Strawberry Chevre Cupcakes

My family has a thing about strawberry cakes. We just can’t get enough. And when I found this recipe, I knew it was destined for the Savoring Goat Cheese files. Now all I need are the fresh Michigan strawberries to make this entry complete! This recipe makes 20 cupcakes and comes from Fragrant Vanilla Cake.

 

A little cup(cake) of happiness!

Ingredients

2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) organic butter at room temp.
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup chevre (soft goat cheese)
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise, and seeds removed (reserve pod for another use)
3 large organic eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain organic yogurt
1 16 oz container fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces

8 oz neufchatel or cream cheese
8 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar (plus more if needed)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup standard muffin tin as well as a 6 cup one with cupcake liners, and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the chevre and beat until well combined, and then add the vanilla beans and eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, and yogurt and mix until well combined and fluffy. Next, beat in the dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in the berries. Spoon batter into prepared cupcake liners, and bake for 20-24 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

To make frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and chevre with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then beat in the powdered sugar one cup at a time until it reaches a frosting consistency (you may need more or less sugar than the 4 cups). Spread the frosting onto the cupcakes, and serve!

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Carrot-Cinnamon Muffins with Sweetened Chevre Icing

This recipe from Serious Eats lets you massively improve on a box mix to create something super-fast, super-easy, and uniquely delicious!

The carrot just dances through the cinnamon batter:)

– makes 10 muffins –

Ingredients

1 box cinnamon muffin mix
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 batch Chèvre-Cream Cheese Icing (recipe below)

Procedure

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 10 paper muffin liners.

2. Mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a big bowl. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon out nine or ten muffins into the tins. They will be filled nearly to the top.

3. Bake for 19 to 22 minutes, until the muffins are puffed and golden.

4. Allow muffins to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, spread the tops with some Chèvre-Cream Cheese icing, and embellish with a few pieces of chopped walnut, golden raisins, and a shower of cinnamon.

Chèvre-Cream Cheese Icing (this blend keeps the calories down a bit!)

Ingredients

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 ounces chèvre, room temperature
3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Procedure

Use a hand blender to combine all ingredients until smooth. Either frost the whole muffin top, or thin the frosting to drizzle consistency and keep it even lighter.

Best of the Mediterranean – Stuffed Fresh Apricots

These make the most amazing "amuse-bouche" -- fun for the mouth:)

You may think this recipe sounds a little too exotic and too difficult to make, and you would be wrong! They are amazing, light and tasty, with enough umami appeal for the palate to be really intriguing. And if you have access to fresh apricots, goat cheese and pistachios, you gotta try these — serve them for company, they’ll be impressed, and you don’t have to tell them it’s sooooo easy! No cooking at all!

15 fresh, ripe apricots, washed and halved, pits removed

6 ounces soft goat cheese

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

zest of 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1/4 cup roasted salted pistachios, shelled and chopped (you can just toast them in a dry frying pan and the papery nut-coverings will just flake off)

Arrange the apricot halves cut-side up on a large tray. In a food processor or mini-chopper, blend the goat cheese, cream cheese, maple syrup and lemon zest until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the cheese mixture to a piping bag with a small star tip. Don’t worry if you’re less than proficient with a piping bag – me too – it won’t matter once the apricots are done. In the center of each apricot, pipe a mound of the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the chopped pistachios. Serve and watch the smiles. You can make ahead and they will keep for at least 8 hours.

Thanks to http://www.inerikaskitchen.com for the inspiration!