Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, that figures since I am German. However, I always feel a little Irish this time of year, I think we all do. So celebrate and make these delicious Mocha Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting.  This recipe makes about 10 cupcakes, double it if you are having the whole family over of a party.

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

for the  mocha cake

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 T instant espresso coffee crystals

1 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

3/4 c milk

1/4 c shortening

1/2t vanilla

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350

Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add milk, shortening and vanilla, beat on med speed for 2 minutes. Add egg and beat 2 more minutes.

Pour into muffin tins lined with baking cups. (I use an ice cream scoop, so that they are all filled evenly) Bake for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let Cool.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting

1/4 c butter softened

2 1/2 c powdered sugar

1 T Bailey’s Irish Cream

2 T milk

Cream butter on low-med speed until smooth, add 2 c powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add Bailey’s and milk, beat until smooth. Add remaining 1/4 of powdered sugar slowly until frosting is desired consistency.

Frost cup cakes and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon if desired.

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Valentine’s Day: Personalized Candy Box

Valentine's Day Personalized Candy Box

Valentine’s Day Personalized Candy Box

Here is an easy and inexpensive Valentine’s Day gift. Take your usual box of chocolates and cut paper to fit under each piece of candy. Write a memory or something you love about your valentine on each paper and place the candy back on top. Write a heart felt message on paper in the shape of the candy box and place on top of the candy, decorate the top of the box with hearts, the recipients name or what ever is meaningful to you and place on top. I made this box for our 20th Valentine’s Day which was also the 20th anniversary of our first date. I even found a box that had 20 pieces of chocolate so there were 20 messages. This would also be great to do for milestone birthdays and anniversaries.

Christmas Entertaining: Bloody Mary and Hot Chocolate Bars

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot Chocolate Bar

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to be festive and fun. A couple of years ago I had a Christmas Brunch complete with a Bloody Mary bar and a Hot Chocolate bar for the kids, (and adults too, just add some Baileys’).

For the Hot Chocolate bar, have hot water in a carafe, packets or a container of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, festive sprinkles, and candy canes for stirring. Let the guests make there own favorite concoction, this was a big hit with the preteens.

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For the Bloody Mary Christmas Bar, make pitchers of Basic Bloody Mary’s 3parts tomato juice, to 1 part vodka (have regular tomato juice on hand for those who don’t drink alcohol) Then set up the bar with ice,  Worcestershire, celery salt, hot sauce, old bay seasoning, picked vegetables, lemon and lime wedges, celery, cooked shrimp, olives and any other topping or garnish you desire. Again let the guest play bartender, set out some pastries, breakfast casseroles and a salad and the party is complete.

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

I usually don’t try out recipes before an event, yes I know I live on the edge, but when it is a delicious cocktail, well reserch is important. I was trying to think of a festive drink for Thanksgiving, I’ve done cranberries and pumpkin in the past so I was thinking of something new and different. Apples? hmm too boring how about pears? So I came up with a spiced pear sangria. It’s very yummy and I am glad I practiced first.

Spiced Pear Sangria

2 pears sliced

1/2 apple sliced

3/4 c pear nectar (found by the fruit juices in the supermarket)

1/4 c ginger liquor

1/8 t nutmeg

1/4 t cinnamon

2 c ice

3 c champagne, prosecco or sparkling wine.

Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir.

 

Garnish with cinnamon sticks and or sliced pears.

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

 

I always thought I hated sweet potatoes/yams when I was young because the only way I had ever had them was canned at Thanksgiving with the marshmallows on top. Well then I realized that they could be used in as many applications as regular potatoes and they were fresh and delicious. This was one of my very first sweet potato recipes and is still my favorite, try this for Thanksgiving instead of the old mushy stand by.

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 4ths

1 t salt

2 T butter

1 small jalapeno minced ( use more or less depending on your tastes and heat of your pepper)

2 t minced garlic

1/4 c cream cheese

1/4 c milk

salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes with salt in a large pot until tender. Drain potatoes and add to a bowl, add butter, jalapeno, garlic, cream cheese and milk, mash together with a potato masher or whip with a mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve. This makes approximately 4 servings, can be doubled or tripled.

 

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

I bought a bag of the pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses and liked them but thought these would go great with an oatmeal cookie, and so the idea was born. I made them and even my finicky kids who aren’t crazy about oatmeal cookies devoured them. Shh don’t tell but it’s my new favorite fall breakfast , sweet with a touch of spice.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

1c brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c butter

1/4 c water

1 egg

1 t vanilla

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1 c chopped Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses

Preheat the oven to 350

In a large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, water, egg and vanilla, mix on low- med speed until creamed

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Slowly add this to the butter mixture, mix until well combined.

Stir in Chopped kisses. ( I refrigerate my dough for about 10 minutes,  this  keeps your cookies from spreading and becoming too thin while baking) Drop 1 T rounds onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool, store in an air tight container.