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Friday, December 24, 2010
Getting back to blogging after a month long haitus is proving to be harder than I thought. Amidst meetings in New Jersey, shopping in Manhattan and catching up with friends in Conneticut, I put all blogging activites on the back burner. When I got back a week ago, I found myself drawn into a spring cleaning mode - it all started with the bumper load I lugged back from Williams Sonoma - I desperately had to clear out old clutter to make way.... for shiny new toys. Things got worse when the company's account department cast their ultimatum, warning me that if I do not submit my 9 months' old overdue expense reports, I can kiss all my money good-bye...... that was my week leading up to the Christmas holidays.
As cold as it might be, Manhanttan was absolutely lovely around Christmas and drew visitors like a big magnet. Some highlights of my 3 weeks stay in US included my usual walk in Central Park on the only sunny Saturday before the chills set in, lingered in Williams Sonoma and Wholefoods supermarket, played X-box in a mobile arcade, cooked at the Vikings Culinary Center and ate some good food and...some not so good ones.
Interestingly, I was inspired to bake this Gingerbread Cupcake because of an unpleasant cupcake experience I had in Conneticut. I was told that when well known Cupcake Bake Shop, Crumbs opened one of its latest branch at posh and trendy Westport, it made the neighbourhood quite happy. However, I was skeptical right from the moment I walked into the store. The cupcakes were bigger than my fists and although there appeared to be a myriad of mouth watering flavours to choose from, their 'Signature size', in my opinion, took away their prettiness. We bought 2 cupcakes, the GingerBread and the Apple Caramel to bring home for after dinner dessert. Both were so coyingly sweet that I had to throw out my share after one bite.
The recipe I have chosen today is taken from Martha Stewart's Cupcake cook book. This has to be one of the best cupcakes I have had for a long time.
I like this even better than the Donna Hay chocolate cupcake. The Christmasy spices are warm and comforting. Devoid of any milk/liquid or leavening agent, the cupcake turned out to be suprisingly soft and fluffy. If you are still deliberating on what to bake for Christmas, I would strongly recommend this.
Last but not least, before I return to my expense reports, here's wishing all my lovely friends out there a Merry and Wonderful Christmas!
P.S. : Swee San, thanks for the reminder. I will be more than happy to submit this for your giveaway event.
So, officially - This is my entry for the Christmas Giveaway hosted by Swee San of The Sweet Spot.
Recipe : (Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes)
1.5Cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1.5 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tbsp unsulfured molasses
4 large eggs , room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar (I cut the sugar by 50%)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Gingerbread Cookie cutouts
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners . Sift flour together with spices.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the molasses, and beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour.
3. Spoon out batter into cupcake liners to 3/4 full.
4. Bake in oven for 25 mins or until skewer inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
113g Unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
80g Icing sugar
1/8 tsp Vanilla extract
1. Beat butter using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Reduce speed of mixer and add in icing sugar.
3. Add in Vanilla extract and beat until smooth and creamy.
5.5 cups All purpose flour
1 tsp Baking soda
1 tbsp plus 1tsp Ground ginger
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup Unsalted butter
1 cup Packed dark-brown sugar
2 Large eggs
1.5 cups Unsulfured molasses
1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. With the electric mixer on medium high speed, cream buter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs and molasses and beat to combine. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined.
2. Divide dough into 3 portions. Flatten in to a disc and place in a plastic bag. Refrigerate until firm.
3. Roll out each disc to just under 1/4 inch thick.
4. Cut with mini gingerbread man cookie cutter.
5. Bake cookies until crisp - 8 to 10mins. Cool down and store in air tight tin.