Sweet treat for my sweetie

Today is my hubby’s birthday.  We have celebrated his last 16 birthdays together.  *Sigh* I love him.  I’m so blessed to have him in my life.

To help kick off his big day, I made some yummy cupcakes for him to take to work.  Traditionally the birthday guy or gal brings in donuts or bagels to share, but I didn’t think they’d mind cupcakes. I was right.  They snatched these up almost as soon as they were set on the counter!

So what are these yummy sweets?  Well, they are Snickers cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes filled with caramel sauce and chopped Snickers bars, topped with caramel buttercream, more chopped Snickers, and caramel drizzle. It was a lot of work, but so worth it for my guy.

Snickers filling

Snickers cupcakes

I have been keeping this recipe in my file for a while now.  I have never made caramel sauce, so my fear kept me from making it.  Silly me.  Turns out caramel isn’t so hard after all.  At least not with the guidance of a professional. This caramel sauce is delicious.  Tastes just like a Werthers!  Very toffee-like. Blends perfectly with the candy bar.  You can find the recipe for these at the wonderful food blog – www.annies-eats.com.  I bet you could easily replace the Snickers with Twix or Milky Way and it would be just a wonderful.

Stay sweet,

Kate

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Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Last year I was inspired to make Sweet Sugar Belle’s (she has an amazing website!) Bunny Cupcakes -you can find them here –http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/blog/2011/03/bunny-ear-cupcake-toppers/.  Talk about cute!  I was making a dessert for our church’s Friday Fish Fry and wanted to really wow them.  I think these did the trick!  Here is my version –  I must admit these were very time-consuming, but really worth the effort.  I used a bunny head cookie cutter and cut off the bottom part of the face (sorry bunny!), leaving just the ears and a small part of the head.  The cookie sinks into the frosting so you need a little extra. I froze the cut dough before baking to help them resist spreading in the oven.  Meh, it didn’t work as well as I hoped, but the ears turned out okay still.   I used royal icing to outline and flood the ears, waited for them to dry overnight, and then using a pink edible ink marker, drew in the pink centers. I think if I do it again I will use pink royal icing instead.  I “glued” popsicle sticks to the back of the ears using royal icing.  Once dry, they were ready to be inserted into the frosted cupcakes.  Add eyes and ears, mine were sprinkles I dug out of sprinkle mixes, and you are done!   I just love the pink heart noses!  Check out the directions and photos on Sugar Belle’s site for a detailed explanation and a photo of what good cookies look like.  Mine are a little rough.  They did taste good though, so there’s that.  Hee hee.

I am making dessert for another Fish Fry this week.  Trying to decide between coconut cupcakes with little bird’s nests on top or vanilla cupcakes with royal icing daffodils.  Hmmmm decisions, decisions…I will keep you posted.

Sunshine on a cloudy day

I adore lemons.  Just cutting or zesting one fills the air with a sweet smell and immediately lifts my spirits.  Sometimes I will buy one just to cut it up and put it down my disposal.  Cleans and freshens the disposal and makes the kitchen smell great, too.  Oranges work well for that, too.  One of my favorite drinks is lemonade with fresh strawberries or cherries smashed in the glass. And my mom’s lemon squares, hold me back!!  I look forward to those every Christmas.  I am drooling just thinking about these lemony treats.  Yummers.

 So, I happened upon a big bag of lemons at my local warehouse store last weekend.  They were so bright and yellow and summery, I just had to buy them.  I convinced myself that unlike the other lemons I have bought over the winter, these would not go bad before I made something delicious with them.  Seriously, who knew lemons could get moldy?!?  Clearly, not me.

I gathered my lemon recipes and pinned some new ones to my Pinterest board.  Everything from lemon garlic chicken to lemon curd to homemade Limoncello.  I am going to use all of these lemons in the next week.  I am determined!  First on my list were these light, lemony cupcakes based on this recipe – http://the-cupcakery-blog.blogspot.com/2008/02/week-8-lemon-cupcakes-with-lemon-kissed.html .  I did tweak it to my taste just a bit.   This is just a personal preference.  These are seriously delicious.   The original recipe is amazing, so I thought it best to give you that.  After all someone else put in all the hard work to create it.  You will love them.  Promise.  If you decide to tweak them, it should be to your taste.

So here are my lemon cupcakes with lemon buttercream and lemon zest sprinkles.  I hope the lovely ladies at PTU and hubby’s co-workers will enjoy them.  Too dangerous to keep at home, but I am saving one for breakfast tomorrow.  There is a new study that says cake for breakfast is a good thing.  Seriously!  True statement!  You can look it up. 

Sweet Treats for the Father/Daughter Dance

Every year my daughter and her daddy get to go on a date to her school’s Father/Daughter dance.  She loves getting all dressed up, he loves spending the evening dancing with his little girl, and I love that the two of them get to have these wonderful memories that I know they will both cherish.  It never fails, I always tear up when he gives her her corsage and they head out the door.  *sniffle*  I wish I had been able to have this tradition with my dad, but alas it wasn’t something we had even heard of back then.  Instead, my dad and I shared a love of sports.  More specifically, Redskins and Orioles.  The memories of those games (live) and alone time with my dad are irreplaceable.  I am so grateful for them.   I think it is so important to have that one on one time with your parents and I love that the two of them really treasure and look forward to their annual date.  

This year I volunteered to make some treats for the dance and I am so glad I did.  It’s such a fun event and since I had to deliver desserts I got to peek on the dads and daughters. Cute overload! We made 150 mini vanilla cupcakes, 100 heart-shaped sugar cookies with royal icing, and 175 heart-shaped chocolate-covered marshmallow pops.  It was a busy week!   Here are some of the goodies.

Mini vanilla cupcakes

Chocolate sugar cookie hearts with royal icing and sanding sugar

My favorite and most time-consuming treats were the marshmallows.  I have recently discovered how yummy and easy homemade marshmallows are. I use the recipe from Alton Brown (I have a total crush on him.  Weird?  Idk.)  You can find it here – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/homemade-marshmallows-recipe/index.html.  I found a Wilton whoopie pie pan that had heart shapes and it was perfect for piping in the marshmallows.  I even added some pink food coloring to a few batches.  Super cute!  Once they set for 12 hours they were ready for lollipop sticks and to be dipped in milk chocolate.  I added sprinkles, too.  I just loved the colors of these sprinkles and used the whole thing.  So sad I can’t find anymore.  I looked everywhere.  Oh well.  Once the chocolate set, I placed them in cellophane bags and tied them with ribbon.  Simple and they will stay fresh for about two weeks. 

Marshmallow Pops

The dance was a big hit, as usual, and my daughter is already planning her outfit for next year.  🙂  And I am thinking of themes and desserts to go with it.  It’s her last one, so it has to be over the top!
Any of the desserts you see here are available for order.  Marshmallows need time to set up, so I need a few days notice on those.  They are so delicious, you will never be able to eat a packaged one from the store again.  Promise.  You will be seeing some gourmet (and boozy) marshmallows soon, too.  Stay tuned.
 
Stay sweet,
Kate