Monday, March 26, 2012

Flower Cupcakes for a Baby Shower

Looking for a fun cupcake design that would work for a baby shower or bridal shower? Try making these flower cupcakes!

Flower Cupcakes for a Baby Shower

Your favorite cake recipe
A full batch of icing
Decorating bags with tips and couplers
Wilton Sugar Pearls
Wilton Cupcake Cups

I found these baking cups in my local Joann's Fabric and Craft Store in the cake decorating aisle and realized they'd be perfect for an upcoming baby shower for a co-worker. Aren't they cute?
The directions on the package said to use three tablespoons of cake batter per cup. My small cookie scoop is one tablespoon, so I scooped three of them into each flower cup.

Then I used tip #32 to make a large rosette on top of each cupcake. In the center of each flower, I put five Wilton Sugar Pearls.

There was enough cake batter left that I was able to fill a six-inch round cake pan. Since I made both chocolate and yellow cupcakes, the little cake I made had a yellow layer on top of a chocolate layer with a raspberry filling in the middle.

My co-workers did a beautiful job arranging the cake and cupcakes on the table with the punch. Yummy!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Usually, I post my recipes on Sunday, but this was an especially busy weekend. I made these brownies a week (two weeks?) ago. They turned out slightly drier than I would have liked, so if I made them again, I might add a fudge frosting to them.

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies

3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3.5 oz dark chocolate
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

For the 3.5 oz of dark chocolate, I used a Cadbury royal dark candy bar and chopped it into chunks.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the 2 oz. of bittersweet chocolate with the milk. (About 90 seconds should do it. Try stirring halfway through.)

Add butter, vanilla, and eggs to melted chocolate. Then add the mixture to the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Stir in the dark chocolate chunks.

Pour into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 for 20-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Short Story #2!

Just had another short story published in the April 2012 issue of Pockets magazine!

This time they had models pose for my story. I thought my story would receive illustrations again, given that the little girl in the story has a pink butterfly barrette in her hair. I figured, "No way do they have stock photos of that on hand!"

No. Instead, they went out and got models to pose for my story and put a pink butterfly barrette in the little girl's hair! Wow! How cool is that? Models posed for my story! Way cool!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mom's Date-Nut-Chocolate Chip Dessert

My mom has made this recipe for years. She received it from my aunt, but I have no idea where she got it from. A cross between a cake and a brownie, this moist dessert goes really well with Cool Whip (which of course I forgot when I made this for some friends!).

Date-Nut-Chocolate Chip

1 cup dates, chopped
1 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs. slightly beaten
1-1/2 cups flour, plus 3 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)
1/2 cup sugar

Mix dates, (1 teaspoon) baking soda, and boiling water in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.

Cream margarine and sugar. Add eggs.

Sift flour, salt, and (3/4 teaspoon) baking soda. Add to creamed mixture. Then stir in date mixture. Pour batter in greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips, nuts, and sugar over batter.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Serves 15-20.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chocolate Meringues with Raspberry Cream Filling

I found a recipe for making meringue "cups" in my Better Homes and Garden Cookbook. They looked intriguing as I've never made meringues before; however, these were hazelnut-flavored, and I wanted chocolate, so I did some online research, found out how to make chocolate meringues and then played around with the cream filling to work with the ingredients I had at home.

The chocolate candy pieces you see on top are made from Wilton candy melts and one of the candy molds (really easy to do--directions are on the mold). I served these up on Oscar night.

Chocolate Meringues with Raspberry Cream Filling

Ingredients for Meringue Cups:
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1-1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa

Ingredients for Raspberry Cream Filling:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup Solo brand Raspberry Cake & Pastry Filling

Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Draw ten 3-inch circles on paper. Be sure to leave at least 2 inches between each circle.

In a large mixing bowl, combine egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, beat the ingredients on medium speed until soft peaks form. This will take several minutes. The mixture is ready when you are able to get the tips of the peaks to curl over when you lift up the whisk attachment.

Gradually add 1-1/3 cups sugar, one tablespoon at a time. This should take about four minutes on high speed, after which you should get stiff peaks (tips do not curl over at all), and the sugar should be almost dissolved. Gently fold in the cocoa until it is evenly incorporated into the mixture.

Put meringue mixture into a decorating bag with a large open tip like #12. Pipe the bottom of the meringue cups within the 3-inch circles you drew on the parchment paper. Then pipe up the sides to form a cup. Bake in 300-degree oven for 35 minutes. Do not open the door. Turn off the oven and let meringues dry in there for an hour. Remove from oven and cool completely on cookie sheet.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of butter until smooth. Add the 1/3 cup sugar and beat again. Add whipping cream and beat on low speed until combined. Then beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold in raspberry cake and pastry filling.

Remove meringues from parchment paper. Fill them with the raspberry cream filling. Cover loosely and chill 2-24 hours.

Before serving, drizzle plate with chocolate sauce or syrup. Place meringue cup on top and then add chocolate candy decoration, if desired.

You could also garnish with chocolate chips or fresh fruit.

Yields: about ten servings.