|Flickr photo by cogdogblog|
I spent a lot of time during my childhood on boats - sailboats, motor boats, boats with outboards, canoes - so it was pretty likely that my little vacation down here on the Gulf Coast was going to involve getting on the water! Today was the day.
It's breezy here, to say the least. With winds around 30 mph, we got a 44 foot sailboat up to 9 knots (about 10 mph) in 4 foot waves. And I was even at the helm - water crashing over the bow, the main and jib sails only unfurled halfway. It was glorious after so many years away from this life of racing, weekend trips to Galveston, and skipping out of school early to sail with friends on Friday afternoons.
As I stepped in the shower to rinse off oily sunscreen and salty seawater, I felt fresh and new, scrubbing away layers of stickiness and grit. Likewise with the heat, I feel like I've been sweating out negativity and years of my own grit. How good it is to wash away the grime.
Licking my lips, I still taste a little tang from the waves and have this notion of something spicy and sweet, with a pinch of salt on top. That's me, right? I made these zucchini cupcakes with caramel frosting a few weeks ago and they were a MAJOR hit. I think they would be divine with a pinch of sea salt on top and would encourage you to give it a try.
Sidenote: I went to my FIRST EVER cupcake shop - Sprinkles - this week and had a bite of my mom's salted caramel cupcake. This frosting is not the same as the one from Sprinkles (not as creamy) but I rather liked it that way!
Zucchini Cupcakes with Caramel Frosting (Taste of Home)
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and extract. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to egg mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
For frosting, combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes. Top with a pinch of sea salt, if desired.
Yield: 1-1/2 to 2 dozen.