Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's NOT the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I wanted to try my hand at another souffle! I felt such satisfaction when I made my last one...since I've heard they are quite tricky to make. And since October for me was "Pumpkin month" (yes, I know it is now November...I'm behind!)...I decided to make a pumpkin souffle!
This was my third try at beating egg whites into foam peaks. I think I'm getting pretty good at it! Some might even say...I'm a pro. ;-) Just kidding! But I'm pretty darn good.
I combined all other ingredients like the directions said...and because everyone that reviewed it said there was WAY too much orange zest (1 tablespoon), I halved it. I then VERY gently folded the "egg white foam" into the rest of the mixture, put it into one large souffle dish and popped it into the oven (might I add for quite a bit longer than the recipe called for)!
I pulled the beautiful souffle out of the oven and let it sit to harden and cool for a little while. It was absolute torture...I couldn't wait to eat the deliciousness!
Casey and I cut a slice...took a few pictures and took a bite!
IT WAS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING BEYOND ALL BELIEF!!! Even though I halved the orange zest...I probably should've quartered it or even less. It was OVERWHELMINGLY orangey and bitter. So...very...horrible.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Spice...is SO VERY Nice!

So, since I declared October "Pumpkin Month"...I wanted to find something super delicious and cute (and of course "pumpkin-y") to bring to work. I stumbled upon this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing and decided to make little fondant fall leaf/acorn "accents" to make the cupcakes even cuter! The day I found the recipe, I received a Williams-Sonoma catalog in the mail and found these "pie crust cutters"...which I thought would work perfectly with the fondant. Not only do they cut the shapes...they also imprint them as well! I headed to MacArthur Mall in Norfolk to the closest Williams-Sonoma and picked up these little $18.00 cutters (yes...I promise to use them more than once, Mom) and a few other cool items.

Since I wanted to make these cupcakes super cute, I wanted special cupcake liners! After going to Michaels, Ben Franklin and Wal-Mart...we finally found the PERFECT liners at "Factory Card Outlet". I was so very excited! I don't think anything that inexpensive has ever made me so excited. lol. Are these not the PERFECT liners? I think so!

I think this was the first time I've ever made cupcakes from scratch. Normally I just throw together a cake mix and pour the mix in the cupcake pan. Well NO WAY for these. These MUST be made from scratch! I threw all of the ingredients together as the directions said to do...and turned the mixer on high...and covered myself and the counter with the "dry mixture". Why, oh why...do I do these things? A SMART person starts on low....but I...do not. LUCKILY I had just cleaned the counters...so I just gathered the mess and threw it back in the bowl. lol. I didn't have enough ingredients to start over...and I figured...why not? I was hoping and praying that I didn't lose too much of the baking powder and soda that the cupcakes wouldn't rise or turn out.

I filled my new Williams-Sonoma Pancake Pen with the batter for the cupcakes. I figured the batter was about as thick as pancake batter so it would work. I was right...the Pancake Pen worked perfectly and made filling the cupcake liners a breeze! HOORAY!

I then popped the filled cupcake liners into the oven and to my surprise....they turned out wonderfully (although my cupcake liners absorbed some moisture from the cupcakes and turned kind of dark...boo!). I had just created 24 of the most AMAZING smelling cupcakes ever!

While the cupcakes were cooling, Casey kneaded and dyed the store-bought fondant (that's right...I BOUGHT it!). He rolled it out for me and then we went to cutting the shapes with the 18.00 pie crust cutters! They worked WONDERFULLY with the fondant...I was so excited! We made an even amount of each shape and set them out to harden overnight. (We also tasted one since we had never had fondant before, and let me say...I never want to have fondant again! GROSS!)

The next day, I made the cinnamon cream cheese icing that the recipe called for. This...was...some AMAZING stuff. I'm pretty sure it's Casey's new favorite icing! I first tried to ice the cupcakes with my pampered chef icing tool...and it was a big horrible mess. It took WAY too much frosting on each cupcake to make them look nice. Who wants THAT much frosting on a cupcake? Not me! I then scraped the icing off the one cupcake I tried and decided to do this step by hand. It definitely took awhile, but I suppose they turned out okay. I think it was much better this way...because the icing was so sweet, if I would've piled it on it would've overpowered the awesome tasting cupcakes! I then placed a dried "accent leaf/acorn" on each cupcake...and they were as cute as could be!

I packed them all up in my new cupcake carrier and couldn't wait to take them to work the next day. Once I arrived at work, I told everyone about the cupcakes and they were gone before lunchtime was even in sight. Everyone RAVED over these cupcakes! I am now being called "the Betty Crocker of Riverside". I'll take it. (Oh...and everyone took my suggestion and threw the fondant accents away! A few brave souls tried a bite...and then quickly discarded the accents as I suggested!)

Overall...this was a fairly easy recipe and it was definitely worth all the hunting for the perfect tools for the job. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect cupcake! (And PS: Amanda...seriously...how do you love making cupcakes so much? Icing them takes FOREVER! I think I'll stick with baking cakes and let you keep making your amazing cupcake creations!)