Once in a Blue Moon Cupcakes

IMG 5018 Edited Once in a Blue Moon Cupcakes

As a little girl, I once looked up at a sliver of a moon and pointed out the moon was broke. As a big girl, I like to drink Blue Moon. Some may argue my tastebuds are broke.

Since today marks the first blue moon in nearly three years, I thought it fitting to kick off the long weekend with cupcakes and beer. Cheers!

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Once in a Blue Moon Cupcakes
Serves: 12
  • For the Cupcakes
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup Blue Moon beer
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 orange, zested
  • For the Frosting
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract*
  1. Whisk together the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the vanilla extract, the orange extract and the orange zest to the butter and sugar.
  4. Add the dry flour mixture and the beer and milk to the mixing bowl in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour.
  5. Fill the wells of a muffin tin lined with papers about ¾ full with batter.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 20-22 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake will come out clean when done, and the tops of the cupcakes will spring back lightly when touched.
  7. To make the frosting, combine the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a saucepan over medium heat.
  8. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture bubbles.
  9. While the sugar mixture heats up, beat the egg whites, vanilla extract and orange extract until soft peaks form.
  10. Very slowly add the hot sugar mixture to the mixing bowl. (Go slow so you don't cook your egg whites). Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
The frosting recipe listed above is beyond plenty for 12 cupcakes. I would recommend halving the ingredient amounts listed.

Twisted Citrus Blackberry Pie

IMG 4992 Edited Twisted Citrus Blackberry Pie

A couple of weeks ago I spent my $20 allowance at the farmer’s market in no more than 10 minutes. I walked up to a stand I am fond of buying from and purchased $2 worth of peppers, $5 worth of tomatoes and $8 worth of  blackberries in a blink. I headed over to another stand to buy a $5 bouquet of wildflowers and was done.

This is how I shop. I know what I want, and I go in and get it. I have forever shopped like this at the mall. Shopping online however is another story. There I could browse all day…

I reserved a portion of my two quarts of blackberries for the Twisted Citrus Blackberry Pie which graces the cover of Perfect Pies Twisted Citrus Blackberry Pie by Michele Stuart. I am not a great baker of pies – my preferred baking mediums are cookies and cupcakes – but the cover photo really caught my eye.

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Though not a big impulse shopper (be sure not to confuse the efficiency noted above with impulse!), I take home impulse library books all the time. My local library tricks me into doing this. The new book display is located in such a way that I have to walk by it to get the books the library graciously holds for patrons. So I go in to get Game of Thrones, and I come out with five new cookbooks. I suppose there are worse vices.

A few weeks back I wrote that Tiramisu always plays second fiddle to key lime pie in my book. Twisted citrus blackberry pie is very similar to key lime pie, but dare I say it…better.

I love a bit of raspberry syrup with my key lime pie, and this pie has an entire blackberry glacé base. The citrus filling is crazy tart on its own, but it is perfectly sweetened by the glacé and whipped cream topping. The pie is very light, and though we are nearing the end of summer, I think this makes it a delicious summer dessert.

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Twisted Citrus Blackberry Pie
This pie requires four parts, one of which requires refrigeration for 6 hours. Then the assembled pie requires overnight refrigeration before serving. Don't worry though, it's worth it.
Recipe type: Dessert
  • For the Graham Cracker Pie Crust
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • For the Blackberry Glacé
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup water
  • For the Citrus Filling
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup lime juice
  • 1½ tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1½ tablespoons grated lime zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1, 14 ounce can of condensed milk (refrigerated at least 30 minutes)
  • For the Whipped Cream
  • For the Whipped Cream
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  1. To prepare the pie crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into a pie pan and pat it into place.
  3. Bake at 350 F for approximately 15 minutes. The crust should be set and browned around the edges when it comes out of the oven.
  4. To prepare the blackberry glacé. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the blackberries, sugar, cornstarch and water.
  5. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens to where it resembles jam, about eight minutes.
  6. Place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl and and strain the glacé to remove seeds.
  7. Allow the glacé to cool to room temperature, then refrigerator for six to 24 hours.
  8. To prepare the citrus filling, refrigerate a mixing bowl and the condensed milk at least 30 minutes before beginning.
  9. Combine the warm water and gelatin in a bowl to allow to soften, about five minutes.
  10. Once softened place over low heat or microwave on low power for 15 to 30 seconds to dissolve the gelatin. Set aside.
  11. Place the lemon juice and zest, lime juice and zest, heavy cream and condensed milk into the chilled mixing bowl.
  12. Beat on high speed until the mixture thickens, about three minutes.
  13. Add two tablespoons of the cream mixture to the dissolved gelatin and mix thoroughly to temper.
  14. Add the tempered gelatin back to the mixing bowl and continue to mix on high speed. The filling should be thick and creamy when finished, though the cream will not necessarily peak.
  15. Assemble the pie by spreading the blackberry glacé over the bottom of graham cracker crust.
  16. Then pour in the citrus filling and refrigerate overnight. The pie can keep refrigerated for up to three days before serving.
  17. Prepare the whipped cream by beating the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  18. Spread the whipped cream over the pie before serving, or pipe along with edges with a pastry bag.
  19. Garnish with blackberries and citrus zest if desired.
I need three lemons and three limes to get the 1½ tablespoons of zest. I zested an additional lime as a garnish. I had at least one cup of citrus pie filling left over. If you have a pie dish that is larger than 9-inches, I would use it instead. You might need to use a few extra graham crackers and butter in the crust to accommodate for the larger size.

A Flavor For August: Avocado Crème Pie

IMG 4906 Edited A Flavor For August: Avocado Crème Pie

Writing a blog provides the perfect excuse I need to make weird recipes. Pre-blog, I might have tucked a recipe for avocado crème pie away. But now, I bake pretty much whatever catches my eye. This is not always a good thing.

Fortunately, this pie was a good thing. The recipe began, “Although this may sound bizarre at first, it makes a lot more sense when you remember that avocados are actually fruits!” The author went on to ask, “You wouldn’t think twice about a banana crème pie right?” Well no, I would not think twice about a banana crème pie, but ah, I would also eat a banana in my car on the way to work. I cannot really say the same for an avocado.

Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of this avocado crème pie. More so than avocado, the citrus taste of the lemon really came through. The flavor was definitely unique to all of my previous avocado experiences.

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This pie is the perfect dessert to take to a Wizard of Oz theme party. Not only does its lovely green color resemble the wicked witch of the west, it melts like her too. Once a piece is cut and on a plate, it rapidly loses its shape. Since Wizard of Oz theme parties are fairly rare, a better option might be to serve this dessert at a Halloween party, given its bewitching green color and all.

I would definitely eat this pie again, but I would look into variations first. Realizing cream cheese is a base in the pie, I would try to tweak the recipe to become more of an avocado cheesecake rather than a pie. That is likely just my preference for a heartier texture, but I wanted to throw it out there as an idea.

Alas, this is the final avocado recipe for the month. (Is that you rejoicing, I hear?) As we barrel into the last week of August, my desire to bake is slowly waking from its summer hibernation, which I hope is a good thing. Perhaps more importantly, my desire to bake “normal” recipes is returning with it. Have a great week!

IMG 4911 Edited A Flavor For August: Avocado Crème Pie

Avocado Crème Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
  • For a Graham Cracker Pie Crust
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
  • For the Avocado Pie Filling
  • 2 medium sized, ripe avocados
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (one brick) cream cheese, slightly softened
  • ⅓ cup brown rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
  • whipped cream for garnish, optional
  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter or oil and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and pat it into place.
  3. Bake at 350 F for approximately 15 minutes. The crust should be set and browned around the edges.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. While the pie crust cools, peel and pit the avocados. Cut them into chunks and place them into a blender or food processor along with the lemon juice.
  6. Puree until smooth, then add in the zest, vanilla, cream cheese, rice syrup, coconut oil and salt.
  7. Pulse to combine all of the ingredients. Set aside.
  8. In a saucepan over low medium heat, whisk together the sugar, milk and arrowroot or cornstarch. Be sure to break up any lumps.
  9. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture should be thick.
  10. Stream the sugar syrup into the blender or food processor while it is running and blend until very well combined. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  11. Pour the avocado filling into the graham cracker pie crust.
  12. Chill in the refrigerator at least six hours before serving.
  13. If desired, garnish with whipped cream immediately before serving.
Though this recipe came from a vegan cookbook, I have obviously de-veganed it by using butter in place of margarine, whole milk in place of soy milk, etc. Please use whatever substitutions are appropriate for your diet. Streaming the hot sugar syrup into my food processor was no problem because its lid has an opening for just this type of thing. I am uncertain how performing this step could cause anything less than a mess with a blender. The top of my blender opens in the center, but mixtures certainly like to shoot out of it when it is open. It may be best to use a stand mixer to accommodate this step.