Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Meringue

Hi!

It’s been a while! I apologize, my family friend was in town for a bit and since he was like my little brother, well he technically is, I had to take him and his mom around NYC. In addition, my mom flew into NYC on the 20th and I was hanging out with her. I got to spend some fun quality time with her. Since my mom was in town, I was staying with her in the hotel, which means I was sans oven and baking ingredients for a few days. But don’t worry, I’m back! And I brought you lemon cupcakes.

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I had two lemons in the fridge and since I wanted to do something new, I decided to make lemon cupcakes with meringue frosting. Did I mention I bought myself an electric hand mixer? Well I did! Although I don’t recommend it for mixing batters. When I made these cupcakes, I creamed the butter, whipped egg whites, made meringue and even beat the batter with the mixer. Everything came out great, except the batter. I over mixed it. If you over mix, you’ll end with pretty hard cupcakes and big air bubbles called tunneling. This is caused by the gluten forming and thus you end up with dense cupcakes. Isn’t food science awesome?  Anyway, one day I’m sure I’ll get the hand of it, but for now I think I’ll stick with hand mixing batters.

Anyway, I made the lemon cupcakes using a recipe I got from Food 52 and tweaking it to my taste.

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

Cupcake batter
-1/2 cup sugar, divided
-1 stick butter, softened
-3 eggs, divided into yolks and whites
-1 lemon
-1 1/2 cup flour
-1/2 cup milk 
Frosting
-2 egg whites
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 pint raspberries
-1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. Zest the lemon and let it sit with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for about 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners.
  3. Mix the butter and and the lemon juice together. Add in the lemon zest sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
  4. Whisk in the egg yolks until incorporated. Alternate mixing in the flour and the milk until smooth. Be sure to not over mix.
  5. In another clean, non reactive bowl (I find that a stainless steel bowl works best), whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  6. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter in 3 batches. (minifoodlesson: since the egg whites have plenty of air, this cupcake recipe doesn’t call for baking powder to make the cupcakes rise)
  7. Fill the cups about 2/3 full and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let them sit in the cupcake tin for 10 minutes to cool and then transfer them to a wire rack to let them cool completely.
  8.  While the cupcakes cool, put together you meringue frosting. In another clean, non reactive bowl, add the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar. Place the bowl over a pot of gently simmer water and whip for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the egg whites are in soft peaks.
  9. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue whisking until the meringue becomes glossy and stiff. Add in the raspberries and beat until incorporated. It might also be pretty to only partially mix them, so that the meringue is a swirl of pink and white.
  10. Transfer the frosting into a piping bag, select your piping tip and frost the cupcakes.  If you don’t have a piping bag, use a large ziplock bag and snip off a small corner. Eat right away or keep them in a covered container until ready to serve.

Share them with friends, co-workers or eat them all by yourself. Garnish them with lemon twists or raspberries to make them look fancier and to give people a hint as to what the flavors are.  I liked how the lemon and the raspberry complimented each other in this cupcake. It was almost like eating raspberry lemonade! While my mom was in town, she visited the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and got me a gorgeous piping kit, so you’ll be sure to see some more posts focused on baked goodies that require frosting ;)

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Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Homemade Caramel

Whoaaaa I found this sitting quietly in my draft box and realized that, whoops, I never posted it. I think it&s because I wanted to get better photos but, I haven’t had a chance to remake the caramel because I STILL have caramel from the last batch. Sighhhhh I’m going to have to wait to make caramel again. But there’s no reason as to why you should wait :)

Here we go!

As you may know, I am a little obsessed with chocolate. Okay, I’m really obsessed with it, but I’m here to tell you that caramel is a close second. I love everything caramel, especially salted caramel. I’d never made caramel before because it seemed super hard to make. Well, I had attempted it a few times and failed. But this time, I found a promising recipe, watched the sugar carefully and succeeded!

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It seems really hard and I know a lot of recipes call for candy thermometers. However I was able to make this recipe without a candy thermometer. The recipe I found was from, of course, bon appetit. I enjoyed making it so much, I made another batch before I even finished the first.

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The recipe is easily doubled or halved or if you’re caramel obsessed like me, quadrupled. This is probably why I have so much. The jar contains about 2 batches of the caramel and the squeeze bottle contains 4. So stay tuned for lots of recipes involving caramel. Afterwards, I think I’ll try making salted caramel. Because salted caramel is just the perfect salty-sweet treat!

 

 

Irish Disco Biscuit

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Okay, so I realized that while I was in London, I flippantly promised that I would make this amazing cocktail milkshake for you all and then I completely forgot about it. Whoops. Well now it’s summer and I think it’s the perfect thing to try on a lazy weekend afternoon. For those of you who have no idea what I’m blathering about, I studied abroad in Madrid for a semester (you can read about all my silly adventures here) and I spend one weekend in London where I did everything from spend some time with the security guards at a random train station (that’s got to be one of my best London stories) to wandering around the magical world of Harry Potter to dancing at Beyoncé’s Mrs. Carter Show at the O2 to volunteering at a soup kitchen and eating kangaroo burgers.

But you’re not here to listen to those stories. After the Beyoncé concert, I met up with my friends for a drink and had the most amazing milkshake ever! It was called the Irish Disco Biscuit and it was an oreo milkshake that was spiked with kahlua and creme de menthe. I still dream about it to this very day. So I decided to make it!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find creme de menthe near the liquor stores around me, so instead I just used kahlua and godiva chocolate liquor. It was absolutely delicious and I’m dying to make it again. The alcohol makes the drink more grown up while the still indulging the child within ;)

Let’s get started!

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Ingredients:

-Vanilla ice cream (about 2 scoops per person)
-1/2 cup milk
-ice cubes (about 3 per person)
-1 shot kahlua
-1 shot godiva liquor
-oreo cookies (as many as your heart desires)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

That’s it :) One day, I’ll make the real Irish Disco Biscuit, but until then these are just as good. Oh and if you don’t like oreos or kahlua, feel free to try other milkshake combinations. I feel like a peach milkshake with some bourbon would be fantastic or maybe banana with rum? Let me know which ones you try!

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Happy Saturday! Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Easy Fruit Tarts

 

DSC_0711I don’t know about you guys, but I always need a pick-me-up on mondays and what better way to face the week than with these easy fruit pies? All you need are two ingredients, fruit and puff pastry. Of course you can make your own puff pastry, but there’s nothing wrong with buy store bought. I mean let’s be honest, making puff pastry sounds super hard and I swear I won’t tell if you don’t. It can be our little secret ;) i’ve been dying to try these ever since I saw Ina Garten made them on one of her episodes that I saw way back when…or maybe it was the Pioneer Woman? Or maybe both? Anyway, they also appeared in my bon appetit magazine and they seemed super easy and with the summer heat, no one wants to slave away in the kitchen. So I thought they would be perfect for a quick dessert after a day at the office. I literally made these in 20 minutes and I think these would be great to make for parties. Or for dessert whenever you want, because it only requires two ingredients. I mean hey, as a foodie thats always looking for something to fix that rumbling in her tummy, there is no judgment here. We have a word that describes people like that in Japanese. 口が寂しい (kuchi ga samishii) it roughly translates into “a lonely mouth” and I suffer greatly from a lonely mouth. My mouth is always looking for a friend, but they always seem to go and hang out in my stomach, leaving my mouth behind.

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Okay, enough rambling about the fact that I’m just hungry 24/7. Today, I used white nectarines (they’re Pat’s favorite) and sprinkled the edges with granulated sugar. After I pulled them out of the oven, I sifted some powdered sugar on top.  These would probably be great topped with ice cream or homemade whipped cream.  These are super customizable, you can make them any size you wish as well as use any fruit you like. I’d love to try them with raspberries or peaches, apricots or blackberries? Though it’s probably best to use stone fruit. Before I get lost in a vision of fruit tarts let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients:

-puff pastry
-fruit of choice (peaches, apricots, raspberries, blackberries, etc)
 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F
  2. Cut puff pastry in square (about 4 inches by 6 inches for individual tarts)
  3. Prick the center of the square, leaving a border.
  4. Cover the pricked area with fruits (sliced or diced)
  5. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the puff pastry is a golden brown.
  6. Shift some powdered sugar on top and garnish as you wish!

It’s probably the easiest dessert you will ever make and it will probably impress your friends! It’s definitely the perfect summer treat since stone fruit is in season and you don’t have to have your oven on too long. However if you don’t want to use an oven at all, you can always make an icebox cake! Now excuse me while I go make myself another tart….

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

I have a new instagram!

Hi everyone!

I just spent the weekend at the Spoon University Brain Food Conference and met a lot of interesting people, speakers, bloggers, etc.  

I really loved talking to Chris Stang from Infatuation, the creator of the hashtag #eeeeeats. He advised me that perhaps to keep my personal and my blog life separate, to get a separate instagram for my blog! 

So I made a new instagram: @les_saveurs_de_mimi

Please check it out for some fun photos! 

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting

DSC_0704 Today, I’m heading to a co-worker’s party and since her daughter loves cupcakes and caramel, I thought I’d make something that combines both. And let’s be honest, chocolate and caramel is one of the best combinations in my book because I am a chocoholic. They say the first step is acceptance right? I don’t think I can go one day without chocolate, so it makes sense that almost everything I make involves chocolate. Perhaps I should give up cooking on my blog and just make all things chocolate. DSC_0703 Anyway, back to this cupcake: I found a recipe for 7 minute meringue for the frosting and chocolate cupcake from bon appetit and since their recipes have yet to fail me, I decided to give it a try! The caramel, I made a few days ago and fell in love it. I also made too much because I have yet to buy a smaller sauce pot. With just a large pot, I thought it would be a waste to make the small batch and quadrupled the recipe. Don’t worry, it’s really easy to double or halve or triple or etc. Not to mention, making caramel isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. You just have to keep an eye on it because once the sugar burns it’s no good. DSC_0681 But caramel will be another post! The cupcakes were really good! Since I had reduced the sugar, they weren’t overly sweet and perfectly chocolate-y. I definitely think that adding melted chocolate into the batter along with cocoa powder is what really made it that way. The 7-minute meringue frosting tasted like marshmallows and it it all went so well! I really liked that the meringue held up in the NYC heat. I know it’s a little alarming because it’s raw egg whites, but since you cook them a little over a double-boiler I think it’s fine. Everyone loved them and I’m pretty sure that this frosting will be one of my go-to frosting recipes now that I’ve tried it and realized how surprisingly simple it is top make (although next time I will invest in a electric mixer). I made the frosting by hand this time and the 7-minute frosting took roughly 20 minutes by hand. So yes, definitely use a electric mixer of sorts. Enough chitchat, let’s get started!

Ingredients: 

-1 stick unsalted butter, softened
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
-1 cup AP flour
-3 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-1/8 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup milk (preferably whole milk)
Frosting: 
-1 cup sugar
-1/3 cup water
-2 large egg whites
-1/4 tsp cream of tartar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 pinch salt
-caramel

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a standard 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. Melt the semisweet chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave (30-45 second bursts, you don’t want it to burn!). Let the chocolate cool.
  3. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Once the eggs and vanilla are well incorporated, add in the chocolate and mix to combine.
  6. Add in one third of the flour mixture and mix to incorporate. Add the half the milk and mix until combined. Keep adding the flour and milk until everything is incorporated.
  7. Fill the liners until they’re about two-thirds full and gently tap the pan to settle the batter.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out with a few crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove and cool on a wire rack until completely cool.
  9. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting by whisking the egg whites, water, cream of tartar, sugar and salt in a metal bowl. Set the bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and whisk* until soft peaks form.  Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk until the frosting is cool to the touch and form stiff peaks. Beat the vanilla into the frosting**.
  10. Before piping on the frosting, hollow out the center of the cupcake (not all the way through, just about two-thirds of the way down) and fill with caramel. Pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes.

*Please use a electric hand mixer or a mixer if you have one. If you, like me, do not  have one, now is the perfect time to invest in one. Or if you’re like me and decide you can hand whisk it, be prepared for a good whisking workout (and please don’t kill me afterwards) **You want to add the vanilla after the frosting has cooled since heat will alter the taste of the vanilla. And you’re done! DSC_0706 Hugs and puppies! Mimi

Update

Hi all!

 

I’m so sorry I haven’t been posting much! I’ve been pretty busy this past weekend, since my mom was in the city and I finally have a full-tim job as a paralegal! 

 

I’m hoping to bake/make more yummy things this weekend, so stay tuned!!

Hugs and puppies!

 

Mimi