3.18.2010

Mini Key Lime Cupcakes


Over the past several days I have had fun planning an engagement party with some friends. There is nothing like celebrating a new marriage! For dessert, we are serving three small desserts, one of which is Mini Key Lime Cupcakes. I had so much fun making these! They were very easy, and I am pleased with how they turned out.

I used a white cake mix and added lime juice, lime zest and neon green food coloring. I used the paste food coloring that was at the supermarket--I just squeezed in enough until I thought it was the appropriate green color.

Surprisingly, I found some really pretty mini cupcake liners at the Kroger. They were the perfect color green for key lime. I was anticipating having to go to Michael's or a specialty shop for pretty papers, or maybe even shopping online, so it was wonderful to find these at the grocery store.


To fill the liners, I put the batter in a gallon sized ziploc bag and snipped the bottom corner off, then squeezed enough batter to fill the liners up approximately 3/4 of the way. It was a lot less messy this way!
I baked them for 8 minutes on convection bake in my oven--ovens cook differently, so use a pick to test and see if they are done. It may take up to ten minutes.

To ice them, I used a disposable pastry bag and an extra large star tip. You could also use a gallon ziploc bag (as you did for filling the cupcake liners). Simply snip the bottom corner off and squeeze the icing onto the cakes. Garnish them with a very thin lime slice cut into 1/8ths. I used the limes that were zested for the recipe--they are cut so thin you can't tell that the zest is gone.
So happy with the finished product! And after being taste tested by my husband, he says they are good. He did say, however, that next time he would like me to add a little more lime juice and/or zest to the cake part. He likes a lot of key lime flavor!
The complete recipe is below:

Mini Key Lime Cupcakes
1 White Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic)
1 1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
3 egg whites
2 1/2 tablespoons key lime juice (my husband would use more!)
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
Neon green food coloring

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Add lime juice, lime zest and food coloring and mix until incorporated. Place mini cupcake liners into mini cupcake pans; fill approximately 3/4 full. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Limes (leftover from zesting) for garnish; slice very thinly and then cut into eighths

Spread or pipe icing onto cupcakes; garnish with lime slices.

3.12.2010

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies


My husband and I have been making these cookies for a long time. Our 30th anniversary is this June, and I don't remember where the recipe came from, I just remember that right after we got married he found this recipe, he made it, and we loved it. Chocolate chip cookies are his absolute favorite, so this has always been considered his recipe. He immediately wrote it on a recipe card (very faded at this point, as you can see) and on the line for "from the kitchen of" he wrote Bob "the big cookie" Lane. For those of you who know my husband this will come as no surprise, and probably brings a smile to your face (as it does to mine).

It always brings me great joy to pull this card from my file. Many memories--watching my sweet husband make them, making them together to share with many precious people, teaching my children to make them. We all know the recipe from heart, but I still pull it out each time I make them. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs (always use large eggs for baking)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I always use White Lily)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips

In mixing bowl, add brown sugar, sugar, butter and shortening. Cream until well combined (2-3 minutes). Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt and baking soda with a whisk until well mixed. Add this dry mixture to the creamed mixture. Beat until blended; do not overbeat. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough from a teaspoon or tablespoon, depending on what size cookies you desire, onto an ungreased cookie sheet, approximately 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 ° for 8-10 minutes (ovens vary).

This recipe also does well as a "cookie cake" for special occasions. Simply spread the dough onto a deep cookie sheet/jelly roll pan (I use an 11 x 16 pan, or sometimes a round pizza pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes (until just brown). You can decorate with homemade icing and cake decorating bags and tips, but I often just use canned icing from the grocery store and top with a little melted chocolate in a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off. Here's a photo from my daughter's 21st birthday--she often requests this for her birthday cake!