Strawberry Champagne Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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This is a easy, quick recipe for unique and gourmet cupcakes! It starts with a store bought box of strawberry cake mix and ends in beautiful couture Strawberry Champagne cupcakes. This is the perfect dessert to make the morning you find yourself with some already opened champagne left over from the night before!

Ingredients:

1 box strawberry cake mix

1 cup sparkling wine or champagne

1 block of Philadelphia cream cheese

1 stick room temperature butter (I would not recommend margarine, it does not taste the same)

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted (confectioners)

1 teaspoon red food coloring (optional)

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Cake Instructions:

1. Prepare the cake mix as instructed, but substitue the 1 cup of champagne for the 1 cup of water that the cake mix calls for.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT use water and champagne, substitute the champagne for water.

2. Pour into cupcake molds and bake according to instructions.

For the Frosting:

1. Place the block of cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and whip until softened. Add the stick of butter and whip together until blended well.

2. Add 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture and whip until blended completely and frosting is smooth and fluffy.

3. Place frosting in a icing bag and use to frost cooled cupcakes. The optional food coloring is to dye the frosting pink or red, if you wish. You can top the frosting with pink sprinkles or a fresh slice of strawberry if you wish.

Cranberry Scones with Orange Glaze

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup light or regular sour cream

1 egg

2 3/4 cup four

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup butter (leave whole, do not melt)

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

1/2 cup sugar

For the Orange Glaze: Mix all these ingredients together until smooth.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup of powdered, confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice

sconedough            scone            sconeglaze

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Beat the sour cream and the egg in a small bowl until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Mix in the cranberries to the dry mixture and blend in.

4. Using a grater, shave the stick of butter into the dry mixture and knead with your hands until the dough begins to form.

5. Add the sour cream and egg mixture to the large bowl and smoothen together with a spatula or wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.

6. Once the dough forms, using your hands roll it into a large ball and place it on a floured cutting board or other floured surface where you can flatten and cut the dough.

7. Use your hands to flatten the dough out and round it back up 5-10 times to get all the air out.

8. Form the dough back into a ball, and flatten it out in to a circle until it’s about 1 inch thick. If you wish to make smaller scones, you can make the dough into two smaller round and make 16 smaller scones for each of those.

9. Cut the circle into 8 triangles (like a pizza).

10. After you cut the triangles, use your fingers to round the edges.

11. Place each scone 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. I always use parchment paper, I think that works the best and you have less clean-up.

12. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown.

13. Cool for 10 minutes, then dip the top side of each one into the orange sugared glaze and leave on a sheet of wax paper to cool.

 

MD’s Chocolate Salted Almond Bark

 

My Chocolate Salted Almond Bark is undoubtedly one of my most popular and most requested sweet recipes of all. It’s super simple to make, but looks incredibly fancy. The recipe does call for gourmet chocolate, so it can be a pricey finished product, but it’s well worth it! I recommend using the best dark and white chocolate that you can find and afford. At the minium, use the king size Hershey bars, they aren’t too pricey and will give you a delicious treat!

Ingredients:

16 oz. Dark Chocolate

16 oz. White Chocolate

1 cup Salted Almonds (you can also used smoked almonds)

1-2 Tablespoons Sea Salt (Camargue Fleur de Sel is my favorite and can be found in gourmet food stores like Sur La Table, or online from Amazon)

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F.

2. Break the white and dark chocolate into little pieces and scatter evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with non-stick parchment paper.

2. Bake the chocolate for 5-7 minutes until soft.

3. Remove the chocolate from the oven, and use a fork to swirl the pieces together, mix well until white and dark are well blended and smoothed out.

4. Sprinkle the salted almonds evenly over the smoothed out chocolate. Push the almonds deep into the chocolate with your palms. Make sure the almonds are covered in the chocolate.

5. Sprinkle the salt over the chocolate almond mixture. 1-2 tablespoons depending on how much salt you want to taste.

6. Cool for 3 hours, or over night if you can. Break apart the pieces and enjoy!

 

Toffee Chocolate Salted Brittle Squares

 

These sweet and salty delights are incredibly yummy! Giving friends and family home-made treats really shows love, especially around the holidays. If you’ve got the time to spare, and have some creativity, home-made treats are the way to go! A little money, makes a lot of goodies!

Ingredients:

    • 13 graham crackers
    • 1 bag (8 ounces) toffee bits
    • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips
    • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet, edges touching. Sprinkle the toffee bits and almonds over the graham crackers.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce the heat and cook until you reach a rapid simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour over the graham cracker, toffee and almond mixture. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate and salt over the graham cracker mixture. With a very sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the block into 2-inch squares. Let cool completely on the foil sheet on a wire rack. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.) You can serve them on a platter, or wrap up chunks to gift to friends and family.

Brownies with Peppermint Frosting

Brownies with a decadent creamy peppermint frosting is the perfect homemade holiday treat to make and gift to family and friends! It’s a unique treat that will help you and your loved ones get in the holiday spirit! Here’s what you’ll need: (This makes about 54 servings, so about 5 gifting portions)

Brownies

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 squares (1 ounce size) unsweetened chocolate

1 cup sugar 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 square (1-ounce size) unsweetened chocolate

Peppermint Frosting

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1 1/2 teaspoon peppermint flavoring

2 drops red food-coloring directions:

Instructions:

For Brownies: Melt 1/2 cup butter and 2 chocolate squares in a large saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and let cool 10 minutes. Add sugar and eggs, stirring well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to chocolate mixture, stirring well. Stir in vanilla and pecans. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9- x 2-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool brownies completely on a wire rack.

Spread with Peppermint Frosting. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 chocolate square in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, and let cool. Spoon chocolate mixture into a small heavy-duty, zip-top plastic bag or a decorating bag fitted with tip No.2; seal bag. Snip a tiny hole in one corner of zip-top bag, using scissors; pipe chocolate mixture in a decorative design over Peppermint Frosting. Cover and chill thoroughly. Cut into 2- x 1-inch bars. Store brownies in an airtight container in refrigerator. For Peppermint Frosting: Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Add whipping cream, flavoring, and food coloring; beat until frosting is spreading consistency.

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite desserts, and I hate having to wait until the fall comes around to enjoy it! Don’t save this recipe just for Thanksgiving, share it all year long!

Ingredients

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (use the bars, not tubs, you can use regular or low fat), softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (brown sugar is okay, but it doesn’t dissolve as well as white for this recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 medium or largeeggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (you can also make the crust from scratch if you choose)
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed (or I prefer to make real, fresh whipped cream using my own recipe here)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time.
  4. Remove 1 cup of creamy batter and spread into the bottom of graham cracker crust.
  5. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the rest of the batter in the mixing bowl and stir gently until blended together well.
  6. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust, making sure not to disturb the previous layer.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set (you want it firm, not shaky).
  8. Allow to cool for at least an hour, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  9. Cover with whipped topping before serving, or if you decide to make the real whipped cream, make it as close as you can to when you’re going to serve the cheesecake so it remains firm and fresh.

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Best Chocolate Coffee Cake

The richest, chocolatiest, moistest, most irresistible chocolate cake ever! The recipe below is for the cake. You can use our own personal recipes for Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, or Chocolate Fudge, to fill and frost the cake, then add berries, jams, any any other fillings and toppings you wish to add your own personal touch to the cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar (brown sugar is okay too)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium or large eggs
  • 1 cup brewed black coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, 175 degrees C (if you’re using dark non-stick pans, preheat oven to 325 degrees F).
  2. Grease and flour one 9×13 inch pan or a bunt cake pan if you have one.
  3. In large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  4. Add in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla all together, then beat for 2 minutes with a mixer on medium speed.
  5. Pour into your pre-greased baking pans.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. After 3o minutes, check with toothpick inserted into center of the cake to see if it comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cake for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
  8. Finish cooling on a wire rack.  When completely cooled, fill and frost as desired.

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Orange Date Pound Cake

  • Prep Time: 15 min. Bake Time: 70 min. + (time to cool)
  • 12-16 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (just leave it out overnight if you can)
  • 3 cups brown sugar, divided (white sugar is okay too, brown gives a rich color to the finished product)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon shaved orange peel, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose baking flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1&1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 pound chopped dates (chop in half, then in 3rds)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans (you can also use walnuts if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whip butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.
  3. Beat in 2 teaspoons of the shaved orange peel.
  4. Combine flour and baking soda together, then add to the creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Beat well, until smooth after each addition.
  5. Stir in dates and pecans.
  6. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. bundt cake pan. You can also use rectangular pound cake pans if you prefer.
  7. Bake at 325° for 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice, and remaining sugar and shaved orange peel, until blended. Drizzle over the cake while warm.warm cake.

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Chocolate Ganache

This recipe is just for Chocolate Ganache. The pure chocolate mixture can be used for so many different deserts. You can use it to dip strawberries and other fruit, cupcakes, pour over a cake or cheesecake … the possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into squares (you can use Hershey’s Dark Chocolate, it’s cheap and works well)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional – taste great with or without)

Directions

  1. Place the cut chocolate squares into a medium mixing bowl (pyrex or stainless steel is best)
  2. Heat the heavy whipping cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it boils.
  3. Don’t over boil, right when it starts to bubble, pull the cream off the flame and pour over the chocolate squares in the mixing bowl.
  4. Whisk the mixture until smooth. If you’re using the optional rum, stir it in at this point.
  5. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake, cupcakes or dipping fruit in it.
  6. If pouring on a cake, start at the center of the cake and work the ganache outward.

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This is as simple as gourmet chocolate covered strawberries can be made. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, or any other special occasion. They symbolize love and romance, so share them with someone special!

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves attached

Directions

  1. Insert a toothpick into the top of each strawberry.
  2. In a double boiler (stainless steel or Pyrex bowl over a stock pot of boiling water) melt the chocolate and shortening together, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding each strawberry by the toothpick, dip them one at a time into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.
  4. You can drizzle with melted white chocolate (after cooled) or any use sprinkles or other decorative sugars while they are still warm and will stick.

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