A’Tempting’ Tuesday: Cheap and Easy Is, As Cheap and Easy Does

With only my son and me at home most of the time, I’ve been giving the tiara a little rest.  There’s been very little “real” cooking going on at my house.

I have been on a mission to find some easy, affordable meals that would work to prepare for just one, as my son and I are on different levels of “taste buddiness.”  There are only so many hot dogs and chicken nuggets one woman can endure, so I’m often resorting to making separate dishes for the two of us.

My search hasn’t turned up much I’m just crazy about yet.  I found this recipe for Creamy Tomato and Spinach Pasta at Budget Bytes.  This one was okay, but not a real winner for me in the taste department. It was just, well, edible.  Cheap and easy is, as cheap and easy does, I guess. It would have been just as easy to open a can of tomato soup (I love Campbell’s Cream of Tomato Soup, by the way), throw in some pasta and spinach and be done with it.

It is definitely affordable.  It comes in at just under $4 for 4 servings.  I should have cut the recipe in half.  After I ate it twice, I was done with it and I hate to throw away leftovers.

I might give this one another try.  I followed the recipe exactly.  I will say it fit the affordable and easy requirement quite nicely. I do think with some tweaking and playing with the seasonings, I might make it into something I really like.

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

1 T olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
Pinch red pepper flakes
Freshly cracked pepper to taste
½ tsp salt
2 T tomato paste
2 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan
½ lb. penne pasta
½ (9 oz.) bag fresh spinach

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook until tender. (7-10 minutes.) Drain.

While pasta is cooking, dice the onion and mince the garlic.  Cook both on medium-low heat in large skillet with the olive oil until soft and transparent, about 5 minutes.

Add the diced tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir.  Add the tomato paste and ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.

Turn the heat to low.  Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and add to the skillet with the tomato sauce.  Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy.  Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until melted.  Add the remainder of the Parmesan and whisk until melted again.

Add the fresh spinach and gently stir into the sauce until it has wilted. Add the pasta and stir until well coated with the sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve warm.

Despite not being in love with this recipe, I do love the Budget Bytes website.  Check it out.  There’s lots of ideas for easy, affordable dinners.

Cook’s Note:  I may play with this a little and see if I can improve it to suit my tastes.  If you try, let me know what changes you make.

Also, I must apologize for the lack of a photo.  I took one, but cannot tell you what happened to it.  I’ve had some issues with the flash card in my camera.  If I can recover the photo, I will add it later.

Until next time…

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: I’m fessing up

I am putting on my big girl Tiara and fessing up.  I’ve lied.  Sort of.  In an earlier post I believe I said I rarely, if ever use cake mixes.  I don’t to make cakes.  However, cookies are a different story.  One of my favorite cookie bar recipes starts with a yellow cake mix.

As I said last week, my son and I are settling into a new routine and I haven’t tried many new recipes in the last couple of weeks.  We’ve been knee-deep in baseball practice and I’ve been just a little lazy.  Quite honestly, my son’s picky, 11-year-old taste buds are quite happy with frozen chicken nuggets or a quick homemade pizza.  So today, for lack of anything new or earth shattering to share, I thought I’d post one of my oldies but goodies.

This recipe for Butterscotch Cashew Scotchies came from one of my favorite cookbooks — The Cake Mix Doctor.  Since I am already married and so is “The Cake Boss,” I think I want to be the author of this book, Anne Byrn, when I grow up.   Why didn’t I come up with this??  I have had this book in my collection for years and can’t remember if I got it as a gift or received it as a review copy years ago.  Either way, I’ve had it a long time so I looked it up to see if it is still available.  It is, along with several other versions of this book by the same author.  I may have to invest in The Cake Mix Doctor Returns or one of the other publications.  There’s a gluten-free Cake Doctor and even a Dinner Doctor, among several others.  I want them all.   As a bonus, she even has a website (linked above) full of recipes and wonderful tidbits.  I don’t know why I never thought to look it up before.

Here’s a link to The Cake Mix Doctor on Amazon.com.

This recipe for Butterscotch Cashew Scotchies  can be made with either butterscotch chips or chocolate chips.  Of course, I have always chosen the latter.  Come on y’all. If chocolate is one of your choices, is there another option?

The recipe combines a cake mix, cashews, brown sugar and butterscotch or chocolate chips to make a wonderful bar cookie that is neither too gooey or crumbly.  It’s just right.  Again, this recipe came straight out of  The Cake Mix Doctor cookbook.  I cannot claim it as my own.  And, to my friends who often request this cookie, you now know my secret!  I have probably misled you, but I was so enjoying basking in  the “glory” and praise I received when I made these.  But now, we’ll move on.

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Butterscotch Cashew Scotchies

1 package (18.25 oz) plain yellow cake mix
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) melted butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped lightly salted cashews
1 cup butterscotch chips or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Set aside an ungreased 13×9″ baking pan.
Place the cake mix, brown sugar, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape the sides of  the bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend again on low speed for 1 minute. Transfer the batter to the pan, smoothing it out so that it reaches all sides. Sprinkle the cashew pieces and butterscotch or chocolate chips over the batter.
Bake the cake until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 27 to 29 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.
Cut the cake into 24 bars. Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula, and serve.

Cook’s Talk

  • This is a personal  preference, but I always very lightly spray my baking dish with baking spray.
  • Again, I used chocolate chips.  And, to be honest, occasionally I probably throw in a little more than a cup, or sometimes a little less.  It depends on what I have on hand.
  • This batter is very thick.  I find it’s easier to spread with the back of a metal spoon lightly coated with baking spray.
  • I lightly “pat” the cashews and chocolate chips into the batter.
  • My oven is crazy, so I start checking the cookies at about 25 minutes, so I don’t dry them out.
  • The recipe says to cut into 24 bars.  It would drive my OCD side crazy trying to measure and get them all the exact same size, so I hold my breath and just cut.  I couldn’t tell you how many cookies I wind up with.  I like to cut them a little on the smaller side.

I hope you enjoy. If you have another of Anne Bryn’s cookbooks, do share.  Now that I’ve discovered there are so many more, it might help me decide which one to purchase next.  (I am a cookbook junkie.)

Until next time….

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: King Cake Cupcakes, Homemade Crescent Rolls and a Change in My Journey

Well hello y’all.  I’ve been really lax lately in my posts.  My plan is not going as I had hoped, but oh well.  What do you do? .. let’s just roll with it.

It’s Fat Tuesday, so Laissez les bons temps rouler!

The dynamic at our home has changed slightly. My hubby has a new job three hours away, which means during the week we live separately.  My son and I are getting used to a new schedule with one less parent during the week, which makes my Cooking, Crafting and Chaos journey a little more challenging as I look for ways to tackle all the projects I’d like to.  But you know what? Bring it!  I’m determined.  I need my creative time.

Today’s recipe should really have posted last week.  We were recently invited to a Mardi Gras themed party.  I needed a dish to take.  I was looking for something quick and easy to prepare as we had several things going on.   I ran across a recipe for King Cake Cupcakes that fit bill.  First, I love, love, love to make anything in cupcake liners.  These were super easy and they certainly fit the theme.

I found them in a blog, Crave. Indulge. Satisfy., which was certainly fitting.

I won’t reprint the recipe as it’s not mine and believe it or not, I made no changes to it, other than omitting the raisins and adding a little vanilla to the glaze. They were a hit at the party.

You can find the recipe here.  It’s basically crescent roll dough filled with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.  You wrap them up and bake them in cupcake liners, then top them with a yummy, sugary glaze.  I topped them with purple, green and gold sprinkles, placed them on a purple tray and accented with Mardi Gras beads.  Shhhhhh! don’t tell anyone how easy it was.  It looked like I had really worked hard.

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone.  As I was making these and pondering the cost of buying six, yes six, cans of crescent rolls (at roughly $2.10 a can) I decided I needed to try my hand at making homemade crescent rolls.  This led to another baking adventure.  Wearing my tiara and armed with my KitchenAid, I think I can do anything.  Turns out I can!   They really weren’t that difficult.

I researched a few recipes.  Based on what I had in my kitchen, I took several recipes and came up with one that worked for me.  This was my final recipe. I haven’t actually figured out the final cost, but I know it was less expensive than the cans.

**As I finalized this post, of course something went wrong.  I’ve lost some photos on my SD card.  Included was some of the photos for this blog.  I was able to recover most of them, but not the photo of my King Cake Cupcakes.  Even my tiara didn’t save me from this failure. Like I said, BRING IT!! I do however have a photo of my crescent roll dough creation, below.

Homemade Crescent Rolls

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1 T sugar (I used Splenda)
2 cups flour (you can use cake flour, but I never have it)
1/2 tsp salt
4 T butter, room temperature

In the bowl of a stand mixer  combine yeast, water, milk and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Add in bread flour and salt and mix well with a dough hook. Cut the softened butter into three or flour pieces and drop them into the dough blending them in.

Mix for about 2 minutes. Cover the bowl and let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Turn risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Press it out into a circle with your hands, then use a rolling pin to roll it out into an even, 10-inch circle.

Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to divide the circle into 12 triangles.

Starting with the outside edge of one of the triangles, roll the edge towards the center (just like you do with the canned rolls). Once rolled, curve the roll slightly into a crescent shape and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with all rolls. Cover rolls with a clean dish towel and let rise for 20 minutes.

Melt additional 1 T butter in a small bowl. Brush tops of rolls with butter.

Bake for 14-18 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Cook’s Talk: I stopped after the first 45 minutes of rising and just rolled out the dough to make a taco “loaf.”  I just filled it with taco meat and cheese.  I didn’t start out to make that, but  that is what I had in the kitchen on this night. I plan to complete the process to actually make rolls soon.

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It tasted much better than it looks in this photo.

Crescent rolls have really always been a go-to for a quick, easy meal or  party snack. They are great when my kitchen is low on groceries or we are in a big hurry. And, as a bonus, I can wrap anything in crescent roll dough or a tortilla and get my picky 11-year-old to eat it.   The dough turned out beautifully and both hubby and child loved it.  The moral of the story, I see many possibilities.  And, as this was so easy, I don’t think I’ll be buying any more canned rolls.

Coming soon, I think I’ll share some more of my favorite “crescent” recipes and even the cost of making them homemade.

Until next time…

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: College Baking and Chocolate Goodness

photoToday, I want to share something with all you chocolate lovers out there.  That’s everyone, right????

I got to spend a wonderful weekend recently visiting with my daughter in her college town.   While there, the weather became pretty dreadful.  Taylor (my daughter) is enjoying having her very first apartment and learning to cook in her kitchen.  We decided to stay in where it was warm one day and do some baking.

She and her friend, Kendall, took to Pinterest to find something they’d like to bake and the recipe they chose — Pinata Cupcakes —  actually came from this Blog.

I so enjoyed shopping with the girls to equip Taylor’s kitchen with everything she needed to make these, and then returning to walk them both through the baking process.  They did a wonderful job. All I did was answer their questions as they went.  I was so enjoying my time with them that I didn’t really focus on getting any great pictures, but I will share what I got.

The recipe is definitely worth sharing, but warning it is very, very rich.  I’m the epitome of the chocolate lover.  I think chocolate, along with cream cheese and Cool Whip, should be a staple in every kitchen.  You can cover anything in chocolate and it will taste great. I truly believe chocolate has healing qualities, and a balanced diet is chocolate in each hand.  Even I, and my love of all things chocolate had to indulge in this cupcake slowly.  I couldn’t eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Here goes y’all:

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PINATA CUPCAKES
makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup hot coffee
2 eggs
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup of heavy cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter (again y’all, REAL butter)
M&Ms for filling the cupcakes
Sprinkles for topping (optional)

The Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prepare 12 cupcake liners in a muffin pan.  Set aside.
  2. In mixer bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix well.
  3. In separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, vegetable oil and milk.  Mix well.
  4. With the mixer on low, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix on low until well blended.
  5. Pour the hot coffee into the batter and mix on low until smooth.
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake liners (about 3/4 full).  Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. When cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone shape out of the middle of each cupcake, reserving only the top of the cone for later use.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting:

  1. Place the chocolate in a medium, heat-safe bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Heat the cream and butter in small saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Bring just to a boil.  Immediately pour over the chocolate and allow to stand for a few minutes without stirring.
  4. Stir or whisk gently until smooth.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 30 to 45 minutes to set.

Assembly:

  1. Fill the “hole” cut out of each cupcake with M&Ms.  Cover the hole with the top of each cone that you previously cut out.
  2. Use a pastry bag with large tip to pipe frosting onto each cupcake.
  3. Top with sprinkles if desired.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

Finally, ENJOY!!

Cook’s Talk:

  • The blog, Abusymom’s Blog, is not an American blog.  So many of the measurements were in grams.  Whew!  Above my plain-old-measuring-cup head, so we spent a lot of time Googling the conversions.  A couple of them were probably just a tad under or tad over what they should have been, but the cupcakes turned out just fine.
  • For the bittersweet chocolate for the ganache, we just used plain semi-sweet chocolate chips and it was wonderful!  I will also reiterate her, REAL butter please.  There shouldn’t be anything else.
  • The original recipe also said preheat the oven  to 160 Celsius.  If I am correct, that is 320 Fahrenheit.  My daughter has a college apartment.  The best we could do on her stove was 350 F.  They came out fine.
  • And lastly, back to converting. We just bought a big ole bag of M&Ms.  I was tired of trying to convert grams to ounces and cups and sticks by this time.  We put a few in each cupcake and whatever was left in the big bag I am sure was gone with 10 seconds of all her roommates coming home.
  • Also, make sure you let the cupcakes cool completely before putting the M&Ms in.  If they melted, it would kind of ruin the Pinata effect.

Until next time ….

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: Life Happens (Even While Wearing Your Tiara)!

You know, I wish I was one of those superwomen who always have everything done on time and to a T. I want my house to be clean. I want dinner to always be yummy and on the table before my smiling family gets home.

I also want to get all this done with perfect makeup, perfect hair, beautiful well-fitting clothes and maybe even some “June Clearverish” pearls (I’m not aging myself that much. I watched that show in reruns.) — and yes, all while wearing a TIARA! I deserve that much, right?

Well, unfortunately even when you wear your TIARA, life happens! Jobs get in the way, unexpected projects pop up and you occasionally get sick. All of this happened to me last week.

I had so planned to dig into a lovely cookbook I received as a gift, and share a recipe from it with you this week. My family would have loved that too … but take-out and sandwiches were pretty much on tap all last week. We can chalk this one up to the chaos I call life.

So, instead I thought I’d share an appetizer recipe with you. This might come in handy with the Super Bowl just around the corner.

I took this to a New Year’s Eve party and it was a hit! It’s made with bacon. That should sum it up.

This recipe came courtesy of one of my favorite Facebook pages — $5-10 Dollar Meals- Cheap Eats.

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Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (1 lb) package sliced bacon
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes.

Cut each bacon slice into thirds. Wrap each chicken cube with bacon and secure with wooden pick inserted on the diagonal, starting where bacon seam overlaps.

Stir together brown sugar and chili powder. Dredge wrapped chicken in mixture.

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Coat a rack and broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken on rack in broiler pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes, or until bacon is crisp.

Cook’s Talk:

  • These were quite yummy, but I think next time I will play with the seasoning a little bit. I might add red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit or maybe marinate the chicken in Tabasco or another hot sauce prior to wrapping in the bacon.
  • I wound up baking closer to 45 minutes as I used thicker-cut bacon.
  • Next time, I will also make MORE. They were gone in about 5 minutes.

I hope you enjoy.

Until next time …. I’m going to wear my tiara and explore my new cookbook.

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: Yummy with a Capital Y!

This dish has SHRIMP.

It has BUTTER …..

It has HEAVY CREAM (ahhhhhhh…. The angels are singing).

Need I say more?

Oh wait, it was also easy and was a nice, cheaper alternative to going out to eat.

I’ve been somewhat in a mealtime rut. I’m bored with what I have been preparing so heading to the kitchen after working all day has been no fun!! I’m constantly sharing recipes that look good on my Facebook Page (please, please, please go like me) and pinning yummy finds on Pinterest, but never doing anything with them.

So, as a New Year’s “Promise” to myself, I have decided to stop only admiring my plethora of recipes and actually try them out.

(Please note: I do not use the word “resolution.” I would automatically fail at that. I do have a list of promises and projects I’d like to do and will share those at some point.)

This week’s A‘Tempt’ was Crispy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine and it was yummy with a capital Y. Both my husband and son loved it, which is an accomplishment in itself AND with the exception of shrimp, I had all the ingredients in my pantry.

Crispy Cajun Shrimp Fettuccine

4 oz. fettuccine
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
16 large shrimp
1 tbsp. Cajun spice (recipe below, or use a your favorite packaged blend)
2 tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Cook fettuccine according to package directions.

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Clean the shrimp and season with 1 tbsp. of Cajun spice (recipe below).

Drizzle the flour over the shrimp and toss in a bowl to make sure each shrimp is covered in flour.

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In a deep skillet, add butter and olive oil and heat over high heat. Add shrimp and cook on each side about 2 minutes until crisp.

Remove shrimp from skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet, add chicken broth and heavy cream.

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Season with additional Cajun spice if preferred. Cook until sauce thickens a bit from the heavy cream, then add Parmesan cheese and whisk. Add fettuccine and shrimp to the sauce and toss.  Serve warm.

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Cajun Spice

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2 ½ tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. red chili powder
1 tbsp. ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small container with a lid.

Oh so easy!!

Cook’s Talk

  • This recipe is very forgiving; you can be flexible with the amounts. I used smaller shrimp, so wound up with probably more like 30-35 shrimp. I also used more than 4 ounces of pasta as my husband is a big eater. In turn, I increased the amount of broth and cream to accommodate the added pasta.
  • I was lazy and splurged on already peeled and cleaned shrimp!
  • I had all the ingredients for the Cajun Spice in my pantry so I didn’t use an already prepared one. We like spicy, so I added extra when I tossed in the shrimp and pasta. In fact, my hubby and son were sprinkling more on their plates.
  • If you wanted to use a prepared spice blend, I think Tony’s (which is a staple in my pantry) would work well. Just be careful, it’s salty. In fact, I think they make a salt-free version.
  • Use fresh grated Parmesan, not the powdered stuff out of the can.
  • It sounds silly with all the butter and cream here, but out of habit I used whole wheat pasta.
  • The only drawback was getting the dang melted Parmesan off my whisk! (I like to cook, not do dishes!)

This dish will be making a return to our table. My daughter has been trying her hand at more cooking and I think the ease of this would be a great one for her to try in her college apartment and impress her roommates.

Until next time, y’all enjoy….

Next Week: I’m going old school and actually using a cookbook.

A’Tempting’ Tuesday: The Good and The Bad

Fotor0114132316When I first started this blog, I pledged to myself to share the good, the bad and the ugly — whether it be cooking, crafting, organizational or life attempts.  Whatever it may be, I plan to be an open book because, well, this is a journey to where I want to be.

In today’s A’Tempting’ Tuesday installment, I have both — the good and the bad.

I love to bake.  I love to try new things.  I am always looking for new dishes and new baked goodies.  I have two that I recently tried.

Let’s start with THE BAD.

My hubby is diabetic with a sweet tooth.  I am sure it is complete holy hell for him because I bake.  A lot.  I’ve mentioned many times that baking is a great stress release for me.  I’ve been really stressed lately, so there’s been a lot of late-night baking.  I have really been making an effort to find more diabetic friendly recipes.  I’ve not come up with too many that I would call a success.  This one is no exception.

I found a … yikes, I hate to say it … BOXED chocolate cake mix that is sugar-free and not too bad.  I hate using boxed cake mixes so I cannot add insult to injury and also use an already-prepared frosting.  I found several easy recipes for sugar-free frosting that sounded promising.

Here’s the recipe I tried (I found it on All-recipes.com).

The result was pretty.  It tasted just okay and didn’t really work well with the cake.  I’d say this is one I will not try again.  The consistency was a little like a thin mousse, and way too thin to frost a cake.  It would make a better dessert  or filling, than a frosting.

Sugar-Free Frosting

1 (1.4 oz.) package sugar-free instant pudding mix (I used chocolate)
1 3/4 cups milk
1 (8 oz. package cream cheese)
1 (8 oz. ) container lite frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used sugar-free Cool Whip)

In medium bowl, combine milk and pudding mix.  Mix well and let stand until thickened.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pudding and mix well. Fold in whipped topping.

Cook’s Talk

  • As I said, this probably will not be a repeat.  But if I were to try it again, I think I’d cut the milk in half in hopes of making it more of a frosting consistency.  It might also be better in vanilla.  With the added cream cheese and whipped topping, it really wasn’t chocolate enough when paired with the chocolate cake I baked.
  • The best option would be to prepare an actual frosting, rather than use the pudding as s shortcut.  I’ve found a couple of others I will try soon.

Now, on to THE GOOD.

My children’s birthdays were last week and I decided to make cupcakes.  Cupcakes are so much fun and you can do so much with them.  I also love to find all sorts of colorful liners and creative wraps to make them unique.

I tried a recipe for cupcakes that I found on Pinterest.  They sounded good and were just so darn cute  I had to try them.  The result was a great tasting cupcake that again was “just so darn cute.”

The original recipe came from this BLOG.

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Cherry Coke Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk **see Cook’s Talk
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 Tbs cocoa powder
1/4 cup maraschino cherry syrup
24 maraschino cherries

Cola Icing

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs cola (I wound up using 3 Tbs)

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Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  Beat the egg, buttermilk and vanilla in a second bowl.  In a saucepan, boil the cola and cherry syrup gently for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and melt in the butter and cocoa powder.  Pour into the dry ingredients, stir well with a wooden spoon, and then add the remaining liquid ingredients, beating until everything is blended.

Pour into the cupcake pans with liners and push a cherry into the center of each cupcake.  (Make sure to remove the stem).  Bake for 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven to wire rack to cool.

For the cola icing, mix the powdered sugar and cola with a spoon until smooth.

When the cupcakes are cool, remove them from pan, drizzle with the cola icing and let dry.  Top with cherry buttercream and a cherry.

Note:  The original post did not include a cherry buttercream recipe, so here is my take:

Cherry Buttercream

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature (Yes, y’all.  Real butter, not margarine)
3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs juice from the maraschino cherries
2-4 Tbs heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp salt

Cream butter in stand mixer or with hand mixer. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, alternating with the cherry juice and heavy cream.  Add salt.  Continue beating for 3 minutes.   You will want a medium consistency (somewhat soft, but slightly stiff) for topping your cupcakes.  You can easily adjust this frosting if you feel its consistency is not quite right.   To thin, add more cream.  To stiffen add more powdered sugar.

I used a frosting bag and larger tip to pipe the frosting on the cupcakes.

That’s it!

And, again …SO DARN CUTE!  They were a hit with my kids and the leftovers were wiped out by hubby’s coworkers in about 5 minutes.

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Cook’s Talk

  • The batter for this cupcake is really thin, but don’t worry.  It bakes just fine and results in a really moist cupcake.  Because all ovens are different, I started checking for doneness at about 12 minutes, but wound up baking for the entire 15.
  • Of course, I forgot the buttermilk at the store.  To substitute, I used 1/2 cup 2% milk (because that is what I had on hand) and added 1/2 Tbs white vinegar.  I let it sit for 5 minutes and voila … a great substitute for buttermilk that saved hubby a last-minute trip to the store.

I hope you enjoy.

Until next time….