Friday, June 29, 2012

lets get it started

Hello Internet!
First, let me start by saying that I have been putting off starting a blog, although I have wanted to for a while, but I am jumping in head first now!  My sweet supportive husband Jordan has encouraged me to use my time to write a blog so here goes...

I love to cook, bake, and craft, so I am sure that I will be posting a lot of those things.  I am a former police officer, so that will definitely show up as well.  I looooooved being a law enforcement officer and I miss a lot of things about my career, but I am pursuing law school now to become a lawyer...gulp...and I am waiting for my LSAT scores now...they should be out in about a week.  AH that is scary.  My college GPA leaves quite a bit to be desired so a lot is riding on this.  Luckily, I know God has a plan and I really felt called to leave my job as a cop and go after something more.  I just finished taking a class at NC State, my Alma Mater (GO PACK), and got an A ;) so that is a good start.  I am nervous about my future, but I thank God that I have a great husband, family, and friends to support me during my transition.

A lot of my friends know how much I love to bake, so I will start by sharing one of my cupcake recipes with you all.  Now, I must go on record and say that I rarely, in fact only once, make up my own recipes so I will try to give credit where credit is due, but I hope you can enjoy this recipe if you try it.

Reese's Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes with mini Reese's and Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Buttercream

For the Cake I use the Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake recipe

2 cups          Granulated Sugar
1 3/4 cups    All Purpose Flour
3/4 cup        Hershey's Cocoa
1 1/2 tsp      Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp      Baking Soda
1 tsp            Salt
2                  Eggs
1 cup           Milk (it doesn't specify whole, and I have used skim and 2%, both work fine)
1/2 cup        Vegetable Oil
2 tsp            Vanilla Extract
1 cup           Boiling Water (I use my Keurig so it isn't quite boiling, but its hot, works great)

optional:  Mini Reese's Cups

Preheat to 350 degrees F.  Line cupcake tin with cupcake papers.  Combine dry ingredients (the first 6) in a large bowl.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat on Medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add water and mix just until combined.  The batter is thin but I promise it works out!  Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.  Place a mini Reese's cup in the middle of each cupcake.  This recipe makes 24 cupcakes!  Although I usually end up with 23 somehow... Anyway, bake for 22-25 minutes

Recipes usually say that to make sure cupcakes a done, stick a toothpick in & see if it comes out clean, but with these delights, you're going to stab your Reese's cup if you do that so just trust the time and pat the top for firmness to make sure they are done.

Once you remove the cupcake tins from the oven, place them on a wire rack to cool.

Wait until they are completely cool to ice them.

I use Georgetown Cupcakes' recipe for the base of almost all of my butter cream.  It is delicious plain, but you can add ANYTHING to it to customize.  I also always double the recipe so I will write it doubled.

Cream Cheese Butter Cream Base Icing

8 tbsp (1stick)  Butter at room temperature*
12 oz      Cream Cheese
6-8 c      Confectioners Sugar
1/2 tsp    Vanilla Extract

Mix all ingredients well until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes total).
* I usually jump the gun on the butter and get to excited about baking to wait the amount of time necessary to get it to room temp.  I usually pop a stick in the microwave for about 15 seconds or until you can press your finger in it and leave a dent, but it's not melted.  I have also accidentally left it in for too long and melted the stick, if this happens to you, pop it in the fridge for bit until it hardens back up, no big deal :)

OKAY to make this frosting yummy and Peanut Buttery, I added two spoonfuls of PB at a time, and blended between, until it tasted right.  You can't mess this icing up,  I've done mocha icing with coffee and chocolate, lemon icing with zest & lemon juice, cookies and cream by adding crushed Oreos...etc etc.  Be creative!

I like to pipe my icing, to make it look professional.  Afterward I added a mini Reese's cup to the top of each cupcake!
This batch was for a birthday, so I added some blue food coloring to my leftover icing and piped tiny polka dots onto them too.

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