My bff from college and old rowing buddy, Perry, is in grad school at Georgetown. He came home for Spring Break and stopped by the casa for dinner and a re-hash of old times. Our dear friend Margaret joined us too, so I knew I had to make something homemade and fabulous. The answer: Cream Cheese and Chocolate Cupcakes via Taste of the South magazine (the other mag I work for). They were ooey-gooey melt in your mouth and they are also really pretty whenst you pull back the cupcake papers! They have the nicest texture, too! Technically, the recipe is called Cherry Topped Cupcakes, but all that means is that in the end, you garnish with a maraschino. I didn’t do that, though. But how good would some toasted almonds be on there?
Click here for the recipe.
It has nothing to do with baking, but here’s some old rowing pics of me and Perry! Allow me to reminisce…I really miss those days!
Me (second from the left) and Perry (far right) after getting thrown in the water (tradition for the coxswain when your boat wins).
One of the best pictures of all time–Perry in mid-flight after beating the crap out of the Auburn’s boat-twice.
When we all had fashion mullets in 2004.
The unstoppable coxswains on Bourbon Street the night before we scrimmaged with Tulane (and kicked their bows). I miss my green hair and mullet; Perry’s was purple. We were so tiny!
Perry’s 4+ boat.
Tags: alabama chanin, diy, sewing, style
I am so proud to be a Southerner, and an Alabamian at that (Roll Tide!). If you haven’t heard of Alabama Chanin, or her former line, Project Alabama, then I am so pleased to introduce you to Natalie Chanin. She is an Alabama native who has lived around the world (including one of my favorite place, Vienna) and has returned to the Heart of Dixie to serve as home base for her company. Alabama used to be in giant in the textile industry (King Cotton sound familiar?) and since it’s deterioration due mostly to outsourcing, Natalie gives former textile workers jobs by teaching them exquisite sewing techniques. All of her products, which include not only fabulous garments for men and women, but also furniture and home dec, are 100% handmade. How swelligant is that? Southern Lady magazine is profiling her for our summer issue, and I’m going to get to meet her! I’m beside myself.
Her new book, the Alabama Stitch Book, is available online and in stores now. The book contains patterns, how-tos, and beautiful stories (my favorite is how to “love” your thread) so that you can make your own stuff! You really don’t want to miss this one. The picture above is my first project from the book. I’ve been doing appliqué for years, but this is my first attempt at reverse appliqué. I think it turned out pretty good!
Here are some pictures from her book (via alabamachanin.com). If you try your hand, send me pics!
Close up and personal with the reverse applique technique.
The Alabama Stitch Book, a must-have in my life!
Tags: Bakerella, Hoffman, Kisses, Oreos, Valentine's Day
This year for Valentine’s Day, I took a cue from Bakerella, one of my fave bloggers, and made some the most adorable Oreo Truffles you could ever hope to receive from your dearly beloved. I shaped them into jumbo-sized Hershey Kisses, wrapped them in aluminum foil, and made little flags that had an inside joke written on them. I gave several to the hubby so he could keep them stashed at work and think of his wifey, but since the recipe made so many, I gave them to some of friends and co-workers. I know it sounds so cliche, but they were so much fun to give! One of the gals at the office, my associate editor Karen, even kept her foil and flag and perched it on her desk. The inside jokes were as big of a hit as the goodness underneath it. Some of my faves are posted below:
Click here for Bakerella’s super cute blog and her Oreo Truffle Kiss recipe.
These are the ones I made for Zack. Aren’t they cute on my kate spade china?
For both Erin Moon and Stacey Norwood.
Another classic quote from The Office that I gave to Brandie, and “now we match! yay!” for Ruth (a quote from Meet the Spartans).
All boxed up and ready to go to work to spread the love.
Tags: emeril, white chocolate
I LOVE white chocolate. I love it the way Southerners love college football. I could drown in a vat of white chocolate and die happy. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You get the point.
Our friends Eric & Tris Chapman had me and Zack and our other friends Brandie and Shane Etheridge to their house to watch the Assasination of Jesse James last month (Casey Affleck is amazing. The rest of the movie just wasn’t my thing). I baked some chocolate chip cupcakes with white chocolate chips and filled with white chocolate ganache – you actually carve out a little plug and pipe in the ganache! Cute! It’s a recipe I got a long time ago by Emeril Lagasse. My dear friend Ruth Tinsley decribed them as a “party behind her face” and even wrote a poem about them. As you can see, I had a little trouble with my cocoa powder on top. I honestly don’t think anyone else liked them quite as much (yes, Tris, I saw you throw away half of yours), but I reckon you really have to be a white chocolate fanatic to truly appreciate them, so I don’t begrudge.
Emeril Lagasse’s White Chocolate Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder (for chocolate cupcakes)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, cracked into a small cup or saucer
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
White Chocolate Filling, recipe follows
16 maraschino cherries, garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 1 (12-cup) muffin tin. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the remaining ingredients, adding the hot water last. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the greased muffin tin wells. Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Cool to room temperature in the tins. Run a thin, sharp knife around the sides of the muffin cups to loosen the cupcakes, and carefully lift out. Place the cupcakes on a work surface.
Transfer the white chocolate filling to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. With a small paring knife, cut a small plug from the top of each cupcake, reserving the plug, and scoop out a hole in the center of each cupcake to hold the filling. Place the tip in the cupcake and pipe in the filling to fill the hole. Replace the plug and place the cupcake upright. Pipe a small amount of filling on top to hide the plug and top with a cherry.
Arrange the cupcakes on a platter and serve.
White Chocolate Filling:
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract In the top of a double boiler, combine the white chocolate and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Let cool to room temperature. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese, and vanilla. Gradually add the cooled chocolate and beat until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before filling cupcakes. Use to fill the chocolate cupcakes as directed.