Saturday, December 20, 2008

Chocolate Apple Cider Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

Oh, I love my new camera. Now I can take semi decent photos of food!

As promised, here are the Chocolate Apple Cider Cupcakes. Guess what else? An easy Apple Cider Marshmallow Frosting recipe. The cupcake recipe is of course based on Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes recipe from her Baking Handbook. The frosting is an improvisational recipe made with what I already had on hand in the kitchen. Can't skip the frosting; after all, everyone knows the best part of a cupcake is the frosting. Want to know what the somewhat wacky secret ingredient is? When you make these, you might want to keep this part a secret since it doesn't sound too sophisticated: Spiced Apple Cider Instant Drink Mix. Yep, you read that right.

Chocolate Apple Cider Cupcakes
makes 2 dozen

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 packets (0.74 oz each) of Spiced Apple Cider instant drink mix
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups water

Heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl (use an electric mixer if you have one), sir together flour, cocoa powder, apple cider mix, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs and yolk, milk, oil, vanilla, and warm water. Beat until smooth and evenly combined, about three minutes.

Spray 2 standard muffin/cupcake pans with non stick cooking spray, or preferably line them with paper liners. Divide batter evenly among the paper liners filling each to about 2/3 full. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let cool completely.

Apple Cider Marshmallow Frosting

2 egg whites
6 Tbsp. cold water
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter
1 cup miniature marshmallows
2 packets (0.74 oz each) spiced apple cider instance drink mix

Combine all ingredients, except marshmallows and vanilla in a double broiler blending thoroughly over very rapidly boiling water. Beat vigorously with a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks begin to form (about 7 minutes). Slowly beat in marshmallows until melted and add in vanilla. Frost cupcakes immediately. I sprinkled mine with cinnamon and red sugar.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Maple Roasted Split Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Looking for an easy, low-maintenance, yet comforting dish to get you through these hectic days of holiday preparation? This fits the bill. With just a few minutes of preparation, you can slide the chicken and sweet potatoes into the oven to roast while you finish decking the halls or wrapping gifts. Even the kids like it.

I used fresh oregano because that's what was in my refrigerator, but I think thyme or rosemary would work nicely here, too. No fresh herbs around? No problem - just sprinkle in the dried variety instead. Chicken pieces can also be used instead of a split chicken.

Maple Roasted Split Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

1 split chicken, 3-4 lbs., or equivalent in chicken pieces
3-4 medium sweet potatoes
2 yellow onions
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
several sprigs of fresh savory herb, such as oregano, thyme, or rosemary
salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

Peel and cut sweet potatoes into bite-size chunks, and cut onions into wedges. Mix olive oil and maple syrup together, then toss with the vegetables to coat, reserving a bit to drizzle over the chicken in the next step. Salt and pepper as desired.

Place chicken in large pan, and arrange vegetables around chicken. Drizzle reserved maple mixture over the chicken, and then scatter sprigs of herb over the top of chicken and vegetables. My pan was a little crowded in the picture below - I probably should have used a larger pan.

Roast in the hot oven for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is done, stirring once or twice during cooking time to evenly baste chicken and vegetables.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Busy Time of Year!

Hi There!

I know there hasn't been a post in a while, but I promise there will be soon! I have two posts up my sleeve which involve a nearly flour-less chocolate cake to die for, and some apple cider chocolate cupcakes. I just got a new camera and am working out the kinks of how it works, so hang in there- we will be back soon!

In the meantime, if you like weird art like I do, you might want to check out this series by photographer Nicole Pasulka, called "Drop Dead Gorgeous". I promise it's food/baking related, as you can see by the picture below called Death by Cake (which I can definitely relate to right now). Check out the pics and article here.


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