About anh droid

everything I am is in the music I listen to and create and in the words I read and write

Cookies are a sometimes food!

But cupcakes are for everyday!!

So, having handed in my thesis (yay), I finally have time again to indulge in some kitchen experiments. Last week, there was oriental couscous with raisins, cinammon, orange glazed tofu and creamy Sambal Oelek. And today, there were cookie monster cupcakes.

I was inspired by some pictures I saw online last year (I guess I’m behind the hype), but also wanted to try a new cupcake recipe. The first thing that came up googling “cheesecake cupcakes” was Martha Stewart, of all sites. So, I mixed and matched a little bit to come up with a good two dozen little blue monsters. If you wanna give it a try, here’s how:

CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE COOKIEMONSTER CUPCAKES

Batter
Ingredients (makes about 24)
• 600g cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 1/8 cups sugar
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature (yoghurt works, too)
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 small eggs, room temperature
• canned whole cranberries

Directions (mine are a little less sophisticated than Martha’s. The original recipe also recommends a sour cream topping which is possibly very tasty, but definitely very boring looking. It does use imperial measurements, though ;))
1. Preheat oven to 175°C. Line the cupcake tins with heavyweight aluminum liners, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. paper liners are fine, too =)

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, soda and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not overmix.

4. Divide batter evenly among cupcake liners. Add one or two craberries – they’ll sink on their own.

5. Place on a low oven rack and bake for 15 minutes.
Switch to a higher rack and bake until golden brown.
Now, here’s the deal – if you take them out right away, the cupcakes will most likely sink in a little. Which is fine if you need room for lots of frosting – if you do insist on a bulging, well-rounded monster you may want to try these cupcakes a few times before presenting them. Or use a different batter.

The “skin”
In order to make the fur stick, you need to coat the cupcakes. I used a cream cheese frosting, but sugar icing etc. is fine, too!

Ingredients for the frosting:
• 175g cream cheese, room temperature (do not use the fat reduced kind, it’ll be too sour!)
• 75g butter (soft)
• 120g powdered sugar
• blue food coloring (optional)
• a pinch of salt

Directions
Mix butter and salt. Gradually sift powdered sugar and stir well. Add spoonfuls of cream cheese until smooth. Cool for a bit.
Now, you can just add blue food coloring and top off the cupcakes. But, honestly, monsters have FUR, so let’s give it some:

Fur
Ingredients
• 150g dessicated coconut
• blue food coloring (lots!)

Directions
If you have lots of time, you can grind the coconut a little, but using what you buy is fine, too. Generously add blue food coloring (I used a mix of dry and gel, just try and see whatever works best for you). Dip the frosted cupcakes in the blue coconut.
Some also use blue sprinkles, but I think the coconut looks furrier.

Eyes & Extras
There are lots of ways to make the eyes:
click for another recipe!I saw some recipes featuring little balls of marzipan or white icing with chocolate chips. I used chocolate dragees (think smarties or m&ms) and attached pupils made of teenie drops of molten dark (70%) chocolate.
Additionally, you might want to add miniature cookies (or pieces) – stick them in where the mouth is supposed to be. It looks really great, but I felt it was a bit of an overkill 😉

Enjoy!

addendum RE Ocean Marketing…

From a discussion on Nate‘s google+ – I wrote a bit, so I figured I’d use it again. Recycling’s all the rage nowadays, right?

1) I don’t necessarily agree with the way penny arcade published the whole e-mail-exchange, nor with the bullie-argument. I’ve been bullied and I don’t think burning everything down is the best solution.

BUT Christoforo has made it SO much worse on his own, so he (imo) still deserves all the shit he’s getting. Until he actually sees the point!

2) I read Christoforo’s response on Kotaku and I think it shows exactly what’s the problem with his “apology”:

“I didn’t know who that guy at Penny Arcade was. If I had known, I would have treated the situation a little better. PAX is a great show. What he does is what I’ve been idlolizing since I was a kid. It’s admirable he’s put that together. He has a lot of connections, ones I want too. […]
Ultimately, if I was able to control the customer, it never would have happened. I’ve dealt with thousands and thousands of customers with similar complaints, they were all asking the same question. When is it big enough that it hits the news? When it hits Penny Arcade, when it hits a guy who has the biggest affiliations in the industry.”
(quoted from Kotaku)

Essentially, what he’s saying is “I would’ve been nicer, had I known this would be publicised” He’s also saying “had I known this person was important, I would’ve been nice” (which is basically what he told Nathan this summer). So really, his defense is “I’m only nice when I know there are cosequences for not being nice” and now he’s asking for people to back off, NOT because of his behavior, but because he behaved like this toward the wrong people.

That’s not how it works.
a) be nice to people. period.
b) especially to your customers. No matter if they’re John Doe or the mayor of Boston. Honestly, from everything that I’ve read so far, I’m gathering that Christofor either has no customer service personnel, or they are equally incompetent as he is. So, this is all him and there are simply no excuses either for the way the e-mail-exchange went (“Dec. 17” in itself is inacceptable for customer service) or for how he handled the ordeal that ensued.

“Welcome to the internet, bitch”.
Or at least this is how I roll.

Penny Arcade vs. Ocean Marketing

(I originally wrote about the incident elsewhere, but the tumblr’s for fun, really, so I’m transferring the issue here.)

Paul on TwitterSo, here are some news:

Paul abandoned his “OceanStratagy”[sic]-Twitter-Account as well, claiming someone had been messing with his iPhone. He said he was going to take a break.

He then changed his handler to “OceanDeepSea”, using it to attack Scott Lowe, who, along with Sean Buckley from Endgadget, has publicly distanced himself and IGN from Paul. (as have G4, Kotaku and basically everyone else Paul claimed to be besties with. I’m honestly waiting fo the mayor of Boston to issue a statement…)Paul tweeting to Scott LoweIn the meantime, the interwebs have found out the following:

  • Paul had a court hearing for domestic violence. He claimed that charges were dropped. (I’m not linking this, because the name of the woman really doesn’t matter, nor does sending her facebook messages etc. do any good. You can easily google it, tho.)
  • Paul says he’s gotten e-mails and phone calls to his house over this – which probably is what happens when you do things like this AND have your number on the interwebs.
  • Paul’s website has been plagiarized.
  • Paul claims his family is in danger over controllers.
    I beg to differ.
  • Searching for different e-mail-addresses (e. g. cstrophic@hotmail.com) Paul has used in the past, the interwebs have (so far) discovered
    – Paul likes tropical Fish
    – Paul likes him some steroids, so maybe this is just a hormonal glitch.
  • No, wait – Paul also apparently commited identity theft, pretending to be Brandon Leidel. I think this is the legally gravest offense so far and hope they get him for that, if nothing else.
  • And no, he’s really not learning from all of this.

Please note:
both N-Control (distributor) and David Kotkin (inventor) have distanced themselves from Christoforo.

“We apologize for our poor representation from Ocean Marketing. We wanted to give Paul a chance. He was rough around the edges, but he had drive and enthusiasm. However his behavior was unprovoked, unnecessary, and unforgivable. We are no longer represented by Ocean Marketing.”
David Kotkin on Kotaku.

However, there seems to be some shadiness regarding Kotkin and Christoforo being in business together (which Kotkin has brushed off).

Still really, there’s really no reason to down-vote the controller on Amazon, etc., it’s still assisting disabled gamers and accuracy in controlling, despite the abysmal PR.
The issue’s Christoforo. Even though Dave seems to have forgiven him.