Double Champagne Cupcakes

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I call these my Double Champagne Cupcakes, there is champagne in the Cupcakes and Frosting. These are great for ringing in the New Year, a birthday, or an anniversary–pink champagne would be great for a hen party! Quite easy, but show-stopping for a celebration!
For the Champagne Cupcakes:
-3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature.
-1 cup of white sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3 egg whites
– 1 2/3 cups of flour
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 cup of sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
-1/2 cup of champagne
For the Frosting:
– 1 cup of butter (salted)
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-4 cups icing sugar
-5-6 tablespoons of champagne
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. In a small or medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
3. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Add the vanilla and eggs whites and mix.
5. Then add the flour, but not all at once! You’ll add about half of the flour, then add the sour cream, and mix. Then add the rest of the flour.
6. Fold in the champagne and mix until smooth. Don’t overmix!
7. Fill the cupcake liners a little more than half way-or about three heaped tablespoons of batter. (This batter will make about 14). Bake for about 20 minutes.
While the cupcakes are baking, make the Frosting:
1. Beat butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
2. Add half of the icing sugar and mix until smooth.
3. Add champagne, and mix until smooth. Then add remaining sugar, and mix.
4. Add more champagne if you wish(I added a 2-3 more little splashes!)
Ice the Cupcakes once cool. Decorate with edible pearls or sprinkles.
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Saintly Rocky Road

I am back in San Francisco (for a little while) after living in Ireland for the good part of just about three years! I hummed and hah-ed about moving home, but now that I’m here I am so happy I packed up and moved back! I’m excited to try all the cafes and restaurants I’ve been craving as well as reading about-pretty spoiled for choice here in SF. I am also just so happy to spend time with family and friends.

Rocky Road is a pretty popular treat in Ireland. I had the duty of making about four slabs daily at a bakery I worked in– up to triple that amount during the holiday season! When it’s made with dark chocolate, it’s really dreamy.

Below I am sharing a cleaner alternative to the traditional Rocky Road: it’s sugar free and vegan friendly. There’s also no baking/ melting chocolate involved with this recipe, all you need is a trusty food processor or blender.

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Carmel’s Saintly Rocky Road

Ingredients

14 dates

Small handful of almonds

Half a cup of your choice of nut butter

Teaspoon of vanilla extract

A couple of drops of water

2 heaped tablespoons cacao powder

Method

Soak the dates and almonds in a bowl of warm water for about a half hour. Then blitz all ingredients together, but NOT until it’s completely smooth. The dates act as the marshmallows, and the almonds act as the hard m&m candies or malt balls typical used. Line a bread tin with parchment paper and press mixture into it. Before pressing it into the bread tin, or casserole dish, you can fold in dried fruits or even more nuts if you fancy. Freeze for about two hours, or even better, overnight.

Keep in the freezer for a more firm texture! If left in the fridge it gets more soft fudge, which would actually be a great sauce for ice cream when warmed up!

Keeps for about a week in Tupperware.

Easy and guilt free treat!

 

How-to: Whipped Ricotta Two Ways

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Fancy toasts have been on blogs, in cafes, and pictured on Insta for quite some time. Personally I can’t get enough avocado toasts-smashed avocado with a good sprinkle of chili flakes and squeeze of lemon juice. Another variation of these faWncy(pish-posh accent) toasts is using ricotta cheese. It’s my go-to snack as of lately. Sweet or savory, you’ll be making these for yourself for breakfast or lunch on the go, or for the wee ones after school.

I use the Sweet Ricotta on toast or pancakes! I use the Savory mix on toast, bagels, crostini, even as a dip for carrot and celery sticks!

For the photo pictured, I used Irish Soda Bread(my go-to recipe is the one I learned at Ballymaloe!), Irish honey, and wild blackberries that I foraged down in West Cork.

Here is my quick ‘How-to’ for Whipped Ricotta:

 

Ingredients:

All you need is about a cup of ricotta cheese

 

For Sweet Ricotta:

A teaspoon of vanilla (I like to also scrape a tiny bit of the beans out of the pod to add an extra punch of flavor)

Drizzle of honey, agave nectar

Toppings: Berries, coconut shavings, or almond slivers

 

For Savory Ricotta:

A teaspoon of lemon juice

A teaspoon of thyme leaves (dried is totally fine, but fresh is that bit nicer!)

Sea salt and pepper

Toppings: Tomatoes, green olives, smoked salmon

 

What to do:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the ricotta until fluffy (just about 4-5 minutes). Remove the bowl from mixer and add either your Sweet or Savory ingredients.

It’s that easy! And there are so many ways to mix up the flavors. I even sometimes smash berries into the Sweet Mix, it creates a cool color effect.

 

Enjoy!

Paleo Dutch Baby

Dutch Dutch Baby!

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I had one of my pancake cravings this morning, but was also feeling a little bit lazy. This is just a simple recipe, which I’m sorta feeling this week, after a couple of days…well more like, weeks…of indulgent eating between it being the Regatta Festival in West Cork, my birthday, and taste testing for the eBook. I would also consider this on the healthier side, using all natural fresh ingredients. I see my blog’s recipes taking a healthier, cleaner route,  and my eBook certainly reflects that!

This is definitely a great recipe idea for a brunch with family and friends, served sliced and alongside coffee mimosas and you are pretty much guaranteed a good morning. The little amount of washing up is an added bonus! It’s another recipe of mine that is a great easy go-to.

Paleo Dutch Baby:

Ingredients:

3 eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Heaping tablespoon of coconut oil

Small handful of berries

Method:

Preheat oven to about 220C. In a medium frying pan, melt the coconut oil over a medium heat. While it’s melting, beat the eggs then add the other ingredients. Pour into pan, and let cook for about 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle on a couple of berries, and cook for another 3 minutes. It’ll look pale, and almost like it’s curdling. Then pop it in the oven for another 5-6 minutes, and cook through.

Serve with a splash of maple syrup, berries, coconut slivers, or yogurt!

AVAILABLE NOW, my EBook!

I’m so excited! My recipe EBook is available now!!

It’s full of my most popular recipes from my blog, as well as two exclusive recipes just for the EBook. All the recipes are more from my ‘Saintly’ category.

It was challenging at times, but I love a challenge. It also made me tweak current recipes, tasting and testing my skills even more.

This will be the first of several!

Purchase here:

https://www.amazon.com/Quick-Easy-Cookin-Carmel-Recipes-ebook/dp/B01KG4VN6O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471868893&sr=8-1&keywords=Quick+and+Easy+Cookin%27+with+Carmel

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Wild Berry Lemon Bundt Cake

This Lemon Bundt is a total crowd pleaser! It’s a big hit with kids, as you can call a Bundt a Castle Cake due to the shape.

I dressed the cake with the perfect Lemon Drizzle, raspberries and wild mint. There’s mint that grows in the field behind my parent’s house in West Cork-it’s such a perfect topping for summer desserts. Crystalizing the mint leaves adds an extra special touch to the cake. It’s an easy project-a little bit messy, but a beautiful result!

I ended up using zest and juice from TWO lemons, to really deliver that punch of flavor. And major bonus with this recipe, it’s made in one bowl!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup mixed berries: strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries

Garnish: berries, mint, and Lemon Drizzle (see below for recipe!)

Method:

Preheat oven to 130C. Grease and flour a bundt tin. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then the vanilla. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Don’t over-mix though! Pour HALF of  batter into tin, and scatter berries. Top with the rest of the batter,  and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.

Take the cake out of oven, and let rest in tin for about 5 minutes. Then remove and let cool. While it’s cooling, make the Drizzle.

Lemon Drizzle Icing:

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Simply whisk the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, until a smooth consistency!

To Crystalize Mint Leaves:

Wash mint leaves, and pat dry. Beat one egg white in a bowl until foamy; pour half a cup of caster or granulated sugar on a plate. Dip the leaves in the egg white, then the sugar. Set to the side for at least two hours.

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First look at my recipe eBook!

Here’s a peak at my FIRST recipe eBook! A handful of my blog’s most popular recipes, as well as two exclusive recipes just for the eBook, and some of my favorite pantry essentials!

I wanted to keep the cover clean looking and keep it fairly short. So the theme is quick and easy, and for the most part, it showcases more ‘Saintly’ than ‘Sinful’.

I’m just tweaking the layout and it’ll be ready for purchase!

It’ll be available August 21–keep your eyes out for more updates/news!

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Rozanna Purcell’s Natural Born Feeder Peanut Butter Brownie Squares

I’m a BIG supporter of Rozanna Purcell‘s cooking philosophy, and her recipes are delicious. I am thrilled to have her as a Guest Blogger; feature a Natural Born Feeder recipe!

I have a soft spot for peanut butter. And brownies. These Natural Born Feeder Peanut Butter Brownie Squares are perfect when you want something sweet, minus all those additives. Guilt free, but I am finding it hard to stop at one!

Peanut Butter Brownie Squares

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Ingredients

Base

  • 150g dates
  • 200g almonds
  • 50g dark chocolate melted

Top Layer

  • 150g coconut oil
  • 200g peanut butter
  • 150g maple/agave/honey (although maple or agave taste a little better here)
  • 100g roughly crushed roasted peanuts

Method

  1. For the base, mix all in the base ingredients until a fine bread crumb like mix.
  2. Press this mix down firmly and evenly into a square brownie tin (6″ or 8″).
  3. Set aside to the fridge while you make the awesome topping!
  4. For the top layer, melt the coconut oil over low heat( ensure there is no bubbling or boiling), stir in the peanut butter, maple and stir until there is no separation between the liquids.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the crushed peanuts, pour over the base. Place in fridge for 2-3 hours until set.

Yummm!

Pop over to Rozanna Purcell’s  Natural Born Feeder for more recipes!

Want to be a Guest Blogger/collab? Drop me a line at cookinwithcarmel@gmail.com!

Coming soon…RECIPE EBOOK

One of my goals is to have my own cookbook. I’ve just started a baby/junior cookbook…well a RECIPE EBOOK! AAHHH! I’m a little scared, excited!

It will be available for your Kindle come August!

I’m really excited, and have been working on it quietly the last while.

More details to follow in the coming weeks, so if you aren’t already subscribed, GO DO IT NOW…and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Homemade yogurt with a blackberry coulis

Making yogurt at home can seem quite daunting. It’s certainly a labor of love, but it’s incredibly rewarding! As a snack, in smoothies, or on pancakes, you’ll be so happy you made your own! This homemade recipe can also make a great frozen treat-line a bread tin with cling film, just pour in the yogurt, and set overnight!

 

The equipment you’ll need:

A HEAVY saucepan

Thermometer (one that can clip to the side of the pan makes things easy!)

Spatula

Whisk

Small measuring cup

 

Ingredients:

½ gallon of milk (2% or whole is best!)

½ gallon of yogurt (with active cultures)

 

  1. Heat the milk.Pour the milk into the heavy saucepan and set over medium to medium-high heat. Warm the milk to right below boiling, about 200°F. Stir the milk gently as it heats to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch and the milk doesn’t boil over.
  2. Cool the milk.Let the milk cool until it is just warm to the touch, 112°F to 115°F. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.
  3. Thin the yogurt with milk.Scoop out about a cup of warm milk with a measuring cup and add the yogurt. Whisk until smooth and the yogurt is dissolved in the milk.
  4. Whisk the thinned yogurt into the milk. Pour the thinned yogurt into the warm milk while whisking gently.
  5. Transfer the pot to the (turned-off) oven. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place the whole pot in a turned-off oven — turn on the oven light or wrap the pot in towels to keep the milk warm as it sets (ideally around 110°F).
  6. Wait for the yogurt to set. Let the yogurt set for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight — the exact time will depend on the cultures used, the temperature of the yogurt, and your yogurt preferences. The longer yogurt sits, the thicker and more tart it becomes. If this is your first time making yogurt, start checking it after 4 hours and stop when it reaches a flavor and consistency you like. Avoid moving or stirring the yogurt until it has fully set.
  7. Cool the yogurt. Once the yogurt has set to your liking, remove it from the oven. If you see any watery whey on the surface of the yogurt, you can either drain this off or whisk it back into the yogurt before transferring to containers. Whisking also gives the yogurt a more consistent creamy texture. I love to add vanilla beans that I’ve scraped out of the pods-I just fold them in!

 

Transfer the to storage containers, cover, and refrigerate.

 

Homemade yogurt will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

 

 

 

BLACKBERRY COULIS

 

My fondest memories are those spent on Bere Island, during the summertime. There’s really no place quite like it in the sun! Amongst the wild herbs and plants that grow here, are blackberries. One of the activities we would do when were younger, was go on long walks and pick blackberries along the way, either to be made into jam or as a healthy snack!

This coulis goes great with homemade yogurt or ice cream…you’ll probably be eating it with a spoon!

 

What you’ll need:

250g blackberries

50 g caster sugar

1.2 tspn vanilla extract

 

Put the blackberries and sugar into a saucepan with 2 fl oz of water. Bring to the boil, and then let simmer. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from stovetop, and let the mixture cool. Once room temperature, blitz all the ingredients in our food processor. Strain through a sieve-be sure to use a ladle or spatula to really rub the blitzed mix to get as much out of it as you can! Keep in an airtight container, like a jam jar, and it should last anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months.