Sunday, March 17, 2013

In Honor of St. Patricks Day- Irish Carbomb Cupcakes!!!

I'm such an airhead... I should have posted this yesterday for you guys, so you could make them for today. Well, better late than never, I guess. Anyway! I was trolling the internet for recipes one day last year and I came across this post from the Browneyed Baker...
May I say... this lady is a goddess and we should worship at her feet? GENIUS! So I figured I'd give it a shot and see how they turned out. The answer? I ate six... Here they are!
Irish Carbomb Cupcakes
For the Cupcakes:
1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey
For the Bailey's Frosting:
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream
For the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined.
Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.
Whiskey Ganache Filling: Finely chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.
Filling the Cupcakes: Using a cupcake corer or the bottom of a large icing tip, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
Bailey's Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.
Using your favorite decorating tip, or an offset spatula, frost the cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container.
Fantastic!!! Another successfully tested recipe. Hope you guys have fun with this one! Let me know how they turn out.
Lots of love,
(Thanks to for the recipe!)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Herb Crusted Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Ugh. Have you ever had one of those days where you're just sick of everything and you have no idea what to make for dinner? That was me, yesterday. So I ask the hubby what he wants and I get "Whatever you want." Really? Would I be asking what you want if I had any IDEA what I wanted? Grrrrr! So, I plopped the laptop on his lap with my Good Eats Pinterest board open and told him to find something. This is what he came up with.
Now, we all know that not everything on Pinterest works out as well as it looks in the photos. But, that's what this blog is all about. Finding new recipes, trying them out, and letting you guys know how it worked out so you don't have to waste the time and money. In this case, it was a slam dunk!
Herb Crusted Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce
(The original recipe made enough for two people. I had to double it to make enough for everyone in my family, but I will stick to the original recipe to avoid confusion :)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Progresso Garlic and Herb Bread Crumbs (All I had on hand was plain, so I just made my own by adding 2 tsp of Italian Seasoning)
2 tsp McCormick "Perfect Pinch" Roasted Garlic and Bell Pepper Seasoning
1 tsp chives (fresh or dried, doesn't matter.)
3 tbsp butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 can of Italian Diced Tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tbsp basil
Black pepper
Plan of Action:
Mix bread crumbs, Perfect Pinch Seasoning, and chives thouroughly in a shallow bowl.
Like this!
Put milk in a seperate shallow bowl.
Dip the chicken in the milk, then dredge in the bread crumb mix.
(I did mention that I had to double the recipe!)
Melt the butter in a medium non stick skillet over MEDIUM heat. The chicken is thin, so it will cook quickly, and we don't want to burn it!
Add the chicken and cook until nicely browned and cooked through (about 10 minutes, depending on how thin your chicken is. When in doubt, use a meat thermometer! USDA temp for chicken is 165 degrees)
Drooling yet?
Remove chicken and keep warm. In the same skillet, add the garlic and saute for one minute.
Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up all those yummy bits off the bottom of the pan.
Add the tomatoes and cream and boil for one minute, stirring.
Reduce heat to low and add the Parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper to taste. Stir and cook the sauce until heated through and thickened. (About 5 minutes)
Serve by pouring the sauce over the chicken. You could serve it over a bed of pasta with some crusty bread to sop up all that heavenly sauce. In fact, the hubby said this should be our go to Alfredo sauce!
So, there it is. A Pinterest recipe tested and approved. Easy, delicious, and it does look exactly like the pic!
Let me know how it turns out for you!
Lots of Love,
*Thanks to for the recipe!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rainbow Cupcakes

Hello, my friends! It has been a while since I posted, I know, but life got in the way :D We actually took the kids on a couple road trips, one to Crystal Cave in Kutztown, PA and the other to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. That was such an amazing day! We spent the morning and afternoon in Baltimore, and then on the way home we swung through Washington D.C. and showed the kids the White House and all the amazing memorials. A.J. and Nick were all about the Lincoln Memorial, because, and I quote "That's the same statue that's in Night At the Museum 2, Mom!"
Anyway, we had a blast, but I'm back now, and in such a great mood! Hanging out with my kids makes me happy, and here's some other things that make me happy: rainbows, cupcakes, Channing Tatum, and Nora Roberts. I can't give you Channing or Nora, but I can give you rainbows and cupcakes... together!
I know rainbow cakes were EVERYWHERE for a while. Not being a girl who likes to jump on the bandwagon, I stayed away from them. Also, I saw so many pics posted of cakes where the colors had run together and ended up making this weird, grayish purple cake that made me think of zombie flesh. So, I give you rainbow cupcakes!

Slightly more time consuming then the cake version, BUT... prettier, and the colors don't run together.
Again, this is something I did before I started the blog, so there aren't step-by-step photos, but I don't feel they'd be needed in any case. This couldn't be more simple. It IS time consuming, but well worth it in the end.
All you really need to do is take a box of white cake mix, mix it according to directions, and then divide the batter evenly into six bowls. Take your choice of food coloring and add it to the bowls to get purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. ( I used the regular food coloring, so I had to play around to get the right hue. I've never used GEL coloring, but I've heard that the colors are more vibrant. If you know for sure, leave me a comment!)
Now here's the time sucker! You need to layer each color one at a time into your cupcake liners. You could certainly use a spoon and carefully spread out each layer over the last one, but I found that the easiest way to do it was to scoop each color into it's own Ziplock bag, snip off a corner, and pipe the batter into the liner.
See, you want to make sure to keep the layers thin in order to get all of the colors in without overfilling the liner. You also have to be careful to completely cover each previous layer with the new layer, in order to prevent colors mixing!
I'd also recommend sticking with the order of colors used in the picture. It's a tad blurry, I apologize, but the order is, from the bottom up:
The cupcake in the picture is one that I made using a spoon to spread each color, so as you can see... there's too much purple and not enough orange. It was hard to get the layers spread out completely without mixing them, so that's why I switched to the Ziplock baggies. Much easier, neater, and less cleanup!
Once you get the layers done, just pop them in the oven and bake according to box directions. Voila! Pretty rainbow cupcakes! One of my favorite things about them is that if you use the foil liners, nobody will know what the cupcake looks like until they peel the liner off. I wish I had take a picture of a whole one to show you how cool they look on the outside, but I didn't so you'll just have to make them yourself to see! :)
Well, there it is, folks. These are perfect for St. Patty's Day, school bake sales, birthday parties, football games, etc. If you're making a lot of them, you could recruit some friends and set up a little assembly line and have one person do each color.
I hope you make them and love them as much as I did! Let me know how they turn out in the comments below.
Lots of love,