Two years can go by in an blinding flash. When my husband and I embarked upon this “labor of love” that is The Cozy Apron, we had zero expectations; after all, we had no clue as to what it meant to have blog, and how having one can truly change your life when you fall head over heals in love with the process of producing content for it week after week.
When we began, all we really hoped to do was share a few recipes here and there with any one looking for some inspiration in that department, and do it in a creative way that would be uplifting and encouraging, and perhaps leave folks in a better state than when they landed on our pages. (We were thrilled at the idea of having even 20 people come to visit our site on a daily basis!)
We had no idea how we'd fall utterly in love with the process, fall utterly in love with our precious readers who so very often offer us their beautiful and encouraging thoughts and kind words via little emails and comments. I like to think of those as little “I Love You” notes for the blog, akin to ones that my husband and I leave each other every now and then in sticky-note form.
We had no inkling just how much our hearts would grow in the desire to connect to others out there, and just how much I would become inspired to become more vulnerable, opening up about who I am and the thoughts about life that I have, in hopes that you would reach back to me and offer me a glimpse of who you are.
You, my dear reader, are the entire reason why my husband and I have such a passion to create our content here. You are the reason that keeps our creative juices flowing, and keeps us searching our hearts for new ways to touch and comfort you in the hopes that perhaps this will spark some new desires in you, as well. And for all of that, I would like to extend a genuine and whole-hearted “thank you”. My words cannot begin to describe the overwhelming gratitude that we feel for you providing us with a space—a “vessel”, so to speak—to fill with those very things that overflow from our own hearts, that seek a place to dwell.
I have a feeling this will be an interesting year. I feel the waters stirring in me, feel emotions and desires churning. Each day I find my desire to connect and encourage growing stronger and stronger, and my longing to “feed” people, not only with good food and recipes but with words and thoughts that nourish and nurture, growing evermore outwardly.
This is a year in which I hope we'll find the courage to ask questions, and share those questions with others; to look inside and ask, “What motivates me?”; and to find that better—higher—part of our self, the part that is closer to God and where we originated from, and begin to function more freely and expressively from that very part.
For me, I can't imagine anything more interesting than discovering new things about myself and about you, and how our “pieces” fit together in this grand puzzle called “life”. Just think: without you, and without me, the puzzle is incomplete.
So in order to celebrate this special little occasion of our blog officially turning “2”, it's time to bring out some decadent and delicious cupcakes. For our first anniversary, we celebrated with these puffy little chocolatey ditties; and so to keep on a similarly chocolatey track, as chocolate and coffee are probably my two most favorite flavors, and since I like the idea of occasionally sipping on a creamy and fragrantly-sweet liqueur like Irish Cream, I thought I'd put all of these together into one, rich little "Irish Cream & Coffee” Cupcake for us to share and enjoy.
Here's to The Cozy Apron going into it's third year; and here's to each of us growing upward and continuously moving forward into a better way of being, a more caring and empathetic way of operating. And here's to us having the courage to share our stories with one another, and having the courage to be touched and moved into caring more for one another.
Thank you so much for celebrating so many good things with us!
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Rich & Chocolatey Irish Cream & Coffee Cupcakes made with Sweet Irish Cream Liqueur & Real Coffee
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 24-26 cupcakes
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 10 fluid ounces vegetable oil
• 8 fluid ounces buttermilk
• 8 fluid ounces brewed coffee, cooled
• 4 fluid ounces Irish Cream liqueur
• 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• “Irish Coffee” Frosting (recipe below)
• Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and line 24-26 cupcake molds with papers, then gently mist with cooking spray.
-To prepare the “dry ingredients”, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt (I just use a large, fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and shake it to aerate the ingredients and remove lumps), and set aside.
-To prepare the “wet ingredients”, whisk together the vegetable oil, buttermilk, coffee and Irish Cream liqueur, and set aside.
-To a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, the eggs and the vanilla, and with a hand-held mixer set on low or medium-low, mix those ingredients until they are pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
-Next, begin adding some of the dry ingredients into the sugar/egg mixture, and once that is fully incorporated, add some of the wet ingredients; continue to add the two, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients, finishing with the dry, until all is added and incorporated.
-Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, and bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting with the “Irish Coffee” Frosting; top each with a chocolate-covered espresso bean.
“Irish Coffee” Frosting Ingredients:
• 1 cup softened butter
• 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
• 4 tablespoons Irish Cream Liqueur
• ½ teaspoon instant coffee powder combined with ½ teaspoon warm water (coffee “extract”)
-Place the butter and the sugar into a large bowl, and using a hand-mixer, mix until the two come together (the mixture may look “crumbly” at this point—that's normal).
-Next, add in the coffee “extract” and the Irish Cream Liqueur, and continue to mix until everything comes together and become very light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
-Frost cupcakes immediately; or, store the frosting in a covered container in the fridge if making ahead.