Friday, January 24, 2014

Sweet & Salty Potato Chip Cupcakes

Before I get too wordy, let me just say that these are the best cupcakes I have ever had. Of course, I do have a soft spot for sweet and salty (pretzels + nutella, Cheez-its + chocolate, and now potato chips + milk chocolate), but I think these are pretty darn good.

Because I love them so, I am going to explain these cupcakes, ever crumb and sticky detail. If you have already been convinced of their deliciousness and want to make them for yourself, go ahead and scroll to the recipe. Otherwise, sit and listen to me gush for a while.

Every good cupcake starts with a good cake recipe. This one is my favorite vanilla cake. It's a great vanilla cupcake recipe because (1) there are no odd ingredients in it and (2) you use both the egg yolks and egg whites in this recipe, so there's no sacrificing of the yolks to make a super fluffy cake with only the whites.

Next up we have the frosting. This milk chocolate buttercream is different than any other chocolate buttercream just made with cocoa powder. It has a nice, smooth, buttery flavor, and it also has a distinct milk chocolate flavor. This is done by actually adding in melted milk chocolate chips. When melted together with some milk, it is the perfect add-in to the frosting and gives it the perfect flavor and consistency.

To give my frosting the rounded, poofy look, I piped it on with a round Wilton 1A tip. I just positioned it in the middle of the cupcake and squeezed to make a plop of frosting. I then dipped it in the crushed potato chips which made it even more evenly domed.

I cannot forget about they key part, the potato chips. They are the perfect salty counterpart to the sweet cupcake. And that chocolate covered potato chip on top? Oh my goodness. So. Good. I've included how I made those in the recipe if you wish to garnish with them. Also, it makes some extras for munching.

Sweet & Salty Potato Chip Cupcakes
{cupcake recipe from the cookbook Crazy About Cupcakes}

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated & at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
Milk Chocolate Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
2 T. chocolate or white milk
Crushed Potato Chips:
Approximately 2 cups of whole potato chips, finely crushed 
(the smaller the pieces the better!)
Chocolate Covered Potato Chips:
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 tsp. vegetable shortening
potato chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and milk until combined. 

In a small bowl with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. With a rubber spatula, stir a little of the whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until combined. Do not over mix. 

Fill cupcake layers three-quarters full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Milk Chocolate Frosting:
Place the butter into a mixing bowl. Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Mix together. The mixture should form a crumbly mixture.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and milk together on the stove until smooth. Let cool for about 5 minutes before adding to the butter mixture.

Once added to the butter mixture, mix until everything is evenly combined. Then, mix on medium high speed for about two minutes, until the frosting is nice and fluffy and light in color.

Pipe the frosting on top of the cupcakes, and then dip the tops into the crushed potato chips.

Chocolate Covered Potato Chips:
Melt the milk chocolate chips and shortening in a microwaveable safe dish. Microwave for 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is nice and smooth. Dip half of a potato chip into the chocolate. Set on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Complete the dipping process with chips (chips can be of any size) until the chocolate is gone. Refrigerate for about 5 minutes, until the chocolate has just set. Gently press the chip into the top of the cupcake for a garnish.

Recipe makes 16 cupcakes

On another completely random note, there is something I need to document for my memory's sake. Today is a snow day. This is our fourth snow day in the month of January, fifth this school year. And, through my outside of school calculations (be proud, be proud), I have only had 8 days of school in the month of January, 2 of which were exam days, and I only had to stay for a few hours that day. Crazy, huh!?! I imagine I will be making up for this lack of schooling at the end of the year when teachers realize how behind we are. 

For now, I enjoy my time off eating these cupcakes + chocolate covered chips.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Homemade Twix Bars

Who likes chocolate and caramel? Anybody, anybody?

To be honest, I hate Twix bars. I would prefer just about any other candy bar than a Twix. I think it's the super crunchy shortbread that really doesn't do it for me. This is quite the peculiar situation considering I have always wanted to make homemade Twix bars. 

Well, as you can see, I finally did, and I dare say these homemade ones are much, much better than the ones from the store. I especially enjoyed the nice, soft shortbread.

Now, be warned, when you scroll down to the recipe there is gonna be a lot of text. Do not let this scare you! There are just a lot of different steps in this recipe. It is not difficult at all; it just has a lot of different parts to it. I highly suggest, as always, reading through the recipe before making it so you get an idea of what you need to do.

Homemade Twix Bars
[Shortbread Recipe from High Heels & Grills]

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cups all-purpose flour

1 Bag Kraft Caramel Bits
*2 T. Heavy Cream
*Please note that I did not use the heavy cream in my recipe. This made the caramel in the bars stay the same texture as any other caramel square would, meaning it was very chewy and not as stringy and gooey as it is in real Twix bars. The recipe turned out just fine using just the caramel bits, but if I were to make this again I might add some cream to make it a little more smooth. I am going to write the recipe up as I made it without the cream. If you want to try the recipe with the cream, add it into the caramel when you're melting it.

1 Bag Hershey Kisses

Preheat the oven to 300ยบ F. Grease a square 8 inch X 8 inch pan.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add in the salt, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Mix until combined. Slowly add in the flour. Evenly press the shortbread mixture into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it is slightly browned around the edges. Cool completely.

Cut the bars into 12 pieces. Cut them in half down the middle, and then cut each half into six pieces.

Melt the caramel bits in a pan on the stove. Once melted, scoop 1 Tablespoon of the caramel. Press into a small rectangle, about the same shape as the piece of shortbread. Place the piece of caramel on the shortbread. Repeat for all the pieces. Cool completely.

Melt the kisses. Next up, coating the bars!

I did this by setting a round cooling rack on top of a bowl. I placed the bar on the rack, covered the sides (except the bottom) with chocolate, and transferred it to a pan lined with wax paper. Repeat the coating process for all the bars.

Place the bars in the refrigerator for the chocolate to set. Once set, remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature. (If you eat the bars straight from the fridge, the caramel will be rock hard!)

A Recipe Alteration: Feel free to make these as one big bar and not cut into a whole bunch of smaller ones. You would just not cut the bars into 12 pieces, spread the caramel on top of the shortbread in the pan, and spread chocolate on top of it all. You will need to reduce the amount of chocolate if you go this route, though.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Glazed Chocolate Donut Muffins

Guess what, friends?

I'm baaaaaaack! What can I say; new year, new me. Or at least I hope. Maybe I'll get around to posting a little more.

Now, before you get all "you don't care about the blog or even us anymore", do not think that. I made y'all a nice little internet Christmas card. Tried to post it, and the one time I went the extra mile to post, did it work?! NOOOOOOOOoooooo. I was a little upset. So here's your Christmas card.

Now that we got Christmas out of the way....

Chocolate. Donut. Muffins. WITH GLAZE, PEOPLE, GLAAAAZZZEEEE!!!

I was quite surprised how donut-y these muffins really are. They taste very similar to cake donut, and with that glaze, they can't be beat. To be honest, I cannot take any credit for this recipe. This one's all on Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction. She actually made hers as minis, but I am quite lazy and don't like to scoop into mini muffin tins, so I just made these in regular muffin tins. Like the recipe says, I still filled them about 3/4 full, and I think it made about 11. (Yes, I made these a long time ago.) Head on over to Sally's Baking Addiction to get the recipe! 

Oh yes, I also realize the blog header is gone. That is because it was very broken, so please excuse the make-do tab links at the top. I will try to make it more beautiful as soon as I can.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Elastic Hair ties

I know this post is gonna be picture overload, but here are the hair ties for those of you interested.
Also, my most sincere apologies for the blurriness of them.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Elastic Hair Ties [FOR SALE!]

Hello, all! Long time no post, I know. I'm so sorry, but 'tis the season for college stress and applications! I'll try to post as soon as I can! Also, I am aware my header doesn't show up for anyone. Ughh...such a pain to fix, but I'll get on that ASAP, too.

As you may recall from THIS past post, we had one craft show planned for this craft show season. [We being my sister + friend Taylor] Well, the craft show for me and my sister did not go as well as expected, so we have a ton of these colorful fold-over elastic hair ties left over. As much as I would love to have as many as we do right now and use them myself, it's really not practical.


For all my local/from school/in real life people that I know who reads this blog, I was wondering if any of you would want to purchase some. I know many of you already have, but they do make great stocking stuffers! I love these hair ties not only because of the fun colors and prints that they come in, but also because they are, in my opinion, much more gentle on your hair. They don't leave as much of a crease in your hair as normal hair ties do, and they also are not nearly as much of a pain to take out.  They come in packages of 3 and are $2.75-$3.25. I will upload pictures tomorrow of the combinations for all you who are interested. Please get in touch with me within the next few days if you are interested!

My sister and I split the money we make from these hair ties, and (shameless plug) all of the money that I make will go toward a mission trip to Africa that I'm going on this coming summer. I would really appreciate your support in this way. 

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