Thursday, July 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Harry!

I'm a pretty big nerd. Ever since I was a little girl, books have made me so happy. I only read the Harry Potter books for the first time a few years ago but I fell in love. Since Harry Potter's 35th birthday is July 31st, and it is already the 31st in London, I decided to try and make this butterbeer cupcake recipe.

It took quite some time because I had to wait for the ganache to cool. I recommend you make the ganache before anything so it will be nice and cool by the time the cupcakes and frosting are ready. This was the first time I had to put anything inside a cupcake and I am happy to report that the squeeze bottle worked really well.  I also had to concoct a double broiler and am happy I did not somehow blow up my bowl.

The recipe made 18 cupcakes. I carefully frosted them using a ziploc bag with the tip cut off so some looked prettier than others. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first tasted them but they blew me away! They are a-m-a-z-i-n-g! They might be better than my cinnamon roll cake and I am basically world famous for that, lol. 

Butterbeer Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda
For the ganache:
1 11-oz. package butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream
For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar
Splash of milk or cream (as needed)
For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream your butter until light and fluffy. Add your sugars and beat until well-combined. Beat in your eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then beat in your vanilla and butter flavoring.
Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well incorporated. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.
For butterscotch filling: In a double boiler (heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stove), combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. Cool to room temperature. Fill a squeeze bottle with ganache and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until filling begins to overflow.

For buttercream frosting: Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add in ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency. Add milk or cream by the Tablespoon as needed. Frost cupcakes and top with a drizzle of butterscotch ganache.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Apple Pie and Crust

As I mentioned in my previous post, I made an apple pie from scratch over the weekend and I now believe I am Martha Stewart. Not really but I was super proud except for the crust fiasco. Last year I tried to make a pecan pie from scratch and the crust was a complete disaster so I felt redeemed. Plus, I had a rolling pin. Last time I used a bottle of Jameson.

The pie is super easy as is the crust. The crust recipe is linked below and is also where I found the pie recipe. It's not as pretty because I didn't have enough dough to finish up the lattice crust but believe when I say it was delicious.

Apple Pie
Two pie crusts
1/2 cup of butter
3 Tbs flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 apples sliced, cored, and peeled

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2. In saucepan, melt butter then whisk in flour. Add white sugar, brown sugar, and water. Bring to a boil continuously whisking, then simmer on low for 5 minutes.

3. Roll out both pie crusts. Place one on bottom of pie and use a pizza cutter to cut other crust into 1/4 inch strips. (I did this all before I started making the filling).

4. Fill pie crust with apples. Pour the liquid evenly over the apples.

5. Add strips of pie dough across your pie to make a lattice crust.

6. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Pioneer or Pie and Beer?

The 24th of July is a big deal in Utah. Pioneer Day is the day the Mormons settled here so we blow things up and have parades. Pie and Beer Day is what the counter culture calls it. Either way, it's awesome and I was excited to celebrate for the first time in four years.

The day started with some delicious doughnuts. My sister and I went to a place I had been wanting to try called Beyond Glaze. It was super cute and had a really unique selection. It was the perfect pre-parade snack!

We were lucky enough to get amazing seats for the parade. Our area was really shady (almost cold), parking was close, and there was a restaurant behind us selling tasty burritos. It was not an ideal location for pictures but we got to enjoy the parade comfortably. I had forgotten how much fun it was to go and wave at people in the parade. Plus, my favorite part is when the police clear the roads.

In honor of the holiday, I decided to try and make my first apple pie from scratch. I know this will make me sound like an idiot but the hardest part was peeling and coring the apples. I almost chopped off my hand like four times and I made a mess. We then got invited to my in-laws for a last minute cookout. I thought I could make the pie when I got home but we were there late and I drank a bottle of wine so it did not get done until Saturday.

The pie was absolutely delicious! I was pretty proud but I had one minor setback. Most crust recipes I have found make two crusts. This one only made one. I didn't realize it until I had already put the crust in the pan. I had to take the extra edges and try to make a lattice crust with them. I was pretty upset about it but the pie turned out great and now I know I can make a crust. I will post the recipe later but look at my amazing crust!

The Husband got inspired by my skills and decided to make us a delicious lunch of ribs and potatoes. It was so good! He really is a master when it comes to cooking ribs. Later that evening we celebrated the 13th anniversary of our first date and went to the same restaurant we went to that night. I know it's cheesy but we're that kind of couple.

Sunday was spent hanging out with family and getting The Husband ready for his trip to Philadelphia. It's really a bummer I couldn't go because I have never been but oh wells. I will just have to spend my time reading until he comes back.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Into the Woods

This past weekend was one that I will always remember. The Husband and myself, along with his sister, husband, and adorable kiddos went on a camping trip to Currant Creek up in the Uintah Mountains. The scenery was breathtaking, the fire was perfect, and we got some awesome thunder.

The first night got a little rough because the temperature went down to 38 degrees. Our tent was definitely not made to handle that, neither were our sleeping bags. The Husband and I spent that night sleepless and trying to get as close as possible (terrible, I know). We learned our lesson so the following night we slept in the back of our car. The rain helped put is to sleep that night and it was great.

It's crazy to me that I have only been camping a handful of times but have really grown to love it the two times we've been this summer. The stillness that surrounds you is probably the most relaxing thing you can experience. There was fishing, hiking, and some of the most delicious food (The Husband made the most delicious ribs). Plus, it's always sexy to see your husband start a fire and build you shelter, lol.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Vegas for the Fourth

Our Fourth of July was perfect! We headed to Las Vegas to visit our friends Michael and Tiffany and their cute daughter. The drive was longer than planned due to holiday traffic and some construction in Arizona but that was the only bummer. We got there super late and went to bed since we had a day of camping ahead of us.

I had only ever been camping like four times (shocker, I know) so I was a bit nervous when I heard we were going to a dispersed campground. Basically, there would be no bathrooms, running water, or people around. However, I had a blast! It rained, which added to the adventure. By the time we left Saturday morning, we were all muddy and dirty. I felt all outdoorsy (just give me a break, k?) and learned a lot about how to put up a tent and cook outside.

For the Fourth, we had a nice dinner and headed to Red Rock Resort for fireworks. The location was ideal since it was away from the traffic of The Strip but we could still see the fireworks they had going on. I was excited to wear my blue dress from Old Navy and their little girl was sweet enough to let me borrow a red bow. I added a bright red lip and celebrated in style with people I adore. This summer just keeps getting better and better.