Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

This week my husband asked if I could make some Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes for him to bring into work.   My husband’s co-workers are often the recipients of my baking trials and triumphs, and always seem more than happy to eat my “experiments”.   My husband doesn’t often put in special requests, so I was glad to cater to him and sent him to work today with a dozen Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes.  My husband’s work shift starts at 6am and he called me later in the morning to let me know the cupcake were gone by about 6:10am!  I guess that means they liked them  =)

The recipe is just a tiny variation of the Chocolate Cupcake and Cream Cheese Frosting recipes I’ve posted before, but I’ll add them here to save you a couple clicks.

Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes

(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)
1 cup boiling water

~ Directions ~
*Line muffin tin with paper liners. Heat oven to 350*F.
*In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
*Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
*Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
*Fill liners 2/3 full with batter. (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
*Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.
*Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 Tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (about 3/4 of a regular block of cream cheese)
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 to 3 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream (or milk- although I do like the richness that cream adds)

~ Directions ~
*Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
*Add powdered sugar (a little at a time) and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
*Add vanilla and peppermint extracts
*Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
*Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
*Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

To achieve the red stripe in the frosting:  Before filling a large piping bag with frosting, add some red gel food coloring to a toothpick, and draw two (vertical) lines with the red dye on the inside of the piping bag. Then carefully fill the piping bag with frosting.  Squeeze some frosting into a bowl until you begin to see the red stripe, then frost the cupcakes.

Top cupcakes with some crushed candy canes (they will ”melt” after a bit, so they need to be served right away) or a small piece of peppermint bark (I used a little peppermint Andes candy).

Bring some of these into work, or send them in with your spouse, and see how popular you quickly become!

Happy Baking!

Christmas Cookies and Cute Packaging

Christmas if certainly one of my favorite times of the year to make cookies!  Pretty cookies can make such special gifts, and are always welcome at holiday parties!  After making pretty pastel cookies for the Vintage Pastel Christmas party, I had fun making a set with more traditional colors.  For some reason I found myself making lots of Christmas trees.  I guess I wasn’t really paying attention when I was cutting the dough!  Oh well, it gave me a good reason to play with a few different designs.

Here are some cute mittens, snowflakes, peppermints and lots of trees!

I made most of these for a friend who wanted some special favors for a dinner table she was hosting at a church ladies event.  I made sets of three cookies to be packaged together and put some extra care into packaging them in a festive way.

I’ve posted some instructions on packing cookies in this way HERE and HERE.

Basically, you need some scrapbooking paper, cellophane cookie bags, and either double sided tape or a stapler.  Then some ribbon to finish it off.

For these favors I wanted to add a colored paper behind the cookies, but I was worried about the butter in the cookies making the paper look oily.  My solution was to put the background paper inside another small bag and then put that inside the cookie bag.  (I used bags just like THESE to put the paper in and used THESE as the outer bag).

I’ve posted the sugar cookie recipe I use HERE.

And a nice tutorial to get you started with cookie decorating is HERE.

Happy Cookie Making!

Gingerbread Trees and Copper Cookies Cutters {Giveaway!}

It’s great when I have some time to just “play” with cookies!  I recently had fun with a new cookie cutter from Ecrandal (the shape is Whimsy Tree) and made some gingerbread cookies (recipe HERE).  It’s a good little exercise sometimes to see how many different styles of cookies you can create with the same cutter. 
Below are four of my favorites from my “play day”…
Now, it wouldn’t be very nice of me to show off what I’ve been making with Ecrandal cutters and not share with you…
So, my generous friends Eric and Jamie over at Ecrandal have a litle Christmas gift for a couple of lucky Glorious Treats readers!  Two readers will each win two beautiful copper cutters in some fun Christmas shapes. 
One winner will get an adorable waving gingerbread boy  and the winter hat.
Another winner will recieve the beautiful Christmas ornament and simple tree.
And in the spirit of giving… I’ll include a few little handmade gift tags with the prize!  You’ll be all set to make some gorgeous homemade treats.
~ How to enter ~
For one entry- Just head over to Ecrandal and take a look at all of the beautiful handmade cookie cutters. Then come back here and leave a comment telling me your favorite cookie cutter design from the shop.
For a second entry- Hop over to Facebook and “like” Ecrandal, and Glorious Treats too (of course)! Come back here and leave a comment that you have “liked” both pages. If you have a moment, be sure to say “hi” to Eric and Jamie on the Ecrandal Facebook page.
For each entry, PLEASE include your e-mail address!
Entries with no contact information will not be eligible to win. 
A maximum of two entries per person.
This contest is for U.S. residents only. The winners will be chosen using Random.org.  The giveaway will end Thursday, December 16th at 8:00pm Pacific time.

~ Giveaway Closed ~

Winning comments chosen by Random.org…
#148- Sweet Sugar Belle
#15- Momza
Congratulations!  I’ll be contacting both of you so I can send you your prizes!

Send some love… or some Grace and Joy

Last week we had family photos taken by friend and photographer Nathan Chilton. We haven’t had family photos taken for a couple years and I’m so happy with them!  Somehow we don’t look a lot like movie stars… but we do look like ourselves, and I think that’s pretty great! 
Above are our two cuties, Grace (blonde) and Joy (brunette). 
Tonight I’ll be pickout out photos for our Christmas cards and place an order with Tiny Prints for some pretty cards.  Tiny Prints is a great on-line shop for invitations and cards and they have an incredible selection of Christmas cards! 
If you’re a bit behind like I am this year and you haven’t ordered cards yet, head over to Tiny Prints and take a look!  Everyday they have a special “deal of the day” listed on the left sidebar of their site!  Hmm, I think I may order a  photo calendar for the Grandma’s this year too!
~ Note ~
Tiny Prints is a sponsor of this blog, but this post is fully my own opion.  I will never write anything on Glorious Treats that is anything other than my heart felt opinon.  I have (and will continue) to even turn down possible sponsors who offer products that I myself would not buy. 

Vintage Pastel Christmas

I’m so excited today to be sharing a special Christmas project I’ve been planning for several months!

This year I wanted to create an extra special dessert table for a home holiday party.  Something to kick off the Christmas season in style!  I took my inspiration from some vintage pink pottery I’ve been collecting and then added some color accents of light blue and aqua.  As a former florist, I had to include some beautiful flowers, and then some sparkle in the form of both new and vintage ornaments helped complete the design.

Please enjoy my Vintage Pastel Christmas…

Included on the table were…

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (frosting recipe HERE)

and royal icing snowflakes (how-to HERE)

White Chocolate dipped Oreos (store bought) with custom royal icing transfers (by me)

Decorated Sugar Cookies (recipe HERE)

Coconut Date Bites (recipe soon)

Handcrafted Marshmallows (by Fusion Sweets)

Assorted candies

I thoroughly enjoyed exercising my rusty floral design skills and made flower arrangements that included pink roses, pink and white mini carnations, light pink alstroemeria, and seeded eucalyptus.  I also tucked in some pretty ornaments along with the flowers.

   

~ Details ~

Flower arrangements, cookies and cupcakes made by Glory Albin (Glorious Treats)

All set up and styling Glory Albin (Glorious Treats)

Photography by Gene Chutka and Glory Albin.