Happy New Year to all! Above you see the grand and splashy sunset last night, with the sun going down between two mountains. I wasn't the only one that had the sudden thought to stand in a high place to wave goodbye to 2010 - there were four other people and two lively dogs, snuffling around in the snow, looking for - well, dogs always seem to find something exciting wherever they go.
This morning, I decided to make what is now becoming a tradition - New Year's cupcakes, but this time I chose to make a fluffy, moist banana and brown sugar cupcake (divine), and lots of that pale, shell pink cream cheese icing everyone loves so much. So even if the day is a little gray and gloomy, these cupcakes are waving their sprinkles and tooting their horns.
To make cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place cupcake papers in a traditional 12 cup muffin tin,
although this recipe makes only 7 cupcakes.
Adapted from Cupcakes, by S. Kaldunski
1 1/4 cups cake flour
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. baking powder
pinch of kosher salt
1 large or two small ripe bananas
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. lemon zest
2 T. sour cream
1 T. milk
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 extra large egg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Using a sieve, sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
Mash the bananas, sour cream, milk, lemon zest, and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy, then add the egg and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix on low.
Fold in the mashed banana mixture gently.
Using a regular size ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners about 3/4ths full.
Bake approximately 25-30 minutes, or until cupcakes are firm to the touch when gently pressed in the middle of their tops.
Let cool five minutes, then remove cupcakes from cupcake tin to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least an hour before frosting.
The Cream Cheese frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened ( the smaller size)
1 stick ( 8 T.) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 t. fresh lemon juice
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 drop red food coloring
Beat all the ingredients together until very creamy. Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and , beginning at the edges of the cupcakes, squeeze the frosting round and round, pulling up at the end. Sprinkle with pretty edible doodads.
So, what's up with your brand new life? Musings, meditations, job searches? I suspect in addition to all of those, this may be the Year of the New Dog, having accidently picked up now THREE books about women and their dogs; the universe must be trying to tell me something.
Blessings and love to all, and hopes this will be a wonderful year for you, full of love, joy, and walking the dog.
The dog books:
let's take the long way home by gail caldwell
scent of the missing ( search and rescue dogs) by susannah charleson
and abigail thomas' a three dog life