Tried & True Tuesdays: Bruschetta Pizza

Tonight I fell in love with a pizza. Thankfully I have GamerMan so I don’t need to worry my brain with the logistics of bearing pizza-babies, or how messy our wedding might be – though that still is up for concern >.> or the social implications of having a food item for a husband…

Yes, I can be overly dramatic, but once you try this stuff you’ll be singing right along with me!





Cannoli Cupcakes

My first memory of pistachios was in my best friend’s family car. I looked in the back seat and saw a bag of these tan ovals and thought WTF ARE THOSE!?

I may or may not have eaten one, but the important thing to note is GamerMan loves pistachos and had I not been that weird kid in grade school who ate stuff off the floor of other people’s cars, we probably wouldn’t be together today.

But back to the cupcakes :) I used Joelen’s recipe as a base, doubling the amount of orange zest, and substituting vanilla bean seeds for vanilla extract. Oh, and lots and lots of pistachios!




Tiramisu Cupcakes

I’m not going to lie, these were pretty much the best things on earth – next to these.

And since we’re being honest here, I’ve never eaten real tiramisu… Though I once ate a Twinkie studded with chocolate chips, dunked in coffee and topped with ReddiWhip. But that doesn’t count, right?

If you like tiramisu, or even just enjoy the whole coffee-chocolate-cream-cake thing, you need to make these ASAP.

Tiramisu Cupcakes:
(adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 1/4 c cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 c lowfat milk
1/8 c heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 c sugar

Coffee-Marsala Syrup:
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce sweet Marsala wine
1/4 cup sugar

Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 325F. Line cupcake tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk, cream, and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.

Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

Mascarpone Frosting:
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated.


GamerMan liked these so much, he’s moping around the house because he only got to eat one  since I made a half-batch. Maybe next weekend, honey!



Tried & True Tuesdays: Chicken Tikka Masala

Definitely one of the more tasty experiments. Base recipe courtesy of P-Dub. I made a half batch of the recipe and it was WAY more than enough to feed GamerMan and I.

Since we’d both never had tumeric before, the rice was… interesting. Don’t get me wrong, we both gobbled it up. It just tasted like tumeric :P

We also added jalapeños and replaced half the cream in the sauce with plain yogurt.





Strawberry cupcakes with champagne frosting

I’m sure these cupcakes are amazing. I’m sure of it because it’s a recipe with Martha Stewart’s face plastered next to it. But due to my poor math skills and the inability to understand why the colors in nature aren’t the same as those that come from a box, they didn’t turn out THAT great.

Pure and simple: I added twice the amount of strawberry puree and the cake came out mega heavy.

THE FROSTING, ON THE OTHER HAND… Absolutely to die for. If you don’t make the cupcakes, promise me you’ll at least make some champagne frosting. Eat it straight from the bowl. I won’t judge you!

Strawberry Cupcakes:
(adapted from MarthaStewart.com; makes 6 cupcakes)

1/3 cup whole fresh strawberries; stemmed
3/4 c flour, sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 c milk, room temp.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 c sugar
1/2 egg, room temp.
1 egg white, room temp.

Preheat oven to 350F. Prep cupcake tin with 6 liners.

Using a food processor, puree strawberries. You should get about 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry mush. Mix this with the milk and vanilla, and set aside.

Sift/whisk your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and white, mixing until just combined.

Add half the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Follow up with all the strawberry milk. Again, mix until combined, where you’ll then slowly add in the rest of the flour mix. Stop mixing when you see no more dry specks.

Divide batter between cupcake liners and bake for 22-25 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR until that timer goes off. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before popping them out of the tin onto a cooling rack.


Champagne Buttercream Frosting:

1/4 c unsalted butter, room temp.
~1/2 lb powdered sugar (roughly half a bag), sifted
2-3 Tbsp of your favorite champagne

Whip the butter using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. Slowly add in powdered sugar, adding champagne (I used Asti) a little at a time when the frosting starts to thicken. Frost cupcakes, or your face, as desired.

I swear it will be the best decision you’ve made all week :)




Blueberry Cupcakes w/VB White Chocolate Buttercream

Story time! This time last year GamerMan ate his first fresh blueberry. I made him. He hated it.
He has, to date, eaten only 1 blueberry. And I use the term “ate” loosely as he spat the offending berry out.

As I don’t take defeat lightly, I have been searching for a recipe in which blueberries were featured, but still had enough “safe” flavor to trick GM into taking a bite.

I know how his taste buds work ;)

Gala’s blueberry cupcakes looked promising and blueberries were on sale this week, so it took it as a sign that it was time to revisit the blueberry incident!

Looks like a winner to me!

So, GamerMan’s verdict? N/A. He’s been “too full” since Sunday to try one.

I’m fairly certain that’s code for “No way am I EVER touching those!”, but I still have hope.

And another plan >:)




Tried & True Tuesdays: Taco Supreme Pizza

As food geeks, we thrive on experimentation. Enter Tried and True Tuesdays, where we feature a new dish we tried and give honest feedback. Feel like contributing? Head down to the comments section and share with us what fun bites you dreamed up!

Factoid 1: GamerGirl loves pizza.

Factoid 2: GamerMan loves tacos.


You know where I’m going with this and I know what you’re thinking, but honestly it’s not a bad combo! I’m not going to say it’s my favorite, but I’d cook it up next time GM and I can’t come to a consensus on dinner plans. Plus it’s a great way to clear out the fridge (that’s leftover ground turkey, olives, mushrooms, the half-used mozzarella, colby-jack, and week-old spaghetti sauce on our favorite dough)!




Limeaide Surprise Cupcakes

I have a thing for limes. Lime OtterPops, lemon-lime soda, Lime flavored Lucas (who remembers that stuff!?). And each trip to the grocery story results in my purchase of at least one lime. However, since I don’t usually use them right away, I usually wind up with a pile of sad, shriveled limes in the fruit bowl. Determined to break my habit, I searched for ways I could incorporate lime into cupcakes without overwhelming the taste buds I have left…

Fortunately I stumbled across Jessica’s ingenious cupcakes and found a great use for not only the three limes I picked up, but the 2 flats of strawberries that somehow found their way into the basket.





Just in case you’re wondering, that’s vanilla-lime cake with a WHOLE STRAWBERRY in the center, with lime buttercream frosting.

The words you’re looking for is oh god, yes!



Limeaide-Surprise cupcakes:
(adapted from HowSweetEats; makes 6 cupcakes)

1/2 c sugar
1/4 c butter; room temp.
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder]
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c milk
1 tsp lime zest
6 fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line cupcake pan with desired liners.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and toss with fork (unless you feel like breaking out the sifter… your call!); set aside.
Cream butter, sugar, and egg until pale and airy. Stir in vanilla and zest.

Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to your butter mixture, beating well after each addition.

Distribute into liners and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the toothpick test indicates done-ness (that means no batter on the toothpick; a few crumbies are okay :)

Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer cupcakes from pan to cooling rack and let them cool COMPLETELY, at which point you can hollow them out and add a strawberry, or just frost them.

If you’re going the strawberry route: Rinse and cut the tops off 6 small strawberries. Using a parring knife, remove a cone of cake from the center of the cupcake. Depth and width are relative to the strawberry you’re going to insert, so bring your comparative eye to this party!

Lime Buttercream Frosting:

1/4 c butter; room temp.
~1/2 lb powdered sugar (roughly half a bag); sifted
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Whip butter, adding sifted powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments. Add lime juice and vanilla. Taste and check for consistency. If the frosting is too wet, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too dry, add more liquid in the form of lime juice, vanilla, or milk (or buttermilk – SRSLY!)

Frost and garnish as desired. Enjoy!



Cupcake Craze

Decent fresh fruit has finally graced our grocery store shelves, which can mean only one thing…  NOBLEGARDEN IS UPON US!

I kid, I kid. It means it’s time to make some fruit-centric cupcakes!

Because I’m not one for failure to show up empty recipe’d, I whipped out 3 test batches of cupcakes for an upcoming baking sesh with my lovely cousin.


Yep, that’s a cork.

::hic: a deliciously hint-ey cork ::hic::