Tag Archives: Cupcakes

D.C. Food & A Giveaway Winner!

I had grand plans of posting my Food Should Taste Good giveaway winner early last week, but a bout with a stomach bug kept me quarantined for a bit instead, and then I was just trying to get back to normal life. Rather than talk about how miserable my drive home from Washington D.C. was, followed by the rest of Monday into Tuesday, let’s focus on the second best part of my trip — the food! But first… the giveaway winner is…

Winner

Becky! Who gave a great suggestion for apple styled nachos… sign me up! Shoot me your address to foodosaurusrex [at] gmail [dot] com, and I’ll have chips on their way to you!

Becky

So now onto the good stuff – the food in D.C.! I didn’t have any set plans when it came to where I wanted to eat or what kind of food I wanted to try while there, except for one thing – Baked & Wired cupcakes! I had asked Krissy for some recommendations, and I remembered her stopping for birthday cupcakes there after the Cherry Blossom 10-miler a few weeks ago. While I’ve always wanted to try Georgetown Cupcakes, the thought of having to wait in a long line for cupcakes that I’ve heard are “just okay” wasn’t appealing. So I headed to Baked & Wired instead, and was thrilled with what I found. The storefront was small, but it was broken into two sections – one for cupcakes and desserts, another for coffee, tea, etc. I didn’t venture over to the coffee line, but from reading reviews online it seems like their coffee is just as good as their cupcakes. I should mention that they call them cake cups, which is appropriate since they are huge!

Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, Flapjack, and Tessita [clockwise]

Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, Flapjack, and Tessita [clockwise]

We decided to get four cupcakes – one to enjoy right then, and another to save for Sunday. We wound up with the Tessita, Chocolate Doom, Dirty Chai, and Flapjack. These cakes are amazing; some of the best I’ve ever had. The frosting was generous, the cake was moist, and the size for only $3.50 was more than enough… I had trouble finishing one! I can’t recommend Baked & Wired enough. The store is cute, the employees are super friendly, and their treats are delicious. I mean, what more do you need? Plus, if it’s nice enough outside (like it was on Saturday) you can sit right outside their shop and lounge while eating baked goods and sipping coffee or tea. Talk about a perfect afternoon.

Aside from cupcakes on Saturday, we had personal pizzas for lunch at Paper Moon, followed by Santa Fe salads from Chop’t for dinner. This was my first time having Chop’t, and I really wish there was one near me. The salads are huge, and when you get avocado, they give you half of one… that’s a generous portion of avocado! I absolutely loved my salad, and on the way back to the hotel (we got them to go), we noticed the street was completely shut down. So, we stopped for a minute, and low and behold, who drove by? President Obama! I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I’m sure that it gets old for D.C. residents quickly (especially when it means road closures), but it was so cool to see the President drive by us on his way to the White House Correspondent’s dinner.

Oh hai Mr. President!

Oh hai Mr. President!

On Sunday morning after the race, Ashley and I headed to The Mad Hatter for brunch. We walked in and the restaurant was basically empty, but we were told that they really didn’t have any seats for us because they had a lot of reservations that morning. Huh? We were able to score a seat at an upstairs bar, and got to work on the most important thing – booze! I ordered a mimosa followed by a beer, and Ashley hit up their Bloody Mary bar. That’s right… your server gives you a glass of vodka, and the rest is up to you. Just look at all the options!

Hot Sauce, anyone? [Ashley's Picture]

Hot Sauce, anyone? [Ashley’s Picture]

I didn’t take any pictures of my food (post-race haze) but I had a really delicious Tex Mex burrito with home fries. When we left the restaurant was definitely crowded, but they could have seated us in the regular dining room. I mean, shouldn’t restaurants have seats for people with and without reservations? At least the food was good and our waiter was friendly. I would definitely return, but this time with a reservation!

Dinner on Sunday  night was pretty epic. I spent a lot of time looking through Yelp and FourSquare for suggestions, and stumbled upon a true gem – Founding Farmers. As soon as we walked in at about 6:30pm, thinking we’d beat the crowds especially since it was a Sunday, I knew we made a good choice. We were told that the wait would be about an hour and a half, and I quickly learned that once again reservations reigned supreme. We decided to wait based on the reviews we read and the fact that it was so crowded, and I’m really glad we did. The restaurant was founded on the premise of a farm to table concept (my favorite!) and is D.C.’s first green restaurant. They filter their own water, make everything from scratch in the kitchen (down to their condiments), and have a pre-prohibition era styled bar where their bartenders make their own syrups and infuse the alcohol themselves with juices, etc.

After waiting about an hour and a forty-five minutes we were seated, and had the nicest, most informative, and attentive waitresses I’ve ever had. She really was exceptional. Our meal started with their popcorn of the day (how cool is that?!) which was Old Bay seasoned, and fried green tomatoes. They were featuring Rogue beers on tap, so we each had one of those as well. Their menu is expansive, and I was really excited to see a separate vegetarian and vegan menu. Their regular menu denotes vegetarian and vegan (as well as nut allergy) options, but they also create vegetarian and vegan specials that all sound phenomenal. I was actually confused at first when I glanced over it seeing things like “bacon burger,” “shrimp scampi,” and “turkey burger.” Obviously they were all meatless, and it was awesome to know I could choose anything.

Not the best picture... but all those options are veg*n!

Not the best picture… but all those options are veg*n!

I eventually decided on the cauliflower steak with broccolini and risotto… and it was amazing. The cauliflower was nice and crunchy while maintaining it’s buttery flavor, and the fried onion strings that it was topped with added some extra flavor and crunch. For whatever reason I’ve found that people either really enjoy cauliflower or really can’t stand it, and I’m obviously in the enjoying it camp. But I really believe that this dish would convert someone with apathetic feelings towards cauliflower. It was fun using a steak knife to dig into a big hunk of cauliflower! I’d be remiss not to mention the risotto, because it really stole the show for me. It was creamy, cheesy, and everything I could want in a risotto dish… I just wish there had been more.

Not the best picture, but it was delicious!

Not the best picture, but it was delicious!

While we were waiting for our entrees, our waitress brought over their dessert menu, which I thought was absolutely genius on her part (get someone to commit to dessert before filling up on their entree). She pointed out their homemade biegnets, which under normal circumstances I would have been all over… but I knew based on how I felt before our meals even arrived that there was no way dessert could be in my immediate future. So we passed on their delicious sounding desserts, but a couple next to us got the biegnets, and you better believe I plan to order them if I’m ever back in town!

Nice neighborhood, eh?

Nice neighborhood, eh?

And unfortunately, that’s where our eating in D.C. stops. As I mentioned in my Nike Half recap, I woke up feeling okay on Monday morning with plans of coffee, but eventually started feeling sick. By the time I got home (about a 3 1/2 hour drive), it was only a matter of minutes before I was out for the count the rest of the day and into Tuesday. Obviously that was not the way I wanted to end the trip, but I’m thankful it didn’t happen while I was there!

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Filed under Food Blogging, Food Review, Giveaway, Restaurant, Running, Travel

Running and Cupcakes

On both of my runs this past weekend, I couldn’t help but think about my pace and how that should translate to race day. I usually find myself sneaking a peak at my watch and being concerned with not going fast enough. When it comes to marathon training, though, I need to have a different outlook on my training runs than I did when I was training for my last half marathon… slow and steady.

Most of the training plans I’ve come across suggest running your long runs about a minute or so slower per mile than your goal marathon pace. So far, this has been a big struggle for me. I finished my first marathon in November in 4:37, which was about a 10:30 pace. Since then, I think I can very easily run a 9:30 pace, bringing me to just over 4 hours. My husband, on the other hand, thinks I can easily run a sub 4-hour marathon considering my easy 1:47 half in April, which of course would be fantastic. Either way, that means I should be running my long runs at about a 9:30 to 10:30 per mile pace, depending on what I ultimately decide my race day goal to be. Well, I ran 10 miles last weekend with an average 8:20 pace, and today’s 8 as slow as I possibly could in 8:50. I realize that once I get to the higher mileage long runs I’ll slow down, but I’m wondering if I need to readjust my goals, or somehow figure out how to run slower. I suppose I’ll have to experiment over the next few weeks.

Even though most of my weekend revolved around running, I did make time for cupcakes and a BBQ. Some friends were celebrating their engagement with a relaxed backyard party, so I knew I had to bring cupcakes. I’ve become known for bringing cupcakes to parties, and when I show up with anything else everyone seems to be disappointed. Thanks to the wonderful world of Pinterest, I found a recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with a Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting from Gimme Some Oven. They were a hit, and I had plenty of leftover frosting that is currently taunting me from the fridge. I’m thinking of turning into truffles (just shaping it into little balls and coating it in chocolate), but that’s if I can keep my spoon away.

Pinterest has really become a source for my meals and workouts in the past few weeks, and I’m really loving what I’ve found so far. It is a little dangerous at times (links to adorable clothes, and a serious time-waster), but I like to think the helpful things I’ve found outweigh the negatives of spending so much time on one website. I mean, I did find those cupcakes. Now if only I could find an answer to my marathon pace dilemma.

What did you do this weekend?
Any suggestions or words of advice for my marathon training pace dilemma? 

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Filed under Baking, Cupcakes, Running

All the Single Ladies

This past Saturday was my bachelorette party. While I’ll spare you all the juicy details, I do want to share all the delicious food that was enjoyed! Everyone came to my house, and we hung out eating and drinking, until our limo arrived. When it did, we were off to the city to enjoy dinner and a show at Lucky Cheng’s. If you’ve never heard of it, just take a gander at the website. That’s all you need to know. My sister did my hair and makeup, which was pretty awesome!

Of course, in trying to be the hostest with the mostest (a phrase used frequently in my house growing up), I had to make some goodies. I also tried to be smart, thinking the more food we had available, the better because no one likes a hangover. This was extremely import for myself, as I had completed my longest run EVER to date earlier that morning (14 miles!). I made this amazing Queso Fundido, which was awesome! And of course, I had to make cupcakes.

As part of the favors for my bridal shower, my future mother-in-law got little bottles of wine for everyone. So, we had quite a few bottles left over, so I figured my bachelorette party would be an excellent time to use some. Everyone loves a little boozy baking! I used just regular ‘ole brownie boxed mix and baked them as cupcakes. For the frosting, I made a merlot buttercream, and it was awesome. It was also the first time I got to use my KitchenAid stand mixer! I’m never using a hand mixer again.

We’re only 30 days away from the big day. There’s going to be a lot of wedding (and marathon training) activities in the coming weeks!

Check out the sweet cupcake toppers!

Brownie Cupcakes with Merlot Frosting
– makes 12 cupcakes –

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix (I used chocolate fudge)
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup merlot
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare brownie mix according to package, separate brownie mix into a lined cupcake pan (about 2 tbsp worth). Bake about 25-30 minutes
3. In a stand or hand mixer, cream butter, adding in vanilla followed by the wine. Slowly incorporate the sugar until the consistency is thick and everything is well combined.
4. Allow cupcakes to cool before frosting!  

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Filed under Cupcakes, Recipe, Running, Wedding

Birthday Cupcakes

If you’re a somewhat regular reader of this blog, or even if you simply look at the tag cloud on the right of the blog, you know that I love cupcakes. So it’s no surprise that I made sure to have plenty of cupcakes in the days surrounding my birthday!

On Sunday, the fiancé and I headed into the city with plans to go to a museum. Unfortunately we forgot about The Pride Parade, so our plans were interrupted. We certainly had plenty of entertainment watching the parade, though. On our way home we stopped at a bakery called Sweet in Hoboken for some cupcakes. Since we live in New Jersey, we try to find the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to get in and out of the city, and on Sunday we figured driving to Hoboken and parking there would be our best bet.

Sweet is cute and simple, and more importantly, has delicious cupcakes. We happened to get there at 5pm when they were closing at 6pm, so all of their cupcakes were by one-get one free! They have both regular and mini sized cupcakes, so the fiancé and I figured it was the perfect opportunity to sample a lot of what they had to offer. I also appreciated the fact that they were looking to get rid of the cupcakes, meaning they  make them fresh every day – no one likes a cold, stale cupcake! For a mere $4.75 the fiancé and I each got to sample a red velvet, vanilla, mocha, ganache, coconut, and fluffernutter (only 4 pictured below). They were all delicious! I wish I had them in the full size so I could have enjoyed even more of them.

For my birthday on Tuesday, of course I had to have cupcakes to celebrate. So, my family brought over four Crumbs cupcakes to try (King Cone, Baba Booey, Three Muskateers, and Peanut Butter Cup). Between the six of us (my parents, sister, her boyfriend, and the fiancé) we each sampled each of the cupcakes – YUM.

Not only did we have the Crumbs cupcakes to enjoy, but I also received cupcakes from Serial Baker! Now this girl is serious – she dropped off birthday cupcakes for me at 10:30p on the eve of my birthday. I was so zonked from my morning run that I was already in bed, so my fiancé actually received the package for me. I had a recipe for a twist on S’mores cupcakes in my head, and she was able to bring them to fruition. I had mentioned I had a recipe for them and wanted to make them, but just didn’t have the time or energy, so I opted to make two simple pies and bring them to work. So, she decided to make them for me! I have such good friends – look at that bad boy. [The picture is actually from Serial Baker’s post, but was taken by my fiancé – circle of blogging!].

Needless to say, my birthday was pretty sweet! It was made even sweeter by the awesome gifts I received – a no-slip yoga towel, running socks, a yoga mat carrier, a cupcake stand, and a Marc Jacobs bag I’ve been eyeing up for a few months. Next up in terms of celebrations are my bridal shower, bachelorette party, and of course, the wedding. I can’t wait!

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Cupcakes and Animals

Ever since trying Serial Baker’s delicious vegan cupcakes and then making some vegan cookies myself, I’ve been looking to try more vegan baking (whether made by me, or someone else!). So, when I saw that Sweet Avenue bake shop, a vegan bakery in Rutherford was hosting an event this past Saturday, I had to check it out… especially since it was to help raise funds for an animal shelter!

The fiancé and I headed up to Rutherford with plans to later head into the city to go to a show at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and enjoy dinner in the city. The event, Cupcakefest, was to help raise money for an animal shelter in Bloomfield. We joked that if they had adoptable cats or dogs at the event, we’d probably come home with a carful. Thankfully they didn’t have any animals actually there, otherwise our family would have grown Sunday! But as it turns out, our family grew on Monday, when we picked up a 5 week old kitten from a friend’s who found him under their deck! We thought it was only appropriate to name him Fry, one of the other characters in Futurama, to match our other cat, Leela. Hopefully they’ll get along just like the characters in the show!

He's barely bigger than my hand!

After checking out the vendors, we headed down the street to the bakery to pick up some cupcakes. I decided to try their Oreo cupcake, and the fiancé went with the “Green Lantern” cupcake – it even came with a plastic ring! They were the perfect size (not too big, but not too small) and they had filling, which is my favorite part about cupcakes. Oh, and they were really good! The fiancé turned to me and said “wait, are ALL of their baked goods vegan?” I love when people are impressed by things like that. I always enjoy when someone who bemoans something (i.e. vegan or  vegetarian lifestyles, certain cuisines, etc.), then they unknowingly try it, and really like it. Not that my fiancé is one of those people – he’ll try anything.

Green Lantern themed cupcake

I’m looking forward to a summer filled with cupcakes (my birthday is soon, so we know lots of cupcakes will be involved), and also trying some more vegan baking (either made by me, or others)! And now that we’re a family of four things should be interesting!

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Filed under Cupcakes, Vegetarian/Vegan

Cupcakes for Dinner

I’ve baked my fair share of cupcakes on the blog, but until Tuesday night, I hadn’t tried my hand at a savory cupcake. I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to try, but when I stumbled upon Can You Stay For Dinner’s version, which is actually inspired by a HungryGirl recipe, I knew I wanted to make my own version.

Using what I already had in my pantry and refrigerator (with the addition of the wonton wrappers), I made 12 “cupcakes” which was enough for dinner on Tuesday as well as lunch on Wednesday for both myself and my fiancé. It was fun telling people I had cupcakes for dinner and seeing the shock on their face, especially after I explained what I actually made. I think the great thing about these little guys is how you can really put whatever you want in them, and completely control how much you want to have… since I usually cut myself a giant piece of lasagna from a tray of it and never finish it, this is much more efficient. And more importantly, I think they honestly taste just like lasagna.

These would be awesome at a party – perfect little portable meals! I’ve been a big fan of wonton wrappers ever since I made my own eggrolls, and a few different variations, and now I’m just trying to think of other ways I can use them. I’m really looking forward to making some more savory cupcakes, and also discovering more ways to use wonton wrappers!

Lasagna Cupcakes inspired by Can You Stay for Dinner
– makes 12 cupcakes –

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz soy crumbles (I used Bocca)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion diced
1/2 green pepper diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
1 cup chunky tomato sauce
12 wonton wrappers
1 cup light ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a cupcake or muffin pan with non-stick spray, and place a wonton wrapper in each cup, making sure to mold to the shape.
2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat, adding onion, pepper, and garlic, followed by 1/2 tsp of oregano and 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes. Cook for 5-10 minutes. Set aside.
3. Using the same skillet, add the soy crumbles and additional 1/2 tsp of oregano and 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes. Sautee about 5-10 minutes.
4. Add onion and pepper mixture to soy crumbles. Add tomato sauce, stirring to combine and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine ricotta cheese and a dash of salt and pepper.
6. Distribute each cup with some of the ricotta mixture, followed by some of the sauce mixture, and top it off with a sprinkle of the mozzarella cheese. Fold over the excess wonton wrapper into the filled cup.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until wrappers begin to turn a golden brown and crisp.

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Filed under Cupcakes, Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan

Cookie Cupcakes

As with every occasion I’m a part of, some type of baked good (usually in the form of cupcakes) are made. My fiancé’s birthday on Friday was no exception to the rule. I had planned to make these amazing looking rootbeer cupcakes from the always delicious How Sweet It Is blog. Unfortunately, the recipe called for rootbeer extract, and I just couldn’t find any; I wound up going to four different grocery stores on Monday afternoon, and after finally feeling defeated resolved myself to needing to figure out something different.

After spending some time thinking about what my fiancé likes and doesn’t like, and looking at a few different recipes, I settled on Cookies & Cream Cupcakes. I hadn’t decided if I wanted to do a whipped cream or buttercream frosting, but I figured I could make that decision last minute. We thankfully had the necessary ingredients for either frosting, so I didn’t have to make any extra trips.

My fiancé’s birthday and party was on Friday, but because Friday night parties are always so hectic with it being a workday, I made the cupcakes on Thursday night and stored them at room temperature in my cupcake carrier until I was ready to frost on Friday. Aside from the smashing of the cookies, they were easy to make. I cheated a little and just used a regular boxed white cake mix, as my inspiration for the recipe came from How to Eat a Cupcake’s post. I usually find that any cookies or candy pieces that I put into a cake tend to sink to the bottom. These cookies pieces stayed exactly in place, I think thanks to the use of sour cream. They were perfectly dense, but not too heavy, and definitely would work with either a whipped cream or buttercream frosting.

I had originally decided to make whipped cream frosting, but the cream never whipped; I have a feeling I was just impatient as the time before the party was slowly ticking. So instead, I decided to use a typical vanilla buttercream frosting and I threw some extra crushed Oreo pieces on top of the finished cupcakes, instead of mixed into the frosting itself. Thankfully they were still delicious and everyone was a fan!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
– makes 18 cupcakes –

Cake:
Ingredients
:

30 Oreo cookies
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake baking sheet with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
2. Count out 8 Oreos and separate the top and bottom wafers. Make sure each has some of the icing on it. Place one wafer, icing side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Set them aside. Place the remaining Oreos in a large, closed zipper-lock bag and crush them by rolling over them with a rolling pin. Set these crumbs aside.
3. Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend together. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the crushed Oreos and fold these into the batter until well incorporated. Set aside the remaining crushed Oreos for the frosting. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cup­cake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. Place the pans in the oven.
4. Bake the cupcakes until they are lightly golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.

Frosting:
Ingredients:
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup buter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp whipping/heavy cream

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

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Muffin Love

Desserts are one of my favorite things. During the week, though, I rarely have time to make anything dessert related. So, while I was making dinner on Tuesday night, I had a great idea – oatmeal muffins! Conveniently, the oven was already pre-heated to the temperature I needed to cook them since I was roasting veggies. It was as though the baking stars had aligned, and I just had to bring my dreams of coconut chocolate chip oatmeal muffins to life.

I haven’t had oatmeal in awhile, and we have giant container of oats in our pantry. So while at work, I was trying to think of ways to put them to good use aside from a typical oatmeal cookie or overnight oats. I’ve never made muffins before, but since I’m a huge cupcake fanatic I thought it might be a nice change of pace. Plus, I’m obsessed with coconut and chocolate, and when they’re combined, it’s like kryptonite.

You really only  need about 20 minutes start to finish to whip up a batch of these badboys. This was some nice prep work for the cupcakes I’m planning to make for the fiance’s birthday! I have visions of slathering these with almond butter for breakfast, or with a spoonfull of vanilla ice cream for dessert…

Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
–  makes 12 muffins –

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
2/3 cup of shredded coconut
1 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including coconut)
3. Heat butter, and stir in milk and the egg. Add that mixture into the dry mixture, to combine, finally adding in the chocolate chips.
4. Spoon mixture into greased cupcake/muffin tin, and bake for 15 minutes.

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Easy Chocolate Truffles

On Saturday, after doing homework and some yoga, I decided to get myself in the kitchen. We were planning to go out to dinner for my mom’s birthday that was on Tuesday, so in addition to the gifts I bought her, I wanted to make her a treat. I attempted a giant cupcake for my fiancé for Valentine’s Day, but it wound up being a disaster. So, with that ego bruiser fresh in my mind, I decided to make some chocolate truffles for my mom.

We didn’t have any heavy cream in the house, and I had no desire to go to the store to get some. So, I got creative. I had caramel macchiato coffee creamer, and coconut milk. After taking a poll via Twitter and thinking about it some more, I decided to go with the creamer. I thought the caramel would be a nice addition to the chocolate. It’s a pretty easy process, and they’re really delicious. Since this is just the base and I coated mine in just some cocoa powder, you can really get creative with what you want to cover it in… yum!

Easy Chocolate Truffles
– makes about 12 truffles –

Ingredients:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coffee creamer (flavor of your choice)
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions:
1. In a double boiler (I just used a glass bowl atop a pot of boiling water), heat and melt chocolate, combined with coffee creamer.
2. Once fully melted and combined, chill for about 2 hours, until semi-hard.
3. Once chilled, use a small spoon to scoop out chocolate and roll into a ball.
4. In a separate bowl, roll the truffle in the chocolate powder

 

 

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A Festivus for the rest of us!

On Saturday, my fiancé and I hosted our second annual (he’s been throwing one for years) Festivus party! If you’re unfamiliar with the origins of Festivus, Google it, and hopefully a clip of the Seinfeld episode is on YouTube. I grew up watching Seinfeld with my parents, and they to this day watch the re-runs after work while preparing dinner. Most people I’ve come across either love or hate Seinfield, but both my family and my fiancé’s family are fans.

Last year was unfortunately kind of a flop, as the first snow storm of the year rolled in, and we wound up only having two guests! This year, with no reports of potential snow, I knew I needed to make sure we had enough goodies. The party was more than just a Festivus celebration, it was also the first time most of our friends were seeing our new place! Needless to say, the pressure was on.

I always make some type of cupcakes. This time, instead of making full sized, I realized they would likely go faster if I made mini’s instead. I like to make them seasonal, or at the very least boozy. While I left out the booze this time, you could definitely add it in if you want, since I made eggnog cupcakes, courtesy of Southern Living! Based on the recipe I used, I wound up with 60 mini cupcakes. Plenty for all of the party-goers, and enough to bring into work on Monday as well. In addition to the cupcakes, I wanted to make something savory. I had a bunch of recipes to choose from, but wound up settling on Brown Eyed Baker’s Italian Gougeres, coming in a later post.

But back to the cupcakes – the cake was perfectly moist and just the right amount of eggnog. I actually tasted eggnog for the very first time after I mixed it into the batter. There was some leftover, so I decided to take a swig. I guess it’s a good thing I liked it, since I was already committed to 60 mini cupcakes with it. The frosting, though, was a bit runny. Even though it had cream cheese, butter, and confectioner’s sugar, I couldn’t get it thick enough to allow me to really do any decorating (I added A LOT of extra sugar). It wound up almost drying on the cakes though with a nice sheen, so they looked okay. But I would have liked to do something a little more snazzy!

I definitely think you could add some dark rum to the cake and/or frosting mixture to give it that boozy kick that I’m such a fan of. Nothing quite like a festive drink in cupcake form!

Eggnog Cupcakes via Southern Living
– makes 60 mini cupcakes, or about 24 regular cupcakes –

Cake Ingredients:
1 (16oz.) package pound cake mix
1 1/4 cups eggnog
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat all ingredients together at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Increase speed to medium, and beat 2 minutes. Pour into lined cupcake pan, filling about 3/4 .
2. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, about 10-15 minutes.

Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1/4 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting Directions:
1. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with eggnog, beginning and ending with sugar and beating at low speed. Add freshly grated nutmeg and vanilla extract; beat until smooth.
3. Spread over cupcakes.

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Filed under Baking, Cupcakes, Recipe