May 29, 2012

A healthy snack recipe that is neither healthy nor a snack.

Are you trying to lose 10 pounds for summer? Boy, do I have the recipe for you. Butter + peanut butter + chocolate = Weight Watchers approved fasho. I will probably get sued by WW for saying that.

Speaking of getting sued, how in the hell has Nutella not come under any sort of legal fire before? I believe the container proclaims that their product is part of a healthy breakfast. Yep, kids! Just slather a big nice layer of Nutella on your wonder bread before school! Let's just pay no mind to the fact that ingredient #1 is sugar. It's the perfect brain food for that big test, I always say.

They may as well eat these peanut butter cupcakes at 7am...which actually might not be a bad idea. As a snobby peanut butter enthusiast, I would have to say these are damn good. This frosting? THIS is what I would choose to eat for the rest of my life if I was only able to eat one thing. I would be super skinny. That or top ramen. I clearly have sophisticated taste buds. Luckily for me (and not so much for my bod) there was quite a bit of frosting left over. Before my roommate and I did some serious work on it, I had visions of all the things I could smother it on: bananas, pretzels, brownies, small children...wait, what?

Because it's not socially acceptable to eat spoonfuls of buttercream frosting outside the confinement of your own home, this magic has to go on something. So it obvs belongs on chocolate. Holy hell.

Yes, I realize these pictures look like shit and my table is extremely disgusting and probably unsanitary. So sue me.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from AllRecipes and How Sweet It Is

Chocolate cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbl butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Peanut butter buttercream
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup peanut butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbl milk
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk. Beat well.

4. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. For the buttercream, cream butter and peanut butter together in a bowl with an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar with mixer on low speed and gradually add milk and vanilla extract. Mix until frosting is smooth. If too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more sugar. Frost cupcakes as desired.

May 13, 2012

Beer goggles are dangerous.

For obvious reasons.

But they are a fact of life, and we have all tried them on at some point. Some wear them every weekend, which is unfortunate for them. Although at that point I'm pretty sure it has less to do with beer goggles and more to do with low standards or personal preference.

Luckily, the answer to getting away unscathed from any real damage beer goggles may inflict is as simple as a sub-par cheeseburger. Case in point:

Blackberry lemon cupcakes will also do.

Don't act like you haven't become victim to the goggs. You've had those nights. They all start out the same:

     Wow, there are no decent looking dudes here. Didn't my friend say her boyfriend was bringing some  hotties?

     God these guys are annoying, especially the one in the green. And definitely not good looking enough to possess such shitty personalities. 

Activate fireball shots.

     Maybe Green Shirt isn't that bad looking. Kind of cute, actually. 

     Oh! He just said something that maybe could have been a joke? He's funny!

     He is so hot.

Sounds about right.

My piece of advice: Stick to the cupcakes, sisters. Or cheeseburgers.

Blackberry Lemonade Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
2 lemons, juice and zest

1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup blackberry jam (I bet these would also be good with raspberry. aka the best berry in the entire world)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
3. Cream the sugar and 1 cup butter in a large bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and mix 3 teaspoons vanilla extract into the mixture with the fourth egg.
4. Beat in flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined. Beat in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest to make a smooth batter.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups (I did about 3/4 full)
6. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes. Let cupcakes cool completely.
7. For the frosting, beat 1 cup butter with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and salt until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, to make a creamy frosting. Beat in blackberry jam. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Or spread it on with a knife, if you're ghetto like that.

This buttercream frosting is suuuper sweet, but it pairs perfectly with the lemon in the cupcakes. Believe me!

May 7, 2012

It's 70 Degrees! And Sunny!

You know what that means...

Time to sit inside with the blinds drawn and watch Don't be Tardy for the Wedding. And eat faux Hostess Ho Ho cupcakes.

Yes, Don't be Tardy for the Wedding is an actual show. Starring the one and only Kim, from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. It is a show so trashy that even I, trashy TV advocate and enthusiast, am almost too ashamed to admit I watch.  When it first flashed on the screen, my roommate and I scoffed. "Ew, what losers actually watch that disgusting show?" 10 minutes later this happened: 


And then this: 

"Omg I wonder how the fiance's parents are going to treat her when they come visist! Is another episode on after this??"

In addition to my undeniable attraction to garbage television, I also have a penchant for shitty processed foods. I am a full supporter of all items with unrecognizable ingredients, including Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and of course, Ho Hos. So naturally I had to create my own. These are somewhat tedious to make, so if you're super lazy or too behind on your television shows maybe just use a box mix. Or go down to your local sketchy convenience store and buy some of these for $1.

For the cupcake base I used Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake recipe. I grabbed a cream filling recipe  from Smitten Kitchen, and a recipe for chocolate ganache icing from Annie's Eats. Shwing!

Faux Hostess Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the cream filling (Seven Minute Frosting):
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tbl water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 tbl unsalted butter, softened

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be really thin). Fill cups about 3/4 full with batter for larger cupcakes.

3. Bake 21 - 24 minutes. Cool completely.

4. While waiting for cupcakes to cool, combine filling ingredients with a pinch of salt in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and beat with a handheld mixer at high speed until frosting is thick and fluffy, 6 to 7 minutes. Warning: this is extremely annoying. And 7 minutes feels like an eternity. Remove bowl from heat and continue to beat until slightly cooled. Reserve 1/2 cup of the filling to use for piping the swirls on top of the cupcakes at the end.

5. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare a piping bag with a 1/4'' tip, and fill bag with the vanilla filling. Squeeze filling into the middle of the cupcakes. 

6. Begin working on the chocolate ganache frosting. In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until steaming, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until smooth. 

7. Transfer to a small bowl and dip the top of each cupcake to thoroughly coat. 

8. Prepare another piping bag with a small tip. Fill with the reserved 1/2 cup of cream filling. Pipe swirls across the top of the cupcakes.

9. Allow the ganache to set before storing. 

May 1, 2012

That's Pinteresting.

It has come to my attention that most dudes are confused by Pinterest.

They think it is pointless, nothing more than an accumulation of useless photos. But it's so much more than that! Don't you see?! It's a place for us to waste countless hours of our lives shuffling through cheesy photoshopped "inspiration". A magical place that displays an excessive amount of flawless bodies that women can pin and label as "motivation" while sitting on their asses. I prefer to call it "self esteem lowerer," because I'm much more likely to indulge in the peanut butter chocolate chip cake conveniently posted next to these photos rather than a workout sesh. Pinterest is a place that allows us to store time intensive recipes that we will never, ever look at again. Oh and don't forget the fact that it is a database overflowing with life skills, teaching us indispensable things like how to turn an oatmeal box into a ribbon holder, or those 100 ways you didn't know you could use your ice cube tray. Why don't you understand it??

Jokes aside, I'm actually a hardcore Pinterester. Completely giddy over it, really. I eventually become so overwhelmed with the crafting possibilities that I am practically paralyzed and don't end up doing anything because holy shit it's already midnight? Where did the last 4 hours go...? No but seriously...

Last Sunday Pinterest was actually put to use, though. I made some rose cookies I've been eyeing for a while. No, I don't have a wedding shower or ladies brunch to attend. But my life is full of sophistication so I thought these would be appropriate.

The best part is that despite their beauty, they really aren't difficult to make. I would even put them in the easy category. A category I coincidentally place many of my friends. JAY KAY -_-

Rose cookies are really cool for when you are trying to impress people with your femininity, or when you don't have a million hours to dedicate to decorating with royal icing. Honestly, it takes roughly one million hours. It's cutting into my TV time. I can certainly ice cookies in front of the television, but it's not the same watching The Voice with your head down. You miss all kinds of important shit, like Christina Aguilera getting on stage in a bodysuit that is 5 sizes too small. What?

Speaking of the The Voice, I have come to realize the only reason I watch that show is to stare at Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera. Adam, because he is insanely good looking. Christina, because I cannot get over how trashy she looks. AMIRITE?

Something tells me Christina would appreciate these cookies, because they are made with buttercream. Oh, and they are super classy, just like her. #oppositeday.

I made regular sugar cookies and piped stiff vanilla buttercream frosting using a 1M star tip. This is really the best buttercream recipe because it doesn't use Crisco or egg whites. Shortening is seriously sick and egg whites make us sick, so you should really be stoked about this recipe.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Sidenote: Something that in my opinion is not Pinteresting? Pictures of nails gripping nail polish bottles. Over it.