Pumpkin Praline Cupcakes


 

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How was your thanksgiving?? I must say that mine was great!! I really enjoyed my time  off, and I will tell you that it will be hard tomorrow to get back to work. But good things always come to an end, that is how we get to appreciate them.

For Thanksgiving, I only got to prepare appetizers and desserts, and I had much fun Wednesday spending my day in the kitchen listening to Christmas tune and cooking.

I made :

  • Mini Pecan PiesIMG_3551
  • Vanilla CheesecakesIMG_3557
  • Raspberry. Lemon Mousse CakesIMG_3542
  • Chocolate Feuille D’automneIMG_3549
  • Lemon TartsIMG_3514
  • and Pumpkin Praline Cupcakes IMG_3555

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Most of the desserts can be served at all times of the year besides maybe the Pumpkin Cupcakes and that is why I decided that I would share the recipe of them today. It is a easy, quick recipe that is very very flavorful.

The batter of the cupcakes is similar to the Pumpkin Roll that I make, and the frosting is also similar to the Praline Cupcakes that i also make. I love both flavors together, they marry well. However, you could stay with a Vanilla flavored Frosting for a more subdue frosting.  If you did not like the spices in the cupcakes batter, you could also do without. Just an idea.

I must say that the cupcakes taste better the day that they are made. They are soft, very moist. They still will taste good the days that follow, but they will have a much more dense texture. 

Ingredients for about 35+ Mini- Cupcakes:

  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of Clover powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Pie Crust Hearts:

  • Half a rolled pie crust
  • Milk, for brushing
  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Filling:

  • 8 oz of cream cheese,
  • 6 tbsp of butter at room temperature,
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract,
  • 1/4 cup of sugar.
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar,
  • 2 tbsp. of heavy cream.
  1. Turn your oven  to 350 degrees F. Place the mini cupcakes mold onto a medium perforated sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, the sugar, the spices, baking powder and salt together.IMG_3490
  3. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla.
  4. Gently fold the flour mixture into the wet pumpkin mixture until just incorporated.IMG_3491
  5. Fill the wells up to about 3/4.IMG_3492
  6. Bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed. Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  7. While the muffins are cooling, cut out as many hearts as you need to decorate the top of each cupcakes.IMG_3501
  8. When placing them onto the medium silpat that you would have placed onto a medium perforated sheet, stretch them a bit so that they will appear longer.
  9. Brush each with milk, and sprinkle generously with granulated sugar.IMG_3502
  10. Bake until deep golden brown, 10 minutes at the most.
  11. Once cooked, set them aside to cool.
  12. For the topping, first prepare the caramel.  In a small saucepan, place the cream and the brown sugar, and cook until it is bubbling and the sugar dissolves.
  13. Empty the caramel into the small round flexiform and place it in the fridge for the caramel to cool.
  14. In a bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese, the butter, the vanilla, the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the sugar a little at a time and mix until it is well combined. Set aside.IMG_3517
  15. When the caramel is cold, empty it into the cream cheese frosting. With a spatula, fold the caramel into the frosting slowly but do not combine!IMG_3518
  16. With a small teaspoon, top each cupcake with the frosting.IMG_3519
  17. Then gently push a pie crust Heart into the frosting of each cupcake, and serve. Et voila!IMG_3525

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Pumpkin Praline Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24-30
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients for about 35+ Mini- Cupcakes:

  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of Clover powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Pie Crust Hearts:

  • Half a rolled pie crust
  • Milk, for brushing
  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Filling/Topping:

  • 8 oz of cream cheese,
  • 6 tbsp of butter at room temperature,
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract,
  • 1/4 cup of sugar.
  • 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar,
  • 2 tbsp. of heavy cream.
  1. Turn your oven to 350 degrees F. Place the mini cupcakes mold onto a medium perforated sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, the sugar, the spices, baking powder and salt together.
  3. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Gently fold the flour mixture into the wet pumpkin mixture until just incorporated. Fill the wells up to about 3/4.
  4. Bake the cupcakes for about 15 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed. Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  5. While the muffins are cooling, cut out as many hearts as you need to decorate the top of each cupcakes. When placing them onto the medium silpat that you would have placed onto a medium perforated sheet, stretch them a bit so that they will appear longer. Brush each with milk, and sprinkle generously with granulated sugar. Bake until deep golden brown, 10. Once cooked, set them aside to cool.
  6. For the topping, first prepare the caramel. In a small saucepan, place the cream and the brown sugar, and cook until it is bubbling and the sugar dissolves. Empty the caramel into the small round flexiform and place it in the fridge for the caramel to cool. In a bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese, the butter, the vanilla, the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the sugar a little at a time and mix until it is well combined. Set aside.When the caramel is cold, empty it into the cream cheese frosting. With a spatula, fold the caramel into the frosting slowly but do not combine!
  7. With a small teaspoon, top each cupcake with the frosting. Then gently push a pie crust Heart into the frosting of each cupcake, and serve. Et voila!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 

 

A fun treat for Easter: Easter Nest.


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I hope you guys had a great Easter with your family, and for my non Christian friends, i hope that you had a great passover. I had a wonderful time in company of the whole family. We had a very good brunch. And no, I did not cook, which was fine with me.

I wanted, nonetheless, to share with you a recipe that I made yesterday for our weekend treat. I don’t know what the weather looked like on your side of the world, but yesterday it was just awful here. Cold and rainy. So guess what I did to entertain myself? cook;-)

I wanted to make something fun for the upcoming Easter so  i settled for  cupcakes. Fun cupcakes. Here it is:

 

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:

  • 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.
  1. Turn the oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, the salt and the baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and the butter until it becomes light and fluffy.
  4. Add one egg at a time beating well.
  5. Add the flour mixture in 3 times, alternating with the milk ( 2 times).
  6. Beat well until well combined, but do not overbeat.
  7. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake holes. I used a straight cupcake tray and cook for 15-18 for normal size cupcakes or until they are cooked ( when inserting a toothpick, it should come out clean)
  8. Let the cupcakes cool before decorating with the frosting.

Ingredients for the frosting and the decoration:

  • 12 ounces of Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of easter eggs  of your choice ( i like the Cadbury)
  1. Place the cream into a small bowl and place it in the microwave to cook for 1 minute.
  2. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips that you would have placed into another small bowl. Let the cream melt the chocolate by NOT MIXING. Leave it alone for 1 minute.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Add butter and mix well again.
  5. Let the mixture rest until it has cooled down ( about 1 hour or less if you place it in the fridge).
  6. Fill a medium-sized ziploc bag with the frosting. Cut a small hole at the end of the bag and drizzle the frosting on the top of the cupcake making it look like straws of a nest.
  7. Place a few Easter eggs on top of the frosting.
  8. Place the cupcakes in the fridge to cool for a few minutes before eating, or the frosting may fall.

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

 

Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes


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This past Sunday, I opened my home to a group of beautiful young ladies for a cooking class. They were no specifications as what they wanted to cook so I had carte Blanche. Since I wanted to be a hands-on cooking class, I decided to teach them appetizers. I thought that it would be something that they would enjoy and benefit for their entire life if they hosted parties, showers and luncheons. I did not know any of them. All i knew that they were all seniors in high school , and they were very excited to come. They stayed for 2 hours during which we prepared a variety of appetizers and desserts. I had divided my kitchen in 3 stations  so the girls could rotate every fifteen minutes to different stations and learn to make a different dish.
They learned to make wonton purses, Brie phillo cups with raspberry chipotle, lasagna cupcakes, Mozzarella and tomato skewers, Chocolate Cookie Cupcake with Bittersweet chocolate Ganache, Chocolate strawberries and lime tartlets. Lots of food as you see. Once they cooked it, they were given some time to enjoy what they made. It was priceless to see them place the food on trays and taste what they had made. You really could see pride in their smile.

They left the cooking class happily and thanked me a million times before leaving. The next day Lisa saw a few of those ladies again at school and they  thanked her again for a wonderful time. I am so glad they did;-) What an honor to have left a little mark in the lives of those young ladies;-)

Today I will share with you a variation of the chocolate cookie cupcake that I made for them. I t was excellent, but resembled  the “Little Pot Of Gold” that i posted a few weeks ago. So here is a new recipe, equally decadent and easy. I hope that you will try them;-)

Chocolate Surprise Cups with Chocolate Ganache:
 
Ingredients for 24 mini Cupcakes:
  • 1 pack of vanilla cookie dough from Nestle ( 24 mini cookies)
  • 24 Reese cups/ or dove milk chocolate/ or even caramel
  • 1 cup of bittersweet chocolate chips such as bittersweet Ghiradhelli chocolate.
  • 1/2 cup of hot heavy cream.
  • colorful sprinkles.
  1. Refrigerate the dough before using so it is will much easier to use.
  2. Turn the oven to 350.
  3. Warm up the heavy cream in the microwave for 2 minutes and when it is hot, pour it over the chocolate chips. Stir vigorously so as to melt the chocolate chips and create a fluid chocolate ganache. Make sure it is free of lumps. If you still see lumps, microwave the mixture for another 30 seconds.
  4. When it is completely free of lumps, pour this ganache inside a pastry bag  with a dented tip and place it in the fridge to cool. 
  5. Place a roulpat on your counter. Detach a cookie from the cookie log and with the palm of your hand, press down  on it to make it flat.
  6. Place this flattened cookie inside the opening of a mini cupcake mold that you would have placed on top of a perforated sheet.
  7. Repeat this process with all the sugar cookies.
  8. Place a reese cup or a dove chocolate inside the cups.photo 2
  9. Place the mini muffin tray into the oven and cook the cookie cups of 11-13 minutes ( 9 to keep them soft, 11 to have firmer cups).
  10. When the cups are cooked, remove the tray from the oven and cool completely.photo 4
  11. Take the ganache from the fridge and pipe the chocolate over the chocolate cups to make a beautiful topping. Decorate with sprinkles. photo 1

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Devil’s Chocolate Cupcake with Sour Cream Frosting


Sunday afternoon, I prepared a small buffet for a bridal shower. The shower was going to be at 3 in the afternoon. What to offer when it is so close to lunch?  I wanted to offer some light refreshments, and bite-size hors d’oeuvres. I also wanted to offer a variety of food, not just sweets. This is the menu I came up with:

  • Gorgonzola wafer with red pepper jelly,
  • Chicken salad on croissant,
  • Tomato, bacon and purple onion tartlet,
  • Vanilla, chocolate and raspberry macarons,
  • Fruit tartlets
  • Devil’s cupcakes
  • and nuts.

Even though many people said that they were not very hungry, they helped themselves quite a bit to the hors d’oeuvres, and I am glad because I did not want my host to have lots of left-overs;-)
I will not share all the recipes today, but thought I would entice you with the Devil’s Cupcake Recipe. It was very well received at the party and at home.

( I had made a few extra at home, and my teenager son engulfed 5 at once- I would say he liked them:-)).
The cupcakes batter that I used is from a recipe taken from  a book entitled Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski.
The frosting is a creation of mine inspired by one of my favorite cake topping:-)


Ingredients for 24 big cupcakes or 60 mini or 90 extra mini ones.

2 cups of flour, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 cup of unsweetened chocolate powder, 2 eggs at room temperature, 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, 2 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 cup of lukewarm water, 1/2 cup of buttermilk.

In a bowl, sieve the flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate powder,  and set aside.

In a mixer, place the butter and the granulated sugar and the brown sugar and beat until it becomes light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat them in. Add the vanilla.  In a bowl, mix the water and the buttermilk. Incorporate the flour mixture in three times, mixing in the water mixture in between each time.
Beat at a very low-speed, just enough to mix the flour in well.
Beat on high for a minute until all the ingredients have been incorporated.  Empty the batter into a ziplock bag, cut a corner and fill each of the cupcake openings.

I used the square mini tray and the mini cupcakes. I cooked the mini for 8 minutes, and the mini  for 12 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool before piping the frosting.

Frosting. 2 bags of bittersweet Guiradhelli chocolate chips, 3 sticks of butter at room temperature, 1 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup of sugar.
Place the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl and heat the chocolate up for 2 minutes.
Let the chocolate cool a bit, then add the butter and beat it. Add the sour cream and beat on high until it fluffed up. If it is still too soft, place it in the fridge for a few minutes to get cold.
Take it back out and beat it to fluff it up.
Place the frosting in a pastry bag and pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes. Use pearls candy to decorate. Et voila;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

White Chocolate and Orange Zest Cupcake


Sunday would not be Sunday at our house without dessert.  So I got busy Sunday morning baking what would be our evening treat. With the weather being so nice, and the garden exhibiting all those beautiful Spring colors, I was craving something sweet and delicate in flavor. Somehow I craved a cake I used to make a long time ago called White Chocolate Butter Layer CAke with White Chocolate and Sour Cream Frosting from the International Chocolate Cookbook by Nancy Badgett.

The recipe today was inspired by this recipe.

Ingredients for 12 large cupcakes or 20 mini cupcakes: 1 1/3 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, 1 2/3 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/3 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature, 2 tbsp of sour cream, 1/3 cup of milk, 1 egg and 1 egg white, 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp of fresh orange zest, 3 oz of white chocolate chips.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients ( flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and mix them well. Add the butter and 1/2 of the milk and beat well to mix. Add the orange zest and the vanilla and beat for 15 seconds. Add the sour cream and the milk and beat at a high-speed for 1 minute. DO NOT OVERBEAT!!! Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 60 seconds and add the melted chocolate to the dough. Bake in the oven at 350 for 18-20 minutes for the large cupcakes and 13-14 for the mini cupcakes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool.

Ingredients for the frosting: 12 oz of white chocolate, 3/4 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature( or 1 1/2 stick), 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1 tbsp of vanilla. 1 tbsp of fresh orange zest.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, or in you are like me melt the chocolate in the micro-wave for 2 minutes. Add the butter and stir until the butter and the chocolate are becoming homogeneous. Empty this mixture into a kitchen mixer, add the sour cream and beat at high-speed for 2-3 minutes. Fill the pastry bag with the frosting and decorate the cupcakes as you wish.

To decorate sprinkle more fresh orange zest over the cupcakes and enjoy!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Praline, Pecan and Vanilla Cupcakes


As a board member of the The Little Theatre of Spartanburg, I tried to help whenever I can. Since the SLT hosted a reception to thank the sponsors of the Little Theatre, I offered to help. It was an hour reception before the Show Honky Tonk.  After listening to all the different fares that would be offered that evening, I decided to bring in cupcakes. Easy…But I wanted the cupcakes to reflect the theme of the party so I looked up the word Honky Tonk. The word Honky Tonk is defined in Wikipedia as ” rough establishments, mostly in the Deep South and Southwest, that served alcoholic beverages to a working class clientele. Honky tonks sometimes also offered dancing to piano players or small bands, and were sometimes also centers of prostitution.”

So I started thinking of Southern desserts and thought of divinities, pecan pies and thought of making a Praline, Pecan and Vanilla Cupcakes.

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes or 24 small cupcakes or 30 mini cupcakes: 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 tsp of baking powder, 3/4 cup of sugar, 6 tbsp of butter at room temperature, 2 large eggs, 1 tbsp of vanilla extract.

Turn the oven to 350. In a bowl, mix together the flour and the baking powder and set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter and the sugar  until the butter is becoming very fluffy. Add one egg at a time in the butter mixture and mix well. Add the vanilla extract also and beat well. Add the flour into 3 additions beating on low-speed. Beat just enough until no traces of flour remain. Do not overbeat!!!

Place the dough in a plastic bag, cut one end and fill the cupcakes. Cook in the oven for 15-18 minutes for the big cupcakes, 13 for the small and 10 minutes for mini cupcakes.

For the frosting you need to make a vanilla cream cheese frosting, and a caramel.

Cream cheese frosting: 8 oz of cream cheese, 6 tbsp of butter at room temperature, 1 tbsp  of vanilla extract, 3/4 cup of sugar.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, place the cream cheese, the butter, the vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add the sugar a little at a time and mix until it is well combined. Set aside.

Pralines and caramel: 1 1/2 cup of pecans, 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, 4 tbsp of heavy cream.

Turn the oven to 375, place the pecans on a silpat and cook for 10 minutes until they are toasted and are becoming a dark golden brown. Keep 1/2 cup for decoration, and break the other cup of pecans in small pieces.

In a small saucepan, place the cream and the brown sugar, and cook until it is bubbling and the sugar dissolves. Add 1 cup of pecans pieces into the caramel and stir to coat them with the caramel.

Empty the  caramel into the small round flexiform and place it in the fridge for the caramel to cool. When the caramel is cold, empty it into the cream cheese frosting. With a spatula, fold the caramel into the frosting slowly but do not combine! You should see streaks of white and brown. Using a spoon, scoop the frosting onto the cupcakes and place 1 pecan half on each cupcake.  Fini!!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

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!!!