As Mother Nature continues to grapple with her hormonal mood-swings, we inch closer and closer to something that bears a loose resemblance to summer. We can finally creep out from beneath the doughy layers of sweaters, scarves, and Michelin Man coats and feel unfiltered sunshine hit our skin. We all have our own memories of what makes summer so great, and it’d be easy to let this post cascade into a cliché food blog meditation about sweet, sweet summertime…
But you know that’s just not how I roll.
The following are the first two items on the Kailley’s Kitchen summer bucket list, which is a carefully crafted selection of things to do to make your stereotypical summer plans better by roughly ten-fold.
The backyard barbecue: What’s better than a pig in shit? A pig on a spit. With a juicy red apple gag in its mouth. Why? It’s more cost effective than buying already-butchered meat from the grocery. Pluses? Fresh bacon, pork belly, crisped skin, enough animal to feed a small army, flavor flavor flavor. And you’ll look like a total badass. Who cares if your neighbors think you’re performing a pagan animal sacrifice? Extra points for naming the delicious swine before you roast him.
The camping outing: If there’s one thing I’ve learned while living in Chicago, it’s that there’s no need to settle for your average, run of the mill wiener. While preparing to get in touch with your inner Bear Grylls, don’t forget to to pack the following ingredients in your cooler: kosher dogs, poppyseed buns, avocados, lime, pico de gallo, cheddar, and bacon. To prep, mash the avocados, lime, and pico de gallo together to make easy bootleg guacamole, slice the hotdogs length-wise and stuffed with as much cheddar as you can fit, and wrap that weenie in as much bacon as you can handle. Roast over campfire, slap on a bun, smother in guac, and devour. Call it the “cheesy bacon guaca-dog,” and pair it with your favorite brew. It’s Heaven in your mouth, but gives you breath killer enough to fend off Sasquatch. Fabulous and functional. You can thank me later.
Each week I’ll be featuring additional bucket list items; check back soon! And in the meantime, try these blackberry malt cupcakes. Blackberry season is officially in full-swing in the United States, which means lower produce prices and deliciously fresh berries… take advantage of it!
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups malted milk powder
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream (NOT low fat or fat free!)
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract (optional: plus seeds from one vanilla bean for extra vanilla-y flavor)
- 1 cup refined sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 ounces (1 brick) cream cheese, softened
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon malt powder
- *1/2 cup freeze dried blackberries
- 4 cups confectioner's sugar
- Fresh blackberries and straws to top
- *I found that using fresh blackberries in the buttercream caused it to be too liquid-y; freeze dried berries give you the same flavor without compromising the structural integrity of the buttercream!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and malted milk powder, set aside
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and seeds of vanilla bean (if using) until well-blended
- Add both sugars to wet ingredients and mix
- Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until well
- Fill liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 19-21 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean
- Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack
- While cupcakes are cooling, cream together butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment
- Pulverize freeze dried blackberries with a small food processor (or zip in a plastic bag and roll with rolling pin) until blackberries are powdery
- Add blackberry powder, vanilla extract, and confectioner's sugar to wet ingredients and mix until fully blended
- Fill a piping bag with buttercream and pipe onto cooled cupcakes12. Top cupcakes with fresh blackberries (lightly sugared, if desired) and straws cut down to size