Tag Archives: Southern Tier

Pumpkin Shandy Cupcakes with Ginger Limoncello Buttercream

27 Sep

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September is a month of transitions. We still have the bright, warm, sun-filled days of summer, but awaken to chilly mornings with just the slightest little nip in the air to remind us autumn is just around the corner. We can still wear shorts and flip-flops, but maybe we’ll trade in that tank top for a long-sleeved tee. The trees themselves reflect this transition, still dressed in bright green leaves, but with a canopy of beautiful reds and oranges and yellows adorning their crowns. And I know I’m not the only one who is starting to look at her oven with love again, appreciating (instead of dreading) the warmth it fills the kitchen with while baking up a batch of some special treat I’ve been waiting all summer to try.

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Now is also the time we begin to swap out our Leinenkugels and Blue Moons for the beloved pumpkin ales: Southern Tier’s Pumpking, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and Sam Adam’s (8.5% abv!) Fat Jack, just to name a favorite few. All delicious to be sure, but what a shame there isn’t a way to smoothly transition from those bright, citrusy summer ales of summer to the heady, spicy brews of fall. Or is there?

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Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you Traveler Beer Co.’s Jack-O Shandy! As the bottle claims, it’s a fine wheat beer with lemon peel (hence the shandy part) with natural flavors and PUMPKIN added (hence the pumpkin ale bit)! At last, the perfect summer-to-fall transition beer. No more Leinenkugel withdrawals, no more Pumpking spice harsh. Finally, the perfect way to segue from summer to fall, brew-wise. Thanks Travelers!

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Inspired by such a delightful shandy, I decided to try a little baking transition of my own. And so I offer for your late summer/early fall culinary enjoyment my pumpkin shandy cupcakes. A light, spicy pumpkin cupcake topped with my delicious limoncello buttercream, topped with a dusting of crushed ginger cookies. These yummy cakes will be the perfect finish to any end-of-season picnic or that first hayride of the fall. But enjoy them while you can. Because like the beautiful fall foliage, pumpkin ale season is short…so many pumpkin ales, so little time….

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Pumpkin Shandy Cupcakes

1 box spice cake mix

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

2 eggs

2/3 cup Traveler Jack-O Shandy

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake  tins with paper liners – I was able to get about 18 cupcakes.

Mix all ingredients at low speed until combined, then at medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Limoncello Buttercream Frosting

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch salt

grated lemon peel

juice from one small/medium lemon

1 – 2 tablespoons Limoncello, or to taste

2-3 Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookie Thins, crushed

Cream butter until soft. Add sugar, salt, lemon peel, lemon juice and limoncello, mixing at low speed until combined, then at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Frost as desired and sprinkle with crushed cookie crumbs.

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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