Happy Valentine's day ! Well, it's that time of the year when you can see heart shaped this and that , but honestly, i think, just like Mother's Day, or Father's Day, this one too should really be celebrated on a daily basis rather than devote just one day according to me. That really helps long term you know :-) But one thing I agree with these "Hallmark" inspired celebration days is , the excuse I get to bake a dessert in my oven. These Blueberry muffin and mini cupcakes are a result of that labor of "love" ;-) , well with a toddler running around and constantly demands that I inspect his helpful gestures and actions in the house, the labor I mentioned earlier should not just be taken as a phrase, it was every bit of action packed ,....from inspecting the lego blocks, to cleaning the onion shells, to playing peekaboo atleast five times in a row, to soothing the boo boos on tiny elbows .....I tell you, sometimes I wish I could clone myself (like in the film "multiplicity"), coz, I love to actually do these things with my little buddy, along with pursue my passion in the kitchen :-) So without further delay, let me get to the point with,the recipe. I used a store bought cake mix to make this. I have never posted a recipe here using store bought mixes, as I always bake from scratch. But I have been taking a realistic approach these days, and thought that if I have to make these muffins with no help from my better half to entertain the busy body of our house, and sift the flour with a small tea strainer, it's just a disaster waiting to happen. So, cake mix it is :-)
Recipe adapted for Blueberry Muffins : Semihomemade Mom
1 cup Pound Cake mix (the original recipe calls for yellow cake mix)
1-2 cups blueberries
3 large eggs slightly beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons flour
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon orange juice (optional)
Note: The batter is a lot, and it rises a lot too. Next time I am planning to reduce the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon.
In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients. Then add the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and mix well, but careful not to mix too much , just until no specks of yellow from egg or dryness from flour is visible. Then add vanilla and orange juice. Finally add Blueberries and mix slightly.
Preheat oven to 375 F (differs with oven, mine has a feature called quick bake, where the recommended temperature in recipes should be reduced to 25 deg less than the recipe calls for, hence I preheated mine to 350 F)
Pour the batter into greased and floured muffin pans lined with cupcake liner. If you dont have a cupcake liner, just grease the moulds well. I did that with my mini cupcake pan.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the batter is completly cooked which you can test with a toothpick.
Once done, switch off oven and let them cool in oven itself or outside.I kept my cupcakes in my oven overnight and decorated with the fondant icing today.
Homemade Marshmallow Fluff Fondant:
I found this to be a workout for my hands , not joking ;-) This is the first time I handled fondant, or even fluff for that matter. So I am a complete novice as you can tell from the picture here :)....But I learned some very valuable lessons which novice fondant makers like me will find it useful the next time they are planning to experiment with making fondant with Fluff. Fluff is basically Marshmallow cream. You might as well use regular marshmellow, but you will need to melt it with few tablespoons of water in microwave. I have not tried that method. Hence I cant elaborate more on it. Fluff basically omits that step. But this one is supposed to taste much better than the expensive store bought fondant. It tasted fine to me. I have never tasted or even seen the store bought one. So can't vouch for whether it tastes any different.
You will need:
1 jar (around 16 oz of Fluff) room temperature
2 Lb of Confectioners sugar (around a little close to 1 lb of this will get used when the end product is finished, but you better stock up in case you run out of it )
Crisco : a small can
Food grade color (optional)
Scoop out all the fluff you can on a fairly big mixing bowl. This stuff is very very sticky. So grease your hands very well with Crisco. Also add around 2 cups of sugar into the mixing bowl. Mix in the color at this point (This is the mistake I did, thinking I will add color once the fondant is formed. Its really worth mixing at this point, if you are starting out as a novice like me). Start mixing with a rubber or silicon spatula , adding powdered sugar , mixing until it can no longer be mixed with the spatula. Then knead with your bare hands until a smooth, pliable dough is formed. If the dough is too hard, add a bit of crisco, else if its sticky, add more sugar.
To store: Apply a bit of crisco to the fondant dough, cover with plastic wrap and inside a ziploc bag, inside the freezer. To use: Take it from freezer and roll it slowly, it will start out hard, but believe me, it will soften, but dont wait for it to soften to room temperature else , you will not be able to use it well without it tearing or stretching. Yes that too I learned the hard way.
Hope you liked this post :) It took quite a lot of multitasking to do the baking, unmoulding , levelling, decorating, clicking the pics (you can make it out with the chubby hands of my little helper ;-) , and then now finally posting this , while my sweet Valentine is entertaining our busy body :)....So I would like you readers , especially the ones who are silent readers , to please post comments ....It would make my day ! :-) ......If you don't I still thank you for visiting my space :-) and hope you would visit again :-)