Tuesday, February 28, 2012

White Tea Lemon Shortbread Teabag Cookies

I didn't come up with the idea to create teabag-shaped cookies — saw some once on Pinterest and had to replicate them, naturally adding my own Young Idealisic Baker cupcake tags and recipe twist!  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins for Rebels!

So, I’ve broken a few baking/blogging rules with these Pumpkin Muffins.
  1. Peak pumpkin time is October – November. It’s February, and yet I made Pumpkin Muffins 
  2. I made 2 batches of plain old pumpkin muffins within two days… just ‘cuz 
  3. I adapted a famous baker’s brilliant recipe to fit my own preferences 

If I were a stickler for rules, I might actually be upset. However, I’ll be among the first to tell you: “Rules were made to be broken!”

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chopsticks + Chocolate + Cherries = Perfect Valentine's Day Cupcakes!

How romantic is Valentine's Day? Really? In my 22 years, I've only had one Valentine's Day that actually contained any romance. Most years, it's about the chocolate. This year, my friend and I planned a fun evening of Chocolate Cupcakes and Thai food!

I mentioned in my last post that the Cherry Whipped Cream Recipe yielded WAY more than I needed for 14 cupcakes, so I bagged up the leftovers, scoured for new recipes, and brought my ideas and ziplock bag full of whipped cream to my friend's apartment last Tuesday after work. The plan was to order in Thai food, watch the New Girl on TV, and nosh on "baked" goods. Happy Valentine's Day to us!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cherry Coke Cupcakes for Pop Stars (and all my single ladies)

When I showed up in Michigan for freshman orientation, I realized I was going to spend the next four years in a constant debate of "soda" vs. "pop." Midwesterners tend to say "pop," but pretty much everyone else in the country says "soda," with the exception of a few southerners who refer to all carbonated beverages as "coke."

For today, and today only, I'm saying "pop" instead of "soda." This is because I want to dedicate these pop cupcakes to some diva-licious ladies, including the recently deceased Queen of Pop Whitney Houston.

I will always love you...

I started thinking of these Cherry Coke Cupcakes for Valentine's Day to dedicate to all my single ladies (Beyonce style), but then I realized that would leave out some of my favorite ladies. Instead, these pop cupcakes are dedicated to my favorite female pop icons AND all my single ladies (or any attached ladies who need a Valentine's Day pick-me-up).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Red Velvet Super Bowl Cupcakes, Final Part: Just Beet It

Red Velvet Cake has always struck me as something of a science project, and creating the recipe for these Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes brought me right back to high school chem.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Red Velvet Super Bowl Cupcakes, Part 2: The Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

I've made red velvet cupcakes from scratch twice before, and both times I was unsatisfied. When I made these Blue Velvet swirled with Colored White Cupcakes for a Michigan football Saturday, I used Cake Man Raven's recipe because it received first place during another blogger's extensive EIGHT-cake taste-off, and was wildly disappointed. I found the little cakes lacked cocoa flavor and tasted too strongly of oil, which was why I purposely neglected to accompany the post with the recipe. (Mind you, another blogger left a comment that the recipe didn't work well for cupcakes, but still — oil in a recipe should not affect the taste so negatively)

The first time I made red velvet cupcakes, years before I started this blog, I used Paula Deen's recipe, thinking it would be a guaranteed hit. Sadly, the only thing I really enjoyed about those cupcakes was the frosting, and even back then I had the good sense to alter it and make it my own — I've since perfected the recipe and can safely say this cream cheese frosting is the BEST frosting! (...in my opinion)

After countless (4) hours of researching red velvet cupcakes, I decided I still wasn't totally enthralled with any of the "ultimate" or "famous" recipes I found online, with the exception of one. This one used butter as a fat, the same "make a paste with the cocoa and food coloring" technique that I liked when I made these phenomenal Red Velvet Brownies over the holidays, and claimed to be a near-perfect replica of the famous Magnolia's Bakery Red Velvet Cupcake, a.k.a. a top 5 cupcake in my book.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Red Velvet Super Bowl Cupcakes, Part 1: The Challenge

Last year for the Super Bowl, I tried my hand at decorated cupcakes for the first time EVER and wound up with these little beauties:

Fun to make and fun to eat! A few friends of mine even pitched in to help decorate. Can you tell which team I was rooting for?

This year, I decided to make Red Velvet Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and some Blue and Silver Sprinkles... The color scheme is the decoration — works for both teams!

Better yet, I turned these cupcakes into a competition. TWO recipes, TWO dozen red velvet cupcakes, and ONE Young Idealistic Baker original recipe.

This year, Cupcake Bowl > Super Bowl.

Those of you that are Puppy Bowl fans can decide where that fits into the equation.

Today and tomorrow, I'll have plentiful taste testers conduct blind tastes of both cupcakes and then I'll announce the winner and recipes in another post.

I'm rooting for my recipe (duh!) and the Patriots today!! Lets go Team(s)!

Happy Super Bowl Day!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fruity and nutty and chocolatey... oh my!

Foodimentary (@foodimentary) just tweeted: "Avoid fruits and nuts. You are what you eat" — Jim Davis #DailyQuote

This is fitting because I've just made a batch of Cranberry Almond Double Chocolate Chip Cookies! I figure I'm already a little fruity and nutty, so I might as well eat plenty of both... accompanied by chocolate.

Life is one big rock-and-roll rollercoaster extraordinaire! The ups and downs and loops and swirls can make anyone a little nutty. In fact, I'd say that if you don't feel completely and totally off your rocker at least once in your life, you're not living.

"Holy smokes, this is crazy! I can't believe I'm really doing this right now!"

If you've never spoken those words (or similar words), it's about time you do something that makes you feel alive. Do something a little nuts and revel in the thrill of living.

And then make these cookies!