Monday, December 31, 2012

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

Christmas lasts a solid week in our family. We usually have multiple Christmases with different parts of the family. Which gives me an excuse to do some post-holiday baking. Inspired by Starbucks and my sister-in-law's baking, I decided to make peppermint mocha cupcakes for Christmas #2 over the weekend.

What You'll Need:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
16 fluid ounces chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 cup flour

1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

What to Do:
To make the cupcakes, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, syrup, extract and coffee. Fold in flour until just mixed. Bake at 325 until just set, about 25-30 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool completely in the pan. Pour heated heavy cream over chocolate and coffee. Mix until glossy. Core cupcakes and pour ganache into middles. 

Once the ganache is set, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Whip cream cheese, sugar and peppermint until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Frost cupcakes and add cute garnish. I found these adorable toppers from Meri Meri on sale after Christmas.

These are super rich. Even without the frosting. A perfect way to finish off your over-stuffed holiday! Happy New Year! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Ice Cream Battered French Toast

I love breakfast. And I love ice cream. This morning's recipe combines the best of both worlds. With only 3 main ingredients, you too can make decadent french toast without the fuss. 

What You'll Need
1 small loaf french or cuban bread, sliced
2 large scoops vanilla ice cream, melted
3 large eggs
Butter for frying
Cinnamon, nutmeg + powered sugar to taste
Maple syrup

What to Do
Arrange your sliced bread in a large baking dish. Stale bread soaks up the batter best. Mix the melted ice cream and eggs and pour over bread. Allow the bread to soak for at least an hour (or overnight if you really have it together!). 

Fry soaked bread in butter until golden brown. Dust with cinnamon, nutmeg and powdered sugar. Douse with maple syrup. Personally, I like frying some bananas to serve over warm french toast. 

Merry Christmas Eve!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tea Time with Wondermade

I never really think about marshmallows. The spongy rounds you buy at the store are nice, but not really inspiring. Until now. Wondermade, a kickstarter company based out of Orlando, FL, makes all-natural marshmallows in amazing flavor-combinations. 

Their seasonal offerings include peppermint, bourbon, gingerbread and pumpkin pie. I received a pack of honey pear marshmallows as part of a Christmas gift and wondered what to do with these little squares (other than eat them out of the box!).

So I decided to sweeten my cup of green tea with a few. This is pretty much my favorite way to drink tea now. I can see Her Majesty rolling her eyes at me now...

I think these would make amazing s'mores with white chocolate + Biscoff cookies too. Cherio! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Limoncello: Dessert's Served

Last month I tried my hand at making Limoncello. And I have to say, it turned out pretty delicious. I might cut down on the sugar a bit but would definitely recommend the recipe. I tried a glass with homemade sugar cookies (thanks Mom!) and these raspberry thumbprints

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hashbrown Casserole

It's been a crazy week shopping, wrapping, baking, movie-watching and visiting with friends. With so much Christmasing going on, I needed something easy and delicious to kickstart the weekend. Enter hashbrown casserole. 

I've took a few liberties with a recipe from a co-worker and here's how it turned out (thanks Meredith!). This would be perfect for Christmas brunch. Or to cure your hangover. Whichever. 

What You'll Need:
1 32 oz bag frozen shredded hash browns
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz sour cream
1 onion, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 lb sausage (spicy preferred)
salt and pepper to taste

What to Do:
Cook the sausage and onions. Combine the hasbrowns, soup and sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese and dot with butter. Bake at 350 until bubbly throughout and crispy on top (about 30-40 minutes). You can also toss everything into the crock pot on low for 3-4 hours. 
For a southwestern flavor, you could substitute pepper jack for cheddar and add chopped bell pepper and green chillies. 

Eat up!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Soda City Market Finds

The boy and I braved the mist and fog yesterday to forage at our local farmer's market. I thought I'd share some of our loot from City Roots Farm and Anson Mills

We also picked up some shrimp from Beaufort, but with the heads on, they weren't pretty to photograph! Check out all of the delicious offerings at Soda City Market online. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Three-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

It's cookie baking season. Yay! I love a good excuse to eat  make cookies for friends and family. Most people have probably made peanut butter cookies with candy in the middle for Christmas and our family is no exception. This is my favorite recipe because it only calls for 3 ingredients. For real.

My cousin taught me this recipe when I was little. In fact, it's just about the only recipe I can actually remember off-hand. We used to bake these in our grandmother's kitchen. I thought she was so cool because she could bake. 

So onto the cookies. 

What You'll Need:
1 cup peanut butter (I prefer the natural kind- less of a sugar coma that way)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Note: This recipe make about 15 cookies so I usually double it :)

What to Do:
Combine all 3 ingredients in a bowl. Measuring peanut butter is super messy so you can eye-ball it. Roll the dough into balls (about 1-1.5 inches in diameter). Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Your balls will expand, but not by much.

I like to place a mini Reece's peanut butter cup in the middle of each one. Kisses work well too. You'll notice the cookies crack a bit when you place the candy in the middle. Be gentle or you'll break them in half. And then you might have to eat them because they are "broken." You'll also want to be sure to cool the cookies for 5-10 minutes before you insert said candy. Otherwise they melt. Ok, so maybe that's not a bad thing either... Eat up!