Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sam's Favorite Red Velvet Cupcakes

Sam's favorite color is red, so he's naturally (or is that unnaturally?) predisposed to liking red velvet cupcakes.  So when he asked for red velvet cupcakes for his third birthday, I wasn't surprised.  But I wanted to make them good!  Even if I had to use red food coloring...

To find a good recipe, I did some research online.  Luckily, Crumbly Cookie helpfully did a taste test of a whole bunch of recipes.  They settled on this one from Apple a Day (adapted from Saveur).  It looked like a solid place to start.  But I wanted something with a bit more chocolate punch.  (And while Becky may like cream cheese frosting, I don't.)  So I added the Cook's Illustrated chocolate ganache from their incredible "Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes" (adapted here.)  (If you want chocolate cupcakes, these are the best.)  And some quick "foolproof" chocolate frosting from the Cook's Illustrated yellow-cake recipe.

Some time before his fourth birthday, Sam discovered rainbow sprinkles.  The perfect topping!  Putting it all together, I think I have the Ultimate Red Velvet Cupcakes with Chocolate Inside and Out.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Best Whole-Wheat Bread-Machine Sandwich Bread

Our son is just like I was at his age: the only thing he will eat for lunch is a PB&J sandwich.  We use natural crunchy peanut butter (Trader Joe's is the best), and good quality strawberry jam.  But the bread is the most important part.

While the No-Kneed Bread makes delicious bread, it's not good sandwich bread.  For that, I turned to the Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook.  Ages ago, my friend recommended this cookbook to me and it is awesome.  Trying a few of the recipes, the "Light Whole-Wheat Bread" was almost there...but it was a bit too light, and I found the volume measurements to be a bit inconsistent.  When baking, having a scale is essential.  So I boosted the amount of whole-wheat flour, tweaked a few of the ingredients, and converted the volumes to weights, and voila!