Christmas Cupcakes In July

We are just coming off of a seemingly endless stretch of 90+ degree days here in NJ.  It’s been a hot, humid and VERY rainy summer so far – a lot more like the tropics than the Mid-Atlantic.  The weather has been more conducive to loafing around on the couch in the A/C watching old Law & Order: SVU episodes on Netflix than it has been to baking.  Who wants to turn on an oven inside when it FEELS like an oven outside?  Not this girl.

Luckily things have finally cooled down a bit, just in time for me to bake some cupcakes for our Christmas in July celebration at work today!

Spiked Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

I was having a hard time getting in the spirit of things and deciding on a flavor so I did a little poll on my Facebook page.  I had quite a few good suggestions: eggnog, gingerbread, red velvet.  I was leaning towards eggnog until someone mentioned peppermint.  Mint is not only Christmasy, it’s also cool and refreshing – perfect for hot weather!

I was inspired by these Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from easybaked but I knew I wanted to add a splash of booze to my cupcakes – they are for a holiday party after all 😉

Spiked Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

24 cooled chocolate cupcakes, prepared in the manner of your choice (I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food cake mix)

To make the frosting:

Heat 1/2 cup of milk, half & half or heavy cream either on the stove top or in the microwave.  Dissolve one packet of instant hot chocolate mix in the milk and let cool.

In a stand mixer combine:

1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup shortening
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons peppermint schnapps
10 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cooled hot chocolate

The bowl for my mixer isn’t that big, so I started off with 5 cups of the confectioners sugar, mixed that with all the other ingredients and then added the other 5 cups of confectioners sugar.

Frost cooled cupcakes then add mini marshmallows (I used mini chocolate ones) and a peppermint candy for garnish.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Schnapps

Did anyone else celebrate Christmas in July this year?  Only 152 days until the real deal!!

Advertisements

Almost Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

 

I made another batch of birthday cupcakes for a coworker last week.  I should get a raise just for the amount of sugary joy I bring to the office on a regular basis.  However, considering I can barely get a raise for being awesome at my job I’m not holding my breath.

Oh, how I long to be a stay at home mom – just without the kids….  I would sleep in every day, then bake stuff and try new drink recipes and waste hours on Pinterest (except it wouldn’t be a waste because there would be nothing else I should be doing anyway!) Ahhhhh…..

 

Atomic Housewife. 19/52
Atomic Housewife. 19/52 (Photo credit: Sarahnaut)

 

Back to the cupcakes!

Since everyone went gaga over my Rum and Coke cupcakes, I decided to revisit the cocktail theme.  This time I wanted to make some Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) cupcakes using my Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea vodka.

I used a box of  lemon cake mix, and subbed half of the water called for with the vodka.  I also added three tablespoons of vodka to my favorite icing recipe (I cut down on the milk called for to just a splash, since the vodka adds the needed liquid).

The reason my post is titled “Almost Arnold Palmer Cupcakes” is that, while there was a hint of the sweet tea vodka flavor, I didn’t find it strong enough.  So next time I will definitely replace ALL the water called for on the box with the vodka just to punch up the tea flavor a bit more.

Despite the fact that these cupcakes didn’t taste exactly as I had planned, they were still very good.  Light, refreshing, and like my dreams of trading my cubicle for the couch – gone in a flash.

Arnold Palmer Cupcakes

Ingredients

Box of lemon cake mix and necessary ingredients listed on box
Sweet Tea Vodka

Directions

Make batter according to directions on box, using the sweet tea vodka in place of the amount of water called for.  Bake as directed.

Sweet Tea Vodka Butter Cream (adapted from Butter Cream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons sweet tea vodka
Splash of milk (if needed to reach proper consistency)

Directions

Cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

Since boxes of cake mix seem to be shrinking these days, and I don’t like to skimp on the size of my cupcakes, this recipe made 18 cupcakes.

A Taste of Things to Come

I am impatient.

I am tired of summer.  Tired of 90 degree days with 70% humidity.  Tired of stepping out the door in the morning to go to work and watching my hair expand from the corner of my eye.  Tired of getting all sweaty just from breathing.  Oh, and I’m REALLY tired of mosquitoes.  Seriously, what purpose to those damn things serve?!  West Nile Virus freaks.

Anyway, I cannot wait for fall to start!!  Cooler days, chilly nights, fall foliage, Halloween, fall festivals, my birthday (hint hint!), apple cider and all kinds of pumpkin flavored goodies!!!!

Fall tree branch leaves along river
Fall tree branch leaves along river (Photo credit: Nature Pictures by ForestWander)

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin scones, pumpkin bread, and now this…

It exists, and tonight I found it.  I am beyond excited about this.  Last fall I tried numerous times to make a yummy pumpkin pie drink using a pumpkin spice liqueur that shall remain nameless because it was SO gross.  I was dejected all the way through Christmas.

I LOVE Pinnacle flavors so when I saw that they were coming out with Pumpkin Pie I knew it would be good.  Of course, as soon as I got home with the bottle I had to try it.  So I’ve mixed up a test drink and it is just slightly shy of awesome.  Since I want to tweak it just a bit, I won’t be sharing the recipe today but the Perfect Pumpkin Pietini is just one of the many wonderful things that will be heading your way this fall…(provided I don’t get laid up with West Nile Virus).

Come on September 22nd!!

Name that drink!

Seriously, I need help.  No, not that kind of help.  I swear, I’m not an alcoholic.   The last drink I made was last weekend (Key Lime Martini– yummy!) and I haven’t had one since.  Until tonight.

I had some bananas ripening on top of the fridge that I needed to do something with and lots of rum leftover from the Rum and Coke cupcakes, and since I am off from work tomorrow and Tuesday (woohoo! four day weekend!) I decided to mix up a new cocktail.  It’s really good.  The only problem is that I don’t know what to call it.

Here’s the recipe:

As Yet Unnamed Cocktail

Ingredients:

1  cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk, due to some bizarre adult onset lactose intolerance)
1 ripe banana
1 shot dark rum
1 shot Bailey’s Caramel
1/2 shot Creme de Banana
ice

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

 
And then, after you’ve had one, tell me what I should call it!  I was thinking of all the typical monkey type names…bananas and all that jazz, but I think they’ve all be done.  Then my boyfriend said I should call it BananaFanaFoFana (is that how you spell that nonsense?!).  Cute, but when this recipe goes viral and drunk people everywhere are ordering it at bars that’s going to be quite a mouthful.  “Can I have another BananaFanFo…aww, just make me some more monkey juice bartender!”

So, any thoughts?  Or are you too busy busting out the blender?  ; )

Key Lime Time

I had a bunch of key limes leftover after using some to decorate my Rum and Coke Cupcakes.  It being a Saturday night and all, I decided to make a cocktail.  My new best friend, Pinterest, quickly offered up a recipe for a Key Lime Martini and it just so happened that I had all the required ingredients.

I doubled the recipe so the boyfriend could partake as well, so I needed one shot glass full of key lime juice.  As I stood squeezing my eighth tiny lime I thought to myself, this better be worth it.

It was most definitely worth it.  Creamy, sweet and a little tart.  The only way it could have been better was if I had some graham crackers to crush and rim the glass with.

Key Lime Martini from Sandra Lee on the Food Network Website

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 shots vanilla vodka
  • 1/2 shot key lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cream of coconut  (I put in an extra tablespoon – I LOVE cream of coconut!)
  • 1 shot pineapple juice

Directions

Add all ingredients to a martini shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Serve.

So I have my drink, I get to sleep in late tomorrow, and Ian Somerhalder has a spot on this old episode of Law & Order: SVU that I am watching.  Aside from the fact that a mosquito just came into my house and bit my elbow (seriously, isn’t there a way to eradicate these spawn of satan?!), life is good.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!  Here’s one for the ladies…

Ian Somerhalder
Ian Somerhalder (Photo credit: emz_m)

Yo Ho Ho and 2 Cups of Rum

Apparently today is National Rum Day!  I did not know this until an hour ago, yet this afternoon I made Rum and Coke cupcakes.  It must have been fate…

A friend wanted me to make these cupcakes for her son’s 21st birthday party.  I tried a test batch last month using a recipe I found for Cola Cake, and a rum buttercream frosting.  It was good, but it tasted nothing like Rum and Coke to me.  Then I discovered the existence of cola extract.  The sun burst through the clouds, the cupcake angels were singing… it was good stuff.

I used the cola extract in my frosting, and found a cupcake recipe that had enough rum in it to make a pirate proud.  For decoration, I used gummy cola bottles and lime wedges with coffee stirrer “straws”.  I used Key Limes – they were the perfect size for the cupcakes.  The resulting cupcake tastes SO MUCH like Rum and Coke that (to quote my boyfriend), “It’s kind of freaky.”

So, though it’s almost over, Happy National Rum Day!  Thankfully you don’t wait until next year to make these tastes-like-the-real-thing Rum and Coke cupcakes.

Rum Cupcake (recipe from Rum Cupcakes with Coconut Frosting on the Betty Crocker website)

1 Box Betty Crocker Supermoist yellow cake mix
1 cup dark rum (I used Meyer’s)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
3 eggs

Heat oven to 325°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size nonstick muffin cups. *I doubled the recipe and ended up with 30 cupcakes total.

In large bowl, mix cake mix, 1 cup rum, the water, oil and eggs with whisk until blended. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  *I ended up baking them for 25-26 minutes.  For a moment I was afraid they weren’t going to bake through (and REALLY pissed that I had just potentially wasted two whole cups of perfectly good rum!) but I left them in the oven and tested them with a toothpick every few minutes until they were finally done.*   Remove from muffin cups to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Rum Buttercream Frosting (adapted from Buttercream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons cola extract (I bought mine on Amazon)

For frosting, cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

Black and Bloopy

I never would have thought that a cocktail could look like a bruise, but tonight I have succeeded in creating one.  I don’t know if this is an accomplishment to be proud of, but here it is… the Black and Bloopy!

I bought this lovely little tub of Electric Lemonade Slush Mix from Tastefully Simple.  Add water, vodka (I used Three Olives Loopy) and then stick it in the freezer.  I did this a few weeks ago, and then promptly forgot about it.  Then today happened, and today was one of those days that needs to end with a cocktail.  After I hacked out enough to fill my glass I gave it a taste.  Good but VERY sour!  So I decided to add some grenadine for a little extra sweetness.  The end result was a very good, although oddly colored alcoholic slushy.

This one is pretty easy!  Buy some of this slush mix from your area Tastefully Simple rep (support your local business while you booze!), add water and the vodka of your choice per the instructions on the container and freeze!  When serving, if you want your drink to look like its been in a bar fight drizzle in some grenadine.