Saturday, January 2, 2016

Champagne Resolutions

I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year's Eve hangover as much as I did. I'm not sure why I love New Year's Eve so much...the following morning is always a stark reminder that I am, in fact, not a 21-year-old frat boy capable of drinking until the wee morning hours with nary an ache when I wake up. Instead, I spend the morning after celebrating that I have somehow survived into a new calendar year by rocking back and forth in the fetal position wondering why champagne has to taste so good but hurt so bad. It's bubbly and effervescent like a carefree child, but it can also end up being nearly as big of a pain in the ass as one, too...I would know. Seventy years ago, I was a child capable of causing mass destruction and epic headaches for all four of my parents. Perhaps my affinity for drinking champagne is karmic justice...or maybe I just like drinking good hooch. But we all know the only thing I love more than drinking booze is finding a way to infuse it into my desserts. So if you're wondering what the hell to do with all your leftover bottles of champagne (is this really a thing?) this week, never fear, I am here to help. I mean, I could drink them all for you, or you could make these insanely zippy champagne cupcakes with champagne buttercream frosting.
Auld Lang Yum.
Classy, right? They were so pretty I almost didn't want to let anyone eat them. But then I remembered we're still working on finishing mint fudge and caramel bars from Christmas, so I stashed four of these cupcakes for ourselves and took the remaining dozen to a party. Charitable, I know. While the alcohol does evaporate out of the cupcake while baking, the frosting is loaded up with enough hooch to get you drunk if you eat more than one in a sitting...joining together gluttony and alcoholism in a way that is truly as American as apple pie moonshine.
A 9 dollar bottle of champagne is about as fancy as it gets in Clovis.
This cute blog has the original recipe that I tweaked to my liking. To start off, gather up:
  • 1 and 2/3 cup of flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup room temp butter
  • 3 egg whites at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream softened to room temp
  • 3/4 cup of champagne--get this out about an hour before you're ready to bake so it isn't freezing cold but just cooled so it mixes well with the other ingredients. No one wants warm champagne, you heathen.
 As far as champagne flavors go, pick out whatever you like best. If you like sweet, go for it. Brut is my favorite champagne because it supplies that nice little kick to the taste buds that reminds me I'm alive but still not girly enough to drink champagne that's pink. I won't judge you if you do, and honestly, a sweeter champagne would yield a sweeter cupcake. So in this instance, I'd have to fold and say if I make these again, I'll begrudgingly buy a bottle of pink champagne. But I'm doing so incognito across the state line.

Preheat your oven to 350 and line your muffin tin with cupcake papers. I went with a festive gold shimmer liner as to properly reflect that these cupcakes contain all the champagne. Now mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter in a stand mixer for a couple minutes until fluffy. Add in the egg whites one at a time and mix well....I suck at separating whites from yolks, so I had some yolk in there, no biggie. We can't all be perfect, but that won't stop me from trying anyway. Add in the vanilla, sour cream, and blend. Add in the champagne a little at a time and blend. Add in half of the dry mix and blend until incorporated. Finish off by adding in the rest of the dry mix and blending until fully incorporated.

Spoon in enough batter to fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way. Bake these for 16-20 minutes. They'll be pretty blonde in color, so just test for doneness with a toothpick. When it comes out clean, you're good.
I'm told gentlemen prefer blondes anyway.
Let these cool in the pan for about five minutes before removing to a cooling rack. I had enough batter to make 16 cupcakes. Once all of them were baked, I transferred my cooling rack to the freezer for 15 minutes to speed up the cooling process.
Surprisingly, did not drink the champagne out of the measuring cup. I am growing up.
Can we talk for a moment about how two weeks ago it was still 65 degrees, and then last weekend we all almost died in a blizzard out here in New Mexico? Thanks winter storm Goliath. I mean, the worst of it for us was the snow drifts that reached our roof in some parts and caused our internet to go down. Luckily I had my baking to keep me occupied. Between that and the dog figuring out she could climb the drifts to get on the roof, my day without internet was surprisingly full. Moral of the story is I don't miss the 1990s pre-internet days nearly as much as I thought I did. When you're trapped in a house with lots of champagne, dessert, and no internet, it's a distinct possibility your husband could come home from work to find a drunk wife with a stomach ache and dogs climbing around on top of your house. Luckily, this was not the case...mostly because drunk snow shoveling didn't seem like the smartest idea in the world to me. Now, back to the frosting. I made a MASSIVE batch and didn't end up using it all, so I'm tweaking this recipe to a manageable amount for decorative frosting. Unless you want a bag to mainline all to yourself straight from nozzle to mouth, double up, but if you're not looking into starting 2016 off with a shame spiral, go with this recipe instead:
  • 3/4 cup of room temp butter
  • 3/4 cup of Crisco
  • 5 cups of powdered sugar
  • 5-6 tablespoons of champagne, chilled
Y'all...I love fully buttered buttercream, but, it's yellow. I wanted my frosting to have a soft golden hue to it (I was REALLY taking this champagne theme to heart), so instead of using a cup and a half of butter, I split it down the middle with Crisco. If you don't care about frosting color, I'd say go for all butter. It just tastes better with butter. Is this a slogan? Because if it's not, it should be.

Start by creaming together the butter and Crisco for a few minutes. Add in two cups of powdered sugar, two tablespoons of champagne, and blend well. Add in two more cups of powdered sugar, two more tablespoons of champagne, and blend well. Finish off by adding in the remaining cup of powdered sugar and remaining tablespoon of champagne. I wanted a stiff frosting to hold shape, but if you like things a little more loosey goosey both figuratively and drunkenly, add in the extra tablespoon of hooch.
I used a 1M tip and the standard swirl design for these cupcakes piled nice and high.
Fortunately, even with the Crisco, this frosting still had what I would call a nice "zing" to it thanks to the champagne. This is really where the sweeter stuff would come in handy as far as frosting is concerned. To finish off the champagne theme, I added "bubbles." My bubbles were just some pink and white sugar pearls I had on hand from Hobby Lobby. I used my cake tweezers to gently place random pink and white pearls around my cupcakes to give it that bubbly look. I still swear by my cake tweezers...everyone should have a pair of tweezers in their kitchen solely devoted to placing sprinkles on goodies and removing dog hair from food. This is a real problem in our house.
You are precisely the opposite of what New Year's resolutions are made of, my dear.
I realize you may be thinking of cutting out desserts or sugar or what have you as a part of your resolution for 2016, but please, do so AFTER you utilize your leftover champagne (seriously, how is this a thing) to make these champagne cupcakes. They are dense cupcakes that pack a lot of zippy champagne flavor with each bite. They are in no way remotely redeeming or healthy, but they are totally worth spending an extra 30 minutes in the gym for. After all, swimsuit season is a future you problem. Getting rid of the extra champagne (really?!) so you're not tempted to drink it all and blow your resolution is a now problem. You don't get a whole bottle in each cupcake (trust me, I looked into making that happen but it wasn't possible), so you're sharing the wealth. Not that I could ever really consider an overabundance of champagne as a problem per say, but my hangover from yesterday would beg to differ.  I'll be back in a few days with my birthday cake blog. Nothing like the new year and all that champagne to remind you of your impending doom age change. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
To a very bubbly and effervescent 2016, minus the crippling hangover.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave me some love, some advice, tell me the meaning of life...whatever you fancy! You don't have to have a Blogger account, you can leave a comment by clicking "Anonymous" in the "Comment As" box..but if you're not a troll, leave me your name after your comment so I know who said what!