Sunday, September 27, 2015

So Long, Summer!

Welcome to another riveting round of "Can She Find a Way to Put Booze in That?" ...the short answer is always yes. I mean, I'm still not good enough to turn water into wine, but I have found a way to add Baileys, Guinness, tequila, and hard cider to a lot of cakes and baked goods. I love a good 2-in-1 deal (except when it comes to my shampoo and conditioner- there are reasons these things need to be kept separately). Summer has been hanging on tighter than a clingy girlfriend with three cats, but thankfully with the fall equinox things have started to cool down around here. I'm hopefully mere weeks away from adding to pumpkin spice to everything I eat except steak because even I can't find a way to make that work, and in my family, beef is sacred and to be eaten only with a tiny amount of ketchup or A-1 (wearing stretchy pants while eating steak is optional but highly encouraged). I decided that in order to truly send off summer, I needed to come up with a farewell dessert. As it is plain to see, I will come up with just about the flimsiest of excuses to make dessert happen in this house. Vikings won the game? We need brownies to celebrate. I didn't trip over myself for a full 24 hours? Better bake some cookies. So I found a recipe for root beer float cupcakes and had a moment of pure genius. A few weeks ago I was having a really rough day (either grading papers or a bad hair day were involved), and I decided I was going to make myself  a root beer float with Not Your Father's brand root beer. These delightfully wonderful people came up with a root beer that actually tastes like root beer and is also packed full of alcohol. What I do for baked goods, these people did for a classic beverage. Sadly, I am not being paid to promote this boozy root beer, but if anyone wants to send a few cases my way, I am not going to object. Meet the spiked root beer float cupcake:
Seriously, they're not paying me to promote this product. I just love it that much. It fills me with glee (that could also just be the alcohol).

I'm sure everyone is aware that the best part of the root beer float is the creamy mix of root beer and ice cream that forms at the bottom of the glass. These cupcakes taste just like that with the added bonus of frosting that will give you a bit of a buzz. They are insanely easy to even if you had half a sixer of this root beer I'd still have faith that you could bake these without burning your house down. Just don't forget the oven mitts when removing from your oven. Can't say I didn't warn you.
I know, I had no idea root beer extract was a thing either, but now I want to put it in everything. Root beer extract is the new pumpkin spice in my book. I'm trying to break the basic white girl barrier...
I found to original recipe for these cupcakes here, so if you're weird and want booze-free cupcakes, have at it. I mean, I guess if you have kids you shouldn't make boozy cupcakes and then flaunt it to their tiny little faces that they can't have any. That would be mean and totally something I would do, which is another sterling example of why no one should ever leave their children with me. So here's what you need for the spiked cupcakes:
  • 3/4 cup room temp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (loosely packed, not hard packed)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 room temp eggs
  • 1 tbsp root beer extract/concentrate
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of Not Your Father's or Coney Island hard root beer
Start by preheating your oven to 350 and lining your muffin tin with cupcake liners. This recipe yields 18 cupcakes, so if you have two muffin tins, throw in some more liners. Cream together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes or until fluffy. While that is mixing, in a medium bowl throw together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Once the sugar butter is done, throw in each egg, one at a time, and mix well. Add in the root beer concentrate and vanilla and blend. Throw in a third of the flour mix and a third of the hard root beer and mix until just incorporated. Repeat this until you've used all of the flour mix and all of the root beer. Pour your batter into the cupcake liners until they're 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
My house smelled like the inside of an IBC root beer bottle, and it was fantastic.
Let the cupcakes rest in the muffin pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Once my second batch was out of the oven, I started making the frosting. Normally I take a picture of the ingredients I use to make frosting, but this time I was super excited and somehow also tired at the same time because it was like 10 p.m., so I forgot. Don't judge me, I bake when the will strikes me. The Dark Knight Rises was on TV, and I just can't quit Christian Bale, OK?
And I mean, technically, the ingredients are pictured here...technically.
But enough of my sass and sexy Batman reasoning, here's what you need:
  • 1 cup room temp butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp root beer extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp hard root beer
  • Optional: maraschino cherries and sprinkles
Depending on how thick of a frosting you want, use more or less powdered sugar. I used 4 cups of powdered sugar because I wanted a frosting thick enough to hold its shape for piping. Mix together the butter and a cup of sugar for a minute, then add in the root beer extract, vanilla extract, and a tablespoon of hard root beer. Mix well before adding in another cup of sugar and another tablespoon of hard root beer. Repeat the process one last time with the remaining cup or two of sugar and the last tablespoon of extract. I loaded a piping bag fitted with a 1M tip for decorating.
So swirly!
I did a typical frosting job here and just started on the outside edge of each cupcake and swirled my frosting in a circle and piped a larger mound in the center of the cupcake to put my cherries into. I had some extra frosting by the end, so I only frosted one cupcake differently:
One of these things is not like the other, one of these things has 50 added calories because of all the frosting...
For the cupcake in the center, which honestly I liked the best, so go figure that it was the last one I decorated, I made a large mound of frosting in the center of my cupcake and then surrounded it by piping little stars one at a time around the edge. I finished off by literally adding a cherry on top and, of course, sprinkles of the red and white variety to complete the look.
Everything is just that much better with sprinkles.
There are very few adjectives that could properly sum up how amazing these cupcakes taste, but the ones that come to mind are delicious, soft, and a mouth-watering punch of root beer for your taste buds. Plus there's the added bonus of the fact that these cupcakes also come with alcohol content! I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I won't lie, I did eat one with my breakfast this morning in place of a donut. Life is all about choices, people. Choose the boozecakes, they're probably better for you than powdered donuts anyway. But between the Baileys cream cheese brownies from two weeks ago and now these spiked root beer float cupcakes, we're sitting pretty (and slightly leaning to the left) in this household. Time to go celebrate that Vikings victory with a cupcake. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!

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