Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes… Yum!

Yesterday, March 8, was my birthday.  Traditionally my mom makes my favorite cake for me- angel food cake.  This year was the exception, so I decided to make my own birthday cupcakes!

I love baking, so I looked through one of my Betty Crocker cookbooks and found a recipe for chocolate cupcakes with chocolate orange icing.  I was so excited to bake completely homemade cupcakes…. with a little pizzaz.

Although I ran into some difficulties with the cupcake batter (I forgot to add the orange zest so I had to start all over again), the cupcakes were delicious!  I truly think that these are the best cupcakes that I have ever made.

Chocolate Cupcakes Recipe:

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

 

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup hot water

2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa

3/4 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place paper baking cups in 24 regular size muffin cups.

2. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.  In another bowl, mix hot water and cocoa until dissolved- set both bowls aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat margarine with electric mixer until smooth.  Gradually add sugar- 1/2 cup at a time (beat well after each addition).  Beat 2 minutes longer.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each.  Beat in vanilla and orange zest.  On a low speed, mix in cocoa mixture and flour mixture- alternate each.  Beat until well blended.

4.  Fill 24 cupcake cups 2/3 full.

5.  Bake for 20- 25 mins or until cupcakes are spongey.  Remove and cool.

Frosting Recipe:

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

Chocolate Orange Zest Cupcakes

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup margarine, softened

3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

3 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons orange juice (pulp free)

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

1. In a large bowl, mix butter and melted chocolate until well blended.

2. Stir in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Beat in vanilla and orange juice until smooth.

3. Beat in orange zest until well blended.

4. Use spatula to put icing into a sealable sandwich bag, seal, and cut off corner.

5. Frost cupcakes using bag to create swirl and place small pieces of orange peel on top as garnish.

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Woof! Puppy Treats!

So you have probably figured out already that I love to bake… and cook…. and eat.  A while back (while I wasn’t spending time blogging…. whoops!) I wanted to make a yummy treat for Moose- my rescue.

I searched online and found this website which listed a great recipe for dog friendly cookies.  Moose loves peanut butter so this one was perfect… not to mention it is SUPER easy!

Here is what the recipe calls for:

Ingredients:

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)

1 cup milk

Fun Cookie Cutters

How To:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix well.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface.

Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Bake for 20 minutes on a greased baking sheet until lightly brown.

Cool and Serve!!

**Note:  The cookies do burn easily, so I checked them often.  Also, the cookies mold quickly, so either share the love, or fatten your pup up quickly!!

Eggplant Parm… Yum!

Giant Purple Eggplant.

A follow-up to the farmer’s market post… what to do with the giant eggplant.

I had attempted eggplant parmesan before with a smaller eggplant from Wegman’s, but I don’t think that I made it correctly (Dan liked it of course, but I didn’t).  So, I wanted to give it another shot with the eggplant from the Oakland Mills Farmer’s Market.  The eggplant was seriously giant, and it made a ton of food in the end.  I ended up making dinner for my entire family and brought it to my parents house to feed them.

When I decided to make the eggplant parm, I found a recipe from allrecipes.com and loosely used it.  Here is what I ended up doing:

Coated Eggplant Slices ready for baking.

Prepare Eggplant

– Peel and slice eggplant into 3/4 in pieces (width) and sprinkle each side with salt.

– Place paper towels onto a cookie sheet and lay a single layer of eggplant onto paper towels.

– Lay a single layer of paper towels on top of slices and press with something heavy (ie. iron skillet, heavy pan).

– Press for 20- 30 mins.

– Remove eggplant pieces and rinse with cold water, dry.

Bake the slices at 350 degrees.

Bake Eggplant

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

– Make a mixture of bread crumbs on a large plate (I used plain bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and italian spices).

– Coat each slice with egg (I use egg beaters), lay slices on bread crumbs and coat each side thoroughly, and place a single layer onto a greased cookie tray.

– I bake my slices for about 10 mins on each side, but they should looked a little browned when they are finished.

Eggplant Parmesan over noodles.

Parmesan 

– After removing baked slices from the oven, leave the oven at 350 degrees.

– In a glass pan (size of pan and amount of ingredients depends on how much eggplant you have), pour tomato sauce/ pasta sauce to coat bottom.

– Place single layer of baked eggplant slices on top of sauce and coat with cheese (I used a mixture of grated parmesan and mozzarella with italian spices mixed in).

– Cover with more tomato/ pasta sauce and top off with cheese mixture.

– Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins.

– When the Eggplant Parm is done, you should be able to stick a fork into the slices easily (they should be squishy).

Yum!

ENJOY!!

About Me.

Oh hi.

My name is Allison.

I am an art teacher based in Maryland.

I enjoy art, ceramics, sketchbooking, dancing when no one is around, singing in the car, decorating.. and redecorating, cooking, people-watching, and random music.

I am engaged to the love of my life... I can't wait to be married to him.

I like learning about new things.

I find people to be interesting.

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