Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Picket Fence Flower Cupcakes

These lovely spring-time cupcakes are easy to make, and are so yummy! They would be great for, Easter, Mother's Day or just because it's spring :)

The idea is to make them look like they came straight from the garden. I used a chocolate base to make it look like soil, but if you can find brown cupcake papers, you could use any flavor of cake you'd like.

The picket fence wrappers are what really completes the look of the cupcakes. So cute!

Picket Fence Flower Cupcakes
Makes 24

24 baked and cooled chocolate cupcakes
1 batch buttercream frosting, dyed green
Pink and yellow royal icing Apple Blossom flowers (how-to can be found HERE)
24 picket fence cupcake wrappers (I found them locally at Michael's)
Pastry bag fitted with #233 grass tip (or, I used #18 star tip)

Fill pastry bag with buttercream, and randomly squirt "grass" on top of cupcake until surface is covered. Arrange four apple blossoms onto the top of each cupcake. Attach picket fence wrappers around sides. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cranberry-Raspberry Punch

This is one of the most delicious punch recipes I've ever tried! It is an old family recipe, and we've been making it for get-togethers for as long as I can remember.

It is SO quick and easy to throw together, and is absolutely delish!

Cranberry-Raspberry Punch

Serves about 15 or so

2 (2-liter) bottles ginger ale, chilled

1 (12 fl oz) cranberry frozen concentrate, thawed

1 quart (can use more) raspberry sherbet (I use Publix Raspberry Blush)

Pour ginger ale and concentrate into punch bowl. Add sherbet and stir until it mostly dissolves into the punch. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Toffee Brickle Cookies

Yum, yum, yum! These cookies are SO GOOD! I've made them many times, and they usually disappear very fast. (Plus, they are a breeze to throw together!) This recipe makes a large batch, so you can mix up the dough and bake as needed for Fresh-From-The-Oven-Cookies whenever you want them :)

Toffee Brickle Cookies

Adapted from Hersheys.com

Makes about 6 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)

1 cup packed light brown sugar (or honey sucanat)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 17 oz. Soft White wheat flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 1/3 cups (8 oz pkg.) Heath toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line cookie sheets with parchment, or lightly grease.

In a large bowl beat together butter, sugars, vanilla and salt until blended. Add eggs and beat well. In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Add gradually to butter mixture. Stir until just blended. Add in toffee bits. Stir until evenly dispersed. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets.

Bake until lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

*You can also use these as ice cream sandwich bookends! Reserve some toffee bits to roll the edges into for an over-the-top delicious treat!*

Happy Baking!

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Poppy" Chow

This is a new twist on an old classic! You know puppy chow, right? Well, this is a quick and easy recipe inspired by that delicious concoction using popcorn instead of cereal! (Get it, POPPY chow? He he!)

This is great when you want a quick fix for your sweet-tooth. So simple to make, and SO YUMMY to eat!

Poppy Chow

Adapted from TastyKitchen.com

1 bag microwave popcorn (or about 12 cups popped)

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)

3-4 cups confectioner's sugar (or 1 lb.)

Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. (I like to remove the unpopped kernels from the popcorn by "sifting" it over a cooling rack - the kernels fall through the holes.)

In a small saucepan melt butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter over medium-low heat, stirring often, until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn. Stir until thoroughly coated. Add confectioner's sugar. Stir until all the popcorn in evenly coated with the sugar. Allow to cool to room temp before transferring to an airtight container. Enjoy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Fudge Cookies

These massive cookies are just as much fun to make as they are to eat. Take a bite to find a surprise peanut butter filling in the center. Yummers!

If you want to make these cookies smaller, feel free! Simply use a small scoop for the chocolate dough, and use half of a small scoop of the peanut butter dough for each cookie. Super easy!

Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Adapted from Picky-Palate.com

Makes about 3 dozen large cookies

Ingredients for peanut butter centers:

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)

1 egg

For the chocolate dough:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (or honey sucanat)

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (or 8 oz Soft White wheat flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350º. Line cookie tray with parchment paper.

Mix peanut butter and sugar in a bowl. Add egg and stir until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until well incorporated. Mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add to creamed mixture. Blend until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Use a small cookie scoop to scoop out a peanut butter dough ball. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out a chocolate cookie dough ball for the top and for the bottom of the peanut butter ball. Press both chocolate dough balls around peanut butter ball, sealing the edges, and shaping into a somewhat flat cookie. Continue making cookies, placing them about an inch apart on cookie tray. Bake until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Serve with milk. Enjoy!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Marbled Royal Icing Cookies

Looking for something special to make for Valentine's Day? Look no farther! These cookies are SO fun to make and eat! (Despite the long instructions, they are actually very easy to make!)

This basic recipe can be changed up in so many great ways! You can mix up the cookie flavor (by using sugar cookie, chocolate sugar cookie, shortbread, gingerbread, etc.) and mix up the flavoring in the icing (by using clear vanilla, almond, lemon, orange, raspberry, strawberry, mint, cinnamon, cherry, coconut, etc.) to create whole new flavor combos every time you make these cookies! They are totally DELISH! (For another yummy recipe, check out last year's Valentine's Day cookies!)

Marbled Royal Icing Cookies

Design ideas from HERE and HERE

Icing recipe from Wilton.com

Makes 2 dozen

To make the cookies you will need:

2 dozen cookies (I used Shortbread, but you can use any sturdy roll-out cookie)

1 batch royal icing (recipe follows)

pink food coloring (I used Wilton)

For royal icing:

3 tablespoons meringue powder

4 cup (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar

6 tablespoons warm water

*Make sure that your bowl and beaters are grease-free - the icing won't set up if they aren't!* Beat all ingredients for about 7-10 minutes on low speed in a stand mixer (or 10-12 with a hand mixer). Test the icing for proper consistency using the '10-second rule'. Just take a spoonful of the icing and drop it back into the bowl. It should take about 10 seconds to disappear into the rest of the icing. If it takes less than 10 seconds, keep mixing, if it takes more than 10 it is too thick, so add a little bit of water to the icing.

Once the icing has reached the proper consistency, color a portion of the icing pink (or color of choice), and leave the rest white. Transfer into zip-top bags with a very small hole cut in the corner, (or use a grease-free decorator tip - I used #2). Outline the cookie with main color, then "flood" the entire cookie by filling the outlined space with the same color icing. Use contrasting color to make design.

To make heart border: After cookie has been "flooded", apply dots of icing around edges of cookie in contrasting color, about 1/4 inch away from the edge of the icing outline. Take a toothpick and run it through the center of all the dots, creating little hearts (You don't need to lift the toothpick out of icing when doing each dot, just make it one continuous motion).

To make swirl design: After cookie has been "flooded", make horizontal lines across cookie using contrasting color. Then drag toothpick up and down (as if drawing the letter "S") through the icing to make swirls. (There is a great photo tutorial here.)

To make dot border: After cookie has been "flooded", add evenly spaced dots around the border of the cookie. (If you want the dots to sit on top of the icing, instead of sink into it, just allow the flooded cookie to harden for 5 minutes before adding dots.)

Let cookies sit uncovered at room temperature until completely dry (this may take 12+ hours).

Wishing you Happy Baking, and a very Happy Valentine's Day. Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Fudge

Not only is this yummy fudge easy to make, it also takes very little time to make! Great to whip up when you're sweet tooth is calling : ) (I'm thinkin' if you made this in a larger dish, it would be delicious with a layer of chocolate fudge on top - yummm!)

Peanut Butter Fudge

Adapted from AllRecipes.com

Makes an 8X8 dish

1/2 cup butter

2 1/4 cups (packed) brown sugar (or honey sucanat)

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Mix in brown sugar and milk. Bring mixture to a boil and, stirring frequently, continue to boil for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Add in peanut butter and vanilla. Stir well. Add confectioner's sugar. Beat mixture until smooth. Pour in an 8x8 dish that has been lined with foil and buttered. Smooth out evenly. Chill until firm. Lift foil out of dish and cut fudge into squares. Enjoy!