Tuesday, July 13, 2010

maple syrup sweets

When I was a little kid, syrup was one of my absolute favorite foods (along with the frozen dinosaur chicken nuggets, pancakes, and sweet potato baby food; I obviously had a very mature palate). On the mornings that I was allowed to have pancakes of waffles for breakfast, I would drown them in ooey gooey syrup. Once I was done - and it pains me to admit this - I would lick the left over syrup off the plate. To say that I liked the sweet stuff was an understatement. So when my mother asked me to create a few desserts for her book club using maple syrup as the key ingredient, I had plenty of ideas.

First I did a maple bread pudding. I used a fresh loaf of cinnamon raisin bread and let it sit out a bit to harden up so it would absorb more of the liquid ingredients. The result was a mapley, raisiny pan of french-toast-like goodness. Here's the recipe!

Then, because I had extra maple syrup (and because it would have been a shame to let it go to waste), I made maple spice cupcakes with a maple buttercream frosting, topped with a sprinkle of crushed candied walnuts. I think next time I would add the walnuts to the batter and make muffins instead, but they were delicious either way.

You can find the recipe here!

Friday, July 2, 2010

cheaters cupcakes

When I was in 8th grade, I won an award for being the most active member in one of the clubs I was in. The real reason I won the award? I was the only one who baked for any of the bake sales. Cupcakes were my favorite, and whipping up boxed-cake-mix delicacies were my specialty. Now however, as a somewhat serious baker, I don't love using boxed cake mix. But when I'm short on time and know that the crowd I'm feeding won't recognize the difference I'll skip the hassle and use boxed. For a birthday bbq last weekend I made regular yellow cake cupcakes and used buttercream and milk chocolate frostings. So they weren't so boring, I made sure to decorate them nicely.

[ aren't they cute?!]