Monday, July 26, 2010

Cinnamon Toast Crunch cupcakes: A new leg in the cereal cupcake marathon, plus some yummy cookies

I know it's been a while since I've written. But it's summer, right? I'm allowed to take time off. At least that's what I tell myself. Anyway, with the trip to Chicago and work, my schedule got all off last week. So I blog now! Just because I haven't written doesn't mean I haven't been baking though, of course. You knew that though.

My plan was to have a bunch of cupcakes in Chicago and talk about those places, but the trip got cut short unexpectedly, so instead I made my own desserts. I did have one cupcake at Sweet Mandy B's bakery in Lincoln Park. It was a creamsicle cupcake, and definitely tasty. It was pretty fun to eat it in the bakery, t00, which was painted all in pastel colors and very dollhouse-ish. It's not a bakery that focuses on cupcakes, so not that many were available. Not bad for an orange cupcake though.

When I got home, I decided to make a cookie recipe I've been itching to try for a while now. I'm a huge fan of sesame seeds (sesame seed bagels are the only way to go! unless there's asiago too). I found a recipe for sesame cookies from Atlantic Kitchen while browsing and thought they looked really tasty. They called for white and black sesame seeds, though, and I hadn't found black sesame seeds until a recent trip to Dean and Deluca. On a side note, if I were a millionaire, I'd probably buy everything in that store. A-MAZ-ing. Anyway, armed with two colors of sesame seeds, I made these cookies. It called for three kinds of sugar: white, brown and vanilla. I didn't have a vanilla bean handy to make the vanilla sugar and didn't feel like waiting, so vanilla extract it was. The only way I can describe the flavor is that it tastes like fall. People at work were a little reluctant to try them, but ended up liking them. They're nice and chewy inside but the sesame seeds gave some crunch. Definitely on my list of things to make again.

That day I also got a request for plain old chocolate chip cookies. I don't make plain things very often, so when I make them I always get the yummy surprise of how tasty chocolate chip cookie dough is. Mmmmm. I think my baking instincts have gotten better, because I took them out and they were perfect. Also a huge hit at work.

I made a couple other things too, but nothing super yummy that I haven't made before. But then I decided to make devil's food cupcakes for Kelly's birthday. She's a big Toy Story fan, so I made ones with her favorite dino on top. The cake has sour cream, which seems kind of weird, but it cuts the sweet just a touch and makes for a really tasty cupcake.

Then I created my own cupcakes. Kelly came over to help. My friend Taylor suggested I try more cereal cupcakes after making Fruity Pebbles ones, so these were Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I decided to make my favorite yellow cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, as usual. I've had a hard time figuring out how much batter to put in cupcakes without them overflowing, because the cake rises a lot. This time I put two cookie scoops, and they turned out perfectly! Add some crushed cereal, a cinnamon icing and some cereal on top, and we have Cinnamon Toast Crunch cupcakes. Wait until right before eating them to put the garnish of the cereal, though, because they get soggy sitting there. These were a hit too :)

Cinnamon Toast Crunch cupcakes

For the cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

This is half of her recipe, because otherwise you end up with a gazillion cupcakes. Mine made about 20.

2 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1 handful Cinnamon Toast Crunch, crushed into chunks

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put cupcake liners into tin.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated. Fold in crushed cereal. Put into prepared tins (like I said, I did two cookie scoops, which is like half full).

Bake until golden brown, which is generally a little longer than 15 minutes. Just watch it.

For the frosting (Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book):
3 sticks butter, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Ground cinnamon, to taste

Beat butter until light and creamy. Add powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time. After adding each batch, increase speed and beat heavily for about 10 seconds (this makes the frosting lighter). After all sugar is added, add vanilla and cinnamon to taste.

Frost cupcakes, top with cereal. Yum!

Also, last night my team won at trivia. It was fun! I've been going on Sunday nights when I don't work, but we haven't won yet. This time we did, and that means money. Woo hoo! My claim to fame: knowing that "Saludos Amigos" is the 1942 Disney film that's only 42 minutes long but still considered a featured animated film. If you know me well, it probably doesn't surprise you that I possess that knowledge :). And, on a final note, here's what Kansas looked like after a storm last week. Oh, Kansas summer.

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