Thursday, July 28, 2011

French Toast & Bacon Cupcakes

You’ve heard the expression, “everything is better with bacon” – well, who knew that this included cupcakes.  I don’t believe I have ever met a person who can resist the magical powers of bacon.  The scent, the flavor, just thinking about bacon makes my mouth water! This cupcake will be a favored addition to any breakfast/brunch or special gathering! 
Here's What You’ll Need:
  • 3/4 cup of unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of cake flour, sifted (not regular flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
  • 1/2 cup of milk, at room temperature
  • 1 ½  teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • Maple Buttercream Frosting, recipe follows
  • Crisp Bacon
  • six cup jumbo muffin pan or 12 cup regular muffin pan
Directions:
1.) Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line the muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
2.) In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Raise the speed to high and mix until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula.)
3.) Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and vanilla, and also set aside.
4.) Add the egg yolks to the creamed butter one at time, waiting for each one to be fully incorporated before adding the next.
5.) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Alternately, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, waiting for each to be fully incorporated before adding the next (scrape the bowl down occasionally). Raise the speed to medium and mix briefly until a smooth batter is formed. Transfer the batter to a large bowl.
6.) Thoroughly clean the bowl of the mixer and put the egg whites inside. Whip the egg whites on high speed, using the whisk attachment, until stiff peaks are formed.
7.) Working in 3 batches, using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter, until just incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the cups in the muffin pan. Bake, rotating the pan once, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
8.) Remove the cupcakes  from the oven and cool completely.

and for the frosting....
Maple Buttercream Frosting
Yield: about 1 2/3 cups, enough for 6 large or 12 regular cupcakes
Here's What You’ll Need:
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups of confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon of maple extract
Directions:
1.) In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand-held electric mixer in a large bowl, mix the butter and sugar on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. (Occasionally turn the mixer off, and scrape the down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.)
2.) Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the heavy cream and maple extract.. Raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using. May be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Crisp Bacon

Bacon works well for me baked in an oven at 425 degrees on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 12-15 minutes, drain grease, and bake another 5-7 minutes or until crisp.  You can do it in a pan as well.
Finally – Frost the cooled French Toast Cupcakes with the Maple Buttercream Frosting and top with a crisp piece of bacon... oh yea!!!
Recipe Courtesy of: lifewithcake.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Better than Sex" Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes

I found this recipe and was intrigued just by the name... take note: I did not name this cupcake but will say that the name is says it all... if you LOVE Nutella as much as I do - you will definately think this cupcake was well named!  Just pure deliciousness!!!
 Here's what you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter until softened and smooth. Add sugar and beat for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each until well combined.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In a separate small bowl, combine milk and vanilla.
Add about 1/3 of dry ingredients to butter and sugar and mix until combined. Add about 1/2 of wet ingredients to mixture and mix until combined. Continue alternating dry and wet, mixing in between (finish with the remaining dry ingredients).
Fill cupcake tins about 1/2 full (don’t overfill – you only need 1/2) and bake for around 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. They will come out flat.

Nutella Buttercream
  • 1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup of Nutella
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk
Beat butter until smooth. Add Nutella and beat together until thoroughly combined. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of milk. Add additional milk or powdered sugar as needed to reach desired consistency.
Adapted from Cupcake Project and Chockylit
Makes 15-16 cupcakes


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Flower Pot Cakes

Sometimes it’s okay to eat dirt. In fact, it can be fun. You won’t get sick or even recoil at the taste, and you may even go back in for more. And more. That is, when the dirt happens to be a chocolate cookie with cake and frosting underneath, all tucked into a friendly flower pot.
Perfect for any birthday party, great gift for a sick friend, endless possibilites..either way, its SUPER cute!

Here's what you'll need:
1 recipe of your favorite cake or boxed cake mix
1 tub of icing OR you can substitute with your favorite ice cream
2 cups crushed oreo cookies
12 gummy worms
3 straws, cut into 1″ portions
12 flowers (real or fake)
12 clay flower pots

Directions:
Mix up your cake as directed on the box and bake in the flower pots until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Frost cake OR substitute with ice cream and add a gummy worm or two sticking out of your pot. Cover with Oreo cookie crumbs. Insert a straw into the top of the cake to hold your flower. Place flowers in the straws before serving.

Makes 12 large cupcakes

Recipe Courtesy of: blogs.babble.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Came across this recipe and had to try… if you love Snickerdoodle cookies, you’ll love these too!  PLUS the aroma in your kitchen just might draw in the whole neighborhood!! 

To make the Snickerdoodle Muffins, you will need:

1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2-¼ cups of flour
¾ teaspoons of baking powder
¾ teaspoons of baking soda
¾ teaspoons of cream of tartar
½ teaspoons of salt
1 cup of sour cream
¼ cups of buttermilk

FOR THE TOPPING:
⅔ cups of sugar
2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. (I learned the hard way that they are too fragile for just cooking spray.)

In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.  Use scooper and plop a scoop of batter into the bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll the batter in the sugar and cinnamon. Place the ball into the muffin liner.

When you have completed all of the muffins, sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar onto the tops of all of the muffins.

Bake the muffins at 350ºF for about 15-18 minutes or until they are golden on top and just baked through.
Yields: 12 muffins


Recipe courtesy of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody/twopeasandtheirpod

Serendipity's Frrrozen Hot Chocolate


It's famous, it's infamous, it's notorious. It has destroyed diets and led to love affairs. Marriages have been proposed over it, it has sparked romance, there's even a movie about it… yes, this delicious combination of chocolate can drive you crazy!  Living in Las Vegas, I consider visiting Serendipity a real treat..now, you can enjoy this yumminess at home!

Supposedly, this IS the famous Serendipity recipe, if it’s not, it’s sure darn close to the real deal!   Either way, your taste buds will be thanking me!



Ingredients
6 half-ounce pieces of a variety of your favorite chocolates  *variety is the key, the more chocolate the better
2 teaspoons store bought hot chocolate mix (I like Ghirardelli’s)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups milk (use the whole milk…trust me)
3 cups ice
Whipped Cream
Chocolate shavings
Preparation
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Add the cocoa and sugar, stirring constantly until thoroughly blended. Remove from heat and slowly add 1/2 cup of the milk and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
In a blender place the remaining cup of milk, the room temperature chocolate mixture, and the ice. Blend on high speed until smooth and the consistency of a frozen daiquiri. Pour into a giant goblet and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy with a spoon or a straw. . . .or both!
Recipe courtesy of Oprah.com

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes

I came across this recipe and was intrigued just by the name… If you LOVE coffee, (like me) or even "like" coffee, TRUST me, you will love this cupcake! The Kahlua/ Irish Cream adds the “kick” that I like to add in my recipes… yummmm!!!  Plus, a tad of sea salt sprinkled to the top gives you the sweet and salty taste...ah, perfection!

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup strongly brewed coffee (I use Starbucks coffee)
1/4 cup milk, I used fat free - gotta keep the calories low, right??
1 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream or Kahlua
12 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 large egg yolks (save the egg whites for the frosting!)
1 rounded tsp instant espresso
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line 16 cups of two muffin tins with cupcake liners.

2. Measure out your dried goods into a bowl - flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together the coffee, milk, and bailey's/kahlua.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy - about 5 minutes.  Mix in the egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition,

4. Pour 1/3 of the flour mixture into the stand mixer and mix until just combined.  Add in half of the coffee mix.  Repeat with another third of the flour and then the remaining coffee.  Finally, add in the rest of the flour.  Do NOT overmix!

5. Divide the batter in half.  To one half, add the 1 tsp instant espresso.

6. Divide the batter with the instant espresso in it among the cupcake liners.  Top this off with batter from the un-espresso-ed batter.  Put in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let them rest in the pans for ten minutes, then remove to a wire rack.  Let cool COMPLETELY before icing.

Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream (This makes this cupcake!!)
Makes...a lot, adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
5 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into tbsp (I just cut it into tbsp as I added it to the bowl of the stand mixer).
4 tbsp caramel plus extra for drizzling purposes

1. Combine 1 cup sugar and the water in a non-reactive saucepan.  Boil until they reach a temperature of 245 degrees.  In the meantime start the meringue.

2. Whip egg whites with a wire whisk in a stand mixer on high until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle in 1/4 cup sugar.  Beat for another minute, or until incorporated.

3. Slowly pour the hot, 245 degree sugar/water mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer with the mixer still on high.

4. Beat the frosting for 7-10 minutes or until the outside of the stand mixer bowl has cooled down to room temperature.

5. Beat in the butter by the tbsp.  Cry because you have just added four sticks of butter to your frosting.  Rejoice because you have just added four sticks of butter to your frosting.

6. Pour in the four tbsp caramel.  Mix for about a minute.  Frost cooled cupcakes, drizzling caramel over the top. 
7. Optional: Sprinkle with sea salt ... oh yea! 
Makes 16, adapted from Food Mayhem

Cake Pops



Here's a fun one for you, and quite impressive too!  It beats paying for these at Starbucks, although their's are pretty yummy too!  Perfect for parties, kids treat day at school, sports activity treats or gifts for a special friend. 
Here’s what you’ll need:
Who wouldn't love cake on a stick... did I mention, this is a great weight loss tool too... right?  Eat less cake, and more cake pops! lol 

Here's what you'll need:
1 box of your favorite cake mix
1 tub of icing
1 bag of candy melts
1 bag of lollipop sticks
1 styrofoam ball or cube to hold the pops in place

Sprinkles for decorating

Directions:
Follow the directions on the cake box and make as stated.   Let cake cool completely.  In a large bowl, begin to crumble the cake while adding ¾ tub of the icing.  Trust me, it’ll be plenty sweet! Get your hands in on the action and mix the cake crumbs completely with the icing.  Roll crumbs into balls (the size of walnuts), you can use a cookie spoon to measure each ball exactly.  Make sure that you rinse your hands after every so many balls to maintain the shape of each ball (the mixture is sticky).   Once you have rolled all your cake, stick the cake balls in the freezer for 1 hour.   Melt the candy melts on low heat and stir constantly…you want to keep this thin and runny.  Take a lollipop stick and dip the stick into the candy melts then insert into the center of each ball.  Hold ball over candy melt and spoon over each ball.  Decorate with sprinkles, stick into styrofoam ball to dry.   Enjoy!