Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving veggies

Cupcakes! Round 3

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

I found a recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes from Patent and the Pantry that I knew I wanted to make at Thanksgiving for my dad to try. So I called my dad and asked if he had a bottle of Guinness in the fridge that he would bring up with him on Wednesday and he promptly informed me that he had "outgrown the taste of Guinness." Ok, off to plan two. I went to the Foodery and relayed my dad's message and came home with Left Hand Milk Stout to use instead of the Guinness. So I made Chocolate Stout Cupcakes instead.

I was hesitant because I don't like beer, at all. But I was pleasantly surprised about how mellow the beer flavor is in the cupcakes. My mom and I could taste the beer flavor, but the beer drinkers in the family, my husband and dad, could not. The cream cheese icing cuts the richness of the chocolate and smooths out the overall flavor.

This recipe made 96 mini cupcakes for me which I baked at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. I had enough icing for all of the cupcakes with not much to spare.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Excerpted from Feast by Nigella Lawson (Hyperion Books, $39.95, 2006)

  • 1 cup (250 mL) Guinness
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup or 125 mL) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups (500 mL) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) sour cream
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2½tsp (12 mL) baking soda


  • 8 oz (250 g) cream cheese
  • 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp (25 mL) whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, add butter and heat at medium-low until melted. Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar, then remove from heat. In a small bowl, beat together the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Pour into the slightly cooled Guinness-butter mixture. Whisk in the flour and baking soda.

Spoon batter into cupcake pan, so each liner is about three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Once completely cooled, make the icing.

Beat cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Add the whipping cream and beat again until it is thoroughly mixed and spreadable. Add more cream if you want a thinner icing. Spread onto cooled cupcakes.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Spaghetti Squash

We have been attempting to vary our diet and incorporate some new ingredients into our routine. We tried a spaghetti squash recipe that I found on Smitten Kitchen, Moroccan-spiced Spaghetti Squash. I think it turned out well, my husband didn't care for it but I believe that was due to the coriander that the recipe called for since he doesn't like cilantro. I have another spaghetti squash in the kitchen that I will have to try something different with next time.

We took the roasting route and cut the squash in half and cleaned out the seeds before roasting face down.

Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
Adapted from Gourmet

Serves 4

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, if you’re cilantro-averse

To cook the squash in a microwave: Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.

To roast the squash, two methods: If you’d like to roast the squash whole, pierce it all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting and bake it in a 375°F oven for one hour. If you are good with a big, sharp knife, you can save some time by cutting the squash in half lengthwise, scooping out the seeds and roasting the halves face-down in an oiled baking pan for about 40 minutes in a 375°F oven.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it is barely golden. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.

If you have microwaved or roasted your squash whole, carefully halve it lengthwise (it will give off a lot of steam) and remove the seeds.

Carefully halve squash lengthwise (it will give off steam) and remove and discard seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening and separating strands as you remove it from skin. Toss with the spiced butter and cilantro.