Friday, April 29, 2011

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Here's another continuation of my strawberry obsession (especially when chocolate is involved). We had our 3rd anniversary a few days ago and what a great reason to make these. The chocolate cake is a doctored up box mix which makes things a lot easier and the result is the moistest cupcake i've probably ever had. The frosting is a fresh strawberry buttercream and it's pretty amazing.
Normally when I make chocolate covered strawberries I just lay them on parchment paper after I dip them, but this time I didn't want a flat side. I didn't have any styrofoam so I had to get creative. I ended up using an apple placed in a plastic cup to poke the berries into to hold up. There wasn't a lot of room on the apples to hold a lot of berries, but they dried fast enough that I didn't need a whole lot of room. It was a little difficult making sure the apple didn't tip over..but it ended up working fine and I didn't get the flat side! Now i'm just wishing I didn't toss my 40% off at Michaels because I need to go get some styrofoam for an upcoming project.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
My Baking Addition


1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix

1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup sour cream

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup warm water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and water. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.

3. Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.

5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

For the buttercream frosting:

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

pinch of fine grain sea salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

6 ounces strawberries, pureed

4-6 tablespoons heavy cream


1. Cream butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

2. Add salt, vanilla, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and strawberry puree. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy

3. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with a chocolate covered strawberry.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Stuffed French Toast

I'm so glad it's strawberry season cause i've been on a huge berry kick lately. They had 2 lb. containers on sale for really cheap last week and I bought 4 of them (not all at once), and ate almost all of them by myself. Blackberries have also been on sale and i've been eating a ridiculous amount of those as the point of making myself sick once.
I wanted to make breakfast on Easter and I also wanted to use some of our strawberries, and I thought stuffed french toast sounded perfect. Matt's usually the french toast maker in our house but I wanted to give it a try this time. This was really so easy to make and I loved it! You could use jam or fresh berries of your choice in the filling or a combo of them both, which is what I did. If you're not in the mood for fruit, you could try adding chopped nuts with the cream cheese instead.

Stuffed French Toast
seen on Tasty Kitchen see here for step by step photos

1 loaf French Bread
3 Tablespoons Any Flavor Fruit Spread (You Can Also Use Jelly, Jam, Fresh Fruit, or a combo. of *fruit and jam- *if using fruit, use about 1/2 c. chopped mixed with 1 TBS. sugar)
½ packages Cream Cheese (4 Oz), At Room Temperature
2 whole Eggs
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
½ cups Skim Milk

Heat skillet or electric griddle to 325 to 350 degrees.
Cut french bread into 2-3 inch wide slices. Then, with a paring knife, go back and cut halfway into each slice, in the center, creating a ‘pocket’ that your fruit mixture can be stuffed into.
If using strawberries, slice and place in bowl with sugar; set aside.
In another bowl, place the room temperature cream cheese and three tablespoons of fruit spread of your choice and combine well.
In a separate bowl, break 2 eggs; add cinnamon and milk and combine well.
Now, take fruit mixture and stuff into the ‘pockets’ of your french bread slices. Place on a baking sheet.
When done stuffing each piece of bread, completely coat each piece in egg mixture. Make sure all sides are covered. Do all pieces before starting to fry.
Put 2 tbsp or less of butter into a hot skillet and melt completely. Add all of the bread to the skillet and cook roughly about 3-6 minutes on each side, until it reaches a nice golden brown. You want to make sure the cream cheese mixture heats through.
Serve with powdered sugar or syrup. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fruit Tart

I'm in love with fruit tarts. Have I mentioned this before? Everytime we go to the grocery store I always have to resist getting one (you know, one of those little individual size ones). Half the time I can hold back, but the other half I usually just give in and get one. I've been waiting to make this recipe for a while now thinking I would need to wait until I had a group gathering to take this to.. but me and Matt finished over half of it in one you can see in the picture. To me, the crust is the star of this. It tastes a little like a sugar cookie and is nice and sturdy, but not hard. I know i'll be making this one again!

Fruit Tart
Baking Illustrated via. Annie's Eats

For the tart dough:
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

For the pastry cream:
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
(whatever fruit you prefer, really)
2 large kiwis, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
6-9 oz. raspberries
1/2-1 cup blueberries
Apple jelly, for glazing

To make the tart shell, whisk together the egg yolk, cream and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Process briefly to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture; process to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about fifteen 1-second pulses. With the machine running, add the egg mixture and process until the dough just comes together, about 12 seconds. Turn the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press into a 6-inch dish. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 48 hours.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. (If refrigerated for more than an hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable.) Unwrap and roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan. Mold the dough to the sides of the tart pan and remove the excess off the top. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a large plate and freeze for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to middle position. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Set the dough-lined tart pan on a baking sheet, press a 12-inch square of foil into the frozen shell and over the edge, and fill with pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil and weights. Continue to bake until deep golden brown, 5-8 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the pastry cream, heat the half-and-half, 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
When the half-and-half mixture has reached a simmer, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula. Return the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

To assemble the tart, spread the cold pastry cream evenly over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the fruit on top of the pastry cream as desired. Heat the jelly in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, just until slightly melted and easy to stir. Using a pastry brush, paint a light layer of jelly over the fresh fruit. Serve. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs are a classic Easter dish and great way to use up all those extra hard boiled eggs you have sitting around. These are super easy to whip up taking no time at all. There are a lot of different variations and ways to spruce up the eggs according to your own preference, but here is a great basic recipe that everyone can enjoy.

Deviled Eggs

6 large eggs

1 TBLS. sour cream

2 TBLS. mayo

1/2 t. distilled white vinegar

1/2 t. dijon mustard

1/4 t. sugar

salt and pepper to taste

paprika (optional)


Peel cooled hard boiled eggs and cut in half lengthwise.

Transfer the yolks to a small bowl and mix in remaining ingredients until smooth and combined. Fill the egg white shells with mixture using a spoon or put filling in a ziplock bag with corner snipped off and pipe into shells. Sprinkle with paprika if desired. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Egg Marshmallow Truffles

It's been a while since i've posted. I was in WA for a week and just haven't got around to making anything new to share. Now i'm gonna be honest..i'm not big into truffles or soft center chocolates. I love chocolates but I prefer ones with nuts or chewy ones like caramel.
Marshmallow is a different story though, I love chocolate covered marshmallows so when I saw these I knew I wanted to make them right away. So I did..that day. However I was expecting these to be more like a chocolate covered marshmallow but it was more like a truffle (which it is, duh). I wasn't a big fan, but it may be because I was expecting something else. Next time I would try doing more marshmallow creme to powdered sugar ratio than what the recipe says to suit my taste. Now..on the other hand, I took these to a church lunch and apparently everyone loved these. I had so many people come find me to tell me they loved them and ask how I made them. I made these a little on the large size and had about 20 of them, next time I would definitely make them a little smaller as a little goes a long way, as with any truffles I think.
One more thing, I forgot my husband had my camera with him at school and I forgot to leave 1 of these out to get a picture of later. So if you want a photo you'll have to visit the recipe link.

Easter Egg Marshmallow Truffles
Taste and Tell

makes about 30 truffles
1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
3 cups powdered sugar

For the coating:
8 ounces chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening
assorted sprinkles, if desired

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the marshmallow creme, butter, vanilla and salt. Mix until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing until smooth. Refrigerate for an hour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Use a small scoop to make small balls out of the marshmallow mixture. Form each ball into an egg shape. The mixture was really pretty sticky so I would put it back in the freezer every couple minutes to make it easier to work with. Freeze for about 15 minutes. You can also reshape them a little better at this point.
Melt the chocolate with the shortening. Dip the marshmallow eggs into the chocolate and place back onto the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with topping, if desired. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Follow TawnyAlexander on Twitter

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Whole Wheat Pita Chips with Mascarpone-Chive Dip

We just weeded our garden, it's been long over due, but now we're ready to plant some crops! Out staples we usually plant are tomatoes, squash and zucchini since we've had really good luck with all of those (when the pesky animals don't get to them first, atleast). We still have some herbs from last season that we didn't pull out to see if those will come back for us. I didn't realize how many chives we have in there! I wish I would have noticed before buying some at the store for this dip.

It's always nice to have quick appetizer recipes on hand. This makes a good dip for a get together or just for snacking. The flavor is like sour cream and onion, but with bacon! So good. Next time i'll try it with cream cheese instead of mascarpone to see how it compares, especially since the mascarpone was a little pricey. I've never even thought to try making pita chips before and I was surprised how quick and easy it actually was. They were crunchy with great flavor and would also go well with hummus. The original recipe calls for 4 whole pita breads, but I ended up needing more than that to finish off the dip.

Whole Wheat Pita Chips with Mascarpone-Chive Dip


4-6 whole wheat pita breads- halved

2 TBLS. olive oil

1 t. dried oregano

1/2 t. kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning

1/2 t. pepper, plus more for seasoning

4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, finely chopped

1 c. (8 oz.) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

3/4 c. sour cream

1/4 c. chopped fresh chives


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Cut each pita half into 4 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with the oil, then sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes until crisp and golden.

In a medium bowl, combine the bacon, mascarpone cheese, sour cream, and chives. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl. Arrange the pita chips and dip on a platter and serve.
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