Friday, April 26, 2013

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

I was sent this recipe by my GGGGLittle (I know, I'm old) and being as I have a love affair with cherry coke thought they would be perfect to make for my sorority's fundraising event.
I was super excited for the cupcakes to be finished so that I could eat them.
To be honest, they were kind of eh right after being done.
BUT! Much to my surprise (and excitement!) after sitting over night, the flavors melded and the cupcakes were delicious the following morning.
So, do I recommend these cupcakes?
1) Yes, I wouldn't put anything on here I wouldn't recommend.
2) Not right away, I would let them sit at least 8 hours to let the flavors blend.
yield: 32 cupcakes

for the cupcakes
3C all-purpose flour
6 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5C sugar
2 sticks (1C) salted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1C buttermilk, room temperature
1.5C Coke
3 tsp vanilla extract

for the filling
12oz can cherry cake and pastry filling*

for the glaze
1.5C powdered sugar
4 tbs Coke

for the icing
1.5C heavy cream, chilled
6 tbs powdered sugar

for garnish
maraschino cherries

*I found "cake and pastry filling" more convenient than the "pie filling" the original recipe called for because there are no large chunks of cherries in the cake and pastry filling.

  1. for the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment), beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy - about 2 minutes.
  4. Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after each and scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  5. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk, Coke, and vanilla. Make sure to let the foam calm down after you mix them together. Foam is not welcome here.
  6. Beginning with flour mixture, alternate adding flour mixture and Coke mixture in 4 parts beating until just incorporated.
  7. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way full.
  8. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.
  10. for the filling: Using a paring knife, cut a cone shape in the middle of each cupcake.
  11. Add a spoonful of cherry cake and pastry filling to each cupcake.
  12. for the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and Coke until smooth.
  13. Spread a small amount of glaze over each cupcake.
  14. for the icing
  15. Chill mixing bowl for 10-15 minutes.
  16. In a large bowl (or stand mixer with whisk attachment), whisk heavy cream on low speed for 2 minutes.
  17. Begin to add powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
  18. Once all of the powdered sugar is added, increase the speed to medium-high.
  19. Whisk for 5 minutes, until cream is holding stiff peaks.
  20. Pipe or spread icing onto cupcakes.
  21. for garnish: Top each cupcake with half of a maraschino cherry.
  22. Enjoy! (and for maximum enjoyment, let sit for 8 hours before eating)

Milk & Cookies Cupcakes

I found this recipe on Pinterest and when tasked with making cupcakes for my sorority's fundraising event, I knew I had to try it.
I made a few minor changes to the recipe, and they turned out great....and they were pretty too!
yield: 24 cupcakes

for cupcakes
2C sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2.5C all-purpose flour
1C 2% milk
3/4C vegetable oil
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3/4C mini chocolate chips
2 tbs all-purpose flour (to coat chips)

for frosting
3 sticks (1.5C) salted butter, room temperature
3.5C powdered sugar
7oz sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

for garnish
mini chocolate chip cookies*

*I bought chocolate chip cookies from the bakery section of the grocery store and cut them in half to use on top. Saved myself some baking

  1. for cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners, or grease pan if not using cupcake liners.
  3. Beat together eggs and sugar in large bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment) on low for 2 minutes.
  4. Alternate adding flour and milk, on low speed, until combined.
  5. Add oil, baking powder, and vanilla. Beat on low for 1 minute.
  6. In a small bowl, add mini chocolate chips and 2 tbs flour, mixing to coat all the chips with flour.
  7. Fold coated chips into batter.
  8. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full.
  9. Bake for 24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool on wire rack.
  11. for frosting: In a large bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment), beat butter on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.
  12. Add powdered sugar, alternating with condensed milk, on low speed.
  13. Add vanilla extract.
  14. Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
  15. Pipe (or spread) onto completely cooled cupcakes.
  16. for garnish: Place a mini chocolate chip cookie or half of a mini cookie for decoration if you wish.
  17. Enjoy!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Panera Macaroni and Cheese

I love Panera's Macaroni And Cheese. LOVE.
My wallet does not love it as much.
When I found this recipe on Panera's site (via Pinterest, of course!), I knew I had to give it a whirl.
For little more than what you pay at Panera for one serving, you end up with four HUGE (or probably six normal human size) portions of delicious, super creamy mac and cheese that is pretty darn close to the real deal.
Definitely a "do again", and definitely worth a go.
yield: 4-6 servings

16oz box of small pasta shells
1/4C butter
1/2C all-purpose flour
2.5C heavy cream
6 slices of white American cheese, chopped
8oz extra-sharp Vermont cheddar, shredded
1 tbs Dijon mustard
1 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp hot sauce

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Melt butter in large pot over low heat.
  3. Whisk in flour, and cook 1 minute while whisking constantly.
  4. Gradually whisk in cream.
  5. Cook over medium heat, whisking until mixture thickens and bubbles.
  6. Remove pan from heat.
  7. Add cheeses, mustard, salt, and hot sauce; stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
  8. Stir in pasta, until cheese sauce is evenly distributed.
  9. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Crock Pot Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and I knew I had to give it a go -- wine, chicken & the ease of using the crock pot. All big pluses in my book. I did some modification based on what I had in my house, and it turned out the words of my fiance, "definitely a do again."
yield: 10 servings

3oz salami (I used about 1/3 of the stick of Wegman's Sweet Sopressata Salame), finely diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1C pinot noir
28oz can kitchen cut tomatoes, with juice
1 tsp salt
~4lbs chicken breasts

  1.  Trim fat off of chicken breasts and cut each breast into 3 or 4 pieces.
  2. Place chicken breasts into crock pot.
  3. Cook salami in a large skillet over medium-low heat, 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally so the salami does not burn.
  4. Sprinkle salami over chicken in crock pot, keeping as much of the grease in the skillet as possible.
  5. Add onion to the skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  6. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, pepper, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  7. Add wine, cook for 6 minutes over medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally.
  8. Add tomatoes (with juice) and salt, stir occasionally while cooking for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour tomato mixture over the chicken in crock pot.
  10. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, about 2.5-3 hours on high or 5.5-6 hours on low.
  11. Remove the bay leaf.
  12. Serve over your choice of pasta or rice (I chose whole wheat egg noodles).
  13. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

PB&J Cupcakes

It is my belief that you are never too old for a good old pb&j sandwich.
This recipe caught my eye because what better than combining the comfort of pb&j with the wonderful creation that is a cupcake.
I used less powdered sugar than the recipe called for in the frosting, but other than that I followed it exactly.
It was perfect -- it combined the fluffiness of white bread with the sweetness of jelly and the creaminess of peanut butter.
yield: 24 cupcakes

for the cake
2 1/4C cake flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4C buttermilk, room temperature
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2C sugar
1 stick (8 tbs) butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract

for the filling
raspberry jelly (or whatever flavor your heart desires)

for the peanut butter buttercream
3 sticks butter, room temperature
1C creamy peanut butter
2 tbs vanilla extract
3C powdered sugar
6 tbs heavy cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners (or grease pan if not using cupcake liners).
  3. for the cake: In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg whites.
  5.  In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer), cream butter and sugar at medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in vanilla until combined.
  7. Add flour mixture 1/3 at a time, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  8. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, to make sure the batter is light and airy.
  9. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Let cool.
  12. for filling: Hollow out a small portion of the center of the cupcake.
  13. Fill the hole with a teaspoon of jelly.
  14. for the buttercream: In a large bowl (or stand mixer with paddle attachment), cream butter and peanut butter on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  15. Turn mixer down to low speed and slowly add powdered sugar, until well combined.
  16. Add vanilla and heavy cream, mixing on low speed until combined.
  17. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.
  18. Pipe (or spread) frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
  19. Enjoy!

Samoa Bark

I love Samoas, but Girl Scout cookies are getting more expensive (and the packaging is getting smaller), so when I saw this I knew I had to try it.
I made this bark for a Dessert Swap, and it was a hit! The different textures and flavors all play well together.
1 3/4C semi-sweet chocolate chips
10oz box of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies
14oz bag of caramels
3C sweetened flaked coconut
3 tbs water

  1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper, set aside.
  2. Melt 1.5C chocolate chips, over a double boiler or in the microwave.
  3. Spread the melted chocolate to your desired thickness (I spread it over the entire length of the baking sheet so it was pretty thin).
  4. Top your warm chocolate evenly with your shortbread cookies (I did mine at a diagonal).
  5. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator.
  6. In a skillet on medium-low heat toast coconut, stirring occasionally.
  7. When the coconut is browned (but not burnt!), too about 10 minutes, set aside.
  8. Unwrap all the caramels and place them in a medium saucepan with water.
  9. Heat caramels and water over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the caramel has just melted.
  10. Once caramel has melted, fold in toasted coconut.
  11. Remove baking sheet from the refrigerator and spread the caramel/coconut mixture evenly on top.
  12. Melt the remaining 1/4C of chocolate and drizzle over the top of the caramel/coconut layer.
  13. Put back in the refrigerator until hardened.
  14. Cut using a SHARP knife.
  15. Enjoy!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cherry Limeade Cupcakes

I have an obsession with Sonic Cherry Limeade...seriously, every time I pass a Sonic I have to get one. I found this recipe on Pinterest and HAD to try it.
The cupcakes are light and airy, the flavor is subtle, and everything just works together.
I was hoping for a BAM in your face Cherry Limeade flavor, but I think that would have been too sweet to enjoy - this cupcake is awesome!
 yield: 24 cupcakes

 for cupcakes:
3C cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1C butter, room temperature
1C sugar
1/2C + 2 tbs frozen limeade concentrate
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4C milk

for lime syrup:
3/4C frozen limeade concentrate
1/2C powdered sugar

for frosting:
3 3/4C powdered sugar
1/2C butter, room temperature
5 tbs maraschino cherry juice

for decorating:
maraschino cherries

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin pan(s) with cupcake liners (or grease if you're not using cupcake liners).
  3. For cupcakes: In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid), cream butter on high speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  5. Add sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 4 minutes.
  6. Add in limeade concentrate and mix to incorporate.
  7. Add in eggs, one at a time, until combined; scraping down the bowl between additions.
  8. Add in flour mixture, alternating with milk; beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  9. Mix ingredients until just incorporated.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners, filling cups a little over half way.
  11. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool completely.
  13. For lime syrup: Whisk together the limeade concentrate and powdered sugar in a small bowl, until smooth.
  14. Poke several holes in the top of each cupcake with a skewer.
  15. Pour lime syrup over the cupcakes, allowing it to soak in.
  16. For frosting: Combine powdered sugar, butter, and maraschino cherry juice in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer).
  17. Mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated, then increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth (about 5 minutes).
  18. Pipe (or spread) frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
  19. For decorating: Place one maraschino cherry on top of each frosted cupcake.
  20. Enjoy!