Easter Cupcakes


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Tomorrow’s Easter Sunday and I wanted to make some cute Easter treats. These cupcakes were pretty easy to make and I thought they turned out pretty well. I made two versions of them, one with green sprinkles and one without. Both looked really nice! I made classic yellow cupcakes and dipped the tops in ganache. I thought the ganache would anchor the bird’s nest as well as act as a glue of sorts for the green sprinkles. I think next time though, I’ll use white frosting, so the color of the green sprinkles really pops.

For the cupcakes, I used the Food Network’s Classic Yellow cupcake recipe and for the topping, I used the bird’s nest treats I made a few days ago.

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
-1 1/2 cups AP flour
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup sugar 
-3/4 cup melted butter
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup milk 
Bird’s Nest:
-2 cups broken pretzel pieces
-1 bag mini Cadbury eggs
-1 cup chocolate chips
Topping:
-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-green sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 12 cup muffin or cupcake tin with paper liners. Make the cupcakes by beating together the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the melted butter and the vanilla, while still whisking. Add in the dry ingredients and the milk, mixing to combine.
  2. Spoon the batter into the liners until they’re about 2/3 full. You should have enough batter for 12 cupcakes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 to 20 minutes before removing them from the pan and onto a cooling rack.
  3. While the cupcakes are baking, make the bird’s nests. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30 to 45 second bursts). Add in the broken pretzels and mix to coat. Set aside.
  4. Make the ganache by microwaving the heavy cream for 30 to 45 seconds. While the cream is still hot, add in the chocolate chips and let them sit for a minute or two. Stir the chocolate and heavy cream until it comes together in a ganache.
  5. Prep the sprinkles by pouring them in a small shallow bowl.
  6. Once the cupcakes are cooled, dip the tops in ganache. The key is to hold firmly onto the bottom on the cupcake (but don’t squash them) and dunk them straight down into the ganache. Twist the cupcake as you lift.
  7. Taking the bowl of green sprinkles, tilt it a little and then dip the edges of the cupcake into the sprinkles. Turn the bowl so that sprinkles evenly coat the edges. This will get messy and the sprinkles will end up on the wrapper, so after the edges are coated, gently place the cupcake on the center of a plate and gently tap the bottom of the cupcake on the plate. This should shake off most of the excess sprinkles.
  8. Arrange the chocolate covered pretzel pieces in a small ring on top of the cupcake, making sure not to cover all of the sprinkles. It’s probably best to use your fingers for this, to make sure that the pretzels really resemble a nest. Make sure to leave a small well so the eggs can fit. The nest will also keep the eggs from rolling off the cupcake, so don’t be afraid to pile the pretzel pieces high!
  9. Add the eggs to the center of the nest. You may need to dip a small part of the egg in some left over ganache to really make sure they’re anchored onto the cupcakes.
  10. Let the chocolate set and you’re ready to serve!

I know that’s a lot of steps, but trust me it’s not hard at all and it’s pretty fun! Just make sure that none of your cadbury eggs are cracked. To do this, I usually gently pour the eggs in a bowl and sift through them. If you don’t have green sprinkles, it’s no biggie. I made some without them and they still looked great!

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Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Takoyaki Part 2: Breakfast style!

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Takoyaki is a finicky thing. I can never get the batter to be the right consistency. If you don’t add enough dashi it’s too cake-y and if you add too much it’s too watery and will never hold it’s shape. My mom’s a takoyaki master, but she has yet to give me the right ratios. So I’m stuck experimenting. Now I’ve made takoyaki before, but this time I made them less traditional. I was at Pat’s apartment and he didn’t have the right takoyaki ingredients (namely the ingredients for dashi), so we improvised. This turned out pretty well. We used chicken broth for the batter and bacon and mushrooms for a filling. It was like having breakfast for dinner! And to make things a tad easier, using the bacon preoiled the pan so there was no need to do that beforehand.

Ingredients:

Batter
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup flour
-1 cup of broth or dashi, cooled
Filling
-4 slices of bacon, diced
-1 cup diced mushrooms
Topping
Bulldog sauce 
-Scallions
-Bonito flakes
-pickled ginger slices
-cheese

Directions:

  1. Make the batter by whisking the eggs, flour and chicken broth into a mixing bowl. Transfer it to something that let’s you pour the batter with more control and ease, such as a liquid measuring cup or a teapot.
  2. Prep your ingredients. Dice your bacon and mushrooms. Set aside.
  3. Heat the pan and once it’s hot enough, add in the bacon. Make sure there are equal parts fat and meat in each takoyaki hole. You want the bacon fat to render and evenly coat the pan. I suggest using a long wooden skewer to move the bacon around to assure the oil has coated everything. DSC_1145
  4. Add in the mushrooms and let cook for 30 seconds or so. Now pour in the batter, so that it just reaches the top of the takoyaki holes. The batter will rise a bit, so the key is to not overfill. DSC_1155
  5. Now here’s the hard part. DON’T TOUCH THE TAKOYAKI for at least 3 to 5 minutes. You want the egg mixture to brown and cook enough to hold it’s shape. Also if you don’t cook it enough, the batter will stick to the pan and result in badly shaped takoyaki.

    The ones in the center don't get enough heat so they didn't end up being perfect. In other words, I should have left them for an extra minute or two before attempting to flip them. ,

    The ones in the center don’t get enough heat so they didn’t end up being perfect. In other words, I should have left them for an extra minute or two before attempting to flip them. ,

  6. Flip the takoyaki by using a wooden skewer around the edges of the takoyaki, as if you’re drawing a circle. The circular motion should cause the takiyaki to rise and flip itself over. This is a lot harder than it seems, so don’t worry if you can’t get it right the first time. I suggest slowly running your wooden skewer along the edges to see if the takoyaki is ready (the batter should easily separate from the pan) and then, if it’s ready, quickly running your skewer around the edges. The key is to be fast, as the speed will make it easier to flip them.  DSC_1160
  7. Once they’re all flipped, let them cook for another couple of minutes until you can lift the takoyaki out of the pan.
  8. Top with any toppings you desire, such as bulldog sauce, bonito flakes, etc.DSC_1161

It’s not perfect yet, so I’ll still keep experimenting and once I get it riht, I’ll upload another post! Until then!

Hugs and puppies,

Mimi

Bird’s Nest Treats

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It’s finally Spring! What better way to celebrate than with these pretty little treats? Bird’s nest treats are so easy to make and they only require three ingredients. I love how the pastel eggs contrast to the rich chocolate, as well as how the saltiness of the pretzels perfectly compliment the chocolates. I’ve been making these for a while now and every time, they’re a great crowd pleaser!

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Ingredients:

-1 bag mini cadbury eggs
-6 ounces (1/2 bag) chocolate chips
-2-4 cups broken pretzels (Not crushed!)

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (simply a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water or you can microwave the chocolate in 45 second increments. Just don’t burn it!).DSC_0645
  2. Break the pretzels into three or four pieces. If you break them into too small pieces, you won’t have nests. DSC_0654
  3. Mix the chocolate and the pretzels until all the pretzels are covered. Ideally you want the pretzels to be covered in a thin layer of chocolate, not drenched. Add more pretzels if you can still see a pool of chocolate at the bottom of the bowl.DSC_0656
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you can just use a flat surface if you want) and scoop the chocolate covered pretzels into small mounds. Make sure to make a small well in the center of each mound.
  5. Arrange the cadbury mini eggs on top of the pretzel mounds. If they aren’t staying put, simply melt some more chocolate and dip a small section of the egg in the chocolate before positioning it on the pretzel piles. I like nests with different colored eggs as well as nests with the same color eggs. They’re really pretty regardless!
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All blue eggs

These are so cute and so simple, I think they’re the perfect Easter snack. What are yours?

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Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Bacon Doughtnuts and Doughnut Glaze

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Doughnuts are delicious. I love doughnuts and a few weeks ago I made my own doughnuts. It was a lot easier than I anticipated. Now this is a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because now I can have doughnuts whenever I want! It’s a bad thing because now I can have doughnuts whenever I want. What a predicament! Good thing I have friends who are more than willing to help me eat them. So yesterday, I was in a friend’s play as an architecture human (aka an extra). This was wonderful and fun and completely amazing. It was even better because I had a whole cast as my guinea pig taste testers. So I made doughnuts again. But this time, with bacon fat! It tasted delicious, you actually can’t taste the bacon at all.

So to make these, I simply followed the recipe from the doughnuts I made last time. I just substituted the vegetable shortening with bacon fat. If you’re a vegetarian, have no fear butter works as a wonderful substitute as well. You can find the recipe here. It’s honestly very very simple to make. It takes about 10 minutes to put the dough together, 30 minutes for the dough to rest and then 10 to 20 minutes to roll out, cut and fry the dough.

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Now last time I simply rolled the doughnuts in butter and cinnamon sugar. This time I made chocolate ganache and coffee glaze as well. It was really good. So here’s how to do it!

 

Chocolate ganache

I’m going to tell you, this is the easiest and tastiest (unless you hate chocolate, in which case I’m sorry) topping for any baked good. Cupcakes, cakes, and doughnuts! But now I’m just rambling, for ganache here’s what you’re going to need:

-1/2 heavy cream 
-1 to 2 cups chocolate chips (semisweet, dark chocolate, white or milk, whatever your little heart desires)

Directions:

  1. Microwave the heavy cream for about 1 to 2 minutes. It should be very hot.
  2. Pour in the chocolate chips and let them sit for a minute. Stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate and the cream are well combined.

Coffee Glaze:

This glaze was delicious. A little sweet with a pleasant bitter kick. I’m definitely making this again. You’re going to need:

-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 to 2 tsp instant coffee or espresso
-1 cup of powdered sugar
To adjust the sweetness and thickness of the glaze, add in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar at a time or a splash of heavy cream to achieve your desired consistency
  1. Microwave the heavy cream for a minute. Stir in the instant coffee, making sure there are no lumps.
  2. Sift in the powered sugar. You don’t have to sift it, but sifting results in absolutely no lumps, so it is worth it. Stir to combine

 

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Once the glazes are finished (I suggest making them while the doughnuts cool after you fry them), pick up the doughnut, dunk the top half and then flip the doughnut and set it on a wire rack for the glaze to cool. That’s all!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi