Monday, June 27, 2011

Mojito Cupcakes

Another successful birthday cupcake. I made these for my friend Matty's 30th celebration. This summery cupcake combines the flavors of lime, rum, and mint just like the drink version it represents. They would be a hit at any cookout or summer party. I find no shame is using boxed cake mixes as the base to jazzed up cupcakes! This shortcut also helps when you are pressed for time. If you are opposed to boxed mixes, you could use your favorite white cupcake recipe and incorporate the additional ingredients. I discovered this adaptation of a Betty Crocker cake recipe on The Rookie Chef.

For the cake, you will need:
* 1 box white cake mix
* 1 cup seltzer, unflavored
* 1/3 cup vegetable oil
*1 teaspoon rum extract
*1/2 teaspoon mint extract
*1/4 cup water
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves (I forgot to buy these, so I used mint extract)
* 1/2 lime, zested
* 3 egg whites

For the glaze, you will need:
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* Rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract (I went heavy here and used 1 tablespoon of Myer's Dark Rum)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and place liners in 2 cupcake pans.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat cake ingredients on low speed 30 seconds followed by 2 minutes at medium speed minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
3. Place batter into cupcake liners and bake 25 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean) Cool 15 minutes before applying the glaze.
4. While the cupcakes are cooking, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Over high heat, add the rum and remaining ingredients. Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the mixture has thickened.
5. Poke the top of the cupcakes a few times with a fork. Pour glaze slowly over cupcakes. Allow glazed cupcakes to cool completely, about one hour.
6. Top with frosting and garnish. I used the frosting recipe below, and I added a small lime wedge along with a paper straw.

I frosted these cupcakes with a recipe from Mrs. Regueiro's Plate.

For the frosting, you will need:
*8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
*2 teaspoons dark rum
*1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
*zest of one lime
*1 tablespoon lime juice

1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together for about two minutes. Add the sugar one cup at a time, and mix to combine after every addition. Mix in the lime zest, lime juice, and rum until incorporated.
2. Frost your cupcakes!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Peanut Butter Bars

Peanut butter + chocolate = amazing. I enjoy this combination in almost any form. So it should come as no surprise that I loved these treats. They were easy to put together, and a perfect bite-sized treat for a cookout. This recipe was found on Fake Ginger and is from the Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook.

You will need:
*3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
*3 cups powdered sugar 

*1/2 cup salted butter, softened 

*2 cups smooth peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful)

*2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
1 tablespoon salted butter

1. Combine the brown sugar, powdered sugar, butter, and peanut butter in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and blended. Spread into an ungreased baking pan (I used my 13x9 Pyrex). Roll the mixture flat with a rolling pin.

2. Melt the chocolate chips and butter with a double boiler or in a microwave. Spread the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter mixture and cut into squares while the chocolate is still warm and soft.

3. Chill for about 15 minutes; remove the squares from the pan.