Archive for May, 2010

Sláinte! Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

It has been a busy weekend at our house. My son graduated from high school, followed by College Girl taking off for Ireland for a summer of classes and studying. (That’s what she told me, and we are sticking with that…)

In the midst of sticking everything into space bags and shrinking it flat with my vacuum cleaner, she still made time to bake blueberry muffins for her brother’s graduation breakfast. A thoughtful (and economical) gift that inspired me to try to do something equally nice for her!

In the spirit of an Irish sendoff, I baked up these chocolate Guinness cupcakes and frosted them with a Bailey’s Irish buttercream – they’re like going to the pub AND having dessert. Perfect.

Gather Up:
1 cup Guinness Extra Stout
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-process if available)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
3-4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream (or regular cream)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 18 cupcake liners.

Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to a simmer in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.

Remove from the heat. In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt until combined.

In an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream together.

Add the stout/chocolate mixture, and beat just to combine.

Add flour mixture, and beat briefly on slow speed.

Using a rubber spatula finish gently folding the batter until completely combined.

Fill the muffin cups. (Fill standard muffin liners about 3/4 full.)

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Start testing at 15 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.

Time to make the frosting! If you’re not in the mood for stout cupcakes in the summer, we don’t blame you. BUT, go ahead and make this icing and find something to put it on – it is to die for good. The flavor is not overwhelming – just really delicious. We think it would be fantastic on a regular chocolate cupcake or on oatmeal cookies…

Start by sifting about 4 cups of confectioners sugar.

Whip the butter in an electric mixer until it’s very light and fluffy. Slowly add confectioners sugar a few tablespoons at a time. (When the sugar is added slowly the frosting will be less grainy and tends to need less sugar to thicken.)

When the frosting is thick enough to spread, drizzle in Bailey’s a tablespoon at a time, and whip until combined. Taste the frosting to make sure the flavor is right. (If you need to add extra Bailey’s for flavor, beat in a few more tablespoons of sifted confectioners sugar.)

For our Irish sendoff cupcakes, we made a shamrock template, set it on each cupcake, and sprinkled it with green sugar. But, you can do any shape or color.

Travel safe, Robin! We’ll be eating the rest of these and thinking of you…

Chocolate Stout Cake from Smitten Kitchen.

Blueberry Bliss Muffins

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Graduation season is upon us and my baby brother will be walking across the stage today to complete the seemingly never ending journey that is high school! When we began talking about graduation, of course presents and food were the first things to be mentioned. As a college student, the food portion of the discussion was most appealing to me. My little brother loves baked goods, and it’s much cheaper than the new golf club he requested, so naturally I volunteered to offer my kitchen skills for his graduation festivities.

While cookies, cakes, and homemade chocolate sauce are always good, Sean has an obsession with blueberry muffins. This sounded like an easy enough challenge, so in under an hour I whipped up one of the best blueberry muffins our little graduate has ever tasted!

Gather Up:
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk, approximate
1 cup fresh blueberries
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
¼ cup softened butter
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. I found these cute graduation ones at the store! (By Wilton.)

Combine 1 ½ cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, salt and baking powder in medium bowl.

Pour oil into a 1 cup measure. Add the egg, and enough milk to fill the cup.

Pour the cup into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

For streusel topping, add ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ cup butter and 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon to a small bowl.

Mix with a fork to break up the butter and absorb all the sugar and flour.

Sprinkle over the muffins before baking.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, but begin checking after about 15 minutes, using toothpick test.

Then try to keep baby brother out of the room while you photograph his food!!! Congratulations! Hope you luv ‘em!

Recipe from Sugar & Spice by Celeste.

Meal in a Bowl: Late Spring Veggies and Red Lentils

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Before mom starts showering us with peppers and tomatoes and eggplant I continue to feast on spring greens and carrots and interesting looking onions! For this quick Meal in a Bowl I combine them with tiny red lentils, which are nutritious and not too expensive. And there are plenty of leftovers for a college girl like me to eat, because I am wiped out from finals and projects!

If you are a fan of regular brown-type lentils you will love this recipe because the red lentils (which are really more orange…) cook in about 5 minutes and are to me much more delicious. If you are not usually a fan of lentils, be happy because this soup tastes pretty much nothing like the lentil soup you have probably had before!

And because the garden is in transition after all, finish the whole bowl off with a big dollop of fresh basil pesto! (Which I admit my mom made…) And well probably some garlic bread on the side…

Gather Up:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, any variety
4 medium carrots
1 teaspoon cumin
1 14 1/2 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 ¼ cup dried red lentils
Dash freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch fresh chard or spinach
½ cup fresh basil pesto, if available

Clean, de-stem and slice the chard into short fat ribbons. Wash and chop carrots. Slice and dice the onion of your choice.

Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the carrot and onion and sauté 6 to 8 minutes until tender and beginning to brown. Stir in the cumin and cook stirring for about one minute.

Add the tomatoes and juice, the broth, the water, the lentils and the salt and pepper. Stir together.

Increase heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover. Let cook for about 3 minutes.

Add chard. (If using spinach wait until the lentils are done to add.)

Cover pot and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until lentils and chard are done.

Remove from heat and taste for seasoning.

Sugar Babies

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Nothing says “Christmas Right Now!” like cookies covered in colored sugar! Alas, my favorite cookie spot for natural decorating sugars is fresh out of green and red in the summer – imagine that— so a crispy white will have to suffice! Imagine channeling ice and snow and crystals… Are u with me?

At our house we tend to want what we want at our holiday celebrations, but there came a day when we were overwhelmed by the “fatty mcfatterson” treats we were dishing up… Can u relate?

But nobody is willing to give up the festive goodies we love, and of all things sugar cookies are sacred ground – any tinkering of the recipe has to be done carefully and secretly… And because new versions of beloved recipes are best tried well BEFORE Christmas, several baking-crazed members of the household were happy to oblige. Can u guess who?

This recipe for Sugar Babies is one that has survived and endured our cookie experiments! We generally bake large batches of about 4 different cookies, and this one fills the “sugar cookie” category beautifully. They happen to be my personal favorite – they keep well, and with the addition of natural decorating sugars they score big with Ur Mom!

(Note: Find natural decorating sugars at India Tree.)

Gather Up:
1 ½ cups organic evaporated cane juice sugar
½ cup organic unsalted butter
1/3 cup organic expeller pressed canola oil
2 organic cage-free eggs
2 ¾ cups organic white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
All natural decorating sugars

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Measure flour into a large bowl. In small bowl combine cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Whisk dry ingredients together.

In a separate large bowl add sugar, butter, oil and eggs.

Mix wet ingredients thoroughly.

Add dry ingredients and fold in gently.

Mix until just combined.

Form dough into balls the size of a small walnut shell by rolling in your palms. Drop ball into small bowl of decorating sugar and roll to cover.

Place on ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake 6 to 7 minutes or until centers are almost set.

Cool 1 minute on pan and then remove to wire rack to cool.

Tops will be gently cracked with a moist inside, which will firm as cookie cools.

Ahhh, Christmas right now…

Pesto BLT

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Today marked the beginning of my baby brother’s graduation week, and when big events, like graduation, happen in our house, we tend to celebrate for at least a week. It’s more fun that way! In honor of his big week, my mom let little bro name all the things he wants to eat. Naturally, he wanted bacon. (It’s not something we usually have in the house, and some amount of begging is usually involved to get it on the grocery list.)

If our little graduate could have his way, we would probably be eating bacon sandwiches for the rest of the week. Luckily, my mom reminded him of the Pesto BLTs he had so enjoyed last summer. Done deal. Pesto BLTs it was.

We discovered pesto mayonnaise last year when we added some leftover pesto to our mayo for a twist on the classic, and we will never go back! (Try it – I bet you won’t either!) And, besides being AMAZING, the best thing about our discovery of pesto mayo is that it makes every sandwich taste better: paninis, grilled cheese, hamburgers, you name it!

Gather Up:
1 loaf round rustic Italian bread, sliced and toasted
Pesto mayonnaise: 1/4 cup pesto + 2 tablespoons mayo, combined
1 package uncured bacon
1 head romaine lettuce
3 medium tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil. Place a cooking rack on top of the jellyroll pan. (The jellyroll pan will catch the bacon grease.) Lay the bacon out flat on the rack. Cook to desired crispness, turning occasionally. About 15 minutes.

While bacon is crisping up, cut tomatoes into slices.

Time to assemble! Spread pesto mayonnaise on both sides of your toasted bread.

Top with Bacon…


…and Tomato.

Ta da! Pesto BLT. YUM!

Happy Graduation Week, Sean! We are all SO proud of you!! (And, we would have eaten bacon sandwiches for seven days straight, if that’s what you had really wanted…)

Welcome to Like Mother Like gal, stay at home mom, college student. Just 3 girls who love to eat and are dedicated to doing it the old-fashioned way! Plan, shop, cook, bake, clean, sleep, repeat. Hope you enjoy - we are so glad you are here!
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