Sunday, August 21, 2011

Postcards from Hawaii = highlight of my week

But seriously, the postcard I received from Sara was super exciting and a wonderful surprise! Also there is not much else to report on from Seattle. Work work work, some bike riding, a sunburn! which is actually quite exciting as it is a sign that there is in fact some summer here.

Oh I do have two tasty restaurants for any Seattle goers: Chinook - super wonderful seafood and Lunchbox Laboratory - unbelievable burgers and even better milkshakes (I recommend the Nutella milkshake)

Other than that, I'll offer some excellent recipes from the Garden Party. Not a huge crowd this year due to adventures abroad, early returns to school etc. But the regulars came and partook of delicious food.
Other portland adventures included Pine State Biscuit, the Waffle Window, and Powells. OOh and also a new super cute place called Noun: A person's place for things. VERY COOL. (

Fabulous recipes from the party:

Creamy Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Peanut Butter Filling
3 ounces peanut butter2 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Chocolate Cupcakes

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
3/4 cup hot coffee
3/4 cup (4-1/8 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting, recipe to follow
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1. Combine peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar in small bowl. Mix well with rubber spatula, set aside.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan (cups have ½-cup capacity) with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
3. Whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon peanut butter filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 16 to 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.
5. Pipe frosting on cupcakes or alternatively spread frosting with small off-set spatula. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
Peanut Butter Buttercream

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch table salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1. In standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter and peanut butter at medium speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until sugar is combined, about 1 minute.
2. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
This all adds up to a super delicious chocolatey cupcake with an amazing peanut butter surprise in the middle.

and if you prefer gluten free:


  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 6 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Ice cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Melt butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Stir to combine, then remove bowl from heat and let cool slightly. Whisk in egg yolks.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy but not dry (do not overbeat). Whisk one quarter of the beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten; gently fold mixture into remaining whites.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cupcakes are just set in centers, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes (their centers will sink). Cupcakes are best eaten the same day they are baked; keep at room temperature until ready to serve, topped with scoops of ice cream, if desired.

Hope you enjoy some delicious cupcakes of your own!!


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