Cookie Palooza: Buttered Rum Meltaways

For today’s Cookie Palooza recipe I bring you a cookie for those of you who don’t like to drink your alcohol but eat it instead… A Buttered Rum Meltaway.

I began by beating butter and sugar until it was pale and fluffy. I then added in vanilla extract and rum.

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In another bowl I whisked together flour, cornstarch and spices in a medium bowl. Which I then gradually added to the butter mixture.

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Once the dough came together I shaped it into logs on parchment paper..

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That I then wrapped in the parchment paper and placed in the freezer.

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A few days later (you can freeze the dough up to a month) I removed it from the freezer and let it warm a little to make slicing it into 1/4 slices a bit easier.

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After baking the cookies for about 15 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven…

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I coated them in confectioners’ sugar by tossing them in the sugar in a Ziploc bag.

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These cookies are so festive looking they would make a wonderful homemade gift or a welcome addition to a dessert table to a Holiday party you may be attending. Another great thing about these cookies, thanks to the rum they can keep up to 2 weeks in an airtight container!

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Buttered Rum Meltaways

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup rum, dark or light

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer beat butter and 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in the rum and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the flour mixture.

Divide the dough in half and place each half on a piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into logs. Fold the parchment paper over the dough and using a ruler roll and press the dough into a 1 1/4 inch log. Wrap in parchment paper and chill in freezer at least 30 minutes or up to a month.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the parchment paper from the dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are just golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently toss the cookies with the remaining confectioners’ sugar in a resalable plastic bag.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Chocolate Crinkles

The Christmas Cookie fun continues with today’s Chocolate Crinkles. Now, I know the cookie recipes I’ve posted earlier – Rosemary and Pine Nut Cookies and Orange Scented Elephant Ears – aren’t your traditional holiday cookie recipes, but, these are definitely in line with what you see around the holidays. I’ve seen recipes for these cookies for quite some time, I probably have 1 or 2 saved in my recipe binder, but, it wasn’t until I was flipping through a Christmas Cookie recipe magazine recently that I finally decided to try them out and I wish I had tried them sooner. They are a cinch to make and delicious… Chocolatey without being overpowering.

I started off by melting unsweetened chocolate, shortening and butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.

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After letting the chocolate mixture cool for a few minutes I continued making the dough for the cookies by mixing together eggs, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

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Once that was well mixed I then added in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and finally flour and unsweetened cocoa powder.

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It wasn’t long before the dough had come together. To make sure all of the ingredients had incorporated I gave the dough a few good folds using a spatula.

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Using a cookie scoop I scooped up the dough and shaped it into a ball and then rolled it in granulated sugar and then confectioners’ sugar. I then placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

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To give some of the cookies a festive touch I sprinkled them with red, green and white sprinkles.

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After baking them in a 350 F preheated oven for 8 minutes, I let them cool on the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. While the recipe says to bake them for 8-10 minutes, I always like to bake my cookies on the lower end of the time span to ensure that I don’t end up with cookies that are like rocks. Letting them sit on the hot pan for a few minutes allows them to cook and set for a few more minutes. At first I thought I may have removed these cookies from the oven too soon, but, as they continued to cool on the wire rack they firmed up more and the texture of the cookie was spot-on. A little crisp on the outside and completely soft on the inside!

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Chocolate Crinkles

Ingredients:

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup shortening

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

 

For Rolling Dough:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Over low heat in a medium saucepan melt the chocolate, shortening and butter. Let cool.

In a large bowl combine eggs, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. And then stir in the flour and cocoa powder.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough and shape into balls and roll the ball in the granulated sugar and then the confectioners’ sugar. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until edges are set and the cracks appear slightly moist. Cool on the sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens 100 Best Cookies Magazine

Marshmallow Fondant

The last time I worked with fondant was a few years ago when I took a Wilton decorating class and while I did like the polish look fondant gave the cake I ultimately didn’t like working with it and more so didn’t like the taste of it. In the very near future (next week) I am planning on making a birthday cake that will look much better covered with fondant as opposed to frosting so I decided to try making Marshmallow Fondant ahead of time to see how the whole process will go. I am very much a planner and like knowing how to tackle a project as opposed to jumping in and trying to fix the bumps along the way. So, all you essentially need to make the fondant is mini marshmallows and confectioners’ sugar. You also need a few tablespoons of water and shortening which you use to grease your hands and countertop when you knead the fondant.

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First I melted approximately 8 oz. of marshmallows with a tablespoon of water in the microwave at 30 second intervals. Stirring the marshmallows after each 30 second burst.

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Once the marshmallows were melted I added in some gel based good coloring – I picked green because it was the first one I grabbed that was already open – and about 2 1/2 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, which I had sifted, and folded the three ingredients together.

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Next I dumped the mixture onto my shortening covered countertop and kneaded it as though I was kneading bread incorporating about another cup of the confectioners’ sugar into the fondant. I knew it was “ready” once it was pliable and didn’t tear when I stretched it. Having worked with store bought fondant before I more or less knew when it was ready. You don’t want the fondant to be too dry and you also don’t want it to be too rubbery. Remember you will be rolling this out and covering a cake with it. Once I felt that it was ready I formed the fondant into a ball, coated it with a thin layer of shortening, and wrapped it in plastic wrap, put it inside of a Ziploc bag and then placed it in the refrigerator. Now, some recipes I came across didn’t mention putting it in the fridge but I opted to do so. I figured it wouldn’t hurt it at all since it was covered fairly well.

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I only intended to leave it in the fridge overnight but I ended up leaving it in there for four days, which I am happy I did. Now I know for sure that the fondant can be made quite a few days in advance of me using it. I took the fondant out of the fridge early in the morning so it could come to room temperature by the time I was going to use it. Following that I warmed it in the microwave for two five-second bursts so that it would be easier to work with. Now I was ready to roll it out.

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Since I was covering a 6-inch cake that was about 4-inches high I knew I needed to roll out the fondant at least 14 inches.

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Once I had it rolled out I wrapped it around the rolling pin…

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And then rolled it over the cake.

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I then trimmed the excess fondant off the bottom of the cake…

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And then did a little test decorating. I brushed the edges of the cake with water and dusted it with shimmer powder – the outcome of which I wasn’t all that thrilled with – and then I soaked a ribbon in water, squeezed out the excess water and then wrapped it around the bottom of the cake and used double-sided tape to hold it together.

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Overall I think I am set and have figured out all the little tricks to make sure when I work on said birthday cake I will be prepared. Oh, and yes this fondant definitely tastes better than store-bought fondant. I probably would be more thrilled with it if I liked marshmallows though! I used to like them but as I got older I just didn’t have the taste buds for them anymore.

Below is the recipe I followed to make the fondant, one thing to note, I halved the recipe (I used 8 ounces of marshmallows, 1 – 3 tablespoons of water and 1 pound of confectioners’ sugar)

Rolled Marshmallow Fondant

Makes about 2 pounds

Ingredients:

1 package (16 ounces) white mini marshmallows (use a good quality brand)

2-5 tablespoons water

2 pounds (about 8 cups) sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

Instructions:

1. To make marshmallow fondant, place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds on high; stir until mixed well. Continue microwaving 30 seconds more; stir again. Continue until melted (about 2 1/2 minutes).

2. Place 3/4 of the confectioners’ sugar on top of the melted marshmallow mixture. Fold sugar into marshmallow mixture. Flavoring can be added at this point if desired. Place solid vegetable shortening in easily accessed bowl so you can reach into it with fingers as you are working. Grease hands and counter GENEROUSLY; turn marshmallow mixture onto counter. Start kneading like you would dough. Continue kneading, adding additional confectioners’ sugar and re-greasing hands and counter so the fondant doesn’t stick. If the marshmallow fondant is tearing easily, it is too dry; add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time) kneading until fondant forms a firm, smooth elastic ball that will stretch without tearing, about 8 minutes.

3. It’s best to allow Marshmallow Fondant to sit, double-wrapped, overnight. Prepare the fondant for storing by coating with a thin layer of solid vegetable shortening, wrap in plastic wrap and then place in resealable bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Marshmallow Fondant will keep well in refrigerator for several weeks.

4. When not working with fondant, make sure to keep it covered with plastic wrap or in a bag to prevent it from drying out. When ready to use, knead fondant until smooth. Roll out fondant 1/8 in. thick.

5. To color fondant: If you need to tint the entire batch of fondant, add a little icing color to the melted marshmallow mixture before adding confectioners’ sugar. For smaller amounts of tinted fondant, add icing color to portions of fondant as needed.

Chocolate Snack Cakes with a Caramel Buttercream Filling

Remember a few years ago when people were going crazy with the idea of there being no more  Twinkies available on store shelves due to the bankruptcy of Hostess, well, I wasn’t one of those people. I did find it amusing though how people were selling the packaged baked good on EBay for insane amounts of money. I don’t have anything against Twinkies; I just never found them all that tasty. I always preferred the Hostess snack of Ding Dongs, but, it was something I definitely had to be in the mood for. Thankfully many people got their wish when Twinkies made it back to store shelves after some business negotiations. So, even though I am not a Twinkies fan that didn’t stop me from buying Fat Daddio’s Snackcake Pans when I saw them at Sur La Table in the clearance section for a ridiculously irresistible price of $2.99 each. There are so many flavor combinations that could be made that I was sure I would be able to find my favorite version of the American legend treat!

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Since I was essentially testing out these pans I decided to use a mix to make the snack cakes.

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After prepping the batter according to the box directions…

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I then filled each cavity about half-way. I honestly thought that since the mix was enough for 12 cupcakes I would end up with 12 snack cakes, but the batter was only enough for 9.

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I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for 20 minutes and after letting them cool it was time to fill them. I opted for a caramel buttercream filling which was super simple to make as I purchased prepared caramel sauce as opposed to making it myself.

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Using a Wilton No. 230 tip I was able to fill the snack cakes without much mess or fuss.

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Final verdict… You can’t go wrong with the flavor combination of chocolate and caramel! These were a hit that went super-fast.

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Caramel Buttercream Filling

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick

1 cup Confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons prepared caramel sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Using an electric mixer beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.

2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the sugar and beat until well combined

3. Add caramel sauce and vanilla extract and continue beating until all ingredients are incorporated.

Hazelnut Pistachio Butter Cookies

These cookies have been on my baking-to-do-list for a few months now… Ever since a good friend brought be a box of them from her local supermarket down in Virginia. I had one of them and was in heaven. Hazelnuts, pistachios and confectioners’ sugar… How could it not be delicious!?! To create my own version I decided to tweak a recipe for Mexican Wedding Cookies that I had made for Cinco De Mayo last year. Those cookies are made with pecans so I decided to swap those out with an equal amount of hazelnuts and pistachios.

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I began by chopping up a 1/2 cup each of hazelnuts and pistachios.

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I set the nuts aside and began making the dough for the cookies by creaming together butter and confectioners’ sugar and then adding in vanilla extract.

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With the mixer on low speed I added in the flour.

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And finally I folded in the hazelnuts and pistachios.

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Using a cookie scoop I scooped the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and baked the cookies in a 275 F preheated oven for 35 minutes, until the bottoms were just beginning to brown.

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After letting them cool for a few minutes I sprinkled them with confectioners’ sugar.

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These cookies are super simple to make but big on taste!

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Hazelnut Pistachio Butter Cookies – Adapted from here

Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating cookies

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped into small pieces

1/2 cup pistachios, chopped into small pieces

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 275 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract.

3. At low speed gradually add in the flour.

4. Using a spatula, fold in the hazelnut and pistachios.

5. Using a cookie scoop scoop the dough onto the parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 35 minutes.

6. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool for a few minutes before using a sifter to dust them with confectioners’ sugar.

Rosette Covered Cannoli Cake

A while back I picked up a five-layer cake pan set at Sur La Table– I saw it one of their catalogs which also included a coupon so it was destined to be. I wasn’t sure what kind of cake I wanted to make to test it out but then all of a sudden I had the idea that I wanted to make one with a cannoli cream filling – something I had never made before. Another thing I hadn’t done before… Decorate a cake entirely with rosettes. I did take the Wilton decorating classes some time ago and while I did learn how to make rosettes I normally just decorate a spot or two with them but lately I have been seeing these beautifully cakes decorated with large rosettes and wanted to try it myself.
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I opted to use a white cake box mix for this cake since I wanted to be sure that I would have enough batter for the five pans and right on the box it said that one box cake would suffice. After mixing the batter according to the directions on the box, I filled the pans evenly with batter (I used an ice cream scoop to be precise,) baked them and then let them cool.
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While the cakes cooled I worked on the cannoli filling. I settled on a recipe from Sargento. I figured this recipe would be a good one to follow since Sargento is a producer of cheese products. To begin I whipped heavy cream until soft peaks formed. I then beat together ricotta cheese, sugar and vanilla extract. Following that I folded the whipped cream along with mini chocolate chips into the ricotta mixture.
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Now it was time to prep my mini cakes for assembly. I used a cake leveler to remove the crowns of the cakes to make them all level.
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To assemble the cake, I filled each layer with about a cup and a half of cannoli filling.
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Then it was time to frost it. Initially I wanted to frost it with a whipped cream frosting, but, since I wanted to cover the entire cake with rosettes the whipped cream wasn’t going hold up well on the sides of the cake… On top of the cake it would have looked great though. So I opted to whip up some Fluffy Vanilla Frosting – which I first made when I made Chocolate Malted Cupcakes. I started by crumb coating the cake.
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And then using a 2D Wilton Tip I covered the cake with large rosettes and I think I may have found my new way of decorating cakes….
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Cannoli Filling

2 cups Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

1. Beat ricotta cheese, sugar and vanilla on medium speed in bowl with electric mixer for 3 minutes.

2. Fold in whipped cream and chocolate chips.

 

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

Makes About 4 Cups

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

2. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.

3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.

 

Chocolate Malted Cupcakes with Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

I have baked numerous types of cookies in my baking adventures that I have loved, but, by far one of my favorites is a Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie that is the perfect combination of chewiness and chocolate without being overly sweet thanks to the addition of malted milk powder. So, when I was flipping through some cookbooks for baking inspirations and I came across a recipe for a Chocolate Malted Cupcake I knew I had to try it!

To begin I whisked together my dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, light brown sugar, baking soda and salt) in one bowl and malted milk powder and milk in another bowl.

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Once that was done I combined both of these mixtures along with vegetable oil in the bowl of my stand mixer and mixed it until it was combined.

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To finish the batter I beat in three eggs, sour cream and vanilla.

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I then divided the batter into my prepared muffin tins which I lined with these cupcake liners that I thought were a perfect for these cupcakes. The red and white is reminiscent of old school soda shops where malted beverages were a staple. I actually got these cupcake liners the day after Valentine’s Day at my local Michael’s for less than a $1. You have to love post-Holiday sales!

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After baking for about twenty minutes in a pre-heated 350 F oven my first batch of Chocolate Malted Cupcakes were done!

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The recipe was right on point and I ended up with twenty-eight delicious cupcakes!

After the cupcakes had cooled I whipped up a batch of Fluffy Vanilla Frosting using three simple ingredients: unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. I think this may become my new go-to vanilla frosting!

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As opposed to piping my favorite 1M Swirl on these cupcakes, I frosted them using an offset spatula and then decorating them with chocolate sprinkles.

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Overall they were a hit and just the right amount of sweetness!

Chocolate Malted Cupcakes

From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Makes 28 Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 1/2 tsps. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

1 1/4 cups malted milk powder

1 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sour cream, room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, cocoa, both sugars, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk and malted milk powder until powder is dissolved.

2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat flour mixture, milk mixture, and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add sour cream and vanilla, and beat until just combined.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each halfway. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

From Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Makes About 4 Cups

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp.)

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.

2. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.

3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.