December 29, 2011

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes


 These are incredibly easy to make and incredibly difficult to resist more than one! Enjoy..

 Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup assorted colored sprinkles + more for sprinkling on frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan with liners.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Lower speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the bowl as needed.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the milk and mixing just until incorporated.  Toss the sprinkles in about 2 tablespoons of flour (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake) then fold in sprinkles with a rubber spatula.

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Frost with vanilla buttercream (recipe below) and top with sprinkles.

Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks butter, softened but cool
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (to help maintain bright white color)
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk (if needed)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream butter on medium-high until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.  Add in vanilla then increase mixer speed to medium-high, beating 2-3 minutes and scraping the bowl as needed.  If the frosting is too thick, add heavy cream or milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.  If the frosting is to thin, add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it thickens.

Frost cupcakes as desired and top with sprinkles

Recipe from Sweet Peony blog
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December 20, 2011

Rolo Turtles

These babies are super easy to make and they are the perfect combination of sweet and salty! Enjoy :)

Rolo Turtles


1 bag Rolo candies
1 bag of mini pretzels (any shape you like)
Pecan halves


1.       Preheat the oven to 250° F.
2.       Unwrap the Rolo candies.  Place one Rolo on top of one pretzel.
3.       Bake in the oven for approximately 3-5 minutes. Watch them and when the chocolate starts to look shiny give it about a minute longer and remove them from the oven.
4.       Press one pecan halve into each Rolo.
5.       Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5-7 minutes.

These will last several days in an airtight container.
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December 19, 2011

Easy Peanut Brittle

Peanut brittle is one of those candies that I never understood. My grandpa loved it and I could never understand why. I like peanuts, sugar and butter, but the combination never held any appeal for me. However, I was looking for a Christmas candy to make for gifts and I failed miserably at my first attempt at fudge so this seemed like a good idea for the second shot. I got this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs Brown Eyed Baker. Um: WOW! I to give it away immediately because it's that good. I took it with me on my trip to California last week and only half of it landed in Orange County with me. It's simple (you don't even need a candy thermometer!) and it's delicious.

Watch for the sugar mixture to start to turn a golden color. And make sure once you add the baking soda, butter and peanuts that you mix quickly and get it spread on the pan as fast as possible. It will harden up very quickly.

**Note: I made 2 batches of this. The first batch I had a partially used 16 oz jar of unsalted peanuts, maybe 12 ounces. The second batch I made the recipe exactly as listed on her website. I don't know if salted vs. unsalted or more vs. less made the differnece, but I preferred the first batch. The following is my adaptation of the original recipe. Both are very good though!!!
Easy Peanut Brittle

Yield: About 1½ pounds
Cook Time: 25 minutes | Set Time: 15 minutes


Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
½ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. unsalted (or lightly salted) dry-roasted peanuts


1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high and cook until deep golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter, baking soda, and peanuts (mixture will foam). Stir until mixture is no longer bubbling and caramel is smooth, 1 minute.

3. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread with a lightly greased spatula. Let cool until firm, 15 minutes. Break into pieces. The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
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December 4, 2011

Bean's Favorite Cookie

My dog, Bean, responds to 2 words. "Outside" and "cookie". Cookies of course are code for dog treats. He is almost 9 years old but still flips out like a puppy when he thinks/knows he's about to get a cookie. I've tried making him cookies before that were a complete disaster. Technically they were supposed to be "brownies" but they ended up looking like pudding.

Pumpkin is a great source of fiber. Most dogs will readily eat canned pumpkin, but it can be messy, inconvenient and isn't a practical take-along treat on outings. These easy to make whole wheat pumpkin dog cookies are the perfect way to give your dog a healthy snack featuring beneficial pumpkin fiber.

This treat didn't require any special ingredients and since I already had them all in the pantry from Thanksgiving I decided this was the best way to use them. They were a big hit. If you were so inclined you could eat them yourself, but just knowing I made them for my dog was enough of a detterent to keep me from trying them. My mom would though! She has always tried the natural treats she gave to her dogs. We try not to judge her, but..... Parents are so weird :)

This recipe produces a very stiff dough, so make sure to flatten the "cookies" before baking as they will not spread.

Bean is the only man in my life that has never disappointed me ;)
Finished product.

Pumpkin Molasses Dog Cookies

  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)


1. Preheat your oven to 350 Farenheit.

2. Blend the pumpkin, molasses, water and vegetable oil together in a mixing bowl.

3. Add the wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon to the wet ingredients and stir until a dough forms.

4. Form the dough into balls (whatever size you like, I used a 1/2 oz. cookie scoop) and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten them using a fork/cup/palm of your hand, etc.

5. Bake until hard, 25-30 min.

6. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Pin It