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Archive for the ‘Sweetness’ Category

Chocolate Mustache Candy Mold

I was flipping ever-so-slowly through my new Food Network Magazine on Saturday when I saw an advertisement for Chocolate Mustaches on Sticks.

While the simple fact that it’s a chocolate mustache on a stick might give one pause, I stopped because, well, I love mustaches on sticks. I think they’re the bee’s knees, the apple of my eye, the most awesome piece of awesomeness since the invention of awesome. Why? Because I may or may not have a few wedding pictures out there that contain mustaches on sticks. And because they’re just hilarious.

The fact that Nibbee Chocolate Company sells these little buggers is just too fantastic. They’re not too unreasonably priced either – $1.99 each. Still, I felt like I would need more than just one. I have so many people who could – and should – benefit from a chocolate mustache on a stick. The names that come to mind are too many to be listed, but suffice to say that I feel everyone I know needs to have their own little piece of chocolate facial hair.

What, then, is a girl to do on a shoestring budget?

She’s to make her own, of course.

Enter the idea of Google Searching “Chocolate Mustache Molds.” Now insert the happy dance when I not only found one (HOORAY!) but found that it was priced just as cheaply at one pre-made mustache (HOORAH!) I’m buying it now.

Really. Right now.

Done. It’s bought. I have officially bought a chocolate mustache mold. I might be the coolest person I know. Okaaaaay. Not really.

I am the only person I know that owns this particular candy mold, though. Woot!

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…you know it’s going to be a good day.

Sunday was a great day. We got up fairly early and made our way to a local cafe for breakfast. We hit the local farmers market (closed on Sunday, oops!). We found the Bittersweet Bakery for a lunch of ridiculously decadent desserts. And all before we made our way to the local art museum for an exhibit on mourning.

Did I mention that we rounded out the day with a picnic lunch on the living room floor while we watched Kick Ass? No? Well, we did.

Although the whole day was wonderful, the focal point was really the dessert lunch we had at Bittersweet. Let me tell you, this place was phenomenal. The selection of cookies (Lavender Shortbread, anyone?) and biscotti (Double Chocolate Chip) was unbelievable. And the bread pudding? Absolutely sinful in every way.

Just look at it!

I was also a huge fan of Shannon’s Black Walnut Brownie ice cream cone. Can you blame me?

Between the two of us, we ingested enough sugar to put a diabetic into shock. It was so, so worth it, though. So worth it. It was so worth it that I didn’t mind not eating much of anything for the remainder of the day. Who needed to after having half of that bread pudding? Surely not me!

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Congratulations, Grad

My youngest sister, Tori, graduated from college in mid-May. We had her graduation party last weekend due to her competing in the softball national championship with her team which came in first in their region. I made cupcakes. Go figure, right?

Graduate cupcakes no less. I highly recommend What’s New, Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson. Such adorable ideas, and when they say “for every occasion,” they’re not kidding. You’ve got a little bit of it all in this book. For instance, I already know which cupcakes I plan on making myself for my 30th birthday in two weeks. And for next Christmas. And Halloween. And Thanksgiving. I even picked up a pretty ingenious idea for my sister’s wedding cupcakes. So, what I’m saying is get yourself a copy. You’ll be all the better for it.

And you’ll have yummy heads to eat.

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Lemonade

Yesterday, Shannon and I spent our entire afternoon in the yard. We weeded the garden, we pruned the overgrown strawberry plant, we (finally) planted the herbs in their respective planters, and we hung my bird feeders. In short, we did some serious upgrading to the yard. You know what that calls for? Lemonade. Homemade lemonade.

Lemonade
adapted ever so slightly from Food Network Magazine

10 medium lemons
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt

Remove 2 – 3 large strips of lemon zest with a vegetable peeler, careful not to remove the pith.

In a large saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cup water, 1 1/2 cup granulate sugar and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and whisk until all sugar is dissolved. Congrats, you’ve just made simple syrup. Allow the simple syrup to cool. Remove the lemon zest.

In the meantime, juice your lemons until you have a full 2 cups of lemon juice. It took me nine lemons to make 2 cups of lemon juice. Slice the remaining lemon into slices. Make sure to remove the seeds.

In a large pitcher filled with ice, place the lemon slices. Add the simple syrup, 2 cups of lemon juice, 2 cups of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine.

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I know, I know. I’ve been gone for a while.

In the time I’ve been gone, I’ve done a few things. First and foremost, I was officially reclassified at the day job. I’m now an Assistant Director. Super exciting for me. I’m pumped.

I also spent a weekend with my family at their lake property soaking up time in the hammock and fishing with the special man in my life. He’s never fished. Teaching him to cast was a good time. The plus? He didn’t once hook me. The  negative? We lost a few bobbers. Not his fault. Two of the victims were mine.

Oh. Oh. I also managed to sign up for a 10K in October. Yeah. A 10K. What am I thinking?

So, I know I’ve been gone. And I know that it sucks (for me at least) since I said I was going to do a better job about posting consistently once I opened up this here food blog. To smooth things over and (maybe) help you like me again, I’m sharing the most delicious dessert involving bacon that I’ve tasted in quite some time. No POINTS on this one. It’s too good to feel guilty.

Maple-Bacon Whoopie Pies
from Whoopie Pies by Sarah Billingsley and Amy Treadwell

For the whoopie:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not fast-cooking)
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or nuts of your choice (optional)

Pre-heat the over to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Inn the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and both sugars on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until light and creamy, about another 3 minutes.

In a food processor, process 3/4 cup of the oatmeal until it resembles whole grain flour. Transfer the ground oatmeal to a medium bowl and add the remaining oatmeal, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the oatmeal mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.

Using a spoon, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 11 minutes each or until the cookies begin to brown. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 48 two-inch cakes. Yes, that says 48.

For the maple-bacon whoopie cream:

4 thick strips bacon cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon maple flavoring
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.

In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on low speed until combined. Add the heavy cream, sour cream, vanilla, maple syrup, maple flavoring, and salt and beat on low until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the bacon until just combined.

And then…THEN…you spread some yummy filling on one cookie and top it with another cookie. You can use a pastry bag if you’d like (it’s actually recommended), but I just used a butter knife. There was no time to wait.

The verdict? Delicious times ten. We even threw some in the freezer in a Tupperware container (separated by sheets of wax paper less the whoopies stick to one another) and ate them frozen. The best darned “ice cream” sandwich you’ll ever have.

Even for breakfast Shannon says. Even for breakfast.

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Chocolate, meet Ancho Chili. Ancho, please play nice with Chocolate; she can be a bit of a drama queen from time to time. Especially when she’s not the only star in a recipe. You know how that goes…

Avocado, this is Powdered Sugar. Powdered Sugar, this is Avocado. Come on, give each other a hug. There you go! Aren’t you two glad you met? You know who’s glad you met? I’m glad you met. I’m really, really glad you met.

I’ve been on an avocado kick for a while now. If you’ve been stopping by, you know this because I reference guacamole at least twice a week, and I post pictures of Mr. Shannon going insane on breakfast sandwiches when left unattended with my stash of avocados. In my house, the avocado is certainly reigning supreme at the moment, and I thought it was about time we allowed it to step out of the guacamole/sandwich/salad categories and into the realm of desserts.

You heard me, desserts. Everyone likes to feel pretty sometimes. It’s about time avocado was given a chance to shine. And you know what? Avocado shined. Oh, did it shine. With a little help from Chocolate and her new friend Ancho, that is.

Ancho-Spiced Chocolate Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream
Serves 16

For the cupcakes:
1 1/3 cup unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups buttermilk

For the buttercream frosting:
1 cup avocado meat
2 teaspoons lime juice
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, ancho chili powder, cayenne and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add the vanilla and combine.

Add the flour mixture in 1/4 increments making sure to alternate with the buttermilk. End with the last of the buttermilk. Beat until well combined.

Fill each of the muffin cups 2/3 full of batter. Bake for 17 – 19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

In the meantime, peel and pit a large avocado. Place the avocado in a bowl and combine with lime juice. Beat until the color lightens and the mixture becomes mostly smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time making sure to fully combine before adding the next batch of powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract.

At this point, the frosting will most likely appear too thick. Add 1 tablespoon of buttermilk to smooth and thin the mixture just slightly. If you won’t use the buttercream immediately, store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Top each cupcake with your desired amount of buttercream frosting and enjoy!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

I’m a sucker for a good strawberry rhubarb pie. Even though I know people are divided when it comes to the sweet and tangy pie, I’m an addict. When I lived in Rolla back in 2004, my favorite little mom and pop place, A Slice of Pie, had a mean strawberry rhubarb. I may have gained a million pounds going there. Maybe.

Since I try to avoid sticking pie to my thighs these days, I’ve had to find some way to get the same flavor combination with fewer calories. Luckily, I stumbled upon a recipe that does just that. It’s as if the strawberry rhubarb gods were shining on me.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce
Adapted slightly from Weight Watchers.com
Servings 4
Points 1

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rhubarb, frozen or fresh, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 dash cinnamon

Combine the water and sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil for three minutes.

Reduce heat and add rhubarb. Simmer for three minutes. Stir in strawberries and allow to simmer one more minute. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and a dash of cinnamon.

You can serve this sauce however you’d like including straight out of the sauce pan. I prefer to drizzle mine over angel food cake. I posted that recipe earlier this week. How convenient, right?

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