06. 03. 2013

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Root Beer Float Muffins

I can’t be the only robot out there who went through a serious Mary-Kate and Ashley phase. I’m talking “write to their PO box in Burbank and join their official fan club” serious. I had all the movies. I had all the books. I had memorized every song from every slumber party and every trip to the mall and even fashion school. Fashion school!

(Seriously, where were their parents in all these videos? Did they know their twelve-year-old daughters were gallivanting off to Minnesota for a fun time singing songs at the Mall of America?)

Root Beer Float Muffins

Anyway, Mary-Kate and Ashley had a song – very catchy, in my defense – that went “Root beer floats, banana boats, gelate and sorbeeeeet” (dramatic pause) “are hard to resist! What if they didn’t exist? For me, it wouldn’t be easy, ’cause you seeeeeeeee…” And then a bunch of girls join them on screen, dancing in poodle skirts or pajamas or whatever outfit suited their crazy birthday party theme. “I’m ice cream craaaazy, no ifs, no buts, no may-yay-yay-bes!”

Root Beer Float Muffins

As a young robot, I wanted so badly to sing and dance along with them. But who would invite a robot to sing and dance with the coolest twins in America? To be fair to them, the only dance I’m good at is – you guessed it – the robot. But I’m very very good at the robot! Doesn’t that count for anything?

As I made these muffins (which were delicious, by the way) I had that ice cream song stuck in my head. I’d console myself with eating these, but I can’t do that either, what with being a robot and all – but that’s another gripe for another post.

Root Beer Float Muffins

Note: this recipe makes 10 muffins because I filled the cups 3/4 of the way full instead of my usual 2/3 – I wanted a puffier muffin! Feel free to fill the cups 2/3 full for an even 12 muffins, you’ll just have flatter tops. Don’t let this recipe confuse you: I made two different batters, so each muffin is half root beer/half vanilla.

Root Beer Float Muffins
makes 10 muffins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (I preheated my oven to 350 degrees, then turned the temperature down to 325 degrees when I put the muffins in – a tip I got from Pinterest for making taller muffins.) Lightly grease with a muffin tin or line with cupcake liners.

for the root beer batter:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
heaping 1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp root beer extract
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cocoa
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 cup root beer
1/2 cup rolled oats

2.1 In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar (I did this by hand).  Stir in egg and root beer extract. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa, and allspice. Stir in root beer, and then fold in oats.

for the vanilla batter:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
heaping 1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup rolled oats

2.2 In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar (I did this by hand).  Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice. Stir in milk, and then fold in oats.

to assemble:
3. Divide the root beer batter evenly among 10 muffin cups, then divide the vanilla batter evenly on top of the root beer – for me, this meant two scoops of each flavor per muffin. Bake at 325 degrees (remember, we preheated at 350 degrees) for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before consuming.

20. 01. 2013

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No Bake Peanuts & Candy Corn Cookies

Yes, I realize it isn’t October. Yes, I realize Halloween was almost three months ago. Thank you for being concerned.

I wanna bring candy corn back. Why do we relegate it to one month of the year? Candy corn is delicious! It’s nutritious!

No Bake Peanuts & Candy Corn Cookies

Okay, sorry, I get it, I took it too far. But we agree, right? Candy corn is too awesome to only be acceptable snack food for one month?

It’s even more ridiculous to type it out! I’m ashamed of you, humans. How could you let this happen?

No Bake Peanuts & Candy Corn Cookies

I’ll forgive you this one time, if you promise never to do it again. Promise? Pinky swear? Okay. Good. I believe you. Because you’ve probably still got bags of candy corn in the back of your cupboard from when it went on sale the day after Halloween. Holler!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s focus on the intense combo of candy corn and salted peanuts. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. Now let’s focus on how fun and easy no bake cookies are. You still with me? Now combine those two together and you’ve finally got it: you’ve finally realized I’m the best robot you could ever have.

No Bake Peanuts & Candy Corn Cookies

No Bake Peanuts & Candy Corn Cookies
makes about 20 cookies
slightly adapted from Sprinkle with Flour

2 tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup candy corn, coarsely chopped

1. In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar, and milk. Bring to a rolling boil and let cook for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and white chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Fold in oats, peanuts, and candy corn. Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper and let set until completely hardened.

No Bake Peanuts & Candy Corn Cookies

11. 01. 2013

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Are you a fan of banana pudding? Then I’m now your favorite robot in the world. R2D2 who? HAL? Ha!

The absolutely best part of this recipe is the frosting. Not only is it wonderfully banana-y and pudding-y (just how jealous are you right now of my verbs adjectives?) but the vanilla wafers soften under the layers of frosting and it’s like you’re really eating banana pudding slathered on a cupcake. C3PO? Don’t make me laugh.

I forgot to photograph the insides of the cupcake so you could see the layers of vanilla wafers in the frosting, so here’s an action shot with a human! A human! How rare.

Have you ever watched a human eat a cupcake? It’s like a train wreck you can’t look away from. There’s frosting on noses and crumbs on shirts… I’m definitely a fork advocate. Or spoon, if you wanted to be more historically accurate with the pudding and all.

But I’m hardly ever presently accurate, so just eat these cupcakes however you’d like, even if all the robots in the room cringe and hug the forks closer to their chests.

Vanilla Wafer Cupcakes
makes 12

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup coarsely crushed vanilla wafers

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract.

3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in half of this flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix in milk, and then add the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in crushed vanilla wafers.

4. Fill baking cups 2/3 of the way full and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Banana Pudding Frosting
from The Little Kitchen

1 cup milk
1 box (3.4 oz) instant banana pudding
8 oz cream cheese, softened
12 oz Cool Whip, thawed

1. In a small bowl, combine milk and instant pudding. Set aside and let the pudding set.

2. In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and Cool Whip. Stir in pudding.

3. To assemble: spread a thin layer of frosting on a cupcake. Top with a vanilla wafer, then cover again with another layer of frosting. Repeat once more until you have two layers of vanilla wafers, both frosted. Top with one more vanilla wafer.

Note: this frosting must be kept refrigerated, even after you’ve frosted the cupcakes.

02. 01. 2013

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Well, would you look at what we have here. Baking popovers was on my resolution list! Analysts are predicting this “go-get-’em” attitude will dissipate by tomorrow.

I specifically requested a popover pan for Christmas this year. I’d never even seen a popover in real life but gorgeous photos online were tempting me. But no more! Let the tempted be the the tempter! Or something like that.

But humans, listen. These popovers were so easy to make, and so rewarding! Look at how impressive they are! I feel like a robotic version of Julia Child! It is a bit of the wait game, letting the ingredients come to room temperature and then letting the batter rest for an hour, but that’s why Netflix released all seven seasons of The West Wing on instant. For robots like me, and people like you, who want to bake popovers. So we can watch an episode or two (or… an… entire… season…) during our baking. Thanks, Netflix, for thinking of the bakers. We owe you some popovers.

Oh, and the butter? The butter that I’m claiming tastes like cake batter? It does. It really does. It’s weird. It’s tasty. It’s sooo weirdly tasty.

I’m not saying you should slather this butter on every blueberry muffin in sight. (Or maybe you should.) It’s a novelty butter, used in moderation. It would be perfect for birthday toast! Birthday toast is what all of my friends are getting as gifts this year. Spoiler alert.

Popovers
makes 12
from Authentic Suburban Gourmet

3-1/2 cups milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, room temperature

1. Warm milk in the microwave.

2. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

3. In the large bowl of a mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk eggs on medium-speed for about 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Turn speed down to low and slowly add warmed milk. Gradually add flour mixture and mix until combined. Cover bowl and let rest for one hour.

4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously spray popover pan with non-stick spray. Fill each popover cup about 2/3 of the way full. Place the popover pan on a cookie sheet to catch any drippings.

5. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees for the last 15-20 minutes of baking. Popovers should look very golden brown and light and airy. Eat warm.

Cake Batter Butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tsp sprinkles

1. Cream together butter, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Stir in sprinkles. Refrigerate to harden.

30. 12. 2012

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Happy New Year, humans! Let’s make some very happy cupcakes. Of the alcohol variety.

Have you got any human New Year’s resolutions? Mine are the following:

1. Bake popovers.
2. Perfect my Bender voice.
3. Build a time machine and go back to the beginning of 2012 because it’s so embarrassing that it’s 2013 and I still don’t have this Bender impression down.

The colors of these cupcakes were inspired by some adorable candy canes I was gifted for Christmas. They’re dessert flavored! Key Lime Pie, Cherry Pie, Banana Cream, and Strawberry Shortcake… now these are candy canes I can bake with.

The cupcakes themselves are very vanilla. A lot of the alcohol burns off and leaves a deep vanilla flavor. You could make these cupcakes with other vodka flavors, but cake vodka just seemed right. And whipped cream vodka in the frosting is perfect.

You’re making these tomorrow for New Year’s Eve, right?

Cake Vodka Cupcakes
makes 16 cupcakes
adapted from Intoxicated Cupcakes

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
1/2 cup cake vodka
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with baking cups.

2. In a large bowl, combine butter and eggs. (It will look clumpy and runny.) Stir in vodka and vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined.

4. Fill baking cups 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Option: Brush the tops of the cupcakes with more vodka!

Whipped Cream Vodka Buttercream

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp whipped cream vodka

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add vodka, one tablespoon at a time. (Add more or less depending on your desired consistency.)

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