Archive | June, 2011

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

26 Jun

Today we interrupt our normal broadcast to bring you a special report in:

Baking!

I’m sure you know by now that I absolutely LOVE to bake. Sunday is my favorite day of the week and generally consists of Bojangles, coupons, and a relaxing afternoon with Kit. However, J.Crew messed that up today by scheduling Kit to work all day, so I decided to take advantage of an empty kitchen and whip up this recipe I’ve been dying to try!

I found this recipe on this awesome blog I ran across a few weeks ago. I’d be remiss to not mention it, because I did not come up with this recipe.

With that said, I did halve Rainy Day Gal‘s recipe, so unless you want a million cupcakes (especially since I only have a mini cupcake pan- YIKES), this may be easier for you.

So, here goes!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

Ganache:

  • 1/2 lb. (2 c.) Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacao chocolate chips- definitely worth the splurge)
  • Edit:: The dark chocolate chips were a little bitter, since the cupcakes aren’t super sweet. I’d use semi-sweet or even milk chocolate next time. my only complaint.
  • 1 c. Whipping Cream
Cupcakes:
  • 2 sticks unsalter butter (I fudged on these since only salted comes in the 2 stick pack- just adjust other salt, if you use salted)
  • 1 c Stout Beer (The original recipe calls for Guiness, but if you’re in NC and can get Highland’s Black Mocha Stout, there’s really no reason to ever use anything else. It’s so delicious. Like coffee and chocolate and beer and heaven… Mmmm)
  • 3/4 c. Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 c. Sour Cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. All- Purpose Flour
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 tbs Baking Soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt (or less- depending on your butter situation)
Okay.
So first, you have to make the ganache, because it has to chill for at least 2 hours (which is ideal, since you’ll be baking about a zillion batches of cupcakes to go with it. 🙂 ) before icing the cupcakes.
I had no idea that ganache was this simple. Here you go:
Put chocolate chips in bowl. Bring whipping cream to simmer in a saucepan. Immediately pour whipping cream over chips and whisk (or use hand mixer) thoroughly.
That’s it! Then you throw it in the fridge to cool and get started on the deliciousness of these cupcakes!
If you  haven’t already turned on music, I recommend Adele’s new cd, 21. I don’t believe in baking or cooking without music. If you don’t know who Adele is, you should probably put away this entire project and go straight to itunes or your nearest Target and purchase anything you can get your hands on. Then come back to your kitchen, crank up the tunes, and continue.

Next, you melt the butter in a saucepan. Pour your  beer into the pan as well, bringing it to a simmer (like the ganache), then pour the beer/butter mixture into a bowl with the cocoa powder.

At some point in this process, you’re going to want to preheat your oven to 350. No rush, but don’t forget or it’ll take even longer.

After mixing your beer, butter, and cocoa, set that aside for a few minutes. You’re now going to get another bowl, where you will mix your eggs and sour cream. I am resisting the urge to go on a tangent about how much I love sour cream (it is to me what butter is to Paula Deen and Julia Child), so I will save that for another post. Needless to say, it makes all the difference, so don’t skimp with it! I used light sour cream, which is what I happen to have in my kitchen (you know, trying to be healthy, and all that) and the cupcakes turned out great, so if you’re looking for healthier (I mean, come on- they are chocolate cupcakes) options, go ahead with that one.

After you mix the sour cream and eggs, combine them with your chocolatey, beer-filled goodness.

In another bowl, mix your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) and then add them to the other mixture. Voila! You’re done with your batter!!

Make sure you line or grease your pans (I’d suggest liners, even though they’re a little annoying when eating the cupcakes- they’re so cute! Plus, greasing a cupcake pan is a pain in the ass.)– made that mistake on my first batch and they totally fell apart.

Which gave me a perfect excuse to eat a lot of them. Take that information as you will.

So here’s the photo proof of how they turned out! I’m pretty proud, myself…

Hope you guys actually try this recipe- I’m telling you. It’s the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. Mmm!

Happy Baking (and eating!)!!

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Babies Are Smarter Than Adults.

22 Jun

There is nothing I’ve been convinced of more, since becoming a full time nanny, than this fact:

The children I take care of are the ones in charge.

 

You can debate and deny this all you want, but think about it.

Baby cries, baby gets picked up. Baby’s hungry, baby gets fed. Baby makes a cute face, baby gets kissed. Baby farts, everyone laughs. Baby throws half the meal on the floor and smashes the rest in his hair, baby gets his picture taken. Baby shits his pants, someone else cleans it up.

They’re brilliant!

Jackson was much more laid-back as a baby than Harris is, but he’s no fool. Jackson’s first word was “milk.” He learned it the quickest because he knows if he says it, everyone gets excited and they give him milk. Bingo! This goes for words like “cracker,” “up,” “ice-cream” and people’s names. Kids know how to get what they want. This is all part of their plan.

Lately, Jackson’s picked up the phrase “no-no,” which, you’d think would work to his detriment. Nope, wrong again. He’s figured out that if he does something he knows he will get reprimanded for, while saying “no-no,” it takes all the importance out of me saying it, and therefore he just gets re-directed,

avoiding any form of discipline (don’t get me wrong- it’s not like he’s getting beaten…but sometimes he warrants a stern talking to. When I’m not laughing at him saying “no-no.”).

Then he flashes this adorable grin and what’s a girl to do?

Harris is just the most stubborn kid ever. He’s determined to cry until someone picks him up, when he deems it necessary. And he does not wear down. Man. It’s exhausting! I always lose.Mostly because he looks like this when he’s crying… (Well, this, if you enlarge him by 2x. He’s gotten a lot fatter since I took this picture. Which really only enhances his adorable-ness. Yes, that’s a word now.) and who can say no to that face? I swear, he’s going to have a flat head forever, and it will be all my fault for not making him learn to roll over.

Like I said before,

Kids are sneaky!

Prime example: I took Harris to the mall on Monday because I needed to check out the sale at J.Crew (Yes, needed.). He of course, pitches a fit while we’re in the store, and all the patrons AND workers pity him (because they don’t know he’s being a sneak) and give me the evil eye, so I had to take him out of his perfectly functional stroller and carry him while pushing the stroller. Efficient, to say the least. So we finish shopping in our one store (all he would allow), and I headed up to grab a sweet tea and some french fries from Chick-fil-a before our quick exit. Harris decided at that point that he was hungry (or something) and wanted everything I was holding. That meant whenever I picked up an item, he tried to swiftly grab it from me and shove it into his mouth. Including, but not limited to: napkin, polynesian sauce, paper bag, cell phone, french fries, keys, you name it… and my tea.

The problem came when he grabbed at my tea. Not for the reason you’d imagine- I did not, in fact, hit the baby for trying to steal my favorite beverage. I, on the other hand, simply underestimated his Samsonite strength and before I knew it, my tea was being jerked from my hands, the straw was sliding out of my mouth- and BAM I spewed sweet, sticky goodness all over myself and the dear, sweet child on my lap.

Sneaky, I tell you!

All this to say- Parents, Babysitters, Nannies, Mannies, Brothers and Sisters… Watch your backs. You’re never safe. They know more than you think they do, and they’re waiting to get you when you least expect it.

Consider yourself warned.

Swim Trunks are NOT Shorts.

15 Jun

This is a situation that has bothered me for some time now, and I felt the need to mention it because of its increasing occurrence during the summer months.

Basic fact: anything that has built-in underwear should not be worn in public without a specific purpose.

I believe that if we exercise this statement to all the applicable items of clothing, everyone would look better.

This includes running shorts. I wrote a post when I first moved to Raleigh about these stupid nike shorts that are running (pun intended!) rampant in my city. But really. People wear them to the mall, to restaurants, etc. They are running shorts. The purpose of the shorts is for wearing while you run. Soooo, if you’re not running,take them off!

Then there are the tank tops with “built-in” bras. Add women’s sports tops to this category as well (which I’ll admit, I’m wearing right now- however I just came home from the gym, and there’s no specific appropriate blogging attire that I’m aware of. If there is, I will gladly don it, just let me know.). These things were meant to be worn underneath other items of clothing, or in a specific setting (ie. the gym). [Side note: Even in the right context, I wouldn’t recommend them for anyone with over an A cup because that gets messy preeettttyyy fast. And then you’ve got a whole new set of problems.]

I’m not saying it’s always bad to wear swimwear. For instance- if you’re on your way to the pool/beach (as in you’re walking to the sand, not driving in your car for hours), wearing swim trunks and a tshirt, that’s fine. But if you’re just chillin’ wit yo homies at the mall (I’ve got a Jersey Shore mental picture here), that is not fine. Even if you need to stop by the grocery store on your way to the beach, that’s fine too. I wouldn’t necessarily go grocery shopping for my weekly groceries dressed like that, but picking something up is fine.

I mean seriously, guys, those things can NOT really be that comfortable. They make that weird annoying swishy sound when you walk, they’re either awkwardly long or awkwardly short, have bizarre, colored and patterns that you’d NEVER wear in a shirt… And what happens to your boxers? Do they just bunch up in that underwear thing? Or are you not wearing them (I refuse to imagine that reality.)? Or are the adult ones different than the ones Jackson wears? So many questions. And the main one is, “Why are you not wearing real clothes in public?“.

Basic idea- if you’re going to or from the appropriate activity that requires the article of clothing, wearing it is fine. If you’re not, wear real clothes like a grownup.

 

🙂