Bake-off Part I: Samoa Cupcakes

As a former Girl Scout (Troop 662, you did me so right!), I was ecstatic when my baking buddy Sohini found a recipe that simulated the glory that is a Samoa cookie. I am a firm believer that Girl Scout cookies should be sold year round, wouldn’t the profit margins be larger? (I know quite a few people whose waistlines would be also) Oh well, until the Scouts come to their senses I have this recipe to simulate the trifecta that is chocolate, caramel and coconut.

The recipe is from a fellow food blogger who I must admit is a way better baker than I. I already have a few of her recipes bookmarked and cannot wait to try them all.

Now as evidenced by the rainbow cake entry, when Sohini and I bake we essentially lock ourselves in the kitchen and go on a baking binge of sorts cooking 2, 3, or 4 recipes in a night.

The Samoas Cupcakes was phase one of this bake-off. Phase two was Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies. Chocolate covered Bacon was beyond entertaining as phase three and we finished off the night with Brown Sugar Sprinkled Blueberry Muffins. Obviously more on those later.

After a hefty shopping spree at Safeway we headed home to begin our adventure. We wanted to start the cupcakes first since they were the most time consuming out of the evenings recipe list. Mostly though, I think we just couldn’t wait to taste the finished product.

First up, the actual cupcake. This was the first time I included sour cream into a cake and I was a little skeptical. Let me reassure anyone who shared my concerns, they were the moistest most delicious tasting chocolate cupcakes I have ever eaten in my whole life.

While we assembled and divided the ingredients up, the oven was preheated to 350 degrees and the cupcake trays were lined with a mix of fabulous little silver wrappers and sports themed wrappers – for variety.

I want to apologize in advance for the poorer quality photos. I took a few photos and then my camera died, I was at Sohini’s house and didn’t have my charger with me so we used her iPhone because it had a flash. Please bear with me.

The first thing you want to do is combine 1 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a small bowl

In another bowl sift and combine 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder, like the sour cream set this bowl aside. It day in the sun is coming.

In yet another bowl mix together 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), 1 cup granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar

The butter is glowing, like the holy gift it is.

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You Won’t Hate These Apple Peels

I had this family friend who was like a grandma to me, Estelle, who made the best applesauce I have ever tasted. Seriously, if she had ever decided to turn it into a shelf stable product she would have Mott’s out of business in a week. I will make it soon and show you how to as well! I have made it a few times but I always felt bad throwing out the apple peels they contain loads of nutritional benefits such as Vitamin C and antioxidants and according to Rui Hai Liu, the Cornell associate professor of food science, apple peels help combat cancer! Definitely not throwing that away.

I was playing around in the kitchen with them for a bit and came up with this tasty recipe. I don’t have definitive measurements I base it all on personal preference.

Start with an apple, doesn’t matter what kind. A word of advice though, I have had the best experience with green apple varieties such as Pippin and Granny Smith because the tartness compliments the sugar you will add quite nicely. I used Granny Smith this time. Start by peeling your apple using a regular carrot peeler works quite nicely. For those comfortable enough, try using a paring knife because you can get a closer peel. However, leaving a little extra meat on the peel is quite tasty as well! Again, this is all based on your own taste.

In a medium sized skillet put a LIGHT drizzle of Canola oil – just enough to coat the bottom. Swirl it around in your pan. Turn on the heat to medium.

After you peel your apples, pop em in the pan.

It doesn’t matter what size your peels are, I do a variety of small and large pieces.

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