Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gingerbread Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

These are fun for Christmas parties - bite-sized and delicious! I got this recipe from another food blog that I follow. Check out the original recipe HERE.

You'll need:

For the cupcakes:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
3/4 cup water

For the frosting:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. milk

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream together sugar and softened butter.

Add molasses.

Beat in eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice.

Stir in water. The mixture will look a little like dough.

Gradually blend the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, one cup at a time, until all the clumps are gone.

Line cupcake pan with paper liners, and fill 2/3 full with batter. I used a mini-cupcake pan for this batch, and baked them about 12-14 minutes. If you make regular-sized cupcakes, bake for 16-18 minutes.

Now time for frosting!

Blend together the cream cheese, butter, lemon zest, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. When you're done adding the sugar, blend in the couple teaspoons of milk.

Be sure to cool the cupcakes completely before frosting. Piping frosting makes me happy...

So do sprinkles...


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Pretzel Candy

These are so easy to make! And the sweet/salty pairing is delicious!

You'll need:
Hugs Hershey Kisses (and/or Rolos)
Pretzel Snaps (I call these waffle pretzels.)
Red/Green M&Ms

Center each Kiss on a pretzel.

Bake on 200 degrees for 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven, and gently press an M&M in the center of each Kiss.

Let these cool for a few minutes and then carefully place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened. Both the Rolos and Hugs were delicious!

Sending you lots of love and Christmas spirit from my kitchen! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

My roommate got this recipe from a friend and made it for a dinner party last week. It was so delicious, I knew I had to add it to the menu for my family's Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago, with a few minor tweaks. It was a hit!! Pretty sure we'll be seeing it again this Christmas!

You'll need:

4 cups sweet potato
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Wash potatoes and wrap in foil. Bake the potatoes at 300 degrees for about 2 hours or until a knife easily slides through them. The cooking time will depend on how big the potatoes are.

Unwrap potatoes and slice in half when done. Let them hang out about 10 minutes or until they're cool enough to handle

Scoop out the potato filling, and whisk along with all casserole ingredients until blended and creamy.

Transfer the mixture into a glass dish that's been sprayed with cooking spray.

Combine brown sugar and flour with butter.

Use a fork to cut up the butter.

Add chopped walnuts.

 Sprinkle topping evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake this for 20-25 minutes on 350 degrees.

Crispy, crunchy top. Sweet, creamy center. Yum!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Nutella Hot Chocolate

With all of my Nutella recipes, I'm sure I look a little obsessed at this point, but these recipes keep finding me! I adapted this from a recipe a friend sent me on Pinterest!

I made this for my brothers on Thanksgiving night when they wanted a sweet, post-pie treat. I snuck a sip, and trust me, this stuff is gooood.

You'll need:
2 cups milk
4 Tbsp. Nutella
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 Tbsp. cocoa powder (optional)

*Makes 2 servings

Optional Toppings:
Whipped Cream

Combine milk, Nutella, cinnamon, and vanilla in small pot or saucepan on medium heat. (For a richer, more chocolaty taste, add cocoa powder, too. I was out, so I skipped it this time.) Just whisk gently until all the Nutella has melted.

Turn heat down to medium-low, and let the mixture get hot - about 3 minutes or until it's at your desired temperature.

My brothers like to put their marshmallows in first...

I added a dollop of whipped cream to each mug. (Mix 1/2 cup heavy cream with 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar using an electric mixer until soft peaks form.. you'll have some leftover... Or just use Cool Whip!).

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate Sheet Cake - Happy Birthday, Blog!

Today marks exactly ONE YEAR of food blogging! Has it really been that long?! I started this blog to share recipes with a few friends, and now 60 recipes and a few thousand page views later, here we are! I felt the need to celebrate (with food obviously), so I want to share this delicious sheet cake with you! But first, let's do a quick recap of some of my (and your) favorite recipes of the last year - just for fun. :)

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes - It's no surprise that this post has gotten more hits than any others on LTK! I even TRIED to give it some competition with other Nutella recipes (Nutella Rice Krispy Treats, Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies, Nutella French Toast) but you guys kept going back to these cupcakes.

Balsamic Chicken & Tortellini Salad - This was your second-favorite dish! The first time I made this was for a baby shower, and it was so fresh and flavorful that I kept making it over and over again. It's even better on Day 2 after it's had time to sit in the refrigerator and marinate. YUM!!

Blackberry Shortbread Bars - These yummy bars haven't gotten as many hits as they deserve, but this is one of my favorites recipes, so I couldn't resist giving these little guys a spotlight. They will change your life!!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins - I JUST made these a couple weeks ago, but I have a feeling they'll be popping up in my kitchen several more times this season. They're moist and delicious, and the sweet swirl of cream cheese frosting on top doesn't hurt.

Okay, enough of that - on to this gorgeous sheet cake! This recipe comes straight from Pioneer Woman's blog. Check it out HERE!

You'll need:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 heaping Tbsp. Cocoa
2 sticks butter
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
Bakers Joy for spraying pan

1 3/4 stick butter
4 heaping Tbsp cocoa
6 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 cup) powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Start by whisking together flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

Melt 2 sticks of butter in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat.

While that's breaking down, whisk together buttermilk, beaten eggs, vanilla, and baking soda.

Once the butter is melted, sift in cocoa while whisking gradually.

Add boiling water.

Now pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients you set aside. Careful, it's hot!

Stir that a little so that the ingredients begin binding together.

Add in the buttermilk mixture.

Whisk until fully incorporated, and pour the batter into a pan sprayed with Baker's Joy (a mixture of flour and olive oil.) My sheet cake pan is 12x17 inches and about 1 inch deep. If you use anything smaller and deeper, you may have to adjust the baking time.

Use a rubber spatula to even out the batter.

Bake this at 350 degrees for just 20 minutes. While that's in the oven, it's time to make the frosting!

This is going to start similar to the cake. Melt butter and sift in cocoa powder, stirring together gradually.

Stir in milk and vanilla.

Remove from heat, and gently stir in the powdered sugar about a cup at a time.

This is what happens when you're not gentle... oops... too excited.

Keep whisking until smooth and creamy.

Now finely chop and add the pecans.

Stir those into the frosting.

Pour the icing over the cake.

Spread evenly with rubber spatula.


Eat up, and share. This makes a lot of cake!

Sending you a whole year's worth of love from my kitchen! Hoping I can stay committed through Year 2. :)