Cooking Up a Delicious 2012

JANUARY 11, 2012
So here we go again—one year ends and another begins. A time for looking forward and looking back. No matter if you celebrate or actively ignore the turn of a year, New Year's is a special cooking opportunity.
 
For me New Year’s is at its best when it means a night at home with drinks, snacks, and maybe a favorite movie. Then asleep early, only to have your husband wake you at midnight to give you a kiss. I like my version of New Year’s Eve far better than being out and about as the ball drops, the crowds roar and rush out together to get back to their suburban home by 12:30.
 
But, regardless of your party style, it’s still a holiday, so there is inevitably a special New Year’s meal. First, there's the kind that I made—just for my husband and me—which consisted of the traditional pizza rolls (that were so piping hot that their contents burned the roofs of our mouths), refreshing cold root beer, and the best milk chocolate covered cashews from my hometown chocolate company. Did I forget the cupcakes?! All of our favorite junk food that we are of course swearing off again until 12/31/12. Then there is the more traditional fancy dinner party food rich in seafood, champagne, and aspirin! 
 
No matter how you celebrate, thank you for letting me into your kitchens in 2011 and I wish you all a happy, healthy 2012 rich in peace, love, and sugar. 

CHAMPAGNE CUPCAKES
Ingredients:
·  3 cups all-purpose flour
·  3 teaspoons baking powder
·  1 teaspoon salt
·  2/3 cup unsalted butter
·  1 1/2 cups white sugar
·  3/4 cup of your favorite champagne
·  6 egg whites

Directions:
1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.
2.      In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.
3.      In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites. Fill the cupcake liners about â…” full.
4.      Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

CHAMPAGNE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Ingredients:
·  3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
·  1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
·  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
·  3 tablespoons your favorite champagne

Directions:
1.      Beat together sugar and butter until well blended
2.      Add vanilla and champagne and mix until blended.

Tada! Happy New Years!!!

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