Almond Poppy Seed Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze

Almond Poppy Seed Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze

Let me tell you a few things:

1. I’m sitting here in my black (velour? maybe fake velvet. . . ) sweat pants circa 2001 aka, pregnancy numero tres. What can I say? I have a hard time letting go of faves.

2. Oreos now makes MEGA STUF cookies. What?! Continue reading

Snickerdoodle Cupcake Cookies

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Snickerdoodle cupcake cookies, bite size cookies in cupcake form, filled with delicious spiced buttercream frosting.Urgh.

I keep writing, deleting. Writing, deleting.

Writing.

Deleting.

I just can’t seem to pull something together.

Mostly, I think, it’s because there is an ongoing skirmish simmering low inside me.

It’s all about Christmas, and no matter how much I want to ignore it, I can’t deny that there are two sides to this story – and they both are hunting down prime real estate in my heart. Continue reading

Almost Vegan Chocolate Cake (with black beans and avocado. . . oh, and tofu.)

Okay, wha?

I can hear you all.

And I can see your noses all scrunched up like you all want NOTHING to do with this cake.

But don’t be fooled!

Well, don’t be fooled in either direction. I can’t claim it’s “healthy” because there’s no lying about the sugar content, BUT it’s got some healthy stuff in it – and not a lot of fat.

But also, don’t be fooled that it’s a pile of yucky grossness either, because it’s certainly not.

And, well, it’s not a knock-your-socks off-dang!-this-is-the-best-freakin-cake-i’ve-ever-eaten chocolate cake either.

But I will tell you what it IS:

  • It is a cake that requires a tall glass of milk, or a steaming cup of coffee as a dining partner, because it might stick to the roof of your mouth, or your teeth – which is perfectly fine by me.
  • It is an unusual textural combination between a cake, a bread, and a brownie.
  • It is chewy, thick, and dense – therefore a small slice is rightly satisfying.
  • The frosting is rich and flavorful.
  • It is a cake that calls your name from the other room when you’re vegged out on the couch at 10pm watching TV and your stomach starts to growl.
  • It’s “earthy”, as my middle guy put it. . . . Am I rubbing off on them?
  • “It’s good for having all that weird stuff in it” – as all the boys put it.

Continue reading

Orange Cream (and White Bean) Bundt Cake

Six weeks ago, I spied these cookies on Cookies and Cups.

Two weeks ago, I let my little guy down.

I wasn’t where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be.

My heart broke; he didn’t seem to mind.

Sometimes those things happen. I will probably remember it forever, he might never remember it.

But it was what it was, and it called for fixing.

So I surprised him, picked him up early from school, and told him he could pick what we did for the next few hours while the Babes napped – including a pre-nap lunch at the restaurant of his choice.

And be still my heart, you know what he picked? No burgers and fries, no eating out. Just home.

And you know what he chose to do?

Bake. Continue reading

Cupcake Cones and Magical Buttercream Frosting

OK, I know this isn’t a new invention, so just consider it a memory jogger – “Hey! Remember these??”

I know they’ve been around for decades, because my mom made them for us at some point during our childhood.

No, they definitely aren’t new to the Birthday scene, but people always seem to be taken with them and comment on how cute they are. It also  never really fails that a stranger will ask how I made them.

They aren’t difficult at all, which is one of the reasons I keep going back to them, and at a party they’re wonderful, because they are so easy to hand out and easy for the kids to manipulate.

I’m not afraid to use cake mix from a box when there is so much going on that just the thought of concocting a cake from scratch makes me feel like I’m teetering on the edge of loosing my sanity. So these were made from our favorite yellow cake box mix.

It’s super moist. Hint, hint.

Just follow the directions on the box as though you are making cupcakes, but instead of using cupcake papers, use ice cream cones. Stop filling each cone about an inch from the very top of the cone or when they bake you’ll end up with overflow – like I did. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just looks like melting ice cream.

Stick with the theme, right?

Then bake them according to the cupcake directions. (I just lined mine up on a baking sheet and VERY carefully place them in the oven). I’m sure there is a better way, but I was too lazy to figure it out.

I’m sort of wondering if you can create a shallow layer of dry beans to nestle the bottom of each cone into so they won’t tip or shift around, but I haven’t tested it, so I don’t know if you have to adjust cooking time for something like that.

Once they are baked, slowly and carefully pull them out of the oven and let them cool completely, then frost them.

Now this. THIS is the part I’ve been waiting to tell you.

The frosting.

This is my fall-back, use-all-the-time frosting. It never disappoints me. It’s pretty much perfect.

When I made Valentines cupcakes for my middle guy to take to school last week, he came home and told me this:

Mom, {Sally} said that {Bobby} said, “MMMMMM!!! These cupcakes are SO MAGICAL that I feel like I got run over by a UNICORN!!”.

Compliments just don’t get much better than that. I can tell their teacher’s writing prompts are working too, if her students can come up with quality analogies on the fly like that.

Thank you, Bobby.

This recipe is, from here on out, known as Magical Unicorn Buttercream Frosting. It was passed on to me almost a decade ago by my dearest Southern Belle friend in Georgia. . . it was the very first frosting I ever learned how to make from scratch, and there really is a secret to its perfection.

I bet you’ll never guess.

Recipe:

Magical Unicorn Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Shortening
!/2 Cup Parkay, at room temperature (YES, Parkay. This is the secret, and yes, it makes a huge difference.)
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
4 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons water

Add shortening and Parkay to medium bowl and beat on medium speed with and electric mixer for about 30 seconds. Add in Vanilla, beat until blended in. Gradually add in powdered sugar. As frosting begins to thicken, gradually add in water. Continue to beat for several minutes until frosting is smooth and creamy.

This frosting will turn out beautifully light, fluffy, smooth, and creamy – all at the same time. Of course you can substitute real butter for the Parkay, but I urge you to try it this way first. I really didn’t think it would make much of a difference, but my friend warned me that nothing else quite compares, and it’s true. In fact, my five-year old pointed it out to me once when I made it with butter. It wasn’t the same, and it wasn’t as good. . . why mess with a good thing?

Source: Sara, via my beautiful Southern Belle friend, T.W. ;)

Oh! and a quick tip – if you are transporting these, you can use a gift box or other cardboard box turned upside down and pierced with x’s. Then poke the inner corners of the x’s in, and you have a little hole for the cone.

And one more quick tip, if you have these frosted and ready to go, but on the tray and not in the carrier yet, and you keep thinking to yourself, “Don’t move them around too much. Don’t move them around too much. Don’t move. . . ”

You get it, right? If you’re thinking that, then DON’T MOVE THEM AROUND TOO MUCH! Or you might just bump the tray, and they might just topple over and your beautiful frosting tops might just get squished.

Just guessing.