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White Chocolate Honey Chamomile Cupcakes

  Macklemore, cupcakes, s'mores bars, How I Met Your Mother, piano, and friends.  That's the past two weeks, in a nutshell.  Between those events are attacks of senioritis, and when they happened I would literally watch 5 episodes of HIMYM in a row.  I don't know how I find that show soothing, but somehow it helped.  Please don't ask how many seasons I watched, I've already grounded myself from it for the time being.

  There have also been frequent bouts of shopping.  I went to Anthropologie for the first time ever a week ago, and oh my lands....dem dishes.  I died.  50 times.  Let me introduce the newest member, a little salt cellar with a matching spoon.  Worth every penny.

  I have been rather occupied, and I've also been trying to be better about the amount of sweets I thrust upon the poor members of my household.  It's sort of been working...

  Anyway, that's why I have another Sundays with Joy post for you.  This time round we're doing Joy's chamomile cakes with honey frosting.  Nooooms!

  Ohh, how to describe these?  It's pretty much like everything that's good about teatime in your mouth all at once.  I'll admit, I was a little skeptical about chamomile-ing a perfectly innocent little cupcake.  And then, after reading Hummingbird High's post, I decided to go a slightly different route than stated within Joy's recipe.

  Apparently, infusing the milk with chamomile rather than just dumping it into the cake batter dry will result in a fluffier, less grainy cupcake.  I can't say this is entirely true, since I haven't actually tried Joy's non-infused-milk method, but I can say that my cupcake was indeed fluffy and lovely.  And I also know that the other members of Sundays with Joy made theirs with equal success, and there were no complaints of graininess.

  That being said, I'm very happy with the way these turned out.  Chamomile-infused, a bit of crunch on the outside edges (I love me a cupcake with some texture), a sweet honey glaze, and all sorts of loveliness.  Make these, love them, and share them with your lady friends!

  Also, today is Sundays with Joy's first anniversary!  I'm so happy to be with this group, and a year really flew by.  We've grown from 25-150 members, and are halfway through Joy's book of 100 recipes.  It's a great place to be if you're a Joy the Baker fan, join in while there's still recipes to make!

  Please note that you'll have to infuse the milk with the chamomile a day in advance, but it's totally worth it. 

White Chocolate Honey Chamomile Cupcakes
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers (from tea bags)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Ingredients for the frosting:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon  honey
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • White chocolate chips or shavings, for garnish

Put the 1/2 cup buttermilk and 3 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers in a liquid measuring cup and stir to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.  

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a cupcake pan with liners.  Pour the buttermilk mixture through a fine mesh sieve strainer set over a bowl and use a rubber spatula to squeeze out every drop of buttermilk from the chamomile.  Discard the chamomile left in the strainer.    

Place the flour, sugar baking powder, salt, and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on low speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the chamomile-infused buttermilk.  Beat until well blended.  Add the egg and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide the batter between the cupcake liners, filling each half full (There isn't much batter to go round, and I discovered after trying 2/3 full that it really likes to rise.  Don't be me.).  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, whisk together the powdered sugar, honey, cream, and salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk until smooth.  Use a butter knife or an offset spatula to generously spread the frosting/glaze atop each cooled cupcake.  Garnish with white chocolate immediately after frosting, before the glaze gets too hard.  Cakes will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Sources: adapted from Hummingbird High and Joy the Baker's Cookbook and blog post


Greek Drop Biscuits

  Welp, I've jinxed my Mondays.  I admit to having a crappy Monday once, and now, all of a sudden, they suck for no apparent reason.


  No happiness, zero energy, and motivation drops off the face of the earth.

  With that mood in mind, would one really want to go about and knead things?  Make a big, flour-y, butter-y mess on one's kitchen table just to have a few biscuits?  Is it too much work to line baking sheets with parchment?

  Well, today...yeah, yeah it is.

  This is where these miraculous things called drop biscuits come in.  No cutting, no shaping, no kneading.  Just a spoon and a hot skillet in the oven.

  And, to make things seem all fancified, I'm calling them Greek.  Because feta+kalamata olives+olive oil+oregano=Greek.  Duh.

  I was a little apprehensive when I stuck these in the oven.  Joy's original recipe was all goat cheese, honey, and whole wheat.  And seeing as I'm just not a fan of those things (albeit the honey), major adaptations were in order.

  Goat cheese got me thinking feta, and feta got me thinking about Greek salad.  Which is amazing and should be consumed by everyone every day.  Somehow this stemmed into incorporating some of the main components of said salad into biscuits.  Cut down the salt, bring out the all-purpose flour, chop some olives, throw in a little oregano...

  Yes, I was nervous with all these changes, but you know what?  It worked!  Booyah.

  Now, if I'd had an actual mound of cucumbers and tomatoes lying around, I'd definitely be whipping up a Greek salad and piling it onto biscuits halves.  That sounds really weird, but I'm pretty sure it'd be amazing.

  But, in lieu of that, hummus is always a good idea.

  Really though, these guys don't even need all that fuss.  They're good just as they are.  Soft, fluffy, a hint of chew on their olive oil-browned bottom, perfectly subtle aroma of oregano, and studded with chunks of salty olives and feta.

  30-Minute Greek Drop Biscuits.  What now, Monday?

Greek Drop Biscuits
Yield: 4-6 biscuits

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup cold buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for greasing the pan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a cast-iron skillet (Preferably a 10-inch, but at least a 6-inch one will do.  If all else fails, use a cake pan.) in the oven as it preheats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and oregano.  With a fork, gently toss in the kalamata olives.  Add the cold butter and feta cheese and quickly incorporate into the flour mixture with your fingers, do this until the butter and cheese chunks are roughly the size of small pebbles and oat flakes.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Pour the buttermilk into the well and use the fork to stir together.  Stir until all the flour is moistened and no dry bits remain.  Set aside.

Remove the hot skillet from the oven and add the olive oil, swirling the pan about so the bottom is coated.  Spoon the batter into the pan by the 1/4 cupful, leaving about an inch of room between biscuits.  They will bake up touching one another, that's fine.  If you can't fit all your batter in at once, place it in the fridge while the biscuits bake.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the tops are very lightly golden, appear dry, and are slightly firm.  Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes.  Repeat with remaining batter as needed.

Best served immediately, but will keep for up to 3 days, well-wrapped, at room temperature.

Sources: inspired by Joy the Baker's Cookbook