Tag-Archive for ◊ tea the meal ◊

08 Mar 2014 Kipferls (Vanilla Hazelnut Butter Cookies)

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I had never, ever heard of Kipferls before.  Then, in two weeks they came into my life twice!  First, my friend Priscilla made some in the Culinary School Pastry Arts program she is enrolled in. I didn’t try one because I don’t like nuts.  I dislike nuts so much that the name of the cookie didn’t even register.  Then I read “The Book Thief” and Kipferls are important in one chapter.  Since I was hosting book club this month and since the author had contributed his mother’s recipe for Kipferls to “The Book Club Cookbook” that my friend Kayte  gave me for my birthday last year, I decided to make the cookie. I had to do a Google image search to see what they looked like! Then came the hunt for Hazelnut Flour.  It’s out there. I found it at Sprouts.  I was shocked by the price.  I told the cashier that there must have been a mistake.  She said she doubted it.  I asked her to call for a manager for a price check.  YEP.  She was right.  There was no mistake.  It’s $16.95 for a 14 oz. packet of Hazelnut Flour (aka Hazelnut Meal). After creating such a fuss, and with my book club in less than seven hours, I bought the dangblasted expensive and pitifully small bag of Hazelnut Flour. BTW, you don’t have to buy this flour to make these cookies.

How to avoid using expensive Hazelnut Flour:

1. Make your own.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Place 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) of shelled hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 8–10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the hazelnuts are fragrant and brown. Remove the nuts from the  oven and let cool slightly. While still warm, though, fold the nuts inside a clean kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove their skins. Place skinned nuts in a food processor fitted with the stainless-steel blade, and process until they are finely ground.

2. Substitute Almond Flour or Almond Meal for the Hazelnut Flour.  Almond Meal is about one-third the price of Hazelnut flour.  My German friend Karin said she always makes her Kipferls with Almond Meal, but her German relatives grind their own nuts.

To continue with my saga…Upon returning home with my $16.95 package of Hazelnut Flour, I got out the recipe and got started.  No! Two vanilla beans?  TWO?  For 36 cookies?  It is now clear to me that I am making World’s Most Expensive Cookie and I am thinking these better be good.  (They were, thank goodness. So good I might have to make them again, and again, and again…)

This recipe is based upon Markus Zusak’s recipe for Kipferls as published in The Book Club Cookbook.  I made some changes to the method and to the ingredients.  Mr. Zusak’s mother mixed her dough by hand, I tried it for a bit, then resorted to my electric mixer.  I split the use of the vanilla beans, putting one in the cookie and one in the powdered sugar, Mr. Zusak put both in the powdered sugar. I had to quadruple the amount of powdered sugar to cover all the cookies, and I covered the cookies with the powdered sugar while the cookies were still warm* so get a crackly, almost melted sugar coating on the cookies. (*Let the cookies cool a little, to firm up a bit.  If you toss hot cookies in powdered sugar, the cookie will break.)

Kipferls

Crisp German Vanilla Hazelnut Butter Cookies

For the cookies

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups Hazelnut Flour or Hazelnut Meal or alternative (see above)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 14 tablespoons (1 ¾ sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, split in half, and insides scraped off with a knife.  Discard the outside of the vanilla bean

For the vanilla sugar

  • 1 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces (different preparation than above)
  1. Make the vanilla sugar first.  Place the powdered sugar with the chopped up vanilla bean in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Process until the vanilla bean has been incorporated into the powdered sugar, several 10 second bursts.  Place a fine meshed sifter over a small bowl and sift the powdered sugar to remove the unblended pieces of vanilla bean.  Pour vanilla sugar into a large Ziploc bag. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two baking sheets lightly with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  3. Combine all purpose flour, hazelnut flour/meal, and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut butter into 1/2-inch pieces and add to flour mixture. Scrape the inside out of the split vanilla bean and add to bowl.  With an electric mixer, mix dough for 3-4 minutes or until a soft dough is formed.
  4. Pinch off small pieces of dough (1 T; 1/2 oz; 15 grams) and mold gently between your palms to form 3-inch ropes, thicker in the middle and tapered at the ends.   This took a bit of doing to master.  I rolled the dough to the length of my three middle fingers.  I rolled the dough a bit more firmly with my ring and index finger so the ends of the dough would be thinner. Fashion each piece of rolled dough into a crescent shape and place onto the prepared trays, see picture above.
  5. Bake in preheated 350º oven for 15-20 minutes or just until the cookies are beginning to turn brown.  Mr. Kusak says that once the Kipferls are brown, they are over cooked.
  6. Remove cookies from oven.  Cool just slightly and then toss into the Ziploc bag with the vanilla sugar–tossing the cookies while they are still hot creates a slightly melted-on, and truly special coating.  Toss  cookies in vanilla sugar.
  7. Remove cookie to a cooling tray and repeat with remaining cookies and vanilla sugar.  If you have vanilla sugar left over, you can re-coat the cookies.
  8. Let cool completely before eating. The cookies will crisp up as they cool.

 Yield: About 3 ½ dozen cookies

Kipferls1

I hope you enjoy the World’s Most Expensive Cookie!  They ARE good and worth the cost and the effort. Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

PS…I am making another batch of these cookies to take to a Tahoe retreat this weekend.  One bag of that dangblasted expensive Hazelnut Flour does make three batches of these cookies…AND, Costco sells vanilla beans now.  Note my friend Sally’s point, put the vanilla beans in the powdered sugar as soon as you get them.  Once you are ready to make the cookies, remove the beans and use as outlined above.  The benefit is that some of the essence of the vanilla beans will have soaked into the sugar…yummmmm.

06 Sep 2013 Pavlova

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In England, Australia, New Zealand and my house Pavlova is  a very popular dessert.  I am not sure why it’s not only not popular in the US but it’s not even well known.  Pavlova is a  quick, light, inexpensive, impressive, and utterly delicious dessert.  Pavlova is usually served during summer months since fresh berries are an important component.

Legend has it that Pavlova was named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova sometime in the 1920’s. But there the agreement ends. There is a huge and controversial issue around the country of origin of this dessert.  Both Australia and  New Zealand claim it.  Pavlova is a popular dish and important part of the national cuisine of both countries–as it is England (but England doesn’t claim to be a country of origin). Ok, ok! I can hear you all hollering but, what IS  “Pavlova”?

Pavlova is a meringue dessert with a crisp outer shell and a soft, light, fluffy center.  The meringue crust is  topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries–and kiwi– to serve.

I make two versions of this dessert.  Version #1, and the most traditional is below.  In Version #2, I mix a little lemon curd into the whipped cream, and I use blueberries instead of the more traditional raspberries and strawberries.  Trader Joe’s carries a very good and inexpensive lemon curd.  If you have a lemon tree, you can make your own lemon curd in the microwave with my recipe.

Pavlova doesn’t keep!  Don’t assemble the Pavlova until JUST before serving, and don’t expect to enjoy they leftovers (they’ll be soggy).  Make sure this is eaten all up all at once.  The good news is that the meringue base can be made ahead and stored for a few days in an airtight container before assembling and serving, which makes this a great showstopping dessert to make for guests.

High humidity might negatively affect this dessert. It’s best not to attempt to make this on a humid, wet, rainy day.

Pavlova

  •  4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream, recipe follows
  • fresh raspberries, strawberries, kiwi or combination (see above for a blueberry version)
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide.  Turn the paper over so the drawn circle is on the reverse side of the paper. (This way you won’t get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
  3. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. (Be SURE the bowl and beaters are very, very, very clean–with not one bit of oil, butter or fat residue.)
  4. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar, in slow steady stream or 1 T. at a time and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
  5. Mix vanilla, cornstarch and vinegar together then fold that mixture lightly into the egg white mixture using a very clean rubber spatula (there should be no oil, fat, butter, residue on the spatula).
  6. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Then, make a crater or a bowl in the middle of the flat meringue pile. (So the meringue looks like a rimmed soup bowl or large saucer.  This “crater” will hold the whipped cream and fruit at serving time.
  7. Bake at 200 degrees for  1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, at least 1 hour, overnight is better. (The meringue will deflate if exposed to cold air before it’s cool).  Store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Do not refrigerate.
  8. Place meringue disk onto a serving plate and JUST BEFORE SERVING spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Spoon the berries and the traditional Kiwi, if you can get it, carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately.

Sweetened Whipped Cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ – 1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don’t overbeat!  If using a Kitchen Aid, make 1 ½ or 2 cups cream, any less and the whisk won’t get it all up from the bottom.

You’ll love it!  Practice this once for the family, and then WOW your guests with it the next time!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

09 Dec 2012 Skibo Castle Crunch

This cookie is something you’ve never tasted before.  There’s no chocolate, no caramel, no peanut butter, no nuts, no oatmeal, no coffee, no mint, nor is there any jam in this cookie, so how can it be good?  I don’t know, but it is.  Damn good.  Two bites and you’ll be addicted and you won’t know why.

I don’t know why I made this cookie in the first place.  I found it in “The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe From Each Year 1941-2009” by Gourmet Magazine.  This was billed as the best cookie of 1999.  Maybe I made it because it was made famous in Scotland and I have a fondness for all things Scottish.  Maybe because it was a 15 minute bar cookie recipe and I had all the ingredients on hand.  Nevertheless, I made it, and this odd, crunchy ginger cookie has become one of my favorite all time cookies.

I had to change the recipe though.  The first year I made it, I loved it, but it was ODD, downright ugly and temperamental (no two batches turned out the same).  So I twiddled with it a bit and then , sadly, had to let it go as an “almost great” cookie.  This year,  I found the recipe again,  on Epicurious. com…, with twenty-five comments!  So I tried the recipe again and incorporated some of the suggestions.  Success!  This is the cookie I am taking to my Cookbook Club’s annual Christmas Cookie Exchange (my yoga group already gave it 10 thumbs up–and they got to taste both years’ versions).

The biggest change was doubling the recipe, but baking in the same size pan as the original recipe.  The second big change was using a food processor to make the base.  The third big change was cutting the cookie into squares before the cookie cooled. So here is the recipe for an odd, crunchy, ginger-y cookie that takes 15 minutes to bake and is totally addictive.

If you want more ginger flavor, add 1/2 cup minced candied ginger to either the shortbread base or sprinkled on top of the glaze.

Skibo Castle Ginger Crunch

For Shortbread Base:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces

For Glaze-like Topping:

1 1/2 cups butter
2 tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup (British cane sugar syrup-try World Market or an Indian Grocery or Amazon.com…or sub dark corn syrup)
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F . Line  a 13″ by 9″ baking pan with parchment paper.

Make shortbread base:
Place the dry ingredients in a food processor and whirl to combine.  Add in and blend in butter  and whirl until mixture resembles coarse meal and just starts to hold together.  Pour mixture into parchment lined baking pan. With your fingers, press mixture evenly into bottom of pan.  Do this lightly.  If you press too hard the shortbread will suffer.  Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden and crisp around the edges, 25 to 30  minutes.  Keep  your eye on this.  The shortbread can go from perfectly done to over baked in a minute.

Just before shortbread is done, make the topping:
Five minutes before the shortbread is to be taken out of the oven, melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring, for one minute. Remove shortbread from oven and pour topping over, tilting pan to cover shortbread evenly.

Cool in pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then cut the Skibo Crunch into small squares or rectangles.  Let the Skibo Crunch cool completely before removing from pan.  Then…WOW your guests with this seriously odd cookie.

Let me know if it becomes one of your favorites, too.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

 

27 Nov 2012 Mini Apple Pies

I hear mini pies are all the rage now. Bye-bye cake pops and chocolate with bacon, hellooooooo mini pies!  Here’s a great recipe with which to start.  Having made this recipe a few times, I now know a few things things about mini pies.  1.  The filing needs to be seasoned more than that of a regular pie 2.  The filling needs more “syrup”.

At first, I questioned this recipe; why put that much flour into the filling (I thought would taste, well, flour-y, and, having baked many a pie before, I was sure cornstarch or tapioca would be a better choice) and HOLY MOLY, I like cinnamon but a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon to 8 cups of apples?  In a weak moment, I did something completely out of character,  questioning the recipe all the way to the taste test,  I baked it,  “as is”.   (Did ya faint?!)

The recipe worked beautifully!  The filing is not flour-y nor is it too cinnamon-y. The recipe works because the extra flavor and the extra syrup is needed  in order for the filing to stand up to extra crust of a mini pie!  Well, of course!

I made these Mini Pies for the 22 members of my Dining For Women group who came to my house for a meeting last night.  I lost count of how many people asked me for the recipe, so that has prompted me, at long last, to post another recipe.

I found this recipe at Little Bit Funky.  There are lots of nice, helpful pictures posted there.  The picture showing the size of the cut apples is especially helpful (dice don’t slice!).

Mini pies are great to take to potlucks.  No knife or pie slice needed to serve.  No plate or fork needed to eat (just pick the mini pie out of the cupcake liner and bite! If there are any crumbs, a well placed cupcake liner catches them), and no one seems to even think of wanting whipped cream or ice-cream with mini pie. Whooo HOOOO!

 Mini Apple Pies

  • 8 cups of chopped fresh apples (I like granny smith or pippin mixed with jonagold or golden delicious…but in a pinch I use whatever I can get my hands on), diced to about ½” by ½” by ½”.
  • ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (yes, it’s a lot, but again, the extra syrup is needed)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 24 small chunks
  • 2 boxes Pillsbury pie crusts (that’s 4 crusts), or if you are fabulous, 2 recipes of homemade pastry
  • a tiny bit of milk, cream or half-and-half
  • a tiny bit of white or raw sugar
  • decorative cupcake liners to display and serve, if desired

 Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Unroll the pie crust and cut to fit into the bottom of 24 cupcake tins (no need to spray or line the tins).  I used a 3 ¼” round cookie cutter, but the ring from a mason jar, and probably a ring made from a well washed tuna can with the top and bottom removed would work too.  Save the pastry scraps to re-roll for the top crust.
  3. Refrigerate the dough in the tins while you prepare the apples.
  4. Peel,  core, and dice the apples.
  5. Pour prepared apples into a large bowl and completely coat with the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  6. Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator.
  7. Divide the apples between the 24 bottom crusts.  You should have enough apple filling to “mound” into the pie crust.
  8. Top each mound with a piece of butter.
  9. Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut circles (or shapes if you want to get fancy) to form the top crust.
  10. Use you fingers to press the top crust into the bottom crust.
  11. Brush each top crust with a bit of milk, half-and-half, or cream and then sprinkle with sugar.
  12. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes  (check at 20 minutes, then every 2 minutes after that until the pies are perfectly browned).
  13. Cool in pans.  You should have no trouble removing the pies from the cupcake tin.  I like to put each pie into a decorative cupcake liner at this point.

Enjoy!

I have made mini mincemeat pies for years, but now I have another mini pie to add to the platter for all the mincemeat haters of the world! (BTW, in my experience, mincemeat haters are usually people who have never even tried mincemeat).  If there is a loud ruckus from the mincemeat lovers out there I just might share my recipe for mini mincemeat pies (with my personal secret ingredient) in another post!

Happy baking!  Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today (I’ve missed you…)

 

17 Jun 2011 Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting

I made a cake last night.  No special reason.  The stars just aligned.

  • My daughter took my car, so I was stuck at home, alone, all night.
  • There was nothing on TV (is there ever?).
  • There was a “Cook’s” magazine under the TV remote.
  • There was a recipe for a yellow cake with chocolate frosting (one of my favorites), in the “Cook’s” magazine.
  • I have to make a  “Signature Cakes”, for the August Cookbook Club meeting.  (A “Signature Cake” is a showcase cake, appropriate for any celebration, that is so good people might start asking for it on their birthdays and such. )
  • A little “Signature Cake” practice wouldn’t hurt, and was probably needed.
  • I had just bought fancy-schmancy 9-inch layer cake pans at a hoity-toity gourmet store for 70% off.  Time to put them to the test!
  • I had all the ingredients on hand.

Who doesn’t like yellow cake with chocolate frosting?  It’s a classic!  The little editorial near the recipe on page 51 of the Spring 2011 edition of “Cook’s” said everything I want to say about Cake Mixes…chemical emulsifiers and leavening agents…monoglycerides and diglycerides….hydrogenated fats….artificial food coloring.  How about a good yellow cake without all that? This recipe delivers, and it’s moist and fluffy, too.  The taste? It HAS taste!  In my experience, cake mixes turn out cakes high on texture and color  with little taste other than that of sweet, overly-sweet.

The frosting spreads like a dream, and is rich, smooth, and will knock the socks off anyone who likes chocolate (who doesn’t like chocolate?).  The frosting is made with only 1 cup of powdered sugar (as opposed to the usual four cups), and is made with a food processor, not a mixer (a first for me).  Just a note though, this recipe results in a soft, creamy frosting (kind of like the canned stuff–but again, with TASTE…and none of that thick oily texture); so, if you are wanting a harder, fudge-type frosting, this is not the right recipe.

I am not sure this cake is fancy enough for my Cookbook Club….but it’s fancy enough for every other occasion.  I just may have found a “go-to” cake for many occasions.  It’s relatively easy to pull together, calls for no ultra-fancy ingredients, each layer is high and moist, and then there’s that creamy real milk chocolate frosting…

Yellow Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) cake flour (I did use cake flour, and not all-purpose)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 3/4 cup (12 1/4 oz.) sugar (divided use)
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted, it’s all I had), melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (if you bought a whole carton, freeze the leftovers until you are ready to make another cake)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 large egg whites (make a Pavlova or meringue cookies with the leftover egg whites), at room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 9-inch cake pans with 2 inch sides.  Spray with Pam for Baking, or butter and flour.  Line with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar.  Set aside.
  4. In another bowl combine melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg yolks. Set aside.
  5. Place room temperature egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat eggs until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the mixer running, gradually sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over over egg whites.  Continue to beat until stiff peaks form but beaten egg whites still look moist, about 60 seconds.
  6. Remove the egg whites from the mixer bowl to another bowl and set aside.
  7. In the now empty mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment pour in the flour mixture.  Turn mixer on low.  Gradually pour in the liquid ingredients and mix on low for about 15 seconds.  Stop and scrape bowl.  Mix again for another 15-30 seconds or until cake mixture is smooth and creamy.  Remove bowl f rom mixer.
  8. With a rubber spatula fold in 1/3 of the egg whites.  When those egg whites have been incorporated add remaining egg whites.  Gently fold in egg whites until no white streaks remain.
  9. Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Now , one at a time, life the pan off the counter, and gently let it drop back down–to remove air bubbles from the batter.  Five light taps for each pan will do the trick.
  10. Bake cakes in preheated 350 degree oven for 22 – 30 minutes or until cake starts to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean.
  11. Cool cakes in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto wire rack and cool for an additional hour or hour and a half before frosting.
  12. Unfrosted cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored in refrigerator for two days, or can be frozen for up to one month.  Thaw layers completely before frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (20 tablespoons), soft, but not runny (again, I used salted, it’s all I had on hand)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz. good quality milk chocolate (I used Hershey Symphony Bars), melted and cooled slightly
  1. In a food processor, process butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, stopping once or twice to scrape down sides of bowl.
  2. Add corn syrup and vanilla to the mixture in the food processor and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl and pulse until smooth and creamy, another 10 – 15 seconds.
  3. Frosting can be made up to 3 hours in advance.  For longer storage, cover and refrigerate then let sit at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  4. For other cakes, this frosting can be made with dark or semi-sweet  or bittersweet chocolate.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. I hope you find an reason to make this cake.  Once you make it, I think you’ll make it again and again and again.  For other recipes, click on the “In The Kitchen With Polly” logo on the top left hand side of this webpage.  Let me know what appeals to you and what you make. I love reading your comments.

Polly

 

23 Feb 2011 Champagne Cupcakes

My daughter recently catered a birthday dinner for a very bubbly, champagne loving girl.  She knew Champagne Cupcakes had to be on the menu!  The good news is that these are great cupcakes not only for a birthday dinner, but for an Oscar party, too! Aren’t we all going to an Oscar party on Sunday?? They’re also good for many other champagne worthy events:  Birthday Party, Engagement Party, Shower, Wedding, New Year’s Eve, Promotion, Retirement, Bon Voyage, Welcome Home, Mortgage Burning, Mortgage Acquisition,  Crowning of Miss America… 🙂

This recipe makes a very light and not-so-sweet cupcake.  The champagne flavor really comes through if you brush champagne on the cakes before adding the frosting. This was my daughter Hannah’s idea, it’s not in the original recipe.  She also added more champagne to the frosting (tut-tut-tut, says Mom…)!  The original recipe called for coloring, but not being a food coloring fan, Hannah omitted it.  “In retrospect”, she said, “it would have been nice to have a slightly pink colored frosting.  After all, I did use pink champagne!”

Champagne Cupcakes

For Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup pink champagne, plus extra (approx ½ cup) for brushing onto baked cupcakes (I used Chandon Rose)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 4-5 drops red food coloring (optional)

For Frosting

  • 1 1lb box powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • ¼ cup pink champagne
  • 3-4 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • candy pearls (I found these in the cake decorating section of the grocery store)

To Make Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, beat eggs whites with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. Set aside. (If you have only one bowl for your electric mixer, you will have to remove the egg whites to another bowl).
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer,  cream the 2/3 cup butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.  Add in ½ of the champagne, beat until combined. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, mixing until fully incorporated, then add the remaining ½ cup of champagne, beating until combined. Beat in the remaining flour mixture and the food coloring, mixing until combined.
  6. Gently fold in 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the cake batter and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in remaining egg white mixture until combined.
  7. Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each cupcake liner 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on wire rack.
  9. Once cupcakes have cooled, poke 8-10 holes in each cupcake using a toothpick. Using a pastry brush, coat each cupcake with champagne.

To Make Frosting

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and champagne.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and food coloring, mixing well until the frosting is smooth. (If too stiff add more champagne, if too runny add more powdered sugar.)
  3. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a decorating tip (or a Ziploc bag with the corner cut off), and decorate cupcakes.
  4. Top with candy pearls.

Makes: 24 cupcakes.  Keeps well for a day or two.

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today!  And thank you to my daughter, Hannah, for testing this recipe and sharing the cupcakes with me.  Guess what I am taking to my Oscar Night Party?  Yep!  If you’d like to take these to a special event, but don’t have time to make them, contact  Hannah, she is a fledgling caterer, you know!