Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brownie Bites

Now for a little more brownie inspiration.

Don't have time to go all out making a fancy dessert?

Simply mix together (as per box instructions) a box of brownie mix, but instead of the regular 8x8 pan, spoon into a mini-cupcake pan and bake for about 10 minutes.

While the brownie bites are baking, mix up some of this cream cheese frosting, and top each brownie with a nice swirl . . . Now you've got a fancy dessert with only half the hassle.

Fail Proof Cream Cheese Frosting

Now I think it's fair to say that I got through more powdered sugar and cream cheese than the average person does, and it's due in part to the following recipe that I seem to make on an ever too frequent basis. It's my fail proof and default frosting. Not only does it taste delicious, but in my opinion if you add a little cream cheese frosting to the everyday dessert you've dressed it up to fancy! So without further a-due:

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz package cream cheese softened (I use 1/3rd less fat, but any kind should do the trick)
1/4cup butter softened
3.5-4cups powdered sugar (go with 4 if you want it stiffer)
1tsp vanilla

Pour powdered sugar into mixing bowl and whisk a few times to get out any big clumps. Add butter, cream cheese and vanilla; beat on medium speed until you get frosting! *start with the mixer on slow so you don't get a powdered sugar cloud coming out of the bowl; it also helps to cover with a towel until ingredients are combined.

I can't take total claim for this recipe as I got it from my mother, but I do make my own variations . . . can't give away all my secrets!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Easter Egg Cupcakes

Want to make your everyday cupcakes a little more Easter appropriate . . . .

Simply add a Robin's Egg to the top of each frosted cupcake and suddenly you're in the spring time spirit!

St. Patty's Day Cake

Here's a simple yet "festive" St. Patty's Day dessert, and the best part . . . it's semi-homemade!!

  1. Take a box of yellow cake mix; follow all the directions on the box, just add some green food coloring.
  2. Make some buttercream frosting and divide into three equal parts, color one part green, and one part orange. Leave the 3rd part white.
  3. Once cake is cooled frost green on the left, white in the middle, and orange on the right, and presto you've got a cake frosted to look like the Irish Flag!
Simple and festive!

Brownie Tips of the Trade

If your anything like me, waiting for the brownies to cool before you cut them is just simply impossible . . . which often results in crumbled uneven brownie pieces, not to mention trying to get them out of the pan. Well here are a few tricks I've picked up along the way that work very well!

  • First - to add a little of your own "flare" to the brownies you can add a chip flavor of your choice: chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, dark chocolate, peanut-butter, swirl, even toffee pieces, etc. You know, something to spice it up a little more than "just" nuts! And don't forget to top it with some powdered sugar to give it that "finished" look!
  • Second - if you line the pan with foil before pouring the batter, not only do you have a clean pan (one less dish to wash), but the brownies will cool faster, and be easier to cut. They cool faster because you're able to remove them from the pan just a few minutes after cooking, and place them in the foil on a cooling rack. Easier to cut . . .
  • *another added bonus to the foil is that after cutting you can wrap them back up and they are ready to go!
  • Third - cutting brownies has never been one of my skills, but I discovered this little trick of cutting them with a pizza cutter; smooth lines, and no "sawing" of the brownie; just one continues roll! This trick works best with the foil trick because if the brownies are in the pan the pizza cutter won't go all the way to the edge, but out of the pan, it runs clean through!
Hope you've found these little brownie tips helpful, have any to contribute??