Live. Laugh. Bake.
Woof

Some of my best ideas come to me at night in those few lingering moments just before my active mind is completely engulfed in the warm, still blanket of sleep.  It is that feeling of slowly slipping into a warm bath or nestling your face into a fresh towel just pulled from a hot dryer, inhaling deeply the crisp yet soft scent of Bounce.  It is in these moments, these night time moments, that many people slip through delirium, yet for me I find in them pure clarity.  Well, sometimes.  Last night’s clarity: dog snack cupcakes.  Those who know me well are laughing right now.  Those who don’t are doubting my supposed clarity.  Rewind with me for a moment before removing me from your RSS. (Is that even the proper usage of “RSS”?)

Dog snacks.  I love dog snacks.  And by “dog snacks” I mean those little sweetened sesame sticks found in random munchie assortments.  See below.

Sometimes I refer to these other little pub mix gems as dog snacks…

…but for the sake of this post refer only to the former snack.

Anyway, one of my roommates who knows and understands my love for dog snacks is always on the hunt for better and better munchie assortments.  ”Better” of course referring to the ratio of dog snacks to pretzels.  She has been known to clandestinely leave bags and barrels of dog snack surprises for me to find.  She is a gem.  And I digress. Where were we? Ratio of pretzels to dog snacks. This brings me to my latest grievance:  Pretzels.  Namely, pretzel sticks and the overwhelming amount of them in my barrel of monkeys.  Er, munchies.  

So last night, as I sat perched on the couch with said roommate, rifling through my pretzel-filled mix for the occasional dog snack, I decided to extract all those pesky pretzels and use them to make something. The thought was fleeting, however, and it did not come back to me until I was laying beneath my sheets, ready to be bathed in warm sleep.  Chocolate cupcakes with a brown sugar pretzel base.  The perfect recipe for making my dog snack hunt a smidge easier. Hence the name. Dog snack cupcakes.

 Being that I am not my mother and do not own a mortar and pestle, I had to get a little creative.  In case my mother is reading this, yes, mom, I did remember to wash the hammer first.

Aaaand, the finished product.  Chocolate cupcake thrown together from the random assortment of fridge/pantry contents paired with a lovely pretzel/butter/brown sugar base.  This one will definitely be revisited.  Praise God for sweet and salty cupcakes. And for dog snacks.  And for roommates who indulge me. 

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bake something in preparation of the final Harry Potter installment.  Butterbeer cupcakes with a butterscotch ganache filling and, of course, the Golden Snitch. 

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bake something in preparation of the final Harry Potter installment.  Butterbeer cupcakes with a butterscotch ganache filling and, of course, the Golden Snitch. 

Now Hiring

I learned a valuable lesson the other day.  Actually I learned two, one from church and one from baking, but let’s be honest.  No one really cares to hear me preach in a blog.  So, onto lesson numero dos: Everyone will fail you. 

Stick with me.  No sermon to follow.  I promise.

The Pioneer Woman, my idol, FAILED.  I saw a recipe the other day for malted milk chocolate chip cookies on her blog and thought to myself, “Huh, there’s an idea.”  Plus, with all her vivid pictures, I just couldn’t resist.  So, off the cupcake wagon I jumped to try out another cookie modification.  Let me just say this: my parents knew what they were doing when they shielded me from things like whoppers and milkshakes and meat.  Well, the meat thing has nothing to do with this and is a post for another time and they were wrong about that. Anyway, malted milk gives things that aftertaste that screams nothing but “health”, but that taste is but a lie.  Malt simply triples the calorie content* and makes cookies taste bad.  It did give them a beautiful rich color, but that is beside the point.

There is an upside to this, however.  Redemption for all can be found.  In caramel.  I added caramel to the batter and masked the malt.  Masked the malt.  I’ve thought for a while about writing an entirely alliterated post but have never done so.  Maybe I’ll work on that next.  Wow, I definitely have a penchant for getting off topic.

Anyway, I tried malt and I’m putting it back in the cupboard.  Back in the back of the cupboard, that is.  So much for my experimentations.  Basics.  When it comes to cookies, I do basics best.  Here’s to hoping I remember that.

Also, I am now accepting applications for the position of “Roopa’s Pedestal”.  All references will be contacted.  

*I only passed math in high school because my Algebra II/Trig teacher died on the last day of class during our final and never got a chance to calculate grades.  True story.  Believe my calculations at your own risk.    

This is a poor quality picture of a plain looking cupcake.  It feigns homeliness so well  that I forgot to take an actual picture with an actual camera and was forced to snap a quick pic with my phone in between phone calls at work.  Appearances lie, is what this cupcake teaches.  This little guy packs a punch.  It is a dark chocolate orange cupcake with a raspberry rhubarb filling and orange cream cheese frosting.  It is the plainest cupcake I have made and it is my favorite. 

This is a poor quality picture of a plain looking cupcake.  It feigns homeliness so well  that I forgot to take an actual picture with an actual camera and was forced to snap a quick pic with my phone in between phone calls at work.  Appearances lie, is what this cupcake teaches.  This little guy packs a punch.  It is a dark chocolate orange cupcake with a raspberry rhubarb filling and orange cream cheese frosting.  It is the plainest cupcake I have made and it is my favorite. 

Week 3 of my class

Week two of my cake decorating class

Week two of my cake decorating class

Lemon cupcakes with a blueberry basil filling and lemon basil buttercream frosting

Lemon cupcakes with a blueberry basil filling and lemon basil buttercream frosting

Walk with Me, Suzy Lee

I started a cake decorating class this past week.  I knew that I had been missing school. There is something about freshly sharpened pencils and smell of a clean notebook that makes my heart go pitter patter in a way that nothing else can evoke.  However, I did not know exactly how much I had been missing school until the lady registering me for the class handed me a sheet of paper with the words “Class Syllabus” printed at the top and tears of joy started to pool in my eyes.  I couldn’t stop telling the poor Michael’s employee how excited and happy I was and I left shortly after sensing that she was on the verge of calling security.

Anyway, the first class went pretty well.  I showed up a  good twenty minutes early, apron securely fastened and bookbag in place, ready to start frosting.  I had procured every item on that school supply list, even just the frivolous ones deemed “optional”  (Yeah, that’s not happening again now that I know I’ll have a new list of supplies to obtain for each and every week.  Clearly Wilton is feeling the recession and is targeting unsuspecting fools like myself.).  The instructor had set little name cards around the table and it felt like walking into a grade school classroom.  However, instead of the walls being adorned with over-sized alphabets and bright colored animals exclaiming things like, “Learning is fun!” there were multi-layered cakes and cupcakes.  It was perfect and I felt completely in my element.

There are eight of us in the class - some could be grandmothers, a couple probably too young to know about pogs or slap bracelets, and a few scattered in the middle.  Somehow, despite there being girls significantly younger than me, I was “mi hija” to the instructor and the class now thinks my name is Mia.  Oh well.  Definitely not the first time this has happened.

So tomorrow I shall practice my newfound skills a bit.  As you can see from the picture below, we just went over the very very basics on cookies and I am in need of lots of practice.  Hopefully the cupcakes I’ll be making tomorrow will provide me with enough miniature practice canvases to wow my teacher once I go back to class on Wednesday.  Either way, I am excited to try out a new recipe: lemon cupcakes with a blueberry basil filling. Happy Sunday, happy baking :)


Happy 107th Birthday to the man who coined the word “nerd”.

Happy 107th Birthday to the man who coined the word “nerd”.

Hello, March.  Hello, green.  

Hello, March.  Hello, green.