Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

This is what happens when you take a picture at night with little light. Horrible! If you want to see truly amazing pictures of these, go here.

When I saw these cupcakes on Taste and Tell, I immediately bookmarked the page, knowing it was only a matter of time before I tried them. I made them as a treat to take to my sister in law for her anniversary. They were the sweetest cupcakes I have ever eaten. You could eat a half of the cupcake and be completely satisfied! There are so many things going on here, that it is a sweetness overload for your tongue... very delicious though!
I would suggest using a food processor for the oreos in the frosting. I crushed them in a ziplock bag with a food hammer and I still had too many chunks to pipe the frosting. I was very disappointed that I couldn't get the frosting to pipe because of the oreo chunks.

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup water
3 eggs
24-30 Oreos

13 oz jar Marshmallow Creme
1 stick of salted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla4 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

4 sticks salted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
8 cups powdered sugar
15 Oreos, crushed (use a food processor if you are going to pipe the frosting.)

To make the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin tins with liners. Place an Oreo in the bottom of each liner.

Combine the cake mix, butter, water and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed for one minute. Increase the speed to high and beat for one minute. Fill the liners 2/3 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.

To make the filling: Beat the Marshmallow Creme, butter, vanilla and heavy cream on medium until it is smooth. Add the powdered sugar slowly, then increase the speed and beat for a minute. Refrigerate the filling until ready to use.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter, cream and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is mixed in, beat for 2 minutes on medium-high. Fold in the crushed Oreos.

To assemble: Once the cupcakes are cool, cut a small hole in the center of the cupcake. (For a tutorial on how to fill a cupcake, click here.) Fill the centers with the marshmallow filling. (You can do this by spooning it in or by using a pastry bag and piping it in.)

Generously frost or pipe the frosting on the cupcakes. Top with a mini Oreo, if desired.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This is my new favorite pasta salad. With the artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, and feta cheese, you just can't go wrong. It is light and tasty and perfect for the summer. I have brought it to 3 potluck dinners just this summer. I can't get enough of it. It also makes a delicious lunch the day after.

*Recipe from Mel's Kitchen

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

1 pound tricolor pasta
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes (I like the sun-dried tomatoes that are jarred and packed in oil the best)
1 (14.5 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and diced
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into small pieces, or 1 tablespoon dried
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup diced red onion
¾ cup black or kalamata olives, sliced
2 teaspoons saute spice (equal parts black pepper, salt and garlic powder)
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the oil to make a smooth dressing. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water (about 1 tablespoon kosher salt to 4 quarts water) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain, then pour pasta into a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, pour a couple tablespoons of the dressing over the pasta and toss so that the pasta doesn’t stick together as it cools. Let it cool to room temperature, tossing now and again to help the cooling process and to prevent sticking.

When the pasta has cooled, add the sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, basil, onion, olives, saute spice, and oregano and toss. Add the vinaigrette and toss again until the pasta ingredients are evenly coated. Add the cheeses and lightly toss. Chill until ready to serve.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Bars

I needed something yummy for a neighborhood get together and this fit the bill perfectly. Picky Palate never fails on ooey gooey delicious treats. These were very rich, but so addicting. You just can't go wrong with oreos and chocolate chips. They were simple to put together too. That is always a bonus.

Cookies and Cream Chocolate Bars

1 Devils Food Cake Mix
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
15 Oreo Cookies, broken into bite size pieces

8 tablespoons(1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with tin foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl, mixing to combine. Press into prepared baking pan. Top with broken pieces of cookies.

3. Pour sweetened condensed milk over cookies and top with chocolate chips. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven.

4. After 5 minutes of cooling, run a plastic knife around edges to loosen, this makes it much easier to remove from foil. Let cool completely, remove foil from pan, then cut into squares.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Caprese Skewers

These are absolutely delicious. Despite the few ingredients, they are outrageously good. So simple, yet so divine. I used my fresh basil from my garden in my first batch, but ran out and had to substitute some from the store on my second batch. I discovered that my fresh basil from the garden has a much stronger taste than the store bought. Yum! I can't ever get enough of fresh basil.

Caprese Skewers

1 pint red cherry tomatoes
1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
1 bunch basil leaves (about 18-30 leaves, the big ones can be cut in half)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
2-3 dozen long toothpicks

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half so you end up with two half-basketball pieces. Slice the mozzarella into bite-sized chunks. Slide a piece of mozzarella onto the toothpick. Fold a basil leaf in half or thirds and scoot it up next to the mozzarella. Slide a tomato onto the bottom of the skewer, flat side down. Move the mozzarella and basil down to meet the tomato if needed. You want the flat side of the tomato to be right at the end of the toothpick so it stands up straight. Place all the finished skewers on a paper plate or tray. Drizzle lightly with balsamic vinegar and transfer to a platter to serve.