Saturday, February 21, 2015

Melting Candle Confetti Cupcakes!

Good Morning friends!  Fancy meeting you here for a new recipe on a Saturday morning, eh?  I am up, not feeling well, and just cracked a window for some fresh 9 degree F air, and can hear birds singing.  I can't lay back down, or I am going to, well...toss my cookies so I am writing this recipe up for you.  Wait.... let's not call this one a recipe, let's call it a method.   I saw a similar idea on the YouTube channel Cookes Cupcakes and Cardio. It inspired me to make my own version, my way.


Don't be to disappointed that I used a cake mix again! HA!  I used a white one, added double vanilla and sprinkles for my own confetti cake, but you can use any cake flavor you like.  Keep that in mind, as I will write it up how I did this particular version. 

I also used Wilton chocolate.  White chocolate, whatever it is, and used them in the colors of my candles.  I didn't run out for candles these are just some I had on hand, otherwise you may have gotten a bigger color range but, let's be honest, they are going to get pitched anyway.  You will need colors of the chocolate that will match your candles.  I got about 18 cupcakes and did about 4 of each color.  (around there).  This all sounds so wishy washy, doesn't it?  Sorry about that, it is just that it all depends on how many cupcakes you get, or make.  Let's just get on with it, shall we?

Note: You can color white chocolate, with gel/oil based food colors.  Don't use the cheap ones, it will seize on you!  I did color the blue one of mine!  A few of mine were flavored chocolate as well.  Just FYI.

You will need:
1 white cake mix (not paid or sponsored but ya'll know I am a Pillsbury girl)
2 T. multicolored sprinkles
1 T. vanilla extract
birthday candles
colored chocolate
white chocolate chips, or chocolate melting wafers in colors coordinating with your candles.

Mix up your cupcakes, adding in sprinkles and vanilla and bake per package directions.  Let cool completely!!!


When they are completely cooled, work with one color at a time.  I tried to coordinate my cupcake papers as well, not everyone is that OCD, shall we say? 

Place your candles in the cupcakes before you do anything else.  Push them down as far as they will go for this one.  Just makes the "melt" look more realistic.


Melt your chocolate in a bowl 30 seconds at a time and if needed add a bit of vegetable oil to it, if it isn't as workable, or pourable as you want it or need it to be.  Also add your coloring if you need to.  When it is melted use a small spoon and start pouring it down the sides of the candle unto the cupcake.  Do this until you have the desired effect.  I used about 1/2 cup of melted chocolate for 3-4 cupcakes.  Let it drip down the side and pool, create layers, whatever makes it more dippy candle wax-ish to you!  It is kind of a fun look and unexpected with the chocolate on top when people expect icing. 

Let the chocolate set, in the fridge or at room temperature for about 30 minutes and enjoy!

I am still on a cupcake roll.  Don't worry it will all end after my birthday!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Banana Cupcakes with Whipped Peanut Butter Ganache

Let me start by thanking Melissa Whitefoot, for requesting this recipe.  It is my goal to make as many kinds of cupcakes in this, my birthday month as possible.  So make sure to get your requests or ideas in, because it may be YOUR idea that I make next!!   Let me also, tell you, how difficult this actually was.  Seriously, it doesn't seem like it should have been but, trust me, it was!  I think they turned out perfect in the end and isn't that what matters?  Let me tell you of my debacle!


This recipe was supposed to be up a couple of days ago.  However, each attempt at this, kept turning out more like a muffin or bready.  Though the flavor was great, I was disappointed with each try because, well, I wanted cupcakes, not bread and not muffins!

Then, I got a call from my sister Peg.  She is my fellow cake mix addict, and friends, after our conversation I decided to "turn tot he mix".  After 4 tries, and pounds of bananas, and more muffins than I knew what to do with, I thought, let me just go "there".   I mean it was already a CAKE mix.  How could this turn out bad?  And why was I beating myself up so much for "resorting" to a box mix when I am loud and proud about how I have 10 in my pantry at any given time?!?  I made a decision, at that moment, that no matter what I did, I couldn't mess this one up.  And boy was I right.  Perfection.  The perfect flavor combo if you enjoy these flavors, one doesn't outweigh the other, and well, just trust me.

Just a note, though I did use a half of a teaspoon of banana extract you do not NEED it.  If you can get it, I would say, go for it, I find mine actually at my Asian grocery store, but, you don't have to have it.  Don't use vanilla, just let the banana that you use give you the flavor you need.  Also, when you mash your banana, leave some chunks, it leave little pockets of banana goodness that pureeing them would just mess all up. 

Let's get on with this!  I am going to give you the ganache recipe first, as you will need to let it come to room temperature and then refrigerate. 

12 ounces peanut butter chips  (not regular peanut butter friends, you need CHIPS)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 T. butter

Place your chips into a bowl.  Set aside.  In a small pot, place  your heavy cream and watch for it to create some bubbles on the outside.  You don't want to boil it, just "scald" it.  Pour it over the chips, without stirring or disrupting them, let it sit for 30 seconds.  After 30 seconds, begin to mix with a whisk.  Whisk until the peanut butter chips are melted, add in the butter and whisk until incorporated.  Set aside.

1 yellow cake mix
1/2 tsp. banana extract or essence
3 bananas just crushed up with a fork. (leave some chunks)

Preheat oven to suggested temperature on the box.  Prepare according to package directions adding in the extract and the bananas.  Don't worry about the size of your bananas just make sure they are nice and ripe and sweet!  Line your cupcake tin with papers.  This will make exactly 24 cupcakes.  Bake for 24-28 minutes.  You need a few extra minutes with the extra moisture from the bananas.  Take out and let cool completely.

Now place your ganache in your stand mixer or in a bowl if using a hand mixer.


 Now whip that ganache....(Every ounce of me wanted to say, whip it, whip it real good).  Anyway whip until the color lightens, it becomes large in volume and it has the texture of almost a whipped cream.  This will be just enough icing for 24 cupcakes.  Don't use a ton or it will over power the mild banana flavor!!


Leave them plain or garnish with some sprinkles or decorations!!

Dig in and trust me when I tell you, if the combo of peanut butter and banana is your thing, make someone hide them from you.  They are moist and pure sunshine in your mouth!

ENJOY!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Coffee Cake Cupcakes!

What actually differentiates a cupcake from a muffin?  My answer to that question, is that a cupcake has frosting.  Right?  A muffin can be topped with a crumble, or something of that nature, but, is there icing on a muffin?  There shouldn't be, should there?  I am so confused, I have so many questions and nobody to answer them!  But, what do I always say?  The world is your sandwich my friends, make it how you like it.  And I am doing just that.


Cupcakes for breakfast.  That is how I want MY day to start out.  Coffee cake is one of my favorite things, and for the record, if you eat it without drinking coffee at the same time, weird stuff happens in your lower GI.  Total truth.  Or is it your upper GI?  Is there a middle GI?  If so, it happens there too.  Tea or coffee, don't risk it guys. 

Since this is my birthday MONTH.  I decided I have the right to make as many kinds of cupcakes as I can think of or you request.  I will make hot wing cupcakes if I need to and frankly, I have my own challenge facing me in regards to cupcakes. Spaghetti and Meatballs Cupcakes.  It will happen my friends, oh yes, it WILL happen.  I mean I managed to make a cupcake that is completely meant to be eaten in the morning.  Psshh, I am basically a cupcake goddess now. (in my own mind of course) 

Here is one little, teeny, weeny, minor issue I have with this recipe.  I was heating up some soup for breakfast.  What?  Don't judge.  Anyway I hit the clear button on the micro 2 times and it cleared out the time remaining on my cupcakes! OMG I have no idea how long they took to bake!  Well after whittling it down by use of the radio and how many songs had played, googled said songs for the song length and adding it up, I came up with a pretty close range I think.  I never claimed to be on top of things, I am just resourceful in fixing things.  Probably because I mess up so much!

Heeeeeeeere we go!
1 cup milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
2 eggs
4 T. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
granulated sugar for topping

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pan with liners, this will make 15-18 regular sized cupcakes.  Toss all of your ingredients into a bowl and mix until just combined. 


Easy or what?  Fill up those cupcake papers, sprinkle the tops with a little sugar and bake for (as we discussed) 15-20 minutes.  Check with a toothpick.  Insert into the middle, if it comes out clean, with no wet batter, it is done!  Let cool completely. 

Next you need the part that makes it a CUPCAKE, in my humble opinion!  The frosting!
5 oz. softened cream cheese
2 T room temperature butter
1/3 cup vanilla coffee creamer (powdered)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 T milk
pecan halves, or pieces for topping. 

Mix all ingredients by hand or with a hand mixer.  Place into a piping bag or a Ziploc bag and snip off the top and drizzle that way or just frost them.  Place the pecan in the center on the top or sprinkle with pieces.  Or don't do either! 


Enjoy these!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

3 Minute, 3 Ingredient Strawberry Mousse

You guys, I just love Valentine's Day.  I know YOU know, but in case someone new is reading I want them to know, that I love it too!  I am blessed with a marriage where I am married to my best friend!  He is such a teddy bear, AND my hottie!!  Love is a blessing, marriage is a gift, and truly have been blessed and gifted with both.   Anyhoodle, this recipe is easy, and can be made by even the most inexperienced cook.  3 minutes, no joke.  We will also be cooking IN on Valentine's day, because to me, nothing says I love you like filling the tummy of the one or ones you love most with his/her favorite things.  Food is love, we all know that!


This is kind of just a simple fake out mousse.  It is actually almost the same filling I make for my Mile High Banana Cream Pie recipe.  I just adjusted it a bit to be a bit more of the consistency and flavor I was looking for.  Obviously for my holiday dessert I wanted it pink.  I could not find instant strawberry or cherry pudding.  I wanted to keep it at 3 ingredients though so I I didn't want to use vanilla and have to color it and flavor it.  So, what I DID find was by Royal, and it is Greek Yogurt Pudding Mix.


I have never seen it before, but I found it, and I don't like yogurt for the record.  I mean, I won't TOUCH yogurt, but this tastes amazing and really just tastes like pudding flavor to me.  I did end up adding a couple of drops of food coloring, since it isn't really pink, but that is completely optional.  So is the course sugar sprinkled on top but, that crunch with the creaminess of the mousse, make perfection.  Just sayin...

So if you want vanilla or chocolate, or any other pudding flavor you can find, go for it.  That will be perfect too.  So technically 3 ingredients and shouldn't take more than 3 minutes, and you in fact, can eat it directly after preparing, no need to chill. 

I hope you enjoy this, and make it for your Valentine's day IN! xoxo

1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup milk
1 3.4 ounce box of Greek Yogurt Pudding (or you can use any flavor, I just wanted strawberry)
food coloring IF needed

In a medium mixing bowl, add in heavy whipping cream. (or your stand mixer bowl) Whip until soft peaks form.  Add in pudding mix and continue to beat for 1 minutes.  Add in milk, and beat until combined.  Now you may find you want slightly more milk, but this is the perfect consistency to me of what mousse should be!  This makes about 4, 3/4 cup servings.  So heck, maybe we should just call this a "just for 2"!! No, put it in 4 ramekins or bowls (or one big bowl), our self esteem won't suffer so much if we eat 2 small helpings, perhaps, an hour apart or so.  Right?




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Homemade Gumdrops!

Who would have imagined I would one day be making gumdrops, from SCRATCH.  No way!   Let me tell you, these were so fun, so easy, and taste so good, I think this will become a new "go to" for little edible gifts in a cool little box or bag. 


In my quest to find a good recipe, because let's face it, some recipes, I just need some help with.  I found numerous recipes, with all the same ingredients.  I am convinced one took it from another who doubled it from another who tripled it from the first and so on.  I didn't care that all the recipes were basically the same, this was my maiden sailing and I just wanted to see what the outcome of this recipe was before I tried to "play" with it.  They turned out fantastic but there are a few little tips that make it MUCH easier if you take the time to do them.

I used an 8x8 square pan.  You could use a 9x9 or a 7x11 or, well, don't get bigger than that.  Either spray the CRAP outta that baby with nonstick cooking spray or line every last inch of it with parchment.  Or BOTH!  Before I poured the hot mixture in my prepared dish, I added about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to the bottom  so it would perhaps come out easier. 

If you do those things and follow my other directions you will find how easy, and delicious these little treats are.  I also cut mine into heart shapes for Valentine's Day.  I got 21 hearts.  If you just cut them into cubes, you will obviously get many more.  Just an FYI.

You will need
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup applesauce, use sweetened or unsweetened (I used sweetened)
1 3.4 oz. pkg strawberry jello (use cherry or anything red or pink for V-Day)
1 .25 oz. pkg unflavored gelatin
1 cup granulated sugar for dusting at the end

Prepare pan as described above and set aside.  It must be prepared first. 

In a saucepan combine 1 cup granulated sugar, lemon juice, applesauce, jello and gelatin.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and one it boils, let it boil for 1 minute. 


WARNING this is a hot sugar mixture be VERY CAREFUL!!!  Pour carefully into your prepared pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours, I left mine overnight which I think is best. 

When it is chilled, run a knife around the edges and turn out unto a cookie sheet that is covered in granulated sugar.  Use a knife or cookie cutter to cut your gumdrops into your desired shapes, dust in the sugar and lay in a flat layer to let dry.


 Let them sit overnight!!

 
ENJOY some sweets, for your sweet!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Strawberries, Moscato, and Cream Cake

WARNING: I have been playing with cake mixes again.  I know this will displease some of you and others will be ecstatic.  Either way, don't let this recipe out of your sight or mind until you make it!


Love is in the air!  I love Valentine's Day.  Not because I need a special day to express my love for my husband or anyone I love, but because I like having a special day to do it up even more than ever!  I know many who loathe Valentine's Day.  But who needs to be IN love, can't you celebrate the love of kids, family, friends, etc?  I love to spread the mushy love stuff around!!

That being said, this cake, besides being DE-lish, is perfect for celebrating Valentine's Day with your kids or families.  It will definitely feed more than 2, and it is perfect for the occasion!  I do everything heart shaped on Valentine's Day, you would think I would outgrow that stuff, but nope, never, EVER going to outgrow it! 

This cake looks beautiful, maybe even slightly complicated but it isn't at all, that is the great part.  You are really going to make someone think you worked like crazy, when you barely did much work at all!  I would not make this cake ahead.  I would make it the day of serving.  You want it all as fresh as possible.  I also did not sweeten my strawberries, with the condensed milk and sweetened whipped cream, it is sweet enough that teeny bit of tartness is delightful.

Give it a try, and be careful, I might keep playing with cake mixes!

Here is what you will need:
Strawberry Cake Mix
2 tbsp. red sprinkles
Pink Moscato Wine (I like Barefoot)
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

Preheat your oven to temperature recommended according the pan size you are using.  I used 2 heart shaped pans to make this layered effect, but you are more than welcome to use a plain 9x13, it will work out just as beautifully.  I promise!  Make sure whatever pans you use, spray with nonstick cooking spray well, and if using 2 shaped pans, line the bottom with parchment paper. 

Mix up you cake mix according to package directions EXCEPT when it calls for water, substitute that with the pink Moscato.  Add red sprinkles into your batter and mix.  

No this is NOT a sponsored post, I simply only will use Pillsbury for a strawberry cake mix!

Now pour into your pan(s) and bake for the recommended time.  Remove from the oven and let sit 10 minutes.  Using a large for, (I used a meat fork) poke holes all over the cake(s).  Now if you are doing one cake, pour the condensed milk over the top or divide, half over one cake and the other half over the other.  Let sit for 20 minutes. 


At this point place your cold heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar in a large bowl or stand mixer and whip until you achieve stiff peaks.  From here on out, it will depend on what kind of cake you are making as to what you will do next. 

For a 9x13, spread whipping cream on top of the cake, sprinkle around your sliced strawberries, cover and refrigerate until serving.

 
For a layered cake, place one cake on your cake plate of choice.  Top with 1/2 of whipped cream mixture.  Place second cake on top, cover the top with the rest of the whipped cream and top with strawberries. 
NOTE: You can use double the strawberries and add them to the first layer on top of the whipping cream as well. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy and feel the love in the air!



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Slow Cooker Italian Style Stuffed Peppers

Ok so here is the scenario.............

You are invited to your kids house for dinner.  Your daughter in law and son are both good cooks.  But when you walk in the house  you just know THIS time is going to be different.  You sit down to dinner, and literally moan and groan over each bite of deliciousness.  This is what happened to me. 


My daughter in law and I have a great relationship.  Shocked? HA!  Oh we butt heads, we disagree, but, I just adore her strength, her mothering, her sense of humor, she is just a delight.  (sometimes a sick little delight) ROFL  Anyway, she was kind enough to tell me how she made these stuffed peppers and said that her mom-mom (eastie speak for grandma btw) has made these for years, ths way. 

I am not sure I recall my mom ever making stuffed peppers, I only had eaten them as an adult.  And I have a strange relationship with bell peppers.  If they are cooked, I want them to resemble mush.  If they are warm and crisp tender, I might hurl.  Cold and crispy or hot and soft.  Those are their only chance with me!  Kayla had said she left hers in to long, psshhh......not a chance, they were perfection!  My measurements and such may not be the same as hers but I got the whole idea and made them to share with you. 

I like the idea of the Italian style, I served mine with a little pasta and that heavenly sauce that took on the roasted pepper flavor, was nectar from the Gods.  It tasted VERY much like my Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Marinara.  It was like a meatball, in a smooshy pepper, on some pasta, topped with this sauce, and my goodness was it a delight.

Make these, in your SLOW COOKER!!  I swear it is what this kitchen appliance was MADE for!

This recipe makes 6 peppers.  I used a couple of different colors, for interest.  But next time, I am sticking with green on this one, not generally what I would choose but they hold up the best in my opinion!

You will need:

2lbs lean ground beef
3/4 cup regular rice (not minute)
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
6 bell peppers
4-6 cups of your favorite marinara/spaghetti sauce

In a large bowl combine ground beef, rice, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Get your hands in there, become one with your food!! Mix until completely combined.  Set aside.

To prepare your peppers, cut the tops off, just beneath the stems.  Use a spoon to scrape out the sides and membranes (the white stuff), rinse and repeat. 

Now start stuffing.  This will depend on size, but I had exactly the right amount of stuffing to exactly fill all 6 peppers.  You can take some, add some, whatever you need to do to fill your peppers. 


Spray the inside of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray, it just makes clean up easier.  Place the peppers in the crock pot, and pour over your spaghetti sauce.  Make sure each is topped with sauce and there is some standing in the bottom.  Put the lid on and cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low.  Now by all means, don't cook these quite as long if you want a more crisp pepper.


Serve with some crusty bread, or pasta, or both!  These are a delicious version of stuffed peppers and I do hope you give it a try!

Thanks Kay for your recipe!  Love you toots!

ENJOY!