A Quick Update

Happy Friday! Do you have your Super Bowl party plans in place? We’re having some friends over and I’m still debating which New England- and/or Seattle-themed dessert to make!

Marimekko remnants and yardage

I also wanted to pop in to let you know that I’ve started listing some of my excess Marimekko fabric in my Etsy shop. There’s some yardage as well as bundles of remnants and scraps that are perfect for smaller projects. It feels pretty good to start making room for new opportunities.

Maybe if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll share slightly cleaned up “before” pictures of the office/studio and then create a design board for the room. Because there’s nothing like sharing a goal on the Internet to hold you accountable :)

Have a great weekend!

2015 Super Bowl Desserts

While 2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year in football with the brouhaha of DeflateGate (insert #shrinkage joke), not to mention booking Katy Perry as the Super Bowl halftime show, at least I have the commercials to look forward to! Additionally, I’m looking forward to the snacks (guacamole!!) and my personal tradition of baking desserts to represent the teams playing in the big game. Since New England and Seattle have both been to the Super Bowl in recent years, I’m trying to think outside of the box on desserts. Yes, Boston has its Boston Cream pie, so here a few spins on that:

2015 Super Bowl Desserts - Boston cream pie

Boston Cream Pie cookies, cupcakes, French toast, and the classic cake

Another popular New England dessert is Indian pudding. When I first heard about Indian pudding, I thought it would include curry or other spices from the Far East. Turns out, Indian pudding is a traditional New England Thanksgiving dessert, and the “Indian” refers to Native American cornmeal.

As for Seattle, my gut reaction is Starbucks and coffee. Though Seattle also has Molly Moon’s ice cream (with popular flavors like honey lavender and salted caramel) and so many wonderful fresh fruits and locally sourced ingredients. If we expand to the Pacific Northwest, there are hundreds of wineries and craft breweries in the region. And Oregon produces 99% of the U.S. hazelnut crop. As for drinks, the obvious choice for New England is Sam Adams. You could go classic with a Boston Lager, but I think their Thirteenth Hour stout sounds intriguing, especially since John and I have been enjoying stouts lately. And for Seattle I chose Pyramid Breweries. If you’re looking for something a little lighter and refreshing, how about their Apricot Ale? Maybe pair it with some apricot squares. Who do you want to win the Super Bowl? Or are you more a fan of the Puppy Bowl?

Chocolate Stout Brown Sugar Bacon Cupcakes

Hey there, January. While the rest of Internet is sharing uber-healthy recipes like an organic gluten-free kale cupcake (apparently that’s a real thing), I’m going to throw caution into the wind and tempt you with a cupcake from the opposite end of the New Year’s resolution spectrum. This cupcake is so good my coworkers said it was better than [redacted] and that they needed a cigarette after eating one. A present to you my chocolate imperial stout cupcake with brown sugar buttercream and bacon!

chocolate imperial stout bacon cupcakes

If necessity is the mother of invention, then a coworker’s birthday is the mother of recipe development. It was my coworker’s birthday earlier this week and I knew I needed to bake her something good. Three of her favorite things are chocolate, beer, and bacon. So I Googled “chocolate beer bacon cupcake”. With almost 1 million results, I knew I wasn’t crazy. The first result sounded delicious, but seemed a little too complex to bake on a Monday night after Monica went to sleep.

So I decided to cheat a little. Don’t tell the food blogger police, but I used a boxed cake mix as my starting point! Hopefully I redeemed myself by using beer instead of water. A local Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout to be exact. And to follow the lead of these brew-friendly cupcakes, I added two teaspoons of instant espresso to add some intensity and richness to the cake batter.

As for the frosting, maple buttercream was getting to be a bit over the top. I like maple syrup on my pancakes and French toast, but I’m not a big fan of maple elsewhere. After a little more research, I decided to go with a brown sugar buttercream because brown sugar still pairs really well with bacon. Or perhaps I was inspired after drinking a Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ (which should be read in the voice of Mick Jagger). Either way, the guy at work who claims he isn’t a big frosting person asked for the recipe.

And the bacon? Another guy at work was skeptical when I pitched the initial idea. But he’s sworn off desserts, so his vote didn’t really count. Those who did enjoy a boozy bacon birthday cupcake agreed that the bacon helped balance the sweetness with it’s salty, savory goodness. Plus, the crispiness added another texture to the overall cupcake experience.

The final verdict? The birthday girl loved them! And that’s all that matters :)

chocolate brown sugar bacon cupcakes

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Bacon
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18-24 cupcakes
 
These cupcakes are so good my coworkers said they're better than [redacted] and they needed a cigarette after eating one ;) The frosting recipe is from Lemon Sugar.
Ingredients
Cupcakes:
  • 1 box of Devil’s Food cake mix (or other moist chocolate cake mix – I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Devil’s Food cake mix)
  • Vegetable oil per the cake mix instructions
  • Eggs per the cake mix instructions
  • Replace the water per the cake mix instructions with a dark beer like a stout or porter (I used one cup of imperial stout)
  • 2 teaspoons of instant espresso powder
Frosting:
  • 1 and ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream (I used whole milk since that’s what we had in the fridge)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 3 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Prepare two cupcake pans with cupcake liners, and set aside.
  3. Prepare the cupcake batter following the instructions on the box.
  4. Fill each cupcake well about ⅔ full.
  5. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until just firm to the touch or a cake-tester comes out clean.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  7. While your cupcakes are baking and cooling, start making your frosting.
  8. Beat the butter and brown sugar in a mixer with the whisk attachment until soft and fluffy.
  9. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time), salt, and heavy cream.
  10. Beat on the lowest speed until just incorporated.
  11. Add vanilla, and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  12. Add additional powdered sugar or cream until desired consistency is met.
  13. Frost liberally and garnish with chopped up pieces of fried bacon :)
Notes
I used Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso powder, but you can also use a packet of dark roast Starbucks Via instant coffee.

 

 

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