BornGrace

What I do while I figure out what to do next . . .

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Fabulous Pumpkin Cupcakes

Let me just start off my saying that these will now be my go-to fall cupcakes.  They are sort of a combination of sweet muffin and cupcake and they are absolutely fabulous!  I have used browned butter in my blueberry muffins and have completely fallen for the wonderful and deep flavor that it adds to baking and these cupcakes are no exception.  Combined them with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and pretty much YUM is all I have to say.

adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
RECIPE:
Preheat oven to 325F
Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.  Batter will be enough for 12 cupcakes.  You could possibly make more if you do not eat as much batter as my family did.  It was worth it – I don’t think it is possible to ever make more than 12 in my family.
Brown butter.
Melt butter in small saucepan or medium heat.  This will take some time.  Expect around 10 minutes.  The first time I browned butter I kept wondering “is this it?”  You can walk away but the first time I would hang out stirring gently with a wooden spoon.  First the butter will foam up and then go clear.  When it is ready you will start to smell a wonderful nutty smell.
Then small rust-colored flakes will appear on the bottom of the saucepan. You are done. Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.
Grate the fresh nutmeg.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture.
Add the flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.
Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe from Baked Perfection

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed with whisk attachment until fluffy

Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then cinnamon and vanilla; mix until smooth.

Put in pastry bag with large star tip and frost in a circular motion beginning on outside of cupcake and finishing in center.

Enjoy!!

Lemon Vermouth Chicken

This is a fabulous tasting, easy chicken dinner that you can make with items that are already on hand in your pantry.  And by fabulous I mean I have 100% success rate with my entire family (pretty much that never happens). So to celebrate my awesomeness I have now made this twice in the last month.  First time I followed the directions entirely and bought chicken breasts and pounded them to an even thickness.  The second time I bought pre-sliced chicken cutlets.  The cutlets made the preparation so fast and also cooked much much quicker. Bonus in my house!

adapted from my much loved Williams-Sonoma Chicken cookbook)

INGREDIENTS:                        

  • 2 whole chicken breasts (4 breasts)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon
  • 4 fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

The recipe calls for you to halve, skin and debone the chicken breasts.  I have done that before.  I really have no need to do it again.  I am perfectly happy buying boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I don’t feel like less of a mother (I don’t care if it makes me less of a cook apparently).

Before you start, turn oven on to warm and place oven safe serving platter inside.

Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of waxed paper and pound gently to an even thickness

Mix the flour and sage together in a flat bottomed bowl (I used ground sage the first time and dried the second.  Both work)

Dredge chicken breasts in flour/sage mixture and shake off excess.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.

Add chicken breasts and saute, turning as the become golden 2-3 minutes each side.
(the larger breasts took longer – my cutlets were 1-2 minutes each side)

Transfer to a warmed platter to keep warm while you deglaze the pan.

Add vermouth and bring to a boil over high heat.  Deglaze by loosing any browned bits and continue to stir until reduced by 1/2. 2-3 minutes.

Add lemon juice and season to taste with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.

Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with lemon zest and basil.

ENJOY!!!

 

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