar on medium speed and then add in the Bailey’s. Whip until light and fluffy.

Using a cupcake corer, remove the centres of the cupcakes, and fill with chocolate ganache. Follow with the buttercream icing and decorate as desired.

And voila, delicious Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes. Be sure to subscribe to the blog and check out the Facebook and Twitter pages for updates!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!