Monday, January 31, 2011

Experimenting with a Mini Cupcake Maker!

By: Christine
I was given a mini cupcake maker for Christmas this year. I knew this little machine would be perfect for making small batches of cupcakes & would be a great way for me to experiment with different recipes and ideas. 
 The mini cupcake maker makes seven cupcakes at a time.
I decided to experiment with making a brownie cupcake so I filled each cavity with brownie batter and baked them for around 8-12 minutes.
After baking, I let these brownie cupcakes cool. I made a peanut butter filling for these cupcakes using peanut butter and powdered sugar. Using a frosting bag & tip, I squeezed the filling into each cupcake. I frosted the cupcakes with chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting.
These peanut butter filled cupcake brownies were an experiment and since they came out great, I decided to make them for my fiancé's birthday since he loves anything that is chocolate & peanut butter! I made the letters for "Happy Birthday" using red candy melts and placed them on top of the cupcakes!
In the future, I plan to experiment with other flavors and different flavor combinations using this mini cupcake maker!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rise Krispie and Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls

By: Jill
Once a year, the people who live across the street from my parent's house make peanut butter chocolate balls for the all the neighbors. Every member of my family would run to the door when they were brought over and descend upon them like we had never seen chocolate before. We would greedily claim every last once over the next few days and give each other a hard time for having more than someone else.

In all my years of baking, I had never actually tried to recreate these delicious treats. When my sister said that she was coming home this past weekend, I knew that I wanted to make something special and found a recipe that incorporated rice krispies for a lighter tasting version of the original with a little bit of a crunch.

The center is made of rice krispies, butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar.
The butter and peanut butter are melted on the stove until they become completely liquefied.
Then the dry ingredients are added and stirred.
You form the balls by hand into any size/shape you want.
The chocolate coating is different from regular ganache because it calls for shorting and chocolate in order for the chocolate to set.
Each rice krispie ball is dipped into the melted chocolate and placed on wax paper.
After they set in the fridge, they are ready to go!
These were a huge hit at dinner and with my family. We were able to eat our fill of them without having to fight one another for the last piece!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy New Year Cake & Cupcakes!

By: Christine
This order was placed by my Aunt, who needed to bring a yummy dessert to a New Year’s Eve party that she was attending with her family. There was going to be a few other families at the party, approximately 20-25 people. We decided that a small square cake and one dozen cupcakes would be a great idea for this party!
I started by baking the cake, using my favorite chocolate cake recipe, The Pioneer Woman's Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever. After allowing the cake to cool, I frosted it with white buttercream frosting.
I used chocolate buttercream frosting to make the border for this cake. I tinted the chocolate frosting black and piped on large round dots along the sides. Then, I added metallic gold, silver and black sprinkles to the top and sides of the cake.
I made chocolate stars out of chocolate candy melts and dunked them in the gold, silver, and black sprinkles and added them to the top of the cake. I wrote on the cake "Happy New Year, 2011" with the black chocolate frosting.
For the cupcakes, I used my favorite yellow cake recipe. Jill and I worked on the cupcakes together and we frosted these cupcakes with both vanilla and chocolate buttercream. We topped the cupcakes with a metallic gold and silver sprinkles and a chocolate star!
This cake and cupcake order was so much fun to make. The metallic sprinkles and the chocolate stars gave the cake and cupcakes a New Year's Eve party look!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting!

When I saw this recipe for mini-cupcakes, it looked too good not to try! My cupcakes have a few variations on this original recipe, but the ingredients are the same. I made them both for Christmas and for a cocktail party hosted by my friend Janice. This cupcake has a chocolate Guinness base covered by chocolate ganache and then topped with Bailey's frosting. I have to admit, it might be one of my new favorites!

The recipe calls for one cup of Guinness (feel free to drink the rest!) which is simmered on the stove with butter.

Cocoa powder is added to the Guinness/butter mixture and brought to a simmer. This smells absolutely divine!

While the stovetop mixture is simmering, the sour cream and eggs are combined in the mixer. Sour cream keeps the cupcake light, fluffy, and moist.

After the chocolate mixture has cooled, it's added to the sour cream and eggs mixture.

The mixture is then folded into the dry ingredients by hand until just combined.

These mini-cupcakes are filled half way, leaving room for the ganache, and baked for 20 minutes.

The bittersweet chocolate ganache topping is cooked over the stove top until smooth.

Then, the ganache is spooned over the entire top of the cupcake.

Bailey's buttercream frosting is absolutely delicious! This frosting must be generously whipped in order to make it smooth.

The result is three layers of amazing flavor! You get a little bit of each flavor in each bite. Because these are mini-cupcakes, you are not overwhelmed by the rich ingredients and can enjoy every delicious bite.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Merry Christmas (Part One)

By: Christine
After making lots of cake pops for Christmas Eve, I decided to make a few different things for Christmas day.
I turned to one of my favorite books, “Hello Cupcake” and found lots of ideas, but was able to pick just one to make: Snow Globe Cupcakes!
I baked one dozen chocolate cupcakes, allowed them to cool, and frosted them with white buttercream. I sprinkled blue sugar crystals on top to resemble the “snow” inside of a snow globe. I made three different snow globe scenes:
Snowman: I used jelly candies as the body and chocolate candy wafers for the hat and eyes. I used an orange jelly candy for the nose and green buttercream frosting for the scarf.

Gingerbread house: I used a graham cracker as the house and piped on the roof & doors with colored buttercream frosting.
Christmas tree: I used green colored buttercream for the tree and a yellow sprinkle for the star. Then I used melted chocolate candy wafers for the stem of the tree.
When each snow globe cupcake scene was complete, I placed them on their side and attached them to a chocolate covered graham cracker using melted chocolate candy. These cupcakes were complete & so cute!
The other things that I made for Christmas day were cookie candy cups in a few assorted flavors; Snickers, mini peanut butter cups & Peppermint Stick
I made sugar cookie dough and double chocolate cookie dough. I rolled the dough into balls and placed them into a mini muffin tin. While these were baking, I unwrapped a few mini Snickers candy bars and a few mini peanut butter cups. As soon as the cookies came out of the oven, I placed the candies into the center. 1/3 of the cookies had Snickers in the middle, 1/3 had PB cups and the other 1/3 I left plain, temporarily.
With the plain cookies, I waited until they were cool and then I piped on white buttercream frosting and placed them upside-down into a bowl of crushed peppermint candies. After all of the cookies cooled, I drizzled on green & red candy melts and also added white sprinkles which completed these cookie candy cups!