Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is my last recipe in the “how to use up leftover jam” installment. I promise. 

I have a thing for frosting and always have. One of my favorite parts of being an adult is that I can make and eat frosting without anyone knowing about it. I have frosted many a cake first thing in the morning only to hit SUCH a sugar high before 9 am. It is lovely.

However, it seems that there are many people out there that don’t care much for frosting. I think it is because there is so much overly sweet frosting out there. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sickeningly sweet frosting but I think it is the frosting that gives the rest of them a bad rap.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

I first made this frosting last year for a wedding shower. Be still my heart.

Helloooooo lovely. Where have you been my whole life?

This frosting is perfect. Slightly sweet. Huge strawberry flavor. Incredible texture. It wins over person after person who claims to be a frosting hater. Seriously. Trust me on this.

It is a bit of work to make this frosting. It is a tad technical too. You know what? I believe in you. You can make this. Is it as easy as powdered sugar and butter? No. But it is worth every step of effort, every dirty spatula, every bowl you have to wash.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

If for some reason your frosting breaks/separates (mine did twice) just turn your mixer on medium high, set a timer for 3 minutes, take a deep breath, and then walk away. Both times my frosting broke (second time is above) I did that and both times it came back together. See?

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

And it is delicious paired with chocolate. This isn’t my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe to make but it is vegan and I had a dairy free guest I was cooking for (she had hers sans frosting). Besides you need a simple, easy, no fuss, comes together in a flash cake to make up for how much work the frosting is.

You know where else this frosting shines? In chocolate macaroons. I was so pleased to see I had enough frosting left over to fill a batch of macaroons. I was less pleased my macaroons were hollow. Thankfully they tasted delicious despite their flaws.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

My favorite way to eat it? With a spoon. Yes there is a tiny bit still left int he fridge and I have been slowly eating it bite by bite. I don’t feel the least bit guilty.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

One year ago today: Homemade Ricotta

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (makes 2 dozen cupcakes and enough frosting to frost them plus a little extra)
Cupcakes from the Wycliffe Cookbook, frosting from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Fill lined cupcake pans 1/2 full with the batter. Bake at 350°F. oven for 17-19  minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

For the frosting:
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) strawberry jam, pureed in a food processor

In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees). You can tell the sugar is dissolved my pinching some of the mixture between two fingers and rubbing- gritty and it isn’t done, smooth and you are set for the next step.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir in strawberry jam with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth. If after adding the jam the frosting breaks (mine did) simply mix on medium high for 2-4 minutes or until smooth.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

When I plan a shindig and pick out recipes frequently I will include recipes I have never made before. I don’t even make a test run before hand.

I am not trying to brag but 95% of the time I can tell from reading a recipe if it will a) work and b) what it will most likely taste like.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

This recipe made the list for tasty treats I will be serving up this coming Saturday. You know, at the brunch party I am throwing to celebrate this little blog’s first birthday. From 10am-1pm. You are coming right? Good. (If you need directions leave a comment and I will email them to you)

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

I was just going to make this cake. No test run, just throw it together and call it good. Then I got a wild hair and decided that it might fun to put all the recipes I am making for the party into a little cookbook for you to take home with you. Problem was I always adjust recipes after making them. I wanted to include this cake in the cookbook but was hesitant to give you the recipe without making it first.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

In all of this back and forth in my brain I finally decided to do something I don’t think I have ever done- I made a test run. Of course this meant there was cake at my house for no reason whatsoever. I had a friend come over Friday night and between the three of us we devoured half. Then the rest was gone by Saturday evening. It is that good.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

Even self proffesed earl grey haters liked this cake. It is subtle but complex. Normally treats that taste this great are lots of steps and many hours. Here is a tasty cake that is super sophisticated taste wise but takes no time at all to throw together. Yum.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

Come taste it on Saturday. Well not this one. I’ll make a fresh one.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze (serves 8)
Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

2 Earl Grey tea bags (about 3 tsp leaves)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the glaze:
1/2 cup rhubarb, diced
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line a 8 round cake pan. Empty the tea leaves from the tea bags into a cup and add the boiling water. Set aside for 3 minutes then add milk to cup.

Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. In a bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low, gradually add flour and tea mixture, alternating between wet and dry ingredients starting and ending with the dry. Beat until just combined.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 2-3 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is baking and cooling, place rhubarb in a small saucepan on low heat with lemon zest, sugar and water. Stirring occasionally, simmer rhubarb until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Puree mixture in a food processor or blender. Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sifted icing sugar and rhubarb puree and beat until smooth. Pour over the top of cooled cake and serve immediately. Can be refrigerated overnight.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

Apple Cupcakes (dairy free) with Vegan Buttercream Frosting

I was so honored last week when a sweet friend asked me to make a cake for her tiny’s first birthday.

Sure, I made Little’s last September but the pressure of making a first birthday cake for someone other than my kiddo was incredible. Thankfully, she is super laid back and loved the sweet little basketball cake with green and yellow cupcakes.

Yummy apple cupcakes (dairy free) with a vegan buttercream frosting.

Yes, I know the Ducks lost yesterday, but you know what? I don’t care. We are huge Duck fans around here as is this sweet friend and her husband. Not to mention they are raising a tiny Duck fan just like we are.

It is the only kind and proper way to raise children. I’m just saying.

And if you are a Duck you are always a winner regardless of the final score.

Her tiny Duck fan apparently also loves apples so apple cake it had to be. Many of his tiny friends are sensative to dairy so I set out to find and make dairy free cake and frosting.

Yummy apple cupcakes (dairy free) with a vegan buttercream frosting.

I was surprised how easy it was. Yes, the cake does contain eggs so it is not vegan but the frosting is! I used Earth Balance in the place of butter and coconut milk in place of regular milk. Everything turned out super tasty in my opinion.

Happy birthday sweet Ven. The world is so blessed to have you!

Yummy apple cupcakes (dairy free) with a vegan buttercream frosting.

Apple Cupcakes with Vegan Buttercream Frosting (makes 12 cupcakes and enough frosting for them)
Cake adapted from Hoosier Homemade, frosting is an original creation

Cake:

1  apple peeled and cored (I used large Fujis)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4  teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl mix the sugar and oil till combined. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk well. Dump in the flour, baking powder, cinnamo, salt and baking soda and mix till just combined. Either over the bowl of batter or in another bowl grated the apple. Mix all the grated apple and juices into the batter. Spoon about 1/4 cup in to lined muffin tins (about 1/2 full). Bake for 23-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

1 cup Earth Balance
2-3 tbs coconut milk (full fat from the can)
6 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In the bowl of your mixer all the Earth Balance and start mixing. Slowly and carefully add the powdered sugar cup by cup. Once combined add the vanilla then the coconut milk one tablespoon at a time till you like the consistency. Color if desired.

Yummy apple cupcakes (dairy free) with a vegan buttercream frosting.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

I heart cupcakes.

 Pina Colada Cupcakes

I haven’t been making them very much lately. I’m not suite sure why. Probably the all consuming obsession with biscotti and mexican food had something to do with it.

Anyways it was high time for cupcakes so here they are.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

In addition to loving cupcakes I love coconut. While making these I happily discovered Little will shovel toasted coconut in his face as fast as I will. Proud mama moment right there.

Decorating these lovelies was also the first time I had toddler help. Tiny mister has developed an opinion and a I’ll do it myself attitude. The MOST interesting thing in his world is whatever mama is doing at that moment. Thankfully sprinkling cupcakes with coconut is an easy Little friendly task. Even if one cupcake wound up doused.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

It was loads of fun. Tiny moments I store away in my heart for when my house is someday empty.

However I am a mean mean mama and Little didn’t get one of these cupcakes. You see… they are bit boozey. And by a bit I mean a lot.

Please don’t let the ingredient list deter you. I liked the flavor of the dark rum and coconut rum in frosting and cake. If you don’t have any, and don’t see this as a great excuse to visit the liquor store, feel free to sub extra coconut milk in the cake and just use whipping cream in the frosting. I think they would be equally tasty.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

In case you are wondering I had both coconut rum AND dark rum in liquor cabinet. That’s how we roll around here. Dark rum is kept on hand for when the craving for peaches/bananas/whatever fosters strikes. Coconut rum lives in the cabinet because…. yeah no excuse. It’s delicious. I like it (if you have leftover juice from the crushed pineapple add a shot or two of coconut rum. Thank me later).

So here you go. My first boozey cupcakes. I promise they wont be my last.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Pina Colada Cupcakes (makes 18-20)
Cake adapted from Paris Loves Pastry and frosting from Glorious Treats

Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut rum (or any rum you have on hand or coconut milk)
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup pineapple juice (from the drained crushed pineapple)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded baker’s coconut
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

In a small bowl, combine rum, coconut milk, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs to the sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add the flour mixture and the rum mixture, beating well after each addition. Fold in the coconut and pineapple. Fill cupcake liners nearly full- this recipe rises very little. Bake at 350°F for 20 – 25 minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when lightly touched.

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Frosting:

1/2 cup butter room temp
8 oz. cream cheese room temp
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (always use pure vanilla extract if possible)
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon Dark Rum (or whipping cream)

Directions:
Place butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and blend until smooth. Add vanilla extract, coconut extract and powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy. Slowly add the rum. Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

Frost cupcakes and sprinkle with toasted coconut (Spread coconut in a pan and bake at 375 F for 8-10 minutes stirring often)

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Almond Poppyseed Bread

Who doesn’t love the poppyseed muffins from Costco?

Yum.

Almond poppyseed bread

However they present many problems. I can’t pronounce all the ingredients in them. Who needs to eat that big of a muffin anyways? And lastly I don’t have a Costco membership.

When I ran across this recipe earlier this month I was super excited. It sounded just like a poppyseed muffin but baked into a loaf.

Almond poppyseed bread

I was not disappointed. Incredibly tasty and easy. You can glaze or not. It is equally tasty either way. Wanna hear something strange? This bread is best a few days old and just a tad stale. Maybe that is because I wanted that authentic Costco muffin experience but honestly I liked it better the longer it sat on the counter. Which for the record was only three days.

Yeah it didn’t last long around here.

Almond poppyseed bread

Almond Poppyseed bread (makes two big loaves)
(I am not linking to the post I got the recipe from. The recipe was SCREWED up and that makes me cranky)

3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups melted and cooled butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 T. poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp lemon extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1-3 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together the melted butter and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Add poppyseeds, almond extract, milk and vanilla. In a seprate bowl sift together the flour salt and baking powder. Add to the wet mixture and mix till just combined. Do not overmix. Pour in to two floured and greased (or parchment lined) loaf pans. Bake for 40-45 min. Glaze while still warm.

To make the glaze combine the powdered sugar and extracts in a bowl. Slowly add milk one teaspoon at a time till it is ever so slightly runny. Pour over warm bread.

Almond poppyseed bread

Peppermint Pattie Cookies

These cookies were part of a secret mission.

A delicious secret mission.

See, my dear friend Mike came home from Afghanistan. If you have been reading here for a while you can recall that when he left for Afghanistan last summer I made him a peppermint pattie cake. It was a huge hit.

Last Wednesday I saw this cookie recipe and knew in a heartbeat I had to make it for him. Not wanting to intrude on his first weekend home and his time with his lovely girl Bev, I decided to play ding dong ditch. It is actually one of my items on the list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30- #6 play ding dong ditch 6 times and leave behind tasty treats.

Peppermint Pattie Cookie

You know what ding dong ditch is right? You go to someone’s house, ring the doorbell, then run away (ditch) before they get to the door. Mostly it is done as a practical joke. I find it a fun way to unload excess baked goods.

The problem was these were so good they almost didn’t make it to his house. I had the thought several times of just eating them all myself since he would never know he didn’t get them. The brownie cookie is superb. Be sure to make them on the small side because they are quite rich. The frosting recipe only made enough to frost about two dozen cookies so either make extra or just enjoy the plain brownie cookies. That was our compromise actually- we kept the dozen that didn’t get frosted. They are perfect for breakfast. Honestly.

Peppermint Pattie Cookie

One final note- I am always learning things. The original recipe author had a hard time drizzling the chocolate so I opted to make a piping cone out of parchment paper to do my chocolate decorating. Problem was I had no idea how to make the paper piping cone. You tube came to rescue. I highly recommend watching the video and making your own. It made decorating the cookies SO easy. Then the leftover ganache went in my latte. Cause you know… That’s where it belongs.

Peppermint Pattie Cookie

Peppermint Pattie Cookies (makes 3 dozen cookies and frosting for 2 dozen)
Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Cookies
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup loosely brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Peppermint Icing (increase by 1/2 if you want to frost all your cookies)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

Ganache
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Peppermint Pattie Cookie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix the cooled butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms – it will look crumbly at first, but it will come together. Fold in chocolate chips.

Roll dough into 1-1 1/2-inch balls (about 1 Tbs) and place on a nonstick baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the middles are just set.  Let cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, add powdered sugar, butter, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until smooth and creamy. Use a spatula and spread the peppermint cream over the top of each cookie evenly.

Once the frosting has had a chance to dry (about an hour) carefully microwave the dark chocolate and heavy cream till melted and smooth (I did it in 30 second increments). Either drizzle or pipe the chocolate decoratively over the cookies. Allow to harden.

 

Almond Joy Cupcakes

I love candy. Above all I love candy with good chocolate.I CANNOT do crap chocolate. Those little silver kisses? Ewww! I’ll spit them straight out. No matter how bad my chocolate craving those don’t count as edible to me. I can’t do snickers or the like either. The chocolate just isn’t right.

Can I confess that I cannot remember the last time I ate a whole candy bar ? It makes me feel smug. I feel way too guilty picking one up at the store and even more guilty devouring a whole candy bar at once. However I seem to have no qualms about eating lots of little bites off a large chocolate bar or repeatedly returning to the chocolates my parents had set out at their house yesterday. Somehow if you can eat them in two bites or less they are better for you. Right?

Almond Joy Cupcakes

My sister, God bless her, bought a tin of Quality Street chocolates (don’t know what they are? See here). We had to figure out what filling was in each colorfully wrapped chocolate and ate maybe four or more each in less than 10 minutes. Ok maybe it was closer to six. My absolute favorite out of the whole tin was the blue one- chocolate covered coconut. The second I bit in to it I was reminded of these cupcakes. I can’t believe I skipped sharing them with you.

So if the chocolate is small or comes with cake I have absolutely no self control. I’m glad the tin of Quality Street went home with my sister and that these cupcakes are long gone.

These cupcakes are impressive and ridiculously easy. If you are a fan of Mounds, or Bounty, or the blue Quality Street chocolates, or coconut then these are for you. I think the frosting would make a great filling for a layered cake too.

Almond Joy Cupcakes

Almond Joy Cupcakes (makes about 18)
adapted from Your Cup of Cake

1 batch of your favorite chocolate cupcakes (I used half this recipe. You could even just use a box mix if you want)

Coconut Topping:
1/4 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 cups chopped chocolate

Bake and cool your cupcakes per your recipe (or box).

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add shredded coconut and vanilla, mix again. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. Pipe your topping onto cooled cupcakes. Use a knife to smooth out the topping. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt and stir until smooth. Dip cupcakes into chocolate and then sprinkle almonds on top. Do it quickly before the chocolate cools.

Almond Joy Cupcakes

Nutter butters

I’m really really happy these cookies have come and gone from my house. You could say there has been a bit of stress around here lately and, while I have historically not had this problem, I have have been stress eating. To combat the inevitable weight gain I have no snacks in the house. No ice cream, no cookies, no chocolate. Well the chocolate part is a lie right now because I have one Lindt Lindor ball and one Ferrero Rocher that I pilfered from my parents house last night. But otherwise no chocolate.

Delicious homemade nutter butters

What is there to eat in my house? Salad. Lots of fresh veggies. Ingredients for dinner but everything has to be assembled which means time which is good in the stress eating world. Less likely to down a whole box of uncooked pasta mindlessly. If I had chips they would be gone. Also I have lots and lots of fruit. I’m drinking loads of tea and water. Anything to help me chill out on the stuffing my face front.

Life should mellow out here shortly. I really want to attempt a couple of recipes this weekend but I either need people around to eat the results or I need to develop some self control. Maybe a bit of both. Maybe I should just eat more oranges.

Delicious homemade nutter butters

Oh but these cookies. I wish, and don’t wish, I had some right now. They are less crunchy than the name brand cookies you buy in the store but they are equally good. Stuff your face with them good. Give them all away so you don’t eat them in one sitting good. If you are a peanut butter fiend, and have the self control I currently lack, you need to make these right away. I’m going to go snack on a kiwi.

Nutter Butters (makes about 2 dozen 2 cookie sandwiches)
Adapted from Remodelaholic

For the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

For the filling:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3  cups confectioners’ sugar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the cookies: in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda; use a whisk to combine, set aside. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Add sugars and beat at medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping down bowl twice. At low speed, add eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until well mixed, frequently scraping down bowl. Add oats, and mix well.

Using a small scoop, place balls of dough on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies have spread and turned very light golden brown, about 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool and firm up, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before filling.

Make the filling: Cream together the butter, peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar until very smooth.

Delicious homemade nutter butters

Assemble cookies: Spread a thin layer of filling on two similarly sized cookies then sandwich them together.

Notes: This batter spreads and therefore the cookies can be huge and a bit thin. Use a small scoop of batter (like only a tablespoon or less) for smaller bite sized cookies.

Delicious homemade nutter butters

Perfect Chocolate Frosting

I realized that back when Little turned one (in September) I had a request for the recipe for the frosting on the cupcakes I served at his party. Yeah. Never got around to posting it. Sorry about that.

So today’s post is short and sweet. Just this quick recipe. Don’t take the length of this post as an indicator of the quality of this recipe. This frosting is perfect. Go frost cupcakes today and give them to your loved ones with an extra hug and kiss.

Perfect Chocolate Frosting

Perfect Chocolate Frosting (frosts about 2 dozen cupcakes)
barely adapted from What Megan’s Making

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1-2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt

Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl of stand mixer and beat on medium-low speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and a pinch of salt and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.

Sugar Cookies

Christmas is probably my favorite time of year. I start in on the Christmas music early (Nov. 2nd this year). If it weren’t for my husband putting his foot down I would have had our tree up BEFORE thanksgiving. My house is slowly getting decorated as it is hard to get things done with Little underfoot but I just love it. Part of the Christmas season in my house has always involved an inordinate amount of baking. It is all so so so good.

Sugar cookies

Sugar cookies are a staple on the Christmas baking list. When I was little we would decorate them at the kitchen table, always consuming more frosting than any child should. Now that I have my own Little I wonder about my mother’s state of mind letting two wild children have that much contact with frosting- the perfect sugar high delivery vehicle. I loved decorating those cookies but can remember always being frustrated they weren’t perfect. We used a simple buttercream (butter, powdered sugar, a bit of milk) frosting. It was delicious but it was hard to be precise. When I got older and made the cookies at my house I always felt a bit blah about the frosting. Don’t get me wrong- I loved the flavor. I just wanted my cookies to look prettier.

Sugar cookies

With all these baking endeavors I have embarked on I have finally discovered how to decorate my cookies and make them look like I want them to! At first it took a couple of tries but I think I’ve got at least to my level of satisfaction. Lets not get crazy here, I am no perfectionist. The secret is to get the glaze/frosting the consistency of cold honey then put it in a squeeze bottle. It makes the whole process so easy! I used to pipe a thin border around the cookie then flood them with a thinner consistency icing. That was so.much.work. If you keep your glaze/frosting thick enough you can just squeeze a good amount on to the cookie then spread it around with a knife or small spatula.

Enjoy.

Sugar cookies

Sugar Cookies and a simple frosting/glaze (makes about 4 dozen depending on how big your cookie cutters are)
cookies adapted from I am Baker and frosting from King Arthur Flour

1 1/2 cup Butter (I Use Unsalted)
2 cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 whole Eggs Yolks
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoons Almond Extract
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add in 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks and mix until combined. Add in vanilla and almond extract; mix until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly (about a cup at a time) add flour to butter mixture and combine.  Be careful to not overmix as this dough can get tough.

Put dough in some plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out, cut out cookies, and bake for 8-10  minutes.

Sugar cookies

Frosting/Glaze

2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
Food coloring (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup.  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the milk and mix until smooth. Add more milk 1 tsp at a time till it reaches the consistency of cold honey. Color with food coloring, place in squeeze bottles and frost your completely cool cookies.

Sugar cookies