July 21, 2009

Rise & Shine

These adorable recipe boxes landed on my doorstep the other day! Gina B. Designs is one of my wonderful licensees — and above that, they are wonderful people to work with. I have long admired the quality and whimsy of their stationery products and am so happy to be working with them on many new designs.

Recipe boxes are like heirloom time capsules containing nourishing and favorite meals perfected by great-grandmothers and fathers, moms, dads, sisters and so on. There's nothing quite like pulling out a batter-splashed, berry-stained recipe card, and to re-create seasonal treats made by family or friends. It might seem old-fashioned to get out a pen and hand write the details of a recipe on a card, but it's this type of time and care that makes them so personal and special, and connects us from one generation to the next. We season each meal with our own tastes and preferences, and add notes in the margins, making them ours.

Several of my friends have recently gotten married and for their bridal showers, everyone was asked to bring their favorite recipe on an index card that was provided in the invitation. I thought this was such a great idea and shared a to-die-for cupcake recipe from a dear friend. It's great that this tradition continues!

You can find these boxes on Gina B.'s online store.

This could be the first card entry of your new recipe box:

THE PERFECT CUPCAKE (makes 12 cupcakes with generous frosting!)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg, room temp.
2 large egg yolks, room temp.
1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
1 recipe chocolate ganache frosting

(to double this recipe, which I highly recommend, use 3 whole eggs and 2 yolks, and double the remaining ingredients)

• Adjust oven rack to middle position; preheat oven to 350 degrees
• Line standard muffin tin with cupcake liners
• Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Add butter, sour cream, egg and egg yolks, and vanilla; beat at medium speed of mixer until smooth and satiny (about 30 sec.). Scrape down sides of bowl w/spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
• Divide batter evenly among prepared tin. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (20-24 minutes)
• Lift cupcakes from tin and cool on wire rack until they reach room temp.
• Generously frost cooled cupcakes.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING (makes about 2 cups, enough to generously frost 12 cupcakes, plus a bit extra for the cook)

1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

• Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and pour boiling cream over. Cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes.
• Remove foil and whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool and slightly firm (45 min-1 hour)
• Transfer cooled mixture to bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or use hand mixer); whip mixture at medium speed until fluffy and mousse-like, and forms medium stiff peaks (about 2 minutes).

* This recipe can be doubled
* Don't let ganache chill for more than an hour before whipping it or it can separate
* Excessive whipping may also cause the ganache to curdle

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