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Monday, November 26, 2012

Two Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

Hi everyone!

This recipe is right up my alley. I came across the original recipe here, and had to try it, because a recipe for just two cupcakes is perfect when you live alone- none of the danger of a big batch of something sitting around! This post might be a bit picture-heavy, but I wanted to show just how easy this is to whip up.

The original recipe uses veggie oil, but mine was all bad, so I adjusted for butter. I also increased the baking time, and ultimately reduced the liquid just slightly. For the icing, I added a pinch of salt and tried to reduce the overall amount made, which could ice 2-3 cupcakes- I had leftovers from the original recipe and I like a lot of icing, so I cut it down. Let's get started- these are sumer yummy and totally customizable with sprinkles, chocolate chips, caramel, whatever!!

Your arsenal for your cupcakes- and don't get out your measuring cups, you just need your little measuring spoons for this! (on the right there are mini chocolate chips and caramel bits which I added)

The original recipe called for mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, the mixing, but I played it fast and loose and just dumped it all in one and it worked great- and faster and fewer dishes- win win win!

Here's your batter ready to go into the cupcakes- nice and chocolatey!

Here are your two- just two- cupcakes, topped with chocolate chips and caramel bits. Have fun with this part!

Here are the cupcakes out of the oven. The caramel bits sinking caused the holes you can see in the tops.
Your arsenal for the icing- pretty standard ingredients here.

Again, just dump all of your ingredients in over the melted butter, and mix with your fork...

Here's the icing just made- nice and glossy, now it goes in the fridge.

Here's the icing after 15 minutes in the fridge- stiff and hard a little, but give it a stir, then let it sit and soon enough...

It will be the perfect consistency for icing those cupcakes.

Two Chocolate Cupcakes
(original recipe from, I made several changes in my version below)
-1 scant tablespoon butter
-1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons hot water
-splash of vanilla
-3 tablespoons flour
-2 tablespoons sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa
-1/8 teaspoon baking soda (just eyeball 1/2 of a quarter teaspoon)
-pinch of salt
-a few chocolate chips, cut up candy bar, caramel bits, etc. for topping the cupcakes before baking. (optional)
In a 1 cup glass measure, melt the butter, then add the water and vanilla, Mix real quick with a fork.
Add the dry ingredients, and mix with your fork until mostly mixed (a few small lumps may remain- that's ok).
Pour the batter evenly into two cupcake liners. Sprinkle your chocolate chips on top. Bake at 325 F for 20-28 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

Chocolate Icing for Two Cupcakes
-1 scant tablespoon butter
-1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons coca
-3 scant tablespoons confectioner's sugar
-1 scant teaspoon milk/cream/half and half
-pinch of salt
Melt the butter, then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate briefly to set up. Take out after 15 minutes or so to let come to room temp. Mix after refrigerating and before icing.
If you start this when the cupcakes go in the oven, it should be done about the time the cupcakes have cooled.

And the two beautiful cupcakes all iced and ready to be devoured. These things pack quite a chocolatey punch, and it would be super fun to decorate these with a few sprinkles or something like that to add a little fun!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade Ranch Seasoning (or dressing mix)

Hey there,

I'm quite busy in my "real" life right now so this is a quick and simple post about something I've wondered about making for a long time.

I love ranch flavored things. Veggie chips or straws, chips, crackers, pretzels, veggies with ranch dip, ranch dressing on salads. It's a good flavor profile.

So, my mom got a big bag of veggie straws at Costco which are just sea salt flavor. That's ok, but I like the ranch much more, so I thought I should go out and buy a packet or two of ranch seasoning and sprinkle it over my veggie straws. But thinking about it, ranch seasoning seems like an easy thing you should be able to whip up, so I did a quick google search and got a bunch of recipes, messed around, and came up with my own.

It's super easy, and you probably already have all of the ingredients except the dry buttermilk, which is at every grocery store. You can make easy yummy homemade ranch seasoning for flavoring or making dressing for pennies compared to the cost of packets, and you get to control what goes into it- how much salt, and no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Your very simple ingredients- spices, buttermilk powder, and a jar to put it all in!

Here it is with everything thrown in the jar, but not mixed up yet. Just screw on the lid and shake!

Homemade Ranch Seasoning
-1/3 cup dry buttermilk (in spice/baking section)
-1 tablespoon dried parsley
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1 teaspoon dried dill
-1 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix well. If you want it ground more finely you can pulse it in the food processor or blender for a few seconds.
Use it to season chips, crackers, and other snacks, or add a little mayo and milk to make homemade ranch dressing or dip.
Feel free to vary the ratios of the seasoning, depending on your tastes- more or less salt, etc. You could also try more or different herbs, some red pepper for spiciness, or whatever you like- go wild!

Your finished ranch seasoning- use it for anything you can think of!

Savor it!
love, rue

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gingerbread Cake

Hi everyone!

Fall is here, or almost, all over the country, so I'm getting into those spicy flavors (like cloves, ginger, not red pepper spicy!), root vegetables, etc. that are all over this season.

This gingerbread cake has a nice delicate tender crumb, and is not too sweet, so is great to snack on and goes perfectly with it's cream cheese icing. The flavor is similar to a molasses cookie, and you're using a lot of the same ingredients, just a little differently. Let's get to it, this loaf cake I made was delish- my mom and sister and I gobbled it up within hours of baking!

Your arsenal- basic baking ingredients- you should have all of this in your cupboard already probably! (fresh ginger not in this picture)

Butter-sugar-molasses mixture and water-baking soda mixture.

Here's what is looks like when you mix the above two together- beautiful color!

And now we've added the eggs and vanilla to make it take on this richer color. Now would be a good time to add in your fresh ginger (none in this pic, I apologize).

Dump all your dry ingredients on top, and whisk them in!

The finished batter and prepared loaf pan.

And the loaf about to go into the oven at 350 F for about 25 minutes.

And then it comes out looking like this- beautiful! It helps a lot to use parchment paper to avoid any sticking

Gingerbread Cake
(notes: the more and fresher your spices, the spicier your gingerbread, you could intensify the flavors with a darker molasses, and also feel free to substitute light brown sugar for the dark. Adding grated carrot or zucchini would also be great in this cake- give it your own twist!)
-1/2 cup butter
-1 cup dark brown sugar
-1 cup boiling water
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 1/2 cups flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 teaspoons ginger
-1/2 teaspoon allspice
-1/4 teaspoon cloves
-1 teaspoon grated and chopped fresh ginger
Cream the butter and the sugar together. Stir in the molasses. Boil the water and add the baking soda to it, stir. Add this mixture to the butter/sugar/molasses mix.
Temper the eggs in if your mixture is still hot (gradually adding a little more of the molasses mix to the eggs to raise the temperature so you're eggs don't cook upon adding to the batter), add the vanilla, and stir well.
Stir in the dry ingredients and grated ginger.
Bake in a greased or parchment-lined loaf pan (what I did), 13x9'' pan, layer cake pans, cupcakes, etc. at 350 F until a tester comes out clean (my loaf took 25-30 minutes).
Cool completely before icing.

Your (much smaller) arsenal for the icing (which you could use on anything you like)- butter, cream cheese, vanilla, sugar, salt, milk (not pictured). Easy!

The finished icing- just whip all that together and here you are!

Gingerbread Cake Cream Cheese Icing
(note: this is probably enough icing for a 9x13'' or layer cake- I only used about a 1/3 of this in icing my loaf cake, so use your discretion)
-1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (or neufch√Ętel), softened
-1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-4 cups confectioner's sugar
-a few teaspoons milk to adjust the spreadability of the icing
Cream butter and cream cheese. Beat in salt, vanilla, then add the sugar and beat in. Add milk to adjust until it is the thickness you desire.

And here's my finished loaf cake- a little rustic, but it served our purposes just fine- it was delicous! I can't wait to try it again with some of the suggestions I included above- can't wait to add carrot to this or zucchini!

Savor it!
love, rue