Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pantry List

Two posts in one day? Well, I didn't write the day before yesterday, so this is making up for that.

Things you should always have in your kitchen so you can make food impulsively:

1. Sugar. White sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, you will use it all. It's number one on the list because it's used in almost everything I make.

2. Flour. All purpose, self-rising.

3. Eggs. Keep at least 4 in your fridge.

4. Butter.
Unsalted stick butter. I keep at least 2 sticks.

5. Vanilla. I admit, I use vanilla imitation because it's cheaper, but I know some people who swear by real vanilla extract, especially when making ice cream.

6. Salt. You probably already have this in your kitchen, but it's used in almost everything.

7. Chocolate chips.
With the ingredients I've listed thus far, you can easily whip up a batch of awesome homemade chocolate chip cookies. These are also good to keep just in case you want to make anything coated in chocolate. I'll explain how to melt chocolate in a future post.

With these ingredients, you should have no problem baking whenever you want to. See you at Harris Teeter!

Not so guilty pleasure

Yesterday my darling boyfriend came over. It had been a long day, and he had just finished playing a wedding gig. We were both exhausted, and it was hot. Too hot to bake. I realize that the name of my blog is Caroline's Cupcakes, and I haven't actually posted any cupcake recipes... but they will come. For now, Blackberry Sorbet from the Joy of Baking website.

This is beautiful. Do not wear your favorite white shirt. You will stain it. We ate a quart by ourselves in less than fifteen minutes. "Ooohhh..." he whined. "You're making me fat."
That's when I looked at the ingredient list and realized that no, I was not making him fat. His gut is his own fault. Or the cupcakes. Or... the cookies.

But not the sorbet. I wouldn't call it healthy, no, but it's not awful for you.

Here's how it's done:
(again, I substituted lime juice for the lemon juice the recipe calls for. I liked it a lot.)

1 cup of water
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 pound frozen (unsweetened) blackberries
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice

small saucepan
heatproof container
food processor/blender
ice cream maker *
the joy of baking website has instructions for how to make sorbet without an ice cream maker. Pretty interesting stuff, though I haven't tried it.

1. Boil the water and sugar just until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into heatproof container and chill in the freezer/refrigerator. When it is not hot to the touch, I consider it chilled enough to work with.

2. Place frozen blackberries into blender. Add lime juice and the simple syrup you have been chilling. Blend until smooth.

3. You can either stop here to strain the seeds out, or keep the seeds in like I chose to. It's a question of personal preference.

4. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to the directions.

5. When it is solid, you can either eat it right away or store it in a covered container in the freezer. If you do choose to store it, however, leave it in the refrigerator a good 20 minutes before serving so that it is soft enough to scoop.

This was absolutely incredible. The sorbet in the picture was a deep burgundy color, but ours turned the color of dark, almost black red wine. Gorgeous. It is so easy I think I'll be making it for the next summer dinner party I have.

Yum. Excuse Everett's face. He was in shock.

If you make any recipes from this blog, comment and let me know how it goes!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The best brownies you will ever eat.

Last Sunday, I rear-ended a Camaro on 321. I got home and threw everything on my bed and ran into my kitchen. My room still looks like a clothes-eating monster had diarrhea. Explosive diarrhea.

However, I made these brownies. Taken from the website Recipezaar, they are called "Whatever Floats Your Boat" Brownies.

They are ridiculous. Seriously. You probably have almost all, if not all of the ingredients you need to make these. So do it now.

Here's what you need:


1/2 cup of melted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
mix-ins of choice


8x8 pan
parchment paper *optional

1. Preheat your oven to 350. You can grease your pan or line it with aluminum foil, BUT I'm about to preach about my baking secret. Parchment paper. I discovered it this past fall when working on coconut meringues. It works wonders with baked foods that you eat with your hands. I lined my 8x8 pan with it. Takes a bit of origami to get it to fit. Totally worth it. Things bake more evenly and peel right off. You actually get to EAT all your brownies rather than having the usual stuff frustratingly stuck to the pan. So use parchment paper. Let us pray and then the service will be dismissed.

2. In your mixing bowl, mix together the melted butter and cocoa powder. This will look like mud. Delicious butter mud.

3. Add sugar and mix until blended. This will look like mud as well. Delicious, glittery butter mud.

4. Add one egg at a time and stir until blended.

5. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt just until you can see no more white.

6. This is where I added chocolate chips, but you can add whatever you like. Use 1-2 cups. I used a cup of chocolate chips and then sprinkled more on top in the middle of the baking process.

7. Pour and spread into pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. I always check my baked goods obsessively, being at high altitude and such. Adjust the time as needed.

8. Using the fork/toothpick/knife test, you should come back with a few crumbs on your utensil. Unlike most baked goodies, don't wait for a clean fork.

9. Gorge thyself.

These are seriously the best brownies I have ever had. I loved them. Everett ended up with half of his first one on his face because he inhaled it. They are wonderful either hot or cold, but they won't last very long before being eaten.

Guess what! This recipe can be doubled! Bake in a 9x12 pan and add 5 minutes to the baking time.

Excuse me. I think I need to go make a batch of these.

*no pictures due to the fact that these were eaten within 30 minutes of being taken out of the oven. They're brownies. Use your imagination.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to make a burger.

For those of you who have never tried to make your own burgers, you are truly missing out.

Honestly I really just wanted to post a picture that my friend Zachary Stirewalt took.
Our arrangement/deal is as follows: I make food, he helps(sometimes), we both eat, and he shoots my food. Awesome? Yes.

Anyways, how to make a burger. First of all, buy ground beef. Zach and I are broke college students, so we used relatively inexpensive meat. We used 93/7 meat, but it's a question of personal preference.

We bought roughly two pounds of meat for two people. Twas kind of a lot, but we ate it all. We then mixed it with dry onion soup mix. I was told to use this by a co-worker, but forgot on my way home how much to use, so.....I just used one whole packet.
Mix this in a bowl with the ground beef. Zachary used his hands, but I was too grossed out to touch the stuff. Add an egg to keep it moist and together.

We made ours about 4 inches wide and slightly less than an inch tall. They were monstrous. Not monstrous as in huge, monstrous as in rather deformed and scary.

I was excited. We had onion rolls rather than burger buns, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, ketchup, etc. YUM.

Zachary then cooked the burgers in a skillet with some olive oil because that was all we had. Are you following the theme here?*

The reason you aren't seeing the big burgers is because we barely did before they were in our bellies.

These are the two baby burgers that Zachary made for himself:

Glorious! And yes, they are slightly pink. And yes, they were so good he forgot to put anything on them besides cheese.

Those of you who have never done this, try it. Making your own burgers makes them taste so much better. You barely feel your arteries clogging at all!

*cheeeeepity cheap cheap cheap!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I did today

Peach Sorbet!

Here's what happened. My lovely boyfriend bought me a bag of peaches from a truck by the side of the road, and they smelled incredible.

Mmmm... brings back childhood memories of wishing that THIS was real.

Anyways, it is HOT here. Super hot. We mountain people aren't used to this. So I bought an ice cream maker. Bought it from WalMart and got the last one. I have tried twice before to make frozen treats and failed miserably, my roommates finding the soupy dishes in the sink where I left them to go pout. This time, I knew it would be different. I knew that it had to work. I just knew it.

So I found this recipe. Regrettably, I didn't photograph the actual steps, but you can figure it out. Pretty simple.

I adapted it from this recipe from I put a tiny bit more sugar and used lime juice instead of lemon juice, only because I had a fresh lime I'd been dying to lose.
1/2 cup of water
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
4 medium (very)ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

small saucepan
and the most important part, an ice cream maker!

1. Combine water, sugar and lime juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool, then transfer to blender.
2. Add peaches, blend until smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to the directions given with the maker.
3. After it is to the desired consistency(I'm impatient so mine was kind of slushy), pour into another container to put into the freezer.

I put blueberries in mine and ate it with an Earl Grey cupcake, the recipe for which I will post soon.
Here's the finished result!