Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fresh Nectarine Cupcakes

McKayla was thumbing through an issue of Martha Stewart Living. Oo-ing and Ah-ing at everything. (What is it about that magazine? Every month Martha convinces me that I can be Martha, too.) She decided that the cupcakes on the last page were a must-make. Coincidentally, I had been seduced by a particularly fragrant bag of nectarines at the grocery store earlier that day. Coincidence? Fate? Karma? Luck? Who knows. But one thing I do know, these are amazing!

So here is the recipe, with the adjustments I made ... (always making some adjustment ...)

Boil water in a pot. While heating up, set up a water bath. (Water bath: bowl full of ice cubes and water that will immediately stop the cooking process.)You are going to be peeling off the skin of the nectarines. When the water is boiling rapidly, gently submerge 4 clean, ripe nectarines. I like to stir them. After a minute, take out one and submerge in the water bath. Test to see if the skin comes off easily. If it does, take them all out and submerge in the water bath. If not return to the pot and continue cooking for about 15 seconds before you test again. Repeat until skin comes off easily, but the fruit should not be cooked. Congratulations! You have just learned how to BLANCH.

Peel, slice, remove pit and chop up the fruit in small chunks. Not itty-bitty so it is just mush, but so you can still see nice chunks. Set aside.

Let's make some cupcake batter!

1 1/2 cubes softened butter (12 tbsp or 3/4 of a cup)
1 1/2 cups sugar

Mix until fluffy. Add the following:

2/3 cup milk (Martha said whole, but I used 1% and felt just fine with it.)
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs

Sift together the dry and then add to the wet:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Mix until everything is smooth and fluffy.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and insert two dozen paper cups in muffin tins. Fill each cup with 1 heaping-tbsp of batter. Then fill with 1 heaping-tbsp of nectarines. Top with 1 heaping-Tbsp of batter. Bake for 25 minutes. The tops should be golden brown. Let cool. Remove from tin.

Let's make some topping:

1 1/2 cups cold whipping cream
1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp powdered milk (this stabilizes the whipped cream)

Beat together on high speed until it looks like whipped cream should look. Dollop on cupcakes right before you eat. Add a slice of nectarine to make it look super pretty!

Makes 2 dozen.
El yumm-o!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

German Pancakes

German Pancakes are one of those foods that while you are eating it, you know you shouldn't. The first time I had them, one of my BYU roommates had made one. When they came out of the oven she sprinkled it with a generous layer of powdered sugar and then squeezed a lemon over it. Heaven! I could not believe I had lived so long and never eaten it before.

A few years later, I ran across a recipe in a cookbook, made it and passed my love onto my young family. McKayla, who is not a big fan of pancakes/waffles/french toast fell madly in love. It became her favorite breakfast food of all time. It is regularly served as her "birthday breakfast" and usually gets one or two additional appearances for a holiday or general conference breakfast. But it remains special. Not just an everyday or any day treat.

By the way, I was fine with my recipe. I had ordered it in a couple of restaurants through the years and found that it was always good, mostly the same. Consistently good. Sometimes served with apples, or syrup, or lemon juice. But the pancake itself was pretty much the same.

Switching themes for a moment. My friend Sheila is the most positive, gracious person out there. Having had her difficulties, she is not only a survivor, but one with a smile on her face. She does not dwell on the negatives, but looks for the opportunities in the future. I love and admire so much about her. She would have been great on the pioneer trail. But I digress, this is a recipe blog and I am not going to cook Sheila. I bring this up because during one of those incredibly generous moments, she made this for us. We were staying with her while the girls were attending a BYU sports camp. I though it was enough for us to stay in her beautiful home, but no. She also made us breakfast every morning and dinner every night. I mean come on, 5-star all the way. I could do a whole post on how wonderful that week was. I think I did (right here and then continuing through several more posts) There I go digressing again.

Bottom line: Sheila made us German Pancakes one morning and they were so much better than other I had ever had. I needed that recipe. Here it is:

Take a cube of butter and put it into a 13 x 9 can pan (I use a glass one) put it in the oven and turn the oven on to 450 degrees. Keep an eye on it. The butter needs to melt and the pan needs to be hot. But you don't want it to burn.

While that is going on mix the following:

6 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

Stir until smooth. When the butter is melted and the oven is hot, keep the pan in the oven and pour the mixture into the pan. Do not stir. The melted butter will stay separate and that is how you want it. Let bake for 15-20 minutes, checking after 15. It will balloon up and you don't wan the edges to get too dark/burnt.

Serve immediately. You can used the lemon juice/powdered sugar way or just maple syrup or plain. Experiment. Enjoy.