We should probably preface this post by saying that despite the extreme quantity of cupcakes baked last night, not a single one was “holy.” However, it should also be said that we believe cupcakes are a religious experience. All sweets should be a grand experience. If they aren’t, you clearly aren’t doing it right.
And if you looked at our kitchen right now, you’d say “holy cupcakes, Batman” too. How did we get here you ask? Coconut. A nice 4 ounce bottle of coconut extract to be exact. Followed by coconut flavored M&Ms, shredded sweetened and unsweetened coconut, toasted coconut and a challenge.
We’ve been frequenting North Market Spices Ltd. a lot lately (and by a lot we mean at a minimum weekly because people need new spices that often). Now that we feel like we’ve acquired the vast majority of their dry spices and herbs, we’ve branched out to discover extracts. If you live in the Columbus, OH area and haven’t been, it’s a must. Get off your couch and go. Now. Please. Anyway, back to coconut. Our friends gave us a bottle of coconut extract and told us to “play around with it and bring in some samples.” Never being one to shy from experimentation we gladly said yes and so the adventure began.
We thought about flavors that typically go well with coconut. Lime? Pecans? Almonds? Vanilla? Maybe chocolate? Would you put it all into a cookie? A cupcake? Maybe a marshmallow? We made a
single multiple four trips to the grocery store for supplies and came up with a cupcake and a cookie. The cupcake was simple. Some coconut extract in the base of a vanilla bean cupcake. We added chocolate chips to some, toasted coconut and pecans to others. We even left some plain. It was of course topped off with a coconut butter cream frosting and some pretty toasted coconut (because who doesn’t love toasted coconut). The cookie paired coconut extract with toasted coconut, pecans and dark chocolate chips. There may have also been some brown sugar and butter hanging out in there as well.
The verdict? Well, we were pretty proud of our first attempts. The cupcakes were pretty light and airy, as a cupcake should be. The butter cream was sweet and had just enough coconut. The toasted coconut and pecans added some nice texture and the flavors seemed to pair well together.
The cookie? Well, the first batch burned a bit on the bottom. The second batch seemed to come out much better. The consistency was chewy and a bit cake-y. Best served still warm straight from the oven with the melted chocolate oozing slightly from the inside. Deeeeelicious.
So. You’re probably thinking. That’s one cupcake. One cookie. Yes, you’re doing the math correctly. That’s two items. No big deal. Our kitchen shouldn’t look like that much of a disaster.
However, I got excited, Shaun’s a little ADD and the rest just exploded from there. We decided to finally work on the epic task of building our menu of cupcakes.
We could also blame our obsession with Spices Ltd. again. We’ve become a bit excited about flavors we didn’t previously know existed in the realm of cooking and baking. We now have hibiscus powder, culinary lavender, anatto seeds and a whole slew of other things. By the time the night was over, we had a moscato wine flavored cupcake with hibiscus butter cream as well as another with a blueberry butter cream icing, a white cupcake with cilantro and a lime butter cream topped with fresh cilantro and sea salt, a chocolate cupcake with almond butter cream and toasted coconut and an angel food cupcake, hibiscus crinkle cookies, and hibiscus flavored gummies. All of our recent experiments can be viewed in the “Recent Favorites” section of our website.
-Kimberly & Shaun