Monday, November 9, 2009

MSCC | Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I didn't think I was going to like these cupcakes at all... I didn't even want to try them. But I am glad I did, these cupcakes are amazing! You can barely taste the sweet potato, if anything I think it adds moisture and texture to the cupcake. These cupcakes are what fall is all about - fall spice, roasted marshmallows and candied pecans... um, yum!!! They are not too sweet and are therefore extremely dangerous because you could find yourself eating too many of these delicious morsels.

I followed the cupcake recipe exactly how it is written in Martha Stewart's book. When it came time to roast the marshmallows, the book recommends placing a few marshmallows on to a metal tray and then roasting them with a creme brulee torch. We tried this and it wasn't melting the marshmallows fast enough, instead we got blackened marshmallows. Next, I decided to place little mounds of marshmallows under the broiler. Although this worked... it was a little messy transferring the marshmallows onto the cupcakes. So, I tried another technique. I placed the marshmallows and candied pecans bits onto the cupcake and then placed the cupcakes under the broiler - much easier! And it didn't leave a mess, score!

I didn't use the candied pecan recipe from Martha Stewart. Back in October, I made pecan bars for my engagement party... my mom really wanted to try some, but living in Hawaii she wasn't able to attend our engagement party. We are going to visit my mom this week, so I decided to make her some pecan bars. I used the pecan part of my bars as the candied pecans on the cupcakes. I use orange and lemon zest in the bars, so it definitely gives a little extra flavor.

Now that I am working, I have two companies to share by goodies with... so I made a batch for Tyler to take to school with him and I made a batch of mini cupcakes for me to take to work. Look at how cute these are! They are the perfect bite!
And I wanted to show off our new platter... wood grain to add to the rustic feel of these cupcakes. Thanks to Shira for the platter, we love it!

Unitl next time, happy baking!


Friday, November 6, 2009

The difference a camera makes

I did an engagement cake this past weekend for a good friend of the family's and I had left over red velvet cake batter. So, I decided to make mini red velvet cupcakes for my coworkers. At work, we have a photo box to take pictures of our product and my boss graciously took pictures of my cupcakes. This picture is 5 million times better than what my little camera takes, so I just wanted to share it. I like how the cupcakes are reflected onto the plate! Tyler and I are looking at used professional cameras online, crossing my fingers that we can find one soon! Until next time, happy baking!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kitchen Remodel!

First a teaser! I forgot to take "before" photos and the only one I could find was from last years Halloween dinner... so here we are, Tyler, Talya and I celebrating Halloween 1950's style! Please note the gray cabinets... our kitchen cabinets were old and falling apart, Tyler put his knee through the under sink cabinet when he was doing some work... so it was time for a remodel!

And for a good laugh... here is this year's Halloween picture! I didn't have my pajama costume on yet, but Talya was a fierce woman from the '70s!

Okay, let's begin the story! Any work done on your house takes a lot of you, it's a lengthy process and for us it was difficult because we didn't have access to our favorite room in the house.

Tyler and I always joke around that o
ne day when we get the chance to build our own house, we are going to make the kitchen the largest room in the house. And, the best part is that we aren't really joking. We love being in the kitchen! Tyler and I love to cook and bake together. We share a passion for all things food, wine and beer related. Having this new kitchen has been great, Tyler and I are like little kids in a candy store... so here are the pictures, enjoy!

Our cabinets have arrived...

... which means, demolition can begin! And Tyler wanted to take care of that part himself!

Almost all of the cabinets have been removed at this point.

The fridge was moved to the dining room, so we could still have access to it. We also set up our coffee maker and old microwave on our dining room table... living off of microwaveable food for 5 weeks is really hard especially when you're a foodie like we are.

At this point, we could start construction on our kitchen. We had a huge water heater in our kitchen (it was in the far back corner, you can see the hooks that held it in). We decided to remove the water heater and install a tankless water heater in the attic instead to give us more room.

After the plumbers completed their initial tasks, our electricians came in and rewired the kitchen. They gave us more outlets!!! We only had 3 before and now we have 5! We also had recessed and under cabinet lighting installed.

Once that was complete, it was time to install the cabinets. In the picture below you can see the team at Le Gourmet Kitchen at work. They did a wonderful job and they were such great people to work with!

All the cabinets have been installed! Now, it's time to get the counters measured for our silestone counters. We had to have the counters measured because Bruce, our designer, put in rounded corners in the entry way to make it feel larger (it's amazing what a difference that made).

Okay, are you ready... here it is, our brand new kitchen! First, I have a shot of the stove. We left the stove in the same location, but we installed an overhead microwave (giving us more counter space... our redesign was all about giving us more room!).

Next, we have a view of our fridge and new pull-out pantry! This is my favorite feature... whoever invented the pull-out pantry is a genius! Our pantry is located where our water heater used to be and we moved the fridge over a bit.

Next is the view to the left our fridge. We have pull out drawers for our pots and pans... love! And we have a lazy-Susan cabinet in the corner where we store our mixing bowls, rice pot and all those other random items you have in your kitchen. We also installed extra upper-cabinets!

And the last view is of the sink area. We have a large and deep stainless steel sink that is amazing!

We are so thankful that we were able to do this remodel! Thank you to Tyler's parents and Tyler!!! And we also want to thank Bruce and his team for the work they did and for letting us use their showroom for our engagement photos! And now, it's lunch time and I need to go down to the kitchen to prepare lunch. Thank you for stopping by and until next time, happy baking!


Quick Halloween Cupcakes

This past week was a long week for me... I finally went back to work after being unemployed for 9 months. It's good to be back in the workplace, but I missed baking. So, I decided to bake some cupcakes for my coworkers for two reasons, 1. I wanted to bake and 2. I was hoping I could bribe them to keep me (it's a temp to hire position) :P

I baked three different types of cupcakes, vanilla buttermilk, chocolate, and chocolate with a Reese's peanut butter cup baked inside of it. The last one was so rich, it needed to be eaten with a cup of coffee or a large glass of milk.

Adding chocolate treats is pretty easy, I just placed the peanut butter cup in the cupcake liner and then poured the chocolate cupcake batter over it.

The batter didn't bake up as well as it does on it's own, but you can still eat it (and that is all that matters). Yum yum!

Needless to say, I think the cupcakes were a success! The peanut butter ones were the first to go!

Next up... the revealing of our kitchen (I know, I should have posted this weeks ago...)