My kitchen and I received an amazing birthday present.
Like, absolutely fan. freaking. tastic.
I’m talking about life-changing things here, people.
What am I talking about?
Awww yeah, that’s a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. My baking life is forever changed.
And it’s yellow! Which obviously makes it that much cooler. I love yellow, it’s such a happy color. I would paint my kitchen yellow if I didn’t think it would drive my neutral-color-loving boyfriend away. *sigh*
I’ll settle for a yellow mixer, dish towels, and butter dish….for now. 😉
After my first time using it, I learned a few very important things about using a stand mixer:
1. If you just added a flour mixture, set it to “stir” first. Otherwise your Piggy cookie jar (seen above) will end up covered in cocoa powder and flour. (Sorry, Chef Piggy!)
2. If you just added liquid to the mixture, start it out on a low speed…THEN work your way up, slowly. Piggy got another little bath…whoops!
3. These machines work QUICKLY! Beating egg whites, a task that used to take upwards of 15 minutes with a hand mixer, took only a few very short minutes! It literally seemed like I turned away for a second and they were ready. I think it’s going to take me a while to get over that one. It’s incredible. Really.
So now that I am no longer living in the cave-man baking era, I wanted to make something delicious! (Thank you, captain obvious.)
While looking through recipes, I honestly felt like none of them were good enough for my new piece of kitchen equipment. But time was quickly passing me by, and I had to make a decision, so I chose…
Mocha cupcakes with Toffee buttercream, topped with a piece of homemade toffee! (Totally worthy of my pretty mixer!)
The cupcakes came out soft and decadent, the buttercream smooth and buttercream-y, and the toffee sweet with the perfect crunch.
And by the way, incase you didn’t know, toffee is really, really easy to make. Don’t be scared! You can do it. Plus it makes your kitchen smell a. maz. ing.
So give a big round of applause to the lovely and very talented Brown Eyed Baker, Paula Deen (sometimes butter does make it better!) and Rock Recipes for christening my mixer to make one deeeeelicious treat!
from Mrs. Deen, love her!!
1 stick plus 6 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 16 oz bag of chocolate chips or thin chocolate bars
1/2 cup pecan pieces (or almonds, or walnuts, or whatever)
1. Butter a cookie sheet very well. Don’t forget the sides of the pan, too!
2. Heat the butter, sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring the entire time (about 10 minutes).
3. After 10 minutes, remove the spoon and allow the mixture to cook to a brittle stage. If you have a candy thermometer, use it. It will read about 300 degrees when it is ready. If you do not have a candy thermometer, drop some of the toffee in a glass of cold water. If it separates into little threads, it is done.
4. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Be careful, adding the vanilla will anger the mixture, as it will spit and spatter. So back off and then stir it in.
5. Pour the mixture on the prepared cookie sheet. Allow it to cool slightly.
6. Place chocolate on top, and spread the chocolate over the toffee as it begins to melt. Sprinkle the pecans over the chocolate.
7. Store the toffee in the refrigerator until it is completely cooled and hardened.
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup + 3 tbsp whole milk
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
2 tsp espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup loosely packed dark brown sugar
1 egg, room temp
1. Dissolve the espresso powder in the brewed coffee. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line cupcake pan with liners.
3. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together.
4. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
5. Add the egg, and beat until just combined.
6. In a small bowl, combine coffee mixture, milk, and vanilla.
7. Alternately, beginning and ending with flour, add the flour mixture and coffee/milk mixture to the butter mixture, combining well after each addition. Do not over mix.
8. Fill cupcake liners and bake for 15-17 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack. Allow them to cool completely before frosting.
adapted from Rock Recipes
1 3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp maple syrup
6 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. Combine brown sugar, molasses, and syrup in a saucepan and bring to a boil. You don’t need to stir it. Just let it do it’s thang. Bust out that candy thermometer again and make sure this gets to 240 degrees. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
2. Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla until medium-soft peaks form.
3. Add the molasses mixture to the egg whites, avoiding the beaters, and continue to beat the mixture for about 10 minutes until the mixture is completely cool.
4. A few tablespoons as a time, add the butter to the mixture. Combine for about a minute, and add the confectioners’ sugar. Combine until a desired consistency is reached.
Note: It took a little while for my frosting to thicken up, but juuuust as I was about to lose hope and start over, buttercream appeared! Moral of the story? Cherish your patience. It is your friend.
Frost the cupcakes! Now, I placed a chunk of toffee as a garnish for my cupcakes. But next time I will definitely crumble the toffee and mix it in to the frosting for an added “umph” and of course, “yum.”