Monday, September 22, 2008

Rise and Shine...

This is not a recipe for those unfathomable "morning people." I've been continually baffled by anyone who professes an affinity for a particular time of day. They all have their moments, certainly, but I find that a great morning or evening is something I'm never able to predict.

When I was in school, my family devised several methods for rousing each other on those dark winter mornings. I remember well being dragged brutally down the stairs by my younger sister, still feebly feigning sleep. And my mother occasionally skipped from room to room, switching on lights, singing: "rise and shine, and give me your glory, glory," a song which I believe she had modified to suit her secular purposes. I may also have lived through a phase of playing Marley's "Get up, Stand up" every single day. This was a trend generally regarded with malice.

Hey! The morning after I made these gingerbread cupcakes with Neufchâtel cheese icing, I woke up early (on a day off!) to photograph them! Cupcakes for breakfast (with apple tea) are exceedingly effective motivation.

As you can see, some of the cupcakes had raisins and apples mixed in. I kept about half plain for those with more discerning tastebuds, although CERTAIN (nine-year-old) people could only manage to lick off the frosting. I hope you never endure the agony that is throwing away your own homemade cupcake, sadly made bare by the caresses of a capricious tongue.

I also hope you never have to write that sentence.

Gingerbread (Apple Raisin) Cupcakes
(Makes 16-24 cupcakes, depending on additions)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg, beaten
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (TIP: I know I always use this. I've discovered that it works well with baked goods that are darker in color and flavor, particularly spice cakes or ones that contain cinnamon. You won't see me [although I've definitely tried] using wheat flour in lighter recipes like yellow cake or sugar cookies. In these cupcakes, even the pickiest of eaters couldn't taste the whole grains, so go for it!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 cup warm milk

If you'd like to add apples/raisins:

2 apples, chopped
1 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and spices).
3. Add the butter in small pieces, and mix.
4. Add, one at a time: egg, molasses, brown sugar, and milk, beating after each addition.
5. If using apple and raisin, fold in.
6. Bake in greased or papered muffin tins for 10-15 minutes. These will bake fast, particularly if they're plain, so be sure to check! They are done when the outside is slightly darkened, and a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Neufchâtel cheese icing:

1 package Neufchâtel cheese (TIP: You can substitute the familiar cream cheese here, but [American] Neufchâtel tastes similar, and is lower in fat and usually available at the same price.)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
2-3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. Whip butter and cheese together with a whisk (or the whisk attachment on your electric mixer).
2. Add milk and vanilla.
3. Add confectioner's sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Frosting should stand up in stiff peaks, but still be spreadable.
4. Frost and decorate cupcakes! (I used raisins. Chopped nuts would be nice!)

This cupcake entry is part of Sugar High Friday, hosted this month by Fanny, of foodbeam.


Pendidikan Keluarga said...

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kolom ayah said...

Oddalaliśmy się tak bardzo od miejsca zaparkowania samochodu, że w końcu zrezygnowani wróciliśmy (groziło nam już chyba wyjście z miasta).
Jas Alammater
Jas Alammater