Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eat Your Heart Out

A few weeks ago I promised you the recipes I used at the baby shower I threw. I said something like "check back soon for the recipes". Now I realize that everyone has a different definition of soon but mine tends to be "weeks" instead of "days or hours". Oops! So as promised (but a little late) here are the recipes for Stuffed Strawberries and Salted Caramel Cupcakes. Yum! 

Stuffed Strawberries  Adapted from Allrecipes
  • Large container of strawberries, washed and dried with stems removed
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • About 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
I found a recipe similar to this on Allrecipes.com but I didn't like all of the ingredients so I kind of adapted it to my tastes. You can just taste the filling as you go along until it tastes good to you. Combine all ingredients (except strawberries) in a mixing bowl and beat until you get a good consistency for piping. You may need to add more or less sugar depending on the consistency and taste you want. 

Next, cut a deep X in the strawberries almost to the tip. Fill a pastry bag (or a ziploc bag with the tip cut off) and a star tip with the cream cheese mixture. Pipe into strawberries slowly and carefully shape them back into their original shape. Chill until ready to serve. 

Salted Caramel Cupcakes  

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, JoysHope. (www.joyshope.com) These cupcakes are so good, just looking at the picture is making me want to go whip up a batch right now. The hardest part of the whole thing was finding the squeeze bottle pictured below. 

I mean seriously people. It's summer. How hard is it to find a ketchup or mustard squirt bottle?? Apparently, it's REALLY hard. I finally found that one at HomeGoods but I'm sure you could find a plain clear one at a restaurant supply store too. And see that super cool icing gun on the right? That is my secret weapon for getting really pretty icing on my cupcakes. If you make a lot of cupcakes, you need one. Tell your husband "Gina said I NEED this." He'll understand...it's for the cupcakes. 

Okay the recipe. I love that this recipe is kind of cheating. You can use a boxed cake mix and it will still be really good! Just be sure to make your own icing because it really is easy and tastes so much better than canned. If you don't believe me, try it once and I think you'll be hooked! 

One box German Chocolate Cake mix and the ingredients to make it
Sea Salt
Caramel Ice Cream topping
3 or 4 Heath Bars
Vanilla Buttercream Icing (recipe below)
Squeeze bottle

Make the cake mix according the the directions on the box. While cupcakes are baking, you can crush the Heath Bars. Just use a hammer and smash them right in the packages. Fun! Then transfer to a bowl. Next, make the salted caramel. Pour the caramel into a glass Pyrex measuring cup and add 1/2 tsp of sea salt for every 8 oz of caramel. Warm in the microwave for one minute. Remove and stir. Try not to lick the spoon after you stir. It's hot. Trust me, I know. Transfer caramel to your squeeze bottle. 

As soon as you remove the cupcakes, squeeze some salted caramel into the cupcake. This step really makes the cupcakes good so don't skimp on the caramel! After they are cool frost with vanilla buttercream (recipe below) and roll in crushed Heath Bars and drizzle with remaining caramel. 

Vanilla Buttercream

1 stick of butter softened
1 pound of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
3 Tbs. milk

Beat butter until soft and creamy in bowl. Add vanilla and slowly add powdered sugar until smooth. Slowly add milk until it is the consistency you want. You may not need all of the milk, check consistency after every TBS to make sure it's not too runny! I always turn my mixer on fairly high at the end and just let it beat for a minute or two to whip the frosting and get some air in there so it's nice and fluffy. 

Okay there you have it! Recipes to jazz up any party. Now you need to find an excuse to have a party so that you can make these SOON. (Like days or hours soon...not weeks!) Hope you enjoy! 


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