So I’ve been a veganish person for the past six years. I say veganish because I do eat eggs, I started again around a year ago. I also eat honey. But being very lactose intolerant, it’s usually easier to tell people I’m vegan than a … Continue reading Scrumptious Saturday: Daiya Vegan Greek Yogurt
“You must drop it, Mr. Holmes, you really must, you know.”
– Professor James Moriarty, The Final Problem
Whoops! This was supposed to go up yesterday, but the kitchen was a bit busy and so here’s a special Sunday edition of Scrumptious Saturday! I was trying to think of something that would be a good follow up to my TARDIS cupcakes, which were quite popular (the official Doctor Who tumblr reblogged them!), but was falling a bit short. That’s when I remembered that I have a few Sherlock Holmes cookbooks and grabbed a random one off the shelf and went to work.
I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now, but just in case you haven’t, I’m a huge Sherlockian. Like, it can be a little alarming. I run a Sherlock Holmes podcast, host huge events in honor of the detective, am a member of the invite only Baker Street Irregulars, and have a growing collection of Great Mouse Detective memorabilia (mostly thanks to people who know how much I love the movie and thus send me finds they come across, I am not worthy). Anywho, I like Sherlock Holmes. So of course I have multiple Sherlock Holmes cookbooks. The one I grabbed was called The Sherlock Holmes Cookbook by John Farrell, though the recipe I ended up being inspired by was actually by Sean Wright in the Baker Street Meals & Menus section. The book itself is kinda meh. I wasn’t overly impressed and found a lot of the recipes a bit mundane, but it did offer inspiration in an unlikely way.
I came across this mulled cider recipe and laughed. Moriarty? Mulled cider? These two things do not match. I mean, yes, Moriarty is an Irish surname and Irish cider is a thing, but if anything I would have made it Moriarty’s Mulled Wine. As my friend Sora pointed out, Moriarty’s drinks should be red, because the man is a villain, etc etc. But it’s October and the idea of warm cider was too good to pass up. But this recipe was boring. I needed to jazz it up a bit. Not to mention that the Victorian trailer for the new Sherlock special was just released and thus I was feeling extra inspired. Here, have a watch and get excited with me:
Now that we’re all on the same page and screaming with joy. Let’s make ourselves a worthy mulled cider, shall we?
WHAT YOU NEED
- 1/2 gallon of apple cider
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1 shot brandy (or more if you want to booze it up)
- A few squeezes of honey
- A pinch of salt
- Optional: Add mulling spices or a combination of whole cloves and allspice for added spice
MAKE THE THING!
- Combine everything, yes, everything. Wait, not the 4th cinnamon stick, save that.
- Bring to a slow boil and then let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain to get all the bits and bobs out of it. Strain again just to be sure.
- Put into a mug, plop the extra cinnamon stick in there, and enjoy! For an extra boozy treat, add another shot of brandy.
If you want to make it red, you can always crush some cranberries in there or even throw in food coloring. I’m not a food coloring addict, I promise. It’s just fun. I’m apparently also a child and just love eating and drinking things that are ridiculous colors. I kept mine it’s regular color, though now I’m tempted. Top this with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon for an extra indulgent treat, and even freeze it for mulled cider pops, because why not?!
Nothing about mulled cider is really Moriartyish, let’s be real. Even pulling the Irish cider card. I accept that. I’m not sure why the authors of this cookbook felt to attach the professor’s name to this delicious warm beverage, but it gave me a chance to ramble about Sherlock Holmes again. Not to mention that it’s still tasty and a perfect treat on a chilly autumn evening.
One of my favorite things in the world to do is bake. I love baking. I bake for kicks, out of boredom, out of stress, and in a desperate desire to make everyone love me. So when I finished my errands this morning I was debating what to do, and then I saw my bottle of Police Box sprinkles and… well, GERONIMO! I’m a HUGE fan of Doctor Who, so any excuse to be a Time Lord in the kitchen is a good one. Every other Saturday I’m going to be bringing you some sort of delicious recipe with a nerdy twist. So let’s get started on our first Scrumptious Saturday!
Behold, TARDIS cupcakes! They’re blue! They’re fruity! They’re covered in tiny little sugar police boxes! I supported The Geeky Hostess‘ Kickstarter campaign for these geeky sprinkles ages ago (and stupidly forgot to update my address so I only got one of my bottles after I moved, oops) and hadn’t really used them. It was time to remedy that, and what better day to do that than Doctor Who Day (aka Saturday)?!
Now, I knew I wanted to make a TARDIS cupcake, but what flavor is the TARDIS? I thought maybe banana, as you should always take a banana to a party, or maybe apple to play off the an apple a day keeps the Doctor away (though who wants to keep the Doctor away??). But I just kept coming back to blue. They had to be blue. So a look in the fridge and I saw blueberries! Perfect! But there weren’t enough to make a full batch (damn, why did I eat them for brekkie?), so perusing about, I spotted maraschino cherries and figure if I was making cupcakes, I should just go all out and make them indulgent. Now I had the fruit, but I knew blueberries wouldn’t turn my cupcakes blue. I needed some help.
When wanting to color your food with the help of food dye, I cannot recommend gels enough. The drops aren’t going to give you the crazy colors you want without saturating your batter. Gels don’t require as much as the colors are always so much richer. So pick some up at your local grocery store or craft store if they’ve got a baking session. You’ll really notice the difference!
WHAT YOU NEED
- 1 stick/ 1/4 lb unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1 tsp baking bowder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Police Box Sprinkles by The Geeky Hostess
- Blue food coloring gel
MAKE THE THING!
- Preheat oven to 350F and insert liners into a cupcake pan. Pro tip: don’t have cupcake liners? Use coffee liners! Just cut to size.
- Cream butter and sugar together at medium speed until fluffy (3-5ish minutes). Add the eggs one at a time at low speed, but beat well.
- In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Don’t have a sifter? You can use a strainer or colander… or just pretend you sifted.
- Beat portions of the dry mixture into the creamed mixture, alternating with milk. Start with dry and end with dry. Add the food coloring gel (and add more if you want a deeper color) and mix together for two minutes.
- With a spatula, fold in the vanilla extract and then the blueberries and cherries. Follow with the sprinkles!
- Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack.
For a frosting I mixed marshmallow fluff (which actually contains no marshmallows btw) with blackberry jam and a little more of the food coloring gel, but these would be good with any sort of frosting really! Make sure to top with some more police box sprinkles once your’e done for that extra timey wimey feel and a nice crunch.
Let me tell you, these are AMAZING. The blueberries are nice and tart and the cherries add a nice sweetness and a bit of texture. Your mouth will undoubtedly turn blue, but just count it as part of the experience! The cupcakes are light and fluffy and are a delicious fruity treat.
So try them out! Let me know how it goes :)!