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Easter Peeps Cupcakes with Marshmallow Vodka Buttercream Frosting

5 Apr

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In the candy kingdom, nothing says Easter like the classic yellow Peeps chick. Love them or hate them, it wouldn’t be an Easter basket without them.

Although Peeps originally were hatched as the iconic yellow chicks, there are now all kinds of colors and shapes and holidays to choose from: hot pink bunnies, purple chicks, green christmas trees, even an odd shade of brown gingerbread boy. There are debates about the best way to eat a Peep – I subscribe to the stale-er, the better method myself – and now you can even get chocolate dipped Peeps (which are amazing). Peeps-eating contests have arisen, with the internationally acclaimed “Peep Off” competition held the first Saturday after Easter in Maryland.

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Apparently, Peeps aren’t just for eating anymore. The Peeps diorama has become an art form unto itself, with several contests being held annually to celebrate that form of artistic expression. Actually, some of the dioramas are pretty amazing, with Star Wars evidently one of the more popular themes.

So popular has this candy become, there are now entire stores, Peeps & Co., dedicated to everything Peeps: the classic Peeps candy, of course, as well as Peeps water bottles, giant stuffed Peeps toys, Peeps t-shirts, keychains and refrigerator magnets. You name it, there’s a Peeps for that.

I’ve decided it was time to engage in a little Peeps artistic expression myself. And so, for your Easter holiday dessert table I bring to you –  the Peeps cupcake! An easy limoncello cupcake with lemon curd filling, covered in an amazing marshmallow vodka buttercream and topped with the classic yellow Peep. From my Easter basket to yours, Happy Easter!

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LIMONCELLO CUPCAKES

Makes approx. 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes

1 Betty Crocker white cake mix

1 cup water

1/4 cup limoncello

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 egg whites

zest of one lemon

1 jar lemon curd (Trader Joe’s is amazing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tin with paper liners and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, water, limoncello, oil, egg whites and lemon zest at low speed for 30 seconds, then 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping bowl a few times.

Fill cupcake tins about half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

When cool, use a melon-baller to remove a small portion of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a small amount of lemon curd and then frost as desired.

MARSHMALLOW VODKA BUTTERCREAM

1 cup butter

1 cup marshmallow Fluff

3 cups confectioners sugar

pinch salt

2 tablespoons marshmallow vodka, or to taste

Marshmallow Peeps

Cream butter and marshmallow Fluff together in large bowl of electric mixer until well combined and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of vodka, mixing on low speed until combined, then on high speed until light and fluffy, approx. 5 minutes. Frost cupcakes as desired and top with a Peep.

Enjoy!

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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

12 Feb

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There are many ways to say “I love you”.  One way I say it is through my baking. From the pretty-in-pink to the decadent chocolate/chocolate, here are some of my favorite I Love You’s for Valentine’s Day:

1. Pink Velvet Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge Liqueur

2. Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes with Sweet Revenge and Limoncello

3. Amaretto Sour Cupcakes

4. Goldschlager Red Hot! Cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Frosting

5. Champagne Cupcakes

6. Decadent Chocolate Cupcakes with Grand Marnier Buttercream

7. Chocolate Wine Cupcakes

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8.   Neapolitan Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberry Buttercream

9.   Chocolate Snoball Cupcakes with Coconut Rum

10. Godiva Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

11. Frangelico Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

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Why not whip up a batch of something sweet for your special sweetie?

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Shandy Cupcakes with Ginger Limoncello Buttercream

27 Sep

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September is a month of transitions. We still have the bright, warm, sun-filled days of summer, but awaken to chilly mornings with just the slightest little nip in the air to remind us autumn is just around the corner. We can still wear shorts and flip-flops, but maybe we’ll trade in that tank top for a long-sleeved tee. The trees themselves reflect this transition, still dressed in bright green leaves, but with a canopy of beautiful reds and oranges and yellows adorning their crowns. And I know I’m not the only one who is starting to look at her oven with love again, appreciating (instead of dreading) the warmth it fills the kitchen with while baking up a batch of some special treat I’ve been waiting all summer to try.

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Now is also the time we begin to swap out our Leinenkugels and Blue Moons for the beloved pumpkin ales: Southern Tier’s Pumpking, Weyerbacher’s Imperial Pumpkin Ale, and Sam Adam’s (8.5% abv!) Fat Jack, just to name a favorite few. All delicious to be sure, but what a shame there isn’t a way to smoothly transition from those bright, citrusy summer ales of summer to the heady, spicy brews of fall. Or is there?

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Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you Traveler Beer Co.’s Jack-O Shandy! As the bottle claims, it’s a fine wheat beer with lemon peel (hence the shandy part) with natural flavors and PUMPKIN added (hence the pumpkin ale bit)! At last, the perfect summer-to-fall transition beer. No more Leinenkugel withdrawals, no more Pumpking spice harsh. Finally, the perfect way to segue from summer to fall, brew-wise. Thanks Travelers!

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Inspired by such a delightful shandy, I decided to try a little baking transition of my own. And so I offer for your late summer/early fall culinary enjoyment my pumpkin shandy cupcakes. A light, spicy pumpkin cupcake topped with my delicious limoncello buttercream, topped with a dusting of crushed ginger cookies. These yummy cakes will be the perfect finish to any end-of-season picnic or that first hayride of the fall. But enjoy them while you can. Because like the beautiful fall foliage, pumpkin ale season is short…so many pumpkin ales, so little time….

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Pumpkin Shandy Cupcakes

1 box spice cake mix

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)

2 eggs

2/3 cup Traveler Jack-O Shandy

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake  tins with paper liners – I was able to get about 18 cupcakes.

Mix all ingredients at low speed until combined, then at medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake tins about 2/3 full.

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Limoncello Buttercream Frosting

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

4 cups confectioners sugar

pinch salt

grated lemon peel

juice from one small/medium lemon

1 – 2 tablespoons Limoncello, or to taste

2-3 Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Cookie Thins, crushed

Cream butter until soft. Add sugar, salt, lemon peel, lemon juice and limoncello, mixing at low speed until combined, then at high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Frost as desired and sprinkle with crushed cookie crumbs.

Enjoy!

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