Holiday card fail

My real job took over any notion of the holidays this year. One day I worked 24 hours straight from 8 a.m. and my head did not hit the pillow until 9 a.m. the next day. I was delirious when December 25 rolled around and I’m still recovering. My job is not fun this time of year.

What suffered was the prospect of sending out postcards. Paul and I had a multitude of ideas rolling around but December 25 came and went without sending out one single card. Even worse, we still have presents to send out. Let’s not go there…

So as the cards started rolling in, our first as a married couple and some addressed as Mr. and Mrs., we had nothing to send back.

As I contemplate sending cards in time for New Year’s Eve Valentine’s Day, a vanilla caramel salted cupcake was a small comfort.

Vanilla Cupcake
2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 c. whole milk, at room temperature

Heat the oven to 350°F.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until very light in color, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and continue beating until mixture is airy.

Scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl, turn the mixer to medium speed, and add egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add milk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. (the mixture will look curdled.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds.

Fill the muffin wells about halfway, and bake cupcakes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Set the pans on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely before frosting.

Salted Caramel Frosting
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tbsp. water
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. powdered sugar

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes. (Anything darker and the caramel frosting will be bitter.)

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until completely smooth. Set aside until cool to the touch, about 1 hour.

Combine butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.

Turn mixer off and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add caramel. Beat frosting on medium-high speed until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes.

Cover and refrigerate until stiff, about 45 minutes, before using.

Sprinkle frosted cupcakes with a bit of salt.

Adapted from a recipe in Chow.

6 thoughts on “Holiday card fail

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  1. Thats delicious…I made it in my home and while doing it I figred that if we add Patan ghee instead of butter, taste changes very much….Regards..

  2. As you saw, I just send e-cards these days. I stopped sending actual cards a few years ago-too much of a hassle, too expensive. I guess I'm just lazy. We seemed to get fewer cards this year, although several rolled in later than usual (like yesterday), which is fine. I attribute it to the fact that I don't send them anymore and possibly the economy. Granted, if I want to send someone a card, I do and expect absolutely nothing in return. I wouldn't NOT send a card because they didn't, you know? And this is part of what I can't stand about this time of year. In spite of my efforts not to, I start feeling guilty when I'm not living up to the societal expectations of doing things like sending cards, lighting my house up like an airport runway, or making a big holiday dinner. I need a nap (obviously!)

  3. Ug, I got a ton of cards this year and I didnt even manage to send my ecards or do the donations I promised yet, I'd better get onto it quicksmart!Hope things slow down for you soon!By the way, I'm sure you have tons of fun plans for new year, but if not, we're planning to hang out at kous kous!

  4. Don't sweat it. We fell behind too this year and are still working on cards. Hubby says how about an e-greeting, but I still want to try and stick with tradition…if even for a little while longer. Happy New Year Mr & Mrs. H!!!!

  5. Salted Caramel Frosting is to die for! Thank you! Happy New Years to you and thanks for being my friend!

  6. Tulipedison–Thank you for the comment! Glad you enjoyed the recipe.Jodi–I think, at least for me, the attempt to get Christmas cards out is important whether or not I get anything in return. But half of that is also what leads to stress this time of year.Jennywenny–There's still time! Finally things are starting t slow down for me.Mrs. Wong–Glad to hear that we're not the only ones that fell behind. Thank you and happy new year to you and yours too!Kasha–It is to die for! Happy New Year to you too and hope it brings you many delicious adventures.

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