Wednesday, March 21, 2012

St. Patrick's Day (and March Birthday) Guinness Cupcakes

Hope everyone had a fabulous St. Patrick's Day!
St. Patrick's Day is my third favorite holiday. Halloween is my second and Christmas takes first, if you must know. I don't have an ounce of Irish in me but I do love beer. This year, I was particularly thrilled that St. Patrick's Day took place on a Saturday. That meant green beer would have zero effect on the work day to follow- ah, Sunday :)

So in addition to St. Patrick's Day being on Saturday, my boss friend actually celebrated her birthday a few days later. I thought these would only be appropriate:

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting

Um, YUM.

Thought process:

She likes this..

..and she likes this..

Let's combine!

1 (12-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Combine the Guinness, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
3. Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Guinness mixture.
4. Line 24 papers in your muffin tin.
5. Bake 25 minutes, until risen and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out of the tins.

Bailey's Frosting
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
4-8 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream

Final Product :)

Happy Birthday KC!


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mason Jar Mania!

What started out as a canning and preserving tool, has now made its way into almost every home (and not just Southern!) serving all sorts of purposes. Mason jars are popping up in events literally everywhere. When Mom and I started planning our rustic, "outdoorsy" Thanksgiving last year, we both agreed that raffia-wrapped mason jars were a must. From that point, I started noticing a TON of cool things to do with mason jars. 

For events such as weddings, showers or birthdays, serve your beverages in mason jars. Simply add a little slice of lime or lemon and a cute straw!

Serving pre-made cocktails is another cute function of a mason jar. If you're hosting an event and are not planning on hiring a bartender, this is a quick and cheap alternative. Grab and go! :)

Making a layered dip? Skip the same old 8 x 8 casserole dish and use a mason jar! These are especially ideal for larger gatherings. Dips at a small, family function are one thing. I'm not on my high alerts checking to see if my nephew has double dipped. Watching a stranger do it, on the other hand, gross... None for me, thanks! 

If you're not into mixing foods- this one may not be for you. Chili and cornbread in a jar! Perfect for a Summer BBQ. My Dad makes KILLER chili. Really craving this at the moment... :D

Mason jars can also serve as a quick and easy centerpiece. Throw in a few flowers and wrap a pretty bow around the middle of your jar. Easy Peasy :)

My best friend's Mom actually inspired me to finally buy some of my own! After watching her whip them out for 3 different occasions- all used differently- I was like dang, I think it's time to invest! She even has Redneck Wine glasses. TOO cute.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Angry Bird Cupcakes

So my Aunt is basically walking advertisement (Thanks Aunt Sherry!) When she heard a woman from work requesting Angry Bird cupcakes for her 6 year old, McKaina, she was super quick to throw my name out there.

Challenge accepted! :) A little time-consuming, but overall, pretty easy!

Here's what you will need:

Marshmellows (Regular and Minis)
Liquorice Twizzlers
Orange Candies
Mini Chocolate Chips

Make a batch of whatever flavor cupcake (I chose vanilla) and let them cool.Then mix and divide your frostings by color. I went with red, blue, green and yellow. There's actually a black Angry Bird apparently, but I didn't want to be the one responsible for 6 year olds bopping around with their teeth stained black. Black frosting is a disaster. Period. Anyway...

For the sprinkles, I literally poured the entire contents of each color into a small dish. Immediately after frosting, dip the entire cupcake, frosting side down, into the dish. This is the most effective way to cover the entire cupcake.

Next, you're going to cut  off about an inch long piece of liquorice. Then, cut that piece into half, then half again. Place them towards the top of the cupcake in an "angry" position. If you don't know how to position eyebrows in an "angry" manner, you must have some serious self-control and a wonderful psychiatrist. Google it.

Next, take your mini chocolate chips and squish (yes, squish) them into the mini marshmellows. You may have to use a dab of frosting if they do not stay. These will serve as the eyes. Place them directly under the eyebrows.

Next, slice each orange candy into thirds and position that in the middle of the cupcake for the beak.

Finally, cut off the end of a regular-sized marshmellow and place this under the beak.

Each cupcake should take around 2 minutes to assemble.

I was actually very pleased with how these turned out! And FONDANT-FREE! Yay!

Branding doesn't hurt either. :)