Cookies and Cream Cupcakes & Buttercream Frosting

January 31, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Posted in chocolate, Cookies, Cupcakes, Dessert | 7 Comments

I received a lot of fabulous Christmas gifts that were related to my love of cooking and baking – a dutch oven, new set of whisks, cheese slicer, Kitchen Aid stand mixer, square grill pan..just a ton of goodies.  I received two cookbooks that I am so excited that I finally have the time to start looking through – the Cooking Light 2008 cookbook and the Cupcakes from the Cake Doctor. 

I know some of my friends (Nikki…) are so opposed to using boxed cake mixes in things so they pretty much boycott anything having to do with people like the “Cake Doctor”.  I am not like that.  Yes, it’s better most of the time to make from scratch, and most of the time I do.  However.  My life is busy.  I am gone from 7:45 – 5:30 every day at work.  I cook a full meal every night.  I am a neat freak so I’m constantly cleaning.  Add in family obligations, our social life, my charity group, and that doesn’t even begin to touch on the kids activities – sports, homework, programs, etc.  It’s busy.  Yet, I love to bake.  So, sometimes I need a little help to make things easier. 

I have been through my Cupcake Doctor book now and tagged, oh, somewhere around 30 recipes I’m dying to try.  The first on my list were Cookies and Cream Cupcakes with her Buttercream Frosting.

Recipe from the “Cupcakes from the Cake Doctor” book; picture from me

CUPCAKES

Ingredients

30 Oreo cookies (don’t use double stuffed, but you can use mint, etc.)

1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix

1 cup sour cream (I used light)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners.  Set aside.

Count out 12 Oreos and seperate the top and bottom wafers.  Make sure each has some of the icing on it.  Place one wafer, icing side up, in the bottom of each paper liner.  Place the remaining 18 Oreos in a large Ziplock bag and crush them.

Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with rubber spatula.  Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 1.5 minutes more scraping down sides again if needed.  Measure out 1.5 cups of the crushed Oreos and fold these into the batter until well incorporated.  Set aside the remaining crushed Oreos for garnish.  Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it 3/4 way full.  (This makes about 22-24 cupcakes).  Place in the oven.

Bake cupcakes until lightly golden and spring back when pressed with finger, about 18-20 minutes.  Place on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes.  Then lift cupcakes out of pan to cool for 15 minutes before frosting. 

ICING (Buttercream Frosting from Cupcake Doctor)

Ingredients

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter at room temperature

3 cups confectioners sugar sifted

3-4 tablespoons of milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Place butter in large mixing bowl.  Blend with electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, about 30 seconds.  Stop machine and add confectioners sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and the vanilla.  Blend with mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute or more.  Add up to 1 tablespoon more milk if frosting seems too stiff.

Place heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and spread it out.  Sprinkle the reserved cookie crumbs over the tops gently pressing them into frosting so that they stick.  Ready to serve!

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I really love Oreos – Oreo Blizzards are one of my huge weaknesses as a matter of fact so I loved these!  They were almost better to me the next day after the frosting set up more.  I didn’t have to add the additional milk to the frosting – if anything it was almost not stiff enough in texture for my liking.  I will definitely make these again – YUM!

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Strawberry Cake – Best Ever!

January 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, kids | 3 Comments

Sheridan celebrated her 9th birthday on January 11th.  I can’t believe she is 9 already!!  Holy cow they grow up so fast!  We had a party at our house this year for the family then she had a seperate party for her friends – much more grown up you know.  HA!  I was going to buy a cake from somewhere but Tommy said it would be more special for me to bake a cake.  Sheridan said she wanted strawberry cake with pastel sprinkles.  I knew just the cake!  Tommy’s aunt has a recipe for the most amazing strawberry cake EVER.  It is really easy to make and it tastes AMAZING.  So moist and so full of flavor.  I will never use another strawberry cake recipe for anything ever again. 

CAKE

Ingredients

1 box white cake mix (I know, shamey on me for box mix, but trust me)

1 c. vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 c. frozen sliced strawberries thawed

1 small box strawberry jello

Directions

Sift cake mix.  Add ingredients and mix.  Pour into 2 round greased and floured cake pans (I used 9 inch).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Cool on racks before icing.

Icing

Ingredients

1/2 c. frozen sliced strawberries thawed

1 stick of butter softened

1 lb. powdered sugar (you can use more if you want the icing thicker – I like the more liquid consistency on this one because it soaks into the cake and makes it taste even better!)

Directions

Mix together and ice cooled cake.  Store cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Pig Rating:  The Pig loved this cake!  I don’t think I’ve seen him rave this much about a cake I have made ever. 

Mrs. Pig Rating:  If you love strawberry cake, then you have to make this.  It is absolutely awesome.  I plan on making cupcakes with it soon.  Defiintely a keeper for future!

Little Pig Rating:  Little Miss Piggy loved this birthday cake and I was happy!  It was exactly what she wanted and she was so excited.  🙂  Little Mister Pig even liked this one and well, as you know, he normally just sucks icing off of things.  HA!

I’m Back!

January 27, 2009 at 2:05 am | Posted in Fun, Randomness, Vacations/Trips | 1 Comment

I haven’t been able to update much lately – it seems like I’ve been slammed with things going on!  We had the holidays, then Sheridan’s birthday weekend, then Tommy and I went to Puerto Rico then literally less than 12 hours after returning from Puerto Rico my good friend Lindsay and I made a road trip to Washington DC for the inauguration! Whew!  I’m finally starting to recover from everything.  I have a few actual cooking updates to do at some point.  I am hoping to get to them this week – it’s (supposedly) about to drop a major winter storm on our area so I’m praying for some snow days from work – we’ll see how that goes though!  Anyway, here are some visuals for you of my past whirlwind month!

Tommy and I at an awesome Mexican restaurant in Condado (San Juan), Puerto Rico.  Amazing trip!  That is the beach at our resort – well the rocky side of it.  Gorgeous!  Average temperature of about 85 every day.  Then came…

…..temps were not so warm here!  Lindsay and I standing in the WWII Memorial – that is where we stood for the inauguration ceremonies.  We were two of millions there to watch.  The whole experience was AMAZING!!  We went sightseeing the next day – notice how bundled up I am and I was still freezing!

My new kitchen toy

January 4, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Posted in kitchen, kitchen utensils, new toys, Randomness | 6 Comments

I finally got a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Christmas – YAY!  I’ve been putting off really asking for one because I had the excuse of not having room in my kitchen but finally this year, I broke down and asked Tommy for one for Christmas.  I figured that I could just make room.  I felt that I needed one or my life wouldn’t be complete.  And after many discussions with my good friends Nikki and Clara over which one to get (Nikki made it quite clear that the most important question was “what color do I want?”- ha).  So after making my decision, my wonderful husband bought me exactly what I wanted – the Artisan, 5 qt in…Gloss Cinnamon!  It matches my kitchen so perfectly.  I want to just pet it and look at it.  I’m in love with it.  Best. Gift. Ever. 

Banana Bars – best use for old bananas yet!!

January 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Posted in Banana, Bars, Dessert | Leave a comment

This past week I had some bananas that were definitely past their prime of being a side dish for my morning cereal.  I had seen this recipe for banana bars on My Kitchen Cafe blog and had been wanting to make them.  And I have my awesome new Kitchen Aid stand mixer (gloss cinnamon in color…B-E-A-utiful!) so I decided to whip this one up.  Oh man.  These did NOT disappoint.  And the icing?!  To die for.  I am going to use this icing again and again.  I think it would be yummy on pumpkin desserts, red velvet cupcakes…pretty much anything.  Even by the spoonful.  Not that I would ever do that…um.  Yeah.  Anyway.  These are AMAZING.  Make them.  NOW.  This recipe makes a lot – it makes enough for one 9×9 square pan and a rectangle pan.  I will probably cut it in half next time.

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe/Allrecipes.com

Bars –

Ingredients:

½ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream (I used light)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I used three ripe bananas)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 x 15 inch jellyroll pan or one 9X13 pan and an additional 8X8 pan. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; stir into the batter. Finally, mix in the mashed banana. Spread evenly into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting <—- AMAZING

Ingredients:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup white sugar (you can use either granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar – the confectioners’ sugar tends to dissolve better and not be as grainy but either one works fine) (I used confectioners)
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

Directions:

In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy. Set aside. In another medium bowl, beat whipped cream until stiff peaks form (it helps to use a chilled bowl and chilled beaters). Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

Pig Rating:  The Pig loved these!  He said, “Make sure to take these to work tomorrow or else I will sit here and eat all of them!!!”

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I will never use mushy bananas for anythign ever again!  So, it’s not the healthiest recipe ever, but oh man.  It might be one of my favorite desserts I have made in a long time.  The icing is TO DIE FOR.

Little Pigs Rating: In true fashion, the littlest pig just ate the icing off.  Sigh.  The other little pig though loved them – she asked for seconds and she isn’t much of a sweets person.  🙂

Bonefish Grill Citrus Herb Vinaigrette

January 2, 2009 at 1:04 am | Posted in Dressings, salads, Seasonings & Sauces, Yummy Veggies | 10 Comments

I am majorly slacking on this blog – so much is happening right now! Busy with the holidays, busy with my brother deploying to Iraq, etc., etc.  I am going to start slowly but surely trying to get back into the swing of things here though. 

My favorite salad dressings to use are the spray dressings – 1 calorie per squirt – can’t beat that!  And they actually taste good so double score!  However, sometimes I want something different and I’ll make my own dressing.  I always forget to post them, but this one is definitely worth posting.  One of our favorite chain restaurants in town is Bonefish Grill.  Yeah, I’m allergic to seafood but I still like other things on their menu (good wine list doesn’t hurt either!).  We love their salads that they serve and adore the dressing so I searched the net to see if I could find it and alas!  I did!  Thank you once again recipezaar!  🙂

If you want to make it exactly like the salad served at Bonefish then make this salad with fresh lettuce greens, artichoke hearts, feta cheese, pine nuts and tomato and olives if you choose.  I kind of threw together what I had in the house today.  Disclaimer – this dressing is NOT healthy but it’s oh so good for a special treat sometimes!!!  🙂

Copied directly from recipezaar.com:

Ingredients

Directions

Whisk everything in a bowl.

Microwave on high for one minute or until the mixture bubbles rapidly around the edge of the bowl.

Whisk for one minute until mixture forms an emulsion.

Cover and chill for one hour before serving.

This makes 1 and 1/4 cups following this exact recipe which is a lot because it doesn’t take much of this dressing (at least for me).

Pig Rating:  The Pig likes this dressing a lot – he said it tasted just like Bonefish’s.  YAY!

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I love this dressing!  Again, not healthy the way it’s made in this recipe so I only make it once every few months but it’s yummy when I do make it!  🙂

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