Smoky Lemon & Cilantro Chickpea Crostini

July 31, 2011

Mmmm….We love chickpeas around here and crostini now that I think about it. Not to mention wine…which goes so well with this appetizer. So I was quite happy to find this recipe on The Yellow House site. For those of you who have not found this beautiful blog, you absolutely must pay them a visit. It is just gorgeous! The Yellow House folks found this recipe on the Robert Sinskey Vineyards site (another beautiful site). I knew I had to make it right away and luckily had all the ingredients I needed ready to go. I did alter the original recipe somewhat by adding in some lovely fresh cilantro. I really like the fresh taste of cilantro and it paired very well with this dish. I do wish that I had had some crusty bread to toast into crostini, but alas, I did not, so we settled for store-bought crostini toasts, which were also quite good. We poured a couple of glasses of wine, and perhaps a few more after that… :) and enjoyed these fantastic little nibbles. Give them a try when you plan to open your next bottle of wine, you won’t be disappointed.

Smoky Lemon & Cilantro Chickpea Crostini

Recipe slightly adapted from The Yellow House who found it at Robert Sinskey Vineyards

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15.5 oz) of chickpeas-drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika plus more to sprinkle over crostini once assembled with chickpea dip
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread or package or crostini crackers

Directions:

Place all of the ingredients, minus the olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor, process until smooth. Run the processor while slowly adding the olive oil to emulsify. Turn out into a bowl and season to taste with salt. Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and adjust salt if necessary, about 30 minutes before serving.

Spread dip on any crostini cracker of your choice, or toast slices of crusty bread and rub them with the cut side of a garlic clove before topping with chickpea dip. Sprinkle crostini with smoked paprika and chives.


Strawberry Balsamic Jam

July 28, 2011

So, I  told you all about the delicious Struan loaves I baked and how Struan is the ultimate toasting bread. Believe me, ever since that bread has made its appearance, our toaster is working overtime! Slathering that crisp, toast with lashings of butter has been heavenly, but I decided we should really have some proper to jam to go along with it as well. I have never actually made jam at home. I only have a vague recollection of my mother canning when I was really young. Smuckers has been the main stay for most of my adult life. However, buoyed by my recent bread success, I somewhat anxiously decided to go ahead and try my hand at home-made Strawberry Balsamic Jam. Had I been thinking ahead, I would have called one of my closest friends, Theresa Storey, to find out all I would need to know about making jam. Theresa owns The Green Apron Artisan Preserve Company in Limerick Ireland.

Mouth-watering collection of Green Apron's Jams and Jellies

Her family has been making and selling their award-winning jams for over 30 years and are listed in the Bridgestone Best of Ireland Guide. She even teaches a Home Preserving Workshop! A no-brainer huh? I know an expert! However, I didn’t decide to set out on my jam making odyssey until about 6 pm EDT. That meant it was 11 pm in Ireland and I didn’t think it would be prudent to call anyone for an instructional pep talk at that hour. I didn’t want to wait until the next day, for fear I wouldn’t actually go through with it and my mouth was really watering at the thought of the wonderful jammy toast I would be eating for breakfast in the morning. So, I did call my Mom to get all of her advice on the in’s and out’s of canning and searched around for recipes online.

Jars sterilizing

Hooked on this season’s strawberries, I knew I wanted strawberry jam. After much searching and nail-biting, I decided on the recipe. I really didn’t change much about it. I did increase the sugar. The original recipe called for 2 cups of sugar, but I chose to use 3 cups.

Strawberries macerating

I was anxious that the jam wouldn’t set properly with such a low amount of sugar and no pectin (sure-jell) added in. Robin, at A Chow Life, had even tried to assuage her readers fears about this jam not setting in her original post. She said that the addition of the lemon juice and a longer cooking time would do the trick for this jam – no extra pectin was needed. I should have listened. My jam set up like a champ!

I think it would have also done so without that extra cup of sugar. Next time I will try it with the 2 cups of sugar as stated in the original recipe. One other change I made was that I added 1 teaspoon of butter to the mix. I had read that this would cut down on the amount of foaming that occurred while the jam was cooking. I actually had very little foam at all. Indeed I didn’t need to skim the jam once. So my first foray into jam-making was a success and I’m already planning my next endeavour – blueberry I think. But in the meantime, excuse me while I ponder the possibilities over my scrumptious jammy Struan toast!

Strawberry Balsamic Jam
adapted from A Chow Life
makes 5 (6 oz) jars
Ingredients:
  • 3 lb. strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. butter
Directions:
Toss the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice in a big bowl Let the mixture sit for one hour at room temperature until nice and juicy.
Fill a large pot with tap water. Submerge your jars and lids, making sure they are completely covered by the water. Boil the water.

Place a small plate into the refrigerator to chill. This will be used to test the jam consistency later.

On another burner, place the strawberry mixture,balsamic vinegar and butter into a pot and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Using a potato masher, mash the strawberries so they are not chunky, but fairly smooth. Boil, stirring frequently and skimming off the foam, for approximately 20 minutes. You can use a metal spoon to shave the foam off the boiling jam (it will not combine with the jam so it must be removed). Then, reduce heat and cook at a slow boil, skimming occasionally and stirring frequently to prevent scorching as jam thickens. This may take 35 minutes to 1 hour. Test the jam by placing a small spoonful of it onto the chilled plate and refrigerate 1 minute. Tilt plate and jam should not run down the plate

Drain jars on a clean dish towel. Ladle the jam into the jars leaving 1/4 inch room between the jam and the top of the jar. Remove lids from the boiling water with magnetic wand or canning tongs making sure you do not touch the outer rim of the jar and contaminate the sterilized jars. Screw rims onto jam jars. Using tongs, pick up the full jam jars and place them back into the boiling water for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove the jars and place them on the towel. As they cool, you should hear a ping type noise which tells you the jam jars are sealed. When you push down in the center of the top of the jar, there should be no click noise. Once they’ve sealed, tighten the rims and let the jam rest for one day before eating. (I actually gobbled mine down much sooner…no will power on the jam front I guess!)


Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Frozen Banana Pops

July 24, 2011

Sheesh! It’s been HOT around here. I know, I know…it’s summer in Virginia. What did I think it would be like? Well, I knew it would be hot, but I wasn’t thinking it would be over 100°F. Not to mention that our lovely Virginia humidity has kicked it and had it feeling like it was 120°F!!! We’re talking serious record-breaking HEAT! Well, I’m sorry. That is totally out of line! No one signed up for this suffocating nonsensical weather! No one wants to feel like their walking into a blast furnace every time they open the front door. It’s too dang HOT! That’s why these frozen banana pops were just right for dessert! Chocolatey, peanut buttery, frozen nostalgia on a stick. Awesome! Very easy to prepare and guaranteed to make folks smile. These frozen yummies might even make you momentarily forget the state of the mercury outside. I must admit, it didn’t really work on me. But then again, I am somewhat permanently grumpy during the summer months in Virginia….

Chocolate Peanut Butter Covered Frozen Banana Pops

recipe from Back to her Roots

Yield: 8 frozen Banana treats

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bag chocolate chips – I used dark chocolate, but use whatever chip you prefer :)
  • 1/4 heaping Cup of peanut butter
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 8 Candy-making sticks or wooden skewers
  • Whatever Toppings you prefer. I used mini chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers and multi-coloured cake sprinkles. Some other ideas-crushed up peanuts or the nut of your choosing, white chocolate chips, mini M&M’s or your favourite candy bar crushed up, coconut…get creative!

Directions:

Peel the bananas. Cut  a bit off of each end and then cut bananas in half.

Gently insert skewer in the bottom of each banana.

Place skewered bananas on cookie sheet and place in freezer for 30-45 minutes.

While bananas are chillin out, prepare the toppings of your choice.

Shortly before bananas are due to come out of the freezer, prepare the chocolate peanut butter coating. In a microwave safe bowl, place the bag of chocolate chips and the heaping 1/4 cup of peanut butter. Nuke the mixture for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until completely melted and thoroughly combined.

Remove bananas from freezer. Dip each banana half into chocolate peanut butter coating, using a spoon to aid in completely covering the banana with the coating. Gently shake off excess coating.

Before chocolate can completely harden, dip pop into your chosen topping, twirling and/or using a spoon to distribute topping equally over the length of the pop.

Place covered banana pops back on cookie sheet and put back in freezer for 1-2 hours.

Store in freezer in freezer-safe ziplock bags.

Enjoy!


Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

July 21, 2011

Heavens! I knew this recipe was going to be great the moment I saw it on Food on Fifth and I sure was right! Spoonbread is a slightly sweet cornmeal based dish popular in the southern U.S. I don’t know why it’s mostly popular there. They must be keeping it a bit of a secret cause it is super tasty. Jay and I just finished scarfing down our first servings, and it will be time for seconds any moment now! Spoonbread is really not so much “bread” but more like a soufflé or an airy cornmeal bread pudding. When you add in those fresh blueberries…it’s just unbelievably yummy. I couldn’t even figure out how to classify it…is it for breakfast or is it a dessert? I do declare, the answer is that it is for both and probably several other meals of the day if you’re lucky.

Blueberry Cornmeal Spoonbread

recipe from Food on Fifth

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh Blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoon cream
  • 2 Tablespoon softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs – separated
  • 1 teaspoon salt – the original recipe called for 1 teaspoon of salt, which is what I used. My husband totally digs salt, so he was quite pleased with it. If you don’t like as much salt, you could probably reduce it by 1/2.
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling over the top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

In saucepan bring buttermilk and sugar to low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of pan, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Turn heat down to low and stir with the whisk for 8 minutes. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Beat egg whites with salt until stiff. Set aside.

Whisk butter and vanilla into cooled cornmeal mixture.

Add egg yolks to mixture and whisk until blended.

Stir in cream with whisk.

Gently fold in egg whites.

Pour 1/2 mixture into buttered baking dish and top with 1/2 blueberries. Spread the rest of cornmeal mixture over berries. Top with a scattering of the remaining berries.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown and it is firm but wobbly in the center. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.

* This recipe doesn’t make a whole mess of spoonbread. The dish I used is an 8×10 oval gratin style dish. An 8×8 dish would likely work fine. Or individual ramekins might be nice.


Struan – Celtic Harvest Bread

July 18, 2011

Struan, a soft, enriched multigrain loaf, is my all-time favourite bread, hands down! The bread likely originated in Scotland and was a once-a-year harvest bread which contained all of the grains and seeds which were available from the harvest. Don’t get me wrong, I really love Irish Brown Bread and Irish Soda Bread. But Struan is just so versatile. It’s great for sandwiches and unbelievably awesome when toasted. Up until recently, I had never baked it myself. Believe me, I had found a reliable source for the precious loaves. Lucky for us, Atwater’s, which does a fabulous rendition of Struan, has a stand at the Falls Church Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. I would venture down there every 6 weeks or so and buy 4-5 loaves at a time. It freezes fantastically well! Of course this meant that our freezer was largely occupied by stacks of bread, but hey…we loved this bread so much that limited freezer space seemed a small price to pay. Then I got the crazy idea that I would just go ahead and try to bake it myself. I have actually always been a bit apprehensive of baking any kind of yeast bread. Quick breads were no problem, but the whole yeast thing seemed rather mysterious and somewhat scary to me. Peter Reinhart, whose pizza dough recipe is in high rotation in our house, has a recipe for Struan in his Artisan Breads Every Day book. This book is fantastic! It’s chock full of great recipes and explains the technique, in simple language, that you need to master in order to produce these world-class breads. If you are at all interested in bread baking, it really is a must. I have not managed to work my way through the book entirely, but he hasn’t disappointed us yet! So my desire to taste freshly baked Struan bread, right out of the oven, trumped my irrational fear of yeast breads and I gave his Struan recipe a go. Once I actually got into it, I found it really wasn’t very difficult to do at all. It did take a bit of time what with the planning ahead stuff and rising time, but I felt so completely self-satisfied and proud when my gorgeous, home-baked Struan bread came out of the oven.

Not to mention, it was truly delicious! Slightly different from our Atwater’s standard in that it was not as dense, definitely lighter, but still had great texture. I was very pleased with the whole experience and am already planning to bake my next couple loaves. Actually, truth be told, I need to go ahead and bake more as we’ve already managed to devour the first two! :) I think Atwater’s is going to miss me!

Struan

Makes 2 Loaves or many rolls

Recipe from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups (22.5 oz/638 g) unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 cup (1.5 oz/42.5 g) coarse cornmeal (polenta grind)
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz/28 g) rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons (0.75 oz/21 g) wheat bran or oat bran
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz/56.5 g) cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz/56.5 g) brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (0.66 oz./19 g) salt, or 3 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (0.66 oz/19 g) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1 oz/28.5 g) honey or agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz/340 g) lukewarm water (about 95°F or 35° C)
  • 1/2 cup(4 oz/113 g) lukewarm buttermilk, yogurt, or any other milk (about 95°F or 35° C)
  • Poppy seeds or sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Do Ahead

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and mix on the lowest speed for  2 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to fully hydrate the flour.

Once again, mix on the slowest speed with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes more. The dough should be very tacky or slightly sticky. *

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, then dust the top fo the dough with flour. Lightly knead the dough for 2-3 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough will still be soft and sticky but should hold together to for a soft, supple ball. With oiled hands, reach under on end of the dough, stretch it out, then fold it back onto itself. Do this from the back-end and then from each side. Flip the dough over and tuck it into a ball.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Repeat this entire process three more times, completing all repetitions within 40 minutes.

Place dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight for up to 5 days.

On Baking Day

Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 2 hours before you plan to bake. Shape the cold dough into one or more sandwich loaves using 28 oz of dough for 4 1/2 x 8 inch loaf pans and 36 oz. for 5×9 loaf pans. (After making this bread many times, I generally take all of the dough from one batch and shape it into one sandwich loaf which I bake in a 5×9″ pan. I used to divide the dough and make two loaves, but I prefer the fuller loaf that I get by just using the one pan.) The dough can also be shaped into any size freestanding loaf you desire; or into rolls using 2 oz of dough per roll.

For sandwich loaves, proof the dough in greased loaf pans.

Brush the top of the dough with water and sprinkle with poppy seeds (if you wish) then mist with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Let the dough rise a room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until increased to about 1 1/2 times its original size. In loaf pans, the dough should dome at least 1 inch above the rim.

About 15 minutes prior to baking preheat the oven to 350° F (177°C).

Bake the loaves for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan. The total baking time is 45-60 minutes for loaves and only 20 – 25 minutes for rolls. The bread is done when it has a rich golden color, the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and the internal temperature is able 185°F (85°C)

Cool for at least 20 minutes for rolls and 1 hour for large loaves before slicing or serving.

*Sticky dough means the dough will stick to a dry finger when you poke it. Tacky dough behaves more like a post-it not, sticking to your finger but peeling off easily. With very tacky dough it means a little bit of dough may stick to your finger, but most of it peels off easily.


Oreo Stuffed Brownie Bits for Bitly’s Three Year Birthday Party

July 14, 2011

Last Thursday, July 7th, Bitly turned three years old! Jay and I travelled up to New York to the Betaworks office to celebrate with the Bitly team and to further mark the event, I baked a whole lot of Oreo Stuffed Brownie Bits. Over 100 of those little devils! Oh, and that is “Bits” not “bites”. Get it….bits for Bitly? Anyway…I’m sure by now many of you are wondering “What in the world is Bitly?” Bitly is a URL shortener which allows its users to not only shorten their long URL’s, which is very important in these days of 140 character tweets, but also aids them in sharing and tracking their links. Furthermore, it allows them to view complete, real-time traffic and analytics data as well. You may have noticed “Bit.ly” if you use Twitter, but Bitly also powers more than 10,000 custom short URL’s. So if you see a short URL, Bitly is most likely behind it.

Bitly Icon

My husband is the Architect for Bitly, and wrote the first rev of the product three years ago, hence our inclusion in the festivities, which were held at Madam Geneva’s on Bowery and Bleeker. Madam Geneva, which was named for the 18th Century English slang for Gin, is a hip bar and lounge with a speak-easy vibe located adjacent to the Double Crown restaurant.

Bitly crowd at Madam Geneva

They serve a tasty specialty cocktail which consists of your choice of several different jams or preserves served over ice with gin or vodka. Yummy!

Jammy Cocktail's at the Madam's

We had a great time and I’m delighted to say folks seemed to enjoy my Oreo Stuffed Brownie Bits. I think they were a perfect treat for a Bitly-centric party, compact – like their URL’s – but packing a powerful punch! The mini Oreo cookies do get a bit softer during baking, but still provides a nice crunchy contrast to the gooey, fudgy brownie surrounding it. Not everyone in the office knew that a mini Oreo was secreted away in the middle of those little morsels, so it was quite amusing to occasionally hear after someone’s first bite, “Oh my God…there’s a freakin Oreo in here!”

I adapted this recipe from an Oreo-Stuffed Brownie recipe on Sing For Your Supper. They made regular sized brownies with their favourite King Arthur Flour Brownie recipe (now a favourite of mine as well) and stuffed them with full-sized double stuff Oreo’s. As mentioned, I was looking for a smaller, easily portable treat, so I opted to make individual, mini cupcake -like treats.

Batter-Topped Oreo-Stuffed Brownie Bits and those awaiting their top layer of batter before baking

However, if you’d rather super-size your brownies, that is definitely an option. Just use full sized Oreos, full sized chocolate chips, a 9×13 pan and bake them for about 35-40 minutes. No matter what the size, these guys are addictive! Make some today!

Oreo Stuffed Brownie Bits

Recipe adapted from Sing For Your Supper

Makes 48 oreo stuffed brownie bits

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 package mini oreo cookies

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners or lightly grease each well of the pan.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot, but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, beat the eggs, cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.

Using a small cookie scoop, fill the scoop halfway with the brownie batter. Place batter in the bottom of each muffin well. Place one mini Oreo cookie on top of the batter in each of the muffin wells. Top each Oreo with another one half cookie scoop of batter. Bake for about 18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the brownie bits for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!


Root Beer Float Cupcakes

July 10, 2011

Have Mercy! My kitchen is in shambles, every dish is dirty, it is a true, honest to goodness mess. But do you know what I have now? Root Beer Float Cupcakes! Wait…let me say it slower…root beer…float…cupcakes! Yup…you heard me. I mean, I love root beer all on its lonesome. I love root beer floats even more. And well, anyone who knows me knows I have a BIG thing for cupcakes. I’ve got all three awesome things wrapped into just one in these little dickens. They even have home-made hot fudge sauce on top. Good Lord! Now, I must admit, these little guys were not easy to make. There were a bunch of steps, and as I mentioned, LOTS of dirty dishes. Oh well, no pain, no gain – hopefully I’m not talking about weight here, though these little gems are amazingly decadent!  It didn’t help matters that I doubled the recipe. I thought Root Beer Float Cupcakes would be perfect for a 4th of July cookout I was attending and wanted to make sure there were enough to go around.

Root Beer seems pretty “American” to me and the “Float” part is quite nostalgic. Everyone loves cupcakes, a very portable and picnic-friendly dessert. So I got to work on these. and I worked…and I worked…In all honesty, I must admit, there is nothing really hard here. Just a bit time-consuming. But it paid off in the end. The cupcakes looked fantastic and got rave reviews at the cookout. So, when you’ve got a bit of time on your hands, and a hankering for a root beer flavoured delectible…I’ve got just the thing for you!

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons root beer concentrate
  • 1/3 cup root beer
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4-5 Root Beer Barrel hard candies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk egg and sugar until smooth and no lumps remain. Add cream, butter and vanilla, and mix until combined. Stir in sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet mixture. Add root beer concentrate and root beer. Mix until batter is smooth. Line a muffin tin with liners and using a heaping 1/4 cup measure, add batter to each cup. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Place root beer barrel candies in food processor and pulse until the candies are finely ground. Set aside.

Vanilla and Root Beer Frosting

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon root beer extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter until smooth. On low-speed, add powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time. I know, I know, this is tedious but will result in a frosty that is smooth and creamy, not grainy and you will likely not need all 4 cups of the powdered sugar to reach appropriate frosting consistency, if you add the sugar in slowly like this. Increase speed to bring the frosting together. Add milk and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Remove almost all of the vanilla frosting, leaving behind about 1/3-1/2 cup in the mixer. Set vanilla frosting aside. Add root beer extract to remaining frosting in the bowl and beat until it comes together.

Prep two pastry bags (or you can simply use spoons) and fill one with vanilla frosting and the other with root beer frosting. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, using your 1″ round cookie cutter or apple corer, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, cutting down 2/3 of the way through the cakes. Pipe the root beer frosting into the holes, filling each cupcake to the top. Then use the vanilla frosting filled pastry bag to finish frosting the cupcakes. Sprinkle pulverized root beer barrel candy over the top of each cupcake.

Hot Fudge Sauce

ingredients:

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Cup scalding milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and flour in a bowl over a double boiler. Bring milk to a boil. Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.

Once it has reached your desired thickness – I like mine pretty fudgy, so I probably cooked it for about 15 -20 minutes or so – remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Store in refrigerator.

*This recipe makes a good deal of sauce, which will keep well in the fridge.You will have lots left over for ice cream topping, or actual root beer floats in the future!

Fill another pastry bag with hot fudge sauce, which has reached room temperature,  and pipe a large dollop of fudge on the very top center of each cupcake. The fudge will flow down the sides a bit. Place maraschino cherry on top of each cake.

Enjoy!


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