An Old Favorite
Every year as February 14th approaches, I aspire to do many things to get ready for Valentine’s Day. I plan to make cute goody bags for Maya’s classmates. I tell Maya that we will make her cards this year instead of buying Hello Kitty ones again. I decide to make some delicious, complicated desserts for friends and family. And as a result of all my good intentions, I find myself mesmerized by the gorgeous crafts, cookies, and cupcakes that plaster the covers of the “Mom magazines” that I pretend I don’t read.
Yes, it’s true. I read Martha Stewart’s Magazine. I am officially old.
On the rare occasion I stop being cheap and actually buy Martha’s magazine, I take it home and Maya and I contemplate which Valentine’s Day recipe we are going to tackle. After many arguments and the inevitable name calling session, we finally decide on something and make a list of the utensils and ingredients the recipes calls for. Since it is rare that we have any type of food in our kitchen, and even rarer that we have baking supplies, we drive down to our not-at-all-convenient Target to purchase the needed items: heart-shaped muffin tins, cupcake liners, sprinkles, frosting, and cupcake mix.
When we finally get home and unload all the stuff Martha tells us we need, plus $100 worth of other great stuff we didn’t need but purchased anyway, Maya and I look at each other and instantly feel overwhelmed. And tired. Target takes a lot out of you, you know.
So we put away the heart-shaped muffin tins for another day. We store the heart cupcake liners next to the ones we purchased from Target the previous year but forgot about. We stash the cupcake mix in the cupboard for when Ali demands some trans-fat filled dessert. And we pull out this tried and true recipe instead.
Vanilla Jam Cupcakes
1/2 cup of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of white sugar or NuNaturals Baking Blend
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of milk (I use Vanilla Almond Breeze)
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
2. Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix well.
3. Add the milk and mix well.
4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing well.
6. Pour into 10 greased muffin tins (or cupcake liners).
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
Once the cupcakes are completely cooled take a serrated knife and cut the cupcake top off. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out a heart in the middle of the cupcake top and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Drop a teaspoon of jam on the base of the cupcake, and center the cupcake top back on. The jam will hold it in place.
Thanks to Maya’s knife skills, and finger licking habits, these might not look as professional or pretty as Martha’s cupcakes do. But I promise that they taste just as good, and dare I say, even better?