Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope everyone had an amazing dinner surrounded by friends and family like I did.  Thanksgiving (after Passover) is obviously one of my favorite holidays.  This year I cooked dinner for my parents and several co-workers that couldn’t make it home for the holiday.

This was a monumental year because I decided to stray from my traditional stuffed turkey breast and go all in with a 16 lb bird!  I purchased a free range fresh turkey from Misty Knoll Farms via Formaggio Kitchen and changed my turkey recipe about 5 times before I finally settled on my original recipe for roasted turkey by Ina Garten.  Ina has never steered me wrong so far so I figured her recipe would be a safe bet…especially with a stick of herb butter smeared under the skin followed by more brushed over the whole bird.  After 3 1/2 hours, my turkey was a perfect golden brown with crispy skin and tender, juicy turkey meat.

My carving skills may need some work though…

Read below for more Thanksgiving dishes and recipes (some of which you may recognize from last year or other blog posts).

The night started with some light appetizers: deviled eggs and fig and blue cheese savouries

Obviously no Thanksgiving would be complete without biscuits, especially these sage biscuits from Joanne Chang.  I topped mine with honey butter (instead of parsley butter) and served with more warm honey butter on the side (just add a Tbs or so of honey and a pinch of salt to a stick of room temperature butter and mix until combined).

I needed a cold dish for the brussel sprouts since I was tight on oven space so I turned to my favorite farm salad from Sweet Cheeks.

The meal was rounded off with stuffing, sweet corn pudding, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a spicy carrot salad.

And finally…

Dessert!!!  I possibly went a little overboard with 3 desserts: mini apple crisp pies, black bottom peanut butter mousse pie, and pumpkin cheesecake squares (not pictured).

I hope everyone had a great holiday!  Look for my next blog post on a creative way to use some Thanksgiving leftovers!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

What do you get when you combine Flour bakery and the Barefoot Contessa? Chocolate and peanut butter? Sinfully delicious chocolate peanut butter cupcakes!

I originally found a recipe for chocolate peanut butter cupcakes on another food blog which used Ina Garten’s peanut butter frosting recipe. I loved the frosting but was not a fan of the cupcake which was too dense and dry (the actual chocolate cupcake recipe was not Ina Garten’s). So for take #2 of these cupcakes I decided to rely on my old favorite chocolate cupcake recipe (also featured in my St. Patty’s Day cupcakes): Joanne Chang’s chocolate cupcake from the Flour bakery cookbook.

The new combination was a success resulting in a softer/moist (sorry for people who hate that word) cupcake that was a much better complement to the fluffy peanut butter frosting. These have probably become one of my most requested cupcakes!

Recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes (From Joanne Chang’s Flour bakery cookbook)
Yield: 12 standard size cupcakes

2 oz (56 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (30 gram) Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1/2 cup (one stick/114 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (80 gram) water
1/2 cup (120 gram) milk
1 egg
1 yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (140 grams) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Line your muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

In a large heatproof bowl, combine chocolate and cocoa powder. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the sugar, butter, and water, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves (3 to 4 minutes). Pour the butter mixture over the chocolate and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly and whisk the milk, egg, extra yolk, and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until combined.

In a bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together until blended. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Let the batter sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour to thicken. Or, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling until at least 3/4 full. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops spring back when pressed lightly with a fingertip and they pass a toothpick check. I usually start checking after 20-25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Cupcakes can also be made in “mini” form. Makes 36 mini cupcakes. Fill mini cupcake tin with about 1 Tbs batter per cupcake. Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Peanut Butter Frosting (from Barefoot Contessa)

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
7.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Assembly

Spread or pipe peanut butter frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!

“I got to thinking about relationships and partipbcupal lobotomies. Two seemingly different ideas that might just be perfect together- like chocolate and peanut butter.”

~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City