Posts Tagged ‘Christmas cupcakes’

anxiously awaiting Christmas cupcakes part 2, or just anxious?

January 23rd, 2010

xmas 1xmas 2Sorry for the weeks-long break between part 1 and part 2 of Christmas cupcakes. No doubt you’ve been anxiously awaiting what now sounds like old news. Anxious just happens to be how I’ve been feeling too much since the break-in. And it really annoys me that not only did the thieves take things dear to me but they’ve also taken away my peace of mind—along with too much of my ability to get things done, like blogging.

My New Year’s strategy was to combat this. “Just show up,” I told myself. So where have I been? Apparently a little lost. No GPS. No Google Map directions. Dead cell-phone battery. Not even a paper map. (Remember those—you can still get them free from AAA.) I know friends and family are nearby, and I have to start somewhere. So here I am. We’ll have to see how well my own sense of direction serves me.

Back to Christmas dinner: Remember that we have pumpkin–chocolate chip cupcakes (really muffins, but let’s not quibble about details). We’ll pick up with making cream cheese frosting and Carter’s reminding me “I can do it myself, Mommy” (no doubt thinking “Thank you very much”). Jeff is much better than I am about encouraging Carter to do things for himself. It’s something I need to think of and do more often, so I handed over the electric handheld mixer. And Carter mixed the frosting.

Now comes Carter’s favorite part: red sprinkles. He did real-time decorating, taking the bowl of frosting and assorted red and green sprinkling options to the table, and custom topping a cupcake for each of us: Grandpa, Aunt Janet, Daddy, and Mommy.

I hope your holidays were as sweet and thoughtful as was my cupcake, and I will be showing up here again. No need to wait anxiously.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat to blend.

Christmas cupcakes part 1: my take on pumpkin–chocolate chip muffins

January 11th, 2010

Not being much of a pie baker, many holidays back, I went in search of an alternative pumpkin dessert recipe. I found a pumpkin–chocolate chip loaf cake recipe on Epicurious, which reviewers rated highly and suggested making as muffins. Here’s my take on pumpkin–chocolate chip muffins.

Next up: Carter’s take on how cream cheese frosting and red sprinkles transform pumpkin–chocolate chip muffins into perfect Christmas cupcakes.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put paper liners in muffin tins. Alternatively, coat the tins with cooking spray, or butter and flour them. Note: I used a standard ice cream scoop to portion the batter and had a yield of 16 muffins; I put water in the empty spots.

Sift first five ingredients into a mixing bowl. Cream butter in a separate mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the pumpkin and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, alternately with milk, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips.

Distribute batter evenly among muffin tins. Bake until the muffin tops brown and feel firm to the touch, and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Adaptation notes: The original recipe calls for just 1 cup of pumpkin, 1 1/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 cup of walnuts, and 3/4 cup of chocolate chips. I pulled a Jessica Seinfeld / Sneaky Chef move and added a whole can of Trader Joe’s organic canned pumpkin. I also decreased the sugar to balance out replacing the nuts with a second dose of Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips.

Adapted from Epicurious (Bon Appétit, November 2000)