Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Wanna be the best mom/dad/grandparent/aunt/uncle, etc in the whole world??? Yeah, these'll do it. At least for the moment....or until that sugar high kicks in. Then you'll be a mean, uncool adult again.
 I  just don't know when it happened.You know, being "uncool," as a parent. I think its when that little 'Beiber Boy' entered the picture last fall....I just don't think its right for a 5 yr old to have "Beiber Fever." I'm not 100% I know what Beiber Fever is, but I'm pretty sure I don't want my Runwilder Princesses to have it. Right? Oh well, if cute little bunny cupcakes baked in a waffle cone cup and piled high with icing and sugary confections makes me cool for 5 minutes, well, I'm gonna take it.

Besides, how cute would these be on your Easter table. And the waffle cone bowls really make a cute basket. But, if you don't have them and don't want to go to the store, you can simply use cupcake liners. IF, you fall into that Type A personality category and feel the need to match the color of the cupcake to the basket (waffle cone), use a caramel cake mix. (I'm not type A, I just happened to have a caramel cake mix on hand and I decided it did in fact make a perfect match:) Oh, and make sure you stick the twizzlers (handle) down into the actual cake part of the cupcake and not just into the icing. You don't want to have you're basket handle flapping around and flinging icing all over the place. That wouldn't make a very stunning Martha Stewartesque Easter Table, now would it??:)


Easter Basket Cupcakes
Recipe from"Cupcakes! From the Cake Mix Doctor" by Anne Byrn


  • 1 box (7 ounces) waffle bowls (10 to a box)
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain white cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flavoring (optional)
  • Buttercream Frosting or Canned frosting
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 to 3 drops green food coloring
  • Assorted jelly beans
  • 10 strawberry-flavored Twizzlers (9 1/2 inches long) 
  • Lindt Chocolate Bunnies or similar easter candy

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Wrap the outside of each waffle bowl in an 8-inch aluminum foil square, carefully tucking the edges of the foil just inside the top of the bowl. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and set aside.

2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, milk, oil, eggs, egg whites, and coconut flavoring in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. Fill each bowl with a heaping 1/2 cup of batter. Place the baking sheet in the oven.

3. Bake the cupcakes until they are lightly golden and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 24 to 27 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Gently peel off the aluminum foil and allow the bowls to cool to room temperature, 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the Buttercream Frosting (skip this step if you're using canned frosting). Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Add up to 1 tablespoon more milk if the frosting seems too stiff.

5. Place the coconut in a plastic bag with 2 drops of the green food coloring. Shake well until the coconut turns green. If the color isn't strong enough, add another drop of color, and shake again.

6. To assemble, place 2 heaping tablespoons of frosting on each cupcake and spread it out smoothly with a short metal spatula or a spoon, taking care to cover the tops completely. Immediately sprinkle on coconut to resemble grass and place a bunny in the middle and a pile of jelly beans on the coconut to resemble eggs. To create the basket handle, insert one end of a Twizzler in one side of the cupcake near the edge, then bend it over the cupcake and insert the other end on the opposite side. The cupcakes are ready to serve.

• Store these cupcakes for up to 1 day at room temperature. After a day, the cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Hula Girl Blondies and a Free Printable

My brother and his family have lived up north for a few years. On one of their recent visits, they brought me a sampling of brownies from a bakery that is located in a nearby town. Now, I soon came to discover, this bakery was not just any ole’ bakery. This bakery was Sugar Daddy’s.  And Sugar Daddy’s, if you’re not familiar with them, was in a Throwdown Brownie Battle with Bobby Flay on the Food Network. OK, so you know, not just everybody does battle with Bobby Flay. He picks the 'cream of the crop' to try to out cook, or bake, as the case may be. And, even so, most of the time, Mr. Flay is the winner. But, not with Sugar Daddy’s! They were deemed the “ Best of the Best.“ So, the brownies  I sampled were not just good, they were divine.
 But of course, if you want divine brownies/blondies that are baked by popular people that have been on the Food Network...well, the price starts getting steep. So steep that they sell the brownie scraps from their suave edgeless brownies,  in little baggies and call them “Pocket Change” for us folks that are not willing to dole out the full price for their fabulous round brownies. The “Pocket Change” is twenty bucks, just in case you're interested. Or you can throw caution to the wind and get 8 of the 3"round brownies for $55... Not saying they’re not worth it, just saying I’m cheap....And, if anyone wants some of my brownies, I only charge $45;) Hahahaha!

Ok, now that we've all had a good laugh...My brother’s favorite from Sugar Daddy’s was a tropical version with loads of coconut, pineapple, cashews and both white and semisweet chocolate. This is my version of that blondie. I call them Hula Girl Blondies. They are seriously good. I’m not sure Bobby Flay will be beating my door down for a Thowdown (which, Mr. Flay, just so you know, I never answer my door if Mr. Sweets is not home or unless I know you're coming. Call me paranoid:) or that  they are an exact duplicate of Sugar Daddy’s, but hey, they will be kinder to your pocketbook for sure!

Oh, and since I've been slacking on my posts a bit lately, I've made a 'Hula Girl Blondie' tag to try to bribe you to keep reading my blog :)
You know I have no problem with bribery...Use these tags when you decide to gift these lovely brownies to your kids teachers, your neighbors or your co-workers.
They probably won't mind being bribed either.
You can download the tags here


Hula Girl Blondies
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
1  cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried pineapple, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together brown sugar and butter until combined. Add eggs and vanilla to mixture and mix well. Fold flour mixture into wet ingredients until combined.
Fold in coconut, cashews, chocolates, pineapple and into batter. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and smooth out to edges of pan. Top with extra coconut, chocolate and cashews if desired.
Bake for about 25-28 minutes, or until top light golder brown on the top. Do not over bake. Look for color rather than texture. Cool completely before slicing.