Funfetti Cupcakes for Two

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My sister gave up chocolate for lent. I’ll give you a moment to digest that information and react accordingly.

Who gives up chocolate for lent?! Crazy people. Unless you gave up chocolate for lent, I like you.

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If I’m being honest, I already find it tough not to bake with chocolate. I find ways to sneak it into almost everything. Maybe it’s excessive?

All that aside, I did have to put my thinking cap on. Good thing Caroline came to the rescue with these. I saw them today and made them today. And I’m glad I did.

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This recipe only make two cupcakes with just enough frosting. They are soft and fluffy, aromatic and full of sprinkley goodness! These are perfect when there are only two people around to eat them.

Or when your sister is a piggy (;P) and eats them both in less than 5 minutes flat without offering you a single bite. I’m not bitter or anything.

Both, almost all gone!

Funfetti Cupcakes for Two
Yields 2 cupcakes + frosting

FOR THE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sprinkles (I used non-pareils)

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with two liners (in the middle for even baking).

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, egg white, vanilla extract, and sugar until thoroughly combined.
Add in the flour and baking powder and whisk gently until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Add in the sprinkles and using a rubber spatula, gently fold them in. Don’t over stir!! If you stir too much the dye from the sprinkles will bleed and you’ll have tie dye cupcakes instead of funfetti.

Pour batter into your prepared cupcake pan. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let them cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

In a medium bowl and an electric mixer, beat the butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until a frosting forms. If you like a thinner frosting, add a bit more milk until you reach your desired consistency. Frost your cooled cupcakes, toss on some more sprinkles (because they make everything better, duh) and enjoy!

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Cupcakes adapted from Chocolate & Carrots; frosting adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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Let me clarify a point: when I say ‘crazytown’ I mean ‘holy cow, there is so much good stuff in this bread and my impatience doesn’t allow me to list it all.’ I DO NOT mean Crazytown the band that sang that maddeningly catchy song ‘Butterfly’ way back in the day.

But I won’t lie, I liked them. I thought Shifty was cute (for like a week HA!) I know every word to the entire song.

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I used to have problems. Don’t verify that with my hubby, he’ll tell you I still have problems. He calls it issues, I call it awesome!!

There is a whole lot of awesome going on in this bread: peanut butter banana bread studded with mini peanut butter cups, snickers, chocolate chips AND caramel. I added some whole wheat pastry flour, you know… to make it “healthy.” I told you, crazytown!!

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And I just couldn’t help myself, I never can leave well enough alone, I drizzled the top with melted bittersweet chocolate. Crazytown.

Come my lady, come come my lady. You’re my butterfly, sugar baby. Oh gosh…

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Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Yields one 8×4″ loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can also use canola)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz mini peanut butter cups (I used these)
8 mini snickers, chopped
2 oz milk chocolate chips
8 caramels, chopped

Note: I used an 8×4″ pan but you can use a standard 9×5″ you loaf will be slightly thinner and will bake faster, so keep an eye on it! Also, go nuts with the mix-ins: add toffee bits, different candy bars, nuts, toasted coconut, etc.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Generously grease your loaf pan  with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, set aside.

In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg, sugars and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure that everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy because of the bananas, that’s ok!

Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and, with a rubber spatula, fold everything together until just combined (the flour JUST disappears.)

Fold in your mini peanut butter cups, snickers and chocolate chips. Spread half of the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped caramels over the batter and give them a light press with your hand. Top with the rest of your batter and smooth the top with your spatula.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached (always check your baked goods early, every oven is different and there’s nothing worse than a rock-solid loaf).

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a plastic knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely, or don’t, just don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups

Not-So-Mini Madeleines (Rewind #2) – TWD

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I’m such a slacker.

The first “specialty” pan I bought when I first started baking was a madeleine pan. I have made madeleines a total of two times. TWO.

And I love madeleines. So much so that I named my kitty Madeleine. Not to be confused with MadeLINE.

Cute kitty name aside, madeleines are the perfect dessert for breakfast or to nibble alongside your afternoon tea. When made correctly, they are little melt in your mouth shells that have a delicate flavor and a slight sweetness that can warm anyone’s heart. (Way to sound like a Christmas commerical, Jeannette.)

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These were supposed to be mini madeleines but I don’t have a mini pan (and Tony would give me “the look” if I came home with a mini version of a pan I already have LOL) so I made these in a standard (non-stick) mad pan. I upped the salt a bit and added a bit more honey (I just can’t resist the flavor of honey!) I baked my mads with some help from Dorie (thanks for sharing Di!) and all was well :) I baked at 400 degrees in the bottom half of my oven to hopefully off-set them darkening quickly but 10 mins in the oven browned them pretty quickly either way. Still incredibly tasty and some even got the lovely humps :)

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For the recipe, head on over to my good friend Di’s blog Di’s Kitchen Notebook.

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

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Happy Halloween!!

I probably should have posted this recipe much sooner but if you’re a long time reader, you know how I roll. I procrastinate. And I’m sorry.

But who says the fun has to stop just because Halloween is over? You KNOW you’re going to have left over candy!! And I am going to give you a few ideas in the coming week to use up that candy. IF there is any candy left over by then ;)

But for now, let’s talk cookies. These are your run of the mill sugar cookies divided into three batches and colored, stacked, sliced and baked. Simple stuff here folks, but BIG reward. If you want to take it a step further (I’m a minimalist; read: lazy), you can dip the tops in melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles.

These cookies are your oyster. Ew. Let’s pretend I didn’t say that…..

It may seem that because there are a fair amount of steps that these are difficult cookies to make: they aren’t!! They involve a bit of chill time and some hands on time but nothing you can’t handle.

If you can handle me using oysters and cookies in the same sentence, you can make these ;)

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Candy Corn Sugar Cookies
recipe adapted from Our Best Bites and Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
yellow and orange gel food coloring

Directions: 

Note: if you need some process pictures to help you along, head on over to Our Best Bites.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a sifter, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the flour mixture directly onto the butter mixture. Reduce the speed to low and beat until well mixed.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 3 equal portions (I weighed my dough then divided into three, each portion weighed 428 grams).

You’ll leave one of those portions as is (this will be the white part of the candy corn) and then you’ll color one of the remaining portions yellow and one orange.

Tip: When you’re coloring multiple things in a recipe, use one mixing bowl and color starting from lightest to darkest. That way you won’t have to wash your bowl in between.

Grab a loaf pan (it doesn’t matter what size) but if you have an option between a larger and a smaller pan, you might want the smaller one (I used an 8″ x 4.5″). Line your loaf pan with a big piece of plastic wrap leaving an inch overhang on all sides.

The first thing you’ll do is place your uncolored cookie dough in the bottom of the pan and spread it out as flat as you can.

You’re going to have 3 layers of cookie dough and the height of your dough will determine the size of your cookies. In my case, I made a small batch of cookie dough, and if I spread it out all the way in my large loaf pan each layer would be so thin that it would produce teeny tiny cookies so I didn’t spread my dough to the very end. Shoot for about 3/4 inch per layer at least. You can always make larger cookies if desired.

Place 1/3 of cookie dough in your mixing bowl, add a bit of yellow food coloring and mix until you reach your desired color (adding more food coloring as necessary); set aside. Do the same thing with the remaining dough coloring it orange. Place the orange dough on top of the uncolored dough and flatten out. Do the same with the yellow dough. Use the plastic wrap to even out the dough and cover it.

Place the pan in the refrigerator for a few hours, or the freezer for about 30-60 minutes. You’ll want this very chilled, all the way through so it cuts nice and smooth.

When it’s done chilling, unwrap and slice that loaf into about 1/4-inch slices, working a few at at time.

Now just slice your rectangles into triangle pieces.

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your cookie triangles on your baking sheet. Since these are slice and bake cookies, they won’t spread very much at all therefore you don’t need to leave a lot of space between cookies (about 1/2 inch).

Bake until the cookies are lightly golden on the edges, about 8 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. Enjoy : )

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

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As I’m sure I’ve said a billion and one times, I’m from Houston. And here in Houston, there really isn’t such a thing as Autumn. In my opinion, 80-something degree weather isn’t reminiscent of Fall.

But this isn’t me complaining (…yet, give me a few more weeks) but rather relishing in these last few weeks of warm weather.

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The last few weeks of shimmering, golden sunlight gently falling on your sleepy face, peeking through that tiny slit in your curtains that, if it were not for the sun, you’d never notice. The last opportunities to walk around the flea markets hand-in-hand with your husband as you point out all the fluffy, adorable puppies that you demand he buy you, but he never does. The last chances to simply stand outside, stretch and breathe in deeply, inhale the warmth of the sunlight. The last moments to enjoy wearing your favorite feminine, flowy, flowery (alliteration!) tank top before you sadly (and begrudgingly) have to banish it for a few months.

And the last few excuses you have to make delicious, creamy ice cream that reminds you of far away islands.

This ice cream is creamy, flavorful and chocked full of graham cracker goodness. And it’s super simple to whip up. Make this before it’s too late ;)

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
adapted from Cooking Light via Good Life Eats

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup lime juice*
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 graham cracker sheets, coarsely crushed

*Note: I used fresh squeezed lime juice but the original recipe states that bottled lime juice can be used. Just be sure that it is as fresh as possible.

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt and sweetened condensed milk; whisk to combine.

Pour mixture into your ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. I used my Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment and let it run for the suggested 25 minutes and my ice cream was not what you would consider soft serve, so I let it run for another 10 minutes until it became more solid.

Stir in the crushed graham crackers into ice cream. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container, and cover and freeze for 1 hour or until firm. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon graham crackers. Garnish with lime wedges or lime zest if you wish.

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Ahhhh, who am I kidding? I love ice cream so much that I’m sure I’ll post more in the Winter months. After all, I am the loon who drinks hot cocoa and eats chili in the Summer and craves ice cream in the Winter.

Flip Over Plum Cake – TWD

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I have taken it upon myself to re-name this recipe to “the key to my mother’s heart.”

Plums are pretty much my mommy’s favorite fruit ever. She loves them all: sweet, sour, black, red, overripe, fresh, baked, dried, juiced… you name it.

So I jumped at the chance to invite her over when I was making these and as soon as I said the magic words (plum cake, duh) she came right over. She says she came for the company but I think she secretly came for the cake ;) She walked in and could smell the plums mingling with the cake and cinnamon and she was eager to try some! Which is rare as my mom isn’t really one for a lot of sugary baked sweets.

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Lucky for her, I scaled back the recipe (I quartered it and it was perfect for 3 ramekins) which meant that it was in and out of the oven in no time. Topping it with some homemade vanilla ice cream (recipe coming soon, promise) guaranteed that this dessert wouldn’t last long.

And that held true. She inhaled it and loved every delicious, warm bite.

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That makes it a definite repeat in this house :)

A big thanks to Becky of Project Domestication for choosing this recipe, you made my mom very happy :)

Head on over to Becky’s blog for the recipe. (Or click here to go directly to it.)

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TWD Two-Fer – Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes and Tarte Noire

Paying catch up is always fun :)

Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes
Chosen by Wendy of Pink Stripes, head HERE for the recipe.

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These were a breeze to make and smelled divine! I was FINALLY able to use my small heart cakelette pan. I halved the recipe and it was the perfect amount for 6 small cakes. Perfectly adorable and easily sharable. Although I did halve the cake recipe, I didn’t halve the rum syrup. They came out moist and boozy with a tight crumb and a delightful vanilla aroma and flavor. Did I mention boozy? Dorie would be proud ;)

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Check out all the other boozy creations HERE.

Tarte Noire
Chosen by Dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life. Click HERE for the recipe, you’ll want it x10!

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I can’t do this tarte enough justice. I can sit here and wax poetic how Dorie’s ganache tartes are JUST AMAZING, but it just wouldn’t really come out and grab you.

So instead I’ll tell you that this is quite literally the closest you’ll get to nirvana. To heaven. To a Parisian terrace without the plane ride. To pure, unadultered bliss. Its ALL of it. Wrapped into one lovely, glossy, addictive tarte.

Seriously, proceed with caution. This tarte comes with its own disclaimer. Crumbly buttery chocolate shortbread crust filled with a creamy dreamy bittersweet chocolate ganache? Someone call the gluttony police. Wait, do they even exist? They probably should…

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I went for the Chocolate shortbread tarte crust to keep with the ‘noire’ theme. I didn’t save a bit of the dough to patch and cracks (the ONE AND ONLY TIME I didn’t, ugh) and OF COURSE my crust looked like an earthquake ravaged by oven. But thanks to my genius of a fiancé, he suggested that I just melt some chocolate and spread a thin layer over the crust to seal the holes and just freeze it before pouring in the ganache. GENIUS!! Problem: deliciously fixed! I melted, slathered, froze, poured and chilled. It sounds like a lot… but this tarte was seriously a total of mayyybe 10 mins hands-on time.

You’ll get more hands-to-mouth time that’ll make you forget aaaall about those measly 10 mins of prep time. Pah, 10 mins is NOTHING when you get this as a reward for all your efforts.

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Next time I might substitute some Kahlua for the heavy cream. Cus it’s good. And I’m boozy like that.

Did I ever mention that ‘boozy’ is one of my all time favorite words to say? Boozy. Say it with the best British accent you can muster. I’ll wait….

Fun, N’est pas?!

Up next week: Brrrr-ownies. These are goooooood. So good.

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