Monday, October 17, 2011

Make it Monday!

This past Friday, I taught our girls (and a friend) how to make tortillas! We're using the Portraits of American Girlhood curriculum for our 4th grade school year and it is SO much fun! Currently we're studying Josefina who lived in New Mexico before it was a part of the US in 1824. Since I have Mexican and Spanish blood in me, all the cooking and food lessons got to be my job for this one! It's exciting!!!

Here's Layla (Sonya's Girly), Zoe (My Girly) and their friend with their first home made tortillas!!!

My little Miss-Moody-Moody-Attitudey looks SO happy, doesn't she?!?!

We started by mixing together about 6 cups of flour (unbleached all purpose), 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, almost 1/4 cup of baking powder, some salt and warm water added one tablespoon at a time.

Don't even bother with a spoon... just get in their with your hands. It's really important that you add the WARM water only one tablespoon at a time. If you add too much, you end up with yuck. If you add too little, you can always add more!! You basically want it to be like slightly dried out play dough. Soft and pliable, but not overly sticky.

The munchkins can't efficiently mix it all the way, so I had to get in there and help. I'd advise you to keep one hand clean and firmly holding the bowl at all times!! 

Now here's where I don't have a lot of pictures... my hands were covered in tortilla dough!

At this point, you want to roll your dough into 1-2 inch balls and set aside. I usually stack them in another bowl. If they sit too long and dry out, add a splash of water and knead it in your hands for a minute.

Next you'll roll out your balls on a lightly floured surface one at a time. I use a piece of heavy duty pipe (some sort of metal) which is also what my mom, grandma and great grandma used. They're never perfectly round because well... I'm not a machine! I'm an imperfect human being! Even my little guy got in on the tortilla rolling action. He made a happy tortilla :)

Once they are rolled out, you will cook them. I cook mine on a cast iron tortilla grille. Using a clean kitchen towel, press and turn until slightly browned. Pull it to the edge with the towel and flip so you can cook the other side. Here is Grammy Sandee-Mom (as my kids call her or Grammy to Layla) demonstrating!!


Another option is to make Sopapillas!! Once you've rolled your torts, cut them into quarters and fry in hot oil. Flip part way through, drain on paper towels or in a paper grocery bag, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon! We enjoyed ours with Abuelita Chocolate Syrup and Honey!!! Here are our girlies enjoying their sopapillas! We hope you enjoy yours!!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes!!!!

Tip Junkie handmade projects

In our last post I told you a little bit about a recipe for Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes that I had found which inspired me to alter some recipes I have and make my own cupcakes from scratch instead of an altered boxed mix!!

Here's what I started with!!
Salt, cocoa powder, caramels and coffee!!! I don't drink instant coffee... I just use it for my chocolate cake recipe, so I just get the cheap stuff. Works the same!

Here we go! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin (or in my case, my muffin stone) with paper bake cups.

I know my stone is ugly... but ugly stoneware is loved and well used stoneware!!!

Next in a large bowl, combine:

3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. table salt (I used iodized sea salt)

Mix with a wire whisk.

In a large measuring cup (I use a 4 cup glass measuring cup) combine the following:

2 cups of HOT water
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 Tbsp. instant coffee granules (5 or 6 will give you a stronger coffee flavor)
2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar (YES vinegar!!!)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (YES a WHOLE tablespoon!!!)

No need to stir this, just put it all in the measuring cup. I forgot to take a picture of this step! Please, forgive me!!

Next, pour the ingredients from the measuring cup into the dry ingredients and combine with the whisk. Trust me - the whisk is enough, no need for a spoon.

Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 full with this yummy nummy batter (which is OK to snack on! No eggs = no salmonella!!)!

Bake for 20-25 minutes! Make sure to bungee shut the oven! Oh wait... that's just at my house! See!!

Long story short... my oven is old and has a broken spring! If I don't bungee it, the kitchen gets HOT and the gas runs NON stop!!

While you are waiting for the cupcakes to bake, unwrap your caramels and place them in a bowl until needed. Also pour a couple teaspoons of coarse Kosher salt into a small bowl.

Now it's time for frosting!! This is an altered butter cream recipe. It is good!!! I fire up the Kitchenaid for this one!!

In a mixer (or large bowl and use a hand mixer) combine:

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar
1 T. Meringue powder (found at Joann and Michaels with the cake stuff)
10 tsp water added one at a time

This is pretty simple, put everything but the water in the mixer (or bowl), turn it on. I use the "2" setting on my mixer. You want it high enough to mix it, but not so high that it throws the powdered sugar out. Add the water one teaspoon at a time. I used 10 tsp, use more or less depending on the humidity. You want it slightly firm and you'll see why later!!

Cupcakes are done! Pull them out of the oven. Let them cool in the pan for 5ish minutes.

Aren't they beautiful?!?!

Now move them to a cooling rack to cool for another 10-15 minutes. At this point you can put your next batch in the oven!

Next you're going to scoop out a small amount from the top of the cupcake, put in a caramel, sprinkle with some of the coarse kosher salt then replace the top pressing down. It won't be completely flat.

I did this while they were still slightly warm which made the caramels melt a little bit!! YUM!

Now it's time for the frosting!! You can just spread it on. I used my fun gun thingey!! It's kinda like a pastry bag, but without the bag.

If you do it this way, make sure you swirl from the outside in!!

Next you add a drizzle of caramel sauce (I just used an ice cream topping that was in my fridge!), a sprinkle of salt and I topped mine off with a few chocolate covered coffee beans!!!

DE-LISH!!!  I really liked the mild coffee flavor of the cake!! Using a caramel candy instead of caramel topping made this easier to eat... I didn't have caramel oozing all over my hands. It was still messy, but not as bad as it could have been! I did the vanilla frosting since it reminded me of the whipped cream that Starbucks puts on their Salted Caramel Mocha Frap! To make the coffee beans, I just melted down a few milk chocolate candy melts (Wilton makes them, I got them in a bulk bin from a local grocery store), threw in some of my own Dunkin Doughnuts coffee beans and put them in clumps of 3 on wax paper to dry. Good stuff!!!

If you try this, please share with us what you thought!! I've only made them this one time but I am SO excited about them and could not wait to share!! And please - share our blog with your friends!!!

Have a great rest of your weekend!!!


Friday, October 14, 2011

Coming soon...

Hi Friends!
  With getting into the swing of the new school year we've neglected you!! Sorry about that!

We do have a couple of FUN things coming up to tell you about!! Today we made some Tortillas and Sopapillas from scratch! Pictures and such will be up soon!!

The thing I'm most excited about... Salted Caramel Mocha Cupcakes!!! I saw a recipe on Pinterest, but it was basically brownie mix with some instant coffee and a caramel hershey kiss shoved inside once it was done cooking. I'm all about doing things from scratch and I've got an amazing idea! Once I have it perfected, I'll post step by step photos with a full recipe and instructions!!!

I LOVE experimenting with baking, though I usually get my inspiration from others! Is there something weird you'd like to see me try and make?! Let me know! I have a husband and 2 kids who LOVE to taste test as much as I love to bake!!