Saturday, April 28, 2012

Roasted Strawberry Basil Cupcakes

Today, I'm feeling very nostalgic because in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan class of 2012 is gathered in the Big House to graduate. I have many friends there right now, and am thinking of many more who were with me this time last year.

Here are my roommates and me on the football field this time last year:

Still, in the midst of all the nostalgia and Wolverine Pride, I can't help but keep baking and innovating.

These latest cupcakes are strange and unusual, somehow simultaneously sweet and savory. Filled with roasted strawberry puree, freshly chopped basil, and balsamic vinegar, the flavors hint at a crisp summery salad as much as a sweet dessert.

These Roasted Strawberry Basil Cupcakes are topped with a Balsamic Swiss Meringue Buttercream and will definitely tease the senses. More than one co-worker expressed the same sentiment: "I can't tell if I'm eating a cupcake or a salad," and every single taster enjoyed my weird creation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vegan Blueberry Almond Muffins

Easy, peasy, and vegan!

In the midst of a few complex and almost complicated creations (don't worry, those posts are coming soon!), I took a "baking breather" to whip up some incredibly simple and delicious Vegan Blueberry Almond Muffins. The prep time took no more than 10 minutes, and the last of the batch lasted nearly THREE DAYS (because I stashed a few).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kissed by Hot Chocolate Cookies

The other night, struck by a chocolate craving, I decided to try out a recipe I'd found for Hot Chocolate Cookies topped with more chocolate and a marshmallow!

Fresh out of the oven or three seconds in the microwave, these chocolate-packed cookies form the perfect "hot chocolate" base for the melty marshmallow and dark chocolate kiss they're each topped with. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Berry Delicious Mug Cake

Did your show go to a commercial? Excellent!

Dash into the kitchen, whip up this Raspberry Mug Cake, and sit back down before the show starts up again. Seriously. Move, move, move!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Passover Pavlova

It's rare that I have an occasion to bake a cake, so when the opportunity presents itself (as it did this past Friday night for a family Passover seder) I don't let a little thing like a no-flour rule stop me from making a beautiful cake for my family!

For those unfamiliar, Jews don't eat anything with leavening for eight day to commemorate our ancestors' escape from slavery in Egypt — when they fled, there was no time for their bread to rise, so they ate flat unleavened bread, which today translates to Matzoh.

These specific rules mean something very important to Jewish bakers: No cake, no cupcakes, no cookies, no anything that calls for flour.

Luckily, there is a very beautiful dessert made of egg whites and sugar that is kosher for Passover — Pavlova.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Up-Scale Snickerdoodles

What happens when you come across a recipe of such brilliance that you can't bring yourself to change it, with the exception of only the most minute irrelevant details? Do you copy it verbatim and send praise and thanks to the creator? Do you make minor edits to the recipe and call it an "adapted?"

How do you take something great, and make it your own?

At the end of last week, one co-worker requested some muffins or cupcakes and another requested cinnamon cookies, more specifically the Cinnamon Roll Hamantashen I brought in a few weeks back. Challenge would have been accepted, had I not already discovered the solution at How Sweet Eats.

Snickerdoodle Cookie Cupcakes: Half cookie, half cupcake... Genius!

Since neither the idea, nor cupcake recipe were my own, I had to find another way to Young Idealistic Baker-ize them.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Crispy Snickerdoodle Cookies

I'm not going to give a big lead in to these cookies. Instead, I'll just say that these babies are small, crisp, and packed with cinnamon sugar and they are just one half of an incredibly brilliant creation (if I do say so myself). I recommend making these cookies now, so that you're prepared!