Thursday, May 22, 2014

The best hot wings ever

When Dan and I watch baseball (or football or Star Trek) together, he always demands requests that I make wings. Mine are horrendously spicy, coated with chili powder and onion powder, and drenched in sriracha. They're baked, instead of fried, so they're a little healthier (HA.) They're baked slowly, so the outside skin is chewy and crispy and the meat is tender and juicy. If you bake wings on high heat for a short amount of time, they tend to get tough and slimy.

Making your own hot wings is easy. It takes a while, but it's worth it. I'd have a picture of my delicious wings, but Dan ate them all.

On wings: I usually get them fresh. I've tried getting them frozen and thawing them, but the bones in them are usually crushed or broken and it's just an all-around unpleasant eating experience. Make sure you get the package that has the joints already separated and the wing tips discarded. Nobody has time to stand in the kitchen and cut chicken wings apart. There are just too many sporting events to watch.

On hot sauce: I use sriracha because it is way spicier than Frank's and does a better job at sticking to the wings without making them slimy or soggy in the process. Sriracha also has an all-around better complex, peppery, garlicky flavor, which is enhanced by the flavors of the onion powder and chili powder. Get the sriracha from the Asian food section of the grocery store. It's the one with the green lid and the picture of the rooster on the bottle. This particular brand of sriracha has a better flavor than other srirachas on the market. Do not settle for sub-par sriracha.

Caryn's horrendously spicy and delicious hot wings

Wings (about 12 to 20)
chili powder
onion powder
salt and pepper
About 2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove wings from the packaging and place in a bowl. Sprinkle GENEROUSLY with chili powder, onion powder and salt. You can also sprinkle with a little pepper, if that's your thing. It should look like the wings are coated in seasoning.

Place the seasoned wings on a baking pan. Space them apart so they have room to bake. Bake the wings for 45 minutes to an hour, or until desired crispness is reached. I usually bake them for closer to an hour.

Remove wings from the oven and let sit. Melt about 2 T. butter in a small saucepan. When butter is melted, add about 2/3 cup to a full cup of sriracha (depending on how many wings you have) and stir over medium heat until the butter and sriracha are fully incorporated and the sauce is hot (steam will be rising off the top of the sauce.)

Place the baked wings into a separate bowl (NOT the one you just used to season them) and dump the sauce on top. Toss the wings with a big spoon. Serve immediately with plenty of paper towels and cold beverages.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Dan's orange creamsicle birthday cupcakes

I could wax poetic about my very bestest friend and (new!) spiffy significant other, Dan. Instead, we'll keep it simple (because I'm sure you'll ask if you want to know my life drama.) 

Dan told me that as a child, he used to eat orange swirl soft serve ice cream with chocolate sprinkles from Kohr Bros., and anything orange-cream-flavored reminded him of his childhood. 

So I invented these cupcakes for him for his birthday. Because nothing says "You mean the world to me and I never want to be without you" like 12 cupcakes. For the record, he did eat four of them, even after I took them to work to share with an office full of people. So I guess they're good.

Dan's orange creamsicle birthday cupcakes

They look like boring old vanilla cupcakes...

To make them vegan, just omit the white chocolate chips, or find some vegan white chocolate chips. I live in the culinary butthole of the United States, so I haven't been lucky to find vegan white chocolate chips at any grocery store I've visited.

I've always found the best baking stuff at craft stores, oddly. Go to Michael's or AC Moore for fancy cupcake liners, disposable(!!!!) pastry bags and frosting tips. I'm almost convinced the cupcake liners make the cupcake. If they're pretty, the cupcakes look more appetizing and awesome. Don't settle for boring cupcake liners.

1 c. soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 T. cornstarch
3/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. Earth Balance butter
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
3/4 t. orange extract
2/3 c. white chocolate chips

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2.) Whisk the soy milk and vinegar together in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle.
3.) Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
4.) Cream Earth Balance butter and sugar together until it's light and fluffy. Add vanilla and orange extracts. Beat in the soy milk mixture, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.
5.) Add the dry ingredients and mix until no large lumps remain. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
6.) Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. 
7.) Remove from muffin tin and let cool on a wire rack.

1/2 c. Crisco
1/2 c. Earth Balance Butter
4 c. confectioners' sugar
4 T. orange juice
1 t. finely grated lemon zest
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. orange extract

1.) Cream Crisco and Earth Balance butter together until well-combined. 
2.) Add confectioners' sugar in roughly 1/2-cup additions. 
3.) Add orange juice, lemon zest and extracts and beat until it looks like frosting.
4.) Spread (don't pipe) frosting on cooled cupcakes.
5.) Devour cupcakes yourself or share with the entire office. Go crazy.

Because you can't have enough cupcakes.

Dan's birthday was on Tuesday, so I made him a sizable quantity of cupcakes. A couple people requested the recipe for my chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, so here they are.

I will say the general ideas were my own, but parts of the actual recipes were not. The chocolate cupcakes were from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, and the homemade peanut butter cups were from The Kind Diet. All of the recipes I've tried from both books have been excellently delicious and amazing, SO BUY THEM.

Vegan chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting and homemade peanut butter cups

These cupcakes are like two desserts in one. Start these the day before serving them. The peanut butter cups need to hang out in the fridge for a while before you can use them. I have not been able to find graham crackers without honey, but you can make these completely and irrefutably vegan if you can.

1/2 c. Earth Balance butter
3/4 c. crunchy peanut butter
3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1 c. vegan chocolate chips
1/4 c. soy milk

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. When it's melted, add the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Mix until it's all melty. Divide the peanut butter mixture among the muffin cups. 

Combine the chocolate and soy milk in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until chocolate has melted. Spoon chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture. Place in the fridge to set at least two hours (but probably more)


1 c. soy milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with paper liners.
2.) Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a cup to curdle. 
3.) In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients
4.) In a mixing bowl, mix together sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. Add the dry ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain.
5.) Fill cupcake liners three-quarters of the way. Bake 20 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a cooling rack and let cool completely.


1/2 c. Earth Balance butter
1/4 c. Crisco
2/3 c. creamy peanut butter
3 t. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
2 to 4 T. soy milk or almond milk

1.) With an electric mixer, beat together Earth Balance butter and Crisco. Add peanut butter and vanilla and beat until smooth. 
2.) Beat in confectioners' sugar. The mixture will be very stiff. 
3.) Add soy milk one tablespoon at a time until frosting reaches a spreadable or pipe-able consistency. 

1.) Slap the frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a large-ish tip. 
2.) Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. It doesn't need to be perfect because you'll be ruining your beautiful frosting mountains in a second.
3.) Unwrap the chilled peanut butter cups and shove them into the frosting. 
4.) Take a picture and post it on Facebook to impress all of your friends with your madd cooking skillz.
5.) Devour cupcakes.