Friday, February 19, 2010

The Raspberry Story

Two summers ago, Jeffrey and I went on a trip to Minnesota to stay with his grandma for a week. While we were there we explored a lot of different places — things Jeffrey's been doing in Minnesota since he was a kid and wanted to share with me. We went to the general store, spent a couple hours in a never ending antique store, found a neat basement thrift shop, and posed with, quite possibly, the biggest Viking statue America has to offer. It was an excellent trip — a trip I will never forget. One of my favorite memories of the trip is raspberry picking. Driving back from a state park that is home to the start of the Mississippi River (Yeah! Believe it or not, the Mississippi River actually starts in Minnesota) we saw a sign for raspberry picking. Being the berry lovers that we are, we had to stop and give fresh raspberries a shot. Before this, I'd never really been that into raspberries. They just never made it onto my radar.

But. There is something about standing in a field of fruit as the sun is setting. I mean, any kind of fruit would be extra special in such a setting — moments like that don't come around everyday (although I'm sure they could if we really searched for them) — but thank goodness they were raspberries. The thing about raspberries is that they are really fun to pick. If you've eaten a raspberry, you know that they're hollow in the center. That's because on the vine, they're attached to this little cone, and when you pick raspberries, if they're really ripe and really ready to be picked, they slip off that little cone seamlessly. And there's something really wonderful about a raspberry that slips right off it's little cone. It's like finding a $20 bill, or something. And then there's the raspberries that hang on to their cones and those tend to be sour and pucker-y. Those are also delicious, especially when you can pair them with a very ripe raspberry.

Anyway, since that day in the field, Jeffrey and I have been in love with raspberries. And I think it's safe to say that raspberries are our fruit. They just are. And so whenever a special occasion comes around, it's almost like a rule that we have to have something with raspberries in it. Because honestly, it's like, we need those little guys to come to all our celebrations — that's how much we love them.
Valentine's Day was no exception. I knew I wanted to make a treat with raspberries in it. And so as I was reading Smitten Kitchen I came across a recipe for cupcakes. Cupcakes that originally were topped with a cream infused with Peppermint Extract, but I lovingly switched it out for Raspberry Extract, and then, these little gems were born.

As mentioned, I got this lovely recipe from Smitten Kitchen. She's such a reliable source and her recipes have yet to fail me. I highly recommend her site. Anyway.

*Adaptations: I used Raspberry Extract. I omitted the espresso powder/coffee nonsense completely. The only other change was accidental. I didn't really have enough chocolate for the cupcake portion, so I combined 4 ounces of a bittersweet bar with 2 ounces of a white chocolate bar and I would not change a thing about any of my adaptations, accidental or not.
I suggest you make these as soon as possible.
Then, Enjoy!

xo, R.


LW said...

Love it. XO

Cafe Fashionista said...

I have never before tasted a raspberry - this seems like the perfect time to fix that! :)