Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Yields 24 cupcakes
For the filling:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract
For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Butterfinger bars, crumbled (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.
To make the filling, combine the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (at least 24) and set aside on a baking sheet.
To make the cake batter, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together and set aside.  In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix just until incorporated.
Spoon a tablespoon or two of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Place a ball of the peanut butter filling in each cupcake well and top with the remaining batter so that all the cups are filled.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. (I topped mine with crumbled butterfinger bars-- yumminess!) 

Perfect Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yields about 24 cupcakes
For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
For the frosting:*
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. 

Source: Apple a Day

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Snickers Cupcakes.. mmm

Okay so I have to admit, a friend of mine had the idea for these little gems-- and I did not object!  They're simple to make but will look like you spent HOURS on them... what could be better? Plus, they are a chocolate cupcake stuffed with snickers+caramel, topped with a marshmallow frosting, caramel syrup, and crushed up snickers. HEAVEN!!  We actually made two types of cakes to fill with the snickers, a caramel cake and our favorite chocolate cake-- Chocolate was the clear winner!

Snickers Cupcakes :
Yields 24 cupcakes (or, if you're like me- about 18)
For the Cake:
2 cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup almond milk (I use almond milk but you can use normal)
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the Filling:
About 4 bars of snickers, chopped
Caramel Syrup
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  
To make the cake batter, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed just to combine.  In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, olive oil and vanilla extract; whisk together.  Add to the dry ingredients slowly and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the boiling water and stir just to combine (batter will be thin).
Bake about 18-20 minutes.

To fill cupcakes let cool and use an apple corer or the cone method to make a hole in the center of the cooled cakes.  Fill with mixture of chopped snickers bars and caramel syrup- yum!

Marshmallow Frosting:
Makes enough for 24 cupcakes

8 Large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Caramel Syrup and Snickers for garnish

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double broiler. (Or, combine them all in your mixer bowl and place this over a pot of boiling water.)  Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160F with an instant read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high until stiff, glossy peaks form.  Mix in the vanilla until combined.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.  Top cakes with caramel syrup and snickers.

Tea Party Time!

So my beautiful sister got married a couple weeks ago, and this summer my mom and I had the privilege of throwing her a bridal shower!  Being the girly girls that we are, of course we decided on a vintage tea party theme. We had SO much fun planning and decorating for this special day! We even cross stitched invitations (which ended up being WAY too time consuming-- but totally worth it).  The menu consisted of various types of teas and finger sandwiches, spinach salad, scones with lemon curd and devonshire cream, lemon bars and finally, my mom's famous southern coconut cake!  We had a blast and definitely enjoyed a day spent indulging our feminine sides (and our voracious appetites.)

My Beautimous Sister!

Gettin' Down New Orleans Style...

So this weekend I had a serious hankerin' for some real Southern food. So what'd I do? I busted out the deep fryer, and fried me up some chicken! With the deep fryer out and the oil hot it dawned on me-- I'M MAKIN' BEIGNETS FOR DESSERT!  Beignets are absolutely one of my favorite desserts and since its not often that I get my butt down to New Orleans, I figured I'd try my hand at them myself.  I used one of my favorite cook, Paula Deen's recipe and although mine didn't turn out as pretty as the ones from Cafe Du Monde, they tasted like heaven!  These would be absolutely perfect for a little Mardi Gras party... Serve em' up hot with a cup of cafe au lait and you're all set! Enjoy!

French Quarter Beignets:

    • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 envelope active dry yeast
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 1 cup evaporated milk
    • 7 cups bread flour
    • 1/4 cup shortening
    • Nonstick spray
    • Oil, for deep-frying
    • 3 cups confectioners' sugar


    Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
    In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the bread flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover withplastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
    Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.
    Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside.
    Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners' sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.
    Courtesy of Paula Deen at FoodNetwork

Happy Fall!