Sunday, September 10, 2006

We've Come A Long Way Baby!

As I mentioned in my previous post, while on my recent forced hiatus, I missed out on celebrating that my blog turned 1 year old. Me being me, I look for any and every possible reason to bake up something sweet. So of course the 1 year anniversary of the creation of Culinarily Obsessed was a perfect reason, and I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

I already had some buttercream on hand that makes a perfect filling for sandwich cookies. So I sat down in front of the bookcase and started searching. I decided on a chocolate sandwich cookie recipe that yielded a cookie that is remarkably like an Oreo. Retro Desserts is a book I've adored for ages, it's packed full of cake, cupcake, pie, pudding, cookie, candy and ice cream recipes, they've even got a chapter titled "Posh Nosh - Classic Desserts of The Fancy-Pants Restaurants". If you're a dessert person, the book is worth checking out, everything in the book really does tempt me to try out the recipe, and I can't always say that about an entire book.
Homemade Oreos

I hope y'all try out the recipe and enjoy it. I can assure you it was kid tested and better than that - kid approved! I have enjoyed my first year as a part of the food blogging community. Thanks to everyone who has made this first year so wonderful, I hope to share many more blog anniversaries with y'all.
Homemade Oreos

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies With Vanilla-Cream Filling*

1 1/4 cups sll-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg

1. Set 2 racks in the middle and upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or in a food processor, thoroughly mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. While mixing on low speed or pulsing, add the butter, then the egg. Beat or process until the dough is thoroughly blended and massed together.

3. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets at 2-inch intervals. With moistened fingers, round out the cookies and flatten them a little. Bake for 9 minutes, turning the pans once for even baking, until the cookies are set. Sit the cookie sheets on a rack to cool.

Vanilla-Cream Filling

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Put the butter and shortening in a mixing bowl and, at low speed, gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, until blended. Turn the mixer speed to high and beat for 2-3 minutes more, until fluffy.

2. To assemble, place teaspoon size blobs of filling onto the tops of half of the cookies. Keeping the smooth bottoms of the cookies facing up, flip the remaining cookies on top of the filling and lightly press to form sandwiches. (You can also pipe filling onto cookies using a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip.)

Makes 36 cookie sandwiches

*I used a shortening based buttercream for the filling, so I have not tried the vanilla-cream filling.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Cupcake!

So I've been gone for what feels like an eternity. Alot has been going on - work has been busy, the summer has kept us constantly on the go, and our house was struck by lightning during a really horrendous thunderstorm. The family and the house itself are just fine. But everything that was even moderately electronic in the house? That was a different story. We're mostly back to normal now, so I'm ready to get back to blogging.

Sadly, I missed my blog-birthday, so I didn't get to say Happy Blog Day to me. The one year anniversary was August 10th, so perhaps we can have a Happy Belated Blog Day celebration on September 10th? Yes, yes I think we will do just that.

Today is a very special day though - it's the birthday of a very special friend. Unfortunately we're states apart and I can't join in on the actual festivities, but I thought I'd create a little celebration of my own in his honor. I truly feel like this man is one of my biggest supporters. And our love of food seems to draw us even closer to one another, which is why sending out my wishes for a fantastic and truly happy birthday via my food blog seemed so appropriate.

lemon cupcakes with vanilla-lemon buttercream

So Eric, this one's for you Kid. Happy, Happy Birthday. Love Ya!

The September issue of Everyday Food includes yellow cupcakes with vanilla frosting, so I thought today would be as perfect a time as any to give them a try. I had a lemon sitting out that was in it's last few days, so I decided to make good use of it in these cupcakes.

lemon cupcakes with vanilla-lemon buttercream

Yellow Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line 12 standard muffin tins with paper liners. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a liquid measuring cup, mix milk and vanilla; set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add half of dry ingredients, followed by milk mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Add lemon juice and zest. Do not overmix.

Divide batter evenly amoung prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Mix in more confectioners sugar or milk as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency.
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