Tag Archives: Blue Moon

Blue Moon Cupcakes with Orange Frosting

30 May

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It’s the beginning of summer here in the Mid-Atlantic, and for those of us living between the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, that can only mean one thing – blue crab season is upon us. For those not familiar with the rite of picking crabs, take comfort that the requirements are few: plain brown paper to cover the table, a roll or two of paper towels, a small wooden mallet, a platter piled high with steaming hot Maryland Blue Crabs smothered in Old Bay, and non-stop pitchers of ice-cold beer.

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As the locals know, picking crabs is an art form, one that does NOT include bashing the crab to smithereens with the mallet. (This is often how out-of-towners and novices give themselves away.) A practiced crab picker, using only his/her hands, can have a nice fat crab de-legged, de-shelled, and de-lunged, and enjoying a nice juicy morsel of crab meat in a matter of seconds. The mallet, if used at all, is only for the claws.

The proper accompaniment for this feast is beer, pitchers and pitchers of ice-cold beer. This is not the time for a little summer sangria, minty mojito or a bright sauvignon blanc. With crabs, you need something that’s going to go down fast and easy and tame that Old Bay spice. And not just any beer either. As much as I love a good, dark, creamy craft ale, for this job you need something light, refreshing and summery – I recommend the classic Blue Moon Belgian White Ale – with a slice of orange, of course.

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It was only a few summers ago that I had my first Blue Moon. It was the perfect summer day, not too hot, plenty of sunshine, when a few of us decided to go out for a little lunch al fresco on the water. As we waited for our order to arrive, we noticed servers bustling back and forth with trays loaded with glasses of beer garnished with orange slices…..orange slices??? Intrigued, we ordered a round for ourselves, and so it was I was introduced to Blue Moon Belgian White Ale. To me, this was a perfect summer ale – not too light, not too strong, just the right amount of body and deliciously refreshing. It still is my go-to summer beer. Perfect for cook-outs, barbecues and of course, picking crabs.

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These cupcakes are an homage to my favorite summer ale – Blue Moon infused, orange-flecked yellow cupcakes topped with the perfect orange buttercream frosting. The ale makes the cupcakes nice and light and perfect for the warm days of summer, and best of all, you can eat them in hand, no mallet needed.

BLUE MOON CUPCAKES

These cupcakes start with a box mix. I recommend following the directions on the box, but substituting the amount of water called for with the same amount of beer. I used a Betty Crocker mix for these cupcakes and so I’ve listed the ingredients called for on the box. Other brands may differ slightly.

1 Box yellow cake mix

1 cup Blue Moon Ale

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

grated peel from 1/2 orange

Combine all ingredients in large bowl of stand mixer. Mix on low for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill paper lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or as directed, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.

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ORANGE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

1 stick butter, softened

4-5 cups confectioners sugar

juice and grated peel from 1 orange

Cream butter in large bowl of stand mixer. Add 4 cups confectioners sugar, orange peel and 1/3 of orange juice, on low speed until blended and then at high speed for 4-5 minutes, adding more sugar and/or juice until desired consistency is reached. Frost as desired.

Enjoy!

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Autumn’s Gift – Pumpkin Ales

13 Oct

Autumn is the time of year that gently nudges us away from our sweet sangria and minty mojitos and has us rummaging through our junk drawers searching for the bottle opener so we can crack open that ice cold bottle of brew. For me, the reason is simple: Fall = football (New England Patriots football) and football = beer. Last year, I fell in love with pumpkin ales, specifically Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale. We’ve got the Dogfish Head brewery in our own back yard and so the Punkin’ Ale was easy to come by. Sam Adams and Blue Moon put out pretty good harvest ales too. But the season is short lived and the pumpkins and harvest ales are with us for only a few short weeks before, tragically, they are gone.

This year, my sister Laura and I attended a pumpkin ale tasting. I know, pure heaven, right? The pumpkin ale scene has exploded in the last year and there were plenty of varieties to sample. The Dogfish Head Pumkin’ Ale was holding its own until about halfway through, and then we tasted it – pure nectar from the gods: Southern Tier’s Imperial Pumking. This one pumpkin ale stands heads and shoulders above all the others. It is simply delicious. So delicious in fact, that I began hoarding it. I’ve told my friends and now they are hoarding it. My favorite bartender at my favorite craft brewpub is hoarding 5 kegs of it. (We threatened mutiny and he finally tapped one – but don’t tell anybody.) It’s that good.

One questioned remained: what to do with the previously hoarded bottles of Dogfish Head? (I can’t help it, the season is really, really short). I did a little research and found the following recipe, courtesy of My Baking Addiction. A nice, spiced chocolate cupcake, goes well with pumpkin ale – Southern Tier’s Pumking, of course. Use the Dogfish Head in the recipe.

Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

Makes about 24 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

1 (12 ounce) bottle Pumpkin Ale
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, combine the pumpkin ale, milk, oil, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add in sour cream, mix until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda.
Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. (Batter will be thin.)
Evenly divide the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
Bake for 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle, but still soft and tender. Remove pan to wire rack. Cool completely before turning out of the tins.

Ingredients for the Buttercream Frosting:

4 sticks I salted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar
6 tablespoons pumpkin ale

Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
Slowly begin adding the confectioner’s sugar, mixing well after each addition.
Once all the sugar has been mixed in, add the pumpkin ale and mix until light and fluffy. Beat on high speed for about two minutes. If frosting is too thick, add a little more pumpkin ale, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Notes:

I made half the frosting recipe, and was able to cover all but two of the cupcakes. But if you’re using a large tip to frost, go with the full recipe.

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