Monday, January 31, 2011

Lemongrass, Granola and Cupcakes

But not together.  I don't think.  I was thinking about the lemongrass I have and then started thinking about making stock.  I believe I'll use some of the lemongrass to make an Asian inspired stock (with some ginger) for the Thai chicken noodle soup I like to make.  That will still leave me with plenty of lemongrass for other endeavors yet undecided.  But I keep thinking about lemongrass hibiscus tea, which is one of my all time favorite herbal teas, and trying to make a cupcake with those flavors.  Hmmmm

After another day of housework, I tried the cocoa granola again Saturday night, this time with almonds and honey.  Since I had read that honey could make the granola overly sweet, I decided to use some roasted almonds with sea salt to take the edge off the sweetness of the honey.  It was a little too effective.  My granola is not sweet at all.  Plan C will be honey, half roasted-salted almonds and half natural almonds.  Mind you, these "failures" don't stop me from devouring the granola I've made; I'm just on a quest to make it absolutely perfectly to my taste.  And yes, I know how compulsive I can be.  Am.

Sunday was my reward for doing cleaning type homemaking on Saturday.  Even though the kitchen was quite warm from the sun coming in, the need to bake took over.  The result was coconut-lime cupcakes and lavender-pear cupcakes. 

The coconut-lime cupcakes evolved from a recipe on the Top Chef Just Desserts website from contestant Danielle Keene.  The original recipe was coconut cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream (  Salted caramel buttercream sounds wonderful, but not what I was in the mood for.  I’m thinking of calling my version Harry Nilsson cupcakes since I “put de lime in de coconut”.  I’ll make a few more changes if I make these again.  The original recipe used sweetened, flaked coconut but I think desiccated, unsweetened coconut will give them a more coconut-y flavor.  The icing wasn’t too adventurous – coconut-lime buttercream.  My recipe, thank you very much. 

The lavender-pear cupcakes are from Stefanie Pollock of Cupcake Project ( with a few changes.  I add 1/2 tsp of salt and only used two pears.  I’ve made these before, but used a little less lavender in this batch.  While I love using lavender as an ingredient, I recognize that not everyone is as enamored with it.  These are not as “lavender-y” as ones I made previously.  I don’t think people will be as overwhelmed with the lavender and maybe won’t have that association with candles or bath products.  The last time I made these I iced them with white chocolate ganache (though not Vosges).  This time I decided to do a buttercream and came up with white chocolate champagne buttercream.  It actually worked out quite well.

Since I can’t have that many cupcakes around, I delivered some to my former colleagues and some to my dentist’s office (they’ve been quite wonderful to me).  The hubs will take the rest to work with him tomorrow.  I’ll be interested in the feedback on both of these cupcakes.

And in other news . . . the parts for my pressure canner arrived today.  Woo-hoo!!  Hopefully this week I’ll get the parts switched out and can start making and canning stock.  Is it wrong to be that excited about stock?  Don't answer that.

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