Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Booze: Not Just for Beverages!

Yesterday I walked the dog in shorts and a tee. Over the course of one evening, we experienced a shitstorm windstorm that took us from summer, to fall, to full on winter. Today I walked the dog in an outfit befitting Nanook of the North: Three (yes, three) layers on top, the thickest pants I own, fuzzy socks (always with the fuzzy socks), leather gloves, a beanie, and a scarf wrapped around my neck and half of my face (Mortal Kombat style). What changed, you ask? Well, remember back in May when I told you every time Derek deploys during summer, it rains almost the entire time he's gone? Yeah, guess who just left for training for the next several weeks and apparently also controls the weather. As Derek crossed state lines into Alabama (I assume "Dueling Banjos" start up the second that occurs), he told me it was a balmy 73 degrees there. I might have died right then if I hadn't had the wherewithal to make some boozy hard cider cupcakes this past weekend to keep me warm on these cold winter nights. Good job thinking ahead and checking the forecast, past Kate...you're so smart...and bt-dubs, your hair looked great last week.
The tastes of fall!
One of my favorite parts of fall when I lived in Michigan was when it became cool enough for hot apple cider and fresh cinnamon-sugar donuts from Yates Cider Mill. I die. Seriously, its the best. So I somehow managed to find a recipe that combined the cinnamon-sugary goodness from the donuts with the crisp taste of cider into one of my other favorite treats: cupcakes. You know, with the added bonus of making them boozy, too. I've never made a boozy dessert before, but if you can have booze for breakfast (looking at you, mimosas), then why not booze for dessert, too? Its this line of thinking that is sure to make me either a buttload of money one day or land me in the looney bin. It really could go either way at this point. If anyone knows of any entrepreneurs with a screw loose, send them my way.
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things is super boozy!
This recipe (originally found here) is completely from scratch, and when something from scratch turns out perfectly, I really do feel superior to just about everyone on the planet for at least a solid five minutes (seven if I thought of it myself). While most people have way more important things to do with their time than perfect gluttony, I do not. Let me have my moment in the sun! If you're a social alchy like me, you will already have everything you need on hand for these cupcakes:
  • One stick of softened butter (duh)
  • One and a half cups of hard cider. I used Angry Orchard's Cinnful Apple (get it! Hah..)
  • One cup of sugar...I realize this seems like a lot, but its sweetness tempers out, trust me.
  • Two cups of AP flour
  • Two teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (this kind isn't so cinnful...puns for days)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • One lonely egg
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
The way you slap these together is pretty effortless as well. Just mix the butter and sugar together until it is nicely whipped (around three minutes on medium-high), then pour in the vanilla and egg (it will no longer be lonely once you've done this). Now comes the interesting part. You know when two girls don't like each other but they're forced into a social situation where they have to spend time with one another? This is pretty much what happens when you add in the hard cider to the buttery mix. It allows itself to get close to the butter, but since they're apparently mortal enemies (she like, totally stole that chick's boyfriend), they never fully agree to mix. So don't hurt yourself (or the innocent bystander- the mixer) by trying to spend ages getting these two things to agree with one another and fully socialize. You need a buffer. And that buffer comes in the form of your remaining dry ingredients.

 In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. Then, about a cup at a time, add it in to the cat fight happening in your mixing bowl. Mix well, then scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding the remaining dry mix. The dry ingredients act as a wonderful buffer between your dueling cider and butter, so everything should blend together nicely like the end of the movie Mean Girls. Once well mixed, preheat the oven to 350 and line your muffin tin with liners. I chose festive fall colors, because I still believe in a full-term fall before Christmas. Apparently the weather does not agree with me, but I will continue to fight the good fight.
See, cupcakes getting along in perfect harmony, filled 3/4 of the way full.
The original recipe called for the cupcakes to cook for 16 minutes, but mine were still super goopy at this point. I cooked my cupcakes for 22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center came out clean. The tops will look somewhat sticky and perhaps a little undercooked, but I think this is a side effect from the booze. I mean, I know I get greasy when the stuff is seeping out of my pores, too, so there's that.
They will be a nice, tipsy golden-blonde when finished.
Did I mention the frosting also contains booze? I probably should've led with that. This recipe ends up using an entire bottle of cider, so no victory sips are allowed. Sorry.
Sugar and booze? How could this go wrong! Don't answer that, it was rhetorical.
You only need to mix together another stick of  softened butter (shock!), a teaspoon of cinnamon, and 3/4 cup of brown sugar together before adding in 3/4 cup of powdered sugar, mixing well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl (or maybe its just my mixer that sucks), and add in a tablespoon of hard cider. Repeat that last part, adding another 3/4 cup of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of hard cider. The cider will be all gone at this point, but you can totally lick the beaters if you need to.
You better believe I put a bunch of various tips on my fingers while I was trying to figure out which to use for decorating purposes, like witch's fingers.
Place your frosting into a piping bag with the tip of your choice. For a classic swirl, use a 1M. For a nice, clean rose, use a 2D tip. I wanted a French tip, so I went with Wilton's closest equivalent, the 199 tip.
I just wanted a simple swirl, so I started on the outside, and worked my way clockwise around the cupcake. I continued looping in and around...
Until I completeled my swirl by piping up a bit of excess frosting to make the tip stick up.
But nothing is ever complete without sprinkles.
This recipe yields twelve cupcakes, which is the perfect amount for two people. Or in this case, one person. Derek was able to have a fresh cupcake, and I sent one on the road with him for his journey. He made it without a "driving while intoxicated- by cupcake" citation, if you were wondering. But the other ten cupcakes are mine for the taking. It will come as no surprise that there's way less than ten left at the time of this blog. I don't care if it is so cold out I have to eat all of these in a parka in the comfort of my living room- they are just that damn tasty. I'm happy my first foray into boozecakes (possible copyright) was a success, and I'm thinking I will somehow find a way to sneak more booze into my future baking endeavors. Rum sauce apple pie? Chocolate Peppermint Schnapps cake? Yeah, the world is my drunk oyster, baby. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
So warm and fall-themed, I almost forgot its so cold I can't feel my face.

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