Pink Champagne Cupcakes

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Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a fun and safe New Year. We went to my in-laws for a small party, where we had ribs and they were delicious! I made dessert, and thought it would be appropriate to make these pink champagne cupcakes. I used Barefoot Pink Moscato Champagne and they turned out great! Perfect addition for a celebration. These would be great for a bridal shower, valentine’s day, or any party you go to. Or if you just need a cupcake, I would suggest these. The cupcakes are light, and moist, with a wonderful pink champagne buttercream frosting to compliment the cake. Sometimes you just need a little treat, and these are totally worth it!

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Batter before adding the egg whites

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Folding in the egg whites

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To make the cupcakes, start by creaming together some butter and sugar. Then sift together the remaining dry ingredients, including the flour, baking powder, and salt. Begin adding the flour mixture and champagne by alternating each one until just combined. Then in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks have formed. Then gently fold about 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter to soften it, then fold in remaining egg whites. If you want to add a few drops of red coloring to make them pink, you could do that now, by folding the color in gently, but not too much as you don’t want to deflate the egg whites. Pour batter into prepared liners in a cupcake tin, about 2/3 of the way full. Then bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

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To make the frosting, start by creaming together softened butter and powdered sugar. Add a few tablespoons of pink champagne and a teaspoon of vanilla. Once the ingredients are combined, add a few drops of red food coloring. When the cupcakes are done baking and have cooled spread frosting on top, or you can get fancy by piping the frosting then, please do so! I was being lazy, so I just spread a generous helping on each cupcake. You could top each cupcake with sprinkles, or with a raspberry or a strawberry, to make them even prettier. Enjoy!

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Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Buttercream Frosting
Recipe adapted from AllRecipes

Makes 20 cupcakes

Ingredients
For the cupcakes
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup champagne (the sweeter the better – go for at least a brut; extra-dry, sec, or even doux is best)
6 egg whites
4-5 drops red food coloring

For the champagne buttercream frosting*
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature
4-5 drops red food coloring

Cupcake Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Alternate adding flour mixture and champagne into the creamed butter and sugar mixture.

In another large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.  Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with just a few crumbs on it.

Frosting Directions:

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together powdered sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another 2 minutes.  Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute. Spread on cupcake, or put in bag to decorate with a tip. Enjoy!

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Homemade Marshmallows

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Christmas season is the best time for hot chocolate, and what goes better with hot chocolate than a really great marshmallow! We had a Christmas party this past weekend and I made some really great hot chocolate with homemade marshmallow. My mom had started making homemade marshmallow several years ago and they are fantastic! It’s the perfect compliment to hot chocolate, and it melts perfectly into the drink. Now I’m a firm believer in making hot chocolate with milk. It makes it super creamy, and really brings out the chocolate flavor. By adding marshmallow to your drink, you have a really cozy and chocolatey treat! Perfect for the holidays!

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To make the marshmallow, start by adding 3 ounces of unflavored gelatin to some cold water in a metal bowl, and let sit. Meanwhile in a sauce pan, combine more cold water with sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil until it reaches 240° F, or soft ball stage, on your candy thermometer. Once it hits 240°, begin to gradually pour the sugar mixture into the gelatin, as you continually beat them together. Keep pouring in sugar mixture gradually, and then continue to beat for about 15 minutes, as the mixture gets thick and doubles in volume. Beat in vanilla at the end. Then pour into a greased 9×13 pan. You let the marshmallow sit for at least 6 hours, or overnight. When you go to cut the marshmallow, make sure to grease your knife or pizza cutter to prevent all of the marshmallow from sticking to it. Cut a piece that will fit into your mug, and top your hot chocolate with a wonderful slice of marshmallow! Enjoy!

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You could also sift powdered sugar onto the marshmallow to make it less sticky.  Or cut it into squares and put powdered sugar on them.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup Light Corn Syrup Corn Syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Grease a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with cooking spray and then lightly coat with powdered sugar, so the entire bottom and sides of pan are covered and set aside. In a large metal bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup of cold water and set aside. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 240° (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat and gradually add to gelatin while beating on high speed until mixture is thick and the volume is doubled, about 15 minutes. Then beat in vanilla. Spread into prepared pan. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight. Spray a knife with cooking spray and cut into 1 inch squares.

Chocolate Lovers Desserts to Die For!

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Last night I went to a cooking class. It was my first one, so I was a little nervous going in. The class was titled “Chocolate Lovers Desserts to Die For!”. So how could it be bad? You could already smell the chocolate walking down the hall to the classroom. It was in a big professional kitchen used at a local university for students majoring in culinary arts. They had 5 or 6 double broilers going with melted chocolate in them, it was a heavenly smell. The chef introduced herself, and briefly explained everything we would be making. And it was a lot! We made all sorts of candies, including cherry cordials, peanut butter cups, different kinds of barks, and truffles, which I think were my favorite. There was a table full of different goodies to put in the chocolate candies, such as toasted coconut, different nuts, dried figs and cherries, and pretty gold dragees (bite-sized, colorful form of sugar with a hard outer shell). She also showed us a flourless chocolate cake. It was so rich and chocolatey that I could only eat a few bites when I got home (but that could also be because I had had quite a bit of chocolate already). There were about 16 of us in the class, all running around making a bunch of chocolate cake and candies. It was pure bliss!

 

My favorite thing I made would have to be the truffles. It was basically ganache that was thrown the freezer for a while to get firm.  When the chocolate was set we rolled it into balls, and then rolled them in whatever we wanted. I preferred rolling them in the Dutch cocoa. They were fantastic! To make the truffles chop up 8 ounces of good dark or semi-sweet chocolate and place in a mixing bowl. Heat some heavy whipping cream on the stove just until simmering, then pour that over the chocolate and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Whisk cream and milk together until smooth. Then whisk in some butter that has been cut into small pieces. Pour onto a foil lined baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for an hour or so until firm.  Using a spoon, gather a spoonful and roll into a ball. Continue with remaining chocolate. If chocolate starts to get to soft and melted return to refrigerator for 15 minutes and then continue. Once all the balls are formed you can roll in whatever coating you like. Then Enjoy!!!

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Chocolate Truffles:

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces

Coatings:

  • Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
  • Melted Chocolate
  • Confectioners Sugar
  • Toasted/Chopped Nuts
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Shaved Chocolate

Directions:

Chop 8 ounces of good dark or semi-sweet chocolate and place in a mixing bowl. Heat some heavy whipping cream on the stove just until simmering, then pour that over the chocolate and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Whisk cream and milk together until smooth. Then whisk in the butter that has been cut into small pieces. Pour onto a foil lined baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for an hour or so until firm.  Using a spoon, gather a spoonful and roll into a ball. Continue with remaining chocolate. If chocolate starts to get to soft and melted return to refrigerator for 15 minutes and then continue. Once all the balls are formed you can roll in whatever coating you like.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

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With Thanksgiving only ten days away, I decided to share one of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving desserts. Pumpkin pie bars are delicious. My brother likes them so much he asked for them for his birthday… in June. As soon as fall rolls around (like early September), my husband starts asking for these. I got the recipe in high school, when one of my classmates brought these to a pot luck for our English class. It was the first time I had ever had a pumpkin dessert. I had always thought that I didn’t like it. Since then, these have been a part of our Thanksgiving dinner.

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The pumpkin pie bars are similar to pumpkin pie filling on the bottom, with a crunchy topping made with a yellow cake mix, pecans, and butter. Together it makes a wonderful dessert, and perfect addition to your meal. To start the pumpkin bars, put the pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a large bowl, and beat until combined. I usually just use a whisk, since the ingredients mix together well, but you could use an electric mixer if you’d like. Once the pumpkin mixture is combined, pour into a 9×13 pan. Then sprinkle a yellow cake mix over the pumpkin filling, making sure it is mostly even over the entire pan. This just sits on top of the pumpkin filling, and does not get mixed in. Next drizzle butter over the top of the cake mix trying to cover as much as possible. Then sprinkle with some chopped pecans. Put the dessert in the oven at 350° for 50-60 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top, and the middle doesn’t jiggle too much. Enjoy with a big spoonful of whipped topping!

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Pumpkin Pie Bars

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Beat until smooth. Pour into 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle with yellow cake mix, drizzle with melted butter over top. Then sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until firm. Serve with whipped topping.

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

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Yes…. More cheese…. I cant help it. All of my favorite recipes have cheese in them. Inspiration for this sandwich came from Pinterest, and thought that looks super delicious and awesome and easy. Plus my dad and brother LOVE chicken wings, so I thought this would be a nice substitute. This is a great meal for a weekend lunch, or weeknight dinner when you have so many things going on. You make the filling ahead of time, and keep in the fridge so you can make a sandwich anytime you like. These sandwiches have become a go to for busy nights when my husband has class or I just don’t feel like cooking too much.

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For these grilled cheese sandwiches you need chicken, celery, hot sauce, cheese slices, a little bit of mayonnaise, bread, and some butter. To begin making the filling, dice some cooked chicken and celery and place in medium bowl. Add hot sauce and a little bit of mayonnaise to chicken and celery, then stir to combine. Butter one side of bread slices, place into skillet butter side down. Add some of the chicken filling to bread and the add a slice of cheese, then top with another bread slice with the butter on the outside, after several minutes (or until golden brown) flip sandwich and cook on other side. Once the second side is golden brown, remove from pan and serve right away.

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ENJOY!

Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

Makes 4 Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chicken, cooked and diced
  • 4 Tbsp. Hot Sauce
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices bread
  • butter or margarine

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix together diced chicken and celery, add hot sauce and mayonnaise and stir to combine. Heat skillet over medium heat. Spread butter or margarine on bread on one side. Place a slice of bread, butter side down, on skillet. Add some filling to sandwich and a slice of cheese, then top with another slice of bread, butter up this time. Cook sandwich on each side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat until 4 sandwiches are made.

Cinnamon Apple Crepes

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Fall has definitely arrived in Ohio. I had to get out my cozy sweaters and tea, and watched as the leaves started to fall outside in the chilly wind. On Sunday I decided that we needed a warm and cozy breakfast to start off the day, so I made cinnamon crepes with an apple cinnamon filling. The crepes were amazing. As someone who likes apples, but doesn’t love them, this recipe was something that I would definitely make again. Although, next time I will make sure that there are eggs in the fridge before I start, because halfway though making the crepe batter I realized I had no eggs. Luckily my husband got right up and dashed to the store for me. He saved breakfast!

 

In case you’re not familiar with what a crepe is, it is a French pancake that is really thin, usually with some sort of filling in it. The French have sweet and savory crepes. The batter may differ depending on the type of crepe you are making, for example, sweet crepes tend to have sugar in the batter, whereas savory crepes could be plain, or have herbs or spices mixed in. The best crepe I’ve ever had was in Seattle at Pike Place Market, at a little French café called Crepe de France. It was a crepe aux fraises chocolat, filled to the max with fresh strawberries, Nutella, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. I shared it with my brother, and we both agreed it was the best one we’ve ever had. Naturally we both want to go back to get another one.

 

For this particular recipe, I made a cinnamon crepe with an apple cinnamon filling. It was like fall wrapped up in a crepe. The batter is pretty simple to make, the trickiest part is flipping them in the skillet. To make the batter start by adding, milk, flour, egg, butter, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar to a bowl and mixing until combined. After the batter is mixed, heat a small skillet on the stove over medium heat. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking oil. Once pan is heated, pour a half ladle full of batter into the skillet, and immediate start swirling it around so that the batter covers the surface of the skillet. You should have a thin layer of batter on the pan. Allow that to cook on the burner for about 1-3 minutes depending on how hot your burner is. Once the crepe becomes loose from the skillet, use a spatula and turn it over and cook the other side for another minute or two. Once the crepe is done, it should be golden brown on both sides. Remove finished crepe to a plate, and repeat with remaining batter.

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For the filling, peel, core and chop up several apples. Place them in a pot and add cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and a little butter. Turn heat on stove to a medium temperature. Allow apples to cook down and absorb all the flavors. I cooked them for about 15-20 minutes until tender. You may cook them until your desired tenderness, less for a more crisp apple, and more for a saucy apple filling. Once both the crepes and filling are complete, fill the crepes with the apple filling, and roll up. For some extra goodness, add a little bit of the juice from the filling to the top of the crepe, and sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top.

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Ingredients:

For the Crepe:   Makes around 10-12 crepes

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

 

For the filling:

  • 4-5 apples, peeled, cored, chunked
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter

Directions:

For the batter, start by mixing milk, flour, egg, butter, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar to a bowl and mixing until combined. After the batter is mixed, heat a small skillet on the stove over medium heat. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking oil. Once pan is heated, pour a half ladle full of batter into the skillet, and immediate start swirling it around so that the batter covers the surface of the skillet. Allow that to cook on the burner for about 1-3 minutes depending on how hot your burner is. Once the crepe becomes loose from the skillet, use a spatula and turn it over and cook the other side for another minute or two. Once the crepe is done, it should be golden brown on both sides. Remove finished crepe to a plate, and repeat with remaining batter.

For the filling, start by peeling, coring, and chopping apples. place in a pot with remaining ingredients. Cook on medium heat until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

After both the crepes and filling are done cooking, fill crepes with apple mixture and roll up crepe. Top with juice from apple mixture and sprinkle some powdered sugar.

 

ENJOY!

Tomato Soup Cake

Since today is the officially the first day of fall, I thought I would share this cake by Nancie McDermott from her Southern Cakes cookbook. This is a delicious spice cake, that happens to have a can of tomato soup in it. The cake is full of flavor and sweetness. It is perfect for fall. Along with tomato soup, the cake has cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. All together they make up a wonderful fall treat.

I first tried this recipe when I was in college, when my roommate Julia, received this cookbook. We made this cake and it turned out much better than you would think. Julia was very curious to try this recipe, but I was a little leery. Let’s face it, it has tomato soup in it. However, we made it and it was delicious. Julia and I loved the cake. We cooked a lot in college and learned a lot in the kitchen then. We even had several cook-offs with some of our friends. And we lost one and we won one. We don’t talk about the year we lost. I blame it on unfair judging, but that a story for another time. Julia and I made a lot food in college, and this Tomato Soup Cake is one of the recipes that has always stood out to me.

Enjoy! The link to Nancie’s cookbook is below.

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Tomato Soup Cake:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 Tb plus 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • One 10 3/4 oz can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. water
  • One recipe, cream cheese frosting (See Below)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. and grease a 9×13 or two 8 inch round pans. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Add the tomato soup, butter, eggs and water into the bowl. Using a whisk or mixer on low speed, beat all ingredients until smooth. Pour the batter in prepared cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes for the rounds pans, 30 minutes for the 9×13, or until golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the center. Cool cake on a wire rack. Once cooled ice the cake.

 

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tb milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 c.powdered sugar

Directions:

Beat cream cheese, milk and vanilla in medium bowl with mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, until smooth and spreadable.

 

Enjoy!

 

Link to Nancie McDermott’s Cookbook