Saturday, December 6, 2008

Go Army! Beat Navy! 109th Army Navy Game

(109th Army Navy Game logo)
Hi friends! Let's hope 2008 is the year Army has it's comeback! If you do not know about the rivalry, check this out!

Regardless, of who wins today (Army!) you know what a soft spot I have for all of our service members! I read about yet another great way to give back this holiday season through Operation Gratitude. OPERATION GRATITUDE seeks to lift troops' morale, and bring a smile to their faces by sending care packages addressed to individual service members deployed overseas. OPERATION GRATITUDE care packages contain food, toiletries, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation, all wrapped with good wishes of love and support.

Afterall, isn't that what the holidays are all about? Giving back, appreciating, all wrapped up with good wishes and love?

Enjoy your day and remember Army fans - BEAT NAVY! I think cupcakes are missing from this party ~ which is why I am baking as I post this. Pictures will follow!

Best!

(Rock the Black/Gold! Chocolate cupcakes and vanilla butter cream frosting sprinkled with chocolate jimmies and gold sugar crystals)

(Don't just catch the Army spirit... you can eat it too!)

Martha Stewart's One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen

1 3/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 teaspoons table salt
2 large whole eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line cupcake pans with liners; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

4. Add the eggs, warm water, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla; mix batter until mixture is smooth and combined, for about 3 minutes.

5. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.

6. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway.

7. Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 18-20 minutes. Rotate the pan once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack.

8. VERY IMPORTANT to let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting!

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. whole milk
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. plus plus 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and salt for about 30 seconds.

2. Add half of the powdered sugar and the milk to the butter and beat again until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

3. Add the remainder of the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Beat until combined. Scrape down the bowl again.

4. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes or until the frosting is fluffy.

5. Continue beating on high speed for 3 minutes.

6. It is preferable to use the frosting on the same day you make it, but it can keep in the refrigerator for 3 days if tightly wrapped. Make sure and stir the buttercream well before using to get the air bubbles out of the frosting and then pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.

7. Top with chocolate jimmies and gold sugar crystals.

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