Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Strawberry Jam

I decided to make strawberry jam for the peanut butter and jelly cupcakes I was planning to make. I had never made jam before. I even bought a jar of strawberry jam as back up, but did not need it at all. This recipe is quite easy (as long as you don't mind baby sitting as the heat rises). It seemed to stay at 212F for a very long time. Also, I had a boiling over problem, but it was not a big issue.

I was so excited after making this that I had to make a piece of toast to test it out. Delicious!

Fresh strawberries, ready for mashing.


Strawberry Jam
2 pounds fresh strawberries, hulled
4 cups white sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice


In a wide bowl, crush strawberries in batches until you have 4 cups of mashed berry. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, mix together the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 220 degrees F (105 degrees C). Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace, and seal. Process in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don't with processing, and just refrigerate.

Here's the jam in use. The cupcakes will follow.

Cupcakes Filled & Topped with Caramel

When I first thought of this cupcake, I was very impressed with myself. I wondered if I could execute something as decadent as this. I was basing the recipe off of several recipes, but when it came time, to make these a reality, the source recipes were no longer posted. Of course, I should have saved them when I found them. Lesson learned. So, out of laziness and defeat, I used box mix.

These cupcakes had a great reaction. The consensus was "Heavenly". I made chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. Strangely, I preferred the vanilla, but I had positive feed back on both. I also made some mini-cupcakes as well and those were even better, like bites of caramel! This is a bit messy (like everything I make) but is well worth it (like some of the things I make). Good luck and enjoy!

Mini vanillas

Fresh from the dipping

A whole lot of delicious

Caramel Sauce (Source)
1 cup of sugar
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat sugar on moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart or 3-quart saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring.

As soon as all of the sugar crystals have melted (the liquid sugar should be dark amber in color)

Immediately add the butter to the pan. Whisk until the butter has melted.

Whisk until caramel sauce is smooth. Let cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then pour into a glass mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (Remember to use pot holders when handling the jar filled with hot caramel sauce.) Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Caramel topped and filled cupcakes

1 dozen cooked cupcakes (use your favorite recipe)
1 prepared recipe of warm Caramel sauce

Prepare the cupcakes by lining them up on wax paper. Remove the center of each cupcake using a paring knife or the wide end of a frosting tip.

Using a spoon, carefully fill each cupcake with caramel and replace the top of each cupcake. Depending on how secure the cake is replaced in each cupcake, you may be able to dip the cupcake into the caramel directly. It may be easier to spoon the caramel on top of each cupcake and rotate it gently until the entire cupcake is coated. (If the caramel becomes harder to work with, you can reheat it slowly in the pot it was cooked in until it is easier to use.)