I haven’t baked since the holidays (thanks to a much-needed vacation, celebrating my birthday, and going through… comment on-dit… career advancing changes =), and while it was a nice break, it felt comforting to hear the whirring of the mix monster again.  Vin and I went his parents to visit his dad’s cousin’s family for dinner last week (and to be amazed by his KITT car, extensive Superman memorabilia, and pics from a Harryhausen exhibit–SO awesome!) and I figured it would be a good idea to bring some dessert for our gracious and super cool hosts.

Brown sugar & spice cupcakes with cocoa-bourbon-pecan filling and chocolate frosting

Flipping through this booze-based baking book, I was inspired by this cocoa-spice cupcake recipe.  I crushed up some vanilla wafers and mixed them with bourbon (yay!), sugar, pecans, and cocoa then rolled out little balls of liquored goodness.  The boozy bonbons tasted delicious on their own.  While I let those harden in the fridge, I mixed a nutmeg-allspice and brown sugar cake batter.  I filled cupcake cups halfway with the batter and stuck a ball in each one; I mean, what better surprise to find in a cupcake than a nutty chocolate bourbon ball?  Since I wasn’t familiar with this recipe, my first batch was a LITTLE overdone.  I made a couple more trays and shortened the baking time.  I think those came out better, but I was still concerned about them being a tiny bit dry.

Inside the tasty cupcake

While the cupcakes cooled, I made some fresh chocolate buttercream frosting.  With a swooping swirl of icing and pecans perfectly placed on the cakes, I packed up a couple dozen and away we went for dinner.  The feedback was pretty good. (phew!)  The following day I brought some of the extras to the office to impress the new coworkers.  I THINK my job’s pretty secure  =)

BTW, good things are in the works this year!  For one, I’m baking some special treats for this event and it’s for a great cause.  If you’re in the NYC area for March 24, I totally suggest buying tix for it and going.  And since it’s the lucky year of the dragon (and b/c I’m @ “that age” where everyone is getting hitched/having babies/etc.), I’ve got some wedding projects coming up I’m super psyched about.  Keep an eye out on my site for fun pics!