Applelicious Cupcakes

Applelicious Cupcakes

Channeling June Cleaver

Channeling June Cleaver

Monday, December 26, 2011

Luscious Christmas Feast

Christmas is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons especially spending time with family and friends sharing a luscious Christmas feast.  And decorating for the holidays is so much fun and wonderful to see everyday. I love all the beautiful decorations, fresh greens, paper whites, amaryllis's and so much more.
This year was another wonderful celebrations. My daughter Mandi and I cooked for days preparing a feast for all to enjoy. We like to combine old family favorites with new dishes that we find appealing. This year was a smashing success with twenty guest join us on Christmas day.  The menu is as follows:

For Appetisers
Shrimp with Cocktail sauce
Olive tapenade in pastry cups
Pigs in a blanket

Turkey with Sausage stuffing
Prime Rib Roast
Sweet Potato Pudding
Healthy Green Bean casserole
Salad with tomatoes, cranberries, mandarin oranges and candied pecans
Dinner Rolls

Pumpkin Cheese Cake
Pecan Pie
Orange Scented White Chocolate Mouse Cake
Assortment of Cookies

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sinful Chocolate Truffles

So sinfully delicious, so easy!

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

unsweetened cocoa, chocolate or colored sprinkles, finely chopped nuts, coconut or powdered sugar for coating.

Melt chocolate and condensed milk. Remove from heat, stirring until smooth. Add vanilla. For an adult version you can add a liquor. Cool. Chill until firm 1-2 hours. Roll chocolate into a ball and roll into coating. Chill for 1 hour and store in air tight container.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Peanut-Butter Thumbprints

A wonderfully different peanut butter and chocolate cookie that is a glorious blend of two favorites.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Pre heat oven 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream butter, shortening, sugar, and one cup brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until fluffy and combined. Add vanilla betting until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients, mix at low speed until combined. Add chocolate chips mix until combined.  Cover bowl and chill about 1 hour.
In a small bowl stir together peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup sugar.
Roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball.  Place on baking sheet spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Make an indentation in center. Take teaspoon of peanut butter mixture. Roll into ball and place in center of chocolate ball.  Bake for 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

The essence of Christmas in one cookie. Fragrant cookies that fill the house with the wonderful smells of baking. And these little jewels taste fabulous!

1 1/2 flour
1 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cocoa power
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsulfered molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons boiling  water
7 ounces semisweet chocolate,  in 1/4 - inch chunks
1/4 sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.  In a bowl of an electric mixer beat butter on medium speed until fluffy about 4 minutes.  Add brown sugar beat until combined. Add molasses continue beating until combined.
In a small bowl dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Beat in half of flour mixture into butter mixture. Add baking soda mixture, then remaining flour. Mix in chocolate. Wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 F. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, roll into sugar, place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with the base of a glass.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Snow Flake Cookies

The cookies are coming fast and furious. Just can't stop baking and baking. Christmas Snow Flake Cookies fudgie truffle like cookies rolled in confectioners' sugar and baked to perfection!

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/4 flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter,  room temperature
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and  salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy about 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla beat until well combined. Add melted chocolate.  Add flour mixture alternating with milk, begin and end with flour.  Mix on low speed until just combined. Shape dough into ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
Pre heat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Shape a heaping teaspoon of dough into 1-inch ball. Roll in confectioners' sugar until completely coated. No chocolate showing through. Place on cookie sheets baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until flat.


Peanut Blossom Cookies, an old Christmas favorite!

My love affair with making Christmas Cookies started when I was a little girl helping my mother bake cookies at Christmas. We made large quantities of a my mother's favorite recipes. To this day I have continued the tradition of baking, baking and more baking of delectable cookies.  Today I made a favorite cookie of my children when they were little. Peanut Blossoms are a fun cookie topped with a chocolate kiss. Who does love a peanut butter cookie with a chocolate kiss in the center. I love the taste of peanut butter meeting chocolate. I've different  recipes finding this one to be my favorite.

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
48 chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Pre heat oven to 325 F. In large bowl mix on low speed all the ingredients until combined and dough forms.  Shape a teaspoonful of dough into balls. Roll balls in additional sugar(1/2 cup). Place on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove cookies from oven and immediately top each cookie with a kiss, pressing down so the cookie cracks slightly around edges of kiss.  Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet letting cool completely.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Snowball Gingerbread Cookies

Easy, fun, delicious tasting, a wonderful addition to my collection of annual Christmas cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (Remember Cabot's is my favorite)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup fine ground nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, or pecans)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground fresh nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Slowly beat in the flour, nuts, cinnamon,  ginger, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and salt until well combined. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Or put in freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, and place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until cookies are light brown on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Roll in confectioners sugar to coat.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Need I say luscious Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Filling decorated for Christmas

Need I say again I love to make Cupcakes, especially cupcakes with a surprise in the center. Just think Red Velvet cupcakes with a mouth watering cream cheese center as you take a bite. A wonderful addition to any Christmas dessert tray!

Red Velvet cupcake batter
3 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1-oz bottle red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon vinegar

Line two 12 cupcake or muffin pans. Pre heat oven to 350F.  In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In large bowl beat butter on medium for 1 minute. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed until well combined.  Scape sides of bowl and beat for another 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, one at a time beating after each addition. Beat another 2 minutes. Beat in red food coloring and vanilla. Alternately add flour and buttermilk, beating at low speed until combined. Combine baking soda and vinegar in small bowl, fold into batter. Pour into prepared cupcake pans. Bake 20 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Or use this fancy cake tester given to me by the DJWC. Cool thoroughly.

Use an apple corer to remove cake from the center of the cupcake. Either use a pastry bag to pipe cream cheese filling into center of the cupcake or a small spatula. Icing cup cakes with buttercream frosting and sprinkle with decorating sugar crystals.

Cream cheese Filling
Melt 1 tablespoon chopped white baking chocolate and 1 tablespoons whipping cream in a small saucepan. Cook stirring over low heat until melted. Remove from heat stir chocolate until smooth. Cool 15 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat together 1/4 cup cream cheese or mascarpone cheese, softened, 2 tablespoon butter, softened, with electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Slowly add white chocolate mixture beating until fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 cup powder sugar. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla until blended.

Buttercream Frosting

1 cup unsalted butter(2 sticks), softened.  I like Cabot butter from Vermont.
3-4 cups powdered sugar sifted ( I use closer to 4 cups)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, use real vanilla not imitation
2-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream