MONDAY…NOTHING A CUPCAKE CAN’T FIX

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I have a love-hate relationship with baking.  I love sweets.  And on any given Sunday, you can find me at the local bakery with a cup of coffee and a chocolate criossant or blueberry muffin.  (Embarassing, I know.) But I’m also a creative-type so it’s sometimes (…quite often) difficult for me to follow directions for a recipe –  a red flag for any baker.  I’m usually a “let’s try a little of this, and maybe a smidge of that…” type of baker which has caused me endless batches of watery cupcakes, burnt cookies and flat cakes.  Over time, I’ve learned to cross my t’s and dot my i’s when I’m baking, however, occasionally, I do like to test some new flavors.
vanilla-cupcakes
Recently, I’ve been obsessed with this lemon cookie ice cream flavor at my local ice cream store.  It’s so perfect and refreshing for a warm summer day.  I thought this flavor might be perfect for cupcakes, too!
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So I tried a traditional vanilla cupcake recipe and added a bit of lemon to the buttercream frosting.  Fun fact:  This was my first time ever using a pipping bag for cupcakes, how do you think the turned out?  I’m not going to lie, it was harder than I thought.  Scrumptious, though!

INGREDIENTS

Cupcake
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1/2 cup of sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
Lemon Buttercream Frosting
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lemon rind
DIRECTIONS
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line standard cupcake/muffin tin with foil or paper.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks and vanilla extract; beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
Divide batter evenly among cups in prepared tin.  Bake until cupcake tops are golden around the edges; 20-40 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes from the tin and transfer to the wire wrack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.
(Cupcake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

THE PERFECT GUACAMOLE

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Guacamole is a family-favorite in my house.  It’s quite typical during the summer nights to find us gathering around the table to gobble down some guac ‘n chips.  Yum!  My only qualm is that every time I make guacamole, somebody has feedback for me.  It seems that guacamole is more a work of great art than an appetizer.  “I typically use more tomato!” “Did you put the cilantro in it?” or “I’ll show you how I make it next time.”  Ugh!  And my beloved boyfriend is the largest culprit.  Talk about a back seat chef! (Love you, though.)

My secret for survival?  A nice wheat treat.  But shhh.

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So this year I am more than dedicated to finding the most amazingly-perfect, can’t-argue-with-me guacamole.  I’m starting early, but I think I’ve chosen my winner.  I’m welcoming feedback until the end of May.   Speak now or forever hold your guac-peace.

INGREDIENTS
3 avocados, ripe
1 lime, juiced
1 small red onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup salsa, fresh
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

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DIRECTIONS

Peel and chop the avocados and place the pieces in a small mixing bowl.  Using a fork, mash the avocados until you have a creamy mixture.  Stir in the fresh lime juice.  Add the onion, garlic, pepper, and salt, and mix well.

Add homemade or store-bought sales to the mixture.  Mix in chopped cilantro.  This is best served within an hour or so of making it since it browns quickly.