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!!

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The Seaweed Is Always Greener In Somebody Else’s Lake

I think The Little Mermaid is probably my favorite Disney movie – mostly because of the music.  That movie has an awesome soundtrack.

I was ten when it came out.  I had the cassette tape (might there be people reading this who don’t know what cassettes are – am I that old?!) and I spent hours belting out Part Of Your World along with Ariel.  I also spent hours perfecting my routine to go along with Debbie Gibson‘s Electric Youth on my swing set, but that is a story for another time.  This post is about The Little Mermaid!

Well, it’s actually about  the cupcakes I made for an adorable little girl who is having a Little Mermaid themed birthday party!  I wish that I were talented enough to make fancy Ariel and Sebastian figurines out of fondant to use as cupcake toppers but I’m not so I bought Little Mermaid cupcake liners and made little sea creatures out of melting chocolates.

cupcakes for Little Mermaid party

cupcakes for Little Mermaid party

cupcakes for Little Mermaid themed party

Little Mermaid Themed Cupcakes

Do Irish Potatoes Count As A Vegetable?

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner.  That means it’s time for green beer, four leaf clovers and Irish Potatoes!  I don’t drink beer, green or otherwise, and I’m completely lacking in the luck department, but holiday candy?  I’m all over it!

IRISH POTATOeS
IRISH POTATOES (Photo credit: Melody Kramer)

Cream cheese, coconut, confectioners sugar, cinnamon…  I was thinking the other day that these flavors would make a good drink.  I found a bunch of recipes and plan on trying a few (has anyone ever had an Irish Potato cocktail???).  After I did some research on drinkable versions of this little treat I go to thinking that I should also make an Irish Potato cupcake.

irish potato cupcakes

For the most part I am not yet brave enough to completely make up a recipe on my own, so for these cupcakes I combined two different recipes that I found online.  I made the cinnamon cupcake recipe from Duncan Hines’ Snickerdoodle Cupcakes and topped the cupcakes with a Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from Allrecipes.com.

irish potato cupcakes

These were good, but they didn’t quite capture the flavor of the Irish Potato candy.  Even though I added extra cinnamon to the cupcake batter, they were nowhere near cinnamon-y enough.  The frosting was good, but the cream cheese flavor was definitely the most prevalent.  If I were to attempt these cupcakes a second time I would cut the cream cheese down just a bit, add more confectioners sugar and definitely add more coconut extract.

irish potato cupcakes

Or maybe I would try this recipe that I just found…. It has an Irish Potato stuffed in the cupcake!  My only problem would be trying not to eat all the Irish Potatoes before I got around to sticking them into the cupcakes.  🙂

Ahoy!

Today’s project was Navy themed cupcakes for a coworker’s son.  She wanted cupcakes with anchors on them.

I can’t draw.  Even my stick figures are crappy looking.

Despite my faith in my total inability to draw an anchor that actually LOOKS like an anchor, I took the order.  I have a little trick.  It involves clip art, waxed paper and melted chocolate.

I went into MS Word and found a clip art anchor that I liked the look of, then filled the page with it.  When I was ready to make the anchors, I put a piece of wax paper over the sheet with the pictures then traced the shapes of the anchors in melted chocolate that I had placed in a pastry bag with a small round tip.

This technique not only results in cupcake decorations that are edible and (in my case) identifiable, it also ensures uniformity in size.

Anchors aweigh!

Navy Cupcakes 1

Navy Cupcakes 2

Navy Cupcakes 3

Navy Cupcakes 4

 

Bowled Over

The first thing I saw when I turned on the news while getting ready this morning was the live update from Wing Bowl 21.  Every February, gluttons from around the world gather in the early morning hours in Philadelphia to see who can chow down on the most chicken wings (no shortage here folks!).  People actually buy tickets to this.  And, because it can’t be that fun just sitting around watching people try not to regurgitate their drummies, a bunch of scantily clad women (aka “Wingettes”) are on hand for added…entertainment.  Why this event garners more coverage on the morning news than any actual NEWS taking place is beyond me, but whatever.

There it is.
The classy Wingettes from Wing Bowl past…. (Photo credit: Phillyspider)

Next, from my favorite morning radio show – The Preston and Steve Show – came the first annual Possum Bowl.  I found watching possums Petunia and Marigold on the webcam to be much more entertaining (and less nauseating) than the slobby guys and excessive amounts of boob at Wing Bowl, and according to the outcome of this bout – the 49ers are favored to win the real thing on Sunday.

English: Baby possum lapping milk out of a bowl
Possum IN a bowl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking of the real thing on Sunday, I had to get in on the action too.  A few weeks ago a coworker showed me these cupcakes in a magazine (my poor brain can’t remember which one) and said, “You should make these!”

So I did.  And here they are:

football cupcakes

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For the grass I used a small closed star tip (Wilton #27), and the footballs are chocolate covered almonds.  These were pretty easy to put together and would make a great addition to any Super Bowl party.  Too bad for everyone I know – no one invited me to one this year.  No cupcakes for them!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering – the Wing Bowl 21 champ, Jamie “The Bear” McDonald, ate 287 wings.  Gross.  Not quite as gross as last year’s winner though.  He devoured THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN wings.

Bowl of "Wings"
Bowl of “Wings” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Par-tee!

I don’t really understand golf.  I mean, I get the general concept – get the ball in the hole in as few swings (strokes?) as possible – but I don’t get why anyone bothers.  It’s so boring.  And watching it?  I’d rather be eating cupcakes, even if they are golf themed…

Golf Cupcakes 1

Golf Cupcakes 2

These were for a 50th birthday in my office.  I piped on the grass using a Wilton #233 tip.  The “golf balls” are mini-gumballs, and the flags are made from coffee stirrers, paper and tape.  I figure since they were for a coworker, that it was okay for me to make the flags while I was AT work, right? 😉