Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes ~Molly

Since I didn't get an Easter Basket from Mom, I was forced to make my own Easter treat. I decided on a recipe for coconut cupcakes that I've been dying to try for months. This recipe just didn't seem right to try while there was still the possibility of snow, but I finally decided the time had come!
I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, except I used vanilla extract and juice from one lime to the icing.

Reduced coconut milk:
  • 2 13-to 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk* (preferably organic)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature

  • Frosting:
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk (see above), room temperature
    • Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)

  • For reduced coconut milk:
    Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan). Reduce heat to mediumlow; boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill (coconut milk will settle slightly as it cools). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

    For cupcakes:
    Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line eighteen 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar; beat on medium-high speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in seeds from vanilla bean and remaining egg. Add half of flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Add 1 cup reduced coconut milk; mix just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture; mix on low speed just until blended. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake cupcakes until tops spring back when gently touched and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes in pans to rack; cool 10 minutes. Carefully remove cupcakes from pans and cool completely on rack.

    For frosting:
    Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to mediumhigh and beat until light and fluffy. Chill for at least a half hour. Using pastry bag fitted with large star tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. (Alternatively, top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting. Using small offset spatula, swirl frosting over top of cupcakes, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.) Sprinkle with coconut. DO AHEAD: 
    Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight containers; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Potato and Sausage Soup ~Molly

I'm minorly obsessed with kale right now. It might be my new favorite vegetable. I fry it until it's crispy and put it in wraps. I chop it up and add it to scrambled eggs. I search for recipes that use it instead of studying for my Money and Banking midterm. Finding this recipe on was totally worth the B-.
I don't have a picture, so use your imagination. It looks like a broth-based soup. With chunks of potato, sausage, chickpeas, and kale. If you want to get fancy, add a piece of italian bread with butter on it. You could also find the recipe on Epicurious. It's actually called Kale and Chickpea Soup, but I knew none of you would read this recipe if that's what I titled this post.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 red potatoes(3/4 lb), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 lb kale, stems and center ribs cut out and discarded, then leaves very finely chopped (4 cups)
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth (28 fl oz)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14-oz) can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 lb sausage, diced and browned (I used smoked bratwurst)

  • Cook onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt, and pepper in oil in a wide 4- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until onion and garlic are softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add potato, kale, broth, and water and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low, then add chickpeas and chorizo and gently simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes. Discard bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  • Note from Kelsey:  
  • I made this soup for my family and a couple of young "cowboys".  They all loved it, even the kids!  It is definitely something I will make again.  It smelled so good when it was cooking!  I served it with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and a green salad.  I took a picture so I could add it to Molly's original blog post. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Roasted Brussels Sprouts ~ by Sarah

I don't love Brussels sprouts. I can take them or leave them.  But Audrey has been begging to buy them whenever we go to the grocery store (I think she thinks they look like cute little lettuces), so I finally gave in and we bought a bag.  Sometimes steaming them makes them bitter, so I searched for a recipe and found one to try.  I got this from  It appealed to be because I love roasting my asparagus and this looked a lot like it.

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degreees.

Rinse Brussels sprouts well.

Cut ends off each sprout and peel off any yellow or loose leaves.

Toss oil and sprouts in bowl until well coated.

Add kosher salt to taste.  Sprinkle black pepper and mix well.

Pour on to shallow baking sheet and roast for about 30-40 minutes.  Shake the pan occasionally to brown the sprouts evenly.

I definitely liked these better than steamed Brussels sprouts.  I really liked the outer coating, so next time I do this I think I will cut each sprout in half so more of it is seasoned and crispy.

Oh, and Audrey ate one bite and didn't touch the rest!