When Life Gives You Lemons…Celebrate! Lemon Cupcakes!

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Hey there, it’s been a while, but I haven’t forgotten you. My very awesome Godmother came to town this weekend and I hear she had a nice time. I say that because I spent most of this weekend, and today, in bed sick. Wonderful timing body. My Godmother mentioned that she wouldn’t mind if there happened to be lemon cupcakes awaiting her arrival and look what the cupcake fairy brought! I found the recipe for the cupcakes and icing here (thanks to crazy for crust). Now these are advertised as triple lemon due to the fact that they’re lemon-ception cupcakes (lemon cupcakes with lemon icing and lemon filling) but honestly, I could use more lemon. I really like my lemon goodies to be kick-your-butt, suck-your-face-in lemony. Now you’ll see in the pictures that my icing looks a bit, well, deflated, and that’s all on me. I tried to Emeril-up the lemon factor and BAM! in some more lemon. I could have counteracted it with more powdered sugar but then I’d need to add some more lemon and it would get all “if you give a mouse a cookie” and the cycle would never stop. With, that, the recipe! (my notes, as always, in bold)

Perfect Triple Lemon Cupcakes

Yield: 15 (probably…but I got 12 with some left over because I was tired and didn’t want to bake another pan for 3 cupcakes.)

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 a large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon) (I nixed the zest and added a splash more lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

Filling & Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (jarred or from scratch) for the filling (for this, I used my maternal Grandmother’s lemon pie recipe, but that recipe is sacred to me so for now, I’m keeping it under wraps. apologies)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 large lemon) (yeah….so…no, not a zest fan, used more lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice (1 large lemon) (or like a gallon, whatever…note you will need to balance this out with powdered sugar if you add more. this is the only place where I used bottled lemon juice because at that point I was sick and wasn’t about to be squeezing any lemons.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, for desired consistency (I did a dash more than 1 tbsp but then used the lemon juice)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with liners (makes 15-16).
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add melted butter to a large bowl and mix in sugar with a hand mixer for 30 seconds, until thick and yellow. Add eggs one at at time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and zest.
  4. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Don’t over mix! Divide batter among liners, filling 2/3 full (about 1/4 cup of batter per cupcake). Bake for 13-18 minutes (mine came out at 18) until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.
  5. To fill: cut out a small bit of the top/center of the cupcake. (Cut a hole that’s about the size of a dime and the amount of cupcake you take out is a little larger than a marble.) Fill each hole with about 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of lemon curd.
  6. To make the frosting: Beat butter until creamy. Beat in salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until it’s all added.
  7. Beat in lemon juice and zest. Add 1 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream and mix until smooth. Add more cream as needed for desired consistency. Frosting can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to let it come to room temperature before using.
  8. Frost cupcakes by placing frosting in a pastry bag. I like the 1M tip, it gives pretty swirls. Add extra lemon zest for decoration, if desired.

Lemon curd can be found in the jam/jelly section of most grocery stores. Or make your own.

Now then. A note. When my Godmother and Mother both got here Friday night, I had just pulled the cupcakes out of the oven…there went the first one…Godmother couldn’t wait which is just a testament to how good they look/smell. I opted to say good night to family and cupcakes and hit the hay. Then it happened. BOOM! VIRAL INFECTION! DO NOT PASS GO! DO NOT COLLECT $200! boo on that. Mysteriously as I lay in bed, cupcakes kept going missing…but they had no icing. What kind of creature eats cupcakes without icing?!? No good can come of this I tell you, NO GOOD! My Godmother’s visit came and went without frosted cupcakes. My Mom happily ate some of the lemon pie filling though and no one seemed to mind eating unfrosted cupcakes. This will never not baffle me. I will again say that cupcakes without frosting are just muffins! Moving along from my crazed obsession. I made the icing today…three days later (while wearing gloves and breathing away from the food). I couldn’t stand to shuffle into the kitchen one more time and see those poor, shivering, naked cupcakes. I only filled three of them and while they’re not as pretty as my last cupcakes, they’ll do. I wasn’t so crazy about the frosting in general…even with my mistake aside. The cupcakes came out a bit wet but moist and good. Everyone seemed to like them. So I say go for the cupcakes, find a good filling recipe and shop around a bit on the icing – no harm on trying this one first, maybe its just my virus addled brain that did something wrong.

 

Enjoy!

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Trypophobics should skip the next two pictures and if you don’t know what Trypophia is, do yourself a favor and DON’T look it up.

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woe is me and my runny icing

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Aunt CMCKG Jesuit Casserole (aka Potato Casserole)

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Alright, so yeeeeears back, back when I was in High School, my Aunt, Uncle and a Cousin came to visit from Texas. My Aunt made an awesome casserole and lo and behold here it is (as always, my notes are in bold)! She apparently got it from her son’s best friend in high school (it was a Jesuit school, hence the name) I had this with a bleu cheese, crouton and bacon bits salad with raspberry vinaigrette and a side of breakfast sausage.
 Potato Casserole
 1 stick butter (melted)
2 lb bag of frozen hash browns (thawed) (see my note about thawing below)
1/2 cup chopped onion – fine  (or you can put in some dried mince onion or leave out all together)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 – 2 eight ounce grated cheddar cheese (the more cheese the better I think!) (I agree and used 16oz)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic salt
black pepper
1/2 pint of sour cream (8oz)
2 cups of corn flakes (I just poured some evenly on the top)
Grease 9 x 13 baking dish.(I used Pam spray)  Mix everything but potatoes with 1/2 stick of melted butter. Add potatoes.  Mix well.  Put in pan.  Crumble corn flakes on top. (I forgot to crumble them – oops)  Drizzle remaining butter on top.
Preheat oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hour (85 mins) – or when top gets brown and sides get bubbly. (tastes even better the next day)
 Enjoy! (ooooh I did! Thanks “Ant” T)
 Thawing Note
I bought my groceries on my way home so the hash browns were still rock solid. To the internet! A quick search gave me four options; to wait (HA!), lay them out on a baking sheet in the fridge, microwave them or option 4 (my personal favorite as it was the fastest).
 Option 4 – Put your hash browns into a colander in the sink and run cold water over them for about 20 seconds and then ring them out. HEY PRESTO! Waiting, schmaiting.

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yes, there is lettuce in there under all the delicious delicious toppings

Ugly Truffles (It’s the inside that counts)

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So, one of my friend’s birthday is on the 5th and she stopped by my office to say hi today. She’s a Keto fanatic (aka like 1 carb a year…I exaggerate, but still, BLEG) and since this is her birthday weekend she’s using it as her cheat weekend, and when the woman cheats, she cheats. I’m talking emptying out a Coldstone and Dairy Queen in the same night AFTER drinking Dog Fish dry…and she’s still like a size negative 000. Of course the running 8 miles a morning could have something to do with that, but I digress. I took the opportunity to make her sinfully carb-full truffles. One batch of peanut and one batch of coconut.

Now I’ve made these truffles before; they’re super simple. The basic recipe is cream cheese, Oreos and some extract. I’ve made chocolate, peppermint, you name it, but for coconut I looked up a recipe and found this one from branappetit.com. (my notes in bold)

COCONUT OREO TRUFFLES

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package oreo cookies (I used two…less a few cookies that I ate in the car…purely for quality control)
  • 1 8-oz. package low fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature (2 of them)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract (you get the idea, I doubled it)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (white, semi-sweet, or a mix if you want both) (I used a bag and 1/2 of milk chocolate and then 3/4 a bag of semi sweet)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil (doubled)
  • toasted coconut for topping (optional) (ran out of time this morning and it was too hot to use the oven last night)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place all the oreos in the bowl of a food processor and turn it on. Let the machine run until the cookies are ground and there are no large chunks of cookie left. (I had my Vitamix turn itself off constantly as it was overheating which means my filling didn’t get super smooth and had more of a cookie crumble texture inside which turned out fine- ice it can handle, cookies? apparently not so much)
  2. Add the cream cheese and coconut extract to the oreos and turn it on again, letting it process until the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese are mixed together and have formed a ball of dough. (I did this twice – oreos, cream cheese and extract and then added the second batch of oreos etc)
  3. Put the oreo mixture in a bowl and let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes. (it was still too goopy to form properly, probably because I doubled the recipe so I left it in the freezer over night – turned into a block but was easy enough to work with)
  4. Scoop about 1 Tbsp of the cookie mixture from the bowl, roll it into a ball, and repeat until all the truffle fillings are ready to dip.
  5. Pour your chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 2 minutes, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the coconut oil.
  6. Drop a truffle into the melted chocolate, roll it around with a spoon or fork to cover it completely, and then lift it out of the bowl on a fork or slotted spoon to let the extra chocolate drip off.
  7. Place the chocolate-dipped candy on parchment paper and repeat with the rest of the truffles. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle a bit of the toasted coconut on the top of each truffle.
  8. Serve once the chocolate has set. (yeah, about that…I left the dipping step until this morning and so the truffles weren’t quite set when I was ready to leave for work…I put the baking sheets full of truffles in the back seat of my car and cranked up the AC to the point where even I was cold – and that’s a feat- and they were perfect when I got to work)

Peanut Butter Oreo Truffles (my own recipe…if you can call it that, it’s soooo simple)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 packages of special edition Reese’s Pieces Oreos (these bags are slightly smaller, you can alsos use regular peanut butter Oreos)
  • 1 jar (roughly 15-160z) of creamy peanut butter, although I suppose chunky could work too
  • 2 1/2 bags milk chocolate morsels (or whatever chocolate you want)

DIRECTIONS:

Mix the Oreos and peanut butter in a food processor (don’t break the machine)

Chill in fridge 30 mins to overnight

Roll into balls and dip into melted chocolate

Let set

Eat!

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, M!!!

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