Friday, December 25, 2009

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Icing

I baked these cupcakes to take to my co-workers the other day and I think they turned out pretty good!

I don't really bake that often. Mostly because I don't have the time, which is probably a good thing since I have a serious sweet tooth. I had been wanting to make peppermint cupcakes for a while and planned to use peppermint bark in some form. However, I didn't really have the time to research recipes. So I sat in the parking lot at H-E-B and googled "peppermint cupcake recipe" on my iphone and this popped up. The plan was to make these AND peppermint bark to garnish with. When I got home I realized it was totally crazy of me to think I would have the time to make cupcakes and the bark so I settled on garnishing with crushed candy canes. Merry Christmas everyone!

White Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream
James Gray, Dozen cupcake bakery in Pittsburgh
yields two dozen cupcakes (I think? The recipe doesn't say but I accidentally overfilled the cupcake papers and I ended up with 11/2 dozen.)

White chocolate, 6 ounces
Large egg whites, 41/2
Milk, 1/4 cup, plus 3/4 cup
Vanilla, 11/2 teaspoons
Cake flour, 3 cups
Sugar, 1 cup, plus 3 tablespoons
Baking powder, 1 tablespoon, plus 11/2 teaspoons
Salt, 3/4 teaspoon
Unsalted sweet cream butter, melted (cooled), 9 tablespoons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate in microwave, about 1 minute. Don’t overcook.

Combine egg whites, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Add the butter and remaining milk. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened and then increase speed to medium and beat for about 11/2 minutes.

Scrape bowl well and gradually add egg mixture in three batches, mixing about 30 seconds after each step to incorporate completely. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium until nice and smooth.

Fill cupcake papers two-thirds full and back until lightly golden on top, about 15 to 18 minutes.

Peppermint Buttercream

Sweet cream butter, 1 pound
Confectioner’s sugar, 8 cups
Peppermint extract, 1/8 teaspoon

Mix butter until smooth. Add confectioner’s sugar in small batches, mixing well after each batch. I add about 1 tablespoon milk after each installment to keep the buttercream smooth. Add a good peppermint extract.

Once all confectioner’s sugar is added, mix on high speed for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the buttercream is light and its color is bright white.

Garnish cupcakes with a peppermint stick or crushed peppermint or a peppermint leaf.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tortellini & Zucchini Soup

Hi there everyone! I'm so sorry for being such a blog slacker! I can't believe it has been two months since my last post. I will do my best to make my posts more regular.

This is a soup recipe that I found on It is one of my favorite winter recipes because it's so easy, flavorful, and is healthy! I love finding new recipes that not only taste great but are not full of fattening ingredients. According to, one (1.5 cup) serving only has 203 calories. It is very filling too. So even if I am only serving this for dinner I don't feel hungry at all when I'm finished. Definitely don't skip the red-wine vinegar, it gives it such a great flavor. Enjoy!

Tortellini & Zucchini Soup
Serves 6 (1.5 cups each)

Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
Carrots, 2 large, finely chopped
Onion, 1 large, diced
Garlic, 2 tablespoons, minced
Fresh rosemary, 1 teaspooon, chopped
Vegetable broth, 2 14-ounce cans (low sodium)
Zucchini, 2 medium, diced (about 9 ounces or 2 cups)
Tortellini, fresh or frozen, preferably spinach-&-cheese
Plum (roma) tomatoes, 4, diced
Red-wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and rosemary and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in broth and zucchini; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add tortellini and tomatoes and simmer until the tortellini are plump and the tomatoes are beginning to break down, 6 to 10 minutes. Stir vinegar into the hot soup just before serving.