March 31st, 2010 |
The most frequent question I get asked about cupcakes is regarding how to make buttercream frosting. I get told it turns out too runny or too thick. So I thought I’d share with you a buttercream recipe that I use, that works like a treat each and every time.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
250 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
400 grams icing sugar
1 tbs milk (optional)
2 tbs vanilla extract
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and cream for 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl occasionally. Add sifted icing sugar, milk and vanilla. Beat for a minute further. Add food coloring as desired.
Buttercream can be stored to up to three days in an airtight container in a cool place. Do not refrigerate.
Now that you have perfected making buttercream, it’s time to decorate. A really simple, yet effective way to decorate cupcakes is to pipe the buttercream in a rose or flower design.
First, you’ll need a closed star piping tip. I like to use a Wilton 2D tip. Pop the piping tip into a piping bag and fill with buttercream. Starting from the center of the cupcake, work your way to the outside in a circular motion. If you don’t get it the first time, please keep practicing, you will get the hang of it in no time and be producing beautiful cupcakes like these!
~Sharnel, My Life My Loves
Images: yellow cupcake with pink butterfly (by me!), cupcakes (shamsD via flickr.com)
March 25th, 2010 |
I came across this darling cake on epicurious.com – talk about a darling cupcake topper! This would be so cute for an Easter brunch, a birthday party or shower. If you aren’t up for making a cake and cupcakes from scratch – cheat a little! Order the cake from your local bakery, and bake your own cupcakes (the cupcakes don’t have any special decorations….just different colored frosting!).
March 25th, 2010 |
I wish you had all been sitting with me when I first saw these cupcakes….I couldn’t hide my “ooh!!” if I had tried! They are so cute, so unique….and are sure to get rave reviews from guests young and old. Here is the recipe from All You:
- 1 16.5-oz. roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons egg-white powder (such as Just Whites)
- Red and green food coloring
- 1/2 cup each light and dark pink decorating sugars
- Large flower décors
- 2 cups chopped sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 16-oz. can vanilla frosting
- 24 cupcakes, any flavor
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Knead dough and flour together until smooth. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out bunny shapes using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Transfer to baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Reroll scraps; continue cutting to get 24 bunnies.
3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Make cookie frosting: Stir confectioners’ sugar, egg-white powder and 3 Tbsp. warm water until smooth. (If frosting is too thick, stir in more water, 1 tsp. at a time.) Spoon 2 Tbsp. frosting into a ziplock bag. Tint remaining frosting light pink with a drop of red food coloring. Keep frosting covered to prevent drying.
4. Working on 1 cookie at a time, spread a thin layer of pink frosting on top. Sprinkle top of frosted cookie with light or dark pink decorating sugar to coat, shaking off excess. Snip a small corner from bag with white frosting. Pipe a few dots of white frosting on cookie; attach décors. Repeat with remaining cookies. Allow cookies to dry, 1 hour.
5. Place chopped coconut in a ziplock bag. Add a few drops of green food coloring; massage to tint coconut evenly. Put coconut in a shallow bowl. Spread vanilla frosting on cupcakes. Roll edges in green coconut. Press a cookie on top of each cupcake.
March 22nd, 2010 |
The Seder dinner marks the start of the Jewish holiday, Passover. Typically held at home, Seder dinners are full of tradition….and some delicious food! Set a warm, yet elegant table in shades of gold and simple white centerpieces. Add a personal touch by placing a votive candle with your guest’s names written on a small scroll at each place setting.
The Seder menu is stock full of tradition. Items such as matzo ball soup have been served during this holiday for generations! I found a few recipes on Bon Appetit that give a simple update to a few favorites:
These delicious recipes are sure to become new traditions in your family. Tell me, how do you celebrate the holiday?
Images: tulips (stylemepretty.com), votive candle (epicurious.com), napkin (karentran.com), table setting (lastoriafoto.com)
March 19th, 2010 |
It’s no secret that I love a good champagne cocktail! This recipe from Sunset Magazine is on my must-try list for this Spring! It’s a sweet and sour combination – just the way I like it!
Pour ¼ cup cranberry juice and ¼ cup pink grapefruit juice into a Champagne flute or a thin glass. Top with your favorite Champagne or sparkling wine. Serve immediately and keep the juices and bubbly chilled for refills.
March 18th, 2010 |
With the official start of Spring this weekend, I felt it was only appropriate to share some of the delicious Spring dessert recipes that I have found around the web. With so many fruits in season, these desserts are sure to look as good as they taste!
- Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
- Tulipes with Raspberry Sorbet
- Mango Tart
- Strawberry Napoleons
- Lemon Blackberry Mini Tarts
- Fresh Strawberry-Cream Cheese Tart
- Key Lime Cheesecake Bars
- Baked Alaska
March 17th, 2010 |
Salads can take on so many different forms: green, vegetable, fruit. But at the end of the day, we pretty much serve them the same way – in a bowl! Mix things up at your next dinner party by serving your salad in a “basket” made of cucumber slices.
It’s simple to construct. It’s pretty to look at. And it will leave your guest saying “ooh…a salad!”
Image via My Recipes
March 16th, 2010 |
Corned beef – you crave it once a year around St. Patrick’s Day – you cook it, it tastes amazing – but what do you do with all of the leftovers?! Corned beef sandwiches are great (check out this post from last year for a delicious idea!), but if you are looking for something new, give this recipe for corned beef hash from Food Network a try:
- 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups diced leftover rutabaga, carrots, potatoes and leek
- 2 cups chopped leftover corned beef
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups leftover corned beef cooking liquid
Heat 2 tablespoons butter with the vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add half of the vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the corned beef and cook until slightly brown, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, mash the remaining vegetables in a bowl with the parsley and 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Add to the skillet and stir to make a large pancake, adding up to 1/2 cup more cooking liquid, if needed. Cook until the hash is dark on the bottom, about 2 minutes.
Flip and continue cooking, turning occasionally and adding more butter if needed, until the hash is crunchy on the outside but still moist in the middle, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/4 cup cooking liquid 1 minute before serving.
March 16th, 2010 |
I’m Irish. Like, freckles and reddish-hair, Irish. Have I ever told you that?! So, not only do I come from a big, Irish family…but so does my husband! Since St. Patrick’s Day falls mid-week this year, we had our two big family celebrations on Sunday. I thought I got the holiday out of my system….but I keep thinking, what are we going to do on the actual day?! It’s too big of a deal in our families to just let the day slip by unnoticed!
I decided to whip together a quick little dinner party. You know…. simple. But festive! I am going to serve traditional corned beef and potatoes. But I also want to throw in some green, Spring vegetables – asparagus, broccolini, green beans and snap peas. I thought it would be interesting to try something new with the corned beef too, so I am going to try these corned beef and cabbage rolls as an appetizer. It looks yummy – and for those of us that are gluten-free (like me!) – it takes the place of a corned beef sandwich!
For dessert?! Chocolate-Irish cream cheesecake and an Irish martini. Sounds delicious, don’t you think?! What are your plans for celebrating?
Images: green dining room (karljuengel.com), napkin (theknot.com)
March 11th, 2010 |
Brides.com has a great feature on “dressing up” your cocktails for Spring. Simple ways that add a special touch to any occasion, here are a few of my favorites:
- Tie circle tags on to the bottom of a champagne flute or wine glass with each guest’s name on them.
- Anything is better with a monogram! Try these personalized tumblers for your next event!
- Dress up a plain cocktail with an orange-peel lollipop (roll up an orange peel and secure it with a wooden stick)
- Add stickers to plain tumblers to jazz them up for a party (love that you could customize the colors for each party, too!)
- L-O-V-E the sleek look of these flutes! Perfect for a cocktail party, have a waiter (or your husband!) pass these around in this cool, clear tray
- Tie a simple flower around the stem of a wine glass – the perfect touch of Spring!
- Serve a cocktail in an unusual glass – such as an ice cream soda glass.
- Garnish your cocktails with fruit! Pineapples are a sign of hospitality – the perfect way to welcome your guests!