Buttermilk Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


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Words cannot express how excited I am to be back in the kitchen and hanging with my NCJ Peeps again!  Jamison is now eight months and I sort of have this whole Mom thing down (or at least I’m not pulling my hair out) so I felt like it was the right time.  But I really missed you all!  For a while there it was a major accomplishment for me to take care of my son and bathe myself so I couldn’t imagine trying to bake a cake and take pictures of it!  Yeah right, I thought, but I was determined and so here I am folks.

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I made this cake for my dear hubby’s birthday.  Even though he said, “Oh it’s just another day, don’t do anything for me”, I gave him the side eye and completely ignored him.  We all know guys like to be spoiled sometimes and what better way to say I love you than with some yummy cake.  This was my first time making Spice Cake so I was kind of nervous but it was so good, like really really good!  Luckily I dropped it off at my husband’s office for him and his coworkers so I wouldn’t eat half of it and go into a sugar coma.

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Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 large eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour or cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk

Roasted Walnut and Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
3/4 pound (about 3 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup roasted walnut pieces

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans or one 13/9 inch pan. 

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. In two small bowls separate the egg yolks from the whites. 

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the brown sugar and butter, about 3-4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the oil in a steady stream. Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Alternately add 1/3 of the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, mixing well. With the electric mixer, in another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then fold them into the cake batter with a spatula. Be careful not to over mix or the egg whites will fall and all that hard work will be for nothing!  

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake until the center springs back when touched, about 25 – 40 minutes.  Your cook time is going to greatly depend on what type of pan you use and how much batter you put into the pan.  The egg whites will cause the batter to rise a lot so only fill the batter about halfway in the pan.  Check cake with a wooden toothpick and remove once toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.  After the cakes have cooled, invert them onto sheets of parchment paper. Slice each cake in half and set aside.

On a cookie sheet, roast walnuts in oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Spread a layer of the frosting over 3 layers of the cake. Place the layers of cake on top of each other and top with the fourth layer of cake. Frost the top of the cake with the remaining frosting leaving the sides exposed.   If you’re like me and want to keep things simple use a 13/9 inch pan, allow cake to cool in pan and spread frosting on top once completely cooled.  Sprinkle top of cake with roasted walnuts and slice the cake into individual servings.  

Roasted Walnut and Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, cream the cheese and butter.  Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well. 

 

 

Recipe adapted from Food Network

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Nina’s Top 5 Halloween Treats

Since Halloween falls on my birthday month I’m usually very festive and happy around this time of the year!  I usually get into the mood but this year has been kind of hectic and I wasn’t able to make my own Halloween treats so I picked some of my favorites that you can still make in time to enjoy the holiday.  I did attempt to make some caramel apples but…let’s just say my microwave turned into a caramel nightmare so that idea was out!  Have a wonderful Happy Halloween NCJ Peeps!

♥ Nina

Pumpkin Patch Puffs from Table Spoon

 

Roasted Pumpkin Pasta from Annie’s Eats

 

Caramel Apples from Paula Deen

 

Crisp Candy-Corn Treats from Martha Stewart

 

Candy Corn Martinis from The Slow Roasted Italian

 

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Corn Flour Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream {and Cookbook Giveaway!}

Hello NCJ Peeps!

Here is the winner of the Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food book giveaway:

#6 Jenna Z: “Wow, favorite veg dish of any kind?! I am a huge fan of dal, especially a red lentil dal spiced with cumin and garam masala. Yummy!”

Congratulations! (I will be also notifying you by email.)

And thank you to everyone for sharing their favorite veggie dishes!

♥ Nina

The Giveaway:


 

I am so proud of my friend, Alicia Simpson, for putting out her third cookbook this year!  So in honor of her latest achievement I will be giving away a copy of her latest cookbook: Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food.  Alicia and I go way way back to our college years.  We stayed in the same dorm right down the hall from each other and I distinctly remember some late night shenanigans that will go down in history, and stay there, LOL!  One day while I was perusing Facebook I saw her status update.  I was pleasantly surprised to see her writing her own line of vegan cookbooks and even though I’m not vegan the pictures had me drooling!  I was intrigued.

So what’s this book about?

150 satisfying, flavorful, all-new recipes to enjoy from breakfast to dinner and anytime in between. However you define “comfort food,” Alicia’s got you covered with down-home Southern standards, Tex-Mex fiesta favorites, backyard BBQ fare, ole-fashioned one-dish meals, riffs on classic takeout—and a few surprises destined to become new standbys.

And they do not lie.  It’s all that and more!  I love how Alicia uses fresh ingredients to make comforting food that is pretty much guilt free (think Baked Hush Puppies, Sweet Potato Salad, Carolina BBQ Sammich, Butter Rum Pound Cake, Mexican Hot Cocoa and more).  The recipes are easy to follow and the flavors and textures almost leap straight off of the page.   I am sincerely excited to make more recipes from her fabulous book, and I’m also excited that 1 lucky reader will win their own copy!   But, let’s talk more about the recipe I made to share with you, these Corn Flour Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream. . .

First, let me start by saying that I love meat and really enjoy eating it (ok that came out wrong) but you get what I’m saying!  Secondly, if you’re like me you’re probably wondering what the heck is the difference between vegans and regular vegetarians.  Well according to Wikipedia:

A dietary vegan is one who abstains from including animal products (not only meat and fish, but also dairy products, eggs and often honey, as well as other animal-derived substances) from his/her diet.

That being said you don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy vegan recipes!!  Amazing I know, but so true.  I will admit I was a skeptic but after trying some of the recipes in Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food I am a changed woman!  I had a hard time deciding what to cook for this post because there was so much that I wanted to try.  After a lot of debate I settled on Corn Flour Cupcakes with Raspberry Butter cream Frosting.  Sounds good, right?  Right!  The cupcake was delicious but the real star is the frosting.  Light and fluffy with a hint of raspberries (or more if you want).  I will be using this on my non-vegan cupcakes in the near future.  Every time I ate one of these cupcakes all I had to tell myself was this is only 178 calories!   I was sold.

Here are the details and how to enter this giveaway:

1. Leave a comment and tell me, “What is your favorite vegetarian dish?”

2. For an extra entry, tweet: ”I want to win a copy of @VeganGuineaPig’s book from @NinasCooking!” Simply come back here and leave a comment telling me you tweeted.

3. Contest ends Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at 11:59 pm (EST) and winner will be selected using random.org and notified by email and announced here on the blog. You must leave a valid email address (will not be displayed) in your entry.

4. One entry per person, please (or two, with tweet). *Your comment may not appear at first, but it’s there.

*Prize courtesy of The Experiment Publishing. Contest is open to US and Canadian residents only.  This is the third in a series of cookbooks by Alicia, check out Quick & Easy Vegan Comfort Food and Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations.

Good luck, everyone!

Now, here’s the recipe, shared with permission and as written in the book:

Ingredients

For corn flour cupcakes:

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup corn flour (can be found in the organic section)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup plain almond milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain soy yogurt  (can be found in the organic section)

For raspberry buttercream frosting:

1 tbsp vegetable shortening
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine, softened
1 tbsp raspberry jam or preserves
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

For corn flour cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with paper liners.  Stir together the all-purpose flour, confectioners’ sugar, baking powder and salt until combined.  Add the shortening, milk vanilla and yogurt and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed, scraping the mixture from the sides often, until just blended.

Divide the batter equally among the lined muffin cups.  Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Let cool.

For raspberry buttercream frosting:

Beat together the shortening, margarine, jam and almond extract with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined.  Add the confectioners’ sugar and whip until smooth.  Frost the cooled cupcakes using all the frosting.

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Late Night Baking Party – Cheddar Chive Cornbread

The first Late Night Baking Party on Nina’s Cooking Journey was a huge success!  There were submissions from several bloggers and NCJ Peeps and I cannot thank you all enough for joining me in this weird experiment of mine.  All the recipes looked amazing and I can’t wait to try some of them myself.  I even Ustreamed during the party and got to know some of you all a little better and hopefully you got to know me.  I will definitely be hosting another party so if you have any ideas for a fun virtual party please let me know!  I wasn’t able to share all of the posts but here are some of the recipes from some of my favorite blogger friends.  Feel free to check out a few more posts from NCJ Peeps on my Facebook Page.  A big thanks to you all…you rock!

 

Banana Pumpkin Nutella Bread from Christine’s Kitchen Chronicles

 

Old Fashioned Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce from Noshing with the Nolads

 

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes from Tortillas and Honey

 

Maple Bacon Busciuts from Dixie Chik Cooks

 

Chickpea Chocolate Cupcakes from I Breath…I’m Hungry


Apple Spice Cake from Cooking with Elise

 

And finally, my contribution Cheddar Chive Cornbread.  My mom makes THE BEST cornbread from scratch and usually doesn’t deviate from her recipe.  So I was extremely surprised when she put this on the dinner table one night.  I thought it would be perfect with the Spicy Chili I made the other week and I was right.  It adds a Tex-Mex feel to a traditional southern dish.

 Ingredients

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 3 tbsp yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp plus 2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1¼ cups buttermilk
¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks), melted over low heat and set aside
½ cup sliced scallions (about ¼ inch wide)
4 oz. sharp yellow cheddar, shredded (use more if you prefer)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Using a separate medium-size bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.   Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, whisking well to combine.  Add melted butter to the batter, stirring slowly to incorporate.  Finish by folding in chopped scallions and cheddar cheese.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter and then pour in batter.  Bake until edges are a little crispy and top is golden brown, about 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and place skillet on a cooling rack.  The cast iron retains its heat and will continue to cook the cornbread.  Let cool a bit before serving to allow the cornbread to set.

Recipe adapted from Garden & Gun

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Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

You all know (or maybe you don’t, but now you do know) I LOVE chocolate so when I was trying to figure out what to make for my next post a light bulb went on right above my head.  Not literally but you know what I mean, lol.  Me and chocolate have a love / love relationship and it’s hands down my most favorite flavor of all time. From chocolate ice cream (what do you know about Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food?) to chocolate candy to chocolate cake; ok I think you get my point.

The ganache icing is the star on this cupcake.  I iced mine while the ganache was still warm by holding the cupcake upside down and swirling it in the bowl to create a thin layer of icing.  But if you like a thicker more substantial frosting simply refrigerate for about an hour, stirring every 5 minutes, to allow the frosting to thicken.  You will be able to frost your cupcakes just like you would with butter-cream.

Also, using coarse salt is very important.  I know it may seem counter intuitive but adding salt to sweet dishes actually brings out the sweet flavor.  When I ate these cupcakes every once in a while I got a little salty zing on my palate that made everything that much more yummy!  I will be making these at least once a month if only to satisfy the little chocolate monster inside of me.

Makes about 32 

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
For the frosting:
1 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
2 tbsp chocolate sprinkles for garnish
Directions
For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together cocoa and hot water until smooth. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Melt butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat until mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Add vanilla, then cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three- quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting.
For the frosting:
Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream and corn syrup just to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour mixture over chocolate. Let stand, without stirring, until chocolate begins to melt.  Beginning near the center and working outward, stir melted chocolate into cream until mixture is combined and smooth (do not over stir).
Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes, until frosting just barely begins to hold its shape and is slightly lighter in color. Use immediately (ganache will continue to thicken after you stop stirring).  Garnish with chocolate sprinkles.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

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Peach Cobbler

This is the final post in my week long series on peaches and I decided to go out with a bang.  If you’re from Chicago then you know that many African Amercans  here have roots in Mississippi and I am no exception.  Needless to say I love southern food!  On holidays we eat food like collard greens with ham hocks, turkey dressing, cornbread, black eyed peas, honey glazed ham and my favorite peach cobbler.  My mom makes an awesome peach cobbler but if you’ve read some of my previous posts you know that she keeps those recipes under lock and key.  So I went on a mission to make my own version which she actually admitted tasted just as good (maybe even better, haha!).

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
8 tablespoon (1 stick) butter
2 cup sugar, divided
1 large can sliced peaches, heavy syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla in a pot and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

 

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen

 

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Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone

Continueing my week long series on Peaches, I bring to you this amazingly simple recipe.  There’s honey, butter and peaches.  What could be wrong with that?!  I made these for my family and my dad especially loved them.  I think he ate half the tray but who’s counting, right?  Grilling the peaches actually carmelizes the sugar in the honey giving them a sweet smoky flavor unlike anything I’ve ever tasted.  These would be a perfect dessert on a warm day when you already have the grill out.  Quick, easy and delicious.

Ingredients

8 ounces Mascarpone cheese
6 medium peaches, halved and pitted
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp honey, divided
1 tbsp rosemary, minced plus one whole sprig

Directions

Bring Mascarpone cheese to room temperature. Heat grill to medium high heat.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and 2 tablespoons honey and cook on low heat for 1 minute while constantly stirring.  Add rosemary sprig and simmer on medium heat for another minute.  Remove from heat and remove rosemary sprig.  Using a pastry brush, baste cut side of peaches with honey.  If you don’t have a brush you can simply dip the cut side of the peaches into the honey butter mixture.   Add peaches to grill cut side down and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Turn peaches and baste again with honey butter mixture and cook for 3-4 more minutes.

Remove peaches from grill and plate on individual plates or platter. Add one tablespoon Mascarpone per peach half, drizzle with remaining honey butter and plain honey and garnish with minced rosemary.

 

Recipe adapted from Go Bold With Butter

 

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Peach Bellini Cupcakes

This is the first post in my week long series of “All Peach Everything” and I am so excited to get started.  One gem that I learned in class is that when fruits are at their ripest and in large supply the market responds by lowering the price (see I was paying attention like a good student!).  So this is a great time to visit your local farmer’s market and stock up on your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies.  I was amazed to find peaches on sale in the grocery store for only $1.00 per pound.  I’m talking about large ripe peaches and not the old soft squishy ones.  I took that as a sign that I was on the right path, so peaches it is.

I know this may sound weird but I don’t like most normal fruits.  I hate the smell of bananas, can’t chew the skin on grapes, don’t like the texture of apples and the strings in oranges get caught in my teeth.  There I’ve said it, don’t judge me.  Even weirder is the fact that I can drink apple, orange and grape juice but raw fruit is not really my thing.  However, I do love almost any other fruit like strawberries, pears, kiwis, plums and especially peaches.

Cupcakes are one of my favorite things to make.  I feel like that girl in the movie Bridesmaids…you know the scene where she stays up late making just one cupcake only to look at it’s beauty for all of five seconds then stuff it in her mouth.  Okay, I’m not that bad but there’s something about eating a cute little cake with just the right amount of icing that makes it taste that much better.  I swear I’m going to start posting more cakes but I had to share this recipe with y’all first.  There’s little peach bits baked in the actual cake plus there’s champagne and Peach Schnapps!  This yummy recipe had me at hello.

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Peach Bellini Cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 egg whites
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pink champagne (regular champagne can be substituted)
1/4 cup peach schnapps
1 small peach, peeled and diced

Peachy Champagne Frosting

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup pink champagne (regular champagne can be substituted)
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon peach schnapps
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 drops red & yellow food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium sized bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  In a mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  I use the 4th speed setting on my Kitchen Aid mixer.  Add vanilla, then beat in egg whites one at a time.

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In a small bowl combine the peach schnapps and champagne.   Blend in flour mixture and champagne/schnapps mixture  in three alternating additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Gently stir in the diced peaches.  Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

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To make the frosting beat together the butter and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar in one cup increments, then add champagne, milk, peach schnapps and food coloring.  Frost cupcakes once they have completely cooled.  Garnish with yellow or orange sprinkles for decoration.

Makes 2 dozen cupcakes.

 

Recipe adapted from Sing For Your Supper

 

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Dean’s Carrot Cupcakes

I’ve always thought carrot cake was so weird, I mean who would think that carrots could be a part of something so sweet?  Well as I’ve gotten older my pallat has matured and when I finally got up the courage to try this recipe I was pleasantly surprised.  This is actually my Dad’s favorite cake (hence the name) so I was happy to come accross this recipe that met his standards 🙂

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups melted butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod reserved for another use (or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and finely chopped
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla seeds, and raisins and nuts if desired. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
  2. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until testers inserted into centers come out clean, 23 to 28 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks, 10 minutes. Turn out cupcakes onto wire racks, and let cool completely. Unfrosted cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen for up to 2 months in airtight containers.
  3. Frost cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

 

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Lemon & Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies

There is nothing more basic than a sugar cookie and if you’re like me they taste best plain and warm straight from the oven!  However, there are times where decorating the cookie can turn a plain cookie from good to great.  Since it is Easter I decided to jazz up some sugar cookies with fun, pretty decorations that I think anyone can do. I came across this awesome recipe from Annie’s Eats that are so good I didn’t change a thing.  They are very simple to make, took me maybe about 20 minutes to prep.  Honestly, before I found this recipe I used the prepackaged stuff (I know that’s horrible coming from a culinary student, lol) but these were so easy I don’t think I’ll ever go back.  The main thing I found most important was to make sure to get the desired thickness of the cookies (about 1/4 inch) when rolling the dough and cutting them.  Also, make sure not to let them brown at all.  This allows the cookies to still be somewhat soft even after they’ve cooled.  This was also my first attempt at using royal icing so I will be posting the recipe for that very soon.  Hope you enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • Zest of half a lemon (or the zest of a whole lemon, if you love lemon)
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt

 

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, seeds scraped from the vanilla bean, and lemon zest until blended.  Mix in the flour and salt on low speed just until incorporated.
  2. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 1-2 hours.
  3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 375˚ F.
  4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll the dough out on a well floured work surface to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters as desired and transfer to the prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking, until fully cooked but not at all browned.  Allow to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate as desired.

 

Source: Annie’s Eats (http://annies-eats.com/2010/04/02/sugar-cookies-revisited/)

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