Fruit

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

by Shawnda on July 4, 2014

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Brownies,Cherries,Chocolate,Fruit

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

Raise your hand if you have been hoarding cherries! [raises hand]

[shoves cherry in mouth, wipes fingers on jeans, raises other hand]

If you’ve ever wanted to make fresh cherry or strawberry cupcakes, you’ve probably run into similar problems: the surprising lack of recipes out there with natural ingredients and real fruit. Because if it’s anything the food industry can do, it’s really process the &^%$ out of something.

(Don’t get me started on Pistachio Muffins that contain absolutely no pistachios whatsoever.) (YOU CAN’T JUST DUMP GREEN FOOD COLORING AND ALMOND EXTRACT INTO MUFFIN BATTER AND CALL IT PISTACHIO MUFFINS.)

[takes deep breath, smooths hair]

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

There’s no reason to use Jello, extracts, and unidentifiable chunks of [fruit]-flavored not-fruit at the height of cherry season.

I took my favorite cake recipe (the 1234) and folded fresh cherry puree into the batter along with the tiniest amount of almond extract. The result was a fluffy, moist, pink cake using only real cherries and actually tasted like cherries.

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

Until I dumped a bunch of chocolate glaze on top and then it just tasted like my morning 2-mile run never happened.

Fresh Cherry Cupcakes

Moist, fluffy, and pink cupcakes made with fresh cherries.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb cherries, pitted
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt*
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg whites (can use 4 whole eggs instead but the yolks might slightly affect your color)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1-2 drops red food gel (optional)
  • 1 recipe Chocolate Glaze
  • *An equal amount of buttermilk or sour cream would also work. I no longer buy buttermilk and just substitute nonfat Greek yogurt in all recipes.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with ~30 (sorry) cupcake liners.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together for ~3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
  3. Place pitted cherries and lemon juice in the blender or food processor and process until mostly smooth.
  4. Stir the yogurt into the cherries.
  5. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
  6. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract to the butter and mix until uniform.
  7. Add half the cherry mixture to the bowl and mix, switching the speed to low and adding half the dry ingredients.
  8. Scrape down the bowl and repeat.
  9. If you want to add 1-2 drops of food coloring, here is the time to do that - you don't have to, but if you don't think your batter is pink enough, just add 1 or 2 drops (I added 1 drop of Americolor Red Red).
  10. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners and bake ~18 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center cupcake comes out with only moist crumbs attached.
  11. Cool completely before frosting or glazing.

Notes

Yields: 30 cupcakes

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 1 hour 15 minutes

{ 13 comments }

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Muffins

Happy July! You know what that means? The internet will drown in red, white, and blue foods for a week and Jason will sprain his side-eye before the holiday weekend at my obnoxious, overuse of the phrase “birthday month.” But it is my birthday month.

And if you’re already tired of looking at “patriotic” food that’s “absolutely perfect” for your weekend cookout, then you’re in luck. Because food can’t be patriotic. And muffins wouldn’t be my first choice to bring to a cookout either. (What would be? Banana pudding.)

But breakfast? TOTALLY DIFFERENT STORY.

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Muffins

Fresh cherries (I think I only have 10 lbs left!), blueberries, white chocolate chips, and fragrant lemon zest are mixed up into my favorite muffin batter for one of those could-go-either-way dessert-breakfast hybrids.

The base muffin recipe has been my favorite for years. The batter bakes up into beautiful domes and the addition of nonfat Greek yogurt keeps the muffin tender, moist for days, and lower in fat.

Red, White, and Blue(berry) Muffins

So go bake these muffins and do something *truly* patriotic this weekend – like making hot dogs and setting off small explosives!

Cherry, Blueberry, and White Chocolate Muffins

A tender, moist muffin bursting with fresh cherries, blueberries, and white chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 21 muffin liners
  • 3 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped, pitted cherries (~3 dozen cherries)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition followed by the vanilla.
  5. Beat in half of dry ingredients, followed by a third of the yogurt.
  6. Add remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated.
  7. Toss cherries, blueberries, and white chocolate chips with the remaining 2 Tbsp flour and then add to the mixer, mixing for just a few more seconds to distribute evenly (the batter will be very, very thick).
  8. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among cups using a large cookie scoop (my scoop is ~2.25 inches across).
  10. Bake for 10 minutes and then decrease oven temperature to 375 and bake for ~10-12 more minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely.
  12. Will keep ~4 days in a covered cake plate, can be frozen.

Notes

Yields: ~21 muffins

Base muffin recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Estimated time: 45 minutes

{ 8 comments }

This, my friends, is liquid gold. Pure liquid gold.

Fresh squeezed lime juice

One post-preschool-drop-off morning last week, I spent the better part of two hours driving around west Houston scouting the price of limes. Grocery stores roll their weekly prices on Wednesdays and with our annual Tequila & Taquitos Bash approaching, I needed to find the most affordable source for limes.

My first stop?

The price of limes

NOPE. I’ve never paid more than .20/lime. Ever. And in recent months, I’ve actually been completely spoiled with .10 limes.

Although I did watch in complete wonder (horror? envy?) as a woman loaded 10 limes into a bag without so much as batting a (totally fake) eyelash and moved on. As in, $6.90. For 10 limes.

Fresh squeezed lime juice

I needed 230 limes. As in ~$160. In just limes. So not gonna happen.

The rest of my stops were met with only slightly less budget-breaking prices: .44-.45. And then I rolled into my last stop, found .25 limes, and began the tedious process of digging through the bins looking for The Perfect Lime.

The Perfect Lime
Not only are limes expensive these days thanks to the basic economic principle of supply, demand, and entprenurial drug-cartel hijacking, they also aren’t very good quality. More than 75% of that bin was full of hard, under-ripe limes.

Hard under-ripe limes do not a good margarita make. Or a good anything else.

Fresh squeezed lime juice

I look for smooth limes that give quite a bit when you squeeze them – because those softer, squishier limes? They’re ripe. Full of easy-to-extract lime juice. Full of easy-to-extract future margarita. Totally worth the [gulp] .25 each.

I also prefer the rounder limes – my juicer sometimes balks at the more football-shaped limes. And when I’m going to juice 230 limes over the course of 4 days, I prefer fewer problems and interruptions.

So you’ve hoarded limes for LimeMageddon. Now you are ready to juice and freeze.

The Perfect Lime Juicer
It’s any appliance that plugs into a wall and makes juicing 230 limes go as quick and as painless as possible. We have a 5-year-old Breville Citrus Press. (Sigh. I really do miss the DINK days.) It’s insanely heavy duty and has seen literally thousands of citrus halves over the years, from tiny key limes to the gigantigrapefruit from the RGV… and even pomegranates! Pull lever, count to 3, discard peel. Repeat. 229 more times.

And when the very sad day comes and the Breville isn’t repairable for less than $25, we’ll buy the Applica Citrus Juicer.

The Perfect Lime Margarita
Just say no to the neon green mix from a the bottle. Just say no to pre-bottled, pasteurized lime juice. Just say no – and give major side eye – to cutting your perfect lime margarita with lemon juice. (No, it’s not the same.) (Yes, everyone will be able to tell.)

If you want to drink the perfect margarita, you have to go fresh. Lime juice, water, sugar/sweetener, tequila, orange liqueur and maybe a rim of salt. That’s it. No preservatives, no food coloring, no fakesies anything.

Homemade Margarita Mix Recipe

Make your own homemade margarita mix.

Homemade Margarita Mix Recipe

Ditch the sugar in favor of a “I can’t believe this is only 118 calories” Skinny Margarita.

Blue Margarita Recipe

Two words: Margarita Popsicles.

Blue Margarita Recipe

Or tackle any one of the 24 other margarita recipes we’ve whipped up.

The Perfect Lime Juice Storage
Any freezer food-storage option will do, but if you’re going to be measuring your liquid gold lime juice stash in quarts (or gallons!), I cannot recommend these 32 oz storage containers enough. Food safe, secure seal, and they hold 3.5 cups of lime juice (with headroom for freezing). I have 6 of them in my freezer right now – that’s 21 cups – with 75 limes left to juice.

To use the lime juice, I put the frozen container in a sink of water deep enough to come up 3/4 the side of the container and let it thaw. I use what I need and if I won’t be using 3.5 cups of lime juice in the next few days (it happens… sometimes), I simply refreeze the juice.

Now you’re ready to hit the market and sort through the windfall of Lime Suckage to get the most margarita for your buck. So ladies and gentleman, start your hoarding!

{ 13 comments }

Burgers with Spicy Bourbon-Peach Chutney

I keep seeing all these “Peace out, summer!” references everywhere and I can’t help but be a little bit jealous.

And by a little bit, I mean I’m totally drowning my sorrows in a Jealousy Sundae sprinkled with a super immature (and inappropriate) hand gesture and topped with some nondairy whipped depression.

Because it will not only feel like summer today and tomorrow, but it will still feel like summer long, long after the rest of you guys bust out the scarves, boots, and sweaters. LONG after.

Burgers with Spicy Bourbon-Peach Chutney

I always hate Texas come September. When everyone else is talking about pumpkin and sweatshirts, I’m staring at a $300+ electric bill, cursing anything and everything.

But making a spicy chutney with peaches that are still readily available and completely awesome in September is one of those things I don’t mind. Also, wrapping up Christmas shopping in capris and flip flops and sleeping with the windows open is pretty fantastic.

So in the end, I whine about the heat just to whine. Because honestly, we know I wouldn’t trade Texas for anything. (Or, at least most things.)

Burgers with Spicy Bourbon-Peach Chutney

Spicy Bourbon and Peach Chutney

This sweet, savory, and spicy peach chutney goes great on burgers and grilled fish.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb peaches (~4)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 habanero pepper, finely diced (seeds and stems removed)
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon (if omitting, replace with water)
  • 2 tsp brown mustard (I use Creole mustard)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Peel peaches with a vegetable peeler or with this method.
  2. Remove pits and cut the peaches into ~1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook onions until softened.
  4. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  5. Add peaches, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, and remaining ingredients to the sauce pan. Cover and simmer for ~10 minutes and then cook uncovered until the liquid has reduced to a nice syrupy glaze and you can easily smash the peaches with a spoon.
  6. Taste for sweetness and add additional brown sugar, if desired.
  7. Let cool and store in the fridge for a week.
  8. Serve generous scoops on burgers, grilled fish, or brie.

Notes

Yields: ~2 cups

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 40 minutes

{ 8 comments }