White Sangria

sangria

Red, White, and Blue Sangria

I had friends over for the 4th of July and wanted to make a festive drink for the ladies. Usually, I’m not a fan of sangrias because they’re often too sweet. However, I stumbled across this recipe and it actually wasn’t too sweet and you could barely taste the alcohol! I’m going to keep making this (without the star shaped pineapples of course).

Ingredients

  • Strawberries, slicedwhite sangria glass
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple, cut into star shapes
  • 2 bottles dry white wine
  • 1 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/2 Cup berry-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup

Directions:

  1. In a pitcher or punch bowl, comine all liquids and add the fruit. I used three olives berry vodka and sauvignon blanc white wine.
  2. Drink cautiously, this baby is strong!!

Original recipe: BRUNCH at Saks

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

keylime cupcake

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

My mom is a fan of key lime pie, so I decided one night I wanted to make key lime cupcakes to bring for dinner. I obviously had to make key lime pie in cupcake form, since cupcakes are probably my most favorite things to bake. These were a perfect summer dessert and a hit at the dinner! I’ll definitely make these again.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Cupcake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tables spoons finely grated lime zest (about 2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Frosting (original recipe):

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel (about 1 lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting (my version):

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice (add gradually, taste as you add)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel (about 1 lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:keylime cupcake1

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Take your graham crackers and break them down until they are fine. You can either crush them in a plastic bag or pulse them in a blender. Combine all of the “crust” ingredients together and add them to the cupcake liners. Be sure to pack down the crust. I used the bottom of a glass, which seemed to work well.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is until incorporated. Beat in the zest of a lime and vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture in batches, alternating with buttermilk and lemon juice, and beating until just combined after each.
  6. Add batter into liners, filling each to about 3/4 full.keylime cupcake3
  7. Bake for approximately 25 minutes (time depends on your oven) or until a tooth pick comes out clean…this is obviously the official way to check the “doneness” of your baked good 😉
  8. In an electric mixer, combine all of the frosting ingredients. I added more lime juice to the original recipe, because I wanted more of the lime flavor (the zest wasn’t enough). In order to accommodate the extra liquid, I added more powdered sugar.
  9. Garnish with the zest of a lime or a lime wedge.

Original recipe: loveandcupcakesblog

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

strawberry shortcake cupcakes

Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes

I have never made homemade angel food cake and was a little skeptical trying to make this fluffy dessert. However, it was super easy, minimal ingredients, and turned out great! I made these for Mother’s Day brunch that I had at my place and brought them in to work afterwords. Lets just say, they were a HIT! A great summer treat.

Ingredients:

Angel Food Cake:

  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature*
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla, coconut, almond or orange extract (I used coconut)
  • 3/4 tsp cream of tartar

Whipped Cream and Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • fresh strawberries, blueberries or raspberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse sugar so it becomes very fine. Approximately 2 minutes.
  3. According to the original directions, you are to sift together cake flour, salt, and half of the sugar. I have not invested in a sifter just yet, so it is not the end of the world if you don’t have one. Mine still turned out just fine!
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together egg whites, water, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar.
  5. Now using a hand mixer, whip the mixture on medium speed while adding the remaining half of sugar to the mixture. Continue until medium peaks have formed.
  6. Slowly fold in the flour mixture with a spatula.
  7. Add mixture to cupcake liners and fill just below the top of the liners.
  8. For the whipped topping, whip heaving cream until soft peaks form. In a separate bowl, whip cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese to the whipped cream and add the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Store in refrigerator. Suggestion: I placed my whipping cream in the freezer for about 5 minutes. This allowed the cream to become cold, which made it easier to whip.

Recipe found on Cooking Classy: with a sprinkle of fancy

Puppy Chow

puppy chow

Valentine’s Day Puppy Chow!!

This recipe is so ridiculously easy to make and also very addicting to eat!

Ingredients

  • 9 cups rice chex squares (in the cereal isle)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (heaping)
  • 1 cups semi-sweet chocolate chip morsels (heaping)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 4 tbsp (1/4 stick) of butter
  • M&M’s

Directions

  • In a microwaveable bowl, add chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, microwave for another 30 seconds if necessary. Stir until well combined.
  • Measure out cereal and place in a large bowl. Add chocolate mixture and stir until the chex is completely coated. I said “heaping” under the ingredients, because I feel there is never enough chocolate to combine all of the chex.
  • Pour contents into a large plastic zip lock bag, add sugar, seal, and shake until evenly coated.

Peanut Butter Balls

peanut butter ballsPeanut Butter Balls for Valentine’s Day!

This is a recipe my boyfriend’s mom makes and it is always a hit. One of my personal favorites as well. She calls them peanut butter bon bons, which is probably more appropriate then peanut butter balls 😉

Ingredients

  • 2 cups peanut butter (creamy)
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) of melted butter
  • 3 cups rice krispies
  • 1/4 square of parafin wax
  • 1 package of chocolate chip morsels

Directions

  1. Combine peanut butter, confectioner sugar, and melted butter. Add rice krispies, mixing with a spoon or spatula. 
  2. Put this mixture into the fridge for 1 hour. This step is key. I made this once without putting it in the fridge and the dough was so sticky that it was impossible to roll into balls.
  3. Remove from fridge and roll into about 1 inch balls. It doesn’t really matter. I actually like them to be slightly larger. I personally like a greater peanut butter to chocolate ratio.
  4. In a pan, grease the bottom and sides with butter and add entire contents of chocolate chips. Melt on low heat.
  5. Add 1/4 a square of parafin wax. It’s much easier to shave the wax. This allows it to melt. SOOOO wax in chocolate…what?!?! I know, I felt the same way. Apparently it’s totally normal. The wax actually helps keep the chocolate hard and intact. Makes sense and it’s completely fine to consume!
  6. Dip each ball into the chocolate and place on waxed paper to cool and harden.

Peanut Butter Cookies

peanut butter cookie

Valentine’s Day Peanut Butter Cookies!

I wanted to be festive for valentine’s day and make lots of themed treats. Here is an easy spin on the peanut butter cookies that usually have a hershey kiss center.

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch of the betty crocker peanut butter cookie mix
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 egg
  • sugar
  • candy milk chocolate hearts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir in cookie mix, oil, water, and egg until well combined.
  2. Shape dough into balls and roll into sugar. Place onto a cookie sheet.
  3. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. While the cookies are baking, unwrap the candies (if they’re individually wrapped) so they are ready when the cookies come out of the oven.
  5. Once the cookies are done, immediately place the candy in the center of the cookie and push down so it holds. Remove cookies from sheet to cool.
  6. Before storing, make sure the chocolate has hardened!

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

peppermint

My mom was having a holiday gathering at her house with some of her friends. I will use any excuse to make cupcakes, so I went with a holiday theme for these treats! They ended up turning out great, I was quite pleased.

Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder; set aside. In small bowl, mix hot water and cocoa until dissolved; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat shortening with electric mixer on medium speed 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping bowl occasionally. Beat 2 minutes longer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, alternately add flour mixture, about 1/3 of mixture at a time, and cocoa mixture, about 1/2 at a time, beating just until blended.
  4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pans; place on cooling racks to cool.

Honestly, I can’t recall where I found this recipe and I must have misplaced the link. I believe it was from a site similar to foodsnots.com?

Frosting

I wanted to go with a hot cocoa with peppermint kind of theme. That’s why I didn’t use a traditional chocolate cupcake recipe. The hot cocoa part was taken care of through the cupcake so I needed a peppermint frosting recipe. I decided to just use a traditional recipe and add pepper. Turned out great!

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • about 4 1/2 cups of confectioner sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint

Directions

  1. In a mixer, combine butter and cream cheese. Mix until smooth and add confectioner sugar, about 1 cup at a time. Add peppermint and mix until blended.
  2. To get the “candy cane” or red and white swirled effect, you need to separate the frosting in half. Add red food coloring to one. When placing the frosting in the piping bag, put the white on one side and the red on the other. It doesn’t matter if it does not look perfect in the bag, it still ends up blending nicely!

Apple Cider Cupcakes/Salted Caramel Buttercream

This is going to be another one of those fall favorites that I will incorporate annually. Yum!

Here’s the thing about these cupcakes…They’re awesome. However, I had some seriouussss issues with the frosting. I mean serious. I had to go to the store and make a whole new batch…my way. It was chunky and the butter was turning into a melted mess. I should have taken a photo, it was just yuck. It may be the case that I don’t know how to melt caramels or that I used an extra stick of butter instead of shortening, but either way, the frosting turned out horrendous. The frosting on here is therefore the modified version that I came up with. You can find the link to the original recipe below.

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 2/3 c. AP flour
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened (I use unsalted)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon-(a heaping tsp., I like spice)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting

  • 2 sticks (1 c.) unsalted butter
  • 4 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 (approximately) of a 14 oz. jar of caramel topping. Honestly, I would add this to taste.

Directions

Cupcakes

  1. Make sure all refrigerated items are at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for approximately 18 minutes, or until a tooth pick can be removed cleanly from the center.
  2. Combine sugar and butter in a bowl and mix for 5 minutes until well combined and fluffy
  3. Combine rest of the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, & salt) in one bowl and the wet ingredients (apple cider & vanilla) in another. Do not add eggs until end.
  4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar, mix well. Add 1/3 of the wet ingredients, mix well. Repeat steps until all ingredients are added.
  5. Add eggs, one egg and a time.
  6. Fill liners 2/3 full and bake.

Frosting

  • Add butter and sugar to a bowl and mix until well combined and fluffy.
  • Add salt. I try to cook with salt very little, so I’m extremely sensitive to the salt taste. If you like salt, use 1 tsp. However, I will probably half that the next time I make this frosting.
  • Add the caramel. I was unsure of the amount, so I kept gradually adding caramel until I liked the flavor.

Decorating: I was short on time, but quickly made stems and leaves for my cupcakes out of melted chocolate. I used the same procedure for the stem and leaf as I did for my butterfly cupcakes.

Original Recipe from Something Swanky

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I am not sure what copyright laws are when it comes to posting photo’s, but that is a Starbucks cup next to my cupcake. However, my cupcake is in no way affiliated with starbucks. The cupcake is just posing with the cup 😉

One of my favorite cupcakes for the fall is Pumpkin Spice LattĂ©. I’ve made these several times and they’ve been a hit every time. I’ve previously posted this particular recipe on my blog, so you can find the recipe and details HERE.

I’ve been playing around with frosting recipes to go with this cupcake and I FINALLY found the perfect match. Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. Uh yum.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add sugar, one cup at a time.
  3. Add cinnamon and vanilla. Mix until combined.

I recommend adding a drizzle of caramel to the top of the cupcakes. I ran out of caramel and didn’t want to make yet another run to the store, so I omitted it. Although, I think it would really solidify the whole Pumpkin Spice LattĂ© kind of theme.

Original recipe found on Baked to Perfection.

“Wedding Cake” Cupcakes

Wedding Cake Cupcakes

I have a million cupcake recipes that I want to try, so I will be gradually finding excuses to make these delectable sweets! What’s my excuse for today? A neurobiology lab presentation! It was a stretch to make it work and totally geeky, but I did it 🙂 I’ll spare you and not explain the theory behind my cupcakes and neurobiology and instead I’ll just give you the recipe!

Cake:

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 large egg whites

I ended up using a box of french vanilla cake, because the store did not have any white cake mixes that were 18.25 oz.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pans (you’ll need approx. 36).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.
  3. Use any scoop to fill prepared cupcake tins- fill about 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Frosting:

Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons whipping cream

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, with a hand or stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for desired spreading/piping consistency.
  3. Scoop into a piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread onto cupcakes as desired.