October 30, 2010

Candy Corn Cupcakes

 It's almost HALLOWEEN!!  I don't know about you, but we have a million Halloween Parties this weekend!  I love them!!  I love to bake for them, decorate...but for some reason I am always LAME when it comes to the costume.  My boys ALWAYS change their mind right before the party and then it is complete CHAOS trying to put something together!  One year I will be creative and get my act together and do some AMAZING costumes...one day:)

Anyway...if you are going to a Halloween Party and need a last minute treat, might I suggest these...I fell in love with them the SECOND I saw them on Our Best Bites.  I knew I had to make them:)  I'm not going to lie to you...they turned out AMAZING!  Love the effect they make!

 My little helper...Connor...16 months old could NOT resist the candy corn.  He was going crazy stuffing the ones on the plate into his mouth.  I had to act quick before he did this...
So he decided for me which one I was going to cut in half so you can see how awesome these look!

Ta-DA!!  Hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!!

Candy Corn Cupcakes
For the technique, check the tutorial out on Our Best Bites

My recipe for the cake:
1 box white cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 small box vanilla INSTANT pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 c. water

Mix together on low for 30 seconds and then on medium-high for 2 minutes.  (Just like what the box says).  Then get 2 bowls and put half the batter in each bowl.  Tint one bowl yellow and the other bowl orange.  Then fill your cupcake liners with half the yellow batter and half the orange batter.  Bake according to box.

Frosting:  (Don't mind all the butter and shortening:)  It's good, Promise!!)
1 stick salted butter
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. Crisco
2 lb. powdered sugar
1 TBS vanilla
3-4 TBS milk

Cream butter and crisco together until smooth, add powdered sugar and vanilla, gradually add the milk.  Mix until smooth.

October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Granola

Happy Friday Everyone!  This morning I woke up to my boys (ages 7 and 5) completely dressed, ate breakfast, brushed their teeth, backpacks ready...all I had to do was comb their hair!  Talk about the best day EVER!  I asked why they did this and they said they were just too excited to wear their new PJ's that I made them to school!  Awww...how sweet:)  Hopefully this will continue!  Or I may have to make lots of PJ's as motivation!!

I hope you have enjoyed Pumpkin Week!  I sure have!  I was trying hard to find some fun, different recipes that you could try...hopefully you found a few and loved them!!  If you have, I would love to hear what you thought of them!!

Pumpkin Granola...sounds different, you may be thinking, how would you eat it?  Plain?  Well, yes or with some vanilla yogurt or with milk!  I loved it in all instances!  When you bake it, it just reaks of Fall...it is Heavenly!
 The recipe calls for pepitas, but I used pecans instead, LOVED THEM!
It would also make a FABULOUS gift to whoever is hosting Thanksgiving!  I would not mind getting this as a gift!

Pumpkin Granola
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

5 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas or pecans**
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, salt, and pecans**. Mix well.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Whisk until smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

 Ok...I'm going to just cut to the chase...Go to the store RIGHT NOW and get what you need to make these, stay up till midnight if you must, and make these.  You will thank me for it!  I can't believe how amazing these little guys were!  They truly are to die for!  
 Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Adapted from Martha Stewart and Brown Eyed Baker

Whoopie Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. all-spice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, all-spice and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the vanilla and beat until smooth.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

 These are a few treats that I am giving to the boys' teachers...I thought they were so fun!!  I got the FREE printables from Catch My Party and the idea from Martha Stewart. They are just so fun and everyone loves them!  I filled mine up with candy.  You can use big lunch bags or you can use little party bags (I used the little bags, I got them at Michaels).  They are perfect for prizes at your Halloween party!!

October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup...and a Party:)

This week is Red Ribbon Week at my kids school...today happened to be "Crazy Hair Day"...I thought, oh, we should get some funky hair color and go CRAZY!  That was such a stupid idea.  I am new with the whole hair color spray stuff, and let me just say...I will never buy that stuff again!  I died their shirts, they rubbed against me and died my clothes, they rubbed their heads against the wall and it is all over the wall, it got all over my car, all over the towel...you get the idea.  I will be cleaning this stuff off of everything all day long!  What a mess!  So, instead of doing that, I am going to blog about these Waffles instead;)

This would be the Third Pumpkin recipe this week!  I have to say that this is one of my FAVORITES!!  Sad to say I have never had Pumpkin Waffles before!  Crazy, I know...My cousin, Jennie, gave this to me and I owe her big time!  Hope you try them!  They would be perfect for Halloween morning...I'm just sayin...
Pumpkin Waffles

Mix well, no lumps:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

Stir in a separate bowl:
1 egg
1 1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
2 TBS oil

Combine the two groups until batter is smooth.  Spray waffle maker with Pam.  Use 1/2 c. of batter at a time.  Cook for 4 minutes.

Cinnamon Syrup
from: The Sisters Cafe

1 c. sugar
slightly less than 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. evaporated milk

In a saucepan, combine sugar and cinnamon.  Pour in corn syrup and water and stir to dissolve.  Boil, stirring constantly, 2-3 minutes.  Cool.  Stir in evaporated milk and serve.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Halloween Party
My neighbor, Shannon, was having a Halloween Party and she asked me to help her!  Like I would turn her down!  So we plotted and planned and came up with this cuteness...hope it gives you some ideas for your party!
 The main dessert...
RIP Gravesite Trifle

Chocolate pudding
Cool Whip (or make your own)
Oreos, crushed
Milano Cookies
Candy Corn Pumpkins
Black Gel

Make Pudding according to directions.  Put in a zip lock baggie, cut the tip off and squirt into little votive candle holders.  Then make your whip cream, or cool whip, and pipe that on top of the pudding.  Crush your Oreos and sprinkle on top of the whipped cream.  Take your black piping gel and write RIP on the Milano Cookies, stick into the pudding cups, add the pumpkin...thats it!

Oh...you can totally add a square of Brownie on the bottom if you want!!
 She made some Candy Corn Bark
 If you look in the corner, you can see some tortilla chips in the shapes of ghosts, pumpkins and bats...so fun! Also had some queso.
 We cut strips of paper and wrapped them around 4-5 pieces of licorice
And of course we used the same paper to wrap around some bottles of water.

October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Bars

Alright...whose excited for DAY 2 of Pumpkin week?  I know I am!  So these bars are a much for me every Fall.  If I don't make them and eat them, then it just seems that something is missing!  The whole family loves these and scarfs them down!  Which makes me happy...

I will leave you with this picture...this is Connor, my 16 month old...he seems to think that by knocking over all my cute Halloween stuff and plopping his little booty on my table, he can just eat all the candy corn he wants.  Seriously...all day long he is snitching them and stuffing his mouth full...I did eventually move the candy corn, but now the table is not as cute:(  On the bright side, I am no longer snitching them either:)

Pumpkin Bars

Mix till frothy:
4 eggs
1 2/3 c. sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. pumpkin

2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda

Grease and flour a jelly roll pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Put frosting on when bars are cool.

October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Scones

Hello!  I know...its been awhile since I have blogged something important... especially since Halloween is in, like a week!  I mean...Hello!!  So much to blog about!  In fact, there is so much, that there may be more than just one blog post per day!  

I am dedicating this week to the wonderful PUMPKIN.  Yes...everyday I am going to post a new recipe!  (I know you are so excited you just want to jump up and shout...go ahead, I will wait...)   I love pumpkin so much and I have had the BEST time scouring the world of blogs for some yummy recipes.  And I have gotten a little plumper due to all the amazing-ness.  (It may be that I have had a few too many candy corn and Kit Kat bars...but who knows??)

So, back to the recipe...Pumpkin Scones.  I can't even describe to you how delicious these are!  The glaze on top is to die for!  They were so perfect.  I am going to have to make them again since we devoured them!  Apparantly these are a Starbucks "copy cat".  I haven't had one, so I can't say for sure, but what I know is this...I will make these as long as they sell canned pumpkins.  That is all.

Pumpkin Scones
recipe from: Liv Life

2 cups all-purpose flour
Scant ½ cup brown sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
½ tsp salt
generous ½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg (or freshly grated!)
pinch ground cloves
generous ¼ tsp ground ginger
6 Tbs cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg

Egg Wash
1 large egg
1 Tbs milk
raw sugar

Sugar Glaze Ingredients: 
½ cup powdered sugar
¾ to 1 Tbs milk

Spiced Glaze Ingredients: 
½ cup powdered sugar
¾ to 1 Tbs milk
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
super, teeny, tiny pinch ground cloves

Preheat oven to 425˚F.  Line a baking sheet with silicone mat or parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using the paddle attachment, mix in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.  Alternatively, use a pastry blender or your hands to cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly in texture and resembles coarse bread crumbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half and half, and egg.  Fold into the dry ingredients until barely combined, being very careful not to over mix the batter.

Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and loosely form the dough into a ball.  Pat it into a 1-inch thick circle.

Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into desired shapes.

Place each slice on prepared baking sheet and top with the egg was and a sprinkle of raw sugar.  Bake for 14 – 16 minutes or until the scones are golden brown.

Let cool completely on wire rack.

In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth.  If it’s too runny, add more sugar.  If too thick, add a little more milk until reaching desired consistency.  Brush glaze over the top of each cooled scone.  Let harden before proceeding to the spiced glaze.

After the sugar glaze hardens, combine the spiced icing ingredients.   Use a whisk to drizzle over each scone, allow to set before serving.

October 22, 2010

Tortellini Au Gratin

 All I'm going to say is YUM!!  I am still dreaming about this dish!  It is exactly what you need when you are craving an Italian dish...creamy (yes of course there is heavy cream in this, Silly!!), sausage (um...Hello!  You have to have that in this!), and some Tortellini (just to add a few more calories...no big deal:)  My cousin (who keeps pulling these crazy good recipes out of no where...Jennie, you really should just do a baking/cooking blog), gave me this recipe and we were really, truly drooling.  I hope you enjoy!  Oh, and don't forget the French Bread to wipe the plate clean!
Tortellini Au Gratin

1/4 lb. Mild Italian Sausage
2 T. Finely chopped Onion
1 (9 oz.) pkg Cheese-filled Tortellini, uncooked (I got frozen in Wal-Mart)
3 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
1/2 c. Whipping Cream
1/2 c. Chicken Broth
1/2 c. Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1/4 c. plus 2 TBS minced fresh Parsley, divided
1 1/2 TBS minced fresh Basil
1 (2 oz.) jar diced Pimiento, drained (opt.)
1/8 tsp. Pepper
2 TB fine, dry Breadcrumbs
1 1/2 TBS Butter

Remove and discard casing from sausage.  Cook sausage and onion in a skillet over medium heat, stirring until sausage browns and crumbles.  Drain well; set aside.  Cook tortellini according to package directions, adding unpeeled cloves of garlic to water.  Drain well, reserving garlic.  Set tortellini aside; peel and crush garlic.  Combine garlic and whipping cream in a medium bowl; beat with a wire whisk until blended.  Add reserved sausage mixture, tortellini, chicken broth, 1/4 c. plus 2 TBS Parmesan cheese, 1/4 c. minced parsley, basil, pimiento, and pepper; stir gently to combine.  Place tortellini mixture in a greased 1-quart baking dish.  Combine breadcrumbs and remaining 2 TBS minced parsley.  Sprinkle over tortellini; dot with butter.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes.  Sprinkle remaining 2 TBS Parmesan cheese over breadcrumbs;  bake 5 additional minutes or until lightly browned.  Garnish, if desired with sliced cherry tomatoes and fresh basil sprigs.

October 15, 2010

Candy Corn Popcorn

Ever heard of Candy Corn Popcorn? Well, let me be the first to introduce it to you! It is pretty amazing!! When I was in the PTA we made this yummy goodness for all the kids at the school.  A friend, Michelle, made this up:)  It is perfect for all the Halloween parties you have coming up!  Think how cute if you put this in a black Witches Cauldron or in those plastic glove hands with candy corn as the finger nails...the list goes on.  Have fun with it!

Candy Corn Popcorn

2 c. Candy Corn
1/4 c. Karo Syrup
2 bags of popped natural pop corn**

Melt together, bring it to a boil, and drizzle it over your SALTED popped pop corn.
**If you want to use the popcorn machine, you can do that as well...you'll know how much popcorn you will need to get the right consistency. It isn't like caramel corn where it is drenched in caramel...just look at the picture!

October 11, 2010

Candy Corn Cookie Bark

 This stuff is Crazy Good. It is such a yummy concoction that you just have to eat more to figure out what it reminds you of. Ben thinks it is Frosted Animal Cookies. I just like the sweet and salty mixture. Either way...it is good. I have already made it several times this Halloween and I plan on making more for all the holidays coming up. You could easily substitute M&M's for candy corn or whatever...be creative;) I got this recipe from Recipe Girl...I love her:)  She has some FAB recipes!

Candy Corn Cookie Bark
from: RecipeGirl.com

14-16 whole Oreos, broken up
1 1/2 c. mini pretzels, broken into pieces
1 lb. white chocolate (chocolate wafers or almond bark)
1 c. candy corn
brown and orange colored sprinkles

Place waxed paper on large cookie sheet.Spread cookies, pretzels and about 3/4 cup of the candy corn into a 9x13 inch rectangle on the waxed paper.

Place chocolate in glass measuring cup and heat in microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir and then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth.

Drizzle melted chocolate immediately over cookie mixture, spreading with spatula (if needed) to coat evenly. Top with reserved candy corn and colored sprinkles. Work quickly before chocolate hardens.

Place into refrigerator until firm. Remove and gently break apart into small pieces for serving. Store in airtight container.

Yield: about 2 dozen pieces.

October 7, 2010

SpOoKy DeCoR...

First off...I wanted to say how excited I was to find that THESE cupcakes I just posted were featured on Cupcakes Take The Cake Blog!  I was beyond excited:)  Go check them out...amazing stuff there!

I finally got my Halloween decor up!  It always seems to take me FOREVER since my 15 month old likes to take out all my stuff out and put it in random places...oh well!  Its done, thats all that matters!  Hopefully you can get some good ideas!  Here we go:
 When it comes to holiday decorations, you don't need to spend  a ton of money.  I got the  luminaries at Target in the dollar section!  I made the darling Haunted House...more on that in a second, and then made the masks out of paper I had.
 Back to this...My friend Gwen had a class at her home and we made these...it is my FAVORITE Halloween decoration!  I just love it!  It is a paper mache house that we got from Hobby Lobby and then we just mod podged some fabulous paper on the house.  Then I put it on top of a cake stand I have.  Get out all those cake stands, candle sticks, and moss...your gonna need it this Halloween!
 If you have a lamp shade, you must add little bats to them...yeah, they are a pain to cut out, but when you put that lamp on, you will smile, all proud of yourself!  I got the pattern and idea from Martha, go cut some out..NOW!  Then I painted these FABULOUS witch, cat and broom stick silhouettes from The Pink Peony. There is a fabulous tutorial on it!  I got out my long, silver holder thingy and put tons of candy corn in it, then added a sparkle "Wicked" sign in it...my favorite:)  (BTW, my baby is in love with candy corn and he keeps sneaking them and hiding in a corner with handfuls of them...totally pigging out...he thinks he is so funny and sneaky...)
 AHHH....my favorite part:)  I have a 30" round table that I love to decorate for Halloween!  I got tons of skulls and bones from the Dollar Store and I glued them all and put tons of glitter all over them.  I got the tomb stones from the Dollar Store also.  (See...all cheap stuff, made to look FAB!)  I had a black table cloth and put some spiders web all over it.  Got out all my cake stands and put moss all over them and stuck skulls and stuff on them.  Then the candlesticks...more skulls:)
You also have to get some ugly ravens to put out...it just isn't the same with out them!

I hope you get some good ideas from this!  If you need close-ups, just click on the picture!  I would love to see some of the spooky stuff that you have done!  Please leave a comment with a link to your decor and I will post them next week!  Please...don't leave me hanging!  You KNOW you want to leave a comment!!

Come back every Friday for some Fabulous Halloween treats...your gonna love them!

October 4, 2010

Chocolate Marshmallow Cupcakes

So how was everybody's weekend?  Mine was nice and lazy...HOWEVER...I cleaned and I made homemade Cinnamon Rolls, put up all my Halloween decorations and cleaned bathrooms.  This is huge for me since cleaning bathrooms is like the worst thing I have to do...its right up there with doing laundry, except I hate it even more:)  Enough about cleaning...that's boring.  Lets talk about these...

 Yeah...I know, they are to die for...I did pink, but you could do Orange for Halloween, or Red for Christmas...whatever.
You have to make the cute little banner though, it just makes them that much cuter.  I made these for my friend Jenna, it was her Birthday!!  I have noticed that when you are a Mom...you tend to not really get a Birthday cake, unless your Hubby is that good in the kitchen and can somehow surprise you or something:)  So, I had to make them!  I got this amazing recipe from Skip To My Lou.  My friends, these were so delicious I can't even put it into words...just make them, put them in the fridge and enjoy the Truffle Frosting:)

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Cream Filling and Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Make your favorite chocolate cupcakes or prepare purchased cake mix. Let cupcakes cool.

Creme Filling

1 - 7 oz container marshmallow cream
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup powder sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
With electric mixer beat ingredients together until fluffy. Add in a few drops of  food coloring if you like. 

Attach a large tip to pastry bag and fill with cream. Insert tip into cupcake and fill until cupcake slightly expands.

Ganache Frosting
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream (must be heavy cream -- half and half will not work)
Place chocolate chips into a bowl and pour cream over the top. Heat in microwave until chips are soft.  Allow mixture to sit a minute to continue melting the chips. Stir well. Let mixture come to room temperature.  With electric mixer beat until fluffy. Fill pastry bag with large star tip and pipe onto cupcakes.
Enough frosting and filling for 12-15 cupcakes depending on your frosting and filling style.