Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Unfortunately, my husband is not a fan of lemon or lime desserts. I’m pretty sure it’s the only thing he has ever said he doesn’t like so I am giving him a pass. But when I asked people at work what kind of cupcakes they wanted me to bring in, I was ecstatic. They requested lemon merengue. And let’s just say, he ate one of these cupcakes and did not complain. I was inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe that uses seven minute frosting as the merengue. This frosting is a delicious throwback inspired by my grandmother’s recipe.

Make your lemon curd first. It is the most intensive part of this recipe but it is fabulous. Lemon curd also makes extravagant thumbprint cookies during the holdiays (recipe coming soon). The recipe for lemon curd here makes more than what you need. Which is great because it is so delicious! I recommend spreading this on scones, waffles, pancakes or toast. It should keep in the fridge for one week. These cupcakes will need to be refrigerated until you are ready to serve them. Serve these with Gruet Blanc de Noirs from New Mexico. This is a well balanced, tart sparkling wine with yeasty notes that pair fabulously with any cake based dessert. Gruet is the American atelier of a French champagne house, Gruet et Fils.

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Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

2 cups lemon curd (recipe below)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cake flour
Baking powder
Salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temp
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 1/2 lemons
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Seven minute frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your muffin pan with liners. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium high, until pale and fluffy. Add each egg, beating until well incorporated. Scrape down the bowel, beat in the zest and vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternate eighth the buttermilk and lemon juice. Beat until just combined. Do not over mix.

Fill each muffin cup approximately 3/4 full (I used the 4 tbsp scoop). Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool the cupcakes in the pan in a wire rack. Can be stored in airtight container overnight.

When ready to serve, spread 1 tbsp lemon curd on each cupcake. Frost with seven minute icing. I used Wilton #4B.

Lemon Curd
8 egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Whisk together the yolks, zest, juice, and sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring almost constantly, for 10 minutes until the mixture is 160 degrees.

Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and butter.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on to the surface. Refrigerate for two hours, preferably overnight.

Seven minute frosting
3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp light corn syrup
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Bring one inch of water in a medium sauce pan to a boil.

Place sugar, water, corn syrup, and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowel over the saucepan of boiling water and cook until a thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 5 minutes.

Transfer to the stand mixer and beat for 7 minutes, on high speed, until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla.

Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Garlic Chicken

There is nothing more convenient to eat at parties than chicken legs. It is also shocking how inexpensive chicken drumsticks are. It seems like you can only purchase 20 chicken legs at a time though. This is a lovely meal to use the leftover chicken. It is amazing how the garlic becomes after cooking it this way. You should serve this with an oaky chardonnay.

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Garlic Chicken

2 heads garlic, cloves separated
8 (about 2 1/2 pounds) chicken drumsticks, remove the skin
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp all-purpose flour

Use the side of a knife to lightly smash the garlic cloves, this will help you loosen the peel. They should be approximately the same size, cut larger ones in half. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Take the garlic out with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned on one side, approximately 4 minutes. Turn it over and return the garlic to the skillet. Add the white wine and cook for 1 minute.

Whisk together the broth, mustard, flour, and 1/4 tsp salt in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the pan; bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 8 minutes.

Adapted from delish.com.

Cold Brew Frappuccino

One hot day at the pool and a craving for a coffee frappuccino inspired this recipe. This recipe is on par with Starbucks coffee fraps. Now I am making these before work pretty much every time the blender is clean. You will need to have cold brew on hand. If you are not on the cold brew bandwagon you could probably use a strong cup of coffee. Be careful using your blender/food processor to crush ice. Make sure your particular model can crush ice, or it will break. Make sure if you adjust this recipe that you have plenty of liquid in with the amount of ice, or it will break. For those averse to dairy, you can definitely use soy milk or almond milk.

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Cold Brew Frappuccino

2 cups crushed ice
1 cup cold brew
1/3 cup half & half (or your choice of dairy)
3 tbsp sugar

Place all ingredients in a blender. Pulse on crushed ice mode then switch to purée mode.

This is a Bubbly Kitchen original recipe.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

My schedule this month has been ideal for blogging, but in September I only have 4 days off, thus I have blogged into October. I hate leaving summer behind but I love the favors and food of fall. These cupcakes would be delicious any time of year, but salted caramel would really be great with the cooler weather. It is important to use good cocoa powder for chocolate cakes, it will make a huge difference in the intensity of the chocolate flavor and color. Valrhona Cocoa Powder will never disappoint you.

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I was extremely mad with this recipe when trying to make these for a baby shower. I tried multiple times to make my own salted caramel sauce and was never satisfied with my results. So then I bought caramel sauce from Fresh Market, added some Fleur de Sel, and voila the recipe was saved. I am not ashamed of this and plan on making these again just the same way. Because they are fabulous!

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp hot water
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup sour cream

Salted Caramel Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
4 cups powdered sugar
Fleur de Sel to sprinkle on top

Make the cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a muffin pan with liners.

Whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water in a cup. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter and sugar together until smooth and well combined. Transfer this to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until cool.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add in the vanilla bean paste and the cocoa mixture, mix until smooth.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with two additions of sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated.

Divide the batter among your prepared muffin liners. Fill each about 2/3 full or use a 3 tbsp scoop. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, rotate halfway through. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Make the frosting

In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium high with a hand mixer (or with the whisk attachment of your stand mixer.) add the salted caramel and beat until we’ll combined. Decrease the speed and beat in the powdered sugar. After the sugar is incorporated, increase to medium-high and beat until smooth.

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.