Category: rose water

I like cupcakes & I don’t care if you don’t.

There are certain unalienable rights that i believe we have as humans- from the time we’re born until the moment our heart beats for the last time. You may know some of these from the Declaration of Independence; i.e. life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. But as far as I’m concerned, and perhaps this fits in with ‘life’ or ‘liberty’ or more likely ‘the pursuit of happiness’… but to me, one of those rights is the right to love certain things (or people!) without being judged/mocked/hated/etc. This isn’t just a marriage equality thing I’m talking about, although obviously it goes for that too, without saying. But really it goes beyond that, sneaking into all of our lives, even into the smallest & most seemingly unimportant things.

If you love something, it’s guaranteed someone else is gonna hate it, and chances are they’re going to try & make you feel stupid or wrong for liking it in the first place.

Ooh.. what's going on here? Candied pansies!

I can hear it now: “Oh no… not only is this bitch gonna rant now, but based on that picture, obviously she’s gonna post a cupcake recipe too…”

For example, here are some things I love, things which include but are not limited to:

Pink hair. All shades, but most especially that soft cupcakey, Marie Antoinette-pink that almost looks faded. Oh, how I miss my pink hair days (although mine was more magenta)…

Pizza. Again, all kinds; but margherita pizza has the ability to cure the grumpiest of my moods.

Sleeping animals. If there’s a sleeping pet around, I will get down to wherever they are & harass them, squealing over their cuteness. I don’t do this with wild animals, but there have been occasions where Jay has had to convince me not to chase rabbits or feral cats/ kittens & shove them in my pockets to bring them home.

I love my nose ring. I mean, I love my nose piercing in general, but I really love wearing a ring in it instead of a smaller screw. I don’t know why. I think maybe I feel too conservative or ‘sorority girl’ with a small one. *shrugs*

Uggs. They’re warm. They’re comfy. So listen, I don’t give two shits- when it’s 24° F, snowing, I need to run to the store & I’m already wearing sweatpants, I don’t care if Carrie Bradshaw would gasp at my outfit. Screw her & her Jimmy Choos. Step in a snow bank in those & then lemme know if you wanna borrow my fleece-lined, suede & wool hamburger bun boots. (I’ll say no)

Le Creuset pots, skillets, mugs, baking dishes & French ovens, in all colors, in one photo together. It makes me smile.

Cooking shows. No, I don’t care that you hate Paula Deen and no, I’ll never get tired of seeing anyone bake anything on TV. Go watch intelligent things like the Kardashian’s and leave me alone, thanks.

Neck tattoos. That’s all. Just…. neck tattoos.

Okay, this one is more sarcastic, but I love when they say that PopTarts are “crazy good” in the new commercial. Now… I’m not above eating a s’mores PopTart once in a blue moon but crazy good? No, truffle macaroni & cheese is crazy good. PopTarts are a lazy breakfast option for kids or snack option for adults who smoke funny cigarettes.

Early ’90’s Hole.

And cupcakes. SO… MUCH… BETTER than full-size cakes. Eff cakes. Cakes are like, the utmost in drama & needless steps- like extra frosting (crumb coats?! WTF is that about?!). And fondant tastes like feet. Not that I know what feet taste like, but I can imagine.

And at this point, everyone’s all like “Oh I am SOOOOO over cupcakes!” And I’m pretty much like, “Uh… Who asked you?” Not me.

Rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes, topped with a green-colored vanilla buttercream & sugared pansies!

See, first off: I care not what your opinion is of something I enjoy. When I make fun of your ugly chair or hideous choice in clothes, and you didn’t ask what I thought, and then you feel put out or insulted… remember that. Cause see, we’re all entitled to opinions. But if you say “I LOVE LOLLIPOPS!” and I say “Ugh, lollipops are for losers, they’re total shit! They’re made with high fructose corn syrup, and only a total idiot would eat them knowing that!” that’s me making you feel bad for liking them, and I’m a dick. If I say, “Eh, they’re not my thing”, or “I don’t see the appeal”, that’s different. Giving your opinion in a way that doesn’t make someone else feel stupid is one thing. Telling them that they’re an idiot for liking whatever it is they like… that’s shitty. Stop doing that, guys.

Because bottom line: no one should make you feel bad about liking/loving whomever or whatever you choose.

And second: I’m personally “totally over” the following: pork belly, quinoa, mustaches on everything, high-waisted pants, kohlrabi, kombucha, kale & ANY MENTION OF THE PALEO DIET. Seriously. Every time I see one of those on a blog post, I want to scream & murder anyone within 40 feet of me. But yet I never say it. I don’t go around yelling at people to stop eating quinoa because it’s “played out” or “over done.” Who cares? It’s not up to me to tell you what to eat or do just because I’m tired of it. You love quinoa, eat it. You don’t, don’t.

And I happen to love cupcakes. Which is why I love this article by Allison Robicelli. She says everything I want to say right here, but better, with better examples, and more profanity than I’m currently using. I think I love her- but that’s another story. Like I said on Facebook, this blog isn’t a cupcake worship blog. It isn’t just ALL cupcakes, all the time. It’s about so much more than just one little cake. But it doesn’t even matter, because I reserve the right to love what I love either way. And also, like I said on Facebook, you judging other bloggers doesn’t make you look any cooler. As a matter of fact, you being an asshole about what I choose to do/like doesn’t make me look bad, it makes you look insipid.

So yes. I love cupcakes. I won’t apologize for it, I don’t feel bad when a snobby food blogger scoffs at them in favor of a green tea cookie with local honey glaze or lemon curry marmalade, and I don’t care if the people I reading this are tired of them. I am not. Besides, what is there NOT TO LIKE? It’s a small, individual cake. Just for you. That you don’t have to share (!). It’s an only child’s dream, which is probably why they struck a nerve with me. I am an only child, see. Anyway… I don’t care about snobby food bloggers who are “too good” for cupcakes. I can be snobby too. Better yet? I can make snobby cupcakes. Like these, rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes with sugared (or candied) pansies.

Rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes, topped with a green-colored vanilla buttercream & sugared pansies!

I think that’s just as good as a rhubarb shrub cocktail or kohlrabi summer salad, don’t you? Probably better, actually. Because I think kohlrabi is boring, and anyone can make a cocktail. Well, maybe not anyone; it’s generally frowned upon for children.

Okay, so, yeah. Cupcakes. Rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes, and sugared pansies. How pretty, springlike, and mature.

They really are mature, too. These aren’t for kids. Or picky eaters. Even though there’s only 1/4 teaspoon of rosewater in them, that 1/4 teaspoon packs a punch. There’s also both vanilla bean & vanilla extract in them, to kind of even out the rose, but it doesn’t eliminate it at all. So if you’re not a fan of roses, rosewater, or anything in the edible flower family I’m warning you now: stay away from these. These are not for you.

Rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes, topped with a green-colored vanilla buttercream & sugared pansies!

They’re gorgeous. I know. And yes, these were indeed my fall-back Mother’s Day dessert after that abysmal rhubarb failure. I really didn’t want to make anything similar to something I had already made, but I think these candied flowers bring it to a whole new level. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s totally different than the last time.

So here’s the recipe & the how-to on making sugared pansies (or flowers).

ROSEWATER-VANILLA BEAN CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosewater (I use Nielsen-Massey)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper liners. Pur the milk into a glass measuring cup & scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk, set aside.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into large bowl. Beat butter and oil in a separate medium bowl. Add egg; blend.
  3. Whisk in milk, rosewater, & vanilla extract. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk just to blend.
  4. Divide batter among liners, filling them about 2/3-3/4 full.
  5. Put cupcakes in oven & reduce heat to 325°F. Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks; cool.

Rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes, topped with a green-colored vanilla buttercream & sugared pansies!

SUGARED FLOWERS (PANSIES)

Ingredients:

  • Edible flowers, such as pansies or rose petals
  • Granulated sugar, or superfine sugar
  • Pasteurized egg whites
  • Clear but opalescent edible glitter, luster dust or disco dust (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wash your flowers or petals carefully, and pat them dry. Spread newspaper on a table, then a few layers of paper towels. Place the flowers on the paper towels.
  2. Thoroughly coat the flowers with the egg wash (it’s best to use a small food safe paint brush). Sprinkle the sugar & edible glitter over them, and then gently shake off the excess.
  3. Let them dry for an hour before using. Flowers will last a few days if fresh, if dried then they’ll last up to 3 months in an air-tight container placed somewhere cool & dark.

And you’re done. Make sure the flowers you use are not only organic, but meant for eating. DO NOT USE FLOWERS TREATED FOR BUGS. You’ll be ingesting chemicals. Make sure you specifically purchase or pick flowers meant for this purpose. If you grow roses, and you know for certain they’re not coated in any kind of bug spray or insecticide, then that’s okay. Just don’t pick roses in someone else’s yard unless you’re sure of the same. You can also buy edible flowers at certain markets.

Rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes, topped with a green-colored vanilla buttercream & sugared pansies!
Magenta (or purple) liners from this multipack at the Layer Cake Shop!

As far as frosting, I used a plain ol’ vanilla buttercream tinted green, nothing fancy. It’s better with these cupcakes to use a plain vanilla frosting, or else it can be too much. You don’t want to overwhelm anyone. Keep it simple. You’re already giving them rosewater in the cakes, and a candied flower on top.

And by the way… any and all cupcake hatred can be directed to my e-mail, and all will be answered with the same thing: “You’re an idiot.”

You’re a mother lover. I’m a mother lover.

We all (or at least most of us) love our moms, and want them to be happy. Because when mom is happy, the whole world is happy, right?

This year for Mother’s Day, my mom requested Boston Creme cupcakes, which I obliged. But I also surprised her with a totally different “surprise” cupcake that she wasn’t expecting at all- rose water cupcakes! So in this post, I’ll go into the how-to’s of both; just in case your mom is traditional… and just in case she’s open to cupcakes that might taste “like grandma’s powder room” (as I’ve heard/read rose water described as). Anyway, I surprised her with them on Wednesday night & she was so excited. She was only expecting the Boston Creme… muahahaha.

I’ve made Boston Cream cupcakes before, but the shortcut kind using vanilla pudding. These are far better, trust me. Although the shortcut ones are perfectly good, and they are great in a pinch. However, you gotta admit nothing beats from-scratch, 100% real pastry cream. I used a combination of whole milk and 2% milk in it and it worked out just fine. I also didn’t use vanilla bean, just a ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

BOSTON CREME CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
  • 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups of sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 ½ cups of flour
  • 1 ¼ cups of milk
Pastry Cream Filling:
  • 2 cups whole, 2% fat, or 1% fat milk
  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Ganache:
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate*
  • 1 cup heavy cream, boiling

Directions:

  1. Cupcakes: Beat butter and sugar well, then add the rest of the ingredients. Fill cups, and bake at 375° degrees for 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool before filling.
  2. Pastry cream: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
  3. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)
  4. Ganache: In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.
  5. To assemble, inject the cream filling into the cupcakes by either using a filled pastry bag fitted with a round tip or by coring out the centers using a round tip and filling the holes with cream using a teaspoon. Once done, dip the tops of each cupcake into the chocolate ganache, or as I did, drizzle it on the top using a spoon.

*I used 4 ounces milk chocolate and 4 ounces semi-sweet.

Brown cupcake liners from Cupcake Social

You will end up with more pastry cream and more ganache than you need, most likely. That said,  store them in the fridge and a few days later you can make more cupcakes, or you can make eclairs. Or, just double this cupcake recipe above if you want more than 2 dozen. Anyway, it takes a while to make ‘em, and there are a lot of steps, but they’re worth it! Sorry you can’t see the pastry cream filling very well there, when you cut ‘em the chocolate just gets all over. Which ain’t really a bad thing…

So yeah, those look great, and taste great. But they didn’t have any visual pizzazz; they just didn’t really look like Mother’s Day cakes to me (like these). I had some other ideas in mind… so far as they go, they’re rose water cupcakes, and they’re really easy. All I did was take a vanilla cupcake recipe, and add rose water instead of vanilla extract. Actually to be more specific, I replaced ¾ of the vanilla extract in the recipe with rose water, and left only the ¼ of vanilla. Ta-da! The frosting is a basic confectioner’s sugar buttercream that was also made with rose water (no vanilla). Of course, the icing color I used was Wilton icing colors in “rose pink.” The liners are little striped ones with teapots and cupcakes, so I thought “Tea Rose” cupcakes was an appropriate name. Especially what with my mother’s pink rose teapot in the background!

I use Nielsen-Massey pure rose water that Lyns from Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes Bakery & Cupcakery Supplies sent me a while back. I made the rose toppers from just Googling some Victorian rose clip-art. It’s amazing, isn’t it, that Google? The liners are from Michael’s. Ironically, my mother saw them & bought them for me.

So Hap-hap-happy Mother’s Day to all you beautiful mamas out there. We appreciate & love you!

My cookies are exotic (get your mind out of the gutter).

A couple of months ago, my dear friend Lyns sent me a bottle of Rose Water in a package of liners, etc. Ever since I got it, I’ve been trying to decide what to make with it (it came with a recipe for Vanilla Rose Rice Pudding, which I will make someday, I just wanted something different). So I asked that very question on Facebook. And whaddaya know? The lovely Gina, another of my fellow bloggers from Cooking the Books, linked me to a recipe on the Food Network website. And it sounded perfect.

Rose water is frequently used in Iranian and Indian cuisine, to flavor milk as well as sweets (cookies, ice cream and even tea). In Lebanon, it’s added to lemonade. In Western Europe it’s used to flavor marzipan and madeleines, little scalloped French sponge cake/cookies. Another interesting fact about rose water thanks to Wikipedia:

Rose water was also used to make Waverly Jumbles, a type of cookie much favoured by the American President James Monroe. American and European bakers enjoyed the floral flavouring of rose water in their baking until the 19th century when vanilla flavouring became popular.

I decided I liked the whole Victorian 18th century appeal of it, so I wanted to go with that. For some reason, too, it reminds me  of Victorian Christmas cookies. The Victorian’s loved their “exotic” tastes and oddities (which is why many of them had genuine Egyptian sarcophagi in their parlors, complete with mummies). They loved anything Asian or Indian in flavor, it made them feel more worldly. I’ve been in a Victorian state of mind since reading a Victoria magazine (for the first time in forever) lately, and I’m a huge history geek so to me this all fit together perfectly. Look at the recipe for Queen cake on this page, and check out these Victorian cookies. Rose water!

Let me just say this: this is NOT a cookie for the faint of heart or the finicky. If you don’t like different, unique or exotic tastes, don’t bother trying it. Kids probably won’t like them, and if you aren’t familiar with the taste/smell of rose water in food, you might be convinced it tastes like your grandmother’s perfumed powder room. That said- they’re a completely different taste, and something that, in a crowd of foodies or culinary connoisseurs, will most likely be at least appreciated, if not loved.

I thought they were very good, in a very unique way. Stress on the word unique. They are not like a chocolate chip cookie in the way that you can sit and eat four or five with a glass of milk. They’re more like something to be savored. In other words, perfect for Christmastime. They’d be really good with Champagne, I bet, so maybe they’d make a good New Year’s Eve party cookie.

EXOTIC SPICE COOKIES WITH CARDAMOM, GINGER & ROSE WATER

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • ¾ cup turbinado (raw) sugar, for rolling

Directions:

  1. Whisk the flour, ground ginger, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, pepper and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Mix in the crystallized ginger. Set aside momentarily.
  2. In a large bowl beat the brown sugar, butter and shortening with an electric mixer until fluffy (do not overbeat-it will add too much air). Add the egg, honey and rosewater and beat until blended. Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, mixing until just until blended. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon the turbinado sugar in thick layer onto small plate. Using wet hands, form dough into 1 ¼-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat completely. Place balls on prepared sheets, spacing 2 to 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake cookies until cracked on top but still soft to touch, about 11 to 13 minutes. Cool on sheets 1 minute. Carefully transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.

I did not use turbinado sugar, I used red sugar because it was Christmas-y. Rebellious.

Speaking of rebellious.. I am a rebellious baker at times. I laugh in the face of ingredient lists, make my own self-rising flour while listening to Flogging Molly, use mayonnaise instead of eggs (only sometimes) and substitute regular flour for cake flour while crossing my fingers and listening to Bing Crosby (hey- you’ve gotta have variety!). So I was planning on omitting the crystallized ginger altogether, but only because I didn’t have any on hand. But I ended up running out and getting some, and I’d say that it’s pretty worthwhile to do so. The texture adds something to the cookies. I’m not a big fan of crystallized ginger, myself, so I gave my mother the remaining ginger in the container. If you aren’t a fan either, then maybe you could look into buying just what you’ll need for these, or you could just omit it altogether. The ground ginger would be enough I’m sure.

So basically… if you’re not sure that you’ll like these, halve the recipe and make just half. You’ll still have plenty of cookies if you like them, and if not, it’s not that bad of a waste to get rid of them (or pawn them off on someone else).