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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcake Recipes

The Best Red Velvet Cupcake Recipes

Red velvet cake is a southern treat. There is nothing better than delicious cake smothered in cream cheese icing. Since my kids are such a fan of this cake, I like to make it in take-a-long form... cupcakes to be exact. Here are some of the best red velvet cupcake recipes around along with a made from scratch cream cheese icing recipe.

Easy Made From Scratch Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Cream Cheese Icing Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 - 8 ounce pkg of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 box of powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (or margarine), softened at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Add box of powered sugar and mix well, slowly at first.
  3. Mix in vanilla extract.
  4. Spread on a cooled cupcake.

Making Red Velvet Cupcakes

More Easy Cream Cheese Frosting Recipes

Red Velvet Cupcakes - A Hot Wedding Trend

Did you know that red velvet cupcakes are one of the hottest trends in weddings today? The moist, red interior of the cupcake coupled with a rich frosting is a real show stopper for wedding guests.

The great thing about wedding cupcake gifts is that you can bake them yourself or get a local baker to make a one-of-a-kind treat for your big day.  You can often vary the frosting as well from real vanilla buttercream to cream cheese like the recipe presented here.  Some people even choose to utilize a chocolate frosting.  The possibilities are endless.

Many brides also use cupcakes as the wedding favor for their guests to take home with them (in little specially-made boxes) like the ones from Wedding Favors Unlimited shown to the right.  We love that they can be personalized with your last name initial or monogram to make them even more special!

Peaches & Cream Trifle Recipe

peaches and cream trifle

Image by Kitchen Scoop

The Ultimate Dessert - Peaches n' Cream Trifle

This summer we were invited to numerous gatherings for church, work and family get-togethers. Of course, this usually involved food and us bringing something so I thought we'd try something new and bring trifle gourmet desserts to most of the parties. For example, we brought a red, white and blue trifle dessert to the big Independence Day bash, a brownie trifle to a couple functions including a family gathering, and this peaches n' cream trifle to my husband's company backyard barbecue. All of them were a big hit.

In this post, I share our recipe for peaches n' cream trifle. We just made this in August when the Colorado peaches were at their best and it was out of this world. I hope you enjoy it as much as everyone at the company picnic did!

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Peaches & Cream Trifle Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh ripe peaches (about 5 large or 7 medium peaches)
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 - 16 oz loaf of frozen pound cake, thawed and cut into 1 inch cubes (we use Sara Lee pound cake)
  • 1 - 12 oz container Cool Whip, thawed
  • 2 (3.9 oz) packages of instant vanilla pudding
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

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Pound Cake Preparation

Pound Cake Preparation

Peach Preparation

Peel the peaches and slice into segments. Put in glass bowl and sprinkle them with sugar. Toss and let stand for 20 minutes or until juicy.

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Pudding Preparation

Prepare pudding by putting the mixes in a bowl and adding the 3 cups of milk. Beat on low speed for about 2 minutes or until it starts to thicken slightly.

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Assembling the trifle

The goal is to repeat the layer process twice in order to get a great looking trifle. If I haven't said this already, this works best with a trifle bowl, but if you want to use a 3 quart clear punch, salad, or mixing bowl, that would be fine too.

Place 1/2 of the cubed pound cake in the bottom of the trifle bowl. Then 1/2 of the vanilla pudding spreading to make a nice layer. Then put in 1/2 of the peach slices (we don't use all the juice). Then 1/2 of the Cool Whip.

Be sure to use a spatula to even out each layer. Repeat the process again adding the rest of the cake, then pudding, then peaches, then cool whip.

Cover the trifle and chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.  Sprinkle the top with the slivered almonds just prior to serving.

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Alternative Ways To Make This Recipe

Above, I've given the quick and easy peaches n' cream trifle recipe. However if you are a true dessert connoisseur and don't mind spending a bit more time in the kitchen, you can kick it up a notch by using 1 3/4 cups of fresh whipping cream with 1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar to make homemade whipped cream (instead of the Cool Whip). You can also replace the pudding with Creme Anglaise or your own custard recipe.

I've also made this recipe with 1/2 cup orange juice or amaretto that is poured over the pound cake cubes before they are assembled in the trifle bowl. It adds a bit more flavor to the gourmet cake, but it does make the cake a bit more soft so depending on how you like the texture of pound cake, this may or may not be a good option for you.

Step-by-step video instructions for yummy trifles!

Biscotti - an Italian Cookie or Cake?

Biscotti - an Italian cookie or cake?

History of These Cookies

Biscotti are crunchy snacks that originated in Italy. They are actually cookies and get their name from the fact that they are baked twice. The word biscotti means baked twice in Italian. And you will need to bake these little goodies twice to get the recipe right.

It's very easy to make your own biscotti at home. You can add any touches you like including chocolate chips, dried cherries, hazelnuts, walnuts, or white chocolate chips. The original versions that are popular in Italy are anise flavored. They have a licorice taste. You can make the authentic version with anise flavored extract which is sold at grocery stores in the spice aisle.

The Ingredients

Shake it Up

Here's the basic biscotti recipe you can try. Add your own flavors to it as you like and experiment to find out which are your favorites.

Image courtesy of norwichnuts on Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cut walnuts or slivered almonds
  • 2 Tbsp. of orange or lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Directions:

Mix everything together with an electric mixer. If you want to add dried fruit or chocolates, do it after it's all mixed so that you don't break up the additional ingredients when you add them.

Bake at 375° F for 20 minutes after forming into a square. Remove from the oven and cool. After the loaf is cool, remove from the pan and slice on the diagonal as described above. Place cookies back on cookie sheet on the cut sides and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in a cool, dry place. Biscotti can also be frozen in an airtight container.

The Process

Try Your Hand

Biscotti - an Italian cookie or cake?1.Want to try your hand at biscotti? There are many recipes out there, and all are pretty much the same. The one technique you will need to learn is how to cut the biscotti. You will first mix all the ingredients together. Then you will place the dough on a cookie sheet and pat it down into a large, flat rectangle. It will bake for about 20 minutes. You'll pull it out of the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes. After the cooling period, you will slice the biscotti.

2. Take the biscotti as one whole loaf off the pan and place it on a cutting board. You will cut diagonally starting at one end of the loaf and continuing down the entire loaf. Then, cut each diagonal section again on the diagonal until you have long "fingers" of cookies that you will immediate recognize from the store bought versions.

3. Place the biscotti on their cut sides back on the baking sheet. Return them to the oven for another 20 minutes. This allows the cookie to harden to the right texture for dipping in coffee or tea. And this is where the name biscotti comes from. The bakers of Italy baked their biscotti twice to give them their classic crunch and texture.

The Stale Factor

If They Last That Long

Because of biscotti's hard texture, they will keep longer than most cookies. But chances are they'll be gobbled up long before they'll have a chance to go stale. Experiment and make your own personal biscotti for gifts or to enjoy any time during the year with friends and family.

Making Biscotti - Seeing is Believing

Homemade Hot Tamales

How to make hot tamales

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Tamales are a traditional Mexican dish that make great meals for any occasion. They typically include a meat such as chicken, beef, or pork that is encased inside a masa dough and steamed inside a corn husk.

Banana leaves or tamale papers can also be used. This tamale recipe uses a spicy pork and is absolutely delicious. It does take time but the end result will be well worth your efforts.

How To Make Tamales

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of Tavallai on Creative Commons

Ingredients

Tamale Filling:

  • 1 1/4 pounds pork loin
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 clove garlic 4 dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups water

Tamale Dough:

  • 2 cups masa harina (corn tortilla flour)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup shortening or lard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) package dried corn husks

Preparing The Pork

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of bitterman on Creative Commons

Sear the pork tenderloins in preparation for stewing. Salt and pepper to taste

Seasoning The Pork

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of bitterman on Creative Commons.

After searing, add water, onion, garlic, chili powder, cumin. Bring to a boil; skim foam from surface. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Drain broth, let meat cool and shred with a fork. Refrigerate overnight if desired.

Preparing The Masa

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of Mmm...Fiber! on Creative Commons

Meanwhile, for masa dough, in a large bowl, stir together masa harina and chicken broth. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes (mixture will appear dry). In a mixing bowl, beat shortening and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed for 1 minute. Gradually beat in flour mixture until combined (mixture should resemble a thick, creamy paste).

Prepare The Corn Husks And Assemble

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of bitterman on Creative Commons

Soak the corn husks in warm water for about 20 minutes to make them pliable. Set out your masa, filling, and husks to begin assembling the tamales.

Assembling The Tamales

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of bitterman on Creative Commons

Set out one corn husk. Spread about 2 tablespoons of masa in a rectangle on the husk. Add a heaping spoonful of pork filling on top of the masa. Wrap the husk around the tamale filling and fold up the end. Tie off with a kitchen string or cut up one husk into strips and use them to tie off the tamales.

A Completed Tamale

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of kevinq2000 on Creative Commons

This is what the completed assembled tamale should look like.

Cooking The Tamales

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of bitterman on Creative Commons

Lean your steamer pot on its side to load it up with the tamales. Do not over crowd the pot and make sure the open end of the tamale is facing up. Steam for one hour.

Serving The Tamales

Homemade Hot Tamale Recipe

Picture courtesy of eviloars on Creative Commons

Unwrap the cooked tamales and serve. Great side dishes to serve with your tamales include refried beans, rice, or a few slices of avocado. Cover the whole thing with some red chili sauce and you have a traditional Mexican dish that the whole family will love.

How To Make Tamales - Making Tamales

Making Crispy Cookies

How to make crispy cookies

Crispy cookies can be very tricky to bake. You don't want them to be burnt, but you also don't want them to be chewy! If you like a crisp cookie, take a look at some of these ideas, tips and tricks to see what you might do differently to bake up a batch of perfect homemade cookies.

Check your oven

You may want to get a thermometer designed especially for measuring the inside temperature of your oven. You can find them at kitchen stores. The reason you want to find out the temperature of your oven is because all ovens are slightly different.

Your recipe might call for 350 degrees, and your dial may say 350 degrees, but in the end, your oven may actually be reading a temperature of 358 degrees or even higher. This can cause your gourmet cookies to burn, since you have no idea that the temperature is off. So, checking your temperature is key.

Don't over cook

Crispy cookies do not need to be overcooked. Many bakers mistakenly think that they have to bake a cookie until it's crisped in the oven. The problem with this is that once the cookie is crisp in the oven, it will crisp even further in the cooling process. And then you'll be left with not crispy cookies, but rock hard inedible discs. No one wants that for their Valentine's Day cookies!

Don't overbake your cookies

Heat your Sheets

Maybe you've tested your oven and are baking just to the right amount of time. Are there other things you can do? Sure! You can use an aluminum pan to bake your cookies. Aluminum diffuses heat faster. And you want to heat your cookie sheet before you put the dough on it. Every time. Don't skip this step. If you put your cookies onto a hot sheet, they'll come out crispier. Who wouldn't love a tin of cookies that are nice and crispy?

Find the right recipe

Be sure that you're using a recipe that's meant for crispy cookies. If you're using a recipe designed to produce soft macaroons, you're never going to get crispy cookies out of it.

You'll want to check the recipe before you start. Just baking your cookies longer will not make them crispy. You have to start with the right ingredients and recipes to get crispy results.

Crispy Oatmeal CookiesOatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Allrecipes.com

Here's a recipe for oatmeal cookies that's meant to turn out crispy and not chewy. Try it and you'll see that it's easier to get crispy results when you start with a recipe designed for that end.

  • Prep time: 
  • Cook time: 
  • Ready in: 
  • Yields: 24

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)
  • 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, white sugar, and brown sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter until well blended. Mix in the oats, coconut and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and place 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are lightly brown.

Share your cookies!

Cookies make for great gifts for any occasion. Share your freshly made crispy cookies with a friend or loved one by placing a batch in decorative bags along with a glass and a bottle of milk into a decorated box or basket. The recipient will surely appreciate the just because cookie gift!

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