Archive for the 'dessert' Category

Self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes

nutella cupcakes 1 Self frosting Nutella Cupcakes

I love a good excuse to make cupcakes. If I don’t have one, I’m very good at justifying my actions when it comes to baking or buying new shoes (with size 11s you gotta buy ‘em when you find ‘em, right?) -but when a friend comes over within a few days of her birthday, it’s like a free pass to bake.

beaten butter sugar Self frosting Nutella Cupcakes

(This is just butter + sugar, beaten for several minutes – I feel like most people fall short on this part, beating the two until they’re well combined but not really whipping it until it’s sufficiently light. Try letting it go for a couple minutes next time.)

Cupcakes make it easier to serve a crowd, especially when fast-moving kids are in attendance and you’re not really sure you have enough little plates and forks to go around. Of course I generally choose cakes based on their need for adornment; I do love a well-frosted cupcake (and can even appreciate a 1:1 cake-frosting ratio) but often even a good frosting is trumped by a desire for a shower and to minimize dishes.

nutella cupcakes 6 Self frosting Nutella Cupcakes

Enter jar of Nutella.

nutella cupcakes 5 Self frosting Nutella Cupcakes

You drop big globs of it atop buttery cake batter (I imagine any kind would work – so long as it’s thick enough that the Nutella doesn’t sink through to the bottom) and swirl a bamboo skewer through both to create a marbled effect. Done! (Bonus: the aforementioned small people with equally small fingers will not be licking frosting off said fingers and dragging them down the hallway walls.)

nutella cupcakes 4 Self frosting Nutella Cupcakes

The coloured paper liners from Winners make me feel very Martha – I’m really not.

nutella cupcakes 3 Self frosting Nutella Cupcakes

Bake until golden and springy and Instagram-worthy.

nutella cupcakes 2 Self frosting Nutella Cupcakes

It’s somebody’s birthday somewhere!

Self-frosting Nutella Cupcakes

1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk or half & half
1/2 cup Nutella

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt; add half to the butter mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Add the milk and beat just until combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined.

Divide the batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Spoon the Nutella into a small microwave-safe dish and microwave it for20 seconds, until softened but not liquefied. Drop a spoonful of Nutella on top of each, and swirl through the batter with the tip of a bamboo skewer, knife or other pointy object. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Tilt them in the pan to help them cool.

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

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April 06 2014 | cake and dessert | 10 Comments »

Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding)

Stovetop Rice Pudding Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding)

We opted to place ourselves under house arrest this weekend due to temperatures that, calculated with the wind chill, dropped below -40 at night. We wore our thickest socks and wrapped blankets around our shoulders against the chill that 100 year old windows do little to keep out. And since going to the store requires going outside, it was also an eat-what-we-have weekend – fortunately there was milk and cream and rice and coffee, and I know how to bake bread. We did not starve.

We talked about rice pudding on CBC last week, and it reminded me how much I adore it. Most often, I make rice pudding with the last of the rice in the pot, having made too much. I pour in plenty of milk, add some sugar or maple syrup or honey, then walk away and forget that I’ve done so – and later do penance by scrubbing the pot and the stovetop the boiling milk has overflowed onto. Even without the walking away part, this isn’t an ideal rice pudding method – starting with steamed long grains that have already separated themselves from each other. Most rice puddings of that sort (the fluffy-creamy-stovetop kind) start with short-grain rice like Arborio. I decided to take the direct route, with the intent to make a pot of diner-style rice pudding, rather than treat it as a salvage mission.

Rice pudding Collage Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding)

Some rice puddings are custardy with eggs or yolks, but this contains neither – just rice, half & half, sugar and vanilla. I snipped a chunk of bean out of my jar of homemade vanilla – which is really just vanilla beans preserved in vodka – but a splash of extract works, too. Or if you thought to tuck a bean into a jar of sugar, you could just add a shake of the infused sugar – or if you’re willing to spend an extra three minutes, whiz a whole bean into the sugar in the food processor for an even more intense, speckled ash-coloured vanilla sugar you can use straight from the jar. I love seeing the seeds.

vanilla sugar Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding)

We ate some warm, some cold, and some frozen – I took advantage of the arctic air and froze the insert to my ice cream maker, then turned half the rice pudding into frozen rice pudding – essentially dense, creamy ice cream that tastes like rice pud. For reals.

Frozen rice pudding Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding)

I’m a rice pudding purist – while I occasionally crave mine studded with raisins and sprinkled with cinnamon, most often I’ll go for straight-up cream and vanilla. But feel free to stir in a handful of raisins at the end, and finish your bowl with a dusting of cinnamon.

Creamy Rice Pudding

Although there are many, many similar versions of this stove-top rice pudding around, I took my initial direction from Dave Lieberman.

1/2 cup short grain (Arborio) rice
2 tsp. butter
2 cups whole milk or half & half
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. good vanilla

In a medium saucepan, bring the rice, butter and 1 cup water to a simmer; cook for 15 minutes, until tender. Add the cream, sugar and vanilla (bean or extract) and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the rice absorbs most of the cream and the mixture is thick and creamy.

Serve immediately, while still warm, or cool it down – if it thickens up too much, stir in a little more cream to loosen it up.

Serves 6.

pixel Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding)
button print gry20 Creamy Rice Pudding (and Frozen Rice Pudding)

March 02 2014 | dessert | 12 Comments »

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