Cinnamon pull-apart bread

What better to do than make some fresh delicious bread while you are home with a sick child. I remember seeing this recipe a while ago and it seemed the perfect treat for sick little Gattor. It’s a rather simple recipe, no copious amounts of kneading, you simply cut it up and then bake it.  So if you are not a bread maker, as I am not, I still encourage you to go for it. If you are going to make this for breakfast keep in mind the length of time you will need for the rising and resting. I started this around 10:30 AM and we were not nibbling on it until after 1 in the afternoon.  I added lots of pictures because I took advantage of the wonderful daylight.

Dough getting reading for its first rise

brown butter is your friend

Coated in brown butter

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Cinnamon Donut Muffins

These muffins have been on my to-do list for a while, they look so delicious. They are super simple to make, literally 10 minutes and they are in the oven. My daughter thought they were fabulous, which is not surprising. They are dense like a muffin but the texture with the cinnamon sugar reminds me of a donut. I made them in my mini muffin tin and I think that is the best way to enjoy them. I don’t think it is completely necessary to dip them in butter, the cinnamon sugar will stick if you roll them in it right out of the oven. So, whip a batch of these up to accompany your breakfast this weekend.

Recipe:

Muffin ingredients:

1 3/4 cup Flour

1.5 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/3 cup of Oil (I used vegetable)

3/4 cup White sugar

1 Egg

3/4 cup Milk ( I used 2%)

For the topping:

1/4 cups butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

In a small bowl  combine dry ingredients with a whisk or fork. In a larger bowl combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add in the dry ingredients and stir just enough to combine. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. While they are baking melt the butter in a bowl and in another bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar. While the muffins are still hot dip them in the butter (optional but not necessary) then in the sugar mixture, cool on a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from:  Tasty Kitchen

Bakers Coconut

The idea to create my own coconut for baking never really occurred to me, but after reading how easy and tasty it was on the Cupcake Project I knew I had to try it. She is also responsible for me making my own Oreo cookies and well, that certainly turned out awesome.

The key to finding a good coconut in the store (which we found out after purchasing ours) is to shake it and listen for the juice inside, you should hear it. If you don’t the coconut is dry and probably not usable, hence the prop coconut you see in the cupcake pictures.

The process went rather smoothly, once your coconut is bought, you poke a hole in one of its little eyes (I know sounds gruesome). My husband took his drill and made a hole but you could also take  a clean screw driver and a hammer to it. Around here power tools rule so we went that route. Once you have a hole you then take the coconut and put the hole over a glass and let it drain. Once all the coconut water is out you then take it outside, or in the garage as we did and bash the sucker against the cement. It will split open, you then collect your pieces and head to the sink.

Then the process of removing the shell from the flesh begins, this is definitely the least fun part, so if possible have your significant other do it. :) A butter knife works well for this process. Once the shell is popped off, you then take a veggie peeler and peel away the brown skin. Then rinse all the pieces and dry them on a paper towel. If you do not have a food processor then you will have to shred it by hand (sorry) but if you do have one just use the shredder attachment, if you don’t you can chop it instead. If you chop it the coconut will be slightly chunkier and not as pretty, in my opinion.

Next,  measure your coconut (so you know how much sugar to add) and put it in a saucepan with whatever coconut water you go out of the shell. You then add 1/3 the amount of sugar as coconut. (example: 2 cups coconut = 2/3 cup of sugar) At this point I added some water because I didn’t seem to get much coconut water out of my shells compared to the amount of coconut and I didn’t want it to burn in the pan. I added enough water in to be soupy-see picture below.  You then bring it to a boil and then turn it down to low and let it simmer uncovered for about and hour, best to read that part before 11:30 at night,(mine was on med/low to get a good simmer). The liquid should turn into a syrup, drain that out and save for whatever you want- its delicious. Next lay the coconut out on a cookie sheet to dry overnight. On the other blogs the coconut turned a yellowish color, mine however remained white, I have no idea why but it still tasted wonderful so I really didn’t care.  Use it, refrigerate it or freeze it.

Source: Cupcake Project

Chocolate Caramel Coconut Pecan Cupcakes

First off let me please apologize for the photos, it was 11pm and I have yet to invest in some lighting, so unfortunately they have a terrible yellow cast to them. On top of that I completely spaced cutting one in half so you could see the inside. With that out-of-the-way…

For my friend Jane’s birthday I told her to design her perfect cupcake and I think she did a fabulous job. She wanted caramel with pecans and coconut. We decided on a chocolate cupcake leaning towards a German chocolate type idea. I was browsing some blogs and came across a post for creating your own bakers coconut. I think it made a huge difference and the taste was fabulous. My husband who does not like coconut was eating it out of the pan while it toasted, so I can assure you its worth the extra work. I made my favorite salted caramel cream cheese frosting from my go to caramel recipe. The filling was wonderful too, toasted pecans, toasted coconut and caramel.  The chocolate cake was very good as well, light and moist.Overall these cupcakes were a huge hit. I took some extra time to decorate them, having fun with different ways to arrange them. Don’t let the multiple steps discourage you from making these, they are well worth it and the process was half the fun! I am going to put the coconut recipe in a separate post, so stay tuned.

Caramel coconut filling with caramel cream cheese frosting.

Yield: approx 36 cupcakes

Chocolate Cake:

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 2 1/4 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flower
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

For the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 36 cupcake slots with cupcake papers.  Combine chocolate, 1 cup water and espresso powder in heavy small saucepan. Stir over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add chocolate mixture and vanilla and beat until blended. Sift four, baking soda, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture alternately with sour cream in 3 additions, beginning with dry ingredients and beating well after each addition.

Fill cupcake liners no more than 2/3 full;  1/2 full would work too just know you will make more than 36, do not do as I did and fill them 3/4 full, they will make a large muffin top which is very delicate and breaks when you try to move and frost them. Cool completely. They are super fragile cupcakes, so be very careful when removing them from the pans.

For filling:
Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and boil without stirring until syrup turns a light amber, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush ( I rarely do this) and swirling occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully add cream (mixture will bubble ). Place pan over medium low heat and stir until caramel bits melt, about 5 minutes. Stir in coconut and 1 cup pecans. Cool filling until it thickens, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Assembly: After the cupcakes have cooled take a pairing knife and cut out a cone-shaped chunk out of the middle of the cupcake. Take a tablespoon of filling and fill the hole, replace the top. (you may have to trim a little off the bottom of the top if the filling is very full).  Make the frosting, fill a piping bag with a large tip of your choice and pipe frosting. Decorate with coconut and any left over caramel and filling. Have fun!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious
Frosting

 

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Cupcakes three ways

 

Oprah’s Lemon Drop Martini

 

This has been one of my favorite drinks for years now. It its sweet and refreshing and the addition of mint really adds something. You cannot necessarily taste the mint but in my opinion it’s what makes this drink for me, well that and the sugared rim. :) If you can score some fresh lemons from someones tree (thank you neighbor) it really knocks this out of the park. My husband and I spent a good hour juicing lemons after a friendly lemon tree raid. I would recommend doing it in daylight, my daughter’s Princess flashlight was a rather pathetic supply of light and didn’t keep us from being attacked by the tree but in the end it was still worth it.  A word of caution, this drink is rather stiff, so although it goes down smooth it will sneak up on you with quite a punch.

Oprah’s Lemon Drop Martini

  • 3 oz of your favorite vodka
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP of sugar, and more for the rim
  • 4 mint leaves, torn

Take your cocktail shaker and combine all the ingredients with ice and shake. Take a chilled martini glass and rub a lemon wedge around the edge and rim with sugar. I use a mint leaf for garnish, you can also curl some lemon rind. This recipe will make one drink.

 

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