I was home for my little sister's graduation party. She graduated from high school. She used to be 3 years old. Now she is 18. It makes no sense how these things happen.
I am 9 years older than this little sister. 9 years! Which is exactly how long I have been in post-"high school" school. Therefore, we graduated together this year. Me from all school forever. Her from high school. This was something I always thought about once I decided to go ahead and do the 5 year grad school program.
Anyways, growing up, I was really a second mom for her. Not in like a loving, caring kind of way. In more of a bossy kind of way. I picked out her outfits. I did her hair. I fed her. All of these things were non-negotiable. She never once complained or argued with my decisions. That is the glory of 9 years separation. It is not too much older, where we didn't even know each other. But old enough where ANYthing I said goes. Having a little sister slave was a wonderful, wonderful thing.
During her pre-teen/teenage years, she was a mild inconvenience for me. Although she was probably 400 times better than I was when I was a teenager, she still had a 'tude. She sometimes didn't like the outfits I picked out. She said things like "that is really more your style than mine". Ughs! She texted while we were having important conversations. I should say: she actually never wasn't texting someone from the age of 14-17. She had boyfriends. Ew. She had the nerve to actually have opinions on things. WHO does she think she is?
Now, she has grown into quite the lady. She lost most of her 'tude. I have gained back some of my older sister respect. She listens to my fashion opinion. She still texts like a crazy person and likes boys, which is super gross, but I will take what I can get. And now, she has graduated into official adult-ness. Tear.
For her partay, my sister and I made 200+ mini cupcakes and spelled out her name with them. Scot designed the layout and figured out with x many white cupcakes, y many brown cupcakes, this is the optimal design. The two cupcakes flavors were Snickerdoodle and Cookies N' Cream. The snickerdoodle cupcakes are a cinnamon cupcake with a vanilla buttercream and a mini snickerdoodle on top. The cookies n' cream cupcakes were a chocolate cupcake with a cream cheese frosting (with oreo crumbles mixed in) and an Oreo on top. We wanted the colors to be opposite so that is why we laid the cookies flat on top of the cupcake. This is also allowed imperfect piping. I was not a fan of the Cookies N' Cream cupcakes. I mostly didn't like the chocolate cake part. But these Snickerdoodle cupcakes were spot on. Delish.
For the cupcakes:
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
13/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
11/4 cups milk
For the frosting:
20 tbsp. (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar,
sifted 1/8 tsp. salt 2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tbsp. sugar (optional)
Mini snickerdoodles (1/2 of recipe below)
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl; whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat each addition just until incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each three quarters full. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes (8-10 minutes for minis). Allow to cool in the pans about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle a pinch of the cinnamon-sugar on top of each frosted cupcake. Garnish with mini snickerdoodles.
(Servings: 60 ish Minis, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 1 hr., Difficulty: Easy)
2 1/4 cups (11 1/4 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz.) granulated sugar, plus 3 tbsp. for rolling dough
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon, for rolling dough
Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until well combined, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat again until combined, about 30 seconds. Add in the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 20 seconds.
In a small, shallow bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon for rolling the dough. Stir or shake well to combine. Working with a little dough each time, roll the dough into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place them on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Use a drinking glass with a flat bottom to gently flatten the dough balls (butter the bottom of the glass before starting, and dip it in sugar between cookies if it begins to stick).
Bake until the edges of the cookies are beginning to set and the center are soft and puffy, 8-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets 2-3 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
(Servings: 120, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time: 1 hr., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 9/10
Scot (taste): 8/10
Dishwashing Effort: 4/5