Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Frosting

OMG! I rarely post right after I make something, but I was SO excited about this recipe when I tried it yesterday that I had to post about this ASAP. I randomly stumbled on it while looking for a good vanilla cupcake recipe (I wasn't even looking for a frosting recipe!). If you like browned butter, YOU HAVE TO TRY THIS. It is so good and so easy to make.

Browning the butter
Note: You don't usually need to whisk anything while browning butter; just swirling it in the pan works, but I figured I should follow the recipe's instructions since this was my first time browning butter with vanilla bean specks in it!
My browned butter
You can see the browned butter bits AND vanilla bean specks!
Recipe here from Self Proclaimed Foodie (I made minor changes like using a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer)

* Note: Makes 2 cups or enough for 12 cupcakes (You can add more frosting on your cupcakes than I did; I was playing it safe and only adding the amount of frosting I usually prefer...although after finding this recipe I prefer more!!)
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise (I used 1.5 beans because that was what I had)
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk or half and half
  1. In a saucepan (medium heat), melt butter with vanilla beans (specks and throw in the leftover pods too). Whisk frequently. As the butter foams, continue whisking to release brown bits that may stick to the bottom. Once the butter has browned (once you start to see brown specks, the butter turns a brownish color, and it starts smelling more nutty), remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean pods from butter.
  2. Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or your hand mixer, beat cooled browned vanilla bean butter with the confectioner's sugar on medium speed.
  3. One tablespoon at a time, add milk (I used nonfat milk, but half and half or whole milk would work well, of course) & continue beating the frosting until you've reached the desired consistency.
In case you need a vanilla cupcake recipe too, I tried this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker and loved the flavor:

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard cupcake tin with paper or foil liners.
2. Beat together flour, sugar, baking powder, & salt w/ a mixer. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat w/ a mixer at medium speed until smooth and satiny (about 30 seconds). Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth.
3. Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin & bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (20 to 24 minutes).
4. Remove cupcakes from tin & transfer to wire rack. Cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Recipe from Sprinkles: Strawberry Cupcakes!

If you haven't tried cupcakes from Sprinkles, you have to add that to your foodie bucket list. I've had a few now, and all of them have been perfectly flavorful and moist. The only thing I don't like is their signature nipple topper. You'll know what I mean when you see it. I've posted about Sprinkles here and about their Cuban Coffee cupcake here.

Anyway, I absolutely love this strawberry cupcake recipe. I've made them a few times now. The only change I made from Candace Nelson's original recipe was that I kept in some strawberry pieces instead of straining them out because they seem more fresh and less fake when you can see pieces or bits of fruit, nuts, etc. in my opinion. I wanted to make the frosting with my new decorating tips, but I was in a rush and just ended up using a butter knife.

Strawberry Cupcakes Recipe (adapted from Martha Stuart's website)
  • 2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed - Ends up being 1/3 cup strawberry puree
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners & set aside.
  2. Put strawberries in a small food processor & process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree (Save any extra puree for frosting)
    - I just diced strawberries and smashed them with a fork
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, & salt; set aside.
    In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, & strawberry puree; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), cream butter on medium-high speed until light & fluffy. Gradually add sugar & beat until well combined & fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium & slowly add egg & egg whites until just blended.
  5. With mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture until just blended.
  6. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Put muffin tin in oven & bake until tops are just dry to the touch (~22-25 minutes). Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack & let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.

Sprinkles's Strawberry Frosting Recipe (from Martha Stuart's website)

  • 1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed (I just use fresh strawberries) - You end up only needing 3 tablespoons of strawberry puree
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1) Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor & process until pureed.
     - I just diced fresh strawberries and smashed them with a fork
2) In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter & salt on medium speed until light & fluffy.
3) Reduce mixer speed & slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined.
4) Add vanilla & 3 tablespoons strawberry puree; mix until just blended. Do not overmix! Frosting should be dense and creamy. 

The inside. I kept the strawberry pieces in there too.