Monday nights are Swing Class night and I have to say that getting the body movin’ and groovin’ was the perfect way to spend Valentine’s day. Guy & Melissa taught us all a few new spins and even a fancy dip – it was really awesome! I’m excited for this Friday too because it’s our dance studio’s Swing Social with the Shim Sham lesson an hour before.. I can’t wait to do it with a big group again.. it’s the most amazing feeling and sound when everyone is uniform and dancing together.
I made up a pretty scrumptious early dinner last night before class… first I got a whole clove of garlic to roast going by, Joy the Baker’s recipe. I love roasting garlic – it just comes out so buttery and delicious I could put it on just about anything and be completely happy. I wanted to try wrapping it up in this wax paper package with string because I thought it was quite adorable.. (please take note of the heart shape the olive oil took on around the bulb… I had no intention of doing that, I swear..) And off it went into the oven..
Then it was time to slice and dice some fresh veggies and get ready for the main dish. I bought some gnocchi the other day and thought that I could sauté the veggies and top it all with some fresh basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. A hearty meal isn’t really complete with out some roast some brussel sprouts with bits of garlic in olive oil (yum, yum, tasty). The final piece of the puzzle was a locally made fresh baguette which I dressed with the fully roasted garlic and popped it into the oven for just a few minutes…
It came out to be a fairly simple but very delicious home cooked meal. I was relieved too that it wasn’t too heavy (after all there was a dance class to be had just a half hour or so after). Luckily, the rain stopped before the bike ride to the studio so all couldn’t have been better…
Until I decided to make some ‘fauxstess cupcakes’ after I returned home from my dance lesson… the ‘squigglies’ didn’t end up happening until after 10:30 so they aren’t perfect, but man I have to tell ya there is no need for that second ‘fauxstess’ (don’t hostesses come packaged in twos?) with these homemade goodies.. one is enough to put you in heaven and leave you there (but I wouldn’t look twice if you went in for another…)
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons black cocoa powder (I didn’t have any so I just added more dutch cocoa)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain rice, coconut or soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease the muffin tin.
2. In a medium-size bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl combine the rice milk, oil maple syrup, sugar, vinegar, and vanilla, and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing as you go. Beat for about 1 minute.
3. Fill the liners or tin about 3/4 full. Bake for about 25-28 minutes, until the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack. Time to make the Fluffy White Icing.
FLUFFY WHITE ICING
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
3/4 cup superfine (or caster) sugar (I just put cane sugar in the food processor and broke it down)
1/4 cup plain soy or rice milk powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1. In a medium size bowl, beat together the margarine and shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Add the sugar and milk powder and beat for a good 10 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and pinch of salt, and beat for another minute. (You can add more sugar if needed).
2. Once the cupcakes are cooled down, poke a hole in the center of each cupcake, using your pinkie. If you have cake decorator bags you will need a large tip for this step (I just made a bag out of a heavy duty ziplock and cut a whole on the corner). Cram the tip of the bag into the hole and squeeze as much icing into the center as you can, slowly drawing out the bag, until the icing fills into the top of the hole. Wipe the excess frosting off and repeat. Onto the…
CHOCOLATE GANACHE ICING
1/3 cup rice/soy/coconut milk
4 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1. In a small saucepan, scorch the milk (bring it to a boil), then lower the heat to a simmer and add the chocolate and maple syrup. Mix for about 30 seconds. Turn the heat off, and continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and the icing is smooth.
2. Dip your frosting fill cupcakes into the Ganache by tiltiing the pan to add more depth to the icing for easier cupcake coating. Place all cupcakes on a cutting board, make some room in your fridge, and put the cupcakes in there to set the ganache (about 10 minutes). Next, make the icing for the squigglies.
ROYAL ICING FOR SQUIGGLIES
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons soy/rice milk powder
2 tablespoons water
*I actually cut this recipe in have because I thought there would be more than enough if I did the 2 cups sugar… I actually have leftovers from halving the recipe!
Sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the milk powder. Add 1 tablespoon of the water and stir, then add the rest of the eater a little bit at a time until you reach a consistency slightly more solid than toothpaste. The icing should not be drippy at all; if it is add a little more sugar.
*This icing got a little melty on me while the ganache was setting so keep it in a cool place or add more sugar!
Use your small round tip or another plastic bag (I’m classy) and practice making squiggles (if you please). When you are ready remove your cupcakes from the fridge and have fun making squiggles. Return to the fridge to set until serving time. ENJOY!
*Valentine painted by, Mr. Rory Magnus..*