Birthday Cupcakes

We celebrated Monkey Man’s second birthday this weekend. We had a Cookie Monster party! It was so much fun to plan! I wanted a birthday cupcake that would be fun and tasty without going overboard with the blue icing. What I came up with was a homemade chocolate cake and rich buttercream frosting with a fun cookie topper. A hint of blue from the colored sugar and we had a happy boy! birthday cupcakes

 My cookie monster is TWO!

birthday boy

 To make the batter,  you begin by  making a chocolate slurry. I’ve never done this before but I think it’s the trick to the rich chocolaty


cocoa slurry

 Place 1 cup cocoa powder into 2 cups boiling water, stir and set aside.

chocolate slurry

 While chocolate is cooling, beat 2 sticks butter until creamy.


 Gradually add sugar until incorporated, then eggs one at a time.

eggs and sugar

 Combine dry ingredients. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

dry ingredients

 Add dry ingredients and cocoa slurry to butter alternately beginning and ending with flour mixture. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes. Then cool on wire rack until completely cool. 


 Make Buttercream frosting.(see recipe below) Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with blue sugar if desired! 

final cupcake

 I topped some of the cookies with mini chips ahoy cookies and rested others on my home made chocolate chip cookies. Fun day, sweet boy, sweet treats! 


Birthday Cupcakes
Rich, dark chocolate cupcakes with sweet buttercream frosting
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For the cupcakes
  1. 1 cup unsweetened coca
  2. 2 cups boiling water
  3. 1 cup butter, softened
  4. 2 1/2 cups sugar
  5. 4 large eggs
  6. 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Frosting
  1. 1/2 cup shortening
  2. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  5. 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Combine cocoa and boiling water, stirring until smooth; set aside. Beat butter at medium speed with an electrical mixer about 2 minutes until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating 5 to 7 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; add to butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in tins for 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire rack.
For Buttercream Frosting
  1. In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
  2. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
  3. Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  1. Hints
  2. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.
  3. If using a hand mixer, beat shortening, butter, if used, and liquid first, then add sugar, as above. It may be necessary to add additional sugar for the correct consistency.
Adapted from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
Adapted from The All-New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
Sweets & Whimsy

The Ultimate Coconut Cream Cupcake

When I was growing up, my grandmother would always have a coconut cream triple-layer cake for my birthday! I looked forward to this cake every year and haven’t been able to duplicate the coconut flavor explosion until I made these cupcakes!  You are going to LOVE this cake batter!! The recipe is from Martha Stewart. She recommends pairing this cupcake with her “7-minute frosting” It’s a whipped cream based frosting that sounds amazing, but I was going to be taking these cupcakes to a picnic and didn’t think a delicate whipped cream  frosting would travel well. When I found the Coconut Buttercream recipe, I knew it would be perfect! 
coconut cream cupcakes

 The secret to this recipe is the use of coconut milk in the cupcake and cream of coconut in the buttercream. Coconut flavor in every part of the cupcake and a garnish of coconut piled high! 

coconut cream cupcakes2

  Absolutely in love with this recipe and so excited I found a treat to bring back sweet memories! 

The Ultimate Coconut Cream Cupcakes
A moist coconut cupcake with creamy Coconut Buttercream!
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For the cupcake
  1. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut
  5. 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  6. 1 1/3 cups sugar
  7. 2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites
  8. 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Coconut Buttercream
  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 1(3 oz) package cream cheese
  3. 3 to 3/12 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cupcake
  1. Make cupcakes as directed in Basic Cupcake How-To, adding sweetened coconut to dry ingredients, and using coconut milk and vanilla for wet ingredients. (see: for Basic Cupcake How-to)
For Coconut Buttercream
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Increase speed to meduim, and slowly add cream of coconut and vanilla, beating until smooth.
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Cinnamon Cheesecake Sopapillas

I love this recipe!  It is the perfect ending to a fiesta meal! Usually Sopapillas are fried dough balls rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture. This goes beyond a simple fried dough recipe. And….. it’s baked for easy everyday at home baking!! 
sopapillas final

 As good as this recipe is, I always imagine how to make a dish better! All this dish needs to take it over the top is some dipping sauces! Chocolate, Raspberry, Caramel? Yes please!!

Cinnamon Cheesecake Sopapillas
A baked sweet that will compliment any fiesta!
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  1. 1 tube cresent rolls
  2. 1- 8oz brick cream cheese
  3. 1/3 cup sugar
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2tbsp sugar plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon for dredging
  7. 3 tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cream cheese, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Unroll one crescent roll. Place one large scoop of cream cheese mixture in center of dough. Roll crescent and crease edges. Dredge filled dough in melted butter and then into cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Sweets & Whimsy


Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

As promised…my Cinco de Mayo enchilada recipe! I have tried many enchilada recipes and this one is very kid friendly- the green chili enchilada sauce is very mild and  slightly sweet and the marinated chicken is full of flavor.baked enchiladas

 I started the dish by cooking my chicken. I poached the chicken in chicken broth and seasoned the cooking water with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cover raw chicken with cooking liquid and simmer until chicken is cooked through. 


 TIP ALERT!!  I shredded my chicken in my Kitchenaid… really! Just put the chicken breasts in the mixer with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed. Can you believe it? I met a cooking coach recently who gave me this idea!  I can’t wait for you to try it! Perfect shredded chicken! I see lots of chicken salad in my future! 

shredded chicken

Add your corn to chicken mixture. This is one of those moments I wish I had a gas stove… it would have been nice to get a good char on this corn… oh well…If you have a gas stove, put the whole corn cob onto your gas burner and char it up! 


I added a can of black beans to chicken as well. Rinse and drain beanc.

black beans

 Then I put the shredded chicken, corn and black beans into a gallon size disposable bag to start marinating the chicken… I marinated cooked shredded chicken for about 30 minutes, but it can be marinated for up to 4 hours.

marinade ingredients

Pour about a half cup of green chili enchilada sauce on the bottom of your pan….i used canned sauce.

tortilla down

I shredded about two cups of Monterey Jack cheese. I like to shred my own cheese if I have the time. I recently did some research on what they are putting into our shredded cheese bags to keep it “fresh” and …. um… no thanks!  I had the time today so I went for it! 


 Scoop about a spoonful or two of the chicken mixture plus a sprinkling of cheese onto your fajita size flour tortilla…. 

fajita tortilla

Roll tortilla and place fold size down into your baking sheet.

all tortillas

 Add the remainder of your chili sauce to a cup of whipping cream, stir to combine. This is a perfect “sauce” to make if you are in a hurry. My favorite thing to do when I’m making chicken enchiladas is a white cream sauce that incorporates the cheese into the sauce- it’s very decadent! This is easy and quick and still yummy!

cream sauce

 Pour your chile cream sauce over your enchiladas! It’s important to cover any exposed tortilla surface with your sauce. You don’t want crunchy edges. 

cream sauce1

 Cover with cheese

add cheese

 Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remember everything is cooked- we are looking to heat everything up and melt that cheese! 

baked enchiladas

Enchiladas are the perfect dish to make ahead and freeze. I had a bunch of the chicken mixture left over and have been having a southwest salad for lunch all week! YUM!


Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas
A yummy chicken enchilada dish with a mild green chile sauce!
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  1. 4 tablespoons honey
  2. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  1. 2 lbs chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  2. 8 flour tortillas
  3. 2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  4. 1 cup heavy cream
  5. 20 oz green enchilada sauce
  1. Mix marinade ingredients together and toss with shredded chicken, corn and black beans in a gallon size Zip-lock bag. Let it marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with cream. Mix and set aside. Fill the tortillas with chicken mixture and a sprinkle of cheese. Place tortillas in baking pan, fold side down. Once your baking pan is full, pour your chile cream sauce over your enchiladas and sprinkle with your remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until slightly brown and bubbly.
Sweets & Whimsy









Cinco de Mayo fun!

We have so many fun celebrations in May! Star Wars Day yesterday and Cinco de Mayo feast today! Lots of birthdays, graduations, mother’s day, end of school… for every event Glitter Girl requests this salsa! We are getting ready to grow a salsa garden to help with our salsa addiction! 

 When we have our weekly taco night, I usually make pico de gallo. Pico has a chunkier texture. Today, I made a traditional salsa that was perfect for our Fiesta!  I used roma tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, purple onion, and jalapeno…. I love the festive colors!

salsa ingredients

 I used the food processor to make the salsa making process go faster and its the best way to get that classic salsa consistency. 

food processor

 Yum! So pretty and fresh! Add salt and pepper to taste! 


 Homemade salsa and guac- ready to go! 

salsa and guac 1

 I also made some Chicken Enchiladas…stay tuned for this fantastic recipe! 

baked enchiladas

 For dessert, I tried something new and it was a BIG hit! Yummy Cinnamon Cheesecake Sopapillas! Really good and easy! Can’t wait to share this recipe! 

sopapillas final

 I love how food can help us celebrate and make learning fun…. How did you celebrate your Cinco de Mayo?

Fresh Homemade Salsa
A fresh, restaurant style salsa! Perfect for your Cinco de Mayo celebration!
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  1. 6 Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded
  2. 1 purple onion
  3. 2 garlic cloves
  4. 1 lime
  5. 1 bunch cilantro
  6. 1/2 jalapeno, seeded
  7. salt and pepper to taste
To make salsa
  1. Place purple onion, garlic, and jalapeno in food processor. Process until veggies are chopped evenly. Add cilantro and lime juice. Pulse to incorporate. Seed tomatoes by running your thumb through tomato flesh. Process tomatoes until chopped evenly. Salt and pepper salsa to taste.
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Butterscotch Cookies

Butterscotch Cookies, also known as Wookie Cookies, were a big hit at our house tonight as we celebrated Star Wars Day!  These cookies are rich and buttery with a nice chewy texture. butterscotch cookies 1

 I added chocolate chips to half the dough and loved the boost of flavor that the chocolate added.

cc wookie cookies

 I whisked my dry ingredients together and set aside. 

dry ingredients

Next I creamed the wet ingredients together: 2 sticks butter- softened, 1 cup superfine brown sugar(simply pulse several times in a food processor until smooth), add in 2 whole eggs and 1 egg white, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. 

wet ingredients

  Dough needs to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes. I placed half of my dough onto wax paper to chill. 

cookie dough

 I wanted to add some chocolate to the other half of the dough, so I added about a 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. How can you go wrong with chocolate!  Yum! 

chocolate chips

Incorporate the chocolate chips, then pour the dough onto wax paper, cover and chill. 

with CC

 Once dough is chilled, I placed a medium scoop of dough onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Glitter Girl is a huge Star Wars fan! She was so excited to celebrate her favorite characters. Han Burgers for dinner and Wookie Cookies for dessert! I’m already excited to celebrate next year! So much fun! 

may the 4th





Butterscotch Cookies
A rich, chewy, buttery cookie. Perfect for your Star Wars Day celebration
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  1. 2 stick butter, softened
  2. 1 cup brown sugar, sifted to make superfine sugar
  3. 1 egg white
  4. 2 whole eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/2 chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. To make the superfine brown sugar, pulse the sugar in a food processor until smooth.
  3. In an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add egg white and whole eggs. Mix until incorporated, mix in vanilla. While mixer is on low speed, mix in flour and baking powder. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. Place one half of the dough onto wax paper. Chill until firm. If desired, mix in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Place dough onto wax paper. Chill until firm. Bake on a cookie sheet for 12-14 minutes.
Adapted from The New Joy of Cooking
Adapted from The New Joy of Cooking
Sweets & Whimsy

Peanut Butter Brownies

 This is one of those recipes that is more of a method than a recipe. These filled brownies are amazing. I’ve tried these brownies with Oreos, Rolos, M&M’s, and of course Reeses Peanut Butter cups. They are so easy and I’ve yet to meet someone who wasn’t a fan of these decadent yummies! brownies2

I used my Brownie Pan for this recipe, but I have also used a 9×13 baking dish and it was still yummy, but there is something special about an individual serving! I sprayed my Brownie Pan with cooking spray, but you can also use cupcake liners. (use a round liner- once it is filled with batter, it will conform to the square shape of the pan)  I used a fudge brownie mix. You can make your own brownie batter if you prefer. brownie batter

 Unwrap your Reese’s peanut butter cups. I’ve tried multiple sizes of PB cups with this recipe and this seems to be best size! Who invented these beauties? I’d like to shake their hand!

peanut butter cups

 Spoon brownie batter into brownie pan, filling 1/4 full, then place Reese’s cup on top of batter face down. 

layer no 2

 Spoon brownie batter on top of peanut butter cup making sure not to over fill pan. If you use a family size brownie ix, you should have the perfect amount of batter.

layer no 3

 Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until brownies are cooked through. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. 


 Remove from pan and cool on wire rack until completely cool. 

brownies cooling

 When ready to serve, I like to cut the brownies into triangles. That turns my 12 brownies into 24! And… they are so rich, half a brownie is more than enough! And, if you are mixing up your candy filling, your guests will be able to see what they are getting! I think I’d like to try Almond Joy next! Yum! Stay tuned! 



Peanut Butter Brownies
Serves 12
Fudgy brownies with a surprise filling!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1 Box Fudge Brownies (and ingredients to make brownies)
  2. 12 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Brownie Batter according to box directions. Spray Brownie Pan with cooking spray. Layer brownie batter, Reese's peanut butter cups, and more brownie batter. Bake for 13-15 minutes.
  1. These are excellent with an Oreo cookie filling as well!
Sweets & Whimsy