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. 

brownies

 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! 

brownies2

 

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
Ingredients
  1. 1 Box Fudge Brownies (and ingredients to make brownies)
  2. 12 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Instructions
  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.
Notes
  1. These are excellent with an Oreo cookie filling as well!
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Peanut Butter Pie

I think of all the pies I’ve shared this week- this is the kid’s favorite! But really- what’s not to like?! Oreo crust, peanut butter filling, sweetened whipped cream, and a fancy drizzle! It’s a pie that can be enjoyed year round, every holiday, and a new birthday request for some! This pie is super simple to make! It’s a classic that will remain a favorite in this house!

peanut butter pie-final

 First, I made a crust out of oreos and melted butter. There are several ways to make a chocolate crust. You can use store bought chocolate wafers and add sugar OR you can by-pass the whole making your own crust thing and buy a pre-made chocolate crust. I decided to use the oreos and butter because I knew it would make a sturdy crust that would do more than hint at a chocolate flavor with each bite… chocolate flavor is making itself known throughout the land with this crust!  Combine your crushed oreos and melted butter. Press onto the bottom of pie plate and up the sides. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 

oreo crust

 For filling, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth and sugar is thoroughly mixed in. Other than baking the crust, this is a no-bake pie, so mixing well is vital to a creamy pie.

pie ingredients

 Beautiful, creamy, rich, sweet, and salty…… does anyone have a spoon?!

pie filling

 Next, add 1 cup sweetened whipped cream. You can also substitute Cool Whip if you’d like. Either way, make sure your cream has soft peaks so it doesn’t fall apart when you add it to your peanut butter mixture. Gently fold in your cream of choice.

whipped cream

Spoon the luscious peanut butter filling into the cooled crust. At this point, I like to chill the pie. Not only does it give the pie a nice texture, allowing it to bind, but it also give the flavors a chance to mingle and marry! pb pie

 Before serving, I like to add another layer of sweetened whipped cream! If you’ve never made your own whipped cream before- give it a try! It’s so easy and the flavor can’t compare with the store bought version.  Whip 1 cup heavy whipped cream with an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. After about a minute of mixing your cream, add about 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar. Sometimes, I like to add some vanilla extract for a vanilla cream or almond extract for a nice almond cream. Whip mixture until soft peaks form. 

pb pie 1

 I let my kids drizzle some melted chocolate and melted peanut butter on top of the cream! (I simply melted the chocolate and peanut butter separately, placed the melted goodness into a plastic sandwich bags- one for chocolate and one for peanut butter, snipped off the tip of the bags and let them go to town!)

pb pie fancy

 I served this pie with a chocolate drizzle garnish that I had made the night before. See my Affogato post for a chocolate drizzle tutorial HERE! My daughter calls this pie- peanut butter mousse pie! Great description Glitter Girl! I hope YOU enjoy as much as we did! 

peanut butter pie-final

 

Peanut Butter Pie
A pie made with a rich chocolate Oreo crust, fluffy peanut butter filling and sweetened whipped cream on top! A peanut butter lovers dream!
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For the Crust
  1. 15 oreos, crushed into crumbs
  2. 1/4 cup butter melted
For the Filling
  1. 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 cup creamy peanut buter
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
Instructions
  1. 1. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press on the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
  2. 2. For filling, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Gently spoon into crust. Garnish with melted chocolate and peanut butter!
Adapted from Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking
Adapted from Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Coconut Cream Meringue Pie

I’m so excited about this post! Not only do I love coconut anything, but I had so much fun making this pie and am in love with every photograph! This pie is so beautiful!  And…this was my first time making meringue. I was nervous, but it was soooo easy! really…. super easy! Now I’m wondering what else I could put meringue on hmmm…. 
coconut cream final slice

 The recipe called for a pre-made pastry shell. I wasn’t all about this at first…. wait, before you think I’m super snobby- hear me out! In my experience with pre-made pie crust, I have found that they are just not big enough to hold my filling or they crack right out of the package. With this custard pie, I decided to give pre-made crust a try again and thankfully my pie filling fit inside and worked beautifully with the meringue! 

unbaked pie crust

 Because this is a custard pie, the layers are cooked separately and most of it is done on the stove top. (other than browning the meringue on top) So I needed to cook our crust. Cover the raw pie dough with a double thickness of aluminum foil. I didn’t push the foil down, because it WILL stick. Cook for 5 minutes, then cook for an additional 5 minutes with the foil removed. Check your crust frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. 

baked pie crust

 Now it’s time to make the filling! And, it’s all done on the stove top! Combine the sugar, four, and salt. Stir in milk until smooth.

coconut pie filling

 Cook over medium high heat until thick and bubbly! See how the mixture is covering the whisk? Once this happens, reduce heat and cook, while stirring, for 2 additional minutes. 

custard filling

 Remove from heat. I love, love how you see the steam rising in this picture. What a cool thing! I didn’t even know I was capturing that at the time. OK…back to pie. Next, I “tempered” the eggs….a very fancy word for bringing the eggs up to temperature. If you put room temperature eggs into your hot custard filling, you will have scrambled egg custard.  To temper your eggs, spoon a small amount of the hot filling into the eggs, constantly stirring, until the eggs mixture is hot.. Pour the hot egg mixture into your saucepan and bring to a gentle boil  and cook for 2 minutes.  Your mixture will become very thick and custard-y! YUM!! Keep stirring! After 2 minutes, remove from heat and add the coconut and vanilla. Stir gently until combined. Put your glorious, rich coconut filling into your cooked pie shell. Some people stop right here and chill their pie and eat a big slice in about 3 hours… but I opted for a meringue topping and I’m so glad I did… and you will too!!

custard filling with coconut

 Your meringue ingredients consist of: 3 egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar, and 6 tablespoons of sugar. Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a electric mixing bowl with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until you see soft peaks. (Think of a mountain range with rolling hills) Start adding sugar into the egg mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form (Think of sharp, high mountain peaks of the Himalayas.) 

meringue ingredients

 A stiff peak-y meringue will still keep it’s shape even when your whisk attachment or spoon is turned upside down. Stiff, glossy meringue has a mind of it’s own! 

meringue-stiff peaks

 Spread the meringue on top of the pie, pushing mixture out to the edges of the pie and sealing the edges.This is important because we don’t want to cook the filling again- we are just trying to brown the meringue. Look at those peaks! So pretty! This experience gives me the confidence to make some Baked Alaska! I’ll keep in touch! 

coconut cream pie

 Sprinkle 1/2 cup coconut over the meringue topping. 

cc pie with coconut

 Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Watch your pie closely. You are looking for a golden brown meringue and toasty coconut! Allow pie to cool on a wire rack for an hour. Then cool in the refrigerator for 3 hours. 

cooked meringue

 YUM!! full of coconut and rich custard flavor! I loved every bite! 

coconut cream pie-final

 

Coconut Cream Meringue Pie
A sweet custard pie with coconut in the filling and on the top of the meringue as well.
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For the pie filling
  1. 1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inch)
  2. 6 tablespoons sugar
  3. 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 cups milk
  6. 3 egg yolks, beaten
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 1 cup flaked coconut
For the Meringue
  1. 3 egg whites
  2. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  3. 6 tablespoons sugar
  4. 1/2 cup flaked coconut
Instructions
  1. 1. Line the unpricked pastry shell with a double thickness of aluminum foil. Bake at 450 degrees for 6 minutes. Remove foil; bake 3 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack.
  2. 2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt. Stir in milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir a small about of hot filling into egg yolk to bring the yolk up to temperature and to avoid a scrambled egg situation. Return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in vanilla and coconut. Pour into crust.
  3. 3. For meringue, beat egg white and cream of tarter in a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread evenly over hot filling, sealing edges to crust. Sprinkle with coconut.
  4. 4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
Adapted from Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking
Adapted from Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

 

French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie holds a special place in my childhood memories! A family friend made it for summer evening pool parties when I was a little girl. French Silk Pie is a very rich chocolate pie that is a delightful cross between a chocolate mousse and fudge. Very rich and satisfying. If you are a chocolate lover, this will make your taste buds dance! 

silk pie final new

 

I decided to make my own crust for this pie. This is unlike any crust I’ve made before. Slightly sweet and moist. A perfect base for this rich  chocolate filling. Add 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup butter and, 2/3 cup flour. Mix with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment until combined. Butter should be equally distributed. Add 2-3 teaspoons ice water until mixture comes together and forms a ball. 

crust-french silk

Spread the crust dough into your pie plate, gently pushing dough up sides of pie plate.

uncooked pie crust-french silk

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool.

cooked pie crust-french silk

 For the filling, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 3 eggs in a small saucepan until well blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a medal spoon. Remove from heat. Stir in  3 oz unsweetened chocolate and 1/8 vanilla teaspoon extract until smooth. 

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Cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Look at that beautiful chocolate. So shiny and smooth!

 

chocolate filling-french silk

Whip one stick of butter. Add warm chocolate mixture and stir at high speed for 5 minutes until mixture is well combined. 

butter-french silk

 

Once the butter is incorporated into the chocolate mixture, pour the thick, rich batter into the cooled pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge and cool for six hours.

french silk

After 6 hours, if you can wait that long! take a slice and garnish with sweetened whipped cream. After testing a slice, I covered the entire pie with whipped cream and shaved chocolate on top. 

french silk pie slice

 This pie is very rich and very yummy! I love how food brings sweet memories back. Each and every silky bite was like reliving a fun part of those summer nights!  I hope to give my children the same experience! 

 

French Silk Pie
A rich, silky chocolate pie that is a dream for any chocolate lover.
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For the Crust
  1. 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  3. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2-3 teaspoons ice water
For Pie Filling
  1. 3/4 cup sugar
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 3 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  4. 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 stick butter, softened and whipped
  6. Sweetened whipped cream
For the Pie Crust
  1. In a small mixing bowl; combine the first four ingredients. Beat on low speed until well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes or until golden. Cool.
For Filling
  1. Combine sugar and eggs in a small saucepan until well blended. Cook over low hear, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon and reaches 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate and vanilla extract until smooth. cool to lukewarm (about 90 degrees) stirring occasionally.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add cooled egg mixture; beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Pour into cooled pie shell. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Adapted from Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking with minor changes made by Linda Burton
Adapted from Taste of Home's Complete Guide to Baking with minor changes made by Linda Burton
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Linda’s Affogato

I’m continuing an Italian theme this week. I made Affogato.  It is technically a drink…. a drink that my family likes to savor with a spoon! It couldn’t be easier. Vanilla bean  ice cream with hot coffee drizzled over the top and just for fun- a chocolate flower garnish. Can’t wait for you to try it! I had the ingredients on hand so I made homemade vanilla ice cream. You could also try this recipe with chocolate ice cream for those mocha lovers. Or a drizzle of caramel over the top for a caramel machiatto twist.  Mr. Sweets and Whimsy calls this the “Ultimate Latte” Here is what I did:  

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I started by making the vanilla bean ice cream. I chose a Ben & Jerry’es recipe! This recipe has eggs in it…. why you ask? great question!If you are making ice cream at home, you will need eggs to help make a richer, creamier ice cream that will store better for you. If you don’t desire to use eggs, you can make it without, but you will need to eat it all right away…. I promise- you don’t taste the eggs at all and the creaminess is fantastic- so I’d say it was worth it! ice cream ingredients

 

Whip the eggs until they are creamy and foamy! 

 

IMG_8248[1]

 

Like so….

 

eggswhipped

 

Then split your vanilla bean in half and release the beautiful caviar…. It smells so good! 

 

vanilla bean

 

Whisk the milk, cream, eggs, vanilla, and sugar together until combined. 

 

ice cream mixture

 

Put your thick, rich, decadent mixture into your ice cream maker. Follow manufacturers instructions and churn away!! My maker churns for about an hour and then I put it into the freezer to harden up all the way. 

 

ice cream maker

 

You can definitely eat it after the hour if you desire a soft serve experience. 

 

Perfect Vanilla Bean Ice cream

 

chocolate morselchocolate drizzle

 

While I was waiting for my ice cream to harden, I started on my drizzle. I love doing this with the kids! It makes the simplest dish fancy and personal!   So fun! Melt your chocolate chips until smooth. Place your luscious, smooth chocolate drizzle into a piping bag, cut the end off the bag and make fun drizzle creations onto wax paper placed over a cookie sheet. You don’t need a lot of chocolate at all to do this.  *A little tip: If you are going to drizzle letters, I would recommend drizzling over the same letter several times to reinforce it. Also writing in cursive is recommended so your chocolate creation will come off of the wax paper in one piece. Freeze your drizzles until set. 

drizzle creations

 

To assemble, scoop your desired amount of ice cream into a bowl or cappuccino cup (it is a drink after all)

 

ice cream

 

Pour your espresso or coffee over your ice cream. I actually made this will strong decaf coffee because I knew I would be sharing it with the children. They loved it! 

 

add coffee

 

Place your beautiful garnish on top….. so decadent.  

 

final2

Something about Italy calls to me…. I’ve always dreamed of going there. I don’t know if it’s the food or the thoughts of a romantic gondola ride in Venice, or the lush rolling hills of Tuscany.  Someday I hope to find myself walking the narrow cobblestone streets of Rome and throw a penny into the Trevi fountain. But  for today, I will close my eyes and sip the last of my affogato and dream. 

Affogato
A rich homeade ice cream drizzled with a shot of strong coffee.
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For the Ice Cream
  1. 2 large eggs
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  4. 1 cup milk
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean and 1 teaspoon extract)
  6. Espresso or strong coffee (one shot per person)
For the chocolate garnish
  1. 1/4 cup chocolate morsels
For the ice cream
  1. Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue whisking until completely blended, about 1 minute more. Pour in the cream, milk, and vanilla and whisk to blend.
  2. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Makes 1 quart
For the Espresso or coffee
  1. Brew to desired strength (you will only need about a shot per person)
For the chocolate garnish
  1. Melt your chocolate morsels until smooth. Transfer melted chocolate to a piping bag or small sandwich bag. Cut tip off of the bag and drizzle your creations onto wax paper placed on a cookie sheet. Freeze until firm.
To assemble
  1. Once ice cream is firm, scoop into dish, drizzle with the espresso, and garnish with chocolate shape of your choice.
Adapted from Ben & Jerry's Homeade Ice Cream and Dessert Book
Adapted from Ben & Jerry's Homeade Ice Cream and Dessert Book
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

 

 

Italian Cream Cupcakes

          My mom’s favorite dessert from Desiderio Italian Restaurant is their Italian Cream Cake.   I’ve tried it, and it is amazing!  I thought I’d try to recreate it at home, but  I made a few “Linda changes”.  I decided to make cupcakes, of course! And make some maple pecans to pile up on top. Most Italian Cream Cakes have nuts- usually walnuts in the cake and in the frosting- usually a cream cheese frosting. This is my twist on a classic. Excited for you to try these Momma!  3  

My favorite part about this cupcake is actually the cake. It is very moist and flavorful. I think one of the secrets to it’s moistness is the process of separating the eggs. The yolks give the cake a nice richness, while the whipped egg whites give it a light and fluffy texture.  The wet ingredients include butter, shortening, sugar, 5 egg yolks (make sure to reserve your egg whites), and vanilla.  Cream the butter and sugar together, add the egg yolks- one at a time if possible, mixing well after each addition. Then add vanilla extract. 
wet ingredients 

Next combine the dry ingredients.  Flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternating with buttermilk. After all ingredients are well mixed, add in your coconut. I love the way the coconut tastes in this cake! It gives it such a great flavor and another factor that adds moistness! dry ingredients 

Next take your reserved egg whites and whip until stiff peaks form. I must tell you a little secret… I’m sure it was quite a sight to watch me whip these eggs with one hand and take a picture with the other hand. I’m so glad I was able to snap this picture before the beater on the left flew out of the bowl…. great times! Even with ONE beater I was able to get these egg whites whipped into  beautiful, foamy peaks. Next mix your egg whites gently into your batter. Fill prepared cupcake tin 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. egg whites 

So pretty! Very moist with flecks of coconut! yum!cupcake

  Next, I made the frosting. Easiest, creamiest frosting I’ve ever made!  1 brick cream cheese, 1 stick butter, and a 16 oz package of powdered sugar, sifted. I added about a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup to compliment the pecans.frosting   

Next, I made the maple pecans. I eyeballed this recipe…. so when you are making it at home, feel free to change up the ingredient amounts to suit your tastes. I melted 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan, added 2 teaspoons maple syrup, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar. mix together over low heat until smooth. Add 1 cup pecans and stir until all nuts have been coated. I let nuts simmer in the yummy sauce for about 5 minutes. Once pecans are thoroughly coated, pour pecans onto wax paper to set up.maple pecans 

Put your cupcakes together! The perfect combination of sweet and salty!cupcake1   

These are wonderful with or without the maple pecans! They would also be very good with a drizzle of homemade caramel! Go HERE to see my favorite recipe! Love that Ree Drummond!!cupcake storage       

Although this recipe is very different from Desidario’s luscious cake it is still a heavenly sweet cupcake. Enjoy!

Italian Cream Cupcakes
Yields 2
A soft and flavorful cupcake with creamy, sweet frosting piled high with maple pecans.
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For Cake
  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 1/2 shortening
  3. 2 cups sugar
  4. 5 large eggs, separated
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 cup buttermilk
  9. 1 cup sweetened coconut
For Frosting
  1. 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  3. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
  5. 1 (16 oz) package powdered sugar, sifted
For the maple pecans
  1. 1 cup chopped pecans
  2. 1 tablespoon butter
  3. 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  4. 1 teaspoon brown sugar
For the cake
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. . Add vanilla; beat just until blended.
  2. 2. Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in coconut.
  3. 3. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared cupcake tins.
  4. 4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15- 19 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely.
  5. For frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat frosting at high speed until smooth.
For pecans
  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add maple syrup and brown sugar. Stir until incorporated. Stir in pecans, stir until thoroughly covered. Heat mixture for 5 minutes. Allow maple pecans to cool and set up on wax paper.
Adapted from Southern Living
Adapted from Southern Living
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Comfort and Smiles

It’s been a rough week at the Burton household. We lost our sweet dog. Everything happened so quickly and emotions have been all over the place. I’m so thankful that we’ve had each other and have spent many moments clinging to each other and praying. It’s hard for a momma to see her kids sad and feel helpless to make it all better. So…I did what I do… I cooked! Both to comfort and to bring back those sweet smiles. I love that about food. Food can bring comfort, nourishment, and lots of fun!! I made some things this week that gave us all of those things! It was just what we needed.

The kids love Eggs in a Nest- so I decided to produce some early morning smiles and make the nest into a Mickey Mouse shape! The kids loved it!  

eggs in a nest

 If you ever need a chocolate fix- these will hit the spot. Soft and moist and made with pudding mix, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate chips.  If you want your own chocolate comfort, Dorothy at Crazy for Crust has a great recipe HERE! Enjoy! 

pudding cookies

 My family loves these! Sweet, salty with a perfect crust, crunchy topping and sweet jam in between. I’d love to experiment with other jams and maybe a dark chocolate drizzle! This is a Pioneer Woman recipe. I love her! She is such an inspiration to me! Go HERE for the recipe!

strawberry oatmeal bars

 So grateful we had 10 years with our Mattie. Lots of great memories. We miss you sweet friend.

katelyn

lukelove

 

Boston Cream Cupcakes

 I love cupcakes!  Cupcakes are my favorite way to eat cake! I love the individual servings, the adorable liners. With a cupcake you get the perfect ratio of cake to frosting. Today I decided to make Boston Cream Cupcakes. Mr. Sweets and Whimsy loves Boston Cream Pie and Boston Cream doughnuts. So, I decided to make a classic yellow cake, but dress it up with some chocolate ganache drizzled on top and a vanilla pudding filling. The kids loved it! A hit all the way around and such a pretty cupcake. Mr. Sweets and Whimsy is already talking about the “next time” I make this and the multi-layered boston cream cake I will make as well…..yes- it’s that good!

final picture

 I started with a yellow cake from scratch. You can absolutely use a box mix, but I really LOVE this recipe, it has a great texture and buttery flavor. I started with the wet ingredients. Whip the butter and sugar together, then incorporate the eggs. 

wetingredientsbcc

 Next I put together my dry ingredients. I love using cake four. It gives your cake an airy texture. Cake flour is made from winter wheat and has a very light texture and color. Cake flour always needs to be sifted to avoid clumps. For this cake I also use some baking powder and salt. I also incorporated milk alternately with my flour mixture.

IMG_8067[1]

 In the meantime, I started melting my chocolate for my ganache. Melt chocolate chips and whipping cream together until you get a silky smooth consistency. 

ganache

I also wanted to get my pudding into the fridge so I made that next.  I went ahead and used a packaged pudding mix for this… Next time, I’m excited to make an authentic pastry cream. But, this was still yummy and… I had some leftovers and I made a special treat! Stay tuned! 

pudding

 I decided to use a jumbo cupcake tin because I wanted the ganache to have a large area to drizzle over and set up. With a smaller cupcake the ganache tends to run to the plate. sad…

batter

After the cupcakes were baked and cooled, I made an “x” in the top with a sharp knife.  I used a decorator bag with a long attachment, filled it with my pudding and piped a small amount into the center of the cupcake. You will know you have piped enough pudding when you see some peeking out the top of the cupcake. You can also use a Ziplock bag as your piping bag if you’d like! (Especially if you use the Jumbo cupcakes- they can handle it!) With regular size cupcakes it is very easy to overfill the cupcake and you may split the cake- just go easy on the filling either way!  An alternate solution- you can cut the cupcake in half horizontally and fill like you would a sandwich.   I like the surprise filling! Keeps me on my toes! 

filling

 Next comes the glaze! It is heavenly! Truly! A wonderful color and taste and a really nice compliment to the cake and the surprise filling! 

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 Can you see the vanilla pudding? Next time I will definitely put my piping bag further into the cake to add more filling! Mmmm…..a little chocolate pudding wouldn’t be bad in this either! 

filled cupcake

Remember that vanilla pudding I had left? well- i also had some ganache left over. Look how pretty!  But, honestly that chocolate ganache would be good on anything!! 

final pudding

 I’m sure Boston Cream (in all forms) and I will dance again and if we do I’ll invite you to come along!

ENJOY!!
 

Boston Cream Cupcake
A take on a classic! Perfect fluffy yellow cake topped with heavenly chocolate ganache and a surprise filling!
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For the Cake
  1. 1 cup butter, softened
  2. 1- 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. 3 cups sifted cake flour
  5. 2- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup milk
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the chocolate Ganache
  1. 1 cup whipping cream
  2. 12 oz chocolate chips
For the pudding
  1. 1 box vanilla pudding
  2. 2 cups whole milk
For the cake
  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  2. Combine flour baking powder, and salt;add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  3. Mix at low speed after each addition until blended. Stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour batter into buttered cupcake tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes for the jumbo pans. (16 minutes for the regular cupcake tin)
  5. Cool in tin for 10 minutes. Remove from tin, place on wire rack to cool completely.
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Heat the whipping cream in a double boiler over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate chips, stir until you get a smooth and silky constancy.
For the pudding
  1. Follow package instructions
For the Boston Cream Cupcakes
  1. To assemble: Make an "x" with a sharp knife on the top of a cooled cupcake. Pipe pudding into center of the cupcake until to see some pudding "peeking" over the top. Drizzle with chocolate ganache! YUMM!!
Adapted from The All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (for the cake recipe)
Adapted from The All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (for the cake recipe)
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Chocolate Fudge Sandwich Cookies

We’ve been busy this week. Anyone else?! We went on a family trip to Washington, D.C. this weekend and were trying to get everything done before the next possible snow storm…. crazy!  One of my favorite forms of stress relief is baking-there is something about  a few simple  ingredients coming together to accomplish a yummy goal.  Friday, I was in need of some stress relief and made some fudgey, chocolate cookies and thought I’d put them over the top with a creamy, marshmallow-y filling! Very rich, very satisfying, and worth every bite! 

final pic

 I started with the cookie recipe:

Then I made the frosting:

 I absolutely love the texture of this frosting! It’s gooey and sweet and the coffee makes it over-the-top!  

filling

Once your cookies are baked and cooled, dollop your cookie with some frosting. I may or may not have gone overboard with the frosting! Presentation isn’t everything! A little chin drippage isn’t all bad. 

sandwich

 We spent the entire day in D.C. yesterday and loved every minute! Glitter Girl loved seeing what we have been learning at home put into action! We museum hopped, which was great for Monkey Man! Spent some time at the National Mall running and playing! We live close enough to the city to make it a one-day trip- of course we could have stayed a day at each museum- they are so wonderful!

We decided to stop for dinner at, wait for it….. Bobby’s Burger Palace!!! Glitter Girl and I are huge Bobby Flay fans!  I have been so excited about going there and so glad we actually made it! Robin Merriman from Trinity Designs Studios recommended the sweet potato fries and the dark chocolate shake and they didn’t disappoint!  I loved reading the menu–so inspiring! It was just what I needed!

looky!

 We visited the National Botanic Gardens…. so beautiful and peaceful! 

botanical gardens

There are no words for how I felt when I walked into the Botanic Gardens for the first time. It was magical! With the amount of dark and dreary days we have had at my house and lots of white white white, it was breathtaking to see, smell, and hear the sounds of life again!  In the main hall, they change the theme every season. When we were there the theme was classical music and they had a fountain performing to the timing of the music. 

botanic gardens

 I can’t wait to go back during the summer when they have the children’s garden open! It was a much needed family trip and we are so blessed to live so close to such a beautiful city!

 

Chocolate Fudge Cookie Sandwiches
A rich fudgey cookie with gooey, sweet marshmallow-y filling!
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For the cookies
  1. 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 3 large eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  7. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  9. 1 teaspoon salt
For the frosting
  1. 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  2. 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  3. 1 jar (7-1/2 oz) marshmallow fluff
  4. pinch salt
  5. 1 teaspoon coffee (I used my morning coffee which had some creamer in it!)
For the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.
  2. Put the semi-sweet chocolate and butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl; heat at 30 second intervals until melted- about 2 minutes.
  3. Whisk the sugar, eggs and vanilla into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
  4. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until moistened. Switch to a rubber spatula and finish folding the batter together; take care not to over-mix.
  5. Use a medium cookie scoop or spoon to drop a heaping tablespoon of batter onto the prepared pan. Repeat to make 24 cookies, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake until the cookies spring back when lightly touched, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
For the frosting
  1. Combine all ingredients together. Dollop frosting onto the back side of the cookie, place another cookie on top to make a sandwich!
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cookies

Even though Northern Virginia has more than a foot of snow and COLD, I spent my day making ice cream!! What?! Let me explain-  So, when I was younger or yesterday (whatever) I came up with this idea that when you eat something cold your body compensates and warms itself up, so really by eating ice cream in the winter it is beneficial to your body temperature and overall health. I do not however have the opinion that it is at all OK to eat hot soup in the summer–that is just crazy talk. Anyway, it was a fun adventure and I definitely feel warm and fuzzy all over after having this treat! 

final pic

 First, I made the cookies. The original recipe for this cookie is chocolate peanut butter(also known as “Santa Cookies” in this house- Santa LOVES these cookies!)  but today we used chocolate mint chips!  And not just chocolate mint chips, but Andes chips…. really rich and decadent. I wish you could see the candies- such a pretty color and perfect for St. Patrick’s Day! Next time I think I will reserve some chips to add to the top right before baking. And for all of those Thin Mint fans out there- these are just the ticket to satisfy your craving year round.  

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To make these cookies, combine your wet ingredients and mix well.

Then add your dry ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk to combine.

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 Add these fantastic chips!

IMG_7927[1]Place your cookie dough creation on your cookie sheet using a medium scoop. These cookies do have a tendency to spread. I usually only bake 6 cookies at a time. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

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 Next, I made my ice cream!  Not a fan of food coloring, so my mint ice cream is white, but still minty!    

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 This truly was the easiest ice cream recipe I have ever made- take a look! 

I let my ice cream firm up slightly in the freezer and then put my cookies face down and started making cookie sandwiches!

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 I had to work quickly, but I survived the ice cream spillage on my fingers! 

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 Wrap in plastic and freeze until firm. 

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  This is what it looks like outside my window.  Thirteen inches of beautiful snow and 25 degrees…. so logically I made ice cream to warm the body and soul….  remember this trick next time- your family will thank you!! 

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 Monkey Man- see those crazy eyes?? – today he never took a nap because he discovered he can climb out of his crib. But he still has enough energy to work his way through an ice cream sandwich like nobody’s business. 

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We all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a little differently in our house- here is Mr. Sweets and Whimsy’s celebratory breakfast- Corned Beef Hash with eggs. Maybe next year I will blog this recipe– we will see! 

cornbeefncabbage

 

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cookies
Homeade vanilla mint ice cream sandwiched between chocolate mint cookies!
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For the cookies
  1. 2 eggs
  2. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  3. 1-(10 oz package) Andes Mint Chocolate Baking Chips
  4. 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  5. 2 cups sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  8. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  9. 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
For the ice cream
  1. 2 cups whole milk
  2. 2 cups heavy cream
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the cookies
  1. 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. 2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in mint chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  3. 3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
For the ice cream
  1. Whisk all ingredients together. Place in ice cream maker and follow manufacturers instructions. Makes 2 quarts
Sweets & Whimsy http://sweetsandwhimsy.com/