Red Velvet Mousse with Raspberry Vanilla Cupcakes

This is a paid post sponsored by McCormick.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

These recipes were a first for me.  I had never made Red Velvet Mousse before and I had also never made an infused simple syrup.

Red Velvet Mousse Cupcake Infused with Raspberry Simple Syrup

 

What ended up happening is that now I am addicted to both.  You’ll see why in a moment.

Let me just start with whats here in front of me.

Red Velvet Mousse Cupcake Infused with Raspberry Simple Syrup

 

I baked up a batch of vanilla cupcakes.  You can use this perfect white cake recipe or a box mix or your favorite recipe.

Then I made up a batch of simple syrup and added McCormick® Raspberry Extract. (recipe below)  I used a pastry brush and brushed about 1 tsp of the syrup (approximately) over each cupcake.  My cupcakes were still a little warm and I think that helped the raspberry syrup to soak into the buttery cake.

Then that fabulous Red Velvet Mousse happened.

Red Velvet Mousse on Raspberry Infused Cupcakes

It had never occurred to me to put mousse on a cupcake and I dont know why!  I really hope you can make the mousse for yourself, but in the off chance that you can’t do it this VERY SECOND I will just tell you.

The mousse is everything you would image a chocolate mousse to be… light and rich and decadent.  But then paired with the raspberry soaked cupcake, its quite magical.  You would look at a cupcake like this and think, “That’s too rich.”  or “There is no way that could taste light and airy.”

And you would be wrong.  Wrong I tell you!

The light rich mousse piped over the light vanilla cupcake that packs a flavor punch in itself with the raspberry simple syrup… it was amazing.  Your tongue rolls over the soft smooth mousse then reaches the gentle crumb of the vanilla cake and just when it starts to rest on the velvety bed of  decadent sugary texture the raspberry flavor hits you and wakes everything up again.

I am not going to go back and re-red that last paragraph.  I wrote with my eyes closed as I was recalling the whole experience.  Even if it doesnt work for a grammar teacher, it WILL work in your belly.

Raspberry Simple Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp McCormick® Raspberry Extract

Instructions

  1. Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Allow the sugar water to cool completely.
  3. Stir in raspberry extract.
  4. Store in an air-tight container. Syrup will be good for about 10-14 days.
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And here is the recipe for the Red Velvet Mousse!  I have slightly adapted McCormick’s original recipe.

Red Velvet Mousse

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces semi­sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Red Food Color
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Microwave chocolate in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 minute? stir.
  2. Microwave additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring until chocolate is smooth and melted.
  3. Add 1/4 cup cream and stir until smooth. Stir in food color and vanilla.
  4. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  5. Beat 2 cups cream and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  6. Gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate mixture with spatula until well blended. Gently stir in remaining chocolate mixture.
  7. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with 1M tip or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Red Velvet Mousse on a Raspberry Infused Cupcake

 This sweet unassuming dessert packs a flavor punch but does not leave you feeling full*.  Perfect for a Valentine’s Day date or for a treat for the office.

*I think.  I sorta ate like 27 so I am definitely feeling full.

Red Velvet Rose Sandwich Cookies

A while back I posted some Neapolitan Spritz Cookies.  I love the cookie so much that I just knew I had to make it for another special occasion!

Red Velvet Rose Cookie

This recipe is one that I am really, really happy with as well.  Its almost like a red velvet brownie, only in cookie form.

Pair it with a marshmallow buttercream and it’s basically ‘heaven’ in cookie form.

Red Velvet Rose Cookie

Here are a few tips and tricks:

Use a small piping bag.  I actually used the 8-inch bag fitted with the 1M tip and the smaller about of dough made piping easier.

Let your dough be at room temperature.  Do not chill!  The heat from your hands is good.

Pipe your roses onto parchment paper.  I have tried chilling the dough (placing the piped rosette’s into the freezer) before baking and that didnt seem to make any difference in wether the rose kept its shape or not.  The roses that you see above are very relaxed, or a bit more spread out from the baking process.

After you have piped the rose (and using a clean hand) just slightly press the “end” of the rose in.  (The tail part that may not look so pretty.)  Just press it in slightly so that the rosette looks uniform.

Red Velvet Rose Cookie

Red Velvet Rose Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp red gel food coloring
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a stand mixer, cream together shortening and sugar.
  3. Once fully combined, add in eggs, one at a time on medium low speed.
  4. Turn mixer to low and add in vanilla, buttermilk and food coloring. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa and salt.
  5. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  6. You may need to add more buttermilk if your dough is still a bit dry. (You may add up to 1/4 cup more if needed. Do not add more than 1/4 cup.)
  7. Using very small amounts, place dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1M (or 2D) tip. Pipe out individual rosettes onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Dough will still appear to be a bit "wet" looking when the cookies are done, and this is ok. Allow cookie to cool to room temperature.
  9. To make cookie sandwich's, place about 1 tbsp on marshmallow buttercream on bottom of cookie, them place another cookie on top and press gently.
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Red Velvet Rose Cookie

Not only is the cookie pretty, but its pretty darn delicious.

You can use most any frosting for the filling… chocolate buttercream would be especially delightful.  Or maybe even just a basic buttercream.  Or how about cream cheese?  You really cant go wrong!

My Birthday Cake

Every year I make myself a birthday cake.  I have absolutely no problem with this as I enjoy making cake, but I do hope that as my kids get older and more confident in the kitchen that they will consider surprising dear-old-mom.

This years cake is nothing like I have ever done before.  I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and sassy lately and this cake is a pretty good reflection of those emotions!

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

Its based the design for this cake on one I have been thinking a lot about lately.  My mom made it when we were little in a metal 9×13 cake pan.  She called it Better-Than-Sex-Cake.

I asked her, “What’s sex?”

She paused.  Squinted her eyes, smirked a little and said, “Eat your cake dear.”

I was eight so that was just fine by me.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

Her cake had Oreo’s and ice cream and hot fudge and peanuts and a little caramel and whipped cream.

My cake is Oreo, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, Oreo, cream cheese frosting, and brownie/Oreo crumbles topped in whipped cream.

To decorate I put Cool Whip into a pastry bag with an 8B tip and piped out dollops.  I saw this cake on Martha Stewarts site and used it as my inspiration.

Whipped Cream Dollops using a 8B tip

 

I gotta tell you, if you are using this type of decorating start by making them with whipped cream.  Its SUCH an easy medium to work with and is so forgiving.  It took maybe four minutes to frost my entire cake.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

This cake is far from pretty to look at inside.  Its a massive jumbled mess of the most rich ingredients known to man.

And that is exactly what I was going for.

Let me break down the layers a bit more.

I used a 9×9 pan and laid a piece of parchment in the bottom.  The parchment was longer on the ends so that it stuck out the sides of the pan.  I then placed 2 packages of Oreo pie crust, which is 12 ounces of Oreo crumbs, into a bowl.  To that bowl I added 2 tablespoons of melted butter and combined with the Oreo.  Take a 1/4 cup of crumbs out of the bowl and set aside.  I then pressed the remaining mixture into the bottom of my pan.

For the ice cream layer, I bought a rectangle box of ice cream.  I removed the entire ice cream from the box and cut 1/2 sections length wise.  I used about six, and then strategically placed them into the pan right over the Oreo crumbs.  They laid completely flat.

I then poured about 1/4 cup of hot fudge over the ice cream and smoothed it with an offset spatula.  Pour the 1/4 cup of Oreo’s that was set aside over hot fudge.

Put the pan in the freezer for at least two hours.

Next I prepared the cream cheese layer.  This was 1 8oz. block of cream cheese at room temperature combined with 1 cup of powdered sugar.

I removed the pan from the freezer and smoothed the cream cheese over the top of the Oreo Layer.

Now this is the crazy part.

Oreo Brownie in a Skillet

 

Remember this thing?  (Oreo Skillet Brownies) I made one, let it cool, then put the entire thing (no ice cream) into my KitchenAid food processor.  And reduced it to crumbs.  Awesomely awesome brownie-Oreo crumbs.

To that I added 4 tablespoons of melted butter (right into the food processor) and pulsed for about a minute.

That brownie mixture was then pressed into my pan, right on top of the cream cheese layer.

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownie Ice Cream Cake

This is the cake removed from the pan, flipped out onto a serving plate.  The brownie is on the bottom now and the Oreo layer on top.

Are you still with me?  Cause I am pretty sure this cake is certifiable.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

I couldn’t get a perfect looking piece, and to be honest I didnt really try that hard.

This stupid little birthday cake is my greatest creation OF ALL TIME.

Well, that may be an overstatement.  But it is pretty darn delicious.  Just please, do not ever, for all that is holy in this world, try to figure out how many calories are in one piece.

Better Than Sex Cake

We are better off not knowing.

 

homemade carrot cake

Trying to find a real carrot cake recipe is not as easy as you would think.  My Mother-in-Law was having a big birthday party last Sunday and that was her only request.  Real carrot cake.  With real ingredients.

I have never been a fan of chunky carrot cake.  Chunky as in… no visible carrot pieces.  No nuts.  No raisins.  Never ever ever raisins in a cake.

I much prefer the box mix.  Because really, its all about the cream cheese frosting anyway.  As long as there is a cake with some sort of spice flavor under it I am good.

Chunky Carrot Cake with the BEST Cream Cheese Frosting!

 But I was wrong.

So, so so so wrong.

After searching for some time, I found a reliable source for the recipe.  My friend Shaina from Food For Your Family has a beautiful, real and raw site.  Raw in terms of ingredients (she uses real food… unlike me who just professed a love for box mix) and in terms of writing.  (Seriously, I have never been emotionally moved by a food blog as much as I am with hers.)

I changed up a few key ingredients simply because I did not have any on hand, but for the most part tried to follow her great recipe.  If you want the original in all its glory, be sure to visit her site!!

Chunky Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Rosettes!

 

For the exterior I did a version of my original Rosette Cake.  My beautiful mother-in-law was turning 67 (she really doesn’t look a day over 45!) and so piped out 67 flowers.  Some are with the 1M tip (remember you can always use a 2D tip in place of the 1M) and the rest are with #27 tip from Wilton.

Chunky Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Rosettes!

 

This is my favorite Cream Cheese frosting.  (Its the best ever.  Don’t click that link.  You will be ruined for all other cream cheese frostings forever.)

Homemade Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/4 cups grated carrots

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans.
  3. Beat the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in mixer until it is a light yellow.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  6. Remove bowl from mixer and fold raisins, nuts, and the carrots.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Cover in cream cheese frosting.
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Normally I would try to take a pretty picture of the cut-into cake, but since this was for an actual party there wasn’t that opportunity.  Plus this cake is so gloriously chunky and crumbly that there would be no such thing as a ‘beauty shot’.

I did grab a quick picture of my piece though, just before I gobbled it down in 30 seconds flat.

Chunky Homemade Carrot Cake with the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Man it was good.  The flavor was  delightful.  The texture was exquisite. The last bite gratifying.

I think I just talked myself into making another one.

New Years Eve Crack

Its safe to say that I am addicted.  Ever since I made Halloween Crack I have been thinking (dreaming) of making it again.

New Years Eve Saltine Candy (Crack)

 

If you can eat just one piece and walk away then I want you to teach me your ways oh wise one.

The rich buttery caramel over crispy crackers and then covered in chocolate is just about enough to do me under.

New Years Eve Saltine Candy (crack)

 

New Years Eve Crack

Ingredients

  • Approximately 1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup of holiday inspired sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Arrange the crackers salt side down in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir while the butter melts, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. (about 3-5 minutes) Remove from heat and carefully pour the sugar-butter mixture over the crackers on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake the toffee crackers at 425 degrees for 3-5 minutes, until the toffee is bubbling all over. Carefully remove the pan from the oven.
  5. Immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the hot toffee, and allow them to sit for one minute to soften and melt. Once softened, use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate over the entire surface of the toffee as evenly as possible.
  6. Cover with holiday inspired sprinkles.
  7. Freeze the pan for about 30 minutes. Once set, break into small uneven pieces by hand. Store uneaten saltine toffee in an airtight container for up to a week.
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New Years Eve Saltine Candy (crack)

 

To make it socially acceptable for me to be making this I added some gold sprinkles.  You know, because if I make it seasonal its not just considered binge eating.  Right?

The sprinkles are easily found at most grocery stores, but you can order online as well.

This stuff is addictive.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!  And be sure to invite me over for quality sampling.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

I grew up with a very basic peanut butter blossom recipe. It had a star shaped chocolate piece on top instead of the Hershey’s kiss.  They tasted the same, but there is something about seeing that simple star chocolate piece atop the light peanut butter cookie that makes my heart smile.

There was always a platter of homemade peanut butter blossoms, homemade peanut butter cups and sugar cookies in our house during the holidays.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms #baking #cookies #christmas

My mom would get together with her friends and have Christmas baking marathons.  As the youngest kid I would often tag along, book in tow, and find a sweet spot to get lost on an adventure with Nancy Drew.  (Giving my dad, the only man in the house, a much deserved break from all the estrogen!)  At that age I had no desire to bake anything.  Ever.

During chapter breaks (I was an avid reader in my youth) I would make my way to the kitchen and grab a cookie.   My mom and her friend always knew I was there, but they would conveniently turn their backs just long enough for me to sneak a delectable bite.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms #baking #cookies #christmas

After the long day baking they would pack up our share of treats and we would head home.  My mom always made sure some was set aside to donate, to bring to a family in need, or for a friend who needed a pick-me-up.

She was wise to instill that in me… that desire to spread joy and love to others.  (Especially through food!)  And I am so thankful to her for her acts of generosity and caring.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms #baking #Christmas #cookies

One of the gifts I hope to share with you all is not only a recipe or a decorating technique, but being able to create a sweet memory with a loved one.  In the end, thats what is real important right?

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1 bag Hershey's Kisses
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup red sanding sugar

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 375
  2. Beat butter, peanut butter, and sugar in stand mixer for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Turn mixer to low and add in egg, milk, vanilla, and red food coloring. Mix for about 30 seconds to incorporate, then turn mixer to medium high and blend until light and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl sift cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer on slow add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat until just combined.
  4. Remove mixer bowl from stand. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Pour red sanding sugar onto small plate or bowl. Roll dough ball in sanding sugar and place on prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. While baking unwrap Hershey's Kisses. Once cookies are done baking, remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate Kiss into the center of each cookie. The cookie should crack around edges.
  7. Allow cookies to cool to room temperature.
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Adapted from nycityeats.com

I think what made these cookies so special was not only the extra cocoa richness, but the red sanding sugar.  It really made the cookies sparkle and shine and my kids couldn’t stop talking about them!

I found the red sanding sugar at my local grocery store, but McCormick has a recipe if you want to make your own.

Red Velvet Peanut Butter Blossoms #cookies #redvelvet #christmas

I am hoping to create some fun baking traditions in my family and know these will be a part of it!  Do you have any holiday time baking traditions?

Brown Butter Fudge

This brown butter fudge gets all its sweet flavor from the decadent browned butter.  Its a show stopper!

Brown Butter Fudge

 

I have been incorporating brown butter into all my desserts lately.  With brown butter buttercream and brown butter cream cheese and now this Browned Butter Fudge.

And I am just getting started.

Brown Butter Fudge

 

My great-grandma Inga made the most amazing Vanilla Fudge.  I have tried for years to replicate her recipe, but not been successful.  This is very, very close!

She made hers sweet and dry… it was not creamy like traditional fudge is.  It sorta ruined me forever because most are creamy! (da) But I like mine dry and crumbly and flakey.

I know, I know, I am weird.

Brown Butter Fudge

 

Well, it turned out creamy anyway.  Good for you!  Not so good for me.

So I will just keep working on the consistency part.  But that flavor part has to stay exactly like this.  Almost perfect!

 

Brown Butter Fudge

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 7 oz evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Place the butter in a medium-large saucepan over medium-high heat. (Try to use a pan with a light bottom) Melt the butter and continue to cook it until it is a rich, golden brown. Keep a close eye on it as it cooks and stir it every few minutes so that it does not scorch on the bottom. The butter should smell toasty and have a beautiful nutty color.
  2. Once the butter is browned, add the sugar, evaporated milk, and corn syrup. Stir sugar until it is completely dissolved.
  3. Insert candy thermometer to the side of your saucepan. Continue to slowly cook the sugar mixture until it reaches 238 degrees or soft ball stage.
  4. Once the temperature reaches 238 degrees, remove the candy from the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  5. Prepare an 8x8 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray
  6. Once the candy is room temperature, or about 45 degrees, pour into into stand mixer. Start mixer on low and slowly add in powdered sugar. Once the sugar is mostly incorporated turn the mixer to high and beat until fudge looses its shine. It should be fairly thick. (This took about five minutes.)
  7. Pour the fudge into the prepared pan, and smooth it into an even layer. Allow the fudge to set at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  8. You can store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
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Adapted from About.com.

It tastes like a caramel fudge.  And a vanilla fudge.

And is dangerous if kept to close.

Brown Butter Fudge

 

I think I better make a few more batches for some more quality testing. ;)

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Whipped Cream

This cake is basically a wintery version of my Chocolate Pumpkin Cake.  I have been wanting to do another version of that cake for a year now, and this seemed like the perfect way to do it.

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

Other than the flavors, I did a couple things different with this cake.

First I baked two full red velvet cake recipes.  Each entire recipe went into one 8×8 pan.  (Make sure the batter does not fill the pan more than half way.)

Also, I did not level my cakes.  This was not a good idea!  I highly recommend that you make sure your cakes are leveled to the same height.

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

Bake two red velvet cakes in square pans.

Prepare Milk Chocolate Ganache.

Prepare Peppermint Whipped Cream.

You will also use straws, and offset spatula, a piping bag and 1M tip.

 

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

 

To assemble this cake place your first red velvet layer on the cake stand.  Cover in about 3/4 cup of chocolate ganache.  I love the look of letting it spill over the sides, but you can do whatever you prefer at this step.  Place other red velvet cake on flat surface and cover with about 3/4 cup of ganache.  Set aside.

Cut a straw into four equal sections.  Place the straws into the cake.  I make sure the straws are at least 1-inch in from each side and in each corner.  The homemade whipped cream is not sturdy enough to hold the weight of the top layer of cake on its own, that is why I add the straws.  Just be sure to tell your family when you cut into the cake.

Cover cake in about 1 1/2 cups of peppermint whipped cream.  I level the whipped cream to the height of the straws with an offset spatula.

Take other red velvet cake and center it on top of the cake on your cake stand.

Using a 1M tip, pipe out nine fancy swirls at least 2 inches high.  Cover in red and chocolate sprinkles.

I would recommend serving right away, but cake will keep for one day in the fridge.

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

The Peppermint Whipped Cream is amazing.  It’s subtle, not overpowering.  Light.  Refreshing.

Such a perfect compliment to the rich Red Velvet and chocolate ganache!

I can’t recommend this cake enough.  It is seriously the PERFECT cake for any holiday celebration!

Red Velvet Melting Snowman Cookies

If you have read my blog for awhile now you know that I am very, very serious about two things.

1. Honesty and Integrity in blogging… always crediting the source when you use someone else’s idea.

2. Sugar.

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Melting Snowman Cookies #cookies #christmas #redvelvet #creamcheese

These cookie were inspired by the amazing Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie.  She created the Original Melting Snowman cookies five years ago and she is a genius.  I have admired her cookies and tutorials for years and feel lucky to know someone who is SO creative!  Her idea has been copied so many times its hard to keep track.  Its my hope that everyone would know where the brilliant idea began!

While the snowman part of this cookie was inspired by Meaghan, the flavor was all about winter.  I wanted to make a cookie that was easy and yummy.  I wanted a cookie that would stay delicious for days.  I wanted my kitchen to be cleaned by magic kitchen fairies.

Good thing I got two of my three wishes.

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Melting Snowman Cookies #cookies #christmas #redvelvet #creamcheese

The cookie was easy.  Its made from a box!  Recipe from Better Crocker.

Red Velvet Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Red Gel Food Coloring

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment or silpat.
  3. In stand mixer, add cake mix, butter, and eggs. With mixer on slow, add in red gel food coloring until you reach your desired color. (batter will be very thick).
  4. Using 1-inch cookie scoop, drop dough about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
  5. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until set.
  6. Allow cookies to cool before frosting.
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I used my favorite Perfect Cream Cheese frosting, only I added in about 1/4 cup of heavy cream.  I wanted the frosting to not hold its shape and just barely start to spill over the sides of the cookies when I frosted them.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Melting Snowman Cookies #christmas #cookies #redvelvet #creamcheese

The I bought Reese’s Peanut Butter ‘bells’ and cut them in half. I found it best to do that at room temperature.  The snowman’s nose is an orange sprinkle.  His eyes are mini chocolate chips.

Place hat on cookie, drop on the two eyes, then stick his nose on.  I let mine stick outward a bit, but you could also just lay it flat.  You really can’t go wrong!

Be sure to stop by and see The Decorated Cookie’s full tutorial and original cookie.  She has so many great ideas,  I know I could spend hours looking at all her creations.

And as always, if you are opposed to box mix, feel free to substitute your favorite red velvet cookie recipe. :)

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Whipped Cream

I shared a Chocolate Pumpkin Cake last year and have gotten such a wonderful response!  You all are so sweet.  One of the most common questions I get is, “Can I make this into cupcakes?”

Yes.  Yes you can.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Whipped Cream #cupcakes

To modify the original recipe into cupcakes I did this:

Prepare muffin pan with cupcake liners.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Prepare ganache and dip top of cupcake into ganache then set aside to allow it to set.  (You can also chill cupcake at this point.)

Prepare pumpkin whipped cream and place into a pastry bag with an open star tip.  (I like 1M or 2D)  Pipe out a cloud of pumpkin awesomeness and cover in sprinkles.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Whipped Cream #cupcakes

For the cupcakes pictures above I actually used a freestanding cupcake liner.  I think I got them on Amazon, but you simply place them directly on a cookie sheet and fill with batter. My entire pumpkin chocolate cake recipe make 9 cupcakes, since they use a bit more batter.  I also baked these for about 30 minutes in my convection oven.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
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  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cups softened butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
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  • 2/3 cups cocoa
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  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. In a small bowl combine buttermilk and pumpkin. Just mix together until incorporated.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a mixer, beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
  5. Alternating, add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the sugar mixture. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Mix for 1 minute on low until fully combined. Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, place batter in prepared cupcake pan.
  7. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Cupcakes are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
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Tips for Success:

After cupcakes have cooled to room temperature, dip them in the ganache.  If you need to make these ahead of time or set aside for any reason, the ganache will lock in moisture and will prevent them from drying out.

Since the pumpkin whipped cream is from scratch you will want to pipe these cupcakes immediately before serving.  I had left a couple cupcakes sitting on the counter overnight and noticed the whipped cream was “melting” a bit.  You may have better success if refrigerated.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Whipped Cream #cupcakes

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!