Strawberry Rhubarb (or Green Apple) Pie

My cousin just posted pictures of loads of beautiful rhubarb jam on Facebook. I’m jealous. I haven’t made any jam yet this year, BUT– I made a pie.

Quick story, when my Dad was a kid he was told  rhubarb pie was “green apple pie”. Apparently he must not have liked the idea of rhubarb, so my Grandma convinced him otherwise by changing the name. Green apples are tart, but I think the resemblance stops there!  Anyways, the name stuck and we still joking call this pie “green apple”.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

I love the crimson color of the rhubarb. It really is a feast for the eyes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie~ Erin's DC Kitchen

What’s that you say? The crust does look amazeballs, thanks! 😉

The tartness of the rhubarb in this pie is tempered with soft sweetness from strawberries and majorly complimented by an unexpected addition– almond extract. It provides a fuller, richer taste I think. I was comparing recipes before I started baking, and Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts has a recipe for sour cherry and rhubarb pie that seemed fabulous. That’s where I got the idea of adding almond extract.

Rhubarb season will end soon, once it starts to heat up, so if you want to try this recipe out hurry down to your local farmers market (or garden) and pick some up soon!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

  • 3 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (about 4 large stalks)
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp (scant) cinnamon

For the double crust

  • 2 1/4 cups flour (I did the 1/4 cup wheat, the rest white)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup Crisco shortening
  • 8 tbl ice cold water or milk

Preparing the crust: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Measure out the shortening and dollop it across the flour mixture (don’t dump it in one lump). Using a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour until it is course. Pile more than half of the flour mixture to one side of the bowl. Measure out a tablespoon of cold water and sprinkle it over the smaller pile of flour and fluff it with a fork to work the water through. As the mixture forms into dough, move it aside. Continue sprinkling a tablespoon of water onto a small pile of flour and fluffing it with the fork, moving aside the dough that forms. You may or may not use all 8 tbl of water. This process becomes easier the more you do it, trust me, and you get a feel for the dough. Divide the final lump of dough into two equal parts and roll them out into circles. Put one circle into the pie plate and add your filling, then put the top crust on. You need 1 inch or more of excess dough to roll under to make the edge. Anything over that you can cut off. Use your thumb and pointer finger to pinch together a pretty edge.

Preparing the pie:

Preheat oven to 375°.

In a large bowl, toss the fruit with the sugar, cinnamon and part of the flour. Let stand while you prepare the crust. Once the crust is ready, stir in the almond extract and the remainder of the flour. Toss to coat. Spoon filling into the pie crust. If there is a ton of excess juice, don’t pour it all into the crust, just some of it.  With a sharp knife, cut a slit into the top of the pie (or a design if you’re ambitious) to let steam out.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes, but cover the crust with a crust protector or foil. Pie is done when the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and steaming (peek into the center slit).

Let cool fully before cutting into, or else the filling will spill out everywhere and you’ll be sad about it.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have more vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber than regular white potatoes.  Also, my Grandma used to serve them for her and Grandpa, who had diabetes, because it doesn’t spike blood sugar as intensely as a starchy white potato.

This was tonight’s dinner. Yum. My favorite veg, mixed with my favorite starch mixed with my favorite pork product, topped with cheese. What is not to like?

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

I was feeling pretty happy, thinking how this looks so pretty with all the colors, and I’m so excited to eat it– and then I realized, I wanted to take a picture.

I haven’t been interested in taking pics lately, or even blogging. Not sure why. Food has been thrown together. I haven’t been feeling inspired to bake.

The one time two weeks ago I made peanut butter brownies with a pretzel crust, the light was so bad and nothing looked pretty on camera I just got pissed off and gave up.

So I grabbed my camera and got ready for taking pics of my sweet dinner. But then, the negative voice. It creeped in. It said nobody cares about a dumb pseudo recipe for loaded sweet potatoes. Stop!

Well, I hesitated but decided to capitalize on my moment of inspiration and take the pictures anyways.  Screw you negative voice.

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

I’m glad I did. They look fine. It was easy. I was inspired to write this post. And now, after a month away from blogging, I’m back and it doesn’t feel weird. For those of you reading, thanks. I did miss you.

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 pieces bacon
  • 1 small broccoli crown
  • handful of shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400°. Wash and prick the sweet potatoes all over and then bake for 1 hour. During last 20 minutes of baking, cut the broccoli into small florets and steam for 12 minutes. Cook the bacon until crispy, drain, and chop into pieces. Set aside. When the potatoes are done, remove from oven and slice down the middle, squeeze both ends to pop it open. Stuff the cooked broccoli inside, top with cheese and bacon. Return to the oven for 3 minutes or so, until cheese is melted.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Weather Throwing a Curveball? DIY Plant Protection!

Protect Plants from the Cold - Erin's DC Kitchen

Don’t let fickle weather undue all the work you’ve put into your springtime garden; cold weather protection is easy (and cheap)! Why do you need to worry about protecting plants from the chill? Mostly because freezing/frost can kill plants. Also, unseasonably cold weather will weaken and stress tomato and pepper transplants. These are warm weather loving plants and in order to get them growing, flowering, and setting fruit in a healthy manner, you need to avoid stressing the plants.

Plants are really a lot like us- we are not happy when it is 75° and sunny and then the next day you wake up to a bone-chilling 35° morning.  (True story).

So here is a step by step guide to what I did to protect my plants, and it cost nothin’! You need some cheap garbage bags, I used our 13 gallon white Hefty’s– no drawstring or anything fancy- and a pair of scissors.

1)  Place bag on top of the plant cage, the closed bottom facing up.

on top before cutting

2) With the scissors, cut along the bottom seam to open up the bag and gently pull the bag down the cage until it touches the soil. Weigh down the edges of the bag with items found in your garden.

weighing down

3) Tie the edges of the bag in three places to the cage. I did this by tearing 2 inch long vertical strips along the top of the bag and tying  knots at the three places where the ring meets the cage. This keeps the top open to the sun.

Note: The bag is floppy because the edges haven’t been tied yet. Tying prevents floppiness, and it will look like the first pic in this post.

You’re done! Plants will stay safe with the bag warming the air around the plant and protecting them from wind. I leave these on during the day if the temperature doesn’t get to0 high, like above 70º, and of course, keep them on at night when the temp is dipping in the low 40’s and the 30’s.

Another option for covering plants is to use the plastic pot from a particularly large pepper or tomato transplant. Cut the bottom off and place over the plant, like so.

use leftover container

Now here is a picture of one of my marigolds, just for fun, 🙂

marigolds

Happy Gardening!

– Erin

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Look at this ice cream. It is decadent, velvety-smooth, and swirled with delicious bites of graham cracker pieces and tart lemon curd. The richness of the whipping cream and cream cheese is balanced by the lemon. It is, not to brag, probably the best tasting ice cream I’ve ever made. 🙂  As usual, no ice cream maker is required for this recipe, or my others here, here and here.

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, No Maker Required! ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

During one of the nearly 90° days in DC last week, I had a spark of creativity; I really wanted something with lemon, but didn’t want to turn on the oven. So, natch, lemon ice cream.

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream, No Maker Required! ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

This is just so pretty, I love it. It tastes good too, this was confirmed by a second source, my husband, who was skeptical of this flavor combination, but ended up eating two bowls once it was ready.

Not to mention, photographing ice cream is actually fun. It is easy to style and is a playful food to begin with; normally taking pictures is not something I like about food blogging. Ironic, no? Am I the only food blogger out there that feels this way?

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

When the weather turns sweltering, you don’t have to ignore your urge to bake- turn to ice cream as your medium!

Lemon Cheesecake Ice Cream

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temp (I used about 6 oz. ’cause I ate some)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • zest of 1 lemon, juice from half the lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd, at room temp
  • 1 tsp creme bouquet (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 6 graham crackers, broken into small pieces, but not crumbs.

Place the bowl of your electric mixer into the freezer. A very cold bowl will help your cream whip in no time. Meanwhile, break up the graham crackers, zest your lemon, and measure out your lemon curd and set aside. Once bowl has chilled, whip the pint of cream on medium-high speed until fluffy and peaks form. (My Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment does this in no time, I love it). Add in the lemon zest and whip on low briefly, just to incorporate. Set aside.

In another large bowl, with an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and creme bouquet. Mix for 2 minutes on high. Gently add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and fold in with a spatula. Don’t mix aggressively, but so the cream cheese mix is mostly incorporated into the whipped cream.

Melt the butter and drizzle over the graham cracker pieces, stir to coat. Dump the graham crackers onto the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture, then dump the lemon curd on top of the crackers. With a spatula, gently fold/swirl 2 or 3 times (only!!)  the crackers and lemon curd into the mixture. This will create pretty swirls and pockets of lemony goodness like you see in the pictures. Transfer to a 8×8 metal or glass pan and cover tightly. Freeze overnight. Let the ice cream sit for 5 minutes before scooping, it’s easier that way.

*NOTE: This ice cream does not require an ice cream maker and if you put it into a maker, I have no idea what will happen.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispies

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispy Treat

Wow, I love that word. It is semi-obnoxious. It is also semi-awesome.

So there.

Funfetti Rice Krispy Treats

I sent these to my brother as a thank you gift for helping us settle into our new apartment. He was literally the best house guest. He cleaned. He picked up after himself. He worked tirelessly and fixed things that were broken.

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispy Treats

He didn’t complain or ask for money.

Rice Krispy Treats with Sprinkles

He was happy when we took him to that place with sushi on the conveyor belt at the mall for dinner.

IMG_3697

And for that he got a well deserved thank you package with rice crispy treats with an awesome new name. Don’t worry, I sent him some other stuff too. Oh, and of course, never-ending sisterly love.

That’s a lot right?

Sprinkletastic Rice Krispy Treats

  • 1 package marshmallows (10 oz)
  • 6 cups rice krispy cereal
  • 5 tbl butter
  • 2 tsp creme bouquet
  • 2 tbl sprinkles, plus more for topping

In a large saucepan, melt the butter and marshmallows, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, grease a 9×13 pan with shortening (to help with sticking). Once the marshmallow mix if fully melted, remove from heat and add in the creme bouquet and stir. Then, add in all six cups of  cereal at once and stir quickly until the rice krispies are totally coated. Add in two tablespoons sprinkles and give one last stir.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture into the 9×13 pan. Grab a piece of wax paper, fold into a square and grease on side with shortening. Scatter more sprinkles on top, then press the rice krispies all over to flatten and level. Don’t press ’em too flat.  Let cool, cut and serve!

Enjoy!

– Erin

 

Twice Baked Potatoes

Urgh. I know it is too hot to turn the oven on to make these (in the DC area anyway), but I’ve been needing to post this since Easter, so this is happening people!

Twice Baked Potatoes

These are tasty, the sour cream makes the inner pocket of mashed potato creamy and tangy. The cheese on top is gooey and makes these look homey and inviting.

Twice Baked Potatoes

These are a perfect side dish for a special occasion, or, make a main course out of them by piling steamed veggies on top. Plus, you can make these ahead and keep in the fridge so you can socialize with guests or have a ready-to-go weeknight meal.

Baffled by how to make these without ruining the skins? Don’t get overexcited trying to scoop out all the inner potato flesh. Leaving some potato inside helps maintain the structural integrity of the potato skin. I know, it almost feels like a challenge to see just how much you can get out to turn into the delightful filling– but all it takes is one aggressive scoop with a spoon and you’ve taken a chunk out of the skin.

Structurally Sound!

Structurally Sound!

Not being too aggressive is also important during the stuffing phase. Forcing to much filling in can split the skin, just pile some extra on top like I did!

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 8 medium baking potatoes
  • 2 cups shredded colby jack cheese plus more for topping
  • 1  tbl Old Bay seasoning, plus more for topping (taste as you go, add more if you like)*
  • 1 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt if you want to ‘healthy’ it up, but taste will be altered)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2/3 c milk (give or take depending on thickness of mixture)

Preheat oven to 400°. Wash the potatoes and prick with a fork. Place on a lined baking sheet and bake until easily poked with a knife, about 50 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool so potatoes are easier to handle.  If you get impatient, fold a couple paper towels together and use that to hold the potatoes.

Meanwhile, dice the onion and cook just until tender and slightly translucent in the 1 stick butter. Save and set aside. Once cooled enough, cut a medium-sized diamond shape out of the top of the potato skin, peel off, revealing a hole large enough to fit a small spoon into. Start scooping out the potato flesh into a large bowl, reserving the whole skins for later.

Once you’ve cleaned out the potatoes, pour the onions and butter, milk, sour cream, and cheese into the bowl and mix well with electric beaters to get the chunks out and render the mixture smooth. Add in the Old Bay and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir to incorporate.

Now, stuff the mixture back into the potato skins. You may have some leftover, just pile it on top of the potatoes or eat it!! Top each potato with a sprinkle of Old Bay and more cheese.

If baking immediately: Preheat oven to 350° and bake the potatoes on a lined baking sheet for 25 minutes until the cheese is melted and potatoes are hot.

If baking the next day: Place the potatoes onto a lined baking sheet and wrap tightly all over with cling wrap. Refrigerate up to 24 hours. Remove from fridge 30 minutes prior to baking to allow potatoes to come to room temperature. Bake in 350° oven for 25-30 minutes until cheese melts and potatoes are hot.

*Note: if you are refrigerating these overnight, the taste of the Old Bay will intensify over time and you don’t need as much.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Muchi Curry-Spiced Chickpeas

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Hi dear readers. I moved! Yes, three weeks ago I moved to a new apartment ( I should specify the husband came too), and we really like the new place. The space is smaller overall, but more useful, if that makes sense? It currently smells like curry… nom nom.

I’ve been thinking about healthy DIY snack foods lately. We really like Trader Joe’s crunchy wasabi peas for a snack, but it is so easy to blow through a whole bag and they are really salty. Making my own crunchy snackypoos allows the sodium usage to be much reduced, happily.

Curry Spiced Chickpeas

Curry Spiced Chickpeas

These little chickpeas are toasty from being oven roasted, spiced with muchi curry and have the addictive crunch many of us look for in a snack food. These are really easy too, it is three ingredients: 1 can chickpeas, oil and spices.

Curry Spiced Chickpea Snack

Ta-Da! A snack you can feel good about. 🙂 In order to get these nice and crunchy, please be sure to wash and dry the chickpeas well. Rub them with a folded paper towel to help release the skins (pick these out) and remove extra moisture. See below.

IMG_3678

Once the surface moisture is removed, you’ve won half the battle. The oven needs to be really hot for the first part of the roasting, then you’ll turn it down and continue to roast for over an hour to get out the remaining moisture so these stay crunchy after they’ve cooled.

It does take some time, but it isn’t active time, you can watch TV, clean the house or unpack moving boxes while the oven works its magic!

Curry-Spiced Chickpeas (serves two)

  • 1 15 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil*
  • 1/2 heaping tsp muchi curry (this is a savory based powder, heavy on cumin and fenugreek)
  • 1/4 heaping tsp cajun seasoning (I used McCormick)
  • Sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 425°.  Drain and wash the chickpeas. Lay out onto a paper towel to drain, and rub with another paper towel. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to dry off. Remove the transparent skins that come loose from some of the chickpeas.

In a small bowl, combine the chickpeas, oil, spices and salt. Toss gently to coat.  Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil and spread the chickpeas out in a single layer. This is important, these must be in a single layer in order to toast properly. Cook in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. The  chickpeas should become very fragrant, but not smell like burning!  Next, turn the heat down to 350° and continue to roast for 20 more minutes, stirring often. Turn off the oven, but leave the chickpeas in for another hour while the oven cools down.

Remove and serve warm, or let cool before storing in an airtight container to nosh on later.

*Note: Don’t use olive oil, it doesn’t have a high smoke point and will start burning to soon, these chickpeas need to cook for a long time to get all the moisture out. Vegetable oil has a much higher smoke point and it will not impact taste.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Smoky Chili Popovers

Smoky Chili Popovers

My dear friend’s fiance suggested I make some popovers and enter them into his restaurant’s — BLT Steak— popover competition. Since I’ve had some good luck with food competition, see here and here, I jumped at the chance.

Smoky Chili Popovers

Nom nom nom, this was the first time I’ve made popovers and I wonder where these have been all my life. Why you ask? As my mother-in-law would day, she’s “never met a carb she didn’t like”, and I subscribe to that philosophy. So I love these chewy, crunchy, eggy little puffins, natch.

Smokey Chili Popovers

These popovers are super flavorful with roasted green chilies, sweet corn and Monterrey Jack cheese… think the ‘Southwest’ flavor category.  Serve these steaming hot from the oven with some butter sweetened with honey. Melt. 🙂

Smoky Chili Popovers

Smoky Chili Popovers

Thanks to Putney Farm for providing the base for this recipe!  Those folks are baking (and cocktail) experts, please check them out!

Smoky Chili and Sweet Corn Popovers (makes 8)

  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Nearly 2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 4-5 small green chilies, roasted, peeled, de-seeded and chopped (I used jalapeno and a mystery green pepper)
  • 1 small can sweet corn

Preheat oven to 350°. Put your popover pan in the oven at this time to also preheat. Warm the milk over low heat. Don’t boil!!! Beat eggs with a whisk until frothy in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combined the flour and salt.  Remove the milk from low heat and whisk vigorously, slowly adding in the eggs. Be mindful here, if it is too hot the eggs will scramble.  Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the egg/milk mixture. Don’t over mix, just do it until combined, it can be slightly lumpy.

Remove the popover pan from the oven and grease the cups with Crisco. Pour batter into each cup, about 3/4th’s full. Put 1 tsp sweet corn and 1 tsp chopped chilies into each cup. Top with a large pinch of shredded cheese. Bake 50-55 minutes. Don’t open the oven door, just use the oven light to monitor progress.  When the popovers are totally puffed on top and turning golden brown, you know you’ve done it right!

Remove from the oven and quickly take each popover out of the cup. It will start to fall, don’t worry.  Serve warm, with butter. Yum.

How to roast peppers: see this post. Here are some pictures to help guide you. Try to really blister and blacken the skin to get maximum smoky flavor.

IMG_3656

After

Roasted chilies

Before (mystery peppers are the larger, lighter ones)

Chunky Cocoa Brownies and Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

BROWNIES!

Cocoa Powder Brownies and Peanut Butter Frosting

Hi friends, I’m excited. I’m excited about the frosting on these brownies– but really, I’m excited because I won the cupcake competition at my husband’s office! Yup, the Cookies and Cream Cupcakes beat out the other eight entries.

I really must tip my hat to the person who made that salted caramel cupcake, it was the BEST one I’ve had anywhere because the salty to sweet ratio was spot-on.

Thanks for sharing in my excitement! 🙂 Ok, now let’s move onto these brownies. The brownies are sweet and fudgey, especially towards the center of the pan. The outside brownies were a bit more cakey, this could be due to overcooking. Not sure, but it wasn’t my favorite.

Really, we should be talking about the frosting. It is so fluffy and light and perfectly balanced, I know, not something you usually think of with peanut butter. I really think it has to do with the brand I used- Jif is probably the most popular brand but it is not the best peanut butter in my opinion. Peter Pan is the way to go, and no, I’m not being paid to say this.

Cocoa Brownies with Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

I’m not popular enough to have companies send me free product samples, come on people! 😉

So please, try it out sometime on your favorite brownie recipe. Or, try my cocoa brownies below. Happy baking!

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 stick butter, soft
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Peter Pan)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 to 1 1/c cups powder sugar (depending on how sweet you like it, start small)
  • A few splashes of  milk, as needed

Chunky Cocoa Brownies

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 9 tbl butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 10 mini-Hershey bars (broken up)

Preheat oven to 325°. Stir together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat well.  Add in the eggs and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix to combine. Stir in the broken Hershey bars at the end. Spread the batter (the layer will be thin) into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes, brownies should be set and pulling away from the edge of pan just slightly. Remove from pan and let cool.

For the frosting: Combine the butter and peanut butter and whip with en electric mixer for 3 minutes on medium speed. Add in the vanilla and powder sugar. Continue to whip until combined. If the frosting is thick, add in a splash of milk to help it lighten up, but don’t go overboard.  Spread onto the cooled brownies. Cut and serve!

Enjoy!

– Erin

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

These cupcakes were inspired by the limited edition Mega Stuf Oreos I bought last week.  The Mega Stuf’s didn’t actually make it into these cupcakes though, they were gobbled up before I could bake with them.

Verdict on the Mega Stuf: there may be such a thing as too much stuffing. I’m shocking myself at saying that, but it’s true.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

So regular Oreos are what you see studding the tops of these beauties.

My husband brought these into his office for a cupcake contest. (Note the camo liners? I had my audience in mind 😉 ) He brought home a couple rival samples, and let me say, the competition was stiff.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

No word yet on the winner, but I would still heartily recommend you try this recipe regardless!** UPDATE: I won the contest!!! :-)**

These are moist yet fluffy from my secret weapon, buttermilk. I love love LOVE baking with buttermilk because of the rich flavor it imparts into your baked goods. Just gives it a little something extra. I even used it in the frosting for these!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

The whipped frosting is studded with Oreo crumbs and flavored with creamy vanilla, yum. You could top these with a whole Oreo cookie too if you like, but it’s more for visual effect, the cupcakes have enough flavor on their own.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 20-24 Oreos, plus more for crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake liners. Break one Oreo each into the liners (into rough quarters at least). Mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Next, stir in the eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Beat to combine. Add the hot water and mix it through. Batter will be liquid, don’t panic. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 way full with batter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Check with a toothpick if you are unsure. Let cool on a wire rack.

For Frosting: Whip 2 sticks soft butter in an electric mixer for nearly 5 minutes, the butter should be pale and creamy and appear to grow in size from all the air whipped into it. Next, stir in 2 1/2 cups powder sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla. You may need to gradually add the sugar. Mix and slowly add in 1 to 3 tablespoons buttermilk, just until the consistency smooths out a bit. Whip for 3-5 minutes on medium speed to get the frosting fluffy and airy. Meanwhile, pound 6 or so Oreos in a plastic bag into crumbs. Add that into the frosting during the last minute to incorporate. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Makes 20-24 cupcakes. Adapted slightly from Bakerella.

Enjoy!

– Erin