Horchata Treats for Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! This year I decided to make Horchata in honor of the day and then use some of that fresh Horchata to make Horchata Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkled with cinnamon.

After a few Google searches I decided to make my Horchata as close to “authentic” as possible. I found a recipe that used evaporated milk, one that used rice milk and another that suggested purchasing powdered Horchata mix and mixing it with milk. For authenticity I opted to go the traditional route of blending water with rice until the rice was broken down and then letting the mixture sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I strained the water to get all of the rice bits out and blended it with whole milk, vanilla extract, almond extract (okay, this was a bit of a shortcut since some Horchata recipes call for ground almonds), cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

And then the next day I used the fresh Horchata to make cupcakes that were super moist and had a hint of the Horchata in them. Delish!

Feliz Cinco De Mayo…  May your guacamole be spicy, your margaritas strong and your food delicioso!

 

Horchata

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked long grain white rice

1 quart warm water

1/2 cup whole milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

Cinnamon sticks for serving, optional

Directions:

In a blender combine the rice and water. Blend for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the rice has broken down but does not form a powder. Refrigerate the rice water mixture for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Strain the rice mixture into a container through a fine mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth to remove the rice solids.

Transfer the rice water to a blender and add in the milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon and sugar. Blend for a minute until all of the ingredients are well combines and smooth.

Refrigerate if not serving immediately. When serving, pour over ice with cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

Recipe from The Food Network

 

Horchata Cupcakes

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Horchata

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper liners.

Cream the butter on high speed and then add in the sugar, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside.

Mix the Horchata, vanilla and cinnamon together, set aside.

Add the flour mixture and the Horchata mixture to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating between the flour and Horchata mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites in to the cupcake batter until incorporated.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from The Foodies Kitchen

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sifted Confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy.

Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating, then gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar.

If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator.

Eggnog Cupcakes with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

So, what have you been baking this Holiday season? Cookies? Cupcakes? Cakes? All three? I haven’t baked a cake yet, but, I have baked my fair share of cookies. Did you catch any of my Cookie Palooza recipes last week? There were some good ones in there. Today though I am bringing you a cupcake that encompasses a few flavors of the season… Eggnog and Cinnamon in an Eggnog Cupcake with a Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. I highly suggest you use an eggnog that you like as opposed to any old one you happen to come across at the supermarket and don’t worry if you don’t like eggnog these cupcakes are not overpowering with the flavor.

To make the cupcakes I began by stirring together all the dry ingredients in one bowl – flour, sugar, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another, using my hand mixer I beat room temperature butter until it was creamy. I then added in all of the flour mixture and continues beat the mixture until it resembled crumble topping.

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Next I added in two eggs and continued beating…

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And finally I added in the eggnog and mixed it on low speed until the batter was silky and smooth (kind of a funny way to explain cupcake batter).

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Next I divided the batter evenly among my 12-cavity cupcake pan (about 1/4 cup in each cavity) and of course I used holiday inspired cupcake liners…

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I baked them in a 350 F pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, I topped them off with homemade Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting. This frosting is so good I could just eat it out of the bowl. I had to refrain from too many taste tests since I needed enough to frost the cupcakes!

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Eggnog Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup eggnog

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl stir together all of the ingredients except the butter, eggs and eggnog and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add all of the flour mixture and continue beating until it mixture resembles a crumble topping. Add the eggs and beat for an additional minute; the batter should be light in color and a bit fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Finally, beat in the eggnog gently until just combined and the batter is silky and smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake pan (about 1/4 cup each cavity).

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched in the center and a cake taster comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

Recipe from Betty Crocker

 

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Enough for 24 Cupcakes*

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 cups (1 lb. box) confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

*I opted to divide the recipe in half and had enough frosting to frost 10 cupcakes using a 1M Wilton Tip Swirl

Directions:

Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer, beat the butter and vanilla extract on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Stir the cinnamon into the confectioners’ sugar, gradually add this to the butter mixture. Beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add milk (or heavy cream) and continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy. If you find that the frosting is a bit thick and heavy to spread add more milk/heavy cream to thin it down.

Recipe from McCormick

Coconut Cinnamon Popsicles

Whenever I go to Target I can never stick to the items that are on my list. Somehow, someway other things creep into my shopping cart. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. I just can’t resist walking down random aisles to see what’s available; my favorite though is passing by the end caps to see what items are on clearance. You never know when you can pick up a nice dish, a colorful shower curtain or a cute notebook at a ridiculously low price. That’s how I found the ice pop molds I used to create the Coconut Cinnamon Popsicles I am sharing with you today. I randomly saw them sitting on an end cap for more than 50% off so I figured why not… The deal was too good to pass up and I really liked how the molds sat on the base. Not your typical ice pop mold!
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These ice pops couldn’t be more simpler. In a large bowl I combined cream of coconut, coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon and shredded coconut and mixed them together with my hand mixer until everything was well combined. I then transferred the mixture to a measuring cup to make pouring it into the molds easier (and less messy!) Once that was done I placed them in the freezer overnight so they could harden.
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And the next day I had a delicious (and cold – which is imperative for these final dog days of summer) coconut treat that had a hint of cinnamon! I can’t wait to try out some other flavor combinations with these nifty ice pop molds!
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Coconut Cinnamon Popsicles

Ingredients:

1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk

1 15oz. can of cream of coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with a hand mixer until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup and pour into ice pop molds.

Freeze until solid, 3-4 hours, preferably overnight

Cocoa Snickerdoodles

If you have seen this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine you know they are getting their readers ready for the Holidays with a slew of cookie recipes. While they all sound amazing one of them stood out from the rest for me… Cocoa Snickerdoodles. What is there not to love about a cookie made with cocoa and then rolled in cinnamon sugar?

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I began by whisking together the dry ingredients: flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar (which I just recently learned is the key ingredient that makes a Snickerdoodle and Sugar Cookie different. The addition of the cream of tartar prevents the cookie from having the crunch of a Sugar Cookie and instead a soft and cakey inside.)

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Next I beat room temperature butter along with granulated and light brown sugar until it was light and fluffy.

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I then added in an egg and vanilla extract.

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And finally I beat in the flour mixture until the two mixtures were just combined.

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Before placing the cookies on the baking sheet I rolled them in a mixture of sanding sugar and cinnamon.

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Since I knew these cookies would spread while baking I was sure to give them ample space on a parchment lined baking sheet prior to baking them in a 375 F oven for 9 minutes; rotating the pan after the first 5 minutes.

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My first batch right out of the oven… I let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Once cooled I couldn’t wait to try one… Here’s a close-up of the soft cakey texture I mentioned.

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And while these cookies were delicious once cooled they were even better the next day once the cinnamon sugar mixture had more time to seep into them. The only bad thing about this recipe… It only yields 18 cookies!

 

Cocoa Snickerdoodles

Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup white sanding sugar

1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy, about 2 more minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla; reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

2. Combine the sanding sugar and cinnamon in a small shallow bowl. Form heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into balls with damp hands; toss in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Arrange about 3 inches apart on 2 baking sheets.

3. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are set around the edge, 9 to 11 minutes. Let cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Snickerdoodles

I always thought that Snickerdoodles were a cookie with toffee or something of the sort. I remember having a cookie like that back when I was in college and for some reason I thought that was it. But, not too long ago I had the real thing and was instantly hooked. For those of who are in the dark like I was, Snickerdoodles are essentially sugar cookies that are rolled in cinnamon sugar prior to baking. Recently I picked up Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook and one of the first recipes I came across was for Snickerdoodles so of course I had to try it out.

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To begin I sifted the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) into one bowl and mixed together my wet ingredients (sugar, butter and eggs) in another bowl.

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I then gradually mixed the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and as simple as that the dough came together.

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Using a small cookie scoop I shaped the dough into balls and then rolled them in cinnamon sugar and placed them on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

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After baking for 13 minutes (I rotated the sheet at 6 minutes) in a 350 degrees preheated oven my Snickerdoodles were done.

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I let them cool on the cookie sheets on wire racks and once they were cool enough I tried one and they were great! A favorite to be baked over and over again!

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Snickerdoodles

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. coarse salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar

2 large eggs

3 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in the flour mixture.

2. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into twenty 1 3/4- inch balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment paper in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

A Quintessential Fall Birthday Cake

A good friend recently celebrated a birthday and a few days prior to it I asked her what kind of cake she would like me to bake for her and she responded with an apple cake. The only apple cake I could recall making was an Apple Walnut Cake that really wasn’t what I would consider to be a birthday cake. So, after a few texts back and forth we settled on an apple cake with walnuts with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. While her birthday technically falls in the summer according to the calendar it’s unofficially in the fall since it is after Labor Day, hence this cake being the quintessential fall birthday cake. Since I haven’t mastered creating my own recipes I did a few internet searches to find a recipe for the cake and frosting. After coming up empty handed I decided to follow the recipe for my favorite carrot cake and substitute grated apples in lieu of the carrots and for the frosting, I made my favorite cream cheese frosting and added in ground cinnamon in small increments until I reached my desired flavor.

To begin I prepped my Granny Smith Apples…

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First I peeled them…

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Then cored and sliced them using an apple divider…

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And finally grated them using a food processor.

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I started the batter by combining the dry ingredients and setting it aside.

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I then creamed butter and sugar together.

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Once the butter and sugar were mixed together well I added in the eggs and dry ingredients by alternating between the two.

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And them some vanilla extract.

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It was then time to add in the grated apples.

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And finally I folded in some chopped walnuts.

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Once the walnuts were incorporated well into the batter it was time to divvy it up among my prepared pans.

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Once divided I popped them into a 350 degrees oven.

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After baking for 25 minutes the cakes were done.

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I let them cool for a bit in the pans and then inverted them onto cooling racks to let them cool completely.

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After the cakes cooled completely I made the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting by combing cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and of course cinnamon.

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I spread frosting between each of the layers…

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And then crumb coated the cake and refrigerated it for a bit while I made another batch of frosting to finish covering the cake and for decorating.

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After about twenty minutes in the fridge I finished frosting it…

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And then I added some decorations and scattered some walnuts along the sides of the cake prior to writing a birthday message on it.

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Final verdict: It was a hit… Definitely something I’ll make again!

Apple Walnut Cake
(Adapted from Gigi’s Carrot Cake)
Ingredients
3 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups grated apples (I used Granny Smith apples)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 3 (9-inch) cake pans with baking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugar, and beat. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the apples and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Fold in the walnuts. Divide the batter between the 3 cake pans and bake until set and a cake tested inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest in the cake pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, remove from the pans, and let cool.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions
In a medium bowl cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add in the vanilla extract and then gradually add in the confectioners sugar. And finally mix in the ground cinnamon.

Shortcut Cupcakes

There’s nothing like baked treats made from scratch, but taking a shortcut can create something just as delicious – as was the case when I recently made Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes and Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes. The shortcut for these cupcakes came in the form of using packaged cupcake mix. I came across these Betty Crocker Cupcake mixes that are perfectly proportioned for 12 cupcakes.

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I got the idea for the Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes from a fellow bloggers website – Eat My Shortbread – and while she made hers from scratch I mixed in about 1/2 cup of sour cream to the batter of the yellow cupcake mix. Once I had my batter divided up among my twelve-cup muffin tin I swirled in a mixture of  cinnamon, brown sugar and melted butter. After baking for 15 minutes this was the final product.

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For the frosting, I made a Cream Cheese frosting and piped in on to each of the cupcakes and then sprinkled them with cinnamon.

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I usually make Strawberry Shortcake as a whole cake but decided to try out my method of making the cake on a smaller scale… i.e. cupcakes. To start I followed the directions to make the cupcakes on the white cupcake package. I then used a cupcake corer to make a hole in each of the cupcakes to fill them.

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For the filling I made fresh whipped cream and folded in chopped strawberries.

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I then filled each of the cupcakes. I actually made too much of the filling but it definitely didn’t go to waste… It was a nice afternoon snack.

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For the frosting I whipped up another batch of whipped cream and piped it on to each of the cupcakes.

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Overall the cupcakes were a hit, especially the Cinnamon Roll ones.

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Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsealed butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream, cold

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Chill a large bowl (stainless steel or glass) and a whisk or mixer beaters for 30 minutes. Combine the heavy cream and sugar in the bowl and whisk or beat at medium speed until cream holds soft peaks. Yields approximately 2 cups.