White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

Did you get a chance to see my Sugared Cranberries recipe? Well, here is where I used some of mine.  They paired well with my white chocolate cream cheese frosting on top of the cranberry poke cupcakes. I tried these out on my family at Thanksgiving. They were well received. If you can’t find cranberry Jello gelatin, substitute with raspberry Jello gelatin. And if you prefer to use a shortcut, just use a box of your favorite white cake mix. I won’t tell. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened (Do not soften in microwave)
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cranberry JELL-O gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 package (6oz total) Baker’s White Chocolate bars
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Add cupcake liners to cupcake pans.
  2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, almond extract, milk, & sour cream. Whisk until blended & set aside.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients (cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt) in the mixer for 30 seconds so the baking powder and salt will be well incorporated into the flour and sugar.
  4. Slowly add the pieces of butter a few at a time while the mixer is on medium speed. Beat for approximately 1 minute or until the dry ingredients are crumbly and moistened by the butter, giving it the look of coarse sand. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. It is important to SLOWLY add approx. 1/2 of the egg mixture with the mixer on very low speed then increasing to medium speed for 1½ minutes — the batter will be thick and fluffy. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, scraping the bowl and beating for 20 seconds after each addition. It is now ready to pour into cupcake liners.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Pierce tops of cupcakes with fork immediately after cooking.
  7. Combine boiling water with JELL-O gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Spoon gently over cupcakes, allowing to sink into fork holes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Beat for another 2 minutes.
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with sugared cranberries.

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcake

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Mini Key Lime Tarts

Mini Key Lime TartI wasn’t going to post this recipe because I totally baked the crust for too long on these when I made them. And I was disappointed and frustrated especially because the  key lime filling turned out so well. I hate when things I make don’t turn out good. But not to fear, I have adjusted the baking time on this recipe for you so your crusts won’t turn into hockey pucks like mine did.

CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons key lime juice (6-7 key limes)
  • zest of 1 key lime
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

DIRECTIONS FOR CRUST:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line a standard 12 cupcake tin with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.
  3. Divide crust evenly amongst the 12 liners, approx. 1 heaping Tbsp in each. Press firmly into the bottom of each liner.
  4. Bake for 3-5 minutes. Set aside on cooling rack.

DIRECTIONS FOR FILLING:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F degrees.
  2. Prepare a water bath on the stove. (Pot with boiling water.)
  3. Once the water is boiling, place eggs, sugar, key lime juice, zest and melted butter into a large bowl and begin whisking.
  4. Whisk vigorously over the boiling water bath until thick and light (approx. 5-10mins).  You can also use a hand mixer. The mixture is ready when it’s light, thick (like pudding), and ribbons form when you run your whisk through it.
  5. Pour into pre-baked tart crusts and bake for 5 minutes or until set. The center of the pies should jiggle just slightly the pan is nudged.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack, then place in fridge for at least 2 hours.
  7. Serve cold, topped with whipped cream and key lime zest.

 

Black Forest Bundt Cake

IMG_6752I finally bought myself a bundt cake pan. Being a bundt pan novice, I didn’t realize I needed to spray the pan with baking spray oil so heavily.  My lesson was learned after 10% of the top of my first bundt cake stayed in the pan. Good thing I had enough ingredients to try again.  Otherwise, the bundt cake pan would have been put in the far back of a cupboard never to be seen again.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

FILLING INGREDIENT:

  • 1/2 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling (use remainder to serve on the side)

TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkles of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Prepare your bundt pan by coating it heavily with baking spray or butter and flour.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, almond extract,  vanilla extract and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute.
  4. Sift into the bowl the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt.
  5. Mix together on medium speed for 2 minutes. Batter will be thin.
  6. Top the batter with the cherry pie filling. Black Forest Bundt pan 2
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.IMG_6749 (2)
  9. Whip the heavy cream in a cold, chilled bowl until it starts to thicken.
  10. Then beat in confectioners sugar, almond and vanilla extract until the mixture begins to hold its shape.
  11. Top the bundt cake with the whipped topping and add sprinkles. If you have maraschino cherries add those too. I didn’t have enough to decorate my cake though.
  12. Serve the extra whipped topping and cherry pie filling on the side. Your guests will be pleased! Black Forest Bundt 2

Olive Oil Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cranberries

olive-oil-oatmeal-cookieI know what you are thinking. “What?! Joann is not fattening us up with butter in her cookies like always?” No worries. I made these more out of curiosity rather than trying to be more health conscious. And actually, these were not bad at all. They turned out sweet, savory and moist all in one.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries or raisins)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. Meanwhile line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Mix together olive oil, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs in a large mixing bowl until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, cloves and nutmeg.
  4. Add flour mixture, rolled oats and dried cranberries to olive oil mixture.
  5. Drop in tablespoon balls on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Let cool at least 3 minutes before transferring to baking rack to completely cool.
  8. This recipe yielded 32 cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Lemon Snowball Cookies

lemon-snowball-2These cookies you can make all year round. But come on. They call them snowball cookies. SNOWBALLS! When I think of snowballs, I think winter. And when I think winter, I think the holidays. These are similar to Russian tea cookies without the walnuts or pecans. I just don’t really like nuts in my cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar for coating

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Beat butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon extract, kosher salt and lemon zest.
  3. Add the flour and mix until dough forms into consistency of small pebbles.
  4. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls. Leave 1-2 inches between cookies as the dough does no spread.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies no longer look wet.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before rolling in additional powdered sugar.
  7. Roll cookies in powdered sugar added to a bowl or go add powdered sugar to a ziploc bag and shake to cover cookies.

Cookies will store for 3 days in air tight container or freeze up to one month. This recipe yielded 30 cookies.

Holiday Explosion Cookies

xmas-explosion-cookiesOkay, technically these are my Holiday Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies. But they are amped up to be even more festive and more chocolatey. How can you resist three types of chocolate chips, sweet cranberries, holiday M&M’s and holiday sprinkles?! I know I can’t. Make a batch of these for your favorite little elves and don’t forget about Santa.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup red and green holiday M&M’s
  • 1/2 cup red and green holiday sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 large baking sheets with non stick baking mats or use parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Using a mixer, combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, stirring until just combined.
  7. Add the dried cranberries/cherries, the 3 types of chocolate chips, M&M’s and holiday sprinkles to the mixture.
  8. Mix manually with a wooden spoon until all are combined.xmas-explosion-cookies-2
  9. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
  10. Bake until light golden brown and just set, 8-10 minutes.
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These cookies can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. This recipe yields about 24 -30 cookies. 

  1. xmas-explosion-cookies-1

Lemon Blueberry Crumble Bars

lemon-blueberry-crumble-plated1I love quick recipes. And even better, a quick baked goods recipe. Correction, a quick FROM SCRATCH recipe. These are so tasty you are going to want to make a second batch soon. I know I am!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking pan with nonstick baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl or food processor, combine flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, lemon zest and cold butter. Using your fingers work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. (Or pulse in food processor until crumbs form.)
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch. Stir in lemon juice. Add blueberries and gently mix to combine.
  5. Spread 2/3 of the batter into the prepared baking pan. lemon-blueberry-crumble-1
  6. Spread blueberry mixture evenly over the bottom layer. lemon-blueberry-crumble-2
  7. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 of the batter and then sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over top batter layer. lemon-blueberry-crumble-3
  8. Bake until lightly browned, about 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool before cutting into bars.

lemon-blueberry-crumble-plated