Now that we’re here in the first hours of 2010, I’m optimistic about what the coming year will bring. Hopefully a lot of good stuff. And hopefully I bring a lot of that good stuff upon myself. This year I’m going to do great things! Hopefully. I'll at least try. I’m totally a New Year’s resolution kind of person. Not that I stick with them, but I like making them. I have a few big ones that I make every year.
- I want to lose weight. Everyone does. And I never actually do it. But I mean it this year. I’m making time for myself to go to the gym. No more choosing between the gym or making cupcakes. Gym comes first. Most of the time... And I’m going to eat healthier. Cook more. Go out to eat less. And sample a few less cupcakes and cookies as I bake. Or at least make healthier cupcakes and cookies... Maybe. How bout we just sample less.
- I want to travel somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be a big vacation or even out of state. Just somewhere I haven’t been before.
- Every year I say I want to read 50 books in a year. Well, I’ve accomplished this resolution for the past 3 years now, so I’m upping it this year. I’m going for 60. I got to 55 this past year, so still totally doable.
And what's new this year? I really want to be more organized. With everything in my life.
- I want to stick to a budget. Especially a baking budget. I spend more on baking supplies than real food. That needs to change. I’m allowing myself a specific amount of money each month to spend on baking—my baking allowance if you will. Once that money’s gone for the month, it’s time to use what I’ve got or go without. No more going to the grocery store and spending $50 each week and still having nothing in my fridge.
- I want to send cards. Birthday cards, Valentine cards, Christmas cards. I have a box under my bed of cards I’ve amassed with the intention of being that girl who sends cards for every occasion, but never followed through. This is going to be the year of the card. If I have to write my Christmas cards in May to have them done, so be it.
- I want to keep my house clean. I want to be able to walk in the door and not feel disgusted by piles of crap everywhere. I want people to be able to come over to my house and not feel embarrassed by it. I want to keep up with the dishes and the laundry, and not get to the point that I have to do something about it simply because I have nothing to wear or eat with.
- And I want to actually decorate my house. I’ve lived in this apartment for almost 2 ½ years, and I still have boxes beside my bed of picture frames and adornments that I’ve never unpacked. My walls are still bare of pictures that I’ve been meaning to put up. I’ve got the pictures. I just haven’t done anything with them.
- It's not really an organization resolution, but I want to make more of an effort to look nice. Everyday. I've been out of college 5 years now. I need to start looking like it. I've gotten so lazy that I don't even bother doing my hair most of the time. I wash it in the shower, then pull it up into a wet ball of a pony tail most days. I throw on a t-shirt, jeans, and a hoodie. All the time. This year, I want to actually take time to do my hair and look like a person who cares about how they look.
2010 is going to be my year. My year to do all the things I want to do. It’s the year to spice things up and be the me I want to be. So let’s start this year off right with some real spice—Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes.
I’ve wanted to make these since I saw them adapted on Love and Olive Oil from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. I almost made them for Cupcake Camp until I realized how much I would have to buy for them. Not very budget friendly. But what is Mexican Hot Chocolate anyway? Just hot chocolate with cinnamon in it right? Why not take the spices from L&OO’s recipe and throw it into my go-to chocolate cupcake? I’ve already got all that, so there’s nothing new to buy! They might not taste quite the same, but they were still pretty darn good! More cinnamon than spice, they have a very subtle heat to them that you really only feel in the back of your throat once you’re finished. Topped with a cinnamon buttercream, they’re great for cozying up on the couch on a cold winter night with a good book, or a good Boyfriend.
I'd love to know some of your resolutions this year too! We can help each other stay on track! (At least for the first week until we all slack off and forget about them..) :P Happy New Year!
Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Love and Olive Oil and Food Network
Makes 24 cupcakes
1 cup sugar
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
½ to 2 tablespoons of milk*
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two standard muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and mayonnaise until blended. Add the vanilla and blend.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Add dry ingredients to the mayonnaise mixture in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes, or until the tops are firm and spring back when lightly touched. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Remove from tins and place on wire rack to cool completely.
5. When cupcakes are completely cooled, make frosting: In a medium bowl, sift together sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and salt, and beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar mixture, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add milk as necessary to thin out to desired consistency. (Start small with the milk. You can always add more if you need it. If you do add too much, add in some more confectioners’ sugar until it gets back to the consistency you’re looking for.) Pipe or frost onto cupcakes.
*Note: I suggest warming the milk up a bit before adding it to the frosting. Bring it to room temperature while the cupcakes are baking, or throw a little bit in the microwave for 10 seconds or so. Adding in cold ingredients tends to make your buttercream separate and look a bit curdled, which doesn't make for pretty swirls.