Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gourmet Grilled Cheese: ep. #1


I'm coming to you today with a simple, but wonderful idea. Every Wednesday (until I run out of ideas), I am going to bring you a delicious Gourmet Grilled Cheese. There are Gourmet Grilled Cheese shops popping up here and there in bigger cities, and that's where this idea came from. I love the idea of taking something simple, something I grew up eating, and elevating it to a classier level. I hope you enjoy what I will be bringing you in the weeks to come. Without further ado, I give you this weeks Grilled Cheese:

- Avocado
- Bacon
- Muenster Cheese
- Whole Wheat Bread

The Muenster and Avocado's mild flavors really let the Bacon shine in this sandwich, and bacon is delicious. I was kind of afraid that the large pieces of avocado would make a large gap and the sandwich would just fall apart, but the muenster cheese melts well to hold everything together nicely. The Avocado adds substance and nutrition (to help you feel better about eating it).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

Starting this weekend, I am on a Cupcake Quest! I have been tasked with making the cupcakes for my sisters upcoming wedding! That means, I get to try out new recipes until we find her four favorites! My plan is to bring you a new cupcake recipe once every other weekend until we find the chosen 4!
This week, I'm bringing you some Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes!
The one thing that I will 100% be taking away from this recipe is the frosting. The frosting is a Whipped Cream Cheese frosting that is one of the best things I've tasted. Seriously, it's really good. The cake itself on the other hand was only ok. The flavor was pretty good, but I feel it turned out a little dry, which is a cupcake turn off for me. When I tinker around and find a way to make the cake more moist, I think this will be in the running for a spot at the wedding!
Here's how to make it:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups butter, softened
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- strawberries (to put inside each cupcake and to decorate on top)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups heavy cream
1. To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl blend butter until light and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined.
4. Add the milk and vanilla.
5. Add the dry ingredients.
6. Mix the batter thoroughly. It will be thick. I was surprised at how thick it was.
7. Fill the cupcake liners 1/2 full.
8. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. Let the cupcakes cool.
10. Hollow out some of the center of the cupcakes. I used a fork to do this, but a melon baller might work too.
11. Cut the tops off of the strawberries and insert one into each of the cupcakes.
12. Now to make the frosting, use a whisk attachment on your mixer to combine the cream cheese, sugar and extracts thoroughly. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. 
13. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl a couple of times.
14. Whip until the cream can hold stiff peaks.
15. Use a piping bag and frost the cupcakes.
16. Decorate the top with strawberries as you see fit. I cut them up into quarters and used 1 quarter per cupcake.
Makes 36 cupcakes
Note: If you are frosting the cupcakes in advance, make sure to keep them in the refrigerator. The frosting is still made out of dairy products that can go bad.