Thursday, November 29, 2012

143 Cupcakes in Three Days

143 Cupcakes in Three Days

My dear friend Betsy chaired the cake tent at Mount Michael this year.

She decided to jazz up the traditional cake tent and let patrons pick and choose their cupcakes like they can in the many cupcake establishments around the country.

This is the cupcake table at the Fall Festival at Mount Michael.

Betsy is one of those friends that every time I raise my hand to volunteer for something, she is the one standing behind me asking me if I need help.
She is truly one of my life's biggest blessings.

Of course, when she was this year's chair, I would be helping her!!

So, I decided to stretch the labor of it all out over the course of a couple days.

Wednesday, I made all of the frosting. 
You may have seen this picture posted on my facebook?

I bagged up the frosting in gallon sized zip lock bags and stored it in the freezer.
I simply frosted some of the cupcakes by cutting off the corner of the bag, and some I squeezed into my decorator.

On Thursday I baked most of the cupcakes, with the exception of the rice krispy and the spiced glazed muffins.

Friday I continued baking and then  frosted them all.

Here they all are frosted and ready to be boxed up!

Here you will find the links to all of these yummy cupcakes,
Just click on the link below the picture to be taken to the recipe!

Chocolate Cupcakes with

Chocolate Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream and Coconut

Chocolate Cupcakes with Almond Buttercream and Coconut

Make your favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and top it with this almond buttercream:

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4-1/2 tsp almond extract


Cream butter in mixer, add powdered sugar and milk a little at a time, combining after each addition.
Add almond extract.

Frost cupcakes and roll in coconut.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Coconut Macaroons

Chocolate Drizzled Coconut Macaroons

Always a favorite on my holiday trays.  

These sweet little coconut morsels are drizzled with just a little bit of chocolate fudge!

My friend, Toni, made these for my cookie exchange many years ago.

My father in law LOVES them!!

I always seem to have extra coconut left after I make my husband's 
Chocolate Macaroon Tunnel Cake 

for his birthday, so I whip these up at Christmastime!

Coconut Macaroons

4 c flaked coconut
1 cup sugar
1/4 c + 2 Tbls flour
1/3 t salt
6 egg whites
1 t vanilla
melted chocolate fudge canned frosting for drizzle

In a medium bowl, combine coconut, sugar, flour and salt, mix well.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla til blended.
Pour egg mixture over coconut mixture and blend well.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.


Drizzle with melted chocolate frosting.

Monday, November 26, 2012

White and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

White and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

gorgeous on any holiday platter

The best of both worlds come together with both kinds of delectable chocolate and the crunch of the peppermint candy canes!

This is one of my favorite things to put on cookie platters, 
because it's just so darn pretty!!

yes, please.

White and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
8 ounces premiere white chocolate
10 candy canes, crushed
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided

Melt over low heat, white chocolate, remove from heat and add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract.
Spread onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.

Place in freezer for about 10 minutes, or until hardened.

Melt dark chocolate, over low heat, remove from heat, add 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract.
Spread over the top of the white chocolate.
Top with crushed peppermint, pressing into warm chocolate.

Return to freezer until hardened.

Break or cut into pieces.
I prefer to break mine, I like the randomness of the look of the broken pieces!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Coconut Banana Cream Pie

My husband LOVES coconut.

coconut banana cream pie

His birthday cake, my Coconut Macaroon Tunnel Cake is one of my most read posts on my blog.

I have always wanted to make him a coconut cream pie, and I thought while I was baking up pies for Thanksgiving this year, I would try it out!

I hopped on pinterest and found lots of coconut cream recipes.
(if you want to follow me on Pinterest, there is a link up there on the left!)

Then I happened upon this recipe here.  I found it on a blog called Jan Can Cook, this one, not only had coconut, it had bananas, too! I decided to give it a whirl!

I hate to try a recipe out by giving it to someone, so I made it the Sunday before Thanksgiving as a trial run.
Of course my husband didn't object.

When I was little, my Grandma, my Dad's Mom, was a pie baker.
We all had our favorite, and she would make it for us on our birthdays, and my Grandma tried and tried to teach me to make crust.
But she didn't measure ANYTHING, and it was just like flour was flying and poof! It was done!

Did you have a "hope chest" when you were a girl?
I did.  It was a cedar chest made by my Grandpa, and it had all kinds of things I collected through the years, growing up.

My grandma gave me this pie plate you see here, when I was in about 7th grade.
It was her Mom's pie plate.
It's an enamel covered one, and I am sure most people would think it's seen better days, 
but it's a treasure to me.
I decided, for good luck, I would make my trial run in her pie plate.

pie in my great-grandmother's pie plate!

It turned out FANTASTIC!!

Yes, I made THREE of these.

I am here to tell you, I don't even LIKE coconut, and I ate it, and loved it!

Without further ado, here is the recipe.  The recipe calls it "Lawry's Coconut Banana Pie."

Coconut Banana Pie

coconut crust:

1 stick butter, plus more for pie plate.
3 cups sweetened coconut flakes

pie filling:

4 egg yolks
3/4 cups sugar, divided
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup flour
3 cups half and half, divided
yellow food coloring, optional
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 bananas

whipped topping:

1 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
(I doubled this, because I LOVE whipped cream!)

To make the crust, butter your pie plate generously. Melt the stick of butter in a frying pan, when melted, add coconut, and toast over medium heat.  Stir constantly browning evenly on all sides.

toasting the coconut

Press the coconut into the buttered pie plate to make a crust.  I reserved a little for the topping.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

the prepared crust

Combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt and flour in a small bowl.  Gradually add 1 cup of half and half, and combine.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the 2 remaining cups of half and half and 1/2 cup sugar, bring to a boil, stirring so it doesn't scald.  When it comes to a boil, add egg mixture and stir with a whisk, cook until pudding thickens, will only take about a minute.

Remove from heat, stir in 2 drops of food coloring (optional) and vanilla.
Cover with plastic wrap, laying the wrap over the top of the pudding so skin doesn't develop as it cools.
Cool in the fridge.

Combine whipping cream and powdered sugar and whip with electric mixer until fluffy and dense.  I added a splash of vanilla to mine, too.  Keep in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the pie.

When crust and pudding are cool, slice bananas into pie crust.

Pour pudding over the bananas and spread out.

Top with dollops of whipped cream, spread to cover.
Top with reserved toasted coconut.

Refrigerate for 2 hours before eating.

My husband thought it was even better the next day!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Grandma's Stuffing

My Grandma Czaplewski always had Thanksgiving dinner.

When she passed away, a month after I gave birth to my first son, Spencer, we moved it to my Mom's, but the dinner stayed EXACTLY the same.

Every year, my Mom says " should I make something different? It's like the same 'ol same 'ol."
I always reply "NO!!"  
I am a creature of habit.  
It is a dinner that I look forward to every year, and I want it EXACTLY the same!!

I swear that last year, I took a photo of the stuffing with intentions of posting this year on my blog.
Can't find the darn picture ANYWHERE!!
So I guess, I will take one this year and add it after the fact.

*added after Thanksgiving 2012

Speaking of pictures, 
in this day and age, we take pictures of EVERYTHING!
I guess it's because, at the very least all (or most all) of us have a camera phone at our ready disposal.

I had to search to find a picture to share with you of my grandma and me to post on this entry! 

My favorite thing (next to the way it tastes!) about this recipe, 
is that it's one of the few recipes that I have that is in my Grandma's handwriting.

my grandma's recipe written for my recipe box YEARS ago!

As a scrapbooker, a person realizes the importance of handwriting.
It can't be duplicated, just like the person doing the writing cannot.

I spoke with my Mom last night, and shared the recipe that my Grandma wrote down for me some 25 years ago.  She has made some variations to the recipe, but strangely, it tastes the same to me?

So, I will share both of their versions with you today.

My husband, Brian, (then fiance) my Grandma and me, in 1991 at Easter

Grandma Czaplewski's Thanksgiving Stuffing

My Grandma's Version as it is written by her:

1 lb pork sausage
1 cup diced celery
1 cup minced onion
2 qts croutons (unseasoned)
1 tsp sage
2 Tbs snipped parsley

In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, sage, celery and onion together. About 10 minutes, or until sausage is cooked.
Add to bread crumbs and parsley.
Stuffs an 8# bird.

(I guess I make or use a little more croutons but still use the same amount of sausage and seasonings)

My Mom's version of the same:

Turkey giblets
2 lbs pork sausage
2 large packages Peppridge Farm bread crumbs (1 Herb Seasoned, 1 Country Style)


2 cups celery, divided
2 onions minced, divided
1 tsp sage
2 Tbs parsley
1 qt chicken broth, divided
i stick of butter, melted

Place giblets, 1 cup celery and 1 onion in a saucepan, pour half broth, half water just to cover.  Simmer on low for approximately one hour, or until giblets are tender.
Remove from heat.
Brown sausage with sage until cooked.
Chop turkey giblets until minced well. Reserve liquid to use when you are making your gravy.
Combine giblets, sausage, celery, onion, parsley with your bread crumbs.
Working with your hands, add  melted butter and small amounts of broth until dressing is moist, and forms into a ball.
Place in bird.

Bake your turkey until it is done, and enjoy the MOST AMAZING stuffing I have EVER had!!

Gobble til ya wobble, friends!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake

So, every year since I can remember, I have done a variation of this cake for my son Spencer's birthday.
I have made it in a springform pan, like pictured, I have made it square, or in a 9x13, 
it never fails to be his favorite.
Last year it was a cookies and cream cake, in past years a cookie dough cake, this year

I gain weight just looking at it....
but when it comes to taste...
that's a good thing...right...?!?!


my handsome 18 year old boy.

Mint Brownie Ice Cream Cake

1 box brownie mix
1/8 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup mint chocolate chips
1 - 12.8 oz jar hot fudge (divided)
1 cup crushed Oreos (divided)
1.5 quart Edy's Mint Brownie ice cream softened
Mint Oreos for top (optional)

Spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Mix and bake brownies according to box instructions, adding the mint chips and extract to the mix.
Spread half of the hot fudge on top of brownies.
Top with half of the Oreo crumbs.
Spread softened ice cream over crumbs.
Top with remaining hot fudge and crumbs.
Top with mint Oreos if desired!

Freeze until solid.

I always make a day ahead!

Grab a spoon!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Martini

When I saw that bottle of pumpkin liqueur at the store last month, 
I saw a pumpkin pie martini in my future!

I had initially planned to just mix it with a little vanilla vodka, 
until it hit me like a pie in the face!
"Must. Use. Whipped Cream Vodka."

Have you ever had it??
Holy cow, is it fantastic.
Heck, once you crack the bottle you'll know!
It smells so darn good!!

Pumpkin Pie Martini

4 ounces Pumpkin Liqueur
4 ounces Whipped Cream Vodka
homemade whipped cream
pumpkin pie spice

Pour two liqueurs into a martini shaker with ice, shake until chilled.
pour into a martini glass and top with a dollap of whipped cream.
Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

So, had I not been in such a hurry and craving this last Friday night, I would have made a small cinnamon sugar coated pie crust, cut with cookie cutters, and sliced to put on the side of the glass....
How cute would that have been?!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Beef Enchilada Soup

I wanted to add a new addition to this year's Halloween Soup Supper.
My kids always request Homemade Chicken Noodle and Broccoli Cheese
but I wanted something new....

So this year, it's Beef Enchilada Soup!

Everyone LOVED it!!  

Beef Enchilada Soup

2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
1 onion, chopped
1 - 15oz can of Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 - 15oz can pinto beans, liquid an all
2 - 11oz cans of Mexi-Corn
2 - 10oz cans enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded Mexican Blend cheese
extra cheese for topping
6 corn tortillas, cut into strips

Spray crock pot with Pam. Brown ground beef with chopped onion, drain and put into your crock pot.
Dump the rest of the ingredients (except for the cheese and tortillas) into your crock pot.  
Add two cans of water, using the enchilada sauce cans.
Give it a stir.
Cook on low all day.
About an hour before eating add your 2 cups of cheese and tortillas.
Top with extra cheese if desired!