Tasting Tuesdays: Earl Grey Cupcakes

Welcome to this month’s edition of Chelsea Has a Revelation Thanks to Tasting Tuesdays!

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Here we go: I have realized I am obsessed with all things British.

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As I swooned over the adorable story behind Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery, this month’s cookbook, I started thinking about all the things I love that are English.

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For example, my longtime favorite bath products, from shampoo to conditioner to hand soap, are British. My new favorite body lotion is British.

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And of course it goes beyond bath products. A girl can be indulgent and still cultured, right? Two of my most favorite museums in the world (OK, it’s a long list, but still) are in England. And I haven’t even mentioned baked goods yet. I mean. SCONES. Come. On. And curds. And clotted cream! Oh boy. I’m getting hungry.

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Basically, stuff from England is just the best. And these Primrose Bakery cupcakes, my friends, are no different. We can add them to the list of Awesome Things The Brits Have Given Us.

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Seriously! They are just lovely, to steal a word from the English. I always get a little worried about foreign cookbooks because there’s so much converting they have to do, but these translate across the pond just beautifully.

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These are moist, flavorful little cupcakes. The batter is infused with Earl Grey tea and isn’t very sweet–which makes it a perfect pair for the thick, super-sweet vanilla buttercream frosting.

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I highly recommend having some fun with decorating these guys. I went ombre… yes. That’s right. Ombre cupcakes. Sometimes I have too much fun in the kitchen.

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As always, the ladies of Anthropologie are just as sweet as the treats–they even sent me off with my own copy of my new favorite cookbook, Donna Hay Seasons! Ahh! They’re too nice to me. I love it there so much that one of these days I’m just going to move into the store and have fresh baked breakfast goodies prepared for them every morning. Fair warning, guys.

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Join me next month on May 16!

And PS! Did you see me on Matchbox Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs, last week!? If not, go check it out right now! Her photography is so gorgeous.

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Tasting Tuesdays: Honey Drop Cookies

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Can I toot my own horn for a second?

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Let’s ignore how silly that phrase is, and talk instead about how ah-mazing these cookies are.

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Okay, okay. I can’t take the credit. It’s all Donna Hay. Donna Hay, my new Australian buddy. Mate. Whatever you’d prefer, Miss Donna. I’ll call you whatever you like. Because your recipes are insane.

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Insane in a good way. A great way. Let me list the reasons why they are so insane.

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They are so super duper easy. These lovely cookies (biscuits if you’re Aussie) are made of ingredients I guarantee you have in your kitchen right now. So you can go make them at this very moment if you wanted. Which you should probably go and do. These pictures are nice, but they’re nothing compared to how lovely they taste.

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Which, speaking of, is another reason why they are so insane. Who knew that these simplest of ingredients could create such a pleasing little cookie? They are soft but not too sweet, with almost an almond extract flavor–despite the fact that they have no almond in them. Aussie magic.

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Donna (we’re on a first name basis at this point in the blog post) calls for creamed honey, which sounds just delicious, but unfortunately is not readily available in Milwaukee. So make yourself some brown butter honey glaze–my icing secret weapon–and fill these little guys up. The icing is heavy and creamy and dense and has a lingering honey aftertaste that goes perfectly with the subtler vanilla cookie.

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So there you have it. Easy, simple, tasty cookies… perfect for the first day of spring! Which I didn’t even realize until I got to Anthropologie this morning and saw Kim’s adorable sign. Not to mention the bright tulips and the bee plate (also insane: insanely cute).

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Have you noticed, by the way, that I’m a fan of this Donna Hay cookbook? I might just buy it for myself because everything I’ve made from it has been a total hit. Plus the photos are beautiful. And the headers are handwritten. Lovely.

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I know I said last month’s display was my favorite yet, but this one might have taken its place in my heart… so a big thanks to the super talented Kim for her work putting this together, as well as Shannon, Lynn, and the entire Milwaukee Anthropologie team, as always, for welcoming me into the store again this month! Hope you can join us next month on April 17!

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Tasting Tuesdays: Coconut Raspberry Crumble

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Let’s make people smile today. Ready?

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Get yourself some raspberry preserves. Round up some coconut.

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Put them in pretty little jars for an extra added touch. No one but you will know your ingredients were in pretty little jars before they got baked up together, but it’ll make them taste better. Trust me.

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Stir together butter, flour, a smidge of sugar, a heap of super-shredded coconut and make yourself some shortbread. That’s right. I said stir. With a spoon. And some elbow grease. You don’t even need your Kitchenaid for this one.

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Bake it up, let it cool, spread more than an entire jar of sweet raspberry preserves and sprinkle with a generous helping of more coconut. Bake again and get that coconut all crisp and chewy on top.

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Then hand them out. Give them to your friends. Give them to your coworkers. Give them to folks on the street who look like they’re having a bummer day.

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Give them to the sweet ladies who work at Anthropologie. Give them to all the customers who walked in for a perfect chambray shirt who will then walk out with raspberry coconut crumble on their chins (and a hole in their wallet in the shape of said perfect chambray shirt–not that I’m talking from personal experience or anything).

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And watch those smiles come!

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Meanwhile, you’ll be smiling because the Anthropologie display is, um, the best one yet. Of course, I have a completely biased love of handwriting. This might also explain why I have fallen in love with the Donna Hay Seasons book, which this recipe is from–all the descriptions and comments are handwritten in pretty, looping script. Kim did such a great job emulating the design of the book in this month’s display!

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Okay, so admittedly this lost a bit of credibility for your life, dear reader, once I veered into Anthropologie territory–I mean, I can’t guarantee success if you walked into one of the stores with a panful of crumble and offered it up in the dressing room.

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But, like I said: Smiles? Yes. For sure. Definitely. Go break out the coconut.

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Tasting Tuesdays: Gingersnaps

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Well, guess what?

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“Winter is here!” … Says the weird, adorable beaky bird guy from Anthropologie.

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Guess what else?

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Winter calls for a sea of warm, spicy, snappy cookies. Like these.

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They’re as fragrant as a candle and will make your whole apartment smell the way winter should smell: dense, nutty, sweet, spicy.

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These are almost like an uber-ginger-butter-cookie. The dough is a lot like a shortbread, although still crisp. Although I had some serious frustrations with the recipe (see below), the flavor is deep and dense and really wonderful. Adjusted below, these are a keeper.

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Thanks as always to the fabulous ladies of Anthropologie: Shannon, Annie, Kim, Tera, and Kim’s talented intern, Katelyn, who created this beautiful display! (Full disclosure: This month’s Tasting Tuesday was totally a Tasting Wednesday. The snow was way too crazy here in Milwaukee to venture far from home on Tuesday!)

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Come join me next month on February 21!

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Tasting Tuesdays: Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies

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I have a confession to make. I have thus far been a bit of a Scrooge this holiday season.

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I think it was because I got sick on the weekend I was planning to make holiday cookies for gifts for coworkers, faraway friends, and neighbors. It might also have been because I skipped American Thanksgiving (fondue and macarons were a fine replacement, don’t get me wrong). But it’s probably because I’m not able to go home to see my family for Christmas–although my cats will be good company, it won’t quite be the same as as having Norwegian cookies and buckeyes in the living room, wearing a goofy Christmas sweater stolen from my mom, and pestering everyone by repeatedly singing the only verse I know of my favorite Christmas song.

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But I am Scrooge no more. For real, thank the lord for Tasting Tuesdays or else I might have been Scrooge-y until after New Year’s. I am so full of the Holiday spirit it’s ridiculous, and here are the reasons why.

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Reason One: Double chocolate cherry cookies–this month’s Tasting Tuesdays treat! These little guys are good… until you hit the chewy, tart cherries hiding in the dough. Then they are AMAZING. The secret is getting yourself some excellent, dark, extremely rich cocoa powder–I like Valrhona!

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I covered them in glittery gold sanding sugar for a bit of festiveness.

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The recipe is from Marguerite Marceau Henderson‘s Small Sweet Treats, and they could not be easier or more delicious.

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Reason Two: The spirit of giving (aww)… in the form of Black Forest Truffles. Morgan Shaw, a friend of mine who is an excellent candymaker, conspired with me to concoct an extra treat for this holiday Tasting Tuesdays: truffles! Naturally, they had to pair with the cookies, so Morgan made an impressive amount of black forest truffles, dark chocolate ganache filled with white chocolate and tart cherries.

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The idea was that customers could have a cookie while they’re there and bring back a truffle for a friend (or for a post-shopping treat for themselves–no judgment here). We even put gift tags on them!

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And finally, Reason Three: The girls at Anthropologie Milwaukee, from their killer visual display skills to their incredible sweetness. Not only did Kim create an adorable winter wonderland forest display–I mean, birds and jingle bells!? Too much awesome–but Shannon and Tara also gave me a present (beautifully wrapped, of course)! Which was so incredibly sweet of them. I can’t thank you guys enough!

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So when I got home after work, I unpacked my camera and the present, and I looked around my apartment. I needed a place to put the gorgeous gift… and a way to remind myself not to open it till Christmas Eve. Then I did something I had actually been considering not doing at all. I got my stepladder, climbed to the top of my closet, and unpacked the tiny fake Christmas tree my mom dug out of our basement for me the first year I moved to Milwaukee. I strung it with some faux pearls and dotted it with candy canes (which may or may not have been in the box for a year along with the tree–whoops).

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I only have two ornaments–a little crystal teardrop whose origins I can’t recall, and an awesome Hoops & Yoyo ornament which is missing a ribbon. The teardrop got pride of place and Hoops & Yoyo are currently sitting under the tree until I can craft something to hang them up with. And last but not certainly least, I put my first present of the season–from the sweet ladies of Anthropologie–underneath it, patiently waiting for Christmas Eve.

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And so, I’m happy to say that Scrooge has been fully exorcised from my system… And it finally feels like a lot like Christmas.

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A giant heartfelt thank you to Morgan for donating his time and candymaking skills, and as always to Shannon, Tara, Kim, and Lynn!

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Tasting Tuesdays: Gingerbread Muffins

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That gingerbread candle from last month’s Tasting Tuesdays really did me in.

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I was going to make something gluten-free, I swear, but then I opened up Home Made by Yvette van Boven… and that was it. I was done.

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Yvette van Boven is a super-talented cook-baker-artist from the Netherlands. This book is gorgeous–half illustrated diary, half recipe collection. The gingerbread muffins recipe was so ridiculously adorable looking (evidence above) that I couldn’t resist baking it.

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And the muffins are really lovely: moist, spicy, sweet, simple, and extremely easy. Although she suggests a cream cheese based frosting, I whipped up an easy royal icing for some crunch to balance the softness of the muffins.

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By the way, you might be wondering: really, Chelsea? You’re calling these muffins? They look like cupcakes to me… Shh. Muffins are much easier to eat five in a row of than cupcakes. So they’re muffins. Just spiced, sweet muffins.

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These keep well in an airtight container, so you should make them for holiday brunches… for pre-Thanksgiving snacks… for Christmas morning… to leave for Santa… For every night of Hannukah… Oh man, I’m getting a little too excited about the holidays, aren’t I?! I’m blaming Anthropologie’s pretty displays–I got a preview of the holiday windows: just you wait, people, Kim’s windows are going to be amazing! (Not to mention what’s in store right now… I mean. Have you seen these tea towels used in the display? They’re sparkly teacups in the shape of a Christmas tree. Too much.)

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As always, thanks so much to the Milwaukee Anthropologie! The display was lovely and all the staff were so sweet, especially Emily and Lynn! (Last, can I just share? When I popped in for a bit of shopping earlier that week, the ladies called me “our baker” at the cash register. Yes, that totally made my entire month!)

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Tasting Tuesdays: Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

Is there anything better in the fall than pumpkins?

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(Actually, let’s not answer that. The answer might be apples, cinnamon, or molasses, depending on my mood, which would not really work out for the pumpkin focus I’m trying to set in this post.)

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Pumpkins, turns out, are pretty versatile. They can be many things. For example, they can be jack-o-lanterns. They can be Thanksgiving pies.

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They can be bedazzled. (That’s right. I said bedazzled. If Anthropologie can do it, so can you.)

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And, of course, they can be cookies. Soft, cake-like, spice-filled cookies, with bursts of tart, chewy cranberries for texture.

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These cookies are absurdly easy. The cookbook, a pretty little volume called Milk & Cookies, says to bake them instead of pie, to make your Thanksgiving more manageable. I don’t know if I’d go that far (holidays and celebrations call for statement baked goods!)… But if it’s, say, October and you’re craving the best part of Thanksgiving–the pie, of course–these definitely are the things to whip up on your weekend.

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And if you really want to go nuts, make them into whoopie pies with this cream cheese frosting. They’re lovely on their own–but they’d be killer with buttercream in the middle.

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It was so great to once again have friends and customers come to Anthropologie and taste these goodies, so thanks to all who came out! If you were there, you probably smelled not only pumpkin cookies, but also the ridiculously amazing smelling gingerbread candle that was near the display. (Looks like it’s not online yet, so you’ll have to run into the store and grab one to make your house smell like cookies all the time.) Fair warning–its not-so-subliminal scent may have affected my baking plans for next month’s Tasting Tuesdays… stay tuned!

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Thank you so much to Kim for the gorgeous display (for real–those bedazzled pumpkins), as well as Shannon and Lyn for being wonderful hostesses, as always. Once more, the ladies at the Milwaukee Anthropologie made today’s Tasting Tuesdays pretty much the highlight of my month. I hope you’ll come visit too next time if you’re in the Milwaukee area!

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