Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sweet meet Salty (Caramel)

It has been a while since I have posted, sorry about that.  The holiday season has been busy to say the least, but I have been trying new recipes.  And the star cupcake I have recently taken on is the chocolate salted caramel cupcake!  It just sounds decadent, doesn't it?  A friend of mine asked me to try and make one for her.  It is a chocolate cupcake with salted caramel filling and a salted caramel buttercream.  Take a look...

You can't see it very well, but on top of the caramel drizzle is a sprinkling of sea salt...sweet and salty in one awesome bite!

Did I mention that this is a homemade creamy salted caramel?  It doesn't get any better than that!  Here is how it happens...
This is how it starts...
then it starts to look like this, then...
I add some of this, and...
this is how it ends up!

I mean, look how yummy that looks.  Combine with chocolate and...heaven!
You might need to fight the urge to lick your computer screen :)

So, what do you think of these treats?  Any ideas on new cupcake flavors I can try?  I can tell you that I plan to tackle a gluten-free cupcake soon, so stay tuned.
Congrats to Ruth, who won December's drawing for a free dozen cupcakes!!  Check back again in January for another drawing.

Tip of the Blog: 
When doing anything involving cooking sugar, be very careful-it gets extremely hot!  Always make sure that it doesn't splatter and it's best not to stick your finger in it to test it-you might end up with a sore finger.  To give you an idea how hot the sugar needs to be to be completely melted and ready to finish a caramel sauce, it has to be at a temperature of 350 degrees-ouch! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot like...well, you know!

Christmas is my all-time favorite time of year.  My family celebrates the birth of Jesus and everything the season has to offer.  I came up with a couple of holiday-inspired cupcakes to get in the mood: orange-cranberry and mint chocolate chip.  And to try out how well these flavors worked, I had the opportunity to be a vendor at a local craft fair this past weekend.  I have never sold at a craft fair before, so this was a bit of a nerve-wracking experience.  How many cupcakes do I make?  How to showcase them?  How well will they sell?  I ended up making over 300 (yes, folks, 300!) cupcakes.  I made my holiday cupcakes as well as Snickerdoodles.  Thankfully, I had a good friend help me (again, thank you Denise!!).  I think I overestimated how many cupcakes I would need, but I got great feedback on my cupcakes.  The fair was successful, though, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Take a look at my table and these delicious cupcakes:
Here I am...freezing! It was pretty chilly in the building. Luckily, my sweet hubby went home and got me some boots!
I used frames to display the price list and a flyer describing the business
Cranberry-Orange with Orange Buttercream
Mint Chocolate Chip with Mint Buttercream
Snickerdoodle with Cinnamon Buttercream
As I said before, I had such a great time and enjoyed seeing all the other vendors.  I even got some Christmas shopping done! 

Now, since my first random drawing was such a success, I am going to do another one for December.  Go to my Facebook page and find the picture of the Mint Chocolate Chip cupcakes and "like" it by December 18th.  If you win, you can pick between either the Cranberry-Orange or the Mint Chocolate Chip to have delivered by Christmas!

Tip of the Blog:
The Cranberry-Orange cupcakes were garnished with orange peel.  When grating any fruit peel (called the zest), be cautious to only grate the outer peel and not the white pith underneath.  The pith is bitter and will take away from the sweetness of the zest.  If you are looking to add some great flavor to a batter, zest is the way to go!