June 30, 2012

Black Bottom Cupcakes

For Cupcakes

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBS. vinegar
1/4 cup cocoa
1-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup water

For Cream Filling

8 oz cream cheese
1/8 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
Mix then add:
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut

1.  Preheat oven to 350℉.  Line 24 muffin cups with cupcake liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Mix all cupcake ingredients together well and fill muffin tins 1/3 full.

2.  Mix cream cheese, salt, egg, and sugar together.  Add in chocolate chips and coconut and mix to combine.  Drop cream filling in the center of each cupcake. (I used a small ice cream scoop.)

3.  Bake for 20-25 minutes

Good just the way they are, but if desired frost with buttercream after cupcakes are cool.  

From Tara H. and Betty

June 29, 2012

Grandma Nield's Wacky Cake-Cupcake Style

For Cupcakes

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 TBS cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cold water

For Glaze

1 (4.75 oz) package Raspberry Junket Danish Dessert
2 cups water

For Frosting

1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 C chopped walnuts (optional)
Fresh Raspberries for garnish (optional)

1.  To Make Cupcakes:  Mix all cupcake ingredients together. Fill cupcake liners and bake at 350℉ till done 15-20 min. Let cupcakes cool completely.

2.  To Make Glaze:  In a saucepan mix raspberry "Junket Danish Dessert" with 2 Cups water. Bring to a boil and cook until thick and mixture changes to deep red color.

3.  Let partially cool, and spread on cupcakes. The Danish Dessert mixture needs to still be workable (not to cool) but not so warm it is runny, then it runs off the cupcake. Let cool completely on cupcakes.

4.  To Make Frosting:  In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream and vanilla until fully whipped. Remove from the bowl. In the same bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until blended and smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the whipping cream. Mix until just blended. Fold in chopped walnuts if using.

Top with Fresh Raspberries for garnishment if desired.

These are best if kept refrigerated.

From Tara H. and her Grandma Nield

June 28, 2012

Strawberry Cupcakes

 For Strawberry Cupcakes
 2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
8 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2  eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 cup pureed strawberries, frozen, thawed, or fresh
Strawberry preserves, optional
Strawberries for garnish, if desired

For Frosting
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1.  To Make Cupcakes:  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

2.  Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale yellow. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

3.  Stir in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream. Fold in the pureed strawberries.

4.  Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full with batter and bake at 350℉ until baked through and golden brown, 18-22 minutes. Cool completely.

5.  Fill a piping bag with strawberry preserves. Cut the tip of the bag off and insert the tip into the center of a cooled cupcake. Squeeze to allow a small amount of mixture into the center. Release and remove the bag from the cupcake. Repeat on the other cupcakes.  (This step is optional the cupcakes are good without filling also.)

6.  To Make Frosting:  In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream and vanilla until fully whipped. Remove from the bowl. In the same bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until blended and smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the whipping cream. Mix until just blended. Fold in chopped walnuts.

Can top with fresh strawberry for garnishment if desired.

From Tara H.

June 26, 2012

Broccoli and Grape Pasta Salad

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 (16 oz) pkg. farfalle pasta (bow-tie)
1 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp. salt
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled

1.  Preheat oven to 350℉.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

2.  Prepare pasta according to package directions.

3.  Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and seperate florets into small pieces.

4.  Whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, red onion, and vinegar in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat.  Cover and chill 3 hours.  Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.

Yield 6 to 8 servings

From Annette

June 22, 2012

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Pineapple Cupcakes

2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 -3/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 cups canned crushed pineapple (drained slightly)

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

½ cup (1 stick/8 TBS) butter, at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
1-1/2 tsp coconut extract (start with 1 teaspoon of coconut extract add more if desired)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 TBS heavy cream, heavy whipping cream or milk

For Cupcakes
1.  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until slightly thickened and a light cream color (about 2 minutes).

3.  On low speed, mix in the oil and vanilla until blended.

4.  Add in the pineapple and sour cream and mix until fully incorporated.

5.  Add the flour mixture and blend until just combined and smooth.

6.  Line a cupcake pans with paper liners and fill about 2/3 full.

7.  Bake cupcakes in a pre-heated 350℉ oven for about 22 minutes.

8.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

9.  Frost with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

For Frosting
10. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend until well combined, about 30 seconds.

11.  Add vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.

12.  Slowly add the heavy cream or milk

13.  Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

14. Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

For added flavor and texture, top frosted cupcakes with toasted coconut.
(To toast coconut- lay about 1-1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 375℉ about 4-5 minutes).
Decorate cupcakes with fresh pineapple, maraschino cherries or paper umbrellas.

Recipe yields 24-28 cupcakes.

From Annette and
Glorious Treats

June 21, 2012

Rolo Cupcakes

1 (18.25 ounce) package Devil’s Food Cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp of vanilla
24 frozen Rolos (freeze for at least 2 hours)

4 sticks unsalted butter; room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp fine sea salt
⅓ cup caramel syrup
1-1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBS honey
2 TBS light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
24 Rolos for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350℉.  Line (2) 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, water and vanilla until well combined and smooth.

3. Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans. (About 3 tablespoons each.)

4. Gently push a frozen Rolo into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy with batter.

5. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch. A small divot may appear in the center of the cupcake, it will be covered with frosting, so it won't matter.

6. Completely cool cupcakes on wire rack.

For the frosting
7. Cream the butter in the bowl of an electric or stand mixer. Add the vanilla extract, salt and caramel syrup and combine well.

8. Begin adding in the sugar and mixing thoroughly after each addition. After all of the sugar has been added and mixed thoroughly, decide if you want to add in more caramel syrup. For thicker frosting you can gradually add in a little more sugar.

For the ganache
9. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until very hot, but not boiling.

10. Place chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in the honey, corn syrup, and vanilla. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit for too long or it will harden up before you spoon it over the frosting.

11. Spoon the glaze on the tops of the frosted cupcakes, allowing it to drip down the sides a little bit. Don’t add too much glaze or it will drip all over your liners.

12. Top each cupcake with a Rolo if desired.

Store cupcakes in the refrigerator. Remove them to room temperature one hour before serving.

From Annette and
My Baking Addiction

June 20, 2012

Caramel Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes:

1 (18.25 oz) box white cake mix (I used golden vanilla or use chocolate if desired)
1/3 cup oil
4 egg whites, (or 4 eggs if not using white cake mix)
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Caramel Icing:
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed (I use light)
5 TBS unsalted butter, cut into a few chunks
Generous 1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, gently combine oil, egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract.

3. Sift in cake mix and stir.

4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

5.  To make the icing, put the dark brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium saucepan, and melt them together over medium heat, stirring often. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the milk and vanilla. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dump in the confectioners’ sugar all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until the icing is thickened and smooth.

6.  Quickly ice the cupcakes by holding each by the base and dipping the tops in the hot icing, rolling them slightly to coat evenly. Turn them quickly upright so the icing will even out while it’s still warm and will set smoothly. You have to move pretty quickly.

Cupcakes From Your Cup of Cake
Icing From Piece of Cake

June 19, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 (18.25 oz) Box Devil's Food Cake Mix
1 tsp. cinnamon, optional
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream 

Peanut Butter Ganache
1/3 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Buttercream
1/4 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar, roughly
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line pans with 24 cupcake liners.

2. Sift cake mix into a small bowl with cinnamon.

3. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream. Don't over mix.

4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and stir until well mixed.

5. Fill liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

6. Ganache: Melt peanut butter and chocolate chips and stir until smooth. (You can do it over the stove top or use a microwave.)

7. Once cupcakes have cooled, dip the tops into the ganache and let set before frosting.

8. Buttercream: Beat butter, cream cheese and peanut butter for 4 minutes. Scrape the bowl as needed. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat. If your buttercream is too thin, continue to add more powdered sugar.

9. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with peanut butter chocolate hearts or Peanut Butter cups if desired.

June 18, 2012

Decadent Snickers Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse

1 (18.25 oz) box Devils Food Cake Mix
1 small box Jello Chocolate Fudge instant pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream

Chocolate Mousse Filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1 stick softened butter (1/2 cup)
2-1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
5-7 TBS milk (I use evaporated)

1 bag mini Snickers (about 11 oz)

1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line 24 cupcake tins with liners. To prepare the cupcakes, place the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, milk and sour cream into stand mixer. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Scoop the batter evenly into the cupcake liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cupcakes are cooked through and a toothpick comes clean from center. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and let cool.

2. To prepare the mousse, melt the milk chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream with a stand or electric mixer until it looks like whipped cream and stiff peaks form. Fold melted chocolate chips into whipped cream until well combined, then transfer batches into a piping bag. When cupcakes have cooled, press the tip of the piping bag into the center of the cupcake, about 1 inch deep. Squeeze the mousse into the cupcake while pulling the tip out. It doesn’t take much, just one firm squeeze is perfect. Continue filling all the cupcakes.

3. To prepare the frosting, beat the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla until well combined add enough milk to make a nice frosting consistency. Spread or pipe on cupcakes then top with chopped Snickers.

Makes 24 cupcakes

From Kevin and Amanda

June 17, 2012

Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Vanilla  Cupcakes

1 (18.25 oz) box white cake mix (I used golden vanilla or use chocolate if desired)
1/3 cup oil
4 egg whites, (or 4 eggs if not using white cake mix)
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cheesecake Filling

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1/2 package (3.9 oz pkg) dry cheesecake pudding mix
1 cup cool whip

For the Raspberry Buttercream

1 cup butter, softened (use 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup shortening if you prefer)
4 TBS raspberries, smashed (keep juice with it)
4 cups powdered sugar
24 Raspberries, if desired for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line pans with cupcake liners.

2. In a large bowl, gently combine oil, egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract.

3. Sift in cake mix and stir.

4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 17-22 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool completely.  Cut out top of cooled cupcake with a melon baller or a knife.
5.  Make the cheesecake filling: In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sour cream on low until creamy. Add the milk and pudding mix and beat until mixed. Fold in the cool whip. Fill a piping bag and fill the hole with cheesecake filling. (I didn't even use a tip I just cut the end of the bag off).

6.  Make the raspberry buttercream: In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the smashed raspberries and beat again. Slowly add the powdered sugar until it is all incorporated. Beat the frosting until fluffy. Top cupcakes with buttercream.  Top with a raspberry as garnish if desired.  Store in refrigerator.   

June 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Toffee Pretzel Truffles

*Makes about 10-12 dozen truffles
4 TBS butter, softened to warm room temperature
1 cups powdered sugar
1 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 cup chopped/crushed pretzel sticks
1/2 TBS shortening or butter (I used canola oil)
Toffee, chopped nuts, crushed pretzel, or chocolate jimmies for garnish, optional

1.  In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until evenly combined. Add the peanut butter and mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in the toffee bits and pretzel pieces by hand with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

2.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet (12X18-inches or several smaller baking sheets) with parchment or waxed paper. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1-inch or so (it doesn’t have to be exact) balls and place them on the lined baking sheets. (To make dipping easier I put a toothpick through the ball.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for 15-20 minutes until firm. At this point, the balls can be transferred to a sealed container or freezer ziploc bag and frozen for up to 2 months.

3.  Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and shortening/butter/oil together in a microwave-safe bowl or in a double boiler until completely melted and smooth (taking care not to overheat the chocolate as that can cause white streaks, bloom, to appear in the hardened chocolate).

4.  One by one, toss a formed peanut butter/pretzel ball into the melted chocolate and using a fork, cover the ball with chocolate. Lift the covered bonbon out of the chocolate with the fork and tap the lower stem of the fork (right above where the rectangular tined fork part ends) on the edge of the bowl to let excess chocolate fall through the tines of the fork. Scrape the bottom of the fork along the edge of the bowl and transfer the covered truffle to a parchment lined baking sheet (you can use the same baking sheet(s) used for freezing the balls if you have room). Set the truffles very close to the parchment paper and using a second fork or butter knife, gently scoot the truffles off the fork onto the baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle your garnish of choice on the top of the wet chocolate before it sets.  (I used the toothpicks I inserted into the balls to dip in the chocolate when the chocolate was pretty set up I removed the toothpick and used a spoon to lightly cover the toothpick hole with chocolate and sprinkled garnish on wet chocolate.)(I didn't have enough toothpicks for every truffle so I removed them and reused them by gently sticking in a frozen truffle ball then dipping; My balls were frozen overnight)

Refrigerate the truffles until ready to serve.

From Mel'sKitchenCafe

June 10, 2012

Orange Chicken (Like Panda Express)

Sauce and Marinade:
1-1/2 cups water
2 TBS orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
2-1/2 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS grated orange zest
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
2 TBS chopped green onion
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 TBS cornstarch
2 TBS water

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite size cubes
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 TBS oil
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
oil for frying

1.  Pour 1-1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat.  Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10- 15 minutes.

2.  Place chicken cubes into a resealable plastic bag.  When sauce is cool, pour 1 cup of it into the bag, reserving the remainder.  Seal the bag and place in fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.  Refrigerate remaining marinade in separate container.

3.  Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken cubes from marinade to a large bowl.  Throw used marinade away.  Stir in the egg, salt, pepper and 1 TBS of oil.  Mix well.  In a separate large shallow bowl, mix the cornstarch and flour together until well blended.  Add the chicken a few at a time to the cornstarch/flour mixture.  Stir to coat evenly and tap off excess.

4.  Pour about 1 inch of oil in a wok or deep heavy skillet and heat to 375℉.  If you do not have a thermometer, heat the oil until it starts to ripple in the pan.  Add the chicken cubes, a small handful at a time and fry until golden and crisp, about 3-4 minutes.  Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel lined plate.When cooking the remainder batches, you may need to turn down the heat a little to keep the chicken from cooking too fast and possibly add a little more oil.

5.   Once all the chicken is cooked, return to the reserved sauce.  Put the sauce in a skillet and bring to a boil over medium- high heat.  Mix together the 3 TBS cornstarch and 2 TBS water, stir into the sauce.  Reduce heat to medium- low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring every once in a while.  Remove from heat and serve over sticky rice.  Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if desired.

From The Sister's Cafe

June 7, 2012

20 Minute Skillet Lasagna

1 lb. lean ground beef 
1 (12 oz) package bow tie noodles (or any other kind of noodle), uncooked
1 (26 oz) jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or pizza sauce)
1 TBS olive oil
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning (or more, make it to your taste)
½ cup mozzarella cheese
½ cups sour cream (I used light)

1.  Brown ground beef in small pan. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions.

2.  After noodles are cooked, drain and drizzle with olive oil. Mix in your spaghetti sauce. 
Add your browned beef, seasonings, cheese, and sour cream. Fold together and allow it all to combine and melt together, over low heat, for about 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

From Six Sisters' Stuff

June 3, 2012

Cheese Stuffed Breadsticks

2 TBS sugar
2 TBS oil
2 tsp salt
2 cups hot water
4 to 4- 1/2 cups flour (I needed more)
2 TBS instant yeast
3 cups shredded cheese (mozzarella or mix )
1 egg
2 TBS milk
2 TBS finely grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

1.  Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

2.  Put first four ingredients in mixing bowl of stand mixer. Stir in 2 cups flour and yeast.

3.  Mix until well combined and then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until dough can easily be shaped into a ball with all the flour well mixed in. No need to rise.

4.  Divide in half. Roll first half out on floured surface, to approx size of cookie sheet. Roll up on to rolling pin and unroll unto cookie sheet. Stretch into shape where needed. Sprinkle with cheese.

5.  Roll out second half, a bit larger. Roll onto pin and unroll on top of cheese. Fold under the bottom layer, along edges. Cut through the dough with a pizza cutter to create 20 - 24 pieces. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise 20 minutes.

6.  Preheat oven to 425℉.

7.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, Parmesan, oregano and garlic. Brush evenly over dough.

8.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until breadsticks are lightly golden in color.  If a large bubble pops up while baking, simply break with a knife to keep the sticks even.

9.  Cut along the seams of the breadsticks and serve warm with soup, marinara sauce, etc. Can also be used for kids' sandwiches.
From Mennonite Girls Can Cook