Monday, December 16, 2013

Reindeer (Cupcakes) in a Jar

Sometimes I feel like I am a caricature of myself.  I don't even think i'm a real person.  I am that ridiculous. Or awesome.

I decided this Holiday season that what my life was missing was cute holiday antlers.  I spent a whole week running into drug stores and trying on reindeer antlers I could parade around in comfortably and with little to no shame.  It was hard to find a happy medium between too plain and too much Christmas cheer on my head.   But I found some!  Luckily I had a White Elephant party to attend so I didn't have to wear them just around in my room, in my matching reindeer pajamas.  The antlers, along with said reindeer pajamas, were what inspired these cupcakes in the jar first place. Might as well go all out, right?

The cupcakes are gingerbread latte flavored.  Like the Starbucks Holiday drink I binge on every year.  Yes I know, more gingerbread.  Molasses all over the kitchen for the second weekend in a row!  You could use any flavor you'd  like but why not make something seasonal to impress your friends?

Gingerbread Latte Cupcakes
Makes 22, Bake for 15 minutes at 350*

2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c oil
2/3 unsulphured molasses
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup (hot) strongly brewed coffee

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg together.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugars, oil and molasses together, and add in eggs one by one.
3. Add in the flour mixture and the coffee in alternating additions to the sugar mixture.  Beat until fully incorporated.
5. Scoop batter into lined cupcakes and bake.  
6. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack until completely cool.  

Latte Frosting
1 8oz package cream cheese
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons VERY strongly brewed coffee

1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2.  Add 2 tablespoons coffee (or as much as you can before butter and cream cheese starts getting soft).
3. Slowly add in  3 cups powdered sugar by the 1/2 cup full.  
4. Add in remaining coffee.  Add in remaining sugar.

Reindeer Antlers
1 cup melted dark chocolate
1 bag pretzels
Assorted Sprinkles

1. Break your pretzels with your hand or a knife until you get the antler "shape" you would like.
2. Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second intervals.
3. Dip pretzel pieces in chocolate, cover completely and place on wax paper.
4. Before the chocolate dries, use sprinkles to decorate.  The sprinkles will adhere on their own if the chocolate is still wet. Make sure the antlers are dry before using.

Jar Assembly

Click here for instructions I used when I made my bunny jars last spring.  Easy peasy, promise.

Admittedly, the antlers were a little tedious to make but only because it is HARD to cut pretzel pieces into the right shape.

The last layer of frosting should be thick so that the chocolate antlers will stay in place.  You can also try making a small hole in the top cake layer with a knife and sticking the end of the antler there to keep it firmly in place.

Once I got to the sprinkle part I was having too much fun.  The possibilities are endless! Mostly I stuck with pretty snowflakes, some holly...

But I couldn't help myself.  Pink heart sprinkles exist for a reason.  I'm sure there are girl reindeer out there, right?

No?  Just me?  Just Anna the girl reindeer being ridiculous?  Yes, I did wear these all night long.  In every single picture.

Happy Holidays everyone!  Shop online, stay out of the mall, go to lots of boozey parties! Enjoy the next two weeks.  I know I will.  It's also my birthday this weekend and in case you are wondering there is no way that I will be baking ANYTHING.  Someone better bring me a cake.


P.S.  You can also stick some (stolen) Starbucks straws in these Gingerbread latte cupcakes if you're feeling lazy.  Still looks fancy pants!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chocolate Covered Gingerbread Madeleines

I do this thing every year where I decide to vacation during the month of November.  It's awesome because I get to to escape the city and the mundanes of daily life and sneak away for one last sun kissed tan in before the sun goes away for four months.  It's awful because I come home, catch a cold, have to wear pants because it's dropped 20* and oh look it's December!  I have no idea where November went this year... one minute I was on a boat in the Bahamas, the next I was back in the states, downing Gingerbread lattes, shopping for Christmas mugs at Target and planning fancy holiday outfits.

When it came time to decide what to bring to my friend Rachelle's cookie exchange -- while wearing my favorite hot pink fleece gingerbread pajamas and sipping gingerbread tea out of my gingerbread man mug mind you  --it was no surprise that I went with something gingerbread.  My first thought was my gingerbread chocolate chip cookies.  They're easy to make.  I've made them before.  But that seemed too boring for a cookie exchange.  Then I thought about how easy madeleines are to make and contemplated making some of those instead -they just look fancy.  While debating the hard question of which cookie to bake, I came to the realization that instead of choosing between the two, I could combine the two.  Hashtag Cookie Genius.

Taking a page from the chocolate dipped orange madeleines I made last year, I finished these gingerbread madeleines with a dark chocolate drizzle.    Gingerbread plus dark chocolate is one of my favorite holiday flavor combinations afterall.  Remember the Gingerbread S'mores Cupcakes?  

Gingerbread Madeleines
Adaptation Source.
Makes 34. Bake at 375* for 7-8 minutes.

4 room temp eggs
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
4 tbsp molasses
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
(Optional:  1 cup mini chocolate chips)

1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat eggs on high for about three minutes.
3. Add salt to the eggs, and then the sugar.  Sugar should be added slowly over the course of five minutes by the spoonful.  Eggs will become white and frothy.
4. Add in vanilla and molasses and beat on high speed until fully incorporated.
5. Stop the stand mixer and fold in flour and butter in additions, starting and ending with the flour.  Mix until smooth.
6. Scoop batter into butter and floured madeleine pan and bake for about 7 minutes.
7.  Melt chocolate in microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between.  Scoop melted chocolate into a piping bag and decorate cookies once they are cooled.

Tip:  Madeleines taste best 1-3 days after baking.  This allows the butter flavor to really set in.

Do you know what taste's good with these?  Gingerbread tea.  In a gingerbread mug... lol.  I'm totally that girl.

I apologize for my Gingebread Cheer.  No not really.

Do you know what else you can do to these bad boys?  Add in mini chocolate chips to the batter (about 1 cup) for EXTRA chocolately goodness.  See?

How was the cookie exchange you may ask?  Awesome.  Who doesn't love a giant plate of cookies?

Or 10 plates of them.  Don't worry we did more than just eat our weight in butter and sugar.  We mixed up some royal icing and decorated some sugar cookies too. That counts as activity, right?

I have to bake again this weekend ('tis the season to get fat afterall).  I'll try not to wear my penguin pajamas as I think of a cookie/cupcake because I don't want to find out what penguins taste like.  =/