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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Quick Fixes with Mixes, Cupcakes and Cones

I made a deal with myself one day last week. QVC day to be precise. It may surprise you to know that this girl does not own or has never possessed a Kitchen Aid. It may not surprise you at all in fact. It isn't as if I share a whole lotta cooking on this blog. On the contrary, rarely do I subject you to the going ons in my kitchen. There's a reason for that. Have you ever heard the expression about how the plumber usually has a leaky faucet or the shoe maker who doesn't have any new shoes? (well that one may be a bit outdated:) Anyway, I'm the cookbook collector who doesn't cook. Well, sorta kinda...

It isn't as if Marion and I are starving. Have I told you about Marion's shopping escapades? Some of the food does eventually "land" in our bellies. However, truth be told, confession time, dinner around here usually goes down without much of a fanfare. Simple and quiet, are the usual tone.

I enjoy cooking. I do. I just don't enjoy it as much as I use to. I was once the "susie homemaker" of my neighborhood, the hostess with the mostess to our friends and the healthy cookie baking mom to my children and their friends. I was "CEO" of the Hospitality Department of the PTA and was even showcased not once but twice as the local Coupon Queen! (in a local newspaper and a national magazine:) And could I throw a party!!! Intimate or grandeur, a party at our house was one not to be missed.

I'm not sure when things changed. Did it begin when I started working full time? Or was it when the children became teenagers with schedules to keep? Sometimes I think it all shifted when my husband passed away suddenly in 1998.

The other night, while eating my dinner, I was playing with the remote looking for something light and entertaining to watch when I happened upon QVC and the introduction of the new Kitchen Aid 6 qt 575 Watt Glass Bowl Lift Stand Mixer. WOWZA! I felt a stir, a wonder of amazement, one I haven't felt in years. I found myself shouting, out loud mind you, "I want one of those!"

It's a funny thing about want. It is totally different than need. As a young married bride, I was fortunate, I wanted everything, I needed nothing. That wasn't the case while growing up. My father had a "good" job. My mother didn't "have" to work but she did. Having been born in New York City, my mother didn't adapt well to the suburban life of Long Island. Relatives thought it would be my father who would have the difficult time. He always had in his heart that the choice to move from the city to the "country" was better for his family. My sister and I must have know this to be true because when we moved to Long Island way back in 1956 my paternal grandmother stilled lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, not far from the infamous Delancy Street and Katz's Delicatessen thoroughfare. My father didn't like leaving my grandmother in the city by herself. After moving to Long Island, I can remember each and every Sunday, after church, the family would pile into the car and make the one hour and half trek to grandma's house. (depending on traffic of course) Did we want to go all that way all those times? No. Did he need to go. I would have to say Yes.

My husband was more than patient when it came to my culinary whims. I found myself resisting his gentle kindness more often than I probably should have. I can't tell you how many times he wanted to buy me a Kitchen Aid. Many...I suppose my young personality got in my way; I had to "earn" it. That decision led me to becoming Long Island's "Coupon Queen." With the money I was saving and earning, I looked forward to the day I would be able to buy my very first stand up mixer. Except, I didn't. A friend of mine had just become a Shakelee dealer and in order for her to be able to pay for her new "kit," she had to obtain a certain amount of sales. From her, I bought a combination stand-up shredder, chopper, do it all, no name brand, that I can't remember, machine. I rarely used it.

When I saw that new Kitchen Aid on QVC that night, a flood of memories, some good, some not, rushed over me. I wanted that machine, I can certainly afford to buy that machine. However, once again, I needed to "earn" it.

The Deal

Since today is not only National Cupcake Day, (some say National Lemon Cupcake Day) but also the day the first patent was granted to Italo Marchiony for the ice cream cone mold, I've decided to challenge myself to create something special to celebrate and quench my need for earning a brand new Kitchen Aid. If I reach my self inflicted goal, I will finally buy myself a brand spanking new stand-up mixer, a Kitchen Aid. Should I not be satisfied with my current "susie home maker" status, I shall not. Simple...Perhaps an Ice Cream Cone Cupcake. For a brief introduction to ice cream cupcakes, check out Stefani's Cupcake Project blog. (Stef is a former Long Islander now living in Missouri:)

The Criteria

Not only did I want to challenge myself by making something I have never made before, I also wanted it to be to my liking. Back in the days when I "played" miss susie, I was always concerned with pleasing my family or my guests. Rarely did I cook or bake something I was craving or "dying" to try. This challenge would be different. Since I was attempting to satisfy myself both mentally and physically, it just had to be chocolate. Chocolate and Kahlúa to be exact because it is one of my favorite, if not my very best favorite flavor combination when it comes to sheer indulgence.

I also wanted to bake. As many of you know, I'm not much of a baker. I never really was. In my day, I did manage to "produce" some mighty fine desserts. Believe it or not, I was "famous" for my cheesecake which I actually don't consider a baking accomplishment:) However, for this challenge, I wanted to focus more on the preparation of design and novelty rather than on the batter for the cupcakes. I have had success with doctoring up cake mixes in the past so I decided to consult Quick Fixes with Mixes by Lia Roessner Wilson first published in 2001.

After much consideration, I finally decided on a recipe titled Self-Frosting Mexican Chocolate Cake.

It was the caption that captured my attention."The marshmallow mixture cooks to a pudding like consistency with an intense chocolate flavor." It did!

Perfect, I was dead set on having a cupcake cone that not only looked like an ice cream cone but satisfied like a cupcake. It just had to have a filling!

I made a few adjustments to the cake recipe though. I didn't have a Devil's Food Cake mix so I used Betty Crocker's Triple Chocolate Fudge mix. Instead of using one and one third cups of buttermilk, I substituted 1/3 cup of Kahlúa for the third of a cup of buttermilk. I also omitted the pecans. It looked pretty dreamy:)

I just couldn't have an Ice Cream Cone Cupcake without at least trying to make my very own cones. If you have never made homemade ice cream cones, reconsider. My mistake was not making them large enough for what I had in mind for this creation. Otherwise, they "whisk" up quite easily and if you are experienced with crepe making, you can certainly master the rolling of the cone. I didn't master it but then I didn't try with all my might once I knew they weren't going to work for this particular recipe. I did add crushed cinnamon candies to the cone batter though which really lifted the taste of the cones. Instead I filled my cones with a Kahlúa chocolate truffle mix to snack on while I was busy in the kitchen:) I figured it was way better than sipping one too many White Russians:)

And of course, an ice cream cone must have ice cream! Since I was indulging anyway, why not splurge on some Ben & Jerry's! I can't tell you the last time I raised my calorie count with any kind of ice cream especially Ben & Jerry's! I scooped out tiny balls of ice cream from both of the above flavors and froze them on a tray. When they were frozen enough, I popped them on top of the baked cupcake cones and "frosted" with just the right Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting which I doctored up with more Kahlúa, heavy cream and a pinch of cinnamon.

I'm pleased with the way the Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes came out. Pleased, not thrilled! While I was hopping from site to blog gathering information for the actual construction of an Ice Cream Cone Cupcake, I saw some beauties out there. My problem? I didn't have as much fun as others seemed to have when making theirs. The enthusiasm just wasn't there. They say stressed spelled backwards equals dessert, well for me, at this time in my life, I would much rather have the dessert without all the stress! I don't see a Kitchen Aid in my future.


A candle holder works great for holding the cones. As you can see, a bit of the chocolate marshmallow began to show through the wafer cones. I had to rush them back to the freezer:) Coating the cones might be a tasty solution:)

I am a cookbook collector, among many things. I like it that way. I love sharing my cookbooks with all of you. It's what I do, it is what I enjoy. When I get the urge to cook, whether it be a special dinner for Marion and myself or a memorable dessert for company, I'll just wing it and seek guidance from you and the many other fabulous cooks out there. You inspire me to dream about "playing" in the kitchen. I've muddled through without a Kitchen Aid for all of these years, and been quite content with it I may add, I'm fine with doing it my way whether it be with an old fashioned mixer or even my hands. I don't even have to "earn" it anymore because, I don't need it and better yet, I don't really want it either:)

I'm sending today's post over to Joyce's Cook Your Books Event. (I sure hope I'm doing it right:)

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Resources
1. Homemade Sugar Cones
2. Sweet Teacup Cookies (adorable and made with sugar cones)
3. Joy Sugar Cone Pinterest Board for Inspiration (an upside down sugar cone makes a wonderful tree when decorated with white icing)
4. Creamsicle Ice Cream Cupcakes
5. Ice Cream Filled Cupcakes
6. How to Make Ice Cream Filled Cupcakes
7. Black Raspberry & Lemon Crush Ice Cream Cupcakes
8. Ice Cream Cupcake Peanut Butter Cups