Thursday, January 27, 2011

Strawberry & Pink Champagne Cupcakes

The end of January is drawing near and it has been almost a full month since the ball dropped, the confetti flew, and the champagne was poured.

Ah, the champagne...

A celebratory drink to ring in the New Year and all the resolutions and promises that it inevitably brings. My own resolution was to embrace the Finnish concept of Sisu and leave nothing unfinished once it has been started. The humor was not lost on me then, when I realized that I was being haunted by the unfinished bottle of pink champagne that I used to toast my new commitment.

Chances are I would never find another opportunity to drink it (until NEXT New Year) so I turned to the InTheKitschen recipe archives. From there I recovered a recipe for fabulous pink champagne and strawberry cupcakes. These cupcakes capture the effervescent mood of pink champagne with a light texture and subtle, fruity tones throughout. The signature strawberry champagne buttercream delivers a satiny finish with just enough sweetness to accentuate the delicate flavors of the cake. This recipe is a great use of your New Year leftovers and perfect for upcoming Valentine's Day celebrations. Whether you're having dinner with your sweetheart or brunch with dear friends, these pink champagne cupcakes will have your loved ones feeling bubbly :)

Ingredients:

Pink Champagne Cupcakes
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup pink champagne
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 6 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. reserved strawberry syrup*
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
Strawberry & Champagne Buttercream
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup strawberries with syrup*
  • 2 tbsp. pink champagne
*see directions below

Instructions:
*Before you proceed with any other steps you must prepare your strawberries. Once they are thoroughly washed, dice and toss strawberries with a tbsp. of white sugar. Allow the mixture to rest covered for a minimum of 30 minutes in order for osmosis to occur and syrup to be formed. Reserve 1 tbsp. syrup for cupcake batter.

For the Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Begin by beating butter on medium speed until smooth, then add sugar and strawberry syrup. Continue to beat until pale and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add room temperature egg whites to your creamed butter/sugar and beat until well combined.
  4. While your wet ingredients are busy mixing combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl and sift them well.
  5. By now the egg/butter/sugar should be a smooth, even consistency. With your mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients in small amounts, alternating with the pink champagne, until all ingredients have been incorporated.
  6. Scoop your batter into lined muffin tins (this batch makes about 20) and bake for approx. 17 minutes. Fully baked cupcakes will have a slightly cracked surface and bounce back to the touch.
  7. Allow to cool before frosting.
For the Buttercream
  1. Whip room temperature butter at high speed until pale and fluffy.
  2. Change mixer to lowest speed and add confectioners sugar gradually.
  3. Once all the sugar has been incorporated add the champagne and diced strawberries with remaining syrup while the mixer is still on low speed.
  4. Once ingredients are thoroughly binded together increase mixer speed to highest setting and beat until color and consistency are even (strawberry pieces will continue to break down but will leave lovely bits of red throughout).
  5. Frost and Enjoy! This buttercream is easy piped from a pastry bag or spread with a spatula. As a fun extra flourish I added some large nonpareils that were reminiscent of the bubbles you might find in your glass of champagne.


A toast to good desserts! Check back soon for more delicious posts on Creators' Co-Op!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You Don't Have To Have Long Hair

 to have fun making hair accessories.  I mean, Gaetano, the main "guide" at the workshop we just had this past Sunday doesn't even have much hair on his head.

Everyone seemed to be having so much fun creating, the whole store was practically glowing.  Several of the attendee mentioned how they were so happy their creations ended up being something they would actually wear. - So, okay, you might want to have some sort of hair to be able to put these pins through. - That made us deeply pleased.

Thank you, everyone.  There will be another one on February 20th.
And, there are several other classes and workshops planned through the end of February.  Check them out at our website  www.creators-coop.com 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Our new windows and intern

So we have an intern!  We didn't plan it.  Sofia walked in a couple of weeks ago and asked to be one.  She's only 16, and we are deeply impressed by the size of her balls along with her talent.  I am sure I wasn't that confident and self-assured when I was 16.
 She is painting our windows right now, outside, in 23 degree weather.  Her brush strokes are strong and confident, we are amazed at her young age.













People walking by are taking photos of her work.  They are really cute!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

having fun with up-cycling: Fox And Time



Gaetano (of Nera and Lume) and I have been working on a new project, Fox And Time lately, and now we have enough creations to have them in Creators' Co-Op.

Fox And Time is a line full of up-cycled vintage clothing and accessories.  Gaetano and I pick out the vintage pieces we like, then chop them up and stitch them back together.  I have always loved shopping vintage clothing, then I would never wear them - there was always something missing, or something I just couldn't get over.  Sitting down and actually making the bit of alterations to our liking is so much fun.  And, we are proud of the results.

This way, we now have some men's garments and ties.  We cut up the vintage Hawaiian shirts and used them as applique on military jackets and men's ties.  In this cold weather, it is nice to dream of Hawaii.  Gaetano and I are also in love with the whole pin-up girl thing.  As a post-modern feminist, I am satisfied with the whole idea.

Of course, we have women's dresses and skirts we have chopped up and re-vamped as well, and they are all making us both deeply happy.  Up-cycling is definitely more fun and less grinding work for me.  I wonder if Gaetano agrees?  We start out with a piece that's already what it is - clothing, bag, tie - so there is a bit less pressure in that sense.  Although, there is another pressure of making sure whatever we do does the vintage piece justice.  If we're changing something about the vintage piece, it will have to be an improvement, not a compromise. 
The skirt here started out too small to be today's size 8, although it was marked as such.  I think this was from the 70's.  So I took it apart, and cut a few strips from another skirt and applied them here. I love the stripe cutting the bias plaids.

these are the ties. Gaetano did them all, and I had to keep reminding him he couldn't keep them all for himself.  Maybe a fun gift for Valentine's Day.

We are cutting and sewing Fox And Time at the store, so people see us through the window and come in, asking to alter their clothes.  We politely point them to the dry cleaner across the way. 


 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lock and Spoon joins us!

Ms. Emily Langmade of Lock and Spoon just joined Creators' Co-Op.  She is very talented, and her creations are just beautiful.  She incorporates found objects - some of them deeply vintage - into her creations, resulting in unique and somehow nostalgic pieces.

We are delighted to have her with us, especially with her delightful vibes.  She promises to be dropping by the Co-Op store often, so hopefully you will meet her in person soon!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year Hop Hop

Just drew a couple of bunnies on our store window.  It is the year of the rabbit.  Ken walks by and says, "you know, no one would get that unless they're Asian."  Ahahaha.  No matter!

People are starting to come to Creators' Co-Op from other Boroughs.  The first was right before the Christmas, a gentleman who lives in Inwood - my old neighborhood in upper Manhattan - coming in after work in midtown for his holiday shopping.  He walked in with, "this is Creators' Co-Op, right? 26-16 23rd Avenue?"  Very exciting.  He mentioned the little article on Time Out New York.  I guess these things do help.

We're having our New Year Celebration Event this Saturday the 8th all afternoon, with live music, wine, cheese, and hot apple cider.  Figured it will be a nice way to start the year. 


Let's see how we can keep on hopping!  On our right is one of Art And Adventures' "Encouragement" Card.  Stretching does us good.

Sociable