February 6, 2012

1st Blogiversary! ... & Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cupcakes to Celebrate


Today is The Kitchen is My Playground's 1st blogiversary.  Wow, what a year it's been!  I thought it would be fitting, on this day, to share with you the story of how The Kitchen is My Playground came to be.

It all started with a snowstorm.

As have several big changes in my life.  For example, that's how I ended up moving to North Carolina.  See ... I had every intention of moving back to Vermont after finishing graduate school in upstate New York.  Then it snowed.  In late March.  Enough to completely bury my car so it wasn't even a slight bump in the vast sea of white.  In very.  Late.  March.  Now I live in North Carolina.

I guess snowstorms make me think.  Or give me time to think, perhaps.  That's probably more the case.  Plans and normal routines get put on hold.  And there's time.  Time to do what you weren't planning to do.  During one such snowstorm late last January, this was the case for me.

Trapped in my house by a freakishly big storm for North Carolina (that led to school being cancelled for a week, mind you), I watched the movie "Julie & Julia" - you know, the one about a woman named Julie who decides to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook and start a blog about it?  Well, I had just published a family cookbook and given it as a Christmas present to all the ladies in my family.  Inspired by Julie, I decided I should cook my way through my own family's cookbook (though not as ambitiously as Julie, who only gave herself a year!). 

To get myself started, I made a list of recipes to get to during 2011 (my "50 for 2011" list) and shared it out with my Facebook friends.  They then, in turn, requested updates and that the recipes be shared as I worked through them.  I tried sharing the first couple of recipes (that very same week - yes, quick turn-around, but remember school was canceled for a week and I was bound to my house), and, well ... decided perhaps a blog would be a better way.  I mentioned the idea to a few friends, and they whole-heartedly encouraged me to start a blog.  I wasn't yet convinced.

On the evening of February 5th, 2011, while watching TV with my husband, I decided to just poke around Blogger for a bit and explore these things called blogs.  I clicked a few design buttons ... thought, hmmmm, I might be able to figure this out ... thought, I wonder what this button does?  Thought, what would I call my blog?

Around 10:00, my husband Mark said goodnight.  I replied, "I'm going to play around with this blog stuff just a little bit more.  I'll be up soon."  At about 3:00 in the morning of February 6th, The Kitchen is My Playground was born.  The inaugural post? ... "50 Recipes for 2011" Project - I better get cooking!

Now, though I haven't done very well working through my "50 Recipes for 2011" project list, I've had tons of fun taking on many other cooking adventures throughout The Kitchen is My Playground's first year.  I've had tons of fun ... and, sometimes, a bit of frustration (especially with the photography part!!) ... trying to figure out this adventure called blogging.  I've had tons of fun 'meeting' readers and other bloggers.  Thank you so very much for reading my little space in blogland.  And thank you for all your wonderful comments.  I truly read and appreciate each and every one, and treasure them like gifts.  I'm excited to see what adventures The Kitchen is My Playground's second year holds!

Now, let's celebrate The Kitchen is My Playground's first blogiversary with cupcakes!  Barefoot Contessa's Coconut Cupcakes, to be exact.

These are a moist, decadently rich, and deliciously coconutty cupcake selected from my "30 Recipes for 2012" Project. Loaded with butter and sugar, I wouldn't consider them to be "everyday cupcakes" ... I would save them for more of a special occasion. I thought my 1st blogiversay was just such the perfect special occasion! And oh. my. goodness. - these are so good. A great selection for my celebration!  I love that there's coconut both in the batter itself and on the top of the frosting.  Yum, yum, yummy.  And the hint of almond extract gives these a fabulous flavor. 

So, if you've got a special occasion coming up or just feel like indulging in some coconut deliciousness, I highly recommend giving these beauties a whirl.  Thank you for joining me on my blogiversary!



Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Adapted from  The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
3/4 lb. (3 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 c. sugar
5 eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
14 oz. package sweetened shredded coconut, divided

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 lb. cream cheese (at room temperature)
3/4 lb. (3 sticks) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 1/2 lbs. confectioner's sugar


Directions
Prepare the Cupcakes:
1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two muffin pans with paper liners.

2.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

3.  Fill each cupcake paper about 3/4 full with batter.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until the tops are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Prepare the Frosting:
4.  With an electric mixer, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts.  Add the confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth.

5.  Frost each cupcake generously with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the remaining 7 ounces of coconut.

Enjoy!

This post is linked with Savvy HomeMade Monday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Mangia Mondays hosted by Shine Your Light, Totally Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Mandy's Recipe Box, Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, Crazy Sweet Tuesday hosted by Crazy for Crust, Cast Party Wednesday hosted by Lady Behind the Curtain, These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks, Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party hosted by Mrs. Fox's Sweets, Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Share Your Creations hosted by Kristen's Creations, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, Foodie Friday hosted by Rattlebridge Farm, Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket Fence, Weekend Bloggy Reading hosted by Serenity Now, Friday Favorites hosted by Simply Sweet Home, Friday Food hosted by Mom Trends, Sweets for a Saturday hosted by Sweet as Sugar Cookies, A Themed Bakers' Sunday hosted by Cupcake Apothecary.

15 comments:

  1. Wow, congrats on your Blogiversary!! I love reading your blog.

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  2. Congratulations!! I bet these cupcakes were a great way to celebrate!

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  3. Congrats on a year! I loved hearing how you got started. It's been fun following along your journey and seeing your great recipes. Keep up the good work!

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  4. Happy 1 year Anniversary! Cupcakes are a great way to celebrate. They look delicious.

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  5. Happy Blogiversary! It's a great accomplishment. These cupcakes look so good - your photos are beautiful!

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  6. Happy blogiversary and so thrilled you shared this recipe. Looks and sounds simply DELICIOUS!

    Thanks for sharing, eRecipeCards.com
    Dave

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  7. Hey Tracey
    since I know you in person too I will be over to have one of those cupcakes to celebrate !!! Congratulations on making a year !
    DJ

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  8. Happy blog-a-versary! Your cupcakes are divine!!!

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  9. Those cupcakes look and sound DELISH ! Found you via At the Picket Fence. Congrats on your anniversary. I'm a new follower:)
    Julie & Julia inspired me too( loved that movie ) , but my blog is a little about everything.

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  10. Gorgeous, gorgeous cupcakes. I love coconut! Thanks for sharing these.

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  11. Congrats! And what a great looking cupcake!

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  12. Hi There!
    I'd love it if you come to my blog and enter this in my linky party, called A Themed Baker's Sundy where the theme is Cupcakes!
    Hope to see you there!
    Cupcake Apothecary
    http://cupcakeapothecary.blogspot.com/

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  13. Happy 1st Anniversary, that is awesome! I just love you cupcake, it looks delicious and is perfect for a celebration. Hope you have a wonderful week and a special Valentine Day. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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  14. nice idea..thanks for sharing...

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  15. I think this recipe may be missing a step where you add the dry ingredients to the sugar and butter.

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I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

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