Tj and I are Harry Potter Dorks. Yes, full out dorks. For many many reasons. One...the movies are the bomb. Two...the books are even better. And those books got my husband, who insisted that he had some sort of 'learning disability', (slow reader isn't really a disability, he just needs to read and take his time as we have discovered!!) to read with such enthusiasm it made my heart happy. He, as did I, clamored for the next book, and we would count down the days until it's release. And I read them first because I read fast, and he read them next, and we didn't talk about it until it was done, but I would ask him what part he was on and chat a bit about it in between, because I an impatient.. 🙂 And then the movies....sigh...the movies. We have seen every one together either at midnight or opening day in the afternoon...all except the first one, and that's simply because I was not with TJ yet at that time, it was a few months before we got together! So these movies have been around the entire length of our relationship, they are something we look forward to doing together, and after we saw one, we always couldn't wait for the next...He always knew the release date, of everything. I am going to miss that. And we are totally going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida..but as we discovered last night, in 2012 we will be able to go to London and tour the actual sets of the movie, as well as see real props, costumes, and much more. I have always wanted to go to London.... Anyways...it is not just TJ and I. In fact, it's millions and millions of people who feel the same about these movies. We are not the craziest, but we are not the sanest either. We talk about these characters and events to great length's sometimes, and I have stopped and laughed and shook my head at how dorky we are being. But we don't wear costumes (although my Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 special edition 3d glasses are displayed proudly on a shelf in my living room) and we don't belong to any clubs or special groups....maybe in the next few years though? Don't count it out. We did see Daniel Radcliffe in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and flipped our lids a few times about seeing Harry Potter in real life, and he was dancing around amazingly. Ok, we are borderline..haha. But there are others like us out there!! And luck was on my side last week when I happened upon The Pastry Affair. I fell in love with the photography, the recipe's, the writing. There are so many blogs out there..but this one stood out to me, for so many reasons, but one of the biggest was I actually wanted to RUN INTO THE KITCHEN AND MAKE THESE RECIPES! And I did, the very next day I made the Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpea's They are the bomb. So I became a fan of them on facebook, and scrolled down a bit through the postings...one in particular caught my eye...a recipe for Butterbeer Cupcakes, in honor of the opening of Deatlhy Hallows pt. 2. Ahhhh they looked amazing!! But more complex than my baking skills can handle...so I bought the stuff and had my sister make them!! My sister came upstairs ready to make excuses for the cake, the consistency, blah blah blah...but I swear, these are some of the best damn cupcakes I have ever had. The cake actually has texture to it, and I adore that. And the flavor is fantastic. And they are themed after something I have always wanted to drink from Harry Potter!! But, this was a special night for TJ and I. On 11-11-11, Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 was released, and we would be able to buy it, and watch it in our home, and finally have in our possesion each and every one of the movies. Crazy. Oh and bonus features!! We needed a drink to go with our cupcakes. Why not Butterbeer too? The Pastry Affair had a fantastic recipe for a version of it, and it looked absolutely amazing, but to complicated for me, but in the comments on the post, someone mentioned they had went to a bar when the movie opened in the theaters, and they had turned into The Leaky Cauldron, and were serving butterbeer, but there's was Harp Lager and butterscotch schnapps. That sounded good to me!! I added whipped cream to the top of ours to give it that look from the movies..and sigh, I don't have beer steins..but you get the gist!! Here is the recipe for the cupcakes, taken from the post on The Pastry Affairs website, adapted from Amy Bites 🙂 And if you like these sorts of posts, please feel free to leave a comment, ask questions, let me know some tips, anything! Butterbeer Cupcakes Yields 18 cupcakes Butterbeer Cupcakes 2 cups flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda Pinch of salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 teaspoon butter flavoring 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup cream soda Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a cupcake tin with baking cups. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and butter flavoring. Fold in 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the buttermilk, 1/3 of the flour mixture, cream soda, and then the remaining flour. Folding in these ingredients will prevent over-mixing and will result in a fluffier, less dense cupcake. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cupcakes are golden and spring back when touched. Cool completely before frosting. Butterscotch Ganache 11 ounces (1 package) butterscotch chips 1 cup heavy cream In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt the butterscotch chips into the heavy cream, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using. Butterscotch Buttercream 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup butterscotch ganache (recipe above) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon butter flavoring Pinch of salt 3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar Splash of heavy cream (as needed) In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the butterscotch ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt. Beat in the powdered sugar for 2-3 minutes, starting with 3 cups and adding more only if necessary. Add the cream a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved (I only needed 1 tablespoon). To Assemble Pour butterscotch ganache into a plastic squeeze bottle. Stab the tip of the bottle into cupcake and fill each cupcake with butterscotch ganache until it starts to overflow. Fill a pastry bag with butterscotch buttercream and pipe onto the top of each cupcake. Drizzle on the butterscotch ganache. Lick your fingers clean if you just so happen to get extra butterscotch on them. If you have any leftover butterscotch ganache, it can be used as ice cream topping. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (that is, if they don't get devoured immediately).