14 May 2008

Happy Birthday to the Mama!!!

Today is my 29th Birthday... am I really that old??? Anyway, it was a wonderful day! I got to sleep in, then we had a playdate at the park, Jake took us to lunch, I got to bake my birthday cupcakes (yes, it was fun for me), Jake made dinner, and then I got my birthday present: a place setting of my china!!! Yea for Angie! It really helped that the weather was nice today and yesterday. I am soooo affected by the weather, so nice weather is grrrrreat for my mood.

Now about these cupcakes: S'mores Cupcakes. Does that sound decadent and awesome, or what? They have a graham cracker crust, a dollop of Scharffen Berger chocolate in the middle, a rich and moist chocolate cake, and a toasted marshmallow icing. They are fab, but filling. I made some tiny ones so that Gabriel could have one, and he couldn't get enough. It was G's first cupcake, and I think he was very happy with the experience. We put one on his little plate, and he would poke his finger in the middle and lick it off! Then he ate the rest of the cupcake, and when that was gone, he was wiping the plate with his little fingers to get all the chocolate and icing off! What a funny guy! I got the recipe from Martha Stewart, and she got it from a little shop called Trophy Cupcakes. Here's the recipe for anybody interested:

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Icing
Makes 2 Dozen

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Marshmallow Frosting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
  4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
  6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
  7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.
Marshmallow Icing
Makes enough icing for 2 dozen cupcakes

  • 8 large egg whites
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set over a saucepan with simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix until combined. Use immediately.
As for baby news, Gabriel is getting so smart. We knew that he knew his body parts, and we make special effort to name them if he points to them or as we change his clothes, etc. I got stuck in a waiting room yesterday, so I started asking him about his body. I started with the usual "where's your nose?" and "where is your eye?" I ran out of the easy ones, and started asking the harder ones. I had no idea that he had such a detailed knowledge of his anatomy! What a smarty pants! When I asked him where his foot was, he was tired of pointing, so he just lifted is foot to me. I pushed for an answer, and he finally pointed to his foot in exasperation as if to say "you know already!!!" It was so funny!

He also has started this thing where he squeezes his rubber duckies as hard as he can. But you really have to see it to get the full effect: he's usually naked and standing in the tub, and then he shrugs his shoulders, smiles really big, sucks his tummy in, and squeezes as hard as he can until his arms shake and his face turns red! It totally cracks us up!!!

And today he helped me empty the dishwasher for the first time. I handed him all the plastic containers to put away. He would take the containers, one by one, put them in the cabinet, clap for himself, and then come back for another plastic container to put away. It was so cute, and actually helpful. He usually just steals all the silverware and hides the forks in funny places. This was so much better than the silverware treasure hunt I'm used to!

I have some new pictures, but I'll add them when they're developed. I know, I know: I'm a bit slow at getting pictures up as I do it the old fashioned way... we'll be digital eventually.

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