Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin!!!

I'm all about pumpkin treats this fall season. That includes roasted pumpkin seeds for a freshly carved pumpkin, Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks, and these pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream frosting. I think these cupcakes won the favorite flavor award at work the past two times I've brought them! They have that perfect touch of fall! I found the recipe off of Pinterest which links it to the blog, "Made in Melissa's Kitchen". Happy Baking!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line cupcake pans and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

3. In another bowl combine the brown sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin purée.

4. Fill each cupcake liner about halfway and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotate the pans once halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Ingredients for Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar
Because I use an icing tip to ice the cupcakes I like to double the frosting recipe. Please note that the measurements above are the original measurements not doubled.

Steps for Frosting
1. In a saucepan stir granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Let caramel cool for about 20 minutes until it is just barely warm and still pourable.

2. In a medium bowl, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce to low speed and add powdered sugar. Mix until well combined.

3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add caramel. Beat on medium speed until light and airy and completely mixed, about 2 minutes. You should be ready to frost your cupcakes! If the caramel was too warm when you added it your icing will be runny and you should refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

4. I used a round tip to ice these cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Lately, stuffed bell peppers have sounded great and I wanted to try making them so I set out on a new adventure, I think it was a success! I found a couple of different recipes to try but settled on this one, it was easy to make and a great meal! I found this recipe on Pinterest (seeing a theme?) but it originally came from Southern Bite.
4 medium-sized bell peppers
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
Small onion, diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 15.25 oz. can Hunts Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf (I couldn't find this so I substituted Hunts diced seasoned tomatoes)
1 cup instant rice
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce

1) Cut off tops off peppers and remove seeds and insides of peppers. Blanch peppers in salted boiled water for 5 minutes, remove and drain.
2) Sauté onions in vegetable oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
3) In a large bowl, combine ground beef, sautéed onions and garlic, Seasoned Tomato Sauce for Meatloaf, white rice, salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Note: you do not need to brown the meat or cook the rice before combining with other ingredients, it cooks long enough in the oven.
4) Stuff mixtures to each pepper and place upright in a small greased baking dish. Pour small can of tomato sauce over the peppers.
5) Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through.

Serve and enjoy!

Before cooking the peppers:

After cooking, ready to be served:

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In the South we have four seasons...Spring, Summer, Football, and Winter

When preparing for a weekend in the South it revolves around what time the football game comes on! And to prepare for the perfect football weekend you need tailgating food! Add something extra to your football Saturdays with these football cupcakes! And who can say no to chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate? You're bound to score a touchdown when you bring these cupcakes to your next football tailgate! :) I originally got this recipe from The Baker Chick off Pinterest.

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners!
2) Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, mix until smooth (about 3 minutes). If you don't have buttermilk you can substitute 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice, let stand for five minutes and then use as called for (I happened to not have buttermilk when I made these cupcakes)
3) Fill each muffin tin, each 2/3 full.
4) Bake about 20 minutes, rotating once half way through. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 cups confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
6 tbsp milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

1) Have all ingredients at room temperature.
2) Original recipe calls for a double boiler but you can use the microwave to melt the chocolate. Stir until melted and let cool to room temperature.
3) In a large bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, the 6 tbsp milk, vanilla, and salt and beat with an electric mixer on low until combined (about 1 minute). Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, then reduce to low.
4) Set aside 1/2 cup of the frosting to make for the laces.
5) Add the chocolate gradually and beat until combined, increase speed to medium and beat for a minute. If frosting is dry add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time until creamy but holds peaks.

Decorate the cooled cupcakes by using a star tip and zig-zag the chocolate frosting in a diamond shape. Using the reserved vanilla frosting and a small filler piping tip to add the laces.

Enjoy your football cupcakes with the game! Oh yeah and side note, ROLL TIDE!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I'm pretty sure I've posted this recipe before but you can never have too much carrot cake in your life! And no cupcake is ever the same to your last batch! With my carrot cake recipe I usually add pecans in the cream cheese frosting unless I'm making cupcakes and then I just sprinkle the pecans separately on top. I leave about half without the pecans in case someone doesn't like pecans!

Carrot Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups finely grated carrots
Sift and mix dry ingredients.
Add oil and stir well.
Add eggs one at a time.
Add carrots and cinnamon.
Split into a lined cupcake pan.
Bake at 350 for 18 - 20 minutes. A trick that I've learned is to turn the pan around halfway through baking to evenly bake the cupcakes through. To check your cupcakes Stick a toothpick into one and see if it comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.
(Remember this is the normal recipe so if you are heavily icing the cupcakes you should make 1 1/2 times this recipe)
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter
1 box (1lb) confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pecan chips, for garnish
Soften cream cheese and butter and mix together.
Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla and beat well.
Frost cupcakes (I used a star tip for these cupcakes),sprinkle with pecan chips for garnish and enjoy! I bought pecan chips but actually crushed them even finer in my hand before sprinkling them on the cupcakes. I know not everyone is a fan of pecans so as I mentioned earlier I opted to do a few with pecans and a few plain.

Happy Baking!

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