Friday, September 16, 2011

Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!!

Did you know ice cream sundaes have been around since 1892?! Scoops of ice cream dripping with syrups, accompanied by nuts, and crowned with whipped cream and a cherry; this decadent diva owns the thrown as the ultimate American classic dessert. Over the years, it's style has evolved to include the latest trends, including peanut butter, waffles, mountains of fruit, and an endless supply of candy toppings. The popularity of this timeless classic dessert has led to the evolution of dozens of other sweet treats, incorporating the same flavors.

Most recently, the cupcake phenomenon has been trending ice cream sundae cupcakes. I loved the idea, but made some adaptions to make it my own. This deep chocolate base is filled with a vanilla pudding mixture and accessorized with a mountain of buttercream frosting, drizzled with chocolate syrup, sprinkles and a cherry on top. This crowd pleasing diva sure stole the show with her glamorous look and luscious flavor!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Brownies

Ranked among the 10 most popular ice cream flavors, Mint Chocolate Chip has been a leading contender in ice cream parlors since the 1930's. The highly sought-after flavor has now begun making it's way into other highly popular desserts such as frostings, cookies, pies and brownies.

In this case, I re-purposed some left over cream cheese icing and concocted a minty green blend to spread over a batch of freshly baked brownies. Using either Créme de Menthe liquor or Mint extract, slowly add to your frosting until you achieve the perfect level of minty-ness! Add a drop of neon green food coloring for a pop of mint green color!

It’s a quick and simple solution for using left over icing. The result is a delicious mouth-watering treat that will leave your taste buds looking for more.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcakes

Ooey, Gooey and oh so sticky sweet. Kudos to my mom for passing along this decadent recipe for a Pineapple Upside-Down Cupcake via Taste of Home. Pineapples have always been one of my favorite flavors to incorporate into baking. With every bite, I'm immediately reminded of the days when I was laying on the beaches of Maui, a ukelele playing in the background while the island waves crashed ashore. It floods my mind with happy memories and creates a sense of calm for me.

The sweetness of pineapples combined with juicy maraschino cherries drenched in a sticky brown sugar glaze make these jumbo size cupcakes pure bliss. Fairly easy to make, these jumbo treats make an impressive statement for social gatherings and won't leave you stuck in the kitchen for hours. It's a perfect blend of the sweet summer days gone by and the comforting days of fall yet to come.

Ingredients: Makes 12 Jumbo Cupcakes
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 small pineapple, peeled and cored
(use fresh pineapple already cut into 1/2" slices to save time)
12 maraschino cherries, drained
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
8 oz sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Line the bottom of 12 greased jumbo muffin cups with waxed paper; grease the paper and set aside.

Melt Butter over low heat in a small sauce pan. Stir in the Brown Sugar and Corn Syrup. Cook over medium heat while stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Spoon 1 tblsp into each muffin cup. Top each with a Pineapple Slice and Cherry.

In a large bowl, beat Eggs and Sugar until thick and lemon colored. Beat in Oil, Sour Cream and Vanilla. In a seperate bowl, combine Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt. Add to egg mixture and beat well.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 for 20-30 mins or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Gently flip pan upside over a wire cooling rack.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Ball

Simply sinfully de-lic-ious.

I originally saw a picture of this dessert on Pinterest and filed it away for a rainy day. Well, with all the rain and flooding we've been having on the East coast lately, that rainy day came sooner than later.

Creamy peanut butter and soft, silky cream cheese combined with a sweet, crunchy, chocolate and toffee outer layer to make an irresistible dessert so delicious, it's sinful. Paired with graham crackers or apple slices for dipping, this is by far the most genius use of peanut butter I have seen.

Prepared in under 15 mins, it's a recipe so simple you could whip it up for last minute gatherings in no time. I brought this into work for a little afternoon snack, and coworkers were drooling over it! I had to hide a spoonful (or two) for myself in my desk because it was being devoured so quickly!

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese "Ball"

1 pkg (8oz)Cream Cheese, at room temp
1 cup Powdered Sugar
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 cup Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup Peanut Butter Chips (I used Toffee Heath Bar Crunch Bits)
Graham Crackers or Apple Slices for dipping

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter in a large bowl until blended.

Spoon onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gather all four corners and twist lightly, forming a ball shape. Place in the freezer for two hours until hardened.

Place peanut butter and chocolate chips on a flat dish. Remove plastic wrap from ball and gently roll over morsels until completely coated. Place ball onto a serving dish, cover and freeze (or refrigerate) for one hour or until hardened.

Serve with either graham cracker sticks or apple slices.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Disney's Cars Birthday Party

The Disney Pixar Cars movies have been racing through movie theaters across the nation. Grossing over $60.1 million from the first movie, $68 million ( from the Cars sequel and an additional $8 billion( in global retail sales of merchandise, it's no surprise that Cars is one of the hottest trends for kid's birthday parties his year. With characters like Lightning McQueen, Mater, Holly Shiftwell and Ramone, there are endless possibilities for event decor and sweet treat ideas centered around the film. This weekend, I had the privilege of both attending and assisting with a Car's birthday party for a very lucky little boy who was turning 3. Keep reading for some of my favorite themed ideas!

At Sargent's Surplus of Sweets, guests munched on Dino's Chocolate Covered Dipsticks, Stop Lights made from Rice Krispie treats, and chocolate covered donuts made to look like Luigi's Tires. For the big finale, the birthday boy made blew out his candles and wished to dive into one of these tasty McQueen cupcakes. Funfetti cupcakes made from scratch were topped with a red buttercream icing and adorned with plastic Lightning McQueen cars. Guests had the option of choosing from 3 different cupcake flavors; Funfetti with Buttercream icing, Guinness Chocolate with Buttercream icing, and Red Velvet with Cream Cheese icing. Cupcakes were topped with images of the Cars 2 characters, and racing flags to stick with the party's theme. For the presentation, cupcakes were placed atop a three tier pedestal, lined with checkered paper and topped with an image of Lightning McQueen with a few racing flags. It was a huge hit!

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