Sunday, April 27, 2008
An Ode to an Old Favorite
I grew up in a Boston suburb in New Hampshire and that makes me an official New Englander. If you're from New England, or happen to live there, you must know that more ice cream is consumed in that part of the country than anywhere else. I remember eating ice cream every day in the summer. I'm glad I have that memory and need to remember not to try that this year as the metabolism of a 34 year old is much different than that of an adolescent. Anyway, the soft-serve, vanilla and chocolate swirl cone could often be seen in my hand- especially if we were at the beach. This cone to me is the perfect ending to a day basking in the sun and playing in the water.
You can't get the swirl cone anywhere around here. We're filled with Coldstones, Dairy Queens and Baskin Robbins in this part of Montana. Most people in the Northwest don't get as visibly excited for ice cream as they did back east and its definitely a seasonal treat here. That doesn't stop me from busting out my Cuisinart ice cream maker 12 months out of the year to create new and old favorites.
Lately, I've been really nostalgic for New England-I get this way about twice a year. As I write, my mom is visiting my grandmother in Chesterfield, New Hampshire- a charming, small, perfectly New England town(she also left the east coast and is now in Seattle, a great town in itself). She called me this morning to fill me in on their beautiful, spring morning that was kicked off by a delicious plate of lobster benedict. My heart and stomach growled simultaneously. Of course I don't just miss the lobster and soft-serve. I miss forsythia bushes in bloom in the spring, the heart-stopping beauty of a perfect foliage season, and the character and class that the east coast just oozes.
Enough about that and on to the cupcakes. I leave for vacation in 2 days and know that inevitably my close to 2 week absence will cause some coworkers to scowl and may even cause some extra work to fall into their laps. So, I'm hoping to buy some forgiveness and patience with some sugar. Its been done before. I'll lay these suckers out tomorrow morning in our kitchen, right in front of the coffee pots and listen to them all mumble "maybe just one" or "I really shouldn't but.." or "Oh, why not". Hopefully, this will do the trick.
I used a vanilla cupcake recipe from here. Its sturdy, and has a nice flavor and it pulls away from the paper with ease, but its a little too dense. The cupcakes are really good, and they will be eaten, but I won't use this recipe again. Why is it so hard to find a great, vanilla cupcake recipe? If you have one, please share. I topped them with Cook's Illlustrated vanilla buttercream and Gale Gand's chocolate frosting. Oh, there's also some chocolate pudding in the center. Both frostings were left over from my husband's birthday cake that I had frozen. Freezing left over frosting is a great time saver, esp. when you're in a rush to make cupcakes for a bribe. The birthday chocolate cake and the frostings were AMAZING and I am comfortable saying this is the best chocolate cake recipe I have ever had. You can find the recipe here. Make it for that chocolate lover in your life and while you're at it, make sure its served with ice cream, preferably home made.