margarita cupcakes with tequila-lime frosting

May 24, 2011
My dodgeball team has converted to a springtime softball team.  As undefeated dodgeball champions, we take most everything we do very seriously.
My team captain has been known to send pre-game scouting reports to identify strengths and weaknesses of opposing dodgeball teams.  Yeah, really.  And I love every minute.
Now that we've translated into a softball team, we're taking our gloves and bats just as seriously.  Also?  The post-game BBQ.  All week, we make intricate plans of who brings what down to the minute details.
This week, I contributed these cupcakes.  I have a boozy team, who I knew would appreciate the added tequila in this sweet dessert, even though it's a mere three tablespoons.   I can't wait to make these for my brother. He loves margaritas and I know he'd like these!
Margarita Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Tequila-Lime Frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons tequila
Pinch of coarse salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. 
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light, and fluffy on medium-high speed (5 minutes).
  4. Reduce the mixer speed and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until well combined. 
  6. Slowly add the dry ingredients in three batches.  Alternating with the buttermilk in two batches, ending with the dry.  Mix only until just incorporated, then mix the rest by hand.
  7. Pour the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes or until just slightly golden.  
  8. Allow cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, then remove them to a cooling rack.  

  1. To make the frosting, whip the butter in a stand mixer (with the whisk attachment) for 5 about minutes until it's light and fluffy. 
  2. Slow speed and gradually add the powdered sugar. 
  3. Add the lemon juice, tequila and salt and mix until incorporated and fluffy. 
  4. Add additional sugar if frosting seems too soft.  Add only one spoonful at a time until your reach the desired consistency. 


a perfect dessert for a bbq

Any peanut butter fan will definitely be a fan of these bars.  They're a crumbly-peanut-buttery bar with a hint of sweet jelly.  I think they're best served cool from the refrigerator but are also perfect to bring along to any outdoor barbeque or picnic.
To me, there's no better compliment to PB&J than a banana.  I added some (Trader Joe's) banana chips which added a little extra crunch and flavor that was much appreciated.  
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Adapted from Bon Apetite
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup grape jelly or other jelly or jam (original recipe called for 3/4 c)
2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup banana chips, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving 2-inch overhang around edges and pressing firmly into corners and up sides of pan. Coat foil with nonstick spray. 
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in small bowl. 
  3. Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, sugar, and butter in large bowl until smooth. 
  4. Add egg and vanilla; beat on low-speed until smooth. 
  5. Add flour mixture; beat on low-speed just to blend. 
  6. Transfer half of dough to prepared pan (about scant 1 1/2 cups). Place remaining dough in freezer for 10 minutes. 
  7. Using fingertips, press dough evenly onto bottom of pan. Spread jelly over in even layer.  On top of the jelly, sprinkle chopped banana chips. 
  8. Remove dough from freezer; using fingertips, break into grape-size pieces and scatter over jelly layer. 
  9. Sprinkle chopped nuts over the top.
  10. Bake bars until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool bars completely in pan on rack.
  11. Using foil overhang as aid, lift bars from pan. Gently peel foil from edges. Cut into 16 squares.
These can be made 3 days ahead, just store them in an airtight at room temperature.

chicken fricassee

My grandmother was a passionate, creative cook who was a master of all things Cajun cooking.  
I was reminded of this when I was thinking of new chicken dishes to try.  Chicken fricassee is a yummy Cajun dish with chicken (obviously), sausage (sometimes), onion and celery with seasonings including cayenne pepper and garlic. 
And of course, what Cajun dish would be complete without the roux?
Chicken Fricassee
4 large chicken breasts 
2 (12 ounce) packages andouille sausage, sliced (I used Trader Joe's All Natural Chicken Andouille) 
5 green onions, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups water
5 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic
  1. Saute chicken and sausage in a large skillet until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove meat from skillet, add green onions and onion and saute until soft. Set aside.
  2. To make roux:  In a small saucepan, stir together oil and flour over low heat; cook until color is caramel and mixture is reduced to 1 cup of roux. Set aside.
  3. Put water in a large pot. Add the chicken, sausage, onion mixture, celery, seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt, ground black pepper and garlic. Bring all to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup roux and stir together; the mixture should have the consistency of chowder. If necessary, add the remaining 1/2 cup roux.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice.