For all the food we made (and ate) over Memorial Day weekend, it didn't feel like I spent all that much time in the kitchen - which is a good thing! Of course it helped that much of the work was on the grill, and Shaun took care of that. We got our grill as a wedding present from Shaun's parents and mostly stuck to pre-made burgers and hot dogs last summer, so we're really excited about learning and trying out all sorts of new grill recipes this summer. We started with basic burgers this time, trying out two different recipes for "The Perfect Hamburger" - one from Taste of Home and one from Williams Sonoma (via Annie's Eats). And no, we didn't reach a conclusion as to which was the true perfect burger - they were both pretty good!
On Sunday we had our friend Rich over for the second round of burgers. Since Rich is a chocolate lover like me, I knew I had to make an appropriate dessert. These brownies were one of my family's dessert standbys while I was growing up. I like the soft, fudgy texture and of course the sweet and creamy frosting - though I'm sure they're good plain as well.
Best Brownies (adapted from Hershey's)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch square (or 7 x 11) pan.
2. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl. Add eggs; beat well with spoon. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Prepare Creamy Brownie Frosting; spread over brownies.
Creamy Brownie Frosting
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon light corn syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency. About 1 cup frosting.
I'd also had my eye on a cupcake recipe from Annie's Eats since she posted it back in February - I thought it looked like the perfect summer treat, and Shaun thought it sounded good when I mentioned it to him. I halved the recipe below and brought a dozen to the in-laws' family barbecue on Monday, and everyone who tried a cupcake seemed to like it. I definitely did! And usually when there are dessert leftovers I end up eating them myself (not good), but Shaun helped me out and ate a few of these, so that must mean something!
It was my first experience with Wilton gel icing color, since I wanted to get a bright pink shade like Annie did, and obviously it worked! Still not as pretty as hers, but I'm learning. :-)
Cherry Limeade Cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
3 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. limeade concentrate
3/4 cup milk
For the lime syrup:
3/4 cup limeade concentrate
1/2 cup powdered sugar sugar
For the frosting:
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 tbsp. (or more) maraschino cherry juice
Red food coloring (optional)
For decorating (optional):
Fresh lime slices
To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Stir together and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter with electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed. Add in the limeade concentrate and mix to incorporate. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions. Add in the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix ingredients just long enough to incorporate but no longer.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack over wax paper to cool completely.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, whisk together the limeade concentrate and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl to make the lime syrup. Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in.
To make the frosting, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter and maraschino cherry juice in a large bowl. Mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated, then increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth. Add more maraschino cherry juice as needed to achieve desired texture. Add red food coloring if desired.
Frost cooled cupcakes. Garnish with lime slices and maraschino cherries, if desired.
5 hours ago