DECEMBER 15, 2011


I have been in my kitchen for three weeks straight. Baking, candy making, creating the packaging, and making my list of who gets what. On top of that, I have catered two events, made gingerbread houses with 55 kids, taught 25 five year olds how to make potato latkas, lastly, made two dishes representing our heritage and holiday family traditions(kugel and doughnuts) for both Isaac and Levi’s multi cultural feast at school.

After today, I am officially padlocking my kitchen door.  I don’t want to see another stick of butter, a whisk, not even my tea pot, for days. Tonight is Levi’s birthday and I couldn’t deny him his favorite meal (grilled chicken, black beans, rice, and guacamole) along with his requested birthday cake. After that, I am on hiatus.

One of the events that I catered this week was a holiday mixer.  Laura left the goodies up to me and her only request was that there was enough of everything for 45 woman.  I made the dream bars, the sable dough, and the candied cranberries in advance. The morning of (at the crack of dawn), I made these adorably delicious gingerbread cupcakes.

Up until yesterday, I was not a huge gingerbread fan. I am a convert.  As I watched all the ladies pop these in their mouths, not unlike a shot of tequila, and witnessed their reactions, I needed to try at least one.  As I walked out the door, with my platters in hand, I grabbed just one.  So sorry I only grabbed one…could have eaten at least two more!

Mini Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
yield: 40 mini cupcakes  

for the cupcakes:
1 1/4 cups(5.5oz.) whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2(2 oz.) stick of unsalted, organic butter
1/2 cup(3.5 oz.) orgnaic, white cane sugar
1/2 cup(4 oz.) unsulfured molasses
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2(4 oz.) cup boiling water

for the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cup(9.9 oz.) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. rum
1 tsp. grated orange zest
2 tsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

for the candied cranberries:
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cup organic, white cane sugar
6 Tbsp. water

for the cupcakes:
• preheat oven to 350*. line 40 mini muffin tins with paper liners. set aside.
• in a medium bowl, sift the whole wheat pastry flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and salt.
• in the work-bowl of your electric mixer, cream the 2 ounces of butter until smooth. add the sugar and beat until creamy.
• in a medium bowl, whisk the molasses and the egg.
• in a glass bowl, combine the baking soda and 1/2 cup of boiling water, stir until baking soda dissolves.
• combine the molasses mixture and the baking soda water.
• add to the mixing bowl and beat until combined.
• add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. do not over mix.
• using a 1 tablespoon ice cream scooper, scoop into prepared muffin liners.
• bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
• cool on a wire rack.
• frost when cool.
for the frosting
• in a work bowl of your electric mixer using your paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
• add the rum and mix.
• zest the orange right into the bowl and add the fresh orange juice. mix well.
• add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and turn the mixer on low. once incorporated, turn up the mixer and mix to combine. chill for 1 hour or overnight.
• using a pastry bag fitted with desired tip, fill pastry bag and pipe frosting onto each cupcake.
• top each cupcake with a candied cranberry

for the cranberries:
• cook 1 cup of sugar with 4 tablespoons of water in a small, heavy duty saucepan over low heat. stir until the sugar dissolves.
• transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler.
• add the cranberries and mix well.
• cover the mixture and place over simmering water.
• cook for 45 minutes, stirring a few times.
• remove the top of the double boiler, cover and let the mixture stand at room temperature overnight.
• place 1/2 cup of sugar in a wide bowl.
• drain cranberries into a small strainer.
• add the cranberries to the sugar and coat well.
• place on a parchment lined baking sheet and spread the cranberries in an even layer. let dry out for at least an hour.
• store in the fridge, in a covered container for three days or until ready to use.