Category: yogurt

Everybody loves a picnic!

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
-James Henry

;

;

I love picnics. I don’t have them often, of course, but I’ve had a few over the course of my life & they’ve always been fun. When I was a kid, my mom used to have “backyard picnics” where we just set up a simple little picnic on the grass in the yard. It wasn’t anything crazy, usually a few sandwiches with the crusts cut off (mine was always either peanut butter or potato chip; yes I ate potato chip sandwiches) and some soda or sparkling water and some snacks. Once or twice on a rainy day we even had an indoor picnic on the floor and had pizza or Chinese food. It was so much fun.

And then you grow up and your sense of fun changes. You forget to do little fun things every now and then, “just because.”;

Taking a cue from that, I decided to have one now. As a “grown-up.” I have these two vintage picnic baskets sitting around that I never used. Plus I’ve been working really hard, on a variety of things (like the new Recipe Index!). I figured, why do I have to actually go somewhere to have a picnic when I can have one right here?! You can have a picnic anywhere- even inside, like I said. Martha Stewart recently did a segment on the Today show about how to prepare a picnic entirely in jars! There are tons of ways to do a picnic, from traditional to un-traditional. Bring cold foods, hot foods, room-temperature foods, salads, wine & cheese. Whatever you like.

The first usage of the word ‘picnic’ is traced to the 1692 edition of Tony Willis, Origines de la Langue Française, which mentions pique-nique as being of recent origin; it marks the first appearance of the word in print. The term was used to describe a group of people dining in a restaurant who brought their own wine. The concept of a picnic long retained the connotation of a meal to which everyone contributed something. Whether picnic is actually based on the verb piquer which means ‘pick’ or ‘peck’ with the rhyming nique meaning “thing of little importance” is doubted; the Oxford English Dictionary says it is of unknown provenance. The word predates lynching in the United States; claims that it is derived from a shortening of ‘pick a n—-r’ are untrue.[2]

The word ‘picnic’ first appeared in English in a letter of the Gallicized Lord Chesterfield in 1748 (OED), who associates it with card-playing, drinking and conversation, and may have entered the English language from this French word.[3] The practice of an elegant meal eaten out-of-doors, rather than a harvester worker’s dinner in the harvest field, was connected with respite from hunting from the Middle Ages; the excuse for the pleasurable outing of 1723 in François Lemoyne‘s painting Hunt Picnic is still offered in the context of a hunt.

After the French Revolution in 1789, royal parks became open to the public for the first time. Picnicking in the parks became a popular activity amongst the newly enfranchised citizens.

Early in the 19th century, a fashionable group of Londoners (including Edwin Young) formed the ‘Picnic Society‘. Members met in the Pantheon on Oxford Street. Each member was expected to provide a share of the entertainment and of the refreshments with no one particular host. Interest in the society waned in the 1850s as the founders died.[4]

From the 1830s, Romantic American landscape painting of spectacular scenery often included a group of picnickers in the foreground. An early American illustration of the picnic is Thomas Cole‘s The Pic-Nic of 1846 (Brooklyn Museum of Art).[5] In it, a guitarist serenades the genteel social group in the Hudson River Valley with the Catskills visible in the distance. Cole’s well-dressed young picnickers having finished their repast, served from splint baskets on blue-and-white china, stroll about in the woodland and boat on the lake.

The image of picnics as a peaceful social activity can be utilised for political protest, too. In this context, a picnic functions as a temporary occupation of significant public territory. A famous example of this is the Pan-European Picnic held on both sides of the Hungarian/Austrian border on the 19 August 1989 as part of the struggle towards German reunification.

In 2000, a 600-mile-long picnic took place from coast to coast in France to celebrate the first Bastille Day of the new Millennium. In the United States, likewise, the 4 July celebration of American independence is a popular day for a picnic. In Italy, the favorite picnic day is Easter Monday.

-Wikipedia

I decided to try my hand at a new recipe for a healthier macaroni salad to serve at my little picnic. It’s got basically 3/4 the calories of regular macaroni salad, and it’s got something like 1/3 the fat. Not that these things bother me particularly, because I don’t eat macaroni salad & don’t really count calories anyway, but you can’t have a picnic without some kind of mayo-based or carb-based salad, and I thought it’d be an interesting thing to try. Everyone is looking to cut down on fat nowadays. Not me. I like fat.


;

Eh. Let’s just call this a new twist on macaroni salad. From what I hear it’s too delicious to be considered “low fat” or anything. And about my “I like fat” comment above; I really do like it. But that doesn’t mean you have to. I’m just being an asshole. Obviously, if you have dietary restrictions or health issues, lower fat diets are important. It’s just that I don’t. So I like fat. And I can’t really apologize for that.

‘Kay, now that that’s settled.. on to the salad!

CREAMY MACARONI SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound macaroni (I used small shells)
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs, whites roughly chopped, yolks left whole
  • 2 dill pickle spears, chopped
  • 1/2 a medium red onion, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons chives for topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions in salted boiling water. Drain and return to the pot it was cooked in.
  2. Meanwhile, mash the two egg yolks in a large bowl with a fork. Add the yogurt, mayonnaise, and the lemon juice; stir together until creamy & smooth.
  3. Add pasta to mayonnaise mixture, and using a silicone spatula, flip and stir the pasta until evenly coated in the mayo mix. Add the egg whites, red onions and chopped pickles and mix well.
  4. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chives just before serving.

This salad can be stored in the fridge an airtight container for up to three days. If it’s too dry after taking it out of the fridge, you can add a tablespoon more yogurt (or mayo, whatever). Just do yourself a favor and don’t accidentally buy vanilla yogurt. You’ll gross yourself out big time if you use that…

;

The cool thing about macaroni salads (& potato salads) is that you can add pretty much anything you like, within reason. You can add radishes, celery, sliced Bell peppers, dill, slivered carrots, exchange the lemon juice for vinegar, etc. Take out stuff you don’t like, add stuff you do. This other macaroni salad I made is a great example of that. You can personalize it 100% and yet it’s always guaranteed to be delicious.

As far as a picnic goes- it’s easy. You don’t even need anything crazy. Some bread (mine was a French baguette), cheese (I had some provolone & goat’s milk brie), macaroni or potato salad, fried chicken if you’re really ambitious, maybe some cold cuts or cold leftover chicken, some fresh fruit (& whipped cream if you like- I had strawberries, cherries, oranges & nectarines), maybe some warm-weather friendly cupcakes, a jar or two of pickles (I brought red wine vinegar/red onion pickles & dilly beans), maybe some sliced cucumbers & yogurt, baby carrots & ranch dressing, a refreshing drink or two (maybe even some wine- not pictured) and some cutlery and napkins… that’s it. You’re ready to go! Lucky for you, I took some photos of my little picnic before digging in.

;

Today might be a rainy/thunderstorm-y day here in New York & a bunch of other places on the East Coast, but when are you having your summer picnic?

Snackle Mouth part 2: frozen yogurt parfaits.


Remember my Snackle Mouth post from a few days ago?

I was so excited to use it to bake something, and I did (coffee cake), and it was glorious. But if I’m being 100% honest- that wasn’t my first idea.


See my first idea was to make some homemade frozen yogurt and top it with some Snackle Mouth granola nut clusters and some homemade conserves I made. You might remember them, one is cherry, cranberry, dark chocolate & almond and one is fig, plum and walnut. Kind of like “build your own ice cream sundae” time except more like “build your own healthier version of an ice cream sundae by using frozen yogurt” time. It’s also reminiscent of those famous fast food fruit/nut yogurt parfaits, except much healthier & homemade, obviously.


I wanted to do that because the Snackle Mouth arrived on a really hot day, and it was way too hot for me to face an oven. So I figured I’d use it to make yogurt parfaits. But then the weather changed, it got very cool and rainy, perfect baking weather. And so I decided to make the coffee cake first. However, it soon got pretty damn warm again, and frozen yogurt parfaits were back on the menu.

First things first… the fro-yo. I used a tried and true David Lebovitz recipe I’ve made before in my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. It’s easy, delicious, and quick. Then, once that was made & ready, I put it in some Ball jars, alternating with some Snackle Mouth granola, and topped it off with some conserves. It was pretty awesome. We loved it. The most popular combination? The yogurt topped with the double C dark chocolate almond conserves and the peanut cranberry Snackle Mouth. Needless to say it was a success.


FROZEN YOGURT

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (24 ounces) strained yogurt (see below) or Greek-style yogurt *
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla (if using). Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for mine, it’s just 20-30 minutes in the bowl being mixed by the “dasher”). For a firmer set, freeze for 20-30 minutes before serving.
  3. If you aren’t using Greek yogurt, you have to strain regular plain yogurt. To make 1 cup of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth. then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. For the above recipe you’ll need to start with and strain 6 cups of yogurt.

I used Greek-style yogurt, I didn’t feel like going through the pain of straining regular yogurt. I also opted to use the vanilla, but that’s 100% optional. You can also add fresh fruits to the yogurt itself, if you wish, or add some jam or preserves or even lemon curd to it as it’s being mixed. I’m sure you could experiment by making all kinds of different flavored fro-yo if you want. And you can also use the granola with fresh fruit instead of conserves or preserved fruit.

...

The coolest thing about making yogurt parfaits in a jar is that if you don’t finish it, you can put the lid on and pop it in the freezer, and it’ll keep it’s fresh taste. Is there no end to how cool Mason jars are? Methinks not. I even used them to store the granola once I opened the packages so it would stay fresh.

Again, I tell you: go get yourself some Snackle Mouth. It isn’t available in stores (yet!) but you can get it at Abe’s Market.


OH! And Cupcake Rehab now is now print friendly! You asked for it, you got it. Directly below this, you’ll see a little printer icon and the words “Print Friendly.” Click on those and you’ll be brought to a printer friendly version of this post. Perfect for printing the recipes! There are plenty of options, i.e. print with photos or without, and it’s very easy to use, so get on it. Print out your favorite recipes from Cupcake Rehab with a few clicks! Now you can share this on Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Pinterest and you can print it, too. Do I give you options or what?

Would you like some scones & tea? Some jelly? Some tea-jelly?

Now that Halloween is over, it seems like its a landslide right through the holidays. Although before the mad rush of December starts, & before the long cold winter sets in (blah), it’s nice to take advantage of the down time, lazy weekends & of course, the beautiful fall weather. It finally got here! We had to battle 80° degree days, tons of rain & even snow right before Halloween, then 35° degree nights for a while there… but finally we got a bit of fall-ish weather. Cooler, but actually more on the cold side. Drier. Gorgeous changing leaves finally. Nice weather for a heavy sweater & apple cider or tea around the fire pit at night. It’s no secret I like my tea. All kinds, from regular old Lipton, to fancier ones like Stash’s Earl Grey Black or Licorice Spice, to classic ones like Twining’s Irish Breakfast, to healthy ones like Yogi Egyptian Licorice to even fancier ones like, oh, say anything from Teavana. Ahh, Teavana.

Teavana teas are the best. I am in love with them. My personal favorites (for drinking) are Cacao Mint Black, Samurai Chai Mate/White Ayurvedic Chai blend and JavaVana Mate. However I haven’t found one yet that I’m not into. My mother has a ton of them that her friend Mara (hi, Mara!) sent her in a ‘Tea Lovers’ gift set, so that’s where I go when I want to try a new flavor. Or when I want to experiment. Like, for example, what I wanted to do when I got this particular book.

A few months ago, I ordered a book that I had been sorta lusting over for a while. It’s called Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff/photographs by Rinne Allen. It arrived on a warm (okay- muggy, hot & slightly stifling), beautiful August day during which I had been out gardening, so I only briefly flipped through it at first. After cleaning up, coming inside & showering, I settled in with a can of ice cold Coke Zero & pored over every page. What a freakin’ gorgeous book! Filled with amazing recipes (not just canning but baking too!) and glorious photos. If you don’t have it, buy it. You won’t regret it.

One of the recipes in this book was a recipe for tea jelly. Just jelly made with tea. Well, tea, sugar, pectin and lemon juice. Sort of like an iced tea jelly, or a sweet tea jelly. I knew I had to make it. So I did. And the tea I used was Teavana’s Frutto Bianco Pearls white tea, which is described as:

Tropical fruits effortlessly complement hand-rolled, delicate white tea pearls. A blend of kiwi, coconut and candied tropical fruit bits tempt you to pull up a hammock and sip your cares away! Ingredients: white tea, apples, rose hips, lemongrass, citrus pieces, kiwi bits, coconut chips, lemon myrtle, candied pineapple & papaya.

-From Teavana.com

I know, it sounds to die for. It is. And I thought it’d make a fantastic jelly.

The tea in the canister.

It did indeed make a beautiful looking jelly…

I have to say, I love all the recipes for tea-infused jellies & jams (as if you couldn’t tell?). It’s such an easy way to really make an average every day item stand out. It turns an ordinary preserve into something different, something that people can’t quite put their finger on. My family has a big history with tea; being Irish, my Nana Agnes’ side of the family drank tea like it was going out of style..I was raised on it, although coffee was a big part of life too, tea seemed to be the main component. It was always around.. black teas, green teas, herbal teas, sweetened with milk & sugar or just honey. When I was sick as a kid, my mom or nana would make me a big mug of tea with milk & sugar, and even now whenever I’m not feeling my best, I find that it’s a great cure. Tea is a huge part of my childhood memories. Now that I’m older, & my tastes have matured slightly, I like fancier stuff; but I always have a soft spot for a hot cup of black tea or English breakfast tea with milk & sugar.

So I made the jelly, labeled it, and put it aside. I sent a jar to Lyns (upon her request & also as payment for all the chutney’s she sent!) and promptly shoved my jars to the back of the line. Then recently, one Sunday morning, I was looking for another jam and found it! And I thought, “I need to make something special to serve this with.” So I took out a jar and I made some scones from the book, Regan’s Oat Scones, just specifically to have with this delicious jelly, for a brunch/lunch kinda thing.

Speaking of, you can use any tea you like, even herbal tea if you can’t tolerate caffeine, to make this jelly. Liana says she’s had excellent results with Oolong & Earl Grey, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use pretty much any kind of tea there is. Even pre-measured tea bags (although you’d typically need about 3 teabags to each tablespoon loose tea required). Trader Joe’s makes a white pomegranate tea that’d probably give lovely results, & my mother drinks a spicy vanilla chai by Bigelow that would also make a great jelly. Peppermint teas, citrus teas, musky teas. EXPERIMENT! Use a wintery blend for winter, a spring-y one for warmer weather… it’d be such a fun way to try new teas in a different way.

TEA JELLY (adapted from Liana Krisstoff’s book, Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry)

Makes 3 half-pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons loose tea leaves
  • 2 ¼ cups boiling water
  • ¼ cup strained fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 cups of Green Apple Pectin stock (see recipe below) or what I did- 1 package Certo liquid pectin

Directions:

  1. Prepare for water bath canning: Sterilize the jars and keep them hot (in water) in the canning pot, put a small plate in the freezer, and put the flat lids in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Put the tea leaves in a heatproof bowl and pour in the boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes*, then pour through a sieve into a 6-to 8-quart saucepan.
  3. Stir the pectin/pectin stock, lemon juice and sugar into the tea. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers about 220° F on a candy thermometer or a small dab of it passes the freezer test (place some on the frozen plate and put back in the freezer for one minute, then remove; if the mixture wrinkles when you nudge it, it’s ready), about 25-30 minutes.
  4. Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a clean, folded dish towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.
  5. Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace at the top. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid & band on each jar, adjusting the band so it’s fingertip tight.
  6. Return the jars to the canning pot in a canning rack, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes to process. Remove the jars to the folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours, except to check the seal after one hour by pressing down on the center of each lid; if it can be pushed down it hasn’t sealed, and must be refrigerated immediately. After 12 hours, label sealed jars & store.

Instead of printing labels, I just tied some of the labels that come with the book (YES! Labels come with the book! SO CUTE!) on with some twine.

How cute are they? Very. How awful is my handwriting? Very.

The deliciously special item I chose to make to eat it with was a scone. Not just any scone- but one made with oats, yogurt and honey (or maple syrup, but I used honey). Add the tea-infused jelly as a topping and it’s a free train ride to dreamy-town. I love scones anyway, but these are totally different than any other scones I’ve made. And with the jelly; seriously just forget it. No words. I halved this recipe because 5 eggs was a bit ridiculous at the time, although I wish I hadn’t! You can never have too many scones… especially these beautiful scones right here.

REGAN’S OAT SCONES (from Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry)

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oats, plus extra for sprinkling (if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 5 large eggs
  • turbinado sugar (optional, for sprinkling)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using your fingertips, two knives held together, or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey or maple syrup, and 4 of the eggs. Pour the mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated; do not overmix.. The dough will be somewhat sticky.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface. Flour your hands, then pat the dough out to ¾” to 1″ inch thick. Cut into 2 ½” inch rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. Gather up leftover dough, handling it as little as possible, and pat it out to cut more rounds. If the kitchen is warm, put the baking sheets in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up, so they don’t spread too much in the oven.
  5. In a small bowl whisk the remaining egg together with 2 teaspoons cold water and brush the tops of the scones with it. Sprinkle with oats or turbinado sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating and switching the pans halfway through, until deep golden brown. Remove to wire racks.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably split & spread with jam or jelly.

I got about 19 scones using the above recipe halved & using my 3-inch biscuit cutter to make them. You may think that’s plenty, but not when there are a ton of grabby hands around asking for baked goods all the time! I also used oats & gold crystal sugar (instead of turbinado) on top. They were so amazing, I could barely stop eating them. Thankfully, they’re (slightly) healthier than most scones. Sweet, but not too sweet. They’d work beautifully alongside a savory jelly too, I bet. Like a pepper jelly that’s on the sweeter side?

As I mentioned above in the tea jelly recipe, the author Liana prefers to use a homemade pectin stock for her jellies & jams. I am not so particular, but I’ll include the directions for doing so here just in case you’re far more ambitious than I. I’m lazy, remember? But now is a great time to do this because of the crazy amount of apples available. It’s apple season, after all. Make some & stock up on it if you’re not a lazy bitch. Like me.

GREEN APPLE PECTIN STOCK (also from Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry)

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples

Directions:

  1. Cut the apples into eighths, removing the stems, and put the apples- peels, cores, seeds & all- in a 6-to 8-quart saucepan. Add 6 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the apples are completely broken down and the peels have separated from the pulp, 30-40 minutes.
  2. Set a very large, very fine mesh sieve (or jelly bag) over a deep bowl or pot. Pour the apples and their juice into the sieve and let drain for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally but not pressing down too hard on the solids; discard the solids. You should have about 5 ½ cups juice.
  3. Rinse the saucepan and pour in the apple juice. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the juice is reduced to about 3 cups (pour into a large heatproof measuring cup to check it), about 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a clean container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for several months.

Lyns had tried the jar I sent her long before I remembered mine, and she said it was amazing- I have to agree. This tea made a spectacular jelly! It also just goes to show you that you don’t have to make the pectin stock to get a delicious jelly. Of course, I’m sure it feels slightly more rewarding if you do. But lazy bitches unite- we don’t need no stinking apple stock. We have modern convenience at our fingertips.

..

And the scones, they are phenomenal. Together, they’d be a great pair on Thanksgiving morning for breakfast. They have a sweet/not sweet borderline flavor that makes them more biscuit-y & perfect for accompanying a hearty bacon & eggs breakfast too. Also would be excellent on a cold winter’s night, right before bed. I had mine warm, and I definitely think they’re best eaten that way. Warm yours up if you’re eating them the next day, etc, or even toast them.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it’s almost that time! With each post, as I did for Halloween, I’m going to post a vintage or retro postcard, just because I like ‘em.

Bluffin’ with my muffin.

Is everyone recovered from St. Patrick’s Day? I am. I don’t ever party or get drunk, actually, on the 17th, especially this year. Usually just some good beer and maybe an Irish coffee after dinner. That’s against type for an Irish person, at least according to New York’s delightful Mayor Bloomberg. I’m quite aware that St. Patrick’s Day means a lot more than getting drunk, even if you’re not religious & don’t buy into the “saint” stuff. But realistically, I know it’s a day for most people (and most NON-Irish might I add) to just wear green and get plastered, so if you did I hope you all didn’t drive & acted responsibly. I however was sick so the only green liquid I was ingested was NyQuil.

I received the cutest little gift from Ornament Shop last week. A personalized chef ornament! It totally made me smile when I was feeling really sick and had so much to do I felt like my two days in bed made me a waste of life. Tell me, is this not the cutest thing EVER?

Uh, the answer to the above question is YES, by the way.

Funny thing is, it’s an incredible likeness, because I really do wield large knives & grin like that. True story. Just ask Jay. In all seriousness, though, if you know a chef or baker this is a super cute gift idea. They have TONS of themed ornaments (for everything from sports to music to pets to cars and more) and the personalization is a great idea. I’m sorry I didn’t get this in December so it could’ve gone on my tree. Oh well. It’ll have its inaugural hanging in a little over 8 months (not that I’m rushing Christmas, trust me, I can’t wait for summer & I’m awfully pissed it’s fucking SNOWING here today).

Speaking of chefs… and cooking/baking… who wants to eat a healthy muffin? Not me. Well, not all the time, anyway. There’s a time & a place for that, of course, like apple muffins.  However the majority of the times I want a muffin, I want it with chocolate. Whatever else is in it, I don’t care. But I want some chocolate chips or chocolate in there, somehow. I’m not against a bran muffin, or banana nit muffin; but chocolate makes everything better.

I whipped these up at the last minute when I needed a chocolate fix. Best part of muffins: that you don’t even need a mixer- just a wooden spoon and the urge to bake.

Don’t you love my vintage jadeite bowl? And my liners that match?

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

First you have to get:

  • ¾ packed cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup vanilla flavored or plain yogurt (I used whole milk, but I think you could also use low-fat)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 – 1 ¼ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

Then you do this:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
  2. Stir brown sugar and butter together in a medium size bowl. Add yogurt, egg and vanilla and stir until thoroughly blended.
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, stirring only until blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin tins until almost to the top and bake for 22-25 minutes.

Of course, the amount of chocolate chips is up to you. If you like a lot (I do) then put the full amount. If not, then put less. I usually like using the mini-chips because they disperse better, but I used the regular ones in these. I also used regular cocoa powder, not the dark, as you can tell. These are dense, but not hard. I ate four of them in one sitting and I didn’t feel as though they weighed me down at all. And yes, I have the appetite of a truck driver as well as the mouth of one.

The jadeite bowl was my grandmothers, I had three in different sizes but two broke because I was dumb enough to use them for baking & they slipped out of my hands/off the counter. I also have four little tiny dishes that went with tea cups, of which I have only one. Sad, but better than nothing I suppose. I also have a jadeite sugar bowl that has a top shaped like a bunny which is very cute. I think you can see it in my Easter post from last year. I’ve seen new jadeite for fairly inexpensive prices, but I prefer the vintage. And those technicolor liners are actually from a multi-pack by Wilton. Not greaseproof, obviously, but still decent. They’d probably be awesome with a light-colored cupcake or muffin, though.

Bittersweet.

Well it feels really good to be back posting at Cooking the Books! It’s been FOREVER (or so it seems) but we’re back in the game. And with a great book! As I mentioned, A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg is our current pick, chosen by Jeanine. I got the book in mid-January and finished it by the beginning of February. It was very good, but bittersweet, so I thought it appropriate I start things off with a bittersweet chocolate cupcake recipe. What else would I make!?

Molly is a great writer because she writes in such a way that through her descriptions you really feel as though you’re there with her, eating cheese & drinking wine in Paris during happy days, or eating “Italian grotto eggs” with her and her ailing father in sadder days, which also were his last. But yet she did it without overly flowery language, it was all very accessible, which was what I liked about our past three books. I hate overly wordy foodies. Describing something is one thing, making it sound as good as it tastes is one thing. But really… when you use language people can’t relate to or talk about things people can’t relate to, it doesn’t make for a good read. Molly also has a blog, Orangette, which is an excellent read.

At any rate, I think everyone can relate to Molly’s book, whether you’ve lost someone close to you or not; and especially the highlighted parallels of food and love. So, without further ado… chocolate cupcakes with bittersweet glaze! I cross-posted this with Cooking the Books, because I had to. How the hell could I not post a cupcake recipe here…?

As you can see, I made some of mine look like Hostess cupcakes, just because that’s what they reminded me of. They aren’t filled with anything, though. I just thought it was a cute way of topping them off, since I had a tube of this laying around.

CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES WITH BITTERSWEET GLAZE

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ½ cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup well stirred WHOLE MILK yogurt (not non-fat or low-fat)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300° F. Line the wells of a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Put one ounce of the semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl with the hot coffee. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is opaque and smooth.
  3. Meanwhile in another medium bowl, mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg until pale yellow, about 1 minute. Add the oil, yogurt, and vanilla, beating well. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate/coffee mixture, and beat thoroughly to combine. Add the dry ingredients all at once, and beat on low speed until the batter is just combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and briefly stir to make sure all the dry ingredients are absorbed.
  5. Spoon the batter into the wells of the muffin tin, making sure that it is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a cupcake. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool for 20 minutes, then -carefully: they’re tender! – removing the cupcakes. Allow them to cool completely before glazing.
  6. To make the glaze, melt the bittersweet chocolate in a metal or glass bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. When the chocolate is completely smooth, it’s ready. Working with one cupcake at a time, spoon a teaspoonful of melted chocolate on top. Tilt and rotate the cupcake to coax the chocolate out to the edge. Alternatively, use a knife or icing spatula to spread the chocolate. The top of the cupcake should be covered.
  7. Set the cupcakes aside at room temperature until ready to serve. The chocolate glaze will firm up a bit and become matte.

Molly says she likes to eat them when cooled (and I do too), but you can totally eat them as soon as you glaze them. Although be warned- they’ll be messy!

I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder in the cupcakes, which makes them really dark, almost black. I should’ve bought a dark chocolate for the topping too, but I always underestimate the darkness of it and assume they’ll match. They never do.

The second round: chive risotto cakes.

Yeah so I made these quite a while ago, over a year, and it was kind of a disaster. Not that they weren’t tasty; they were. But they fell apart, weren’t crispy enough and were basically flat, sad little soft disks of cheese, rice & panko. They’re an Ina Garten recipe and I’ve never, ever, EVER had any issues with her recipes. However this one was my fault. I fucked it up. Embarrassingly so. And that, my friends, is why I’m doing a second round. I must conquer the chive risotto cake.

the first time, I used the wrong yogurt, which definitely contributed to the mess. Greek yogurt in these is a MUST- it’s so thick it really keeps everything together. DO NOT USE YOGURT THAT ISN’T GREEK BUT CLAIMS TO BE ” EXTRA THICK.” It’s not. Use Greek. Not Icelandic, not American, not French, not Mexican, not Yoplait… GREEK. Also, I did not leave them to chill in the fridge long enough. On top of the “wrong-yogurt” debacle, I also couldn’t control my impatient self and of course, didn’t wait “at least two hours.” I know, I’m groaning too. I’m a fool. But I’m going to redeem myself with this post today. Because these came out so perfect, Ina herself would gasp in delight.

See? Gasp-worthy.

CHIVE RISOTTO CAKES

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 ½ cups grated Italian fontina cheese (5 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Good olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring a large (4-quart) pot of water to a boil over medium-low heat and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, fontina, 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  4. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2 ¼-inch) ice-cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick. Place 4 to 6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned.
  5. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Arrange on a serving platter and serve hot.

As far as the fontina, you can use any pale-colored cheese you like. I used white cheddar both times because I love it. But if you love fontina, then use it. I used chives from my own garden this time, and I can’t tell you that made much of a difference in flavor, although I added more because last time I skimped, so it did have a better chive flavor. And it was certainly convenient to just run outside my back door with a pair of scissors and snip off a bunch, unlike last time when I had to go to the store to buy some. I won’t tell you that the olive oil isn’t important, it is, if you use a shitty one the flavor isn’t going to be as nice. Sometimes cheap olive oil has a weird flavor to it. Stick with a good brand name for frying these. Also, I like to use the Italian flavored panko, but that’s up to you.

Mine stayed in the fridge for about 5 ½ hours this time before I fried them. The difference was amazing. They molded perfectly, stuck together, didn’t fall apart even in the frying pan. They came out exactly right; crispy, crunchy outside and a creamy inside. Yum. That parsley garnish is also from my garden. My parsley is crazy-go-nuts, seriously. It’s like a shrub.

So let’s go over the “DON’TS” of this recipe one more time:

  1. DON’T use any yogurt other than plain Greek yogurt.
  2. DON’T be impatient: let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  3. DON’T use breadcrumbs other than panko.
  4. DON’T use regular rice!!!!! THIS IS A BIG NO-NO. Arborio only!

Like I said last time, these are a great light dinner item and an even better lunch item. Served with a fresh salad? Perfect. Despite the cheese and the yogurt and the eggs, they’re very light tasting. Not overly greasy or heavy, but full of flavor.

Happy Birthday to Indy!

Thanks to everyone who bought something from TOPSTITCH today. I appreciate it! The money is going to a great cause. Keep buying! You have until midnight West Coast time.

Indy turns two years old today. Time flies when you’ve got a four-legged child. It seems just like yesterday he was 35 lbs, chewing on people’s shoelaces & peeing in the dining room. Now he’s a 100 lbs of lean, not-so-mean pupcake-eating machinery, who enjoys sleeping on “his couch”, running around with his girlfriend Miley, Bully Sticks, Greenies and of course… hanging out on the deck (or romping in the snow).

Indy & Miley!

Since we’re not really sure when he was born exactly, we decided September 2nd would be his birthday. I’ve made Indy many, many homemade treats before. He adores them. Inhales them, in fact. I like doing it, besides knowing exactly what goes in them, it beats paying $4.50 a piece for a mass-produced, hard as a rock “pupcake” from a pet shop. Same reason why I make my own baked goods & food, and why I grew my own vegetables & herbs. Just makes more sense to me, you know? I like knowing exactly what’s going into my food, and my body. And my family’s body… and my pets’ too! Even if it is cream cheese, honey, and peanut butter-based *wink*

..

Luigi (left) & Mario!Luigi (left) & Mario!

Indy was kind enough to share these with his friends Mario & Luigi (above) who also had birthdays recently. Okay, actually, Indy’s mom & dad shared them, Indy would’ve eaten them all if given the chance. What can I say, he’s an only child. Oh! And Mario & Luigi’s mom & dad got married a week ago- congrats to them!

PUPCAKES WITH PEANUT BUTTER, CARROTS & OATS

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • ½ cup organic peanut butter
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup LOW FAT milk
  • 16 ounces low fat cream cheese (or Neufchâtel)
  • another ¼ cup honey

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, honey, peanut butter, yogurt and oil. Mix the milk in with the dry ingredients, blending well. At this point mix your carrots into the honey mixture, then mix the honey mixture into the flour/milk batter.
  2. Put in muffin tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. These pupcakes freeze well. Frost if you like using a mix of the cream cheese and ¼ cup honey. Beat those two ingredients until well combined, then cover the tops of the pupcakes with it.

I used ground cinnamon to make little paw prints on the frosting using my thumb and pinky. Cinnamon is excellent for dogs (& humans!). It improves memory, prevents infections (anti-fungal/anti-bacterial), it’s an anti-inflammatory and it also regulates blood sugar, so if you were concerned when reading that I used it- don’t be! You could also just frost them with peanut butter. But you don’t even have to frost these, if you don’t want to. You could just leave ‘em plain and make ‘em doggie muffins. You could even substitute shredded zucchini for the carrots, or use mashed potatoes, pumpkin, applesauce or diced apples in them instead. Or maybe throw in some blueberries!

I’d store them in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting & the yogurt, but they probably won’t last very long. They never do around here. Indy eats ‘em in two bites, if he isn’t licking off all the frosting first, that is. As always; if your dog is under 6 mos. old, elderly, sick, on medication or pregnant… please ask a vet before feeding it anything new/homemade/you’re unsure about. And do your research- if you can’t call a vet, Google is your best friend sometimes at 12 a.m. when you’re baking something & not sure of what to do.

*Insert long sigh here* They grow up so fast. Happy birthday, Indy, and many more. You’re a good boy, and we love you.

I’ll build a stairway to (frozen) paradise…

As you may know if you follow me on Twitter, as an anniversary/early birthday present Jay bought me the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer (better known around these parts as “Lola”). This was an incredibly exciting & momentous occasion for me, I’ve been wanting that attachment since shortly after receiving the mixer itself (also from Jay… he gives good gifts, what can I say). I was also excited because I got an old-fashioned ice cream scoop with it. You could seriously kill someone with this thing. So he gave it to me the Saturday before our anniversary (which was July 12th) and all throughout the fun-filled weekend we had, I kept thinking of what I was going to make with that attachment. My mind filled with possibilities, the most obvious of which was, number one: peanut butter ice cream- Jay loves peanut butter and I have to make him something he really likes for getting me such an awesome gift, and number two: homemade frozen yogurt. We’re big Red Mango fans here (and before the TCBY we used to go to closed, we were huge TCBY fans!) and if I could duplicate the deliciousness that is frozen yogurt at home, then I’d be a happy camper. I also have a myriad of other requests; for instance salted caramel ice cream is a repeated request from my mother, as well as all the things I’ve been dreaming up (homemade rocky road, s’mores ice cream, pumpkin pie ice cream in the fall, etc). Bottom line… this is going to be opening up an all-new stream of categories and recipes here on Cupcake Rehab. I’m already imagining vanilla ice cream with thick threads of homemade caramel laced through it, with pieces of waffle cone. *sigh*

Anyway, as soon as I got it, I put the bowl right in the freezer. I knew I’d be using it in the not-too-distant future, so why bother to wait? When I decided what I was going to make as my first recipe, I was pretty happy I’d had the bowl in there already, since before use it has to be frozen for a minimum of 15 hours. I randomly decided, after having this thing for 5 days, that homemade frozen yogurt would be the first thing I’d create. Since the refrigeration time was only 1 hour and there was no cooking involved, it was a quick and easy way to “test” my new toy and also reap the benefits. Healthy and delicious, but also satisfying to your sweet tooth.

The ice cream scoop is so cool! It makes the perfect little round mounds…

..

This recipe is David Leibovitz‘s from his book, The Perfect Scoop. The book sounds really awesome, and it’s all about frozen desserts, so I’m going to get a copy… since I now plan on making more ice cream than I’ll ever eat, probably. Frozen yogurt became a huge deal about 15-20 years ago, I remember when I was a kid it was “the big thing.” Every mall you went into had frozen yogurt stands and it seemed everyone was always going to get a “fro yo.” According to Wikipedia, in the early 1990′s, frozen yogurt comprised 10% of the total dessert market. Recently it’s made a comeback in a purer form- more tangy, less sweet, and more natural. Places like TCBY, Pinkberry, Red Mango and Tutti Frutti are everywhere. And now it’s in my kitchen, too!

FROZEN YOGURT

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (24 ounces) strained yogurt (see below) or Greek-style yogurt *
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla (if using). Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for mine, it’s just 20-30 minutes in the bowl being mixed by the “dasher”).
  3. If you aren’t using Greek yogurt, you have to strain regular plain togurt. To make 1 cup  of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth. then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. For the above recipe you’ll need to start with and strain 6 cups of yogurt.
*I used Greek-style yogurt, I didn’t feel like going through the pain of straining regular yogurt.
**I opted to use the vanilla, it was amazing, but for yogurt purists, you may want to skip it…

I used mini-chocolate chips on top of mine, and my mother used blueberries. It was honestly so fucking delicious I couldn’t believe it. It was the perfect frozen yogurt. PERFECT. I was addicted instantly. And even better, I made homemade pizza for dinner before having this for dessert. I can’t even tell you how good it was. So good, in fact, I think it gives Red Mango a run for it’s money. It would also be perfect for a parfait- don’t keep it in the machine for the full amount of time, take it out when it’s softer… then layer it with fruit and granola. I don’t really get down like that, I like chocolate or peanut butter chips on my frozen yogurt, it’s just another idea I’m throwing out there.

I actually wish I had had graham crackers- crushed graham crackers on frozen yogurt tastes just like cheesecake. Mmmm. Next time, I would add a smidge more sugar- during the “freezing” it loses most of it’s sweetness. It was delicious this way but for me I think I’d enjoy a little more sweetness. Unfortunately, for those of you without an ice cream maker, it does require an ice cream maker to make. There are other options out there for those of you who are stand mixer-less; namely Cuisinart who make stand-alone ice cream makers that comes highly recommended, and also Krups. But if you’ve got a KitchenAid stand mixer, you might as well invest in the attachment as opposed to buying a separate machine.

As far as the attachment goes- my review is that it’s amazingly, fantastically awesomesauce. I was doubtful, especially since really all you do is freeze the bowl and then mix the ingredients in the frozen bowl. I thought, “This is never going to work…” but shit yeah it did! I should never have doubted KitchenAid. It’s only been around a million years. Well that and the fact that they’ve sold gazillions of this attachment and if it didn’t work, nobody would buy it.

And I swear on buttercream, if one of my many copycats out there suddenly pops up with a KitchenAid ice cream maker and decides they’re all into making homemade yogurt and ice cream… I will publicly & malevolently embarrass them. I’m just waiting for it… so go ahead. Test me.

Ch-ch-ch-chive risotto cakes.

EDIT: BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST… know that this post is my first, and my only failed attempt at making these. If you want to see them done correctly, please go to this updated version. If you want to read about my failure, keep reading!

***********************************************************************

Okay, this is the first time I’m writing up an entry for an awesome recipe that I failed to execute correctly. Through no fault of it’s own, the chive risotto cakes recipe couldn’t live up to it’s full potential because I am an impatient bitch. Patience is a virtue I do not have. Besides, when you’re hungry, 2+ hours seems like forever. So I cut it a bit short, and they weren’t as firm as they should’ve been, and so they didn’t hold the shape while frying. Woops. You see, dear readers, I am not perfect. I may look it, with my cute hair cut/color, my perfect eyebrows, and my beautiful little swirls of frosting a top my gorgeous little cupcakes. But, alas, I am not perfect. Vain and self-important, yes. Perfect, no.

Sometimes, shit just works out for you. Despite your rebelliousness or substitution of ingredients or your rushed and harried manner… despite all that, your food just glows and sparkles and looks like something out of Martha Stewart Living. Example: my “white” cupcakes that I didn’t use cake flour for, nor did I sift the all-purpose flour I did in fact use.  So yeah, sometimes it works out like that. Other times, even if you do everything right, the Shit Gods just smile on you. Or poop on you. Whatever. This was just one of those times. I do blame myself for not allowing them to set properly. But really, Ina, 2+ hours!? Really!? I have no patience for such things! I’m the person who cuts her hair even shorter when it grows out to the awkward stage, because I have no patience to see it through. You think I can wait 2+ hours… or overnight… for chive risotto cakes of mouthwateringlyness!?

That said, they were delicious. Another A+++ recipe from my homegirl Ina Garten. I used white cheddar instead of fontina because that’s just what I had around, and they were so amazing. If they had only been crunchier. *sigh* I will make them again and give them the proper setting time in the fridge, and they will hold their shape better, and the pictures will come out better. But for now here are my sad little chive risotto cakes that couldn’t hold their shapes.

They don’t look too bad here… except for that one on the left that obviously fell apart.
Further evidence of my impatience.

Ina made them for a lunch with some arugula salad on the side, I had mine for dinner with big fat slices of Italian bread. To each his own I say. You can never have too many carbs!

CHIVE RISOTTO CAKES

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 ½ cups grated Italian fontina cheese (5 ounces)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
  • Good olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring a large (4-quart) pot of water to a boil over medium-low heat and add ½ tablespoon salt and the Arborio rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The grains of rice will be quite soft. Drain the rice in a sieve and run under cold water until cool. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, chives, fontina, 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl. Add the cooled rice and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight, until firm.
  3. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  4. Spread the panko in a shallow dish. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Form balls of the rice mixture using a standard (2 ¼-inch) ice-cream scoop or a large spoon. Pat the balls into patties 3 inches in diameter and ¾-inch thick. Place 4 to 6 patties in the panko, turning once to coat. Place the patties in the hot oil and cook, turning once, for about 3 minutes on each side until the risotto cakes are crisp and nicely browned.
  5. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Continue cooking in batches, adding oil as necessary, until all the cakes are fried. Arrange on a serving platter and serve hot.

I really do recommend them… they were fabu-licious. But just be sure to give them the right amount of time to set. This is an excellent example of why I love doing this blog: you can learn from my mistake! Anyway, I wouldn’t say they were a FAIL… they tasted delicious and didn’t look that bad either. But they definitely weren’t Food Network worthy. All in all, great recipe. Poor execution on my part. Boo.

I would have used a bit more chive in them though, next time. Next time… I will conquer you, risotto cakes. I will CONQUER you.

Pupcakes.

;

Recently Jay (and I *cough*, hehe) adopted a dog, which was exciting for us both since he’s wanted one for a long time (and I have too- I love animals) and also because now I get to make doggie cupcakes. I love my kitty cat to death, and she’s my babygirl, but cats don’t eat cupcakes. Not really. They have a slightly more difficult and sensitive palate than dogs. My cat is a bit unusual, since she does happen to enjoy a nibble or two of vanilla cake/cupcake. But on the whole, it isn’t good for them and they wouldn’t eat a cupcake specifically made for them (i.e. with fish or chicken, or cheese and apples in it, for instance). Dogs, on the other hand, will eat cupcakes made with chicken or cheese, but then again, they’ll eat anything and everything. Including socks, and wee wee pads, as we are finding out thanks to this beautiful boy, Indy. But that doesn’t meant they should eat it. So here we have doggie safe cupcakes, or pupcakes! Because if anyone deserves a tasty treat like a cupcake, its a puppy dog who’s learning commands so quickly and working so hard to make us proud.

And really, am I to be expected to not make cupcakes for my dog?

;

If you look, there are also pupcake recipes out there that include peanut butter; but because there’s a salmonella peanut butter scare going on right now, I opted for a different recipe. Always be aware of things like that when making homemade treats for your pet. They have no advocate but you, so make sure you keep up with that stuff.

DELICIOUS PUPCAKES

Ingredients

  • 1 large apple
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup oatmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated (or shredded) cheese

FOR FROSTING:*

  • 1 8oz package lowfat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 375 degrees Grease muffin tins.
  2. Core, slice and mince the apple. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, baking powder and baking soda together.
  4. In a medium bowl, blend the yogurt, water, oil, honey and eggs together. Then stir in the apple and cheese. Add to the flour mixture and stir until mixed. Spoon into the muffin tins, filling each cup about three quarters full.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  6. Let rest in the muffin tins for a few minutes, then remove and set aside.
  7. For the frosting, combine the cream cheese (at room temperature), honey and yogurt until smooth. Spread on the pupcakes.

Makes about 16 pupcakes. If you prefer a single-layer cake, spoon the batter into a sheet pan and bake for an extra 10 minutes. Let cool before serving. Keep in airtight container. Just remember to NOT use paper liners! Dogs, being that they have no thumbs and less dexterity with their paws than we have with our hands (and mainly because they just don’t know any better), cannot remove them from the paper before eating, and so therefore will indeed eat the wrapper. And that may pose a choking risk. So be responsible! Also, because there are no wrappers and everything in it is natural and theres no added sugar, if you have leftover ones that your doggie doesn’t want, you can toss them in your yard and the squirrels and wildlife will eat them and not get sick.

You can use any kind of cheese you want. I used a Kraft Mexican blend (haha) because thats what I had, but anything will do. Parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, etc. I don’t see why you couldn’t make these vegan either, if you don’t have eggs or real cheese on hand. Although it is important to remember that animals are NOT vegan, and don’t undersand why you are, and don’t really care. Their bodies are meant to ingest meat and animal products, and thats what they need. These cupcakes don’t contain anything made from animals except eggs, but just keep in mind a dog’s system is different than ours, and most likely he doesn’t want to be vegan. And cats- forget it. Cats are NOT MEANT to be vegan or vegetarian. A dog can indeed survive and live on a vegan diet, providing you add enough protein to it- although it really is against their nature to exist solely on veggies, they can because they’re omnivores. But a cat is a carnivore, so it cannot and will not and its not really fair to try and force them.

;

*(The frosting is really optional, I think its cute but if you don’t wanna make it, you don’t have to. I made mine a bit of a thinner consistency by using less cream cheese, because I felt it wasn’t really necessary to have a big huge heaping pile of “frosting”; but its totally up to you.)

I tell you, these smelled really good while baking. The only thing that put me off from tasting one was the cheese, haha.

Serve to a hungry puppy dog and prepare to get slobbers and kisses in return!

;

For those who are interested- his name is Indy, he’s a 5 month old, about 35/40 pound Labrador Retriever, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and English Coonhound mix with little webbed paws, and he’s a sweetheart. Another picture of his silly little blockhead can be found here. We adopted him from North Shore Animal League, and they’re awesome, so if you’re feeling generous make a donation. It’ll save a life.