Summer Berry Cupcakes

My neighbors have chickens.  They bring me fresh eggs, which I love.  But the other day I glanced in my fridge and realized I had three dozen eggs.  I began to sweat a bit.  What do I do with that many eggs?  The only solution is to bake.  Luckily, in our part of the woods, we’re getting ready for the Auntie’s Annual Mad-Hatter Tea Party.  So I have some recipes I’ve been trying out. I thought I’d show you a teaser of what’s to come for this years tea party:

 

 

The recipe is a simple one.  We’re talking cake mix simple here, with some extra ingredients added, of course.  (You know me.)  And with all of the pretty berries in season, why not use them to decorate cupcakes?  The sky is the limit, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, anything would look good…yep, anything.  Besides, I think they’re the prettiest little things I’ve made in a long time.  LiLi loved them.  She kept stealing them and then ran away to some remote corner of the house where she thought I wouldn’t find her.  Fortunately, she left a little trail of chocolate crumbs like a little Gretel.

Summer Berry Cupcakes:

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix
  • (3 oz.) package of chocolate instant pudding
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 eggs

Yeild:  1 1/2 dozen (I’m guessing you could get around 2 dozen if you’re frugal)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line muffin tin with liners. In a large bowl combine all ingredients.  Mix for about two minutes.  Pour batter into individual cupcake liners.  (Tip: I like to put the batter in disposable icing bags, and pipe it into the cupcake liners, it’s an extra step, but the cupcakes are more uniform, and it cuts down on the scrubbing time when you’re cleaning out the muffin tin, there isn’t any baked cupcake to chip off.)  Bake for about 15 minutes.  Let cool for a minute or two in the muffin tin, and then transfer individual cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Frost with your favorite frosting. And top with the berry of your choice.

And don’t worry, I know I still owe you a blueberry muffin recipe.;)

 

Heartstrings: Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  It’s the ultimate comfort food: cookie + chocolate chips = perfection.  What more could you ask for?  I made some the other day.  And they made me happy.

They also made LiLi happy.  When they were cooling, she took tiny little bites out of a dozen of them and carefully placed them back on the cooling rack.  The stinker.  Here she is snatching one while I try and get a picture.

Hello, little blurred hand in my picture.

You like, Bugs?  I’ll take that as a “yes”.

Make some today (they make excellent Valentines, *wink*, *wink*).  Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda (for Utah’s elevation, if somewhere near sea level, increase to 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I use salted, because that’s the way I am)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (you can toast if you’re feeling ambitious)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, the baking soda, and the salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about three minutes (don’t skip this step!  Do the entire time!).  Add the egg and the vanilla and mix well.  Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly.  Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.  Drop by rounded teaspoon fulls onto ungreased cookie sheet, leaving several inches between for expansion.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Cool the cookies on the sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 2 to 3 dozen cookies

Cooking: White Chocolate Truffle Pecan Drop Cookies

These are my favorite cookies of all time. I don’t know what it is about them…possibly the fact that the toasted pecans meld so beautifully with the other ingredients. Or, that there are obscenely large chunks of white chocolate truffles that give them an almost reflective quality that every “chip” cookie should have, in my humble opinion. They are decadent. When Don found out that I was giving these away he gave me a look that was so confused…as if he couldn’t fathom why I would do that to him. Seriously, they’re so, so good. You know what? I’ll just let them speak for themselves. Make them!! Here’s some incentive:


Here’s the recipe, and do yourself a favor and toast the pecans. There’s nothing in this world like the smell of toasted pecans. It should be illegal. Besides, when you toast nuts, it releases their flavor. Flavor is always good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (I used salted butter, they turned out fine)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temp (if you forget, you can still use one out of the fridge, but your cookies won’t have as much volume. Try putting the egg in a warm cup of water for a while.)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (see Note)
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate truffle (preferably Lindt, in bar form)

Note: to toast pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. When they start smelling like they’re done, they’re done. It’s easy to burn these babies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about two minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the pecans and white chocolate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes,or until lightly golden. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Then inhale. I won’t tell if you do, I’m pretty sure I ate at least half a dozen.