Christmas is in the air: Poinsetta Cupcakes

Cooking is fun for me so you will find me in the kitchen brewing something at any time of the day provided I had nothing else to do. Well ever since last week-end I have been in a cooking mood for Christmas cookies and other treats. So when I saw those cupcakes in the Hello Cupcakes Book of Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, I had to try them. I did not follow the recipe suggested for either batter or frosting but used one that I have already posted on my blog.

Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, 6 Tbsp of butter, 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup of whole milk, 2 Tbsp of vanilla extracts, 1/2 cup of milk.

Turn the oven to 350. In a bowl, mix the flour, the salt and the baking powder and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and the butter until it becomes light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time beating well. Add the flour mixture in 3 times, alternating with the milk ( 2 times). Beat well until well combined, but do not overbeat.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcakes and cook for 13-15 for the big cupcakes. Let the cupcakes cool before decorating with the frosting.

Frosting: 3 large egg whites at room temperature, 3/4 cup of sugar, 3 sticks of butter at room temperature, seeds from a vanilla bean, and 2 tbsp of vanilla extracts.

In a large bowl combine the egg white and the sugar, and the vanilla seeds. Set the bowl over simmering water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and the egg white mixture is warm to touch ( 160F). Remove from the saucepan and whip with an electronic mixer until the mixture is fluffy, and holds peaks. Slowly add the butter a little bit at a time, and continue beating until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Scoop the frosting into a pastry bag, making swirls.

To prepare the leaves for making the flowers. You will need:

1 bag of Ghiradhelli white chocolate, red candy-coated milk chocolate balls, or fresh cranberries. Large fresh mint leaves or dried laurel leaves if you can’t find large mint leaves.

Place a silpat on a perforated sheet. Set aside. Place 1/2 of the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 90 seconds. When the chocolate is melted, use a silicone brush or your fingers and spread the chocolate onto the back of each leaf. Place the leaf onto the silpat as you go. Refrigerate for a few minutes. When the chocolate is hard, carefully peel off the chocolate off each leaf and decorate your cupcakes to make them look like flowers.  Place a red colored ball in the center to make it look like the heart of the flower. I used fresh cranberries. To make the cupcakes look like a wreath, place them in a circle on a platter and place a bow in the middle. Et Voila!!!

Now it is your turn!!! You may do the same or call me to order some for the Holidays!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Red Velvet Cookies

Well now that Thanksgiving has passed, we can focus on Christmas… Yeah!!!! and let me tell you that Christmastime has started at my house;-) All is now decorated, and as soon as Saturday came around my family and I were already cooking Christmas cookies in my kitchen. We searched for fun quick recipes and found one that was enjoyed so much that all the cookies were gone in one day: Red Velvet Cookies. It is no surprise really since one of people’s favorite dessert is Red Velvet Cake. They are almost as good and are definitely much quicker to fix. I found this recipe in the Cuisine Holiday Cookies.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp of table salt, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1 tbsp of liquid red coloring, 1 tsp of distilled white vinegar, white Hershey’s cookies ( about 32).

First remove the paper-wraps of all the chocolate and place the chocolate into the freezer. In a bowl, mix together the flour, the cocoa, the baking soda and the salt.  Set aside. In a mixer bowl, place the sugar, brown sugar, oil and mix well until it becomes creamy. Add the egg and beat some more. Mix in the coloring and the vinegar. Add the flour mixture and mix well until it is well combined. Scoop tablespoons of that batter onto a silpat and bake for 10 minutes in a warm oven at 375. You should have about 3 dozens cookies. Remove the chocolate out of the freezer and place them on the cookies as soon as you take them out. Transfer the cookies off to a cooling rack et voila!!! How simple was that?!;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!