Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Cinnamon Chip Cupcake Ode to Firenze

Rather than bore you with a three-stanza lyrical verse, I'll just get to the point. I haven't written in over a week or baked anything new in almost as long. My apologies.

On second thought, I may still write an Ode to Firenze or something along those lines and see what I can do to link it to baking... maybe I'll write each verse on a cookie.

...I'm still working out the details in my mind, but look forward to whatever I come up with!

A View of Old Florence from Across the Arno River
I would write a verse in Italian, but the Italian vocabulary I’ve retained since my semester in Florence one year and a half ago is really pathetic. I used to be able to interpret any menu and find my way around a train station in perfect(ly flawed) Italian. Now, I can’t even remember how to say “I’d like a glass of red wine please,” which was one of the first phrases I mastered – wine is very important in Italy!

This past weekend, I packed up all of my two suitcases worth of clothing and moved from my aunt and uncle’s house in the ‘burbs to an apartment in Boston’s most Italian neighborhood. Exciting and new, the North End really reminds me of Florence with the old brick buildings, narrow streets, and fantastic looking (and smelling) restaurants and bakeries.

When I hopped out of the car, all I could think was, “Woah, my neighborhood smells incredible!” I’ve already stopped at Mike’s Bakery for an overpriced cannoli that was worth every penny. Hey, when in Rome… or, you know, somewhere that reminds you of Rome.

Between the craziness of work this past week and my lack of ingredients/bakeware/Internet in my new lodgings— not that I’m complaining — I haven’t been able to bake anything in my new home yet.

Before you run off, infuriated by this baking blogger's lack of recent kitchen discovery to share, please read on. I do have a new recipe to share!

Last Saturday, between packing up my bags and cleaning out my cousin’s old room, I baked a batch of cupcakes to share with my new roommates. Over Thanksgiving break, I picked up a bag of Cinnamon Chips while grocery shopping and brought them back to Newton with me since I’d never before found them. So, I decided to spruce up a Cinnamon Coffee Cake recipe with the Cinnamon Chips and made these yummy Cinnamon Chip Cupcakes topped with Cinnamon Streusel and a Glaze.


Cinnamon Chip Cupcakes (Recipe adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen):
Makes 18 cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 6 ounces - 1 cup Greek yogurt, room temperature (I used a 6 ounce cup of Chobani plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag (1 2/3 cups) Cinnamon Chips
Streusel Topping:
  • With a fork, pastry cutter, or clean fingers mix together about 1/4 cups brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon softened butter, and 2-3 tablespoons flour until crumbly

Directions:
  • Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  • Cut butter into small cubes and mix with a blender on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy
  • Add sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy (a minute or two)
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by Greek yogurt and vanilla extract until all incorporated 
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined, taking care not to over mix
  • Fold in Cinnamon Chips with a large spoon
  • Evenly distribute batter among muffin cups and top with a spoonful of streusel topping per cupcake
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until a test toothpick comes out clean
Optional Glaze topping:
  • Once cupcakes are completely cooled, mix together about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • Pour glaze into a ziplock bag, cut a hole in the corner of the bag, and swirl/zigzag over cupcakes

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