AMY SEDARIS' VANILLA CUPCAKES
Makes 2 dozen
1½ sticks unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla (see shopper's note)
½ teaspoon salt
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2½ cups flour
1¼ cups milk
To prepare oven, muffin tin: Preheat over to 375 degrees. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Line standard muffin tin with paper or foil liners.
To make cupcakes: In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Add flour in 3 batches, alternating with milk. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds or until mixture is smooth and satiny.
To bake cupcakes: Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 45 minutes or until at room temperature.
Shopper's note: Look for double-strength vanilla at Penzeys Spices, 674 Grand Ave., St. Paul, or order it online from such Web sites as www.watkinsonline.com.
1 pound box of confectioners' sugar
¼ cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
In medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar, half-and-half and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.