Embracing Winter…

Glass Half Empty
There were days when my whiny cantankerousness welcomed winter. Admittedly, I was a brat then. Unappreciative of Mother Nature’s simplistic attire. I coveted sunshine, my ignorant mind misconstruing rays for happiness. Floral bounties and barefoot walks along the beach became the sole harbingers of joy. I succumbed to an intense yearning for warmth, failing to accept uncertainty & more so, change. A change that is entailed by the necessity for balance. I was blinded by my own stubborn resolve. I visioned winter to be a scorned witch on a broomstick, armed with unbridled blustery winds in one hand and frigidity in the other, constantly battle ready. I wasn’t one to surrender, I fought hard, cursed and complained. If seasons had sounds then summer was synonymous with Mozart’s harmonious symphonies while winter screamed of dissonance screeching like a  rockstar’s broken electric guitar.

No more.

Glass Half Full
The blinds have snapped off and the mind is finally eager to embrace nature’s vivid transformation. Winter’s mellifluous songs are naturally muted if I snobbishly turn a deaf ear. I realize the solution is by far, simple. My only task remains to let myself go. Perhaps if I attempt to embrace the cold, maybe I could avoid huddling in torture. Perhaps if I extend one hand, She will too. Once the answers unveiled themselves, in other words, once the attitude changed, the rest was easy. My mind’s eye was finally ready to feel the season, Glass Half Full.
Emboldened by the faux fur parka, the breeze fortified by frost has become less intimidating. The somber, gloomy mornings have never posed a problem since they have a way of romanticizing the day. The natural, obvious beauty around helps too and Niagara on the Lake, a little town exhibits it immensely : Leafless trees move fearlessly with the gales, their skinny branches bent & curved like they’re in the midst of an intense ballet recital. They mingle with each other, like socialites reveling at a soiree . Whispering gossip also possibly discussing when the heavens will lace their elegant arms with flurries.
Velvety earth culminating after a fresh flurry offers a gentle cushioning for weary feet but the aspect of impish fun comes into play when there’s a generous snowfall and there are mountains of snow to carefully roll and fling at the husband!
Window sills and picket fences lined with green fern and crimson berries and wreaths in silver and gold make up for the lackluster as do brightly lit trees and reindeer topiaries and iridescent ornaments hanging from branches.
There are a couple of pictures below that our thickly gloved hands captured on the phone. (They’re from Niagara on the Lake, a little town that appears to have taken a leap off of Gilmore Girls, a television series based in a similar town called Stars Hollow. I’ll reserve another post to walk you through this quaint piece of calm.)
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Additionally I’m sharing also, a recipe, one of the many festive bakes I indulged in this past month. Food tends to add a sense of ease especially if it involves excessive amounts of sugar.
These are bite sized Mini Chocolate Cupcakes spruced with Peppermint, a flavor that categorizes as a staple in my opinion, in the holiday season. A grand crown of rich White Chocolate Frosting is assiduously placed. The frosting is a rendezvous between a scarlet red and white, much like the striped peppermint candy.
The mint gently masks the sugar. The chocolate counteracts the bout of freshness. They go hand in hand, entwined in sweet romance and to me, their clandestine affair, just came to light.
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Recipe for Mini Chocolate-Peppermint Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting ( Makes 12 Mini Cupcakes)
Ingredients for Eggless Cupcakes

1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp Baking Soda
1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp Canola Oil
1/3 tsp + 1/3 tbsp white vinegar
1-1.5 tsp Peppermint Extract.
1/3rd cup Milk
2 tbsp warm coffee decoction

Ingredients for White Chocolate Frosting (Adapted from Sally’s Bake Blog)
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter(Softened at Room temperature)
85 gms White Chocolate
1 cup Icing sugar
2 tbsp Heavy cream or milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt

How to make the Cupcakes:
1.  Line your mini cupcake pan with liners and preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, sift together dry ingredients: Self Raising Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Cocoa Powder.
3. To this , add Brown Sugar and give it a good mix.
4. Next, in go the wet ingredients: Canola Oil, Peppermint Extract, 1/3tbsp white vinegar.
5. In a cup mix milk and 1/3 tsp white vinegar to make buttermilk. Add the buttermilk to the cake mix in the large bowl and mix well to ensure there are no lumps.
6. Mix in the coffee decoction and fill cupcake liners till they are 2/3rds full.
7. Bake for  12-15 minutes.
8. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

How to make the Frosting:
1. Whisk together butter, milk/heavy cream, vanilla essence together in a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, until soft and creamy.
2. Add icing sugar in parts and keep whisking.
3. In a separate bowl, add chopped white chocolate and microwave for 20 sec. Remove, stir and repeat. Twice should do but if not melted after stirring, repeat once more.
4. Add the tempered chocolate to the buttercream as you whisk.
5. Whisk for 3-4 minutes until nice and creamy.
6. Pipe onto completely cooled cupcakes.
7. I added the icing into a bag with Wilton 6B tip in and lined with crimson colored food coloring.
Happy New Year everyone!

51 thoughts on “Embracing Winter…

  1. Those cupcakes are so inviting and you write so so well! I am eager to read more about that small town, was Gilmore Girls shot there?
    I had also been a brat and used to get sad whenever the weather got cold or gloomy or cloudy, but now I embrace every season.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read Anu:) I truly appreciate it!😊
      Gilmore Girls wasn’t shot in Niagara on the Lake but it carries the same charm in my opinion:)
      Luckily there’s a lot of sugar laden treats to get us through the weather 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I miss Niagara-on-the-Lake! When we lived in Buffalo we went there a lot–such a lovely town and so perfect in the winter! Your cupcakes are stunning, Divya–that marbled frosting is magical!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. See, I love how you’ve learned to embrace winter. I also try to do (but somedays still fail at it 😉). Reading your words always make me feel like I’m embedded deep with in a poetic fairy tale. So utterly lovely descriptions. .. And the cupcakes look just as magnificent! 😄😚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reading your writing for me Divya is so comforting! You put such a lovely and relaxing, calm and beautiful spin to each thing you speak of! It is just wonderful! The cupcakes are a work of art as are all of your edible creations! Almost look too good to eat but I would anyway make no mistake about that haha and now to know you are a Gilmore girl!! You are a dream come true!! 🙂 XO!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maureen you are so generous with your compliments… I’m immensely grateful & they mean a lot especially coming from a wonderful writer such as you!! 😊
      I wish I could send you some cupcakes & yes , a big fan the Gilmore clan!
      Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Oy with the poodles already!” hahhaa! Love that show so much but couldnt bring myself to watch more than 5 minutes of the revival sad to say. As for my compliments my dear you deserve them all!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s really important to extend a hand, even to someone whom we don’t like much. Only then we will be able to see the beauty and warmth. I don’t know which one I liked most in this post; the poetry-like musing, the pictures or the peppermint cupcakes!All the 3 P’s are amazingly done…. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very true Divya, I also have the impression of winters especially abroad being some of the most depressing times, so dull, desolate and dark. But your post really puts things in perspective, we need to embrace mother nature and all its changes…also it is all in the way you view things…great insight:) Your cakes are as always so superlative…a novice like me can only say “hats off!!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for such kind words Rashmi:) Appreciate you taking the time to read:) you should visit so that I can bake for you😊

      My thoughts regarding winter used to be the same.. dark, depressing but no more:)

      Like

  7. The dull grey wintry pics have been tossed out of the window by your brilliant pessimistic and optimistic metaphors of the season and the bewitching lip smacking cup cakes. I am simply overawed not only by your writing and cooking and baking skills but also by the beauty of the presentation with the eye catching pics to boot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the shower of compliments Sunita. You’re too kind is all I can say:)
      Baking is more of a remedy for insomniac in me;)
      Thank you very much for taking the time to read & the appreciation 😊
      Hope you & the family are having a lots of fun with the new additions:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Get drenched and soak in the shower DD coz you deserve it truly!
        My life is upside down and the chores have progressed geometrically:( with the new incumbants as they have taken over the house!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Winter is one of the toughest months to handle! You manage to see the positive in it. 🙂 I’m so glad we have sunshine these days or it would drive me crazy. haha! Love your profile pic and your recipes are making me crave those divine, sinful goodies you bake! Seriously need a share button on it. 🙂

    Like

  9. You’re quite a poet, Divya 🙂 I have never experienced winter like that before, therefore I can imagine how tough it must have been for folks like us who come from the tropics. I’m glad that you chose to see the bright side of winter and that you threw yourself in baking delicious cupcakes and cakes – yum! Wish I was there living in the same city, and you could call me anytime for tea and cake 🙂 Hope the freezing temperature has somewhat increased a little to make way for spring. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very kind Kat.. thank you for reading & showering me with these lovely words😊
      Baking has always been a tranquil experience & the bleak weather prompts a heavy need for sugar😀And you don’t need an invitation dearest, you’re welcome anytime❤️

      The temperatures are rising but at a snail’s pace 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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