Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m supposed to be writing about life and chocolate cupcakes. I’ve been staring this computer for a good fifteen minutes trying to conjure up some words. My husband is out drinking with work friends, and my animals are both asleep on separate sofas. Old episodes of Friends are playing in the background, and I’m just sitting here so happy it’s Friday. It’ll already be Saturday when you read this. You will be well and truly sunk into the weekend by now, and I hope you’re absolutely reveling in it. 

I think the older I get, the more precious weekends become. Especially when I think about how I probably won’t be able to retire until like a week before I die. I suppose that’s all the more reason to take the time to make and eat cupcakes. Let every weekend be a celebration. You survived another week, and you deserve chocolate.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable. They also have a lovely light texture because of the addition of ground almonds. If you have a hard time finding them, you can always throw some skinned almonds in into the food processor. 

The mint frosting is sweet and refreshing. I promise it doesn’t taste like toothpaste. Though if you could eat it from a tube, I’d be cool with that. These are definitely from scratch cupcakes. There are no clever shortcuts. But there’s absolutely nothing fiddly about making them. You’ll be nice and relaxed, and the smell is absolutely heavenly.

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You work hard. You deserve a cupcake.

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes
Serves 24
Chocolate Mint Cupcakes stay moist for days, and the combination of tender chocolate cake and creamy mint frosting is unbelievable. 
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the cake
  1. 100 grams chocolate chips
  2. 175 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 275 grams brown sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 150 ml buttermilk
  7. 200 grams all-purpose flour
  8. 1 tsp baking powder
  9. 1 tsp baking soda
  10. 100 grams ground almonds
For the frosting
  1. 200 grams unsalted butter, room temp
  2. 250 grams powdered sugar, sifted
  3. 1 tsp peppermint extract
  4. green food coloring, or not, whatever you like
For the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and prep 24 cupcake papers. If you only have one pan, stash the batter in the fridge between batches. It’s not the end of the world.
  2. Boil some water, then measure out your chocolate into a bowl. Pour 120 ml (1/2 cup) of the boiling water over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smoothish. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  3. With your mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla to your beaten eggs.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the egg mixture.
  6. Add the chocolate. Make sure to get it all.
  7. Add the buttermilk and mix until combined. If you’ve been using a stand mixer, you can abandon it at this point.
  8. Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda over your wet ingredients, then add the almonds.
  9. Fold the wet and dry ingredients together.
  10. Divide your batter between the 24 cups. I use my cookie scoop. Each one gets two generous scoops. Fill them about two thirds full.
  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they spring back when touched.
  12. Let them cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, then cool them completely on a wire rack if you have it. Or the counter is totally fine, too.
For the frosting
  1. Beat the butter and powdered sugar together with your mixer on medium high for about five minutes. It should be light and fluffy.
  2. Turn the mixer down to low and add in the peppermint extract and food coloring for your desired effect.
  3. Marry your cake and frosting in whatever way you see fit. I used a Wilton 1m tip straight above the cupcake. Just squeeze it for about three seconds. Easy!
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Cranberry Bakewell Tart | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cranberry Bakewell Tart

Cranberry Bakewell Tart | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m finally free from work for over two weeks, and I have to say, I feel great. I’m ready to get all blissed out on holiday treats, maybe drink some Bailey’s while watching Elf. I’m ready to decorate some ugly Christmas cookies with my child who, thankfully, is never to old for a bit of Christmas magic. Thankfully, she’s much more sensible about the eating of these cookies. I fully intend to eat at least one too many.

And under no circumstances will I be dieting, or even feeling guilty about it. There will be time enough for that in January. Maybe my New Year’s resolution this year should be to stop feeling guilty about everything. Would people even know me? Maybe they’d actually like me. 

Cranberry Bakewell Tart | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve got a treat for you today that will make us all universally popular. This Cranberry Bakewell Tart is a beautiful winter version of this sweet treat. A fat wedge of this along side a steaming cup of tea is exactly when you need when you come in from the cold after a long day. It also keeps well so it’s great to share with holiday visitors. Ours lasted a week. (Maybe don’t mention we didn’t have any visitors in that time. We may have eaten it all ourselves.)

This recipe may look daunting on paper as there are three different components involved, but I assure you, they’re all quite simple. It’s just some pie crust, an almond filling, and some royal icing. Oh, and pick up some adorable sugar decorations at the grocery store just for fun. 

Cranberry Bakewell Tart | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Let’s all be totally chill this holiday season and eat as much Cranberry Bakewell Tart as we want. I’m into it. 

Cranberry Bakewell Tart
Serves 10
Cranberry Bakewell Tart is a sweet wintry treat for you and all your friends.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
45 min
For the crust
  1. 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1/3 cup ground almonds
  3. 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  4. 4.5 ounces butter, cold and cut into chunks
  5. 1 egg
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. Approximately 3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
  1. 4.5 ounces butter
  2. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. zest of 1 clementine
  5. 1-1/4 cups ground almonds
  6. 1 cup smooth cranberry sauce
For the icing
  1. 1 packet egg white powder (equivalent of 1 egg white)
  2. 2 teaspoons warm water
  3. 2 cups powdered sugar
  4. Juice of 1 clementine
  5. Additional juice or water to reach desired consistency
For the crust
  1. Put the flour, ground almonds, and powdered sugar into the bowl of your food processor and pulse to combine and work out any lumps. Add your cold butter chunks and pulse until the butter is incorporated. It may look a bit like wet sand.
  2. Beat together the egg, salt, and 3 tablespoons ice water. With your food processor running, slowly add this mixture down the chute. Process your mixture until it just starts to come together. You may need to add a bit more ice water to make this happen.
  3. Turn your dough out onto some plastic wrap. Give it a bit of a smoosh to make it all come together, then shape it into a disc, wrap it tightly, and stash it in the fridge while you make the filling. You can make the dough the night before if you wish.
For the filling
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and dig out your 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  2. Melt your butter and let it cool slightly.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and zest. Add melted butter and whisk to combine. Finally, mix in the ground almonds.
  4. Roll out your dough to fit your tart pan. Lay the dough in and trim the edges. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
  5. Spread the cranberry sauce over the bottom of the the tart. I didn't measure. I just spooned and spread.
  6. Next pour the the filling into the pan and gently spread it evenly making sure it goes all the way the edge and covers all the jam.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. It will be brown and puffy when you take it out of the oven (hopefully not as brown as mine was), but will flatten out as it cools.
  8. Allow your tart to cool completely before icing.
For the icing
  1. Put the egg white powder and warm water into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until it becomes foamy and eventually forms soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and clementine juice and mix until it comes together. You may need to add more water or orange juice to get the right consistency. You want this to be thick but not pasty.
  2. Spread the icing onto your tart. Add cute little decorations if you got 'em.
Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Bakewell Tart |How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart |How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re planning a summer 2016 trip to England, and I’m already excited and dreaming about all of the things I want to see and do. There have been hints of side trips to Scotland, and maybe even Paris. I’m swooning. But I’d also be perfectly happy with long walks through the countryside, a couple of castles, and a pint of Strongbow in a low-ceilinged pub. Just the idea of another trip to England has me over the moon.

Bakewell Tart |How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for making my own English food, like this Bakewell Tart. I learned it got its name from the town of Bakewell in England, which Google tells me has an obscenely gorgeous stone bridge. Can we visit on our trip?

A tart is really just a skinny pie. And this one has a thin layer of raspberry jam topped with a buttery almond filling. It’s rich and simple, and like pretty much all things English, it’s an excellent accompaniment to a cup of tea. You can use your favorite pie crust, but I find, due to my hot kitchen situation, my overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by using store-bought pie dough. #noshame

Bakewell Tart |How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Bakewell tart seems so English. No matter what I do, I will never be. But I can learn to make more old world treats, read more books, and pretend.

Bakewell Tart
Serves 8
A very English, lovely Bakewell Tart is straight buttery almond goodness.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. Your favorite pie dough
  2. 150 grams (10 tablespoons) butter, softened
  3. 150 grams (2/3 cup) sugar
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 egg yolk
  6. Zest of one lemon
  7. 150 grams (7/8 cup) ground almonds
  8. 4 tablespoons raspberry jam
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and place your pie dough into your tart pan. Remove any excess dough from the edges of the pan.
  2. Cover the dough with parchment and add some dried beans or rice on the top of the paper to weight it down. Bake the crust for 20 minutes until lightly golden. Cool for at least five minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs then egg yolk one at a time, mixing completely.
  4. Add the lemon zest, then slowly mix in the ground almonds. Don't worry if the mixture is not completely smooth.
  5. Spread the raspberry jam evenly along the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the filling over the jam. Spread the filling evenly inside the crust.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The filling will be completely set.
  7. Tart can be served warm, room temp, or fridge cold. It's delightful any way you slice it.
Notes
  1. You can make ground almonds by processing blanched almonds (no skin) in your food processor until you have fine crumbs.
Adapted from Bake for Britain
Adapted from Bake for Britain
http://awesomeon20.com/
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