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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Caramel Date Cupcakes

I've been away again, for quite some time, I see. I've been back a few times, written a post or two, and then not finished it for whatever reason, thinking I would get back to it soon... I guess always think my breaks will be shorter than they end up being. But I suppose if breaks mean my life is busy, then that's not such a bad reason to stop blogging. But I've been itching to get back on here again. I keep meaning to add more content, even if it's without commentary. I'd like to add more of a photo-journal type thing on here too. I love looking at my old blogs, and remembering the lovely days out and about, or cute creatures I tend to photograph...

I would still like to add to my list of recipes I have growing here.  My oven was out of commission recently, for over 2 months, and I was devastated. I had to get a little creative, so I tried a few different, non-oven, recipes I've been a little nervous to try... a few worth mentioning here.

I also keep trying to remember a favorite recipe for this-or-that and realize I haven't documented it here yet. I'd like to keep tabs on these things in some sort of organized way...not loose papers pinned to my cork-board... or in a pile on top of my printer (printers make great shelves if you use the cassette feeder!)
AND FINALLY, here is a fantastic recipe I slightly changed from a Women's Weekly cookbook I received for my birthday last year. I pretty much omitted the chocolate from the original recipe, and then made a caramel glaze instead. Chocolate, as much as I love it, seemed wrong in this instance (there is 1/2 cup semi-sweet / dark chocolate chips added to the batter, if you feel up for it, and a chocolate glaze icing in the original recipe).

1 3/4 cups (250g) seeded dried dates
1 1/3 cups (330ml) boiling water
1 tsp baking soda / bicarbonate of soda
125g (just less than 1/2 cup, approx*)  butter, softened
3/4 cup (165g) packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups (225g) self-raising flour / self-rising (or use this recipe to make it, if you don't have any), sifted
60g (1/4 cup, approx) butter
1/2 cup (110g) packed brown sugar
2 tbsp cream (or milk)
3/4 cup (120g) icing sugar

1. Preheat over to 180°C / 160°C fan forced / 350°F.
2. Prepare16 cupcake pans with liners or butter / grease.
3. Bring dates and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in soda, and let sit for 10 minutes. Blend mixture until smooth, and cool another 10 minutes.
4. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one a time, beating beating between each addition.
5. Stir in flour and date mixture.
6. Fill cupcake tins, and bake for about 25 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack.
7. Prepare icing by stirring butter, brown sugar and cream in a small saucepan over heat until sugar dissolves. Then bring to the boil, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and slowly poor into icing sugar, beating as you go, to avoid lumps.
8. Spread onto cakes, and enjoy :)

 So moist, and just the right amount of density to not be so cupcake-y. This could be a real dessert! With some vanilla ice cream, of course.

* the reason I have so many measurements, is that I know this blog is read from mainly Australia & North America, and therefore everyone can use these recipes. I found it very frustrating when I first moved to Australia to find that most recipes required a scale. I still rarely use one, so I have found ways to convert most measurements. Also, Australian & North American measurements are slightly different (Tbsp size, etc), but they usually don't make a difference in the outcome of the recipes - I have never noticed a difference.