Friday, September 18, 2009

Banana Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

So the other day I was sitting alone in my apartment (which I have yet to post pictures of... sorry about that. I need to clean the place first and then you can all see my not-so-shabby digs) when I saw that my new frosting tips came in from Bake it Pretty! I was so exciting and it didn't hurt that the packaging was sort of adorable! They came in a brown paper bag with gift tags which I saved and can't wait to use. The tags sort of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, you know "eat me" "drink me", way too cute.

The tips I bought were the star and the closed star and they are WAY bigger than I expected but oh so perfect, so of course I had to use them right away!

So I was trying to decide what to make when it dawned on me. A good friend of mine introduced me to a fabulous snack over the summer, bananas and Nutella, so i thought, why not put this fantastic flavor combo into a cupcake? Let me tell you, delicious!

Banana Cupcakes
1 cup (salted) butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 large bananas, and it's easier when they are really ripe)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together butter, sugar, egg, banana and vanilla.

Mix baking soda with flour and mix dry ingredients in one cup at a time until incorporated (I'm sure you can do it all at once if you have a stand mixer but it gets overwhelming if all you have is a hand mixer).
Fill cupcake pan with papers and fill a one gallon freezer bag (with zipper) with the cupcake mixture. Cut a hole at the corner of the bag and get filling. I've found that this is the most efficient way to go about filling the cups, it's easier to make them even and you don;t have to worry about the dripping as much.
(Tip: Don't forget to squeeze the air out of the bag first to avoid air bubbles)

Sprinkle a little granulated sugar over the top of each cupcake and bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. These will come out a little more like muffins than cupcakes but that doesn't make them any less scrumptious!

Now for the important part.

Nutella Frosting
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/2 cup Nutella
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon half and half

Combine cream cheese, Nutella, and half and half in a bowl until smooth.
Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until your desired consistency is reached. I used 5 cups and looking back I wish I'd just added an extra half cup.
Pipe on your frosting and enjoy!

For these I used the closed star tip and they turned out beautifully.
If anyone wants a tutorial on how to pipe frosting, let me know, I'll see if I can figure out the whole video thing.



(PS- I know this sounds pathetic, and maybe it is but please please please leave a comment! I need to feel the love people! Other than that, Have a great weekend!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Blueberry Pie with lattice weave crust!

Is there a better way to spend a Friday than watching A Hard Days Night and baking a blueberry pie? I think not! So the pie's not perfect, but who really wants to eat a perfect pie? They never taste as good when they're perfect anyway! The pie was great fun and I think everyone should take they're next slow day in and bake a pie. Here is the original recipe I used, but for extra tips and trick, including how to master the lattice weave crust, read on!

Wonderfully Imperfect Blueberry Pie
about 1 hour for filling
about 1 hour to bake
2 hours to cool
No time to eat!

6 cups fresh blueberries (about 3 "1 dry pint" packages)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Top and bottom crusts (I would have attempted to make my own, but I don't have a food processor so I went with my favorite pre-made crust, Pillsbury.)

Put all ingredients into a large pan, I actually used a big deep skillet for lack of a large enough sauce pan. Lightly mix the ingredients together and place on the stove over low heat.

This is going to take a while, for me it took about 45 minutes to get the blueberries to where they needed to be. You should stir the mixture every so often and make sure it doesn't start to boil. Here's what it looks like after about 15 minutes:

And this is what it looks like when it is done:

(HINT: It doesn't actually come out pink, it's much darker than that, for some reason the flash on my camera it made it look that way. So please, don't wait for it to get pink!)

While the berries are cooking either make your pie crust or roll out the store bought stuff so that it fits in your pie pan. My pan is very deep so I had to roll my crust out a little thinner, but of course I can't make anything easy on myself, because I don't have a rolling pin... So what can I use? A wine bottle of course! It works great, so if you don't have a rolling pin, grab the vino!

When your blueberries start to look like preserves (and don't worry if it's not as thick as jelly) take your pan off the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes or until it's lukewarm, then pour your filling right into that pie crust!

So now your pie is done... kinda... it's time for the top crust. If you want to just slap the top crust on there, be my guest, but I went for something a little more fun and attempted a lattice weave. Wanna try it?

For a lattice weave crust you need 10 strips of pie crust, and believe it or not, it's possible to do this with one round of store bought crust! Focus on getting 8 strips first, about 3/4'' to 1'' thick. there will be some left over crust on either side which should be good enough for another strip with some extra. Now what you need to do is go over each strip once lightly with a rolling pin (or wine bottle). You'll find not that the strips are now more than long enough, when you trim the extra off each strip, you'll have more than enough for your 10th strip!

So how does the weave work? It's easy!

Lay out 5 strips vertically over your filling.

Take the middle strip and both of the outer strips and fold them back a little over halfway.

Lay down one strip horizontally and unfold the three vertical strips.

Now fold back the two other strips over the horizontal strip you just laid down and place another horizontal strip.

Unfold those strips and repeat until all 10 of your strips are woven in!

You'll have some excess dough, just trim and press into the crust and you're done!

Easier than you thought huh?

Before you throw the pie in the oven, brush the pie crust with milk and sprinkle with sugar and you're ready to go!

Now for the baking!

Bake the pie at 425 for about 15 minutes. then turn the oven down to 350 and continue cooking for about 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
(HINT: definitely consider covering the edge of the crust with tin foil before you start baking to keep it from burning, also put a cookie sheet or tin foil under the pie wile baking because blueberry pie has a tendency to boil over, and no one wants to clean a dirty oven!)

So you're done! Let the pie sit for at least 2 hours before serving and don't eat it too fast!

If there are any questions or requests please leave a comment!
I want to know how your pie went!