08 December 2010
Just Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale...
You ever see that show "Dream On" where first we see the main character as a baby in diapers in front of the TV and as the years pass, he's still there on the carpet watching? Well, I've always thought that was me. I was a lifelong TV junkie. Until I met my husband who abhors television and got rid of the cable box as soon as he could. But my childhood years centered around the boob tube and I can remember spending hours pouring over the TV Guide deciding what I would watch to while away the hours. Among my favorites: Charlie's Angels, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, That's Incredible!, Lavern & Shirley, Three's Company, The Dukes of Hazard, Mork & Mindy and the syndicated Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island.
I don't know how many of you have seen Gilligan's Island but it revolved around the simple premise of a group of shipwreck survivors trying to find their way off a desert island in the Pacific (way way before Lost). There were 3 single males and 2 single females among them, and while they never showed any hanky panky going on, one of the age-old conundrums that I've heard debated many times is : Marianne or Ginger? Referring to the cute, perky and smart but alas mousy brunette in the short shorts who mooned over the Professor, or the red hot movie star who never lacked a sequin-encrusted dress with loads of push-up to run around the island in one of their weekly capers.
Growing up, I related to Marianne. Not the brains part of the equation but the shy tomboyness. I never liked to stand out in the crowd and I was definitely not a girly girl. On the other hand, my daughter is definitely a Ginger. She has been attracted to pink and sparkly since she was old enough to crawl; she has crushes on all of my son's friends and I often see her pirouetting around in front of them, one hand on her hip as she coyly calls after them; and I am constantly chasing her out of my make-up bag less she applies that mascara one more time (looking a lot more Tammy Fay than Ginger). Did I mention she just turned 3?!? My daughter and I are clearly wired very differently and I shudder to think about her teenage years but that's a whole 'nother conundrum!
I was asked by Joannah, better known as the blogger and cupcake creator: Cupcak(e)ista, if I would like to participate as a judge in her Christmas cupcake contest. It's open to anyone who wants to create a cupcake inspired by the holiday season. You can read all the details here. In the meantime since Johanna always posts recipes to her blog for the fans to try out, I wanted to share a recipe with you for my favorite Christmas cupcake: A double chocolate Gingerbread with cream cheese frosting. I call it the Movie Star (get it?). You can see it here featured in various incarnations -- the Gingerbread man and Santa coming down the chimney (which is my "hors concours" entry in Cupcak(e)ista's contest). And now you know why my Gilligan's Island tale was included in this post! Good luck to everyone who enters; I look forward to seeing your wonderful Christmas creations!
*The Movie Star* Cupcakes
Double Chocolate Gingerbread Cupcakes with
Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
by Sugar Daze
(Yield : 24 cupcakes)
2 ¼ cups flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon instant coffee/espresso
2 ½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup molasses
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
¾ cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, coffee/espresso, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and nutmeg in medium bowl; set aside.
Beat butter, brown sugar and molasses in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with boiling water, beating on low speed after each addition until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in tins about 5 minutes. Remove from tins; cool completely on wire rack.
12 ozs. cream cheese, softened
4 ozs. butter, softened
5 cups icing sugar
½ vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup milk
Bring butter and cream cheese to room temperature by letting them sit out for about an hour. Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and there are no visible lumps. Alternate adding sugar and milk until frosting is of good spreading consistency. Using the point of a sharp knife, slit the vanilla bean lengthwise and remove seeds. Add to frosting and stir until well-combined. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting on cupcakes and enjoy!