Welcome to my first blog post! I've been tinkering around with the idea of starting a blog for several months now - and for some reason, today, those thoughts turned into actions. This Christmas season, I've felt more motivated than ever to bake and share goodies with friends and family. It seemed appropriate that my first blog entry would include some of the "konfections" I've created this holiday season.
First, I'll start with these lovely (and tasty!) Peppermint Mocha cupcakes. These cupcakes - along with MANY of my recipes - come from my favorite food blog, Annies Eats. I love Annie's recipes because 99.9% of the time they do not fail me. Part of that, I'm sure, is due to the fact that she is quite skilled in the kitchen and doesn't post recipes that weren't absolutely divine.
I'll apologize now for the lack of quality in my photos. All the photos I've taken so far this baking-season (ha) have been with my Blackberry. My camera has been on an unfortunate hiatus for several months. (But don't fret little one, she has been found. :-) Here is another photo of the cupcakes with my baking assistant, Paco. Isn't he the cutest baker ever? Almost every time my feet are in the kitchen, his four paws are right along there with me. It may be the anticipation of falling crumbs, but I like to think he just enjoys my company. :-)
Brownie Bites with Buttercream icing. These little beauts were a cinch to prepare. I made these for my husband's holiday party with his co-workers. I used my tried-and-true homemade brownie recipe (seriously, no reason to buy the boxed kind ever again!) and go-to butter cream recipe. I had some left over crushed candy canes and mini chocolate chips that I used for garnish. The packaging? A simple and very cute idea I learned from my good friend Courtney. I wrapped both sides of a gift box (this particular one is square and about 2 inches deep) and placed a piece of Wilton's holiday parchment paper inside to create a throw-away container that my husband didn't have to remember to bring home with him. Seriously, the hardest part about this ensemble was leaving enough of these brownie bites to fill the box!
Now on with the recipes...
1 and 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 C sugar
1 C flour
1 C cocoa
1 t salt
Combine melted butter and sugar with a wisk. Wisk in one egg at a time. Add dry ingredients and mix with mixer until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips, if desired.
Spoon batter into a mini muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until just set.(For a pan of brownies, place batter in a 9x9 greased pan and bake for 25 minutes or until just set.)
Butter Cream Icing
1 C shortening
4 C powdered sugar
1 T meringue powder (replaces egg whites, acts as a stabilizer)
1 t vanilla flavoring
1 t butter flavoring
1 T water
In a stand mixer, combine shortening, water and flavorings. Add meringue powder and powdered sugar slowly. Mix until everything is incorporated. (Tip: Resist the urge to keep mixing the icing. Doing so with created undesirable air bubbles that will be impossible to smooth out. If you wish to add food coloring, do so by hand.)
This icing is incredibly versatile. The above recipe will be very thick and works well for things such as large borders and flowers. To thin out the icing, simply add water, one teaspoon at a time.
I hope you enjoyed yourself. I know I did! Come again, please!