Saturday, December 26, 2009

Photo 365 ~ Dec 20-25

December 20th - 25th, 2009

Cupcakes! Round 4

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

This is yet another recipe from Smitten Kitchen that is fantastic. Some carrot cakes are too heavy, too dry, too sweet, or are just plain bad, these cupcakes are none of the above. It is a light and moist carrot cake. It is one of the better carrot cakes I have had and I have sampled quite a few. The icing is a great compliment to the cake.

We liked the icing so much that we used the leftovers on Mom's cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Yum!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 1/4 cups canola oil
• 4 large eggs
• 3 cups grated peeled carrots
• 1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.

Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

• Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1/4 cup pure maple syrup

In a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly.

If piping, allow the icing to chill in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to stiffen up.

Cookies! Round 3

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sunday was a day I spent in the kitchen. With the 23 inches of snow on the ground there was no sense in running errands so I decided to get a jump on my baking for the holidays. I first mixed up the Orange & Gray cookies because they were such a hit, next came the oatmeal raisin and finally I made Ricotta Chocolate Chip cookies from a recipe that I got from a friend. Let me tell you, they are awesome! They are light and cakey.

Ricotta Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb. ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large bag of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated, then add the ricotta cheese and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients into the wet mix and mix well. Add the chocolate chips. Drop on greased baking sheet or parchment paper and back at 350º for 13 to 15 minutes.

If you find the cookies start to get hard/dry you can add a slice of bread to the container or you can dump icing on them like I did on Thursday morning. If you like and orange and chocolate combination I highly recommend using the Orange Buttercream icing from the Orange & Gray Cookies. It is a huge hit at our house.