Car Bomb Cupcakes

Thanks to Kaitlyn:

cupcakes:

1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

for the filling:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

for the frosting:

2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

1. To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 dozen cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

3. To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

4. To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip or a melon baller), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping bag or a zliplov baggie and snip off the tip. with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
5. To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

6. Using your favorite decorating tip, a quart sized freezer bag with tip snipped, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container. B|

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Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

2 cans artichoke hearts, water-packed 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese 1 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded 2 cups mayonnaise paprika

Mix both cups of parmesan cheese together. Refrigerate overnight (optional).

Drain artichoke hearts and chop coarsely.

Blend together parmesan cheese, artichoke hearts and mayonnaise.

Spread in casserole dish and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbling.

Serve with crackers, pita triangles or tortilla chips.

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I guess it’s time to blog again

I’ve been reading some blogs lately… new friends, old friends, family continue to use blogs in creative ways.

When I started blogging, I was in a rut at work. I loved the people I worked with but wasn’t feeling particularly fulfilled. I had my church gig and I was still conducting an orchestra for a high school theater program but I longed for more creativity. Oddly enough, I lost my job and immediately felt like I’d lost my identity. Even though I cried and prayed on the way to work that morning, getting laid off wasn’t the answer to the prayer “Please let something happen. I can’t stand this stress anymore.”

Since that fateful day (almost 5 years ago to the day), I’ve been fortunate to be working where I’ve dreamed of working for a  long time. It is stressful, being one of two people responsible for 700 computers, several servers and networking, is always a challenge but it is fulfilling.

And it leaves me time to be involved in other projects that I love. I just directed a musical at our community theater. First time I directed a community theater project.  Presently, I am music directing Pippin, a show that I’ve always loved. I am also working on A Festival of Lessons and Carols at our church. There are so many cool people involved – people from my current job, people from my church and other churches in the area, people from the theater, people of other faiths, children as young as second grade, adults as old as, well, me.

The other night, I facilitated a group of alumni who had participated in marching band at our high school. We cleaned out the room that holds all of the instruments that could be played by band members… if we had a band. These alumni are committed to help grow the instrumental music program at our alma mater.

It was during this alumni meeting that I injured my left hand. Musicians know how devastating a small nick, cut or squish of an appendage can be. When I began my freshman year in college as a music major, one of the sophomore trumpet players was recovering from a car accident. He hadn’t been badly hurt, but he split his lip, requiring stitches. The lack of practice over the summer, set him back in his studies. The scar tissue caused him to have to redesign his embouchure.

So, when my fingers got caught in the wooden hinge of an aging xylophone, I tried to jerk my hand back but it was getting crushed. The person on the end of the crushing realized what was going on and folded the hinge the other way, apologizing profusely adding that he saw the stars I was still seeing. Three days later, they’re stil tender, even while typing. Not sure how I played guitar last night at church. I think sang more than played.

But heck, I’m doing what I love – providing opportunites for others to be creative. Makes this fortune all the more sweet!

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Filed under Music, Musical Theater, Work

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Minty-Fresh™.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 21 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 201 posts.

The busiest day of the year was November 18th with 20 views. The most popular post that day was Cubicle Quarrels.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twilightcola.blogspot.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, batupermataimpian.blogspot.com, and capricorn1966.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for bam margera, bam, pack rat, cubicles, and pack rats.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Cubicle Quarrels April 2008
7 comments

2

lmao Are You A Bam Margera Fan? Congratulations! … January 2007
3 comments

3

30 Days of Music Day 1 – Your Favorite Song May 2010

4

About June 2007
6 comments

5

Neil Young, CSN, James Taylor and Joni Mitchell July 2008

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30 Days of Music – Day 21 – A Song That You Listen To When You’re Happy

Oh really, come on now. Are you serious? The whole James Taylor collection. Anything by the Beatles or Little Feat or Crosby, Stills, Nash and/or Young. I can’t break it down to one song. Gaaah. You’re killing me.

I’m partial to this Little Feat Tune for a number of reasons. It speaks to me about hope and happiness. All That You Dream:

This is a crazy cover!

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