Ginger Cupcake with Matcha Buttercream

Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes

Makes: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1½ cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1½ cups whole milk
3 cups flour
¼ cup crystallized ginger, minced

For the buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon matcha tea powder

Method
For the cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350 F and fill 2 cupcake pans with paper liners. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, yolks and vanilla before scraping down the bowl edges. Add in baking powder, baking soda, salt and ground ginger and beat to combine. Add in the milk and flour in 3 parts, ending with the flour, until fully combined. Stir in crystallized ginger.

Scoop ¼ cup batter into each liner in the prepared pan. Bake 22–24 minutes or until tops are slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before placing each cupcake on a rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the buttercream:
Add butter and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on high until fully combined, about 5 minutes.

Scrape down the bowl and add in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, cream and matcha powder. Beat until fully combined and fluffy — about 1 minute. 

Frost completely cooled cupcakes with a pastry bag or offset spatula. 

Oatmeal Pancakes

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Start to finish: 15 minutes
Impresses: 6

Ingredients
2¼ cups rolled oats
1 cup whole milk
1 cup 2% milk fat cottage cheese
1 egg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons baking powder
Butter, for greasing pan

For serving, optional:
Sliced bananas
Walnut pieces

Method
In a blender, combine all ingredients except butter and blend until smooth — about 30 seconds.

Bring a low-sided skillet to medium heat. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter in pan and pour 1/4 cup scoopfuls of pancake batter onto skillet — cooking no more than three pancakes per batch. Cook 2 minutes, or until the top has began to bubble and is slightly set, before flipping and cooking a remaining 1–2 minutes.

Repeat process, including melting butter for each batch, until batter is gone. 

Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 F oven. Top with sliced bananas, walnut pieces and additional syrup if desired.

California Cobb Chicken Salad

Start to finish: 10 minutes
Impresses: 2

Ingredients
½ avocado
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning
6 ounces rotisserie chicken, diced
¼ cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

Method
In a medium sized bowl, mash avocado until smooth with a fork. Add in yogurt and ranch seasoning and mix to combine. 

Toss in chicken, bacon, sunflower seeds, blue cheese and parsley, and stir to completely mix and coat. Serve with crackers.

Tip: Grab just what you need for this recipe off the salad bar to save time and reduce food waste.