Archive for June, 2011

18
Jun
11

Strawberry-Basil Lemonade

Strawb_lemonade

This is the drink that inspired my Strawberry-Basil Lemonade Cupcakes. This is a really refreshing, delicious drink to have around on a hot day.

1 cup granulated sugar

6 – 8 cups water, divided

a handful of fresh basil leaves

1 cup puréed strawberries

1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the sugar and 2 cups of the water to a saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a rapid simmer and the sugar has dissolved, about 7 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the basil leaves, and cover the saucepan. Let steep for 10 minutes, then check the flavour of the simple syrup. If you don’t taste enough basil in it, steep for 5 to 10 minutes more and check again. Measure out 1 cup of the syrup.

In a large pitcher, combine the strawberry purée, the lemon juice, and 1 cup of the basil syrup. Stir to combine. Add 4 cups water and taste. Pour in additional water if the flavour is too strong. Chill until cold and serve over ice.

Advertisements
17
Jun
11

Strawberry-Basil Lemonade Cupcakes – recipe 2 from the Cupcake Interview

As Hilary noted in the interview, these were inspired by a strawberry-basil lemonade I made about a week prior (which will be posted shortly), which was inspired in turn by a delicious cocktail I had at the Nelligan in Montreal. I wanted to make something quite bright to contrast with the heavier flavours in the s’mores cupcakes. These cupcakes have a lemon-basil cake, are filled with lemon curd, and are topped with a strawberry-basil frosting.

Str-bas-lem2

Lemon-Basil cupcakes

2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest

1 handful fresh basil leaves

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 recipe lemon curd (there are so many different recipes out there, but the flavour profile remains similar – for this version, I decided to try the lemon curd recipe from Baked)

1 recipe Strawberry-Meringue Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 325º F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Add the lemon zest, basil leaves and sugar to the bowl of a food processor, tearing the basil leaves into slightly smaller pieces as you add them. Pulse 4 or 5 times, until the mixture is uniform with a minimal amound of basil leaves visible. Measure out 1 cup of the lemon-basil sugar and reserve the remainder for the frosting.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the 1 cup of lemon-basil sugar and the lemon juice. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter. Add the lemon-basil sugar mixture and mix well.

Add the vanilla to the almond milk.

Alternately add the almond milk and flour mixtures to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make lemon curd using your preferred recipe. Chill until cold and set. Then, fill muffins with lemon curd using your preferred method.

Frost with Strawberry-Meringue Frosting.

Strawberry-Meringue Frosting

1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and coarsely chopped

reserved lemon-basil sugar

splash of lemon juice

4 egg whites

1/2 cup invert sugar or corn syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

Toss the strawberries with the lemon-basil sugar and the lemon juice. Let macerate for at least an hour, then purée until smooth.

Meanwhile, set a small pot of water to simmer. Add the egg whites, invert sugar and sugar to the bowl of a standmixer and place the bowl over the simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved, the mixture has lightened, and the temperature has reached 160º F. Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and replace it in the stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat on high until it has increased in volume, cooled, and turned bright white.

Add the butter, a knob at a time, until incorporated. Pour in the strawberry purée, a little at a time, until the desired colour and flavour are reached. Pipe the frosting onto the filled cupcakes.

16
Jun
11

Strawberry-Rhubarb Oat Crumble Muffins

Strawb-rhub_muffins

Now that rhubarb’s in season, I’m delighted to be able to make a strawberry-rhubarb muffin for my Social Media Breakfast lineup. Aside from the streusel topping, these are wheat-free, and for the next Social Media Breakfast I’ll have a spelt-based streusel to top them with. They begin with a strawberry-rhubarb compote, and some oats add heartiness.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp turbinado sugar

1/2 cup coarsely chopped strawberries

1/2 cup coarsely chopped rhubarb

2 tsp lemon juice

a splash of vanilla (I use homemade rum-based vanilla)

Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the sugar, strawberries, and rhubarb. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Sauté until the rhubarb is tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the vanilla. Set aside to cool.

Streusel

1/2 cup flour of your choice

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

1/2 cup butter, cold

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup each of flour and brown sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the entire mixture looks gravelly. Reserve 1/3 cup for using on the muffins and store the remainder in the freezer – it’s great for a quick apple crisp.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Oat Crumble Muffins

1 cup oats

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/3 cup turbinado sugar

1/4 cup canola oil

splash vanilla

1 cup all-purpose spelt flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

1 recipe strawberry-rhubarb compote

1/3 cup streusel topping

Preheat the oven to 400º F and line a muffin tin with paper liners. In a small bowl, stir together the oats and buttermilk. Set aside so the oats can absorb some of the buttermilk.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, canola oil and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the oat-buttermilk mixture and the canola oil mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Stir in the strawberry-rhubarb compote. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with some streusel.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean.

15
Jun
11

S’mores cupcakes – recipe 1 from Cupcake Interview on Local Tourist Ottawa

Smores_cupcakes

I recently had the great fortune to be interviewed by Ottawa’s Hilary Duff, who is on a delicious quest to find Ottawa’s best cupcakes for the Local Tourist Ottawa blog. I’ve been avidly reading Hilary’s research since her hunt began, so I was quite thrilled to make some cupcakes for her.

The first flavour I decided on was S’mores. A while back, while sipping some Laphroaig, I got it in my head that the campfire qualities of a nice, peaty Scotch would go brilliantly with marshmallows and, by extension, s’mores. I had a hypothetical cupcake in my head, and now I had a reason to develop it. The cupcakes would have to have enough whole wheat flour to impart the graham flavour. The tricky bit would be finding the right combination of sweeteners to achieve that nostalgic flavour of store-bought graham crackers. I first attempted the cupcakes with a combination of honey and molasses but found that the molasses imparted too much of a gingerbread flavour.

The next step was to decide on the filling. Would the cupcakes be filled with chocolate and dressed with marshmallow, or vice versa? It was an easy decision to sort out. The marshmallow had to be on the outside so that I could use my brulée torch (which I will make any excuse to use on a dessert) and get a roasted marshmallow flavour. Though I attempted to make a Scotch-based marshmallow fluff, it wound up being too runny and the flavour didn’t stand out enough against the sweetness of the frosting. Instead, I opted to paint the filled cupcakes with Lagavulin, then frost the cupcakes and torch the marshmallow.

The chocolate filling, I think is a matter of personal preference. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe for hot fudge sauce from his book The Perfect Scoop. However, I think any recipe for ganache or chocolate sauce would work quite well. I personally enjoy a deep, dark, chocolatey flavour in s’mores over the traditional milk chocolate – I find the milk chocolate flavour to be too cloying for me to enjoy the combination.

Smores_cupcakes_filling

Graham cracker cupcakes

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. whole wheat flour (freshly milled, if possible – Castor River Farms at Lansdowne’s farmers’ market has fantastic, milled-on-the-spot flour)

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar

3/4 c. honey

2 eggs

3/4 c. buttermilk

1 – 2 tbsp. Lagavulin or other peaty Scotch, divided

1 recipe chocolate filling of your choice.

1 recipe marshmallow frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk in the whole wheat flour and salt. Set aside.

Cut the butter into small pieces and place in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt, stirring occasionally. Let the butter cook until the foam begins subsiding and most of the bits on the bottom of the pan begin turning reddish-amber. The butter will give off a heavenly, nutty aroma.

Pour the butter into a jar or heatproof container (125 mL mason jars are my favourite kitchen accessory for things just like this). Cover and refrigerate just until cool, 30 minutes to an hour. Pour the browned butter into a bowl. Whisk in the sugar and honey. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the Scotch.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir until just combined. Divide batter evenly among the lined muffin cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in a muffin comes out clean.

Makes about 12 cupcakes.

When cupcakes are cool, fill with your choice of chocolate filling using your preferred method for filling cupcakes. Using the pastry brush, paint each cupcake with the Lagavulin

*note: for Hilary’s interview, I piped in the filling. This did not give a satisfactory amount of chocolate filling in the cupcake, so for the batch pictured above, I hunted for techniques around the web until I found this one, which gives a nice truffle-sized amount of filling.

Marshmallow frosting

4 egg whites

1/2 cup invert sugar

seeds from 1 vanilla bean

1 1/2 cups sugar

Set a small pot of water to a simmer. Add all ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer and set the bowl over the simmering water, making sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk constantly, checking the temperature from time to time (or by attaching a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl). The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will grow lighter and more opaque in colour. When the temperature reaches 235º 160º F, remove the bowl from the pot and replace it in the stand mixer. Using the whick attachment, mix on high for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture has cooled, turned bright white and considerably increased in volume. Scoop the marshmallow frosting into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and pipe onto the filled cupcakes.

Using a brulée torch, toast the frosting until golden in most places and very slightly burned in others – this uneven toasting, for me, really gets the campfire feel across. Alternately, you could set the cupcakes under a broiler on high for 2 – 3 minutes, or until the frosting is toasted to your liking.