So how do you start blogging again after being away for so long?
Even more important, how do you turn your attention to something as trivial as being a foodie and cook when your life was turned upside down in an instant?
I suppose I should back track just a bit. As I said in my last post, on March 18, my grandson had a cardiac arrest at after school care. At 3:30 that afternoon, my world turned upside down and it still isn’t completely upright. Before that instant, Todd was a normal, active 6-year-old boy who loved playing kickball and soccer to fighting for his life.
After 3 months in the hospital with various complications, he finally went to rehab. (He suffered a traumatic brain injury due to lack of oxygen during the cardiac arrest.) He is now home and doing out-patient rehab to try to relearn how to control his motor functions. He is doing well and we are hopeful that he will regain a lot of what he lost.
Needless to say, cooking hasn’t been high on my list of priorities. Mostly, I have tried to stay busy enough not to think about what was going on 10 hours away from me. As he has improved, though, I have been able to turn my attention back to some of the things I was doing before.
Last Saturday, I made not one, but TWO, kinds of birthday cupcakes for my friends.The first ones I have made before – Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes with Butter Pecan Icing. You can check out the blog post here. But here’s a picture, just in case you are curious how they turned out the second time.
The second batch were something new. This is Sara’s first birthday since joining the Drama Queens, so she wasn’t sure what was coming when I asked her whether she preferred chocolate or vanilla. She liked vanilla and strawberries are her favorite fruit, so I started thinking what I could put together. Then she texted that she was really hoping I would make sugar cookies. Hmmm…
I decided to use the Paula Deen 1234 cake for the cupcakes. Since the recipe is for a layer cake instead of cupcakes, I reduced the baking time to about 10-12 minutes. This may vary depending on your oven. Just keep a close check on them. They are ready when the cupcakes spring back if you touch the center lightly.
After I made the cupcakes, I cut up a pint of strawberries, added sugar, and put them in the refrigerator to make syrup. I used my Pampered Chef Egg Slicer Plus to cut the strawberries, so the slices would be think and uniform for garnish.
Next, pour about 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream into a mixer and use a wire whisk attachment (if you have one) to beat on high until stiff peaks just start to form. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the syrup from the strawberries, 3 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar and 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin to the whipped cream. Beat just until combined. Be sure to taste it to make sure it is sweet enough for you. You can add a little more sugar or syrup if you want it sweeter.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut a cone shaped chunk out of the middle of each cupcake after they are completely cool. (Keep the bits of cupcake, because you will put them back.) Dribble a bit of the strawberry syrup in the bottom of the hope, then put a single strawberry slice in the hole. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and put the cake-cone back on top.
Pipe more whipped cream on top of the cupcakes for frosting.
Now here is how I worked in the sugar cookie request. I made a batch of homemade tea cakes (I’ll post the recipe for those tomorrow), which are just old-fashioned sugar cookies. Make some of them small — half dollar sized — to be garnish on the cupcakes. (You can make the rest of them regular sized and eat them at your leisure!)
Stand one small cookie on its edge in the whipped cream topping of each cupcake and stand one strawberry slice next to it. Spoon a little of the strawberry syrup over the top as the final touch. You should end up with something like this.
Then just sit back and listen to everyone rave about how good they are!