Apple Cupcakes

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"Apples"

I seriously have some sort of obsession. All this cupcaking and cupcake related things need to stop. But before I give myself a cupcake intervention here are some nifty apple cupcakes I made!

Making the stemsMaking the leaves

You can see the recipe and directions here. It’s actually from the book What’s New, Cupcake? The sequel to Hello, Cupcake, aka best cupcake related book ever.

"Apples"

You need some mini donuts sliced in half for the tops of the “apples,” red frosting, red sprinkles and tootsie rolls for the stems and cut up green fruit chews for the leaves.

"Apples"

As a warning, you end up using A LOT of frosting. You need the better part of one of those standard sized cans of frosting for just about half a dozen cupcakes.

"Apples"

I think they turned out pretty nice, and not too many ingredients either for these kind of fancy cupcake designs. I think next I want to try the “tv dinner” cupcakes.

Owl Cakes

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Sunday I started a self imposed week long vegan, gluten free diet. Sort of a detox. I’ve been eating so bad lately I thought doing this only-eating-real-food diet would make me feel better.

Well, that all was ruined yesterday. I had forgotten that last week I agreed to make these cute Owl face cupcakes with Vanessa. Not exactly diet fare. At least we used an all natural cake mix. Does that make it any better? Not sure.

I caved and ate some cup cake scraps. So much for that. I didn’t eat a whole finished cupcake (we only finished about half the batch).


Vanessa found the idea from this blog. We gathered supplies, Junior Mints for the eyes, M&Ms for the beak and Oreos for eyes and well, eyebrows (?).

First we tried using Reduced Fat Oreos but neither of us could get a clean twist. We could barely pull them apart at all. I even tried microwaving them for a few seconds and using a paring knife to slice them apart. So at 9:30 at night we had to run to the grocery store to pick up new Oreos. We went with Double Stuff just to be safe and it was like the heavens opened up and angels sang down at us.

While we only used a regular chocolate cake mix, we did make the frosting recipe from the original blog which I loved because it was so easy and not your average frosting.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting from 6 Bittersweets
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
[or use a combination of semisweet and bittersweet] (we used semisweet chips)
1-2 tablespoons corn syrup

Combine the chocolate and cream in a medium, microwave-safe bowl. Try to submerge the chocolate as much as possible, but it’s okay to have some above the cream. Microwave the mixture on medium for 1 minute. Stir and heat again in 15-second increments, stirring thoroughly each time, until fully melted. Stir in corn syrup. Let this cool and thicken (in the fridge if needed) before using. If it cools too much, reheat in the microwave at 5-second intervals until it softens to the consistency you want.

We found that the cupcakes were too pointy for the Oreos to stay put so we sliced off the tops of the cupcakes to have a flat surface and that seemed to work well.

The more solid and cooled the frosting is the better the extras will stick – but not so cold that it’s solid. You kind of have to stick the eyebrows down into the cupcake itself to make them stay. We used a tiny tab of frosting to help the Junior Mints stick to the white stuff but be careful not to push the mints to hard or they’ll smash and break. I also poked a paring knife into the cupcake a bit to help the M&M stay in place.

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I’m going to a sewing class tonight to learn the proper way to sew zippers! Now I just have to make sure I actually have a zipper foot and find my invisible zipper foot. I’m such a slacker. I should have thought to look for those earlier. Down to the wire as usual.

Cheesy crackers

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My friend Vanessa loves Tastespotting and only until lately have I realized why. Sooooo many wonderful recipes collected from all over blog land in pretty pretty picture format just makes my mouth water!

Saturday I hopped over to her place to work on her new business logo designs and to make some super delicious cheddar cheese crackers. Yes, they are pretty much cheese-its, and yes, it may not be completely worth it to spend all the time making them when you could just buy that orange box at the store but it was still fun and the end result was delicious!

Sorry, Vanessa for stealing your thunder but I can’t just let these terrible iphone photos go to waste!

The recipe is from Home Cooking in Montana via Tastespotting.

Cheddar Crackers
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper (optional)
4 TBSP cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
3-4 TBSP water

Directions:Pulse the flour, salt and pepper, then add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add grated cheese a little at a time until the mixture again resembles coarse meal. (Vanessa had a small food processor so we did the whole thing in batches)

Pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms into a ball. It will probably take a minute or so.


(Vanessa proudly holding the dough blob)

Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. (Uh, we didn’t have a lot of time so we did about 30 mins) This way the butter has time to solidify and I think makes for puffier crackers.

Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet. You don’t want to roll them paper thin, neither do you want to roll them too thick. If they are too thin, they will not puff up as much. If they are too thick, they will not be as crispy.

(Most of ours ended up puffing up. Softer on the inside and crispy on the outside. I think I liked them better than normal crackers.)

(We used a pizza cutter to slice the dough. We tried squares and triangles. We didn’t fork the edges of all of them. Vanessa wanted at least some to look pretty. We also poked holes in the middle for some reason I don’t remember)

Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. Watch them after the 10 minute mark.

These were so good! And if you have a big enough food processor (or you split the recipe) they are very simple to make. The perfect snack and way better than the store bought kind.

Anyone see any Tastespotting ideas they want to try? Maybe some Indian? I don’t know why I’m craving Indian food so much lately…

Oreo Cupcakes

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My roommate in LA made these cupcakes and after making these other cupcakes I remembered how wonderful these cupcakes were. I found the recipe by searching through some blogs.

From How to Eat a Cupcake

COOKIES AND CREAM CUPCAKES
MAKES 22 TO 24

30 Oreo cookies
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
2. Count out 12 Oreos and separate the top and bottom wafers. Make sure each has some of the icing on it. Place one wafer, icing side up, in the bottom of each paper liner. Set them aside. Place the remaining 18 Oreos between sheets of waxed paper or in a large, closed zipper-lock bag and crush them by rolling over them with a rolling pin. Set these crumbs aside.
3. Place the cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 1 1/2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the crushed Oreos and fold these into the batter until well incorporated. Set aside the remaining crushed Oreos for the frosting. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cup­cake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You will get between 22 and 24 cupcakes; remove the empty liners, if any.) Place the pans in the oven.
4. Bake the cupcakes until they are lightly golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of the cupcake liners, lift the cup­cakes up from the bottoms of the cups using the end of the knife, and pick them out of the cups carefully with your finger­tips. Place them on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before frosting.

Store these cupcakes, in a cake saver or under a glass dome, at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If you plan to freeze them, don’t add the cookie-crumb topping. Wrap them I in aluminum foil or in a cake saver and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw the cup­cakes overnight in the refrigerator and top with cookie crumbs before serving.

Oreos at the bottom, my favorite part!

Crushed up oreos in the bag.

I could have made my own icing but I was lazy and just used some store bought kind.