So I was all ready to tell everyone about my highly successful adventures in oven-roasted tomatoes on Thursday night, by way of the Barefoot Contessa and Smitten Kitchen. But a wonderful thing happened on Friday morning. MAIL CAME.
Three packages of cooking and baking gear! My parents sent two pie pans, a rolling pin, a VitaMix blender (it makes peanut butter! and smoothies! and heats soup by spinning so fast!) and its accompanying recipe books/accessories, a garlic press and a wooden spoon I bought in Williamsburg (Colonial, not Brooklyn) years and years ago. And Billy’s mom sent a SURPRISE package with a tart pan, a rolling pin, pie weights, Halloween sprinkles, three Sprinkles cupcake mixes, and a CUISINART.
For those keeping track back home, this means Christmas, and Christmas requires a display shelving unit for the kitchen (to be purchased today).
So instead of tomatoes, I’m going in another — though still red! — direction. Red Velvet Cupcakes from California’s Sprinkles Bakery. It’s a mix, so I’m sort of cheating, but these are worth shelving any homemade-or-bust stubbornness.
So I’m not handing over a recipe, but rather two hints for fellow red velvet aficionados. First, it stains: fingertips, wooden spoons, counter tops. After all, it is red from red food coloring not, I don’t know, pulverized cherries or juiced cranberries. Obviously. Be ready with the 409 as soon as the counter’s clear, and either dry with paper towels or expect pink dish towels.
Two, the Sprinkles frosting recipe calls for half a cup of butter, a cup of cream cheese, three and a quarter cups of confectioner’s sugar, and a splash of vanilla. Combine the first two, then add the last two slowly and without overmixing to keep it dense. It’s a fairly standard recipe. But I’ve found that, upon reaching two cups of sugar, it’s best to add the rest by the rounded spoonful and taste the frosting after each addition. Mine was perfectly sweet before three cups.
So: clean up, sugar slowly, and be jealous.