New Year’s Clock Cupcakes (72) – One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes (56)

New Year’s Clock Cupcakes (72) – One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes (56)

These cupcakes looked so beautiful on the picture in the book that I could barely wait for it to be the New Year’s Eve to make them! 
I was a bit scared too because I had never worked with buttercream before and I was worried because of the raw eggs in it (I don’t want anyone to get sick because of my cupcakes). But since there aren’t many frostings or creams that can actually be made without eggs, I had to give it a go. 

Martha Stewart suggests one bowl chocolate cupcakes or buttermilk cupcakes for this recipe. I’m a big fan of chocolate, so of course I chose the chocolate ones. At first I wanted to make the devil’s food cupcakes, but I wanted to be done with baking quickly so I could work on the frosting, so I chose the easy recipe.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup warm water
Swiss Meringue buttercream (1/2 recipe)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

2. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (use only 1/2 of the ingredients) – makes 5 cups which is too much

5 large egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Heat sugar and eggs: Bring a saucepan filled with about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Meanwhile, combine sugar, egg whites, and salt in a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Set bowl over (not in) simmering water, and whisk until whites are warm to the touch and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. (Heating the eggs relaxes their proteins, enabling the eggs to whip up higher and more quickly; the sugar also melts, for a silky smooth consistency.) Test by rubbing between your fingers; the mixture should feel smooth.

2. Whip meringue: Attach bowl to a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and mixture is cooled completely, about 10 minutes.

3. Mix in butter: Reduce speed to medium-low; add butter 2 tablespoons at a time, beating to incorporate fully after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears curdled at this point; it will become perfectly smooth again with continued beating. After all the butter has been incorporated, beat in vanilla.

4. Finish: Switch to the paddle attachment. Beat on the lowest speed to reduce air bubbles, 3 to 5 minutes. Let stand, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature. (If not using the same day, transfer to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days or the freezer up to 1 month. Before using, bring to room temperature; beat with paddle attachment on the lowest speed until smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes.)

After that, you just spread the buttercream over the cupcakes and pipe the numbers (1-12) on them.  Making these cupcakes wasn’t easy (especially the buttercream). I had never worked with raw eggs before, so in a way it was a challenge, because I had no idea how the frosting was supposed to come out. However, it came out perfect (it tasted good and it didn’t drip off the cupcakes, which, for me, means it’s perfect). I don’t like the amount of butter used in the buttercream, but I guess it wouldn’t be called a buttercream if butter didn’t have something to do with it. Since I don’t own a piping bag, I had to improvise a little with the chocolate numbers, but I soon lost my patience and didn’t complete the whole clock. Everyone got the idea of the clock though. And I finally got to use my red paper liners. The idea is very good and I think I’ll be making these for New Year’s eve again next year. Hopefully I’ll have bought some piping bags by then.

The recipe made 16 cupcakes instead of 18, but I did fill the liners too much and all of the cupcakes rose too high. Next time I’ll only fill them halfway.

Surprise Cookies

Surprise Cookies

This year, since I’m suddenly able to bake things, I decided to bake some cookies to give away as Christmas presents. I found the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website under ”Kids’ Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes”. I figured it was the most interesting cookie to look at (and to eat), with not as much work as for the other recipes. 

Here is the recipe:
For cookies:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
12 large marshmallows, cut in half horizontally

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well combined. Add reserved flour mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

3. Using a tablespoon or 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies begin to spread and become firm, 10 to 12 minutes.

4. Remove baking sheets from oven, and place a marshmallow, cut-side down, in the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Return to oven, and continue baking until marshmallows begins to melt, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

5. Spread about 1 tablespoon of frosting over each marshmallow, starting in the center and continuing outward until marshmallow is covered.

For the chocolate frosting: 

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in butter and cocoa powder. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk until well combined.

The recipe was supposed to make about 2 dozen cookies, I made more than thirty. Luckily I had a whole bag of marshmallows so I didn’t run out. I didn’t want to make too much frosting so I only made 1/4 of a cup and it was THE perfect frosting. However, there was enough to cover only three marshmallows. I had to mix another one but this time it was so runny that the whole kitchen was covered in chocolate afterwards. Oh, well. If I ever make this again (I probably will), I won’t add the whole amount of milk to the frosting recipe, because that made it really runny. 

Everyone loved these cookies, even my mother who is disgusted by marshmallows (she didn’t even notice they were in there), because they taste like the popular cookies named Munchmallows. I didn’t like them though. What a surprise 😀

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes (35)

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes (35)

When I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart’s book, I immediately put these cupcakes (cheesecakes, actually) off the list, because I thought it was impossible to find Oreos in Slovenia. Imagine my surprise when I was randomly looking at the cookies at a german store and found them! That has got to be the only store in the country that has them, because they import these things from Germany. I just HAD to buy them. Then, when I got home, I realized that I don’t have any plain white paper liners. I had to go out and buy them (and finding them wasn’t easy either).

I only bought one pack of Oreos (16 cookies) because they were pretty expensive and I wasn’t sure about their taste (and if anyone would actually eat them). That was enough cookies for 11 cheesecakes because 5 cookies had to be chopped and added to the batter at the end.

The recipe was really easy to make and the batter was almost liquid, so it was easy to fill the paper liners with it. There was enough batter for 13 cupcakes but I only had 11 cookies :S. I tried filling them to the top but there were still leftovers. After baking them I was supposed to leave them in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Well, my mother ate one two hours after I made them and she loved it. I left them in the refrigerator overnight. At first I didn’t even want to try them because I don’t eat cream cheese and I was sure that I would hate the taste. How much more wrong could I possibly be!? These were by far one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever made! They were gone so quickly that I (unfortunately) only got to eat one. I’ll definitely be making these again, probably in the summer, because they’re best served cold. Next time I make them, I’ll only chop 4 cookies and leave the rest of them in the paper liners, so I can make 12 cupcakes.