Fancy Eid Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

“I can’t believe Ramadan is almost over!” said every Muslim at the end of every Ramadan.

Naturally, as I say goodbye to my favorite month of the year, I begin thinking about my plans to celebrate Eid. Since high school, I’ve been baking some type of dessert every Eid. The past 2 or 3 years, though, I haven’t. Here’s to changing that!

I’ve got an easy recipe for you all—vanilla bean cupcakes without the headache of getting wimpy imitation vanilla extract. SLO Food Group has ethically sourced vanilla beans and they’re quite affordable! Cheaper than the ones at Sprouts, that’s for sure.

Ingredients

Recipe (serves 6-8)

  1. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat the softened butter until it’s “whippy.”

  2. Add half of the sugar and whisk until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then add the rest of the sugar.

  3. When completely mixed, add the egg and whisk until you see no more lumps.

  4. Next you will add the dry and wet ingredients alternatively, always starting and ending with the dry ingredients. So in this case, add half of the flour and the baking powder.

  5. Mix, mix, mix! Gently, though, don’t beat too much air into it.

  6. Then add a mixture of the milk, yogurt, and vanilla beans. Mix this slowly so you don’t spatter liquid everywhere!

  7. Add the remaining flour and beat until just incorporated. The batter will be somewhat thick but still sludgy.

  8. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Using an ice cream scoop (1/4 cup), fill up each liner.

  9. Pop into an oven preheated to 325°F and bake for about 20 minutes. Starting at 16 minutes into the baking, you can start checking the done-ness of the cupcakes by gently stabbing (ha!) the center of one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean or with dry/moist crumbs (not wet batter), then you’re done! Take them out and let them cool a little bit in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to pipe. If the toothpick comes out with some wet batter, continue baking for 2 minutes and check again. Repeat until the toothpick comes out clean!

Tips

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Gold Leaf Foiling
  • Unlike what I did in my video, I recommend mixing the vanilla beans into the liquid (in this case, milk and yogurt) so that they will more evenly disperse throughout the batter. You don’t want chunks of vanilla bean in your cupcake.

  • Don’t take the cupcakes out of the pan immediately after baking, otherwise you’ll smush them. These cupcakes are quite moist, and you don’t want to ruin their shape while they’re still hot/not quite set.

  • For these vanilla bean cupcakes, I recommend a frosting light in both texture and flavor. I used a simple, very basic buttercream for mine!

  • To really make these cupcakes scream EID, place some flakes of gold foil from SLO Food Group on top!

Reconstructed Roohafza: Pink Rose Chia Pudding

Roohafza. The ridiculously sweet rose flavored syrup that’s a staple in desi homes particularly during Ramadan. Shout out to Pakistan helping India out during the dire Roohafza shortage. Roohafza is often mixed with milk, sometimes mixed with water. And sometimes, like in falooda (another desi dessert), it’s paired with tukh malanga otherwise known as basil seeds which swell up in liquid just like chia seeds!

Cooking in Ramadan can be quite challenging. That's why I thought to make a reconstructed Roohafza drink using chia seeds.

This pink overnight chia pudding is perfect for preparing at night for next morning’s suhoor, or preparing in the day for iftar later! It’s quick and easy to make, and the hardest part is the wait.

Roohafza Rose Chia Pudding

Recipe

Pour the milk (or whichever liquid you’re choosing to use) into a container that will hold 2-3 cups of liquid. Stir in the Roohafza. Keep stirring. Stir until your carpal tunnel flares up. Then switch hands and continue stirring. Once the Roohafza syrup has dissolved completely, pour in the chia seeds and stir gently until thoroughly combined.

Tightly seal the lid or plastic wrap it and then pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. I left mine overnight and they were perfect in the morning. You don’t have to stir the pudding for evenness; just stir thoroughly before you serve!

Box-Brownies are for Babies

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like chocolate. That might be because I don’t make friends with weirdos, but who knows?

I’ve loved making brownies since high school. I would get foil pans with plastic lids from WinCo (just like these) so that I could bake and deliver birthday brownies for friends in the same pan. Kinda cute, huh?

Unfortunately I was not a MasterChef Junior and was not advanced enough to bake brownies from scratch.

The first time I made brownies from scratch was actually when I turned 18. I used Alton Brown’s Cocoa Brownie recipe and have been using it ever since. Here’s a short video of how you make them, mess them up, and then rescue them:

I’m human. I’ve followed this recipe for 10 years and I still messed up. This is what happens when you get old!!

Anyway, I sprinkled some Maldon Sea Salt Flakes on top for visual and gustatory contrast. A light drizzle of caramel would go well with these, too!

If for some odd reason you are able to resist finishing the entire pan in one sitting (or two in the inevitable case that you have to get up to get more milk), it is best to store these in a closed container. It doesn’t have to be tightly sealed, but enough of a covering/seal to keep most of the moisture in. For this reason, I bake them in Pyrex storage containers and then pop the lids on when they are completely cooled. Yes, you can safely bake in Pyrex’s storage containers; you don’t need to get the “bakeware” with the handles. At least I think so. If you can bake in them in a toaster oven, why not a regular oven? ANYWAY.

Enjoy!